Book Review: ‘The Library at Mount Char’ by Scott Hawkins

libraryatmountchar_feat

I love books that sneak up on you when you’re not looking. I especially enjoy it when it’s from a new author with a debut novel that offers up something unique. Scott Hawkins’ has done this with ‘The Library at Mount Char,’ a mind-bending tale that delivers a contemporary fantasy story complete with its own mythology and rules for how the world works. Continue reading

2 Spooky New Novels for Your Summer Consideration

Book Review

Summer is here, and with it comes a flood of new novels. It’s like Christmas on my doorstep–it seems every summer day one or two (the record is four) new novels arrive at my door. The covers scream READ ME, READ ME! My work calendar says NO TIME, NO TIME! I’ve got a pile building on my desk right now, and so far my only summer review was for Ernest Cline’s ‘Armada.’ Time to change that. Continue reading

‘Armada’ Arrives Soon — Will Geeks Save the World?

Armada Feature

We all knew the day was coming, and now it’s almost here. I’m talking about the release of geek-guru Ernest Cline’s second novel, ‘Armada’. For those of you who read ‘Ready Player One’ and have waited and wondered whether Cline could deliver the goods again… I’m about to answer that question. Continue reading

‘The Machine Awakes’ – A Sci-Fi Military Thriller Whodunit

Feature Image - Machine Awakes

I’ve been a big fan of Adam Christopher since I first discovered his novel ‘Empire State’ and its world-twisting take on superheroes. Two additional superhero novels followed (sequel ‘The Age Atomic’ and the stand-alone ‘Seven Wonders’) that are also solid recommendations, but I’m really quite taken with Christopher’s science fiction/supernatural/horror universe that he created with the eerie ‘The Burning Dark’ and now continues with sci-fi military thriller ‘The Machine Awakes.’ Continue reading

‘The Very Hungry Cthulhupillar’ — Who Said Evil Can’t Be Cute?

Chtulhupillar

Sometimes, people just don’t know when to leave things well enough alone. Take Signal Fire Studios in Georgia. They just about caused the end of the world when they released ‘The Lovecraftian ABCs,’ exposing children around the globe to a number of ancient secrets and creating thousands of new acolytes bent on waking untold evils. Thankfully these plans were interrupted by a few well-timed naps and On-Demand episodes of ‘Caillou.’ (Of course, we parents are beginning to suspect that even ‘Caillou’ is a minion of some of the most foul creatures ever to swim the dark ether of outer space.) Continue reading

Stack Overflow: Whittling Down the Collection

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I don’t think I’ve got it quite as bad as fellow GeekDad Jonathan Liu, but occasionally my book stack starts to get a bit high again and I feel the urge to whittle it down a bit. My reading interests are all over the map, and it’s sometimes difficult to grab enough books in a particular genre to review together… so please forgive me for the mishmash of books below, of which I hope at least one or more grabs your interest and proves a worthy purchase. Continue reading

Book Review: ‘Touch’ by Claire North

Touch Feature

Anyone who read last year’s surprise hit, ‘The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August,’ by Claire North has probably been eagerly awaiting her next story. Released last week, ‘Touch’ is a similar-style story in that it focuses on a special group of individuals who have a unique talent. Continue reading

Book Review: ‘Mort(e)’ by Robert Repino

Mort(e)

Here’s the setup — the ants have had enough of humans. Over thousands of years, one particular colony has grown in size and intelligence, and the Queen has finally decided to take back the Earth. I know just enough about ants to understand how they communicate and I’ve read here and there (and watched a few video snippets) about their hierarchy and how they declare war on other colonies. This Queen is very intelligent, and she has managed to gain sufficient knowledge of chemistry to grow car-sized Alphas to act as soldier. Oh, and she’s also figured out how to grant intelligence and self-awareness in most every animal type on the planet including pig, dog, bear, raccoon, and cat. Continue reading

My Summer 2014 Eclectic Reading List – Part 1

SummerReading2014

Now that summer has ended, I’m staring at a stack of books that I’ve finished at various times and need to share with GeekDad readers. I read a LOT more books this summer, but not all of them grabbed my attention or were even finished. One of the problems I have reviewing books for GeekDad is the sheer volume of books that show up in my box. I wish I had time to read them all. I wish all of them appealed to me. And I certainly wish I could devote lengthier discussions to all of them. But I’m a geek dad… meaning I have two boys who are now putting a much higher demand on my time. This means less time for me to read MY books, and even less time to write them up in a timely fashion. Continue reading

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

Read This Post? Turn to Page 53. Skip It? Turn to Page 71.

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…)

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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

Contest, Review, and More: The Adventure Time Encyclopaedia — Mathematical!

Adventure Time Cover

Last year I went on the hunt for the Season 1 DVD set of Adventure Time for my son. One of his friends had introduced him to it (even though much of it went over his head) and he just really enjoyed it. The episodes on television were the newer season and he hadn’t watched the earlier episodes, so I figured I’d grab it for him and sit down and see what all the fuss was about… Continue reading

Aetna Adrift — Indie Science Fiction and Scoundrels

Aetna Adrift

When it comes to self-published science fiction, I’ve downloaded and started a number of non-traditionally published books. Key word — started. As in… not finished. There are definitely a number of gems to be found in the growing number of indie books out there, but in my experience the ratio of bad to good for self-publishing seems to be about 100:1. That’s not to say that the traditional publishing world doesn’t produce some bad stories, but I’ve found the ratio to be completely opposite… about 1 bad book in every 100 that has made it through the gauntlet of editors (and possibly an agent or two). Continue reading

All Questions Answered With The Guild: The Official Companion

The Guild Cover

I have a confession to make: I’m really not into MMOs. I’ve played World of Warcraft, City of Heroes, and even The Matrix, but these kinds of games have never managed to hold my interest for long — level 17 for WoW, 21 for CoH, and only 11 for Matrix. But even though MMOs aren’t for me, I do have one MMO-related addiction. And I’ve had it for over 5 years. It’s The Guild. Continue reading