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TBR August 2009

Wow, it is already August... which means that we are just 5 months away from 2010. 


Seriously, take a moment and think about that. 2010..... Excluding the obvious sci fi/ literature references that the concept of 2010 bring to mind (yes, I am talking about the Arthur C. Clarke book, for those who are less than Geek....), the idea of 2010 seemed to be something so...distant. So foreign. So exciting and fascinating and beyond belief. 2010 was less of a year and more of a goal- a time when we, as humans, should have been escaping the gravity of our home planet, and making ways to settle other heavenly bodies. A time when we would be using hover cars and jet packs to move around the planet, and would be taking meals that were not supersized, but pellet sized. (Although I would recommend avoiding the Soylent Green after dinner mints pellets. This is a main reason why I tend to avoid things with the word “soy” in the ingredients).  A time of peace and harmony- provided we had not been blown up in an exchange of nuclear missiles during the Cold War…


Instead, it is going to be a world of smaller and smaller sized computers; a world where cars are hybrids (and junkers are being bought by the government); a world where couples are not defined by their opposing body parts, but by the love in their hearts. A world where we, the individuals, are survivors of the Cold War, but are the soldiers in the Cellular War. (VIVA LA PALM PRE!!!). A time where friendships are not definited by location, but by IP address; where you can tell ALL your friends what you had to for lunch, are stuck (on the ground) in traffic, and that you are enjoying your low fat, low foam soy latte on the patio of Starbucks #134,135,204, 045. (Wait a minute- Soylent…Soy latte---- anyone else getting a bit worried)? A time when those in power were, at one point in the past, consider to almost NEVER have any chance at being anything more than 2nd class citizens. It is not the world of Sci Fi, but a world of Soc Fi- where the sociological, and not scientific, changes have moved our society into the new era of existence….


Ok, enough waxing philosophically- this posting is about BOOKS!!!!!!! NOVELS!!!! BIBLIOTECHA!!!


So, July was a pretty active month for me- I managed to read 5 books during 31 days. And as you can see, most of the books tend to be from the popular (and personal favor) line of Star Trek Novels. (Guess I was compensating for missing out on Shore Leave and ComicCon this year….. NEXT YEAR, THOUGH. A winning Lotto ticket is going to be in my near future- I can feel it). Meanwhile, I am getting ready to wrap up my  “summer reading” and start in on some more serious reading, in the fall and winter. (Stop laughing.. I might try to pick up something more…non-fiction-y in the next few weeks…I have books on OCD, the body, and even a possible military novel on my upcoming TBR lists…). So, here are the books for July…



· ST:Vanguard Open Secrets- Dayton Ward; This, the latest entry in the Star Trek: Vanguard series, shows the after effects of the shocking events from Reap the Whirlwind.  Set at the edge of mankind's greatest mystery (although slightly less mysterious as before), there is the trial of a fleet officer, the inner battle for control of the mind of a Vulcan, the introduction of what will be the Federation's greatest scientist, the build up of galactic tension between the main superpowers, and even a surprise guest or two from various Trek movies and TV series.  Clocking in at 425 pages, this is one massively intense book, which in the hands of the authors, flows like butter on a hot Texas day....


Personally, I am in AWE over how great the Vanguard series is- in the hands of its' three authors, there is an ongoing conhension and unity in the books.  It reads less like a stand alone Trek book, or even an entry in a trek miniseries, but more an episode of 24, set in the realm of Star Trek- a political battle between superpowers, a race for discovery of some hidden secret, a hero who is flawed and willing to do what it takes for the greater good, even at the cost of his own personal wellbeing, and all the techno goodness that geeks love.  Furthermore, one can't just read ANY book the series; no, you have to read the first book, and then the second book, and then the third... and you see the pattern. (Plus, it helps if you are a TOS fan and remember certain details from the 1960's series- like the First Federation, the court martial of Kirk, or even the Organian-efforted peace treaty).  My one problem with the series was that there are NOT enough Green Skinned Orion sex slave orgies- seriously, what does a guy have to do to get more Orion women in the books?!?!


· Star Trek: New Frontier Treason- Peter David; the latest in Peter David's ST: New Frontier series. Sadly, not the greatest. This time around, the book picks up about nine months following the events of the last book (and only a few months after the events of the New Frontier comic series- which is important, since there are a few passing references to the comic series in the book). This time around, what starts with a surprise rescue Hermat survivor and the birth of a heir to an empire, evolves into a race across the sector, to save the lives of two innocent victims, while trying to come to terms with the sudden betrayal of a loyal Starfleet officer and the fight against an enemy that seems nearly impossible to defeat.

