Movies in 2014

I’ve watched my fair share of movies this year, though perhaps not as many as I would have liked considering I have an unlimited card for the local Cineworld. There were some films that I really couldn’t wait to see, with a few completely living up to expectations (I’m looking at you, Guardians of the Galaxy), while others were so mind-numbingly crap that I wish I could erase the experience from my life (damn you, Transformers). Continue reading “Movies in 2014”

2014 Half-Year Reading Update

Well, the first half of 2014 has gone by rather quickly, and the way things are looking at the moment the year probably won’t hang around to let me take my time with it. I’m sure there is some sort of mathematical formula that can be applied to show that time goes quicker as you get older… Continue reading “2014 Half-Year Reading Update”

First Lines

the-temporal-voidI saw this over at N.E. White’s blog – she’s a fellow SFFWorld contributor – and I quite liked the idea of it. There aren’t many 1st lines that I can remember off the top of my head, but this one from The Temporal Void by Peter F Hamilton always sticks:

“Strangely enough, it was the oak trees which Justine Burnelli always remembered from the day Centurion Station died.”

I thought I’d go through my shelves, pick out some of my favourite books, and list them here. Would you read any based on these alone? Continue reading “First Lines”

The Joys and Pitfalls of Re-Reading

Have you ever read a book, let time go by, then have these fond memories of said book arise and then get the sudden urge to read it again? It happens a lot to me, which is why plenty of my reading is actually re-reading. I always try to cut down on this simply because it means that I have less time to read NEW STUFF. Continue reading “The Joys and Pitfalls of Re-Reading”

Comfort reading the Void Trilogy by Peter F Hamilton

I’ve struggled to read since just before Christmas for a variety of reasons, but I finally managed to break into some books this past week. I’ve been eyeing quite a few that have arrived at the house over the past couple of months, but every time I start one my attention seems to drift off and I can never really get into them. I decided that it was time for a comfort read, and me being me I don’t do things by half. So, last week I cracked open The Dreaming Void by Peter F Hamilton, planning to read all three books over a few weeks. However, much like the Void, I devoured them, and in just a week too. Excellent! Continue reading “Comfort reading the Void Trilogy by Peter F Hamilton”

My Favourite Reads of 2011

So, that time of year again, to look back at what I’ve read and try and narrow it all down to the books I’ve enjoyed the most. I’ve read some cracking books this year and thoroughly enjoyed most of them. I’ve had some glaring oversights too, like The Iron Jackal by Chris Wooding, War in Heaven by Gavin Smith, The Ascendant Stars by Michael Cobley, Deadline by Mira Grant, The Departure by Neal Asher, Embassytown by China Mieville… the list goes on and on.

So without further ado, check out my favourite reads of 2011! Continue reading “My Favourite Reads of 2011”

My Favourite Reads of 2010

2010 | My Top Books of the Year

The Evolutionary Void by Peter F Hamilton

evolutionary-void-stoneThere was little-to-no-chance that any book was going to beat The Evolutionary Void this year unless Peter F Hamilton managed to mess it up completely. Pleasingly, he didn’t, but not only that he delivered what I think is the best finish to any series he’s written to date. The whole of the Void trilogy is right up there with the best sci-fi series I’ve read and once again confirms his position as my favourite SF writer.

Cosmopath by Eric Brown

cosmopathCosmopath is one that you could argue shouldn’t be on this list, but at its time of release there were mixed release dates out – some saying 31st December 2009, some saying January 2010. Either way I didn’t include this in my best-of post last year, hence its inclusion here. Regardless, Cosmopath is the third and exceedingly good novel in Eric Brown’s Bengal Station trilogy. I can’t recommend this series highly enough, I consider it to be one of the best sci-fi trilogies in the past decade.

Feed by Mira Grant

feedFeed is a zombie novel, but not a typical one. It’s set in the future and Mira Grant has done a great job of fully realising the world in which it is set. It’s the first book in a trilogy too, so there is plenty more to come from this excellent setting.

The Desert Spear by Peter V Brett

the-desert-spearI loved The Painted Man when I read it and The Desert Spear was high on my anticipated releases of 2010. The book has had some criticism, but it does exactly what it needs to do and I thought it continued the story very well. It’s also cemented Peter V Brett as one of the few fantasy authors I will read with no hesitation.

The Black Lung Captain by Chris Wooding

retribution-fallsRetribution Falls was number 2 in my best reads last year, and the only reason that The Black Lung Captain isn’t higher is simply due to the standard of books I’ve read this year. It’s an excellent continuation of the characters and advances many things the way you’d expect, and sometimes wouldn’t. Great stuff.

The Noise Within by Ian Whates

the-noise-withinIan Whates is the person behind the very impressive Newcon Press, and with his debut novel he shows that he can not only run and edited that publisher, but he can write a damned good story too!

Glitter Rose by Marianne de Pierres

glitter-roseI’ve really enjoyed reading Marianne de Pierres over the past few years (and I’m embarrassed I’ve not read her big release this year, Transformation Space), and her Glitter Rose collection is just beautiful. There is no other word for it. Highly recommended for some intelligent and emotional SF.

Spellwright by Blake Charlton

spellwrightAnother of the few fantasy books I’ve read this year, but Spellwright hit all the right buttons for me. It’s written in such a way that is easy to read, makes the pages fly by and gets you to invest in the characters. I’ll be adding Blake Charlton to the exclusive list of fantasy authors I’ll be buying on publication.

Engineman by Eric Brown

enginemanAnother Eric Brown novel in the top 10, and despite it being a re-release (with some re-writes) of the same novel that was out a decade and a half ago, it’s still thoroughly enjoyable.

The Great Bazaar by Peter V Brett

the-great-bazaarRounding off the top 10 is the short release from Peter V Brett that gives some more information on Arlen’s journeys. Really enjoyable, and with another similar release due any time now I’m sure Mr Brett will be a regular face in my best-of lists from now on.

Favourite Reads – Older Books

The Starship Series by Mike Resnick: MutinyPirateMercenaryRebelFlagship

ss-mutinyThe Starship series was thoroughly enjoyable and one of the best military stories I’ve read in a while. I’ve read these twice this year – I think that says it all!

Starship Summer and Starship Fall by Eric Brown

starship-summerWhat’s this? More Eric Brown? Yep, and some great stuff. I still need to review the second of these, but I want to read it again before doing so. Eric has also sold another two stories in this series to PS Publishing, so I’ll be getting to those ASAP once they’re out.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

the-lies-of-locke-lamoraI didn’t think I’d enjoy this novel as much as I did, but the reputation it’s garnered is well deserved. I’m hanging off reading the second in the series until a firm date is set for the release of the third…

Meridian Days by Eric Brown

meridian-daysI know it may be getting repetitive, but Eric Brown is one of those authors that hits everything I enjoy about sci-fi. ‘Nuff said.

40 Years by Bernd Struben

40-yearsThis is probably my biggest surprise read of the year, but hugely enjoyable and very reminiscent of some of John Scalzi’s work. It doesn’t have that same humour, but what it does deliver is worth every word.