Recent Reading - Personal Education

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Recent Reading - 2023

Click the occasional spoiler buttons only if you wish to see plot-revealing material.



192 pages
Collins, RonRon Collins

Book one of the series, Stealing the Sun.
Lieutenant Commander Torrance Black is the head of engineering of the last slower than light starship. Their trip to the star cluster of Alpha Centauri will capture the energy of Centaruri A in order to provide power to the first Faster than Light starships waiting seven light years away in the Solar system. Those newer FTL ships will be the vehicles to allow for unlimited expansion of humanity. His own ship, UGIS Everguard will become a relic, no longer useful.

Strange Electromagnetic signals come from a planet in the Centauri star's habitable zone. They attract his imagination. Could they be a sign of intelligent life? Captain Romanov disagrees, leading to some conflict in the command structure. Torrance takes a risk, diverting and crashing one of the star-capture probes onto the planet.


The Beautiful Decay
350 pages
Corva, VeoVeo Corva

Outside of society, or beneath the attention of society, that's the way Usther feels. Even though the society is "her kind", necromancers, all living in chafing comradeship in Tombtown, Usther feels un-wanted. Even her housemate, Ree is distant emotionally and most of the time, physically. She is stunned when the priestess of Morrin chooses her to fight for the town and its denizens.
Highly Recommended


A Half-Built Garden
397 pages
Emrys, RuthanaRuthanna Emrys

The Earth is healing. It is a long way from being healed, in spite of the efforts of the Watersheds who have collectively forced corporations to play their power games in isolation from the natural systems of the world. All watershed decisions are fully democratic thanks to the dandelion network, using person-to-person voicing of opinion and up-voting to solidify the support for any given group decision. Environmental data is meticulously collected and shared to support those decisions.

The sudden arrival of aliens throws everything off the rails.
Highly Recommended


The Application of Hope
91 pages
Rusch, KristineKristine Katherine Rusch

The Ivoire and Coop engaged the anacapa drive while being attacked. He planned to be in foldspace only for 20 hours, but he's long overdue. His close friends, indeed, all of the Fleet need to find out why. Another novella which fills in the background of the "Diving The Wreck" series.
Highly Recommended


56 pages
Rusch, KristineKristine Rusch

Being stuck in foldspace is nobody's idea of fun. Usually only seconds or minutes seem to pass while not in realspace, nobody in the Fleet really knows what the anacapa drive really does. They do know that sometimes ships just don't come back out of foldspace! A novella is quick to read, but this one is very helpful to see how the series of novels holds together.
Highly Recommended


Witch King
353 pages
Wells, MarthaMartha Wells

This example of fantasy writing follows the style of what I think is called "high fantasy". A demon, some witches, and several regional tribes/cultures/races of humans interact as they try to meet on common ground, attempting to repel the forces of the very powerful and ruthless Hierarchs. In spite of the good writing and interesting characters and my general enjoyment as I completed the book, I still don't think I like this kind of fantasy any more than I did when trying to read Tolkein's work, none of which I completed in my youth.


The Infinite: The Outside, Book III
261 pages
Hoffman, AdaAda Hoffman

Protecting the people of Jai, especially the Chaos Zone from the retribution of the supercomputer "Gods" is just the beginning for Yasira and the six other former physics students of Dr. Evelyn Talir. Getting help from three fallen technology-enhanced human "angels" is help they do not really want. The backstory of the origins of Nemesis is a good element of this third volume of the trilogy.
Highly Recommended


No Plan B
327 pages
Child, Andrew and LeeAndrew and Lee Child

A woman dies. Reacher saw her pushed under a bus in Colorado. A boy leaves his foster home in Los Angeles. An Arsonist wants vengeance for his son's death. A for-profit prison warden want's his prison to be seen as a shining model.

The multiple-track story converges on the prison in Mississippi. I was confused trying to keep track of the reasons for the tracks of the story.
Not Recommended


Sea of Tranquility
205 pages
St. John Mandel, EmilyEmily St. John Mandel

People intersect through history, sometimes knowing that they will never meet again, but when they do, it may not be in ways we should expect. Time travel cannot make complete sense. Emily St. John Mandel does a great job of mixing "realities" into a compelling story.
Highly Recommended


Backpacking Through Bedlam
377 pages
McGuire, SeananSeanan McGuire

Getting home after a 50-year search for her husband is Alice's greatest wish. Getting there isn't an easy process. First, you need to fulfill his promises, then you need to wear him out transferring to the right dimension, and then, of course, you need to go to New York to fight against the Covenant of St. George to send them packing back to Europe.
Highly Recommended


Righteous Prey
350 pages
Sandford, JohnJohn Sandford

Rich and entitled, a group calling itself "The Five" each plan to kill one of the assholes who "ruin things for the rest of us". The killing begins with a homeless person in San Francisco. Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers get involved when a very right wing rich woman is killed in Minnesota. White-knuckle airplane rides begin as the case spreads wider.
Highly Recommended


Dreadnoughts and Shuttle
285 pages
Cohen, L.J.L.J. Cohen

Micah Rotherwood heads off to university on Earth as Michael Chase, attempting to pursue his dreams, but Ro Maldonato's father comes after him for Micah's father's money. A rescue will be necessary, but who can you trust to give you straight answers and possible support?


Ithaka Rising
266 pages
Cohen, L.J.L.J. Cohen

Ro Maldonado has replaced her escaped father as chief engineer of the Commonwealth station, but she has also been granted ownership of Halcyon, a still-mostly-disabled 40 year old transport ship whose AI is still very "sick". Ro's friends, Barre, Micah and Jem are forming unanticipated bonds, with communications officer, Nomi, becoming a bit more than a friend. Unfortunately, Jem suffered serious head injuries when Ro's father attempted to take over the ship, planning to sell contraband which he stored in the ship's hold. The AI panicked, fired it's drive and had to be rescued by the sector's Commonwealth troops. Now, getting help for Jem comes first, but then Ro plans to finally fix Halcyon and...Barre's musical talent is surprisingly helpful.


609 pages
Follett, KenKen Follett

War: Best intentions thwarted by many seemingly inconsequential decisions, especially when hard line types and nothing-to-lose terrorists mix with blowhards and bombasts. This isn't World War One we are talking about.
Highly Recommended


301 pages
Cohen, L.J.L.J. Cohen

Ro Maldonado is a junior grade engineer, nominally working under her father, irascible chief engineer on Commonwealth station/asteroid where a derelict space transport has been undergoing study and rehabilitation since being disabled decades ago during a battle. Ro is also a brilliant programmer. She desperately wants to earn her emancipation and full citizenship so she can get away from her father and go to university to advance her skills, and to get away from her father, an insubordinate bully who has dragged Ro around, from failed posting to yet another temporary assignment aboard the station. Stuck on the same station are Micah Rotherwood, son of a disgraced politician who drags Micah along in his wake.

A coming of age story.

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The count is for my personal convenience. It's not a competition.
How it was done.

This year's authors in alphabetical order with duplicates removed.
It may not be very useful to anyone, but was good for ongoing JavaScript practice.
How it was done (in part)