This book is lacking in ALOT of what has made the previous New Frontier books great- humor and witty dialogue, unexpected actions by people in power, and cowboy tactics that would make Kirk look like an Toto, the Native American sidekick. What was once a great series has now fallen to a good series, that occasionally has sparks of greatness. Whether this is because to time lapse between books, or that the author seems to have lost his passion for the characters, or that in the past 3 years, the bar to which Trek books are to be judged has been raised so high, is up to the individual reader. I am just hoping that future books can recapture the spirit of the series


· Star Trek: Troublesome Minds- Dave Galanter; This TOS era book really surprised me. What starts off as a rescue missions turns into a race by Kirk and Spock to help stop the mental enslavement of an entire race. This story feels like it could have been made during the 1960’s- it has that moral theme and an inner struggle by characters, who question their very actions- are they making their own decisions or are they acting under the influence of the powerful Troublesome Mind? For me, the added bonus of the novel was the element of having a race communicate with Sign Language- having studied sign language back in college, and recently gotten back into using it more and more at work (a coworker & I use it to communicate across the unit to each other- it confuses the bosses, perplexes our coworkers, and puts a smile on our face when the naughter of signs are used), I found the idea of sign as the form of communication to be….fascinating. (Sorry- couldn’t resist the pun. Now, I just need to work in “Oh my….” into this review). I would recomment this book to anyone who is new to Star Trek and wanting to get into what the books are about- it has a stand alone quality about it that new readers could enjoy.


· G.I Joe: Above and Beyond- Max Allen Collins; Growing up, G.I. Joe was, to me, the end all, be all of 80's toys.  It was a cartoon, a comic book, a toy, a video game, and even a series of books. AND NINJAS!! Don't forget the Ninjas.... Storm Shadow... Jinx...the Hard Master...the Soft Master... the Blind Master.... and of course- SNAKE EYES!!!
(Side note- no matter how COOL Chuck Norris is, he takes a back seat to Snake Eyes.... while Chuck has the beard, Snake Eyes has a mask.  While Chuck would stare a victim to death, one glimpse at Snake Eyes' face would cause hair to turn white, the body to lose bladder control, and the eyes to explode 3 seconds before the person was to die...). So, when this book came out, I knew I had to read it. Now, if the Joes of my youth were above and beyond, then this book is one that is based on reality.  People die- people are shot.  Soldiers have weaknesses- and Snake Eyes is still UBER COOL!!  The book looks at the two main characters from the upcoming movie- Duke and Ripcord (the latter I always considered to be a minor Joe)- before they were to be part of the G.I. Joe team.  But while they are not part of the regular Joes, they are assisted (behind the scenes) by a team of Gung Ho, Scarlet, Breaker (minus the bubble gum- which is a shame), Heavy Duty (WTF?!?!) and of course- Snake Eyes.  But what starts off as a simple rescue of scientist turns into a hunt for next generation weapons and even possible super solders.  Along the way, there is plenty of gun battles and super cool ninja action... and not one mention of a certain Serpent themed organization or even a Silver Masked arms dealer...

This is the G.I. Joe book written for those who grew up watching the safe, imaginary worlds of cartoon Joe violence, but are needing some reality thrown into their iconic heroes updated adventures....



ST:TNG Losing the Peace- William Leisner; following the events of ST:Destiny series, the world Star Trek has been forever changed. Where once there was peace and harmony and plenty for all, now there is fear, disorder, and want for basic needs. Gone are the carefree times; now, refugees and survivors must fight and hope and pray that they are going to be safe and have somewhere to stay and something to eat. And in the middle of all this is the crew of the Enterprise- E. Suddenly, they are tasked with not exploring new worlds, but to search for survivors and try to bring some order to the growing confusion and chaos. For some of the crew, it is a time to grieve- for lost family, friends, and homes. For others, it is a time to celebrate their treasured family, even at the cost of breaking (or bending) the very rules and regulations they swore to uphold.   This novel is less like your traditional Trek novel- where everything is good and is cleaned up at the end, and more a gritty, harder edge book. (Picture one part DSN and one part BSG- a time for seeking not new life and new civilizations, but a place people can call home).

