I’m very aware that my last post, with its woe-laden rhetorical questions was quite negative. I don’t disavow anything in there, but I would like to share a few of the good things I’ve found over recent years.
While what follows will be highly subjective, personal and far from definitive, I’d like to share what I have.
I’ll start with the good books. The ones that leave the quotidian politics at the door, and engross the reader in a great story that grapples with life’s bigger questions.
In no particular order:
Robert Kroese – The Mercury series
Starting with Mercury Falls, this 5 book series follows the adventures of an angel called Mercury as he battles the forces of evil, stupidity and bureaucracy across the Earthly and Heavenly plains, averting existential disasters almost by accident and almost certainly against his better judgement.
Well written, amusing and absurd. The audio books are very well narrated indeed. All 5 books available on Kindle Unlimited.
R R Haywood – The Extracted Trilogy
Probably better known for his long run of zombie novels, this R R Haywood trilogy features a trio of heroes plucked reluctantly from their imminent deaths, at different points on the timeline, by a couple of bumbling idiots with a time machine. The purpose of this effort is to gather up a small team of the very best – a world war 2 hero, a policewoman who saved the PM’s life in a terror attack and, um, an insurance investigator called Ben – to help save the world from an increasinly mind-bending series of paradoxes and cock-ups, caused by the ill considered experiments of the time machine’s inventor.
A great concept, adeptly written, with cutting humour. Again, it’s an example of audio book narration at its best, with great characterisations. The books are, again, on Kindle Unlimited.
Dennis E Taylor – The Bobiverse Series
Neat pop-culture references abound as Gen-Xer, Bob, makes his fortune and fortuitously invests in cryogenic storage of his soon to be dead body. Bankruptcy of the cryo company renders Bob’s head the property of the government, and he is selected to be reanimated as the AI in a VonNeumann probe, tasked with exploring the stars and finding somewhere for humanity to escape to before the Earth becomes a spent husk of a planet.
The probes launched by competing world powers are as big a threat to Bob as alien species are, as they head out on a ‘finders keepers’ mission to colonise exoplanets as their own before it’s too late.
These books ask – and attempt to answer – fundamental questions about what we humans are, once stripped of our corporeal form.
All on Kindle Unlimited, and another one with great audio book performances.
Pierce Brown – The Red Rising Series
Lastly for now, but not least. If you think Hunger Games for boys, as a prelude to warring houses and space battles, betrayals and betrothals, all drawing on classical myths and legends, you’ll not go far wrong.
By turns brutal, hilarious and touching. A compelling series, again with great audio book performances, but not Kindle Unlimited in this case.
I have more to present in the future, but I don’t want to put too much on the table in one go.