YOU’RE WELCOME. 5 BINGE-READING WORTHY SERIES

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It’s Friday afternoon, management told everyone to talk a halfday because the universe took a sudden liking to you. Traffic is light on the way home, every green light caught; everyone you know is off doing something for the weekend; your calendar is as empty as the pie plates at The Golden Corral; and your bookshelf is proudly displaying wonderful works of fiction in all their glory. Or it’s reality and you’d rather read than talk to people.

Whatever the reason, these book series will keep you so entertained you’ll wish a weekend is a year longer than it is.

 

THE PARADOX TRILOGY

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What do you get when you combine Frank Castle, Black Widow, Jason Bourne, Joan of Arc, and Achilles? Answer: Devi Morris, the badass of all badasses.

The Paradox Trilogy follows the mercenary Devi Morris in a story with such tightly paced action you’ll give yourself papercuts flipping the pages as you follow her through a conspiracy, that if solved, could have horrific consequences for the human race.

This is action upon action set in a science fiction setting. Think: Expendables (if it were a good movie) + Star Wars.

 

THE FIRST LAW TRILOGY

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Welcome to grimdark fantasy, authored by none other than Lord Grimdark himself. Visceral style of storytelling that reimagines classic tropes, protagonists and antagonists who walk a moral gray line, bloody battles, raw animalistic magic, dead gods, a grim rather than romantic epic quest, and political backstabbing create a story that will go down in the annals as one of the finest fantasy series ever written.

At three books—hence, trilogy—if you start late afternoon on a Friday, you could finish Paradox and The First Law, and by saddened by how boring your life suddenly seems on Monday.

 

THE WHEEL OF TIME

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The genre of fantasy is known for epics, so much so that there are entire blog entries dedicated to finding those fantasy books that happen to be standalone or not epic. And when it comes to epic people may automatically think of J.R.R. Tolkien and his Lord of the Rings, but it’s Robert Jordan’s successful The Wheel of Time that set has set the bar for what an epic fantasy series can be.

Wondering how that can be since LoTR is so well known, the movies so popular? Take a gander at these statistics:

10,188 pages. 1,379 POVs. 147 unique POVs. 23 nations.

The Wheel of Time is so epic, it redifines the the very word; and while a few of the books may seem like fluff, there just to make Tor Books and Jordan more money, the payout comes in the form of a jackpot with the last book, Memory of Light. The finale to the greatest epic fantasy ever written is so great, you better talk a month off when you begin on Eye of the World, to finish this classic struggle of good versus evil.

 

REVELATION SPACE

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The Revelation Space books are not a series in the classic definition, but rather five books set in a shared universe. STOP! Don’t skip to the next series to binge on, now that you know this isn’t a series like a TV show. To do so would have catastrophic consequences to your imagination, as the books set in the Revelation Space universe are so amazing that they are the gold standard for hard sci-fi space opera.

What’s that? You don’t like hard sci-fi? I hear you, I’m not a big fan of the genre either. But the Revelation Space books are so marvelously written, to read them and not be entertained is all but an impossibility.

 

FIREFALL

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Ahh the challenge of reading. For many, if they are told a storyline is so original it doesn’t follow normal tropes, and ideas are so…different the entire series reads like a piece of experimental fiction, those many would shake their heads and move on.

To do so with Blindsight and Echopraxia—books of Firefall—would be a disservice to your brain.

Yes, Blindsight has botany terminology that is difficult to wrap your head around and sometimes requires the use of a dictionary. True, Echopraxia has a plot arc that is, at best, challenging to wrap your mind around. However, the writing, plotting, pace, and original story are so wonderfully produced that very few authors alive—or dead—can match the superb results Peter Watts has achieved.

 

 

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That ending hurt my head – Time Salvager by Wesley Chu

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It was 1992, ’93, when I saw what I remember to be my first time travel movie. Marty McFly with his awesome skateboard and cool pre-grunge outfits. Doc Brown, his crazy Albert Einstein hair and eccentric but lovable attitude. The oh so lovely, totally had a school boy crush, Lea Thompson as Lorraine Baines. Back to the Future was, and still is, an amazing movie; one that will be watched and loved for the ages; and while it may not have been the originator of time travel, the movie is my progenitor of a lifelong fascination with time travel.

The sequel I have watched more than the original, maybe. If I haven’t seen it more than the original, it’s a close second. Everything about the second movie is as wonderful as all the exciting, new, and novel things of the original. People still clamor for a real life hoverboard—not the Segway without handlebars sold today—and they still want self-tying shoes, TVs you can roll up and down like window shades, flying cars, holograms, clothes that dry themselves; Back to the Future 2 is just ridiculous for how wonderful it is.

The third Back to the Future came out and I ate it up. I still enjoy watching that movie. The ending is a bit hokey, but overall, enjoyable as a time killer. It lacks everything that made the first two special though, and…and I thought nothing of time travel movies for years and years after finishing up the Back to the Future trilogy. That is, until college.

