Book Reviews: Four for the Fourth!

Four for Fourth

With the Fourth of July holiday coming up, I wanted to give GeekDad readers a few book possibilities to entertain them before the fireworks and afterwards. These four are in no particular order — I enjoyed each and every one of them. Have a safe and fun Fourth of July to those celebrating this coming weekend! Continue reading

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Covers CYOA

If this post’s title doesn’t quite make sense, then you’re probably unfamiliar with the Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) book series that started a phenomenon back in the 80s for young readers. Other book series that follow its format exist (or have come and gone), but the CYOA brand, now over 30 years old, continues to find new young readers as parents discover not just reprints of the older titles on bookstore shelves but new titles as well. Continue reading

The Robot Uprising Continues in Daniel H. Wilson’s Robogenesis

Robogenesis

Robogenesis, while a sequel, is both a retelling of the events in Robopocalypse as well as the fallout. The entire novel is broken into three parts, with each part focusing primarily on one of the major characters from the first book. I have to be careful here, because there’s a huge spoiler opportunity that looms… just know that the New War may be over, but there’s a True War that has also been raging in the background, with two parties vying for control of planet Earth. Continue reading

The Expanse Series Moves Further Outward — Cibola Burn

Cibola Burn

Cibola Burn, the fourth book (of six) in The Expanse series from James S.A. Corey (pen name for authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) is out.

It’s outstanding.

Scale of 1 to 10? That dial needs to be upgraded to 11.
(Haven’t read the first trilogy? Congrats — you’ve now got four books, averaging about 600 pages each, to add to your reading list.)

Superb plotting.
One-more-chapter, nail biting tension.
Scoundrel heroes versus law-abiding villains.
Political intrigue that’s not annoying.
Space-travel discussions that don’t bog you down.
Technology that you’ll believe will be available (and needed) in a few hundred years. Continue reading

When I First Held You — 22 Dads, 22 Essays On Being A Dad

When I First Held You

My oldest son turns 7 in two weeks. Where did the time go? And my youngest is just a few weeks after that, with him approaching the big 4. As birthday parties are being planned and requests for birthday gift ideas are made, I find myself sitting alone in my office, contemplating the job I’ve done as a dad and what waits for me in the years ahead. The reason for this contemplation is that I’ve been enjoying reading a series of 22 essays from a number of popular dad writers, all collected in a new book titled When I First Held You, and edited by Brian Gresko. Continue reading

Hey, GeekDad — Whatcha Reading?

Fifteen Lives

We GeekDad writers often find ourselves buried in piles of books and games and software/apps – sometimes all three (looking at you, Jonathan Liu). Between the stuff we buy and the stuff we request for review and the stuff we did NOT request but absolutely love anyway, we sometimes get a bit behind in what we want to share with our readers.

Below you’ll find some books that one of our staff has finished or is close to finishing and needs to clear off the TO REVIEW list. Continue reading

The Enceladus Crisis — Alchemy Meets Hard SciFi

Enceladus Crisis

Imagine two universes: one where British sailing ships in 1798 are able to leave Earth using the wonders of alchemy to sail between the planets, and another where astronauts in the year 2134 hitch rides on fusion-powered spaceships to explore the moons of Saturn. Got it? Now toss in an ancient alien warlord attempting to open a doorway to conquer both worlds and you’ve got the general idea of Michael J. Martinez’s follow-up novel, The Enceladus Crisis, in his Daedalus series of novels. Continue reading

When the World Ends, You’ll Need The Knowledge

The Knowledge

I’m not a sky-is-falling kind of guy. I don’t have a bunker behind my house and a decade’s worth of food stocked away for my family (although I do sometimes think about it). Every generation has had its concerns about the world ending, but I’m one of those optimists that hopes we’ll be able to solve our problems — water shortages, global warming, pandemics — and not be despised by our great-great-grandkids.