(On a personal note- I am deeply impressed by all the hard work the various authors- Leisner, Bennett, DeCandido, and Beyer have done, to explore this new setting of a Federation in the throws of Reconstruction. Not to mention those working behind the scenes- editors, friends, and fanboys/ fangirls- who are there to help support this new era of Star Trek Fiction.).




Trek Related

· ST: Day of Honor Saga- Various Authors

· ST:Enterprise- Rosetta- Dave Stern

· ST:Vanguard Open Secrets- Dayton Ward

· ST:TNG Genesis Wave Book 3 – John Vornholt

· ST: DSN Left Hand of Destiny Book 1-

· ST:Voyager #17 Death of a Neutron Star- Eric Kotani

· ST: Mirror Universe Shards and Shadows- Various Authors

· Star Trek- Alan Dean Foster



Star Wars Related

· Star Wars: Clone Wars- Shatterpoint – Matthew Stover

· Star Wars: New Jedi Order- Agents of Chaos- Jedi Eclipse- James Luceno

· Star Wars: Clone Wars- Wild Space- Karen Miller


Doctor Who/ Torchwood

· Monsters Inside- Stephen Cole

· Winner Takes All- Jacqueline Rayner

· Deviant Strain- Justin Richards

· Only Human- Gareth Roberst

· Stealers of Dreams- Steve Lyons

· Stone Rose- Jacqueline Rayner

· Feast of the Drowned- Stephen Cole

· Resurrection Casket- Justin Richards

· Made of Steel- Terrence Dicks


· Torchwood: Another Life- Peter Anghelides

· Torchwood: Border Princess- Dan Abnett

· Torchwood: Slow Decay- Andy Lane


Media Tie In Novels

· Quantum Leap: Pulitzer- L. Elizabeth Storm

· 4400: Vesuvius Prophecy- Greg Cox

· 24 Declassified: Veto Power- John Whitman

· Red Dwarf Omnibus- Grant Naylor

· Buffy, the Vampire Slayer: Child of the Hunt

· G.I Joe: Above and Beyond- Max Allen Collins

· G.I Joe: The Rise of Cobra- Max Allen Collins



Sci Fi

· Earth- David Brin

· Adventures of the Stainless Steel Rat- Harry Harrison

· Twilight- Stephanie Meyes


Military/ Adventure

· Op Center: Line of Control

· Net Force: Spring Board - Steve Perry & Larry Segriff

· Splinter Cell - David Michaels

· Special Forces - Tom Clancy

· Last World War- Dayton ward


Comic Book Related books

· Batman: Dead White - John White

· Captain America: Liberty's Torch

· Wolverine: Weapon X- Marc Cerasini

· DC Universe: Helltown

· Spiderman: The Darkness Hours- Jim Butcher

· Spiderman: Down These Mean Streets- Keith R.A. Decandido

· Lois and Clark- C.J. Cherryh

Fiction /Mystery/ Legal Thriller

· Camel Club- David Baldacci

· Up Country - Nelson DeMille

· Department Thirty- David Kent

· The Company- Robert Littell

· Assassini- Thomas Gifford

· Conspiracy- Allan Topol

· Avenger-Frederick Forsyth

· Inside Ring- Mike Lawson 

· Then We Came to the End- Joshua Ferris

·Monkey's Raincoat- Robert Crais

· K is for Killer- Sue Grafton

· Four to Score- Janet Evanovich

· Blowfly - Patricia Cornwell

· Violets are Blue- James Patterson

· State of Fear- Michael Crighton

· Hard Rain- Barry Eisler

· Cruel Justice- William Berhardt

· The Red Box- Rex Stout

· The Gun Seller- Hugh Laurie

· Tunnel Vision- Sara Paretsky

· Two for Tanner- Lawrence Block

· Rising Phoenix- Kyle Mills


Sherlock Holmes Novel

· A Slight Trick of the Mind- Mitch Cullin

· Sherlock Holmes: the Missing Years- Jamyang Norbu

· Sherlock Holmes: An Unauthorized Biography- Nick Rennison

· Shadows over Baker Street- Various


Nonfiction/ Humor

· Dragons of Eden- Carl Sagan

· Nerds 2.0.1

· Dilbert Future - Scott Adams

· Why Do Men Have Nipples- Billy Goldber & Mark Leyner

· Why Do Men Fall Asleep After Sex- Billy Goldber & Mark Leyner

· Just Checking: Scenes from the Life of an Obsessive Compulsive- Emily Colas




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