I still don’t know why I decided to begin philosophizing on time travel paradoxes. I think it has something to do with The Langoliers, a novella by the venerable Stephen King; I’m not sure, or I could just be a glutton for punishment. For whatever reason, I became enamored with the idea of attempting to resolve the numerous, and I do mean numerous, paradoxes involved in time travel.

Quick tip: If you want to drive yourself bat shit crazy, try to come up with a concrete answer to existential questions.

Whenever I attempt to scrape the surface of time travel paradoxes, I am left frustrated because I come up with more questions than answers, which makes Time Salvager a perplexing double-edged sword of a book. On one side, the story is thoroughly satisfying. I honestly cannot think of something it lacked. It is marvelously written. While on the other side of the sword, Wesley Chu has frustrated me something fierce with his ability to write a time travel book that manages to not frustrate me until the very last page.

Now, when I say the very last page, I don’t mean somewhere around page 349 he frustrated me, but since I had so much time vested in the book, I continued reading. No. The damn ending of Time Traveler got me on the VERY LAST PAGE. Here he goes through 378 pages of a time travel book without making me want to tear apart his views on time travel, and on page 379, the very last goddamn paragraph, Wesley Chu goes there. The mother of all time travel paradoxes.

If you travel back in time and do something, is that because that was always supposed to happen? -OR- Is going back into the past to change an event not actually going to change the event, as the event played out in the way it did because you were/are always going to go back in time so the event plays out as it should? — Yeah, try to give a concrete answer on that. Make sure you room has padding on the walls if you do.

We go an entire novel and on the last page, last paragraph, last sentence, the above paradox gets thrown into the mix. You’re a cruel man Wesley, making me think on time travel paradoxes when I didn’t want to; a cruel, wonderful author, because of that last page, a better ending couldn’t happen. Even if you went back in time to change it.

Should you read Time Salvager? Yes, of course. The entire story is wonderful. It’s also a good starting book for a person wanting to know what the all the hub-bub is surrounding sci-fi.

 

 

 

Android Hunters (my book!)

Android Hunter

Android Hunter – Book 1 in The Corli Saga.
Written by (me) Jonathan Bergeron

Eighty one years ago androids broke free of the bonds humans had over them, massacred a planet, and became the most hated beings in all of creation. For the eighty years following, the elite four person teams of Android Intelligence and Removal Specialists (AIRS) have hunted down the androids, showing no mercy.

On Elysian, eighty years after the first android hunters team was sent on the first hunt, AIRS Team 4 is involved in another hunt for one of the androids. Nearing the end of the hunt, with the android trapped, the hunters, themselves, find out what it is like to be trapped.

In a closed down mine two hundred kilometers away, a unique android, Corli, is captured by a group led by a disgraced android hunter, and imprisoned with no knowledge of why they want her.

The tables turned, AIRS Team 4 is trapped and hunted by an android changed at the molecular level by a cybernetic alien race bent on destroying humanity. Attempting to find a way off of Elysian and to their warship that is being changed by the same cybernetic race, the android hunters learn what it is like being on the other end of the gun.

Deep in the closed down mine Corli, an android raised by one of her creators to be as peaceful as the saints, in order for what she is to be hidden even to her, is beaten and abused in hopes of breaking down the mental blocks that prevent her from knowing her true potential. Those hopes are realized, but in a way unexpected by those who captured her.

As Corli’s mental blocks crumble and her true nature is slowly revealed. With time running short and patience wearing thin, the android hunters and the most powerful weapon ever devised, learn what it is to fear. Fear that of which they have become and that of which they will become.

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Out soon, soon, SOON! I will definitely update once I learn the concrete release date.

Newton’s Wake

Well holy shit, I was not expecting this. I had never heard of Ken MacLeod before finding out about Newton’s Wake on io9. For years I kept myself to a small group of authors, only occasionally branching out, and then quickly running back to my cave when those works people love (i.e. Dune) couldn’t hold my interest no matter how hard I tried to read them.

This year has been different, I’ve been trying to read as many different authors as I can. Lots of them have been terrible in my opinion; which is why I don’t have 30 ‘what I think about the book posts’. I see no reason to slam a fellow author’s work…So I’ve been reading a lot of different authors and loving it.

I’m glad I’ve been branching out because Newton’s Wake is phenomenal. Everything about it is great. The casual story telling, Carlyle’s who talk like the sophisticated gangsters they are, the giant ideas. Shit, Lucinda even feels like a 25 year old. At first I couldn’t place why she didn’t seem all that grownup, at times showing lack of maturity, and then he mentions her age and the writing instantly became even better. Good job Ken, it’s no small feat making characters that each feel the age they are across a range of ages; instead of the characters feeling the same age even though they’re not.

And I’m really digging these books that don’t go out of their way to explain things in long paragraphs, rather everything just comes together by the end.

I’m definitely looking forward to reading more of Ken’s books.