Friday, January 2, 2009

Books to read

Well I'm not much of a big reader. I usually get into 1 book every 5-10 years but lately I've been looking to find something more relaxing and stimulates my creative side so reading a book was my choice.

First off my wife and I listened to the audio book, Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card on the way down to Texas during Christmas. At first glance of the synopsis you would think " Oh a geeky sci-fi book similar to Startship Troopers " Well I thought that myself. But don't let that fool you. The book is incredible in it's character depth and thoroughly engaging plot. Here's a quick description, Ender is a small boy around 6 years old in the future. He has 2 siblings, 1 older brother Peter who is quite the big brother bully but to the point of being psychotic at times. Then an older sister, Valentine who protects Ender from Peter and cares for him a great deal. Now 80 years before Ender was born, an insect hive like race who are referred to as " Buggers " attacked Earth's space fleet decimating it due to their numbers. They were beaten back eventually by Earth's forces but still exist in Ender's time. Earth during this time has been building it's forces back up and waiting for the time to retaliate. That's where Ender comes in. The future government controls everything and sends Ender to Battle School orbiting Earth. The thinking at the time is to raise the next great Earth commander to lead their forces to victory. In order to do this, they need to best and brightest youth and train them from the earliest ages. Only the best will survive the school. From there the book focuses on the battles Ender must face not only from other children hazing him quite viciously but to the simulated sports like battle rooms where teams attack and defend each other. The games train these children to think like military commanders. There is also a video game element as well used in the training.

It's the training that really shows off this book and how Ender responds. His two siblings get alot of focus as well in certain chapters and their stories are just as interesting as Ender's.

Next up is a novel that I am currently reading....Designated Targets by John Birmingham. It peaked my interest at Barnes and Noble cause of the cover, which depicts a F-22 with German markings.

It's an alternate history and sci-fi novel about a 21st Century Multinational Naval fleet ( US, etc ) who enters a wormhole by accident and arrives in 1942 and affects the whole course of WWII history. The Axis are able to secure future technology due to this mistake as well as the Allies. Since the navy had computers with historical documentation, Hitler and Tojo(Japan ) see the error of their ways and change their focus in the war effort. Stalin ( Russia ) now agrees to a long term peace treaty with Hitler since it is revealed that Russia will no longer exist as he wishes in the future we know presently. With access to foresight, Hitler keeps his treaty in tact with Russia so he can focus entirely on invading Great Britain.

Now this is actually the second novel in a trilogy( by John Birmingham. The information I revealed above occurs in the first novel, Weapons of Choice which you can click on the link to read more about it.

While the author recommends reading these in sequential order, I still find Designated Targets to be quite entertaining. It's very much in the style of Tom Clancy novels. So far I am addicted to reading this each night. You get alternate versions of everyone from JFK to Hoover, to Halsey to Himmler, and even Elvis as a young boy. The technology and battles are described in great detail and gore. All the makings of a good "guy" book :)

I've only read barely a quarter of the novel and already can see this will be a favorite of mine for the coming months. Plus I need to get the first novel as well as the last in the trilogy. Damn, I wish they would make this into a movie! John Birmingham was questioned on this and he said it would probably make a good mini series for TV due to the large amount of content to cover. I just want to see it made and made right. Give it a good budget and none of this goofy looking " The Final Countdown " movie from the 1980's jumbo. Loved that movie for 1 scene, Jolly Roger F-14's fighting japanese zeroes. After that it gets a bit boring.

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