Red Moon – Kim Stanley Robinson


Any time I hear Kim has a new book it’s an auto purchase for me, no need to even read the blurb. After so many hits I just know whatever story he tackles next will be great and this book is no exception.

An interesting observation I noticed while reading this book was that I do find it quite interesting how books and movies and their choices in protagonists change over the years. Back in the 80s, the baddies were always Russians but now we see the Chinese being used more and more, no doubt a reflection of US politics. This change is a mixed bag in my mind, while I do enjoy the chance to explore characters of different backgrounds, it’s the names I struggle with. I’m completely clueless when it comes to their naming conventions and pronunciations, which leaves me unable to fully immerse myself in the characters. Hopefully, increased exposure to these types of characters may sort that out but only time will tell.

The best part of Kim’s stories is that they are always dosed with a touch of reality, the stories really feel like they could happen. I can fully see the Chinese sending people to the moon and that in turn starting another space race with the USA, so for the book to have this idea as the backbone of the story was great and easy to digest.

A simple technician (Fred) on an almost routine trip to deliver a product to the moon gets involved unknowingly in an assassination plot. Colour me intrigued. From there it’s a quick jump into political instability, power struggle and coup-de-tats, which seems more important than one of the main characters who might be the first to give birth on the moon, Chan Qi. While I thought Fred and Chan Qi were the main characters the events back on earth seem to overshadow the idea of a human born on the moon, with that story being given only a few lines, to my great annoyance.

That aside I really loved the political flavour of this story, trying to figure out along with the main characters what was going on and who was involved was quite a bit of fun. Definitely more of a political thriller than a sci-fi story but a great read nonetheless. I might even have a look at trying to read some more political thrillers now


Odessa Sea – Clive Cussler


Picking up a book by your favourite author is like sliding into a warm bed in winter or that first sip of beer on a hot Australian summer day, its just fantastic. Speaking of which it is 42 ° C   (or 107 F) to you crazy yanks.

Another solid entry into the Dirk Pitt series (its number 24 by the way) It ha been 2 years since out last adventure with these heroes and after the first few pages it feels like no time has passed at all. With the introduction of his long lost kids a few books back they pretty much are in all the books now and its sticks to the same formula, the kids have one plot and Pitt has another but by the end it turns out they are intertwined. This is normally done well but this time each plot for me just felt forced, like they each could have been their own book since the connection wasn’t that strong at all, each could function without the other.

It was however refreshing to see that the crew on the NUMA vessel’s which normally are treated like red shirts from star trek (ie canon fodder) were actually treated like people for once and not just killed off.

I do like how his books always seem to include some real life event in them kind of ties them down to a specific time frame. For this one we deal with the Russian invasion and take over of the Crimea Peninsula
With his multitude of series running and it is no surprise that sometimes things feel “familiar” but that doesn’t deter you from enjoying the ride. Bring on book #25

Home – Harlan Coben


I’ve been waiting 5 years for this book, granted for most of that time it didn’t exist but i had hoped for another book in the Myron bolitar series. Then new years day this year Harlan posted on his twitter a picture of page one of this novel being typed into his word program. After 5 long years book 11 was on its way, while not the longest wait between books in this series that belongs to to book 8 being 6 years after book 7, it was the hardest.

Book 10 Live wire, really wrapped a lot of story lines up. Myron shut down his Sports Rep company, so his employees  Esperanza and Big Cindy go there own way, and his best friend Win goes into hiding. It really felt like the story was over.

Set only 1 year after the previous book in the series, we find Win still in hiding but on the trail of a kid who went missing 10 years ago and after a disastrous encounter with the kid, Win decides  to call his friend Myron in to help as this case is personal. The kid is one of two who went missing 10 years ago, once of which is Win’s cousins kid, which i guess makes it his second cousin.

After the reunion between these best friends,  Win explains very little to Myron about his time away, however in a change of pace there are a few chapters that are from Wins POV and has him explaining stuff to the reader, something quite different for Harlan. It was through these POV expositions that we find Win was a lot closer to home than we realized. In the intervening year when with the help of his nephew Mickey, Myron final finds his brother long thought dead and in a touching tribute to the strength of their bromance we find Win was close by just in case.

This story was one of Harlan’s best, i loved it! I’m sure part of that love is being reunited with these characters after all this time. So one must wonder if another book was released in this series would i still feel so positive about this book?

While this book does in a sense have closure with the gang back together again, i still feel like there is the potential for another story dealing with Win’s absence and what occurred while he was in hiding and in true Harlan style it could easily be something from his past coming back to grab him, a recurring theme in his books.

