Dr. No reads like the author does not care whether anyone reads this book or not; he had fun writing it, and that’s all that needed to happen. It’s good, absurdist fun with entertaining characters and clever social satire (but didn’t get preachy).
A mathematician who studies the concept of nothing to the point of becoming a world expert on the subject is approached by a billionaire determined to become a Bond villain. The billionaire needs help with nothing, and our mathematician needs the money. Inventive madness ensues.
Recommendation: Read it if you’re in the mood for something a little more literary, inventive, and don’t need aliens or spaceships. I’m definitely planning to read more by this author.
The Kaiju Preservation Society is ridiculously fun. It’s easy to imagine author John Scalzi grinning like a maniac as he was writing this. It’s short, breezy, interesting, and hilarious.
A miserable young man is stuck schlepping around New York City, working for food delivery apps, so when he’s given the opportunity to work for an “animal rights organization” he jumps at the chance, despite the number of strange hoops he must jump through.
There are kaiju (godzilla-sized monsters), and of course, things end up going very wrong.
Recommendation: Read it! Read it now! There’s a lot of heavy stuff out there, and it’s nice to have a relaxing palate cleanser like this book.
Connie Willis is one of the few authors capable of humor, humanity, and what must be an ungodly amount of research, and she brings all these skills together in the masterful Doomsday Book.
In near-future Oxford, where time travel for purposes of historical research is relatively common, an eager young historian travels to medieval times. Unfortunately, things immediately go very wrong for her. Then a devastating pandemic hits the present day, and no one is able to help her, or even know she’s in trouble.
Recommendation: Read it. The characters range from deeply human to hilariously Dickensian, and the descriptions of the horrors of daily life in medieval times are some of the best I’ve ever read. Oh, and it’s a great story that won both the Hugo and Nebula awards.
This frenzied page-turner takes some delightfully unhinged ideas (invasion by alien punctuation, rave-themed VR dungeons, and a plane of existence where all ideas physically exist), creates a believable spell-casting system, and inserts a bad-ass heroine as odd as her world.
It’s a fast-paced, genre-bending, bonkers ride, and I loved every bit of it.
Recommendation: Read it. Absolutely.
I’m a huge fan of Andy Weir’s first book, The Martian, and his new book, Project Hail Mary, is even better. It’s fast-paced, fun, smart, and bold.
In the way that Galaxy Quest is my favorite Star Trek movie, Redshirts is my favorite Star Trek novel. That is, they don’t technically take place in the Star Trek universe, but close enough. And they’re hilarious.
The Earth is just a tiny bit farther away from the sun in Early Riser, but that’s enough to make the winters harsh enough that humans have evolved to hibernate. The exception are the Winter Consuls, a group of misfits tasked with keeping the sleeping population safe.
Apologies for the self-promotion, but my New-York-Times-bestselling wife and I wrote an audiobook and I’m pretty excited about it.
The Worst Warlock is a humorous fantasy narrated by excellent British actor Carey Mulligan.
I’m a big fan of author David Wong, and his latest family-friendly-read-aloud-to-the-kids book, Zoey Punches the Future in the Dick, is awesome. As usual, Wong combines outrageous humor with surprisingly deep, three-dimensional characters, and very little literal dick-punching.
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is a fun, breezy book that feels like an eccentric Star Trek episode. The characters are bright and quirky, so if you’re in the mood for a story about goofy people getting along in a sci-fi setting, you should pick this up. Continue reading