Posted on | March 20, 2016 | 12 Comments
— by Wombat-socho
The worst part about being in the tax mines this year has been having an inordinate amount of time on my hands, since the office I’m working in here in Las Vegas is nowhere near as busy as the former home office in Alexandria, Virginia. Looked at another way, I’m losing a lot of time when I could be reading books, and unfortunately not filling that time with work on peoples’ taxes. Such is life in Sin City. Most of what I have been reading of late has been books in my library that I haven’t seen in a while – for example, Larry Niven’s Neutron Star, not to be confused with the updated version, Crashlander, that drops the non-Beowulf Shaeffer stories and adds “Procrustes” and some framing material so that it seems more like a novel. I vaguely recall reading this before I took up book blogging here, and being none too impressed. Your mileage may vary.
Another set of oldies but goodies are the Prince Roger novels by David Weber and John Ringo, recently repackaged by Baen into two two-volume collections, Empire of Man and Throne of Stars. If you haven’t read these, they’re a great coming of age story wrapped up with interstellar skulduggery, an extremely hostile, barely-explored planet…and of course, the ongoing conflict between Roger Ramius McClintock, Heir Tertiary to the throne and a spoiled brat to end all spoiled brats, and his bodyguards: the Bronze Barbarians, a company of the toughest Marines in the Empire, who are going to get Roger back to civilization…or die trying. The natives are hostile and dangerous, the local animals only slightly less so, and they’re the EASY parts of the problem. These are some of my favorite SF novels, and if you have a taste for combat SF, I think you’ll like them too.
Also worth your time is a very short novel by Alexis Gilliland, The End of the Empire, chronicling the last days of Senior Colonel Saloman Karff, an officer in the Holy Human Empire’s Gestapo, as he fights enemies internal and external during the Empire’s retreat to Malusia. Malusia is an interesting place, a water world that can’t feed itself and that can’t pull itself together to do so thanks to the locals’ being infected with all the worst features of anarchism and libertarianism, and Karff is sent to investigate it as a possible new home for the fleeing Imperials…but is it instead a trap being laid by traitors who sold out to the rebels? Drollery and action ensues. A quick and amusing read; one wonders why Del Rey hasn’t brought it back in a Kindle edition.
Baseball Prospectus 2016 is one of the dozens of books spawned by Bill James getting shut of the Baseball Abstracts he used to write in the 1980s. Featuring hundreds of player evaluations, and occasionally articles on the teams when the contributors haven’t been distracted by some other topic, this is probably one of the best books to pick up if you take your fantasy baseball seriously. Speaking of Bill James, he’s still publishing The Bill James Handbook 2016, which is not as concerned with teams or prospects as the Baseball Prospectus folks but more with individual achievements. The annual chapters on The Favorite Toy and the leader boards are always worth looking at. Which one’s better? I couldn’t tell you; I have a large stack of both waiting to be put up on my shelves.
And what have you been reading?