A careful reader will also notice the shock revelation about Em’s long elusive father at the wedding.


The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz – Denis Avey

The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz – Denis Avey

We live in a different time now, we have become numb to violence and hatred. We fear speaking out because the left wing nanny state fascists will accuse you of being a racist or intolerant.

This story serves to remind us of a time when people risked death to save another and didn’t give it a second thought, a time when people saw something was wrong and knew something had to be done to let others know what occurred. A far cry from today’s generation who only care for themselves (and their votes at the next election). All life is equal and it is only through the fallacies that are religion, Supremacy ideology and elitism that we seem to forget this. This story is a horrible insight into a difficult and appalling time but one that still offers a glimpse at the enduring human spirit.

What Denis did for a stranger is beyond words, but shows us what we were once made of. This story is even more emotional as not only are we given a glimpse into what occurred but we also follow the journey of Denis as years later, he discovers the consequences as a results from his actions.

A brilliant and emotional read….

Clive Cussler – ghost Ship

Clive Cussler – ghost Ship

This latest adventure from one of my favourite authors is written with another author and i’m never 100% sure on what this means. Does it mean two people sat and discussed plot and brainstormed to get this story or was it one person told the other an outline of a story and plot and the other wrote it. Either way the author takes our heroes Kurt and Joe from Madagascar to North Korea. So it has some interesting locations. The plot starts with Kurt attempting to rescue some people from a sinking yacht, he believes he sees an old flame of his. Yet he is knocked out and the yacht sinks. Soon it becomes clear that his memory of the whole situation is a bit hazy and so he is determined to find out what happened. This takes him into the world of cyber crime

i have mixed feelings about this one, the antagonist is just out to cyber attack banks. Like serious who likes banks damn greedy corporations and the fact that he wants to rob them doesn’t really concern me. Then we later find out about brain implants that cause specific amnesia and i find it hard to hold on to the realism

Don’t get me wrong the action sequencing is great, the relationship and rapport between main characters is great as always buy just this plot was a bit far fetched and fantasy

and this brings me to another point i’m yet to find a good cyber-crime story. I always feel these stories seem to lack a certain level of emotion as the antagonist doesn’t normally meet people but are in an office or compound doing the work from afar

i think this lack of contact with people and interaction really hurts a story. So yeah this probably isn’t one of his best novels in my opinion

Hopefully he redeems himself with the next one but at this point there is no news on him writing another one.

Our Man in Tehran – Robert Wright

Our Man in Tehran – Robert Wright

Awhile ago I saw the movie Argo which was a movie based on the same incident as this book. The hostage take over of the US Embassy in Iran. I thought the movie was pretty awesome, and I had never heard of this book. I had just enjoyed the movie and moved on.

I was at a book sale and came across this book. As soon as i saw what it was about and my mind went straight back to the movie. Hollywood always adds some flair to its movies based on a real story sometimes the word “based” must be used extremely loosely. So I thought I wonder how different real life would be compared to the movie. Had I not even seen the movie Argo I probably still would of bought this book anyway though my knowledge on the subject matter would of been far more limited.

This book starts before the take over and tells the story of the lead up starting back before the shah fled Iran and before the Ayatollah took over. The story takes us through what was happening in Iran at the time and builds a picture of a country divided by religion and opinion on American influence. This picture starts to take on the all too familiar direction these days of some country and its people not liking US involvement in its internal affairs. Why they have too meddle everywhere I don’t know and that’s probably a conversation for another time. Once we get up to the take over of the embassy which comes as quite a surprise. I really see the take over for what it was. A blatant terrorist attack. Disregarding basic diplomacy status and voiding the hostages human rights is down right unacceptable regardless of the lame reasons they come up with. Nothing but the actions of the individual them-self should affect their own human rights, for example. A murderer or child molester should by these acts void their human rights and just be throw in a hole to die. But an innocent individual from a country you have an issue with should not cop your hate or fear. its just misplaced and misguided.

Reading the actions and risks Ken took were quite unbelievable, seeing how the extraction took place and realizing there was only a slight variation for the movie was good. I was glad they could tell his story almost as accurately as possible. While this book shows an all too familiar issue of religious groups causing trouble it does have a positive side which left me feeling more positive about modern civilization. That positive side being that we still today in our modern world have people who are willing to risk everything for complete strangers. i believe that truly encapsulates the human spirit. I may not be an American but i still feel compelled to say thank you Kenneth D. Taylor, for showing us all what it means to be human