Category Archives: Science Fiction

In Times Like These: A Time Travel Adventure by Nathan Van Coops

In Times Like TheseI finished reading this one a few weeks ago, and had a great time with it. As the title suggests, it’s, you know, an adventure story involving, well, time travel.

It begins with a group of friends waiting out a thunderstorm in a dugout, hoping to get their planned softball game in once the rain and wind moves on and becomes somebody’s else’s  problem. But it’s not to be. A power line is knocked loose by the storm and drapes the dugout, blasting our new pals ass-over-tits. When they regain consciousness, something feels a bit off, and it doesn’t take them long to learn the reason. They’ve woken up in freaking 1985!

The novel is a lengthy, fun ride. The characters are likable and real, and there’s no shortage of twists and turns in the plot. Will they figure out a way to return home to 2009? Will they even want to? Along the way they meet plenty of memorable characters,  and encounter any number of compelling situations. It’s highly entertaining. And today it’s free for Kindle. If it sounds like your kind of thing, you won’t be disappointed.

Jurrassic Park by Michael Crichton

Jurassic ParkI’ve never read this book. I saw the movie at some point, but don’t remember much about it. There’s a good chance I was drunk, but that’s neither here nor there. Didn’t Newman get eviscerated during the first reel? It’s all very unclear to me.

I’ve also never read a Michael Crichton novel. He was super-popular, which was a strike against him in my eyes, back during snobbier times. Plus, his shit was science-heavy, wasn’t it? Funk dat.

But, I’ve heard and read so many people say that Jurassic Park the book is an absolute blast to read, I added it to my Kindle Wishlist somewhere along the line. It feels like two years ago. And today my patience paid off, once  again. I snagged that baby for $1.99.

I don’t know what’s going on with it. It might be a one-day price reduction, so grab it now if you’re so inclined. I’m going to wait for a gray winter day, and get into this thing. Should be fun.

The Martian by Andy Weir

Martian coverIt’s funny how I keep saying “this is not my usual kind of book,” over and over again. Perhaps it’s time to reexamine the definition of my “kind of book?”

In any case, I read this one a few months ago and got all caught-up in it ‘n’ shit. It’s a story about an astronaut mistakenly left alone on Mars. His fellow crew members believed he’d been killed, and were forced to evacuate quickly during a storm. So, when he regained consciousness he realized he was now on his own. On Mars.

It’s a really fun book. The astronaut is the narrator, and is a regular guy with an enormous amount of training. He goes full-Macgyver with whatever equipment he has at his disposal, and is also really sarcastic and funny. This thing is suspenseful and exciting, and also full of laughs.

Another cool thing about it? It was originally self-published. The author was unknown, traditional publishers wouldn’t give him the time of day, and his book is now an international phenomenon. There’s also a movie version coming, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon. So suck on that, traditional publishers!

As I type this The Martian is $5.99 for Kindle. You’ll have a blast with it. Here’s the trailer for the film:

Pines (The Wayward Pines Trilogy, Book 1) by Blake Crouch

Pines coverBlake Crouch is one of those dudes that inspire new writers. I don’t know his current situation — I suspect it’s changed — but when I first became aware of him, he was self-publishing his novels. And doing well for himself, very well indeed.

The first Crouch novel I read was called Run. It was crazy, and relentless. I wouldn’t call it literature, but it was certainly fun. The book stood out in my mind enough for me to make a mental note of the author’s name, and maybe check out his other books.

Pines is the first installment of a trilogy, and it’s better than Run. Again, it’s not Hemingway, but it’s bubbling over with creativity and twisted entertainment. It concerns an FBI agent who is sent to the small town of Wayward Pines, Idaho, in search of two other agents who have gone missing. Immediately he’s involved in a serious traffic accident, and wakes up in a hospital that feels a tad off. From there, shit gets wild.

I’ve read all three books, and recommend them. Start with Pines, of course. I think it’s always priced at $3.99 for the Kindle edition. But, I could be wrong, so don’t dawdle. (Wow! I don’t think I’ve ever used that word before.) There’s now a TV series based on the books, starring Matt Dillon. I watched the first episode, and wasn’t blown away. But people seem to like it, so maybe I’ll give it another chance? In any case, the novels are completely wacked-out and worthy. The Suggestaholic suggests you check ’em out.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

ready player one 2I’m not a gamer, or a science fiction goob, but enjoyed the hell out of this book. In fact, the physical version of it is roughly 400 pages, and I polished it off in just three sessions. I’m not usually that voracious.

Ready Player One is a novel set in 2045. The country has continued a steady decline, and is now overrun by crime and hopelessness. To escape reality, a good percentage of the population taps into a virtual world called The OASIS.

After one of the co-creators of The OASIS dies, it is announced that his fortune will be awarded to the person who first discovers an “Easter egg” hidden inside the computer-generated world. And because he was a teenager during the 1980s, most of the clues and challenges are related to ’80s pop culture. So… it’s considered to be a huge advantage if the hunters are well-versed in Family Ties, and that kind of thing.

It’s a blast! I hated to stop reading, and was sad when it was over. Steven Spielberg has signed on to direct the movie, and it’ll be interesting to see how he approaches it. I’m not even sure how they’ll pull it off. Like I said, this isn’t my usual kind of book. But it was great fun. As I type this, the Kindle version is only $3.99. I say buy it. It’s as satisfying an escape as The OASIS itself.