Cool Starship

A little bit of book reviewing.

“Neal Asher was born 1961 in Billericay, Essex, the son of a school teacher and a lecturer in applied mathematics who were also SF aficionados.

Prior to 2000 the Asher had stories accepted by British small press SF and fantasy magazines but post 2000 his writing career took flight. [...] The majority of his novels are set within one future history, known as the Polity universe. The Polity encompasses many classic science fiction tropes including world-ruling artificial intelligences, androids, hive minds and aliens.“ Neal Asher About 

When reading science fiction, you have to learn about civilisations quickly. It's like explaining a joke before you hit the punch line. It's the nature of the beast, especially if you are building your races. In contrast, in fantasy, you can get away with saying someone is a dwarf; most people can build up from there.


I like Warhammer 40k. I like minis. I enjoy painting them. I like watching other people paint minis. And I like the lore of the world. So, as a science fiction fan, I decided to read the books. I asked a community I am part of to recommend some good reads. So here I am, 30 minutes into an eight-hour book, questioning my decision.

I have read military science fiction before, but it went poorly. It was so long ago that it seems unfair of me to review it now. But, safe to say, I've never read a good military sci-fi.


“Peter F. Hamilton was born in Rutland in 1960 and still lives nearby. He began writing in 1987, and sold his first short story to Fear magazine in 1988. He has written many bestselling novels, including the Greg Mandel series, the Night's Dawn trilogy, the Commonwealth Saga, the Void trilogy, short-story collections and several standalone novels including Fallen Dragon and Great North Road.“ Pan Macmillan / Authors / Peter F. Hamilton.

The Commonwealth Saga was my first Science Fiction series. It introduced John Lee to me. It introduced a more realistic future for humanity to me. If you give Hamilton a go, please start with the Commonwealth Saga.


“Iain [Menzies] Banks (16 February 1954 – 9 June 2013) was born in Fife and was educated at Stirling University, where he studied English Literature, Philosophy and Psychology. [...] He is acclaimed as one of the most powerful, innovative and exciting writers of his generation: The Guardian called him “the standard by which the rest of SF is judged” and the New York Times-bestselling William Gibson described Banks as a “phenomenon”.“ Iain Banks dot net / About

Banks was not my first science fiction author. But he is now the one I scream at people as a recommendation. His Culture series changed my life. We always had the books, as my husband is the ultimate science fiction fan. And he was heartbroken when he learned of Iain M. Banks' death in 2013.


I found this book because I'd walk through fire for John Lee, the narrator.

RenegadeShepherd, Joel (Book 1, Spiral Wars)

ISBN-10: 1523981458

After striking out on a few Science-Fiction recommendations which were not Science-Fiction, I wanted to go back to some old faithfuls. Recently, however, I wanted a new adventure, so had a look at John Lee's back catalogue. John Lee is up there for me as one of the best narrators on Audible. I will listen to a book just because he has narrated it.


This is not a space opera, and I need people to stop categorising it as such.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry PlanetChambers, Becky

ISBN-10: 1473619815

As titles and book covers go, it looks like a good read. I picked it up as it was recommended and was the only one on the list I could find for sale in Cork City. I bought it used from Vibes & Scribes. The blurb isn’t promising. It doesn’t give you anything new to enjoy. Essentially you could pick the plot up and plop it into a fantasy setting, and it’d work. This is why I don’t believe this book is Science Fiction but is instead just a book set in space.


Rae likes a book which can double as a yoga block, door stop, or wheel chock for her imaginary Cessna. It's the type of book that, when left on the bedside table, can be used in self-defence.

Rae's ultimate comfort read is The Elenium and Tamuli series by David Eddings. She is heartbroken as the audiobook is narrated horrifically. Her go-to Space Opera will always be The Culture books by Iain M. BanksPeter F. Hamilton's books are grand but needed an editor.

I have gotten into Audiobooks (since 2015, I have racked up four months, 12 days, 2 hours, and 21 minutes of listening time). And my top narrators are Kate Reading, Michael Kramer, John Lee, Peter Kenny, and Ric Jerrom. Most of my new listens are found when searching through those narrators' back catalogues.

When looking for new reads, I avoid Young Adult like the plague and will give self-published a chance- however, I have yet to have much luck there!

Much love from a mountain in Ireland.

#writing #reading