Best Reads of 2010

Posted: January 4, 2011 in Reviews

I haven’t put too many book reviews up lately, so for those who care here are a few book suggestions, primarily fiction and primarily science fiction, ‘cause that’s what I do.

1.  Robert Sawyer’s Wake and Watch were probably the two best reads that I came across this year.  I got to the former a little late, but the latter was published this year.  These two books follow a teenage girl’s discovery of an emerging AI on the Internet.  Sawyer’s writing is always packed with hard science due to his own background.  These books also seem to have been a place for Sawyer to slip in a lot of interesting anecdotes and bits of information that he must have been sitting on for some time.  This makes for an humorous read in some cases.  Fortunately there is another volume in this series on the way, Wonder.

2.  Another author that I discovered this year in the hard SciFi realm was John Scalzi.  I first found Scalzi through his non-fiction book, Your Hate Mail Will be Graded, which is a collection of entries from his blog, “Whatever”.  The Blog has since become a daily favourite and in many instances an inspiration for my own Blog.  The Old Man’s War series, which currently has four volumes, has been a refreshing read.  I’ve read the first two, Old Man’s War and The Ghost Brigades, and found them to be superbly written in the style of Robert Heinlein, full of intelligent ideas and mature excitement.  Looking forward to the last two.

3.  Two series that have published new works this year are Brian Herbert’s additions to the Dune series and Stirling’s additions to The Change series.  The Winds Of Dune fills in some of the stories from just before and after the primary Dune book.  As such, it would be of limited interest to anyone who was not immersed in the Dune series, but, like an old friend’s visit, it is still a welcome addition to the saga.  The High King of Montival is the latest contribution by Stirling to the story of The Change, and Rudy’s almost painfully slow progress on his pilgrimage.  I find that reading Stirling always involves a fair bit of gleaning through is Dickenesque writing.  To my mind he just goes way overboard on description, but some people may like that sort of thing.  The story, though, is very engaging, and Stirling will continue to have my attention, even though he plans to use another two opus works to finish the story.

4.  One of the most unique books I came across this year, already reviewed once earlier in this Blog, was The Child Thief by Bram.  This is a dark, violent twist on Peter Pan.  This original reboot depicts Peter Pan as obsessed with the war against evil in Neverland, willing to kidnap children from the real world to fight in his battle.  Surprisingly well written, almost poetic in places.

5. Finally, about a month ago I put up a notice that Graham Hancock had written a fiction book called Entangled.  I did end up reading it and have to say that I found it mediocre at best.  Throughout, I was torn between abandoning it and finishing, finally opting for the latter.  I was disappointed because Hancock is just so jammed full of interesting ideas and information in his non-fiction work.  I was afraid that his fictions might have too much of this in it, like Colin Wilson’s fiction, but instead there was very little that was mind boggling or even mildly intellectually engaging.  The story was passable, but stopped short of a real conclusion because there is a sequel.  It’ll have to be a dry spell in good books indeed before I rush out and buy that sequel.


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