Thrawn: Treason (Star Wars: Thrawn #3) by Timothy Zahn

Boy, this new canon of Star Wars stories, both in books and on the screen is really starting to heat up and I’ve been suitably impressed by most of the new Disney-era stuff. When I saw that there is yet another new canon series (Thrawn Ascendancy) out there, I thought it best to get caught up with this final book of the Thrawn series. In what is the final episode of this particular series, the story arc is presumably brought to a close, yet doors have definitely been opened to further exploration.

The War of the Maps by Paul McAuley

A nice surprise was this. Every so often you come across a book that turns out to be a pleasant slap in the face, one of those books that make you realise that maybe you keep your reading boundaries a bit too tight. This is one such book. After reading the synopsis, I had reservations about starting this book and initially had in the back of my mind that I’d end up not finishing it. I didn’t really think that it sounded much like my sort of thing, but those thoughts disappeared after only a half-dozen or so pages. The basic idea of the story, set on some sort of huge artificial world in space somewhere was enough to grab my attention, and I was not left disappointed. I ended up totally absorbed in the story and actually purposely taking my time with it, basking in the escapism that it gave me.

Dune (Dune Chronicles #1) by Frank Herbert

This is my third reading of this classic sci-fi novel, which I thought that I’d get in before the release of the latest screen adaptation attempt due to be released later in 2020. The origins and subsequent success of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel Dune is well documented and is a good indication of how good this book really is. It comes across as a bit dated in its style and prose, but you can’t deny the quality of the story. It’s an epic adventure across the face of an incredible and desolate planet which is itself part of a massive galactic empire, under the rule of an Imperial head and administered by various noble houses or families who constantly strive in competition and rivalry with each other, contending for power and commercial gain which is itself controlled by a huge galactic corporation. It’s all good stuff right here.

Mass Awakening by Shoshi Herscu

“The Truth has been hidden from us while a global policy of mass depopulation and exploitation has been carried out behind the scenes for the past half-century.”

I love the subject matter, but I found this to be a a bit all over the place, and almost reads like a teaching book for a cult (and, yes, I’ve read one or two of those over the years…).

Deep Future by Eric Brown

What can I say other than this is another typically good collection of shorter work from one of my all-time favourite authors. I particularly enjoyed the original Kings Of Eternity short story which was the basis for Brown’s full length novel of the same name, a novel that is simply brilliant. This is a highly recommended collection that is a must-read for Eric Brown fans and any other lover of good stories.

Beyond the Stars: At Galaxy’s Edge by Various Authors

This anthology has been a very pleasant surprise and has brought some interesting new authors to my attention. I grabbed this while randomly browsing and I’m really glad I did. Apart from a couple of the longer ones, the stories on here were excellent, and very easy to get lost in. If this anthology is indicative of the current state of indie sci-fi authors we are very lucky indeed. I will definitely be seeking out the work of a few of the authors whose work is featured here, especially David Bruns, Christopher J Valin and E E Giorgi whose stories were excellent. Hell, they were all great. I’ll also be looking out for the other anthologies in this Beyond The Stars series.

Whip by Martin Caidin

Here we have a perfect example of a book from another of my favorite fiction genres; loosely fact-based tales of men and women who fought on our behalf during the times of war that have come along over the years. Whip is a great rollicking yarn that whisks the reader along on missions against the Japanese in the Pacific theatre during World War Two. I’ve had a copy of the Corgi paperback edition for around thirty years that I picked up in a book exchange somewhere along the way. I’ve read it four times that I can recall and have enjoyed it immensely each time. First published in 1976 and enjoying a number of reprints over the years, Martin Caidin has delivered an entertaining book that will appeal to lovers of WW2 history, action and aviation.

A Star-Wheeled Sky by Brad R Torgersen

After having read and enjoyed some of Torgersen’s previous work (the Chaplains War novel and a number of his shorter stories) I immediately elevated this book to the top of my to-read list when I saw its release. I really like his writing style, which possibly has something to do with the fact (which I only found out recently) that one of his key mentors is Mike Resnick who happens to be one of my favourite authors across all genres. Torgersen delivers to us a good story with good characters and an interesting plot, and the world-building is very good. These facets add up to a pretty good novel that is clearly just the beginning of a larger series of books and/or stories.

BOOK REVIEW: Paradise by Mike Resnick

Another thought-provoking and enjoyable read from one of the best story tellers (in my humble opinion) to ever put down a word. In this relatively short novel, Resnick quite impressively retells the history of Kenya, but this time in a far future sci-fi setting, substituting the distant planet of Peponi for the African country and an interesting race of tribal humanoid aliens for Kenyans. It sits within Resnick’s wonderful Birthright universe and therefore will most likely please any reader familiar with the setting and probably anyone else who enjoys a good yarn.