But who really knows? Asteroids are flying around our universe with sufficient mass and speed. New and scarier viruses seem to pop up every few years. So many countries seem to want their own nuclear bombs these days. Experts seem to think a major financial collapse lurks around the corner. Just how prepared are we if the world we know it stopped functioning normally for an extended period of time? How long would we last without the modern conveniences of electricity, medicine, clothing, food, and clean water? Continue reading

Dungeons & Dreamers — A Book Review

I’m very nostalgic when it comes to my inner-geek. At least once a year I read Neuromancer. I enjoy playing the original Infocom games on my iPad. I still get a wide grin on my face when I pull my copy of Tomb of Horrors (S1) off the shelf to occasionally read it through and remember the first time I ran this most hated module as a DM. I never tire of trying to get my almost-7-year-old to sit down and play a few of the Atari 2600 games with me (and he does actually enjoy both Adventure and Yars Revenge — he flipped out when I showed him the Easter Egg in Adventure, something I discovered all on my own before there were ever walkthroughs or bulletin boards to share the info.) Continue reading

The Latest Sci-Fi Novel From Daniel Suarez — Plus Interview!

Influx

I distinctly remember the day back in 2009 when I was wandering through Barnes & Noble and my eyes caught the title of a new hardback sitting in the New Arrivals section. Fresh from leaving the world of networking, servers, and operating systems, the distinct spelling of the title was still familiar to me as I picked up Daemon and read the blurb. It sounded interesting enough, so I purchased it and took it home. Little did I know that I was about to discover a new writer who would immediately be added to my Must Read List. Continue reading

The Martian — Mars Meets MacGyver

The Martian

Do you remember that scene in Apollo 13 when the engineer dumps a bunch of parts on the table and tells the other engineers in the room they need to create a carbon dioxide filter using nothing but that pile of parts? Did that scene totally make you smile? Yes? Then grab a copy of The Martian before anyone ruins it for you and read it. Seriously Read it. You won’t regret it. Continue reading

Back to the Lab: Nick and Tesla’s Robot Army Rampage

Robot Army Rampage

Robots. Say that word to kids and watch their eyes light up. Mine still do! I’ve had a fascination with robots since 1977 when I decided in the first five minutes of Star Wars that I wanted my own R2 unit. Now my workshop is full of them, and I’m even getting to teach a camp this summer for 20 lucky kids who are going to learn to build, program, and take home their own robot. My camp does have an age limit, however — we’ll be using breadboards, lots of small electronics components, and some coding will be necessary. I have an almost-7 year old son who is a bit upset that he can’t take the class, but I’ve got some other ideas in store for him this summer, and one of those includes reading through the latest book in the Nick and Tesla series from “Science Bob” Pflugfelder and Steven Hockensmith. Continue reading

Ellen Ripley Is Back!

Out of the Shadows

Ripley is Ripley, and we’re not happy if she’s not blasting aliens out of airlocks, going ten rounds in a Powerloader suit, and nuking entire sites from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure, right? So, when Titan Books asked me if I’d like to give a read of their new official trilogy that takes place between the events of Alien and Aliens, I was a bit hesitant. I mean, we all know that Ripley floated peacefully along (with Jones) for 57 years before the salvage crew found the Narcissus. End of story, right? Well, apparently 20th Century Fox knows otherwise, and has contracted three authors, Tim Lebbon, James A. Moore, and Christopher Golden, to fill in the details. Continue reading

Happy Birthday, Sherlock! (But We Get the Gifts…)

sherlock-feat

Sherlock’s “official” birthday is observed every January 6, so on this momentous day (Happy 160th, Sherlock!) here are some new Sherlock-related gifts for fellow fans that may or may not have been missed, in no particular order. Well, not completely true… the first episode of BBC One’s Sherlock is fresh on my mind from two same-day viewings, so here goes… Continue reading

The Latest Steampunk Tale from Mark Hodder (with Interview)

Abdu El Yezdi

Back in October I stated in a book review that I had two favorite authors I tended to recommend — George Mann and Mark Hodder. Between these two gentleman, I’ve got three different steampunk series that I’ve absolutely enjoyed over the years — and there are more books to come. (I’ll put some links at the end of this review to my previous reviews of their works.) Right now, Mark Hodder has just launched his latest trilogy, a follow-up series to his original Burton & Swinburne trilogy that began with The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack, got deeper and darker with The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man, and wrapped up with Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon. Continue reading

Zero to Maker Is Pure Inspiration

Zero to Maker Cover

I was very fortunate to grow up in a house where both parents were the hands-on, DIYer-types. My dad taught me a good bit of woodworking and some home repair, and my mom was more of a crafter, always having a project or two for us kids to do side-by-side with her as she sewed or glued or painted. I think it was inevitable that I would also develop that desire to tinker, fix, and create. Continue reading