This week on my weekly ‘things I read before blogging’ post, I’m taking a look back at some of the science fiction reads. Strangely, as it might seem for a blog that lists Science fiction as one of the big three that it likes to read (Fantasy and Horror being the other two), I didn’t actually read a great deal of Science Fiction (well, that wasn’t set in the warhammer 40k universe anyway. So expect a few posts in the future revolving around warhammer and wahammer 40k).
So this post will not be as expansive as the others. And, as you’ll no doubt pick up, it features a heavy video game theme. Three of the four listed are part of video game franchises.
Fear The Sky by Stephen Moss:
In eleven years time, a million members of an alien race will arrive at Earth. Years before they enter orbit, their approach will be announced by the flare of a thousand flames in the sky, their ships’ huge engines burning hard to slow them from the vast speeds needed to cross interstellar space.
These foreboding lights will shine in our night sky like new stars, getting ever brighter until they outshine even the sun, casting ominous shadows and banishing the night until they suddenly blink out.
Their technology is vastly superior to ours, and they know they cannot possibly lose the coming conflict. But they, like us, have found no answer to the destructive force of the atom, and they have no intention of facing the onslaught of our primitive nuclear arsenal, or the devastation it would wreak on the planet they crave.
So they have flung out an advanced party in front of them, hidden within one of the countless asteroids randomly roaming the void.
They do not want us, they want our planet. Their Agents are arriving.
This is the start of a wonderful space invasion trilogy. It’s not all doom and gloom with huge space ships and vast armadas coming to destroy Earth. It’s a much more covert kind of invasion. The aliens in question, send several covert operatives disguised as human beings to infiltrate the world and lay the ground work for their arrival.
This is a very fun, very different take on the invasion trope. I loved this trilogy when listening to the audio books a few years back. Even if the third one does get a bit … strange. For the most part it’s pretty damn good and the narrator is the god of science fiction narration: R.C Bray.
Halo: The Flood by William C. Dietz:
2552. Having barely escaped the final battle for Reach against the vast alien alliance known as the Covenant, the crew of the Pillar of Autumn, including Spartan John-117—the Master Chief—and his AI companion Cortana, is forced to make a desperate escape into slipspace. But their destination brings them to an ancient mystery and an even greater struggle. In this far-flung corner of the universe floats a magnificently massive, artificial ringworld. The crew’s only hope of survival is to crash-land on its surface and take the battle opposing the Covenant to the ground.
But they soon discover that this enigmatic ringworld is much more than it seems. Built one hundred thousand years ago by a long-lost civilization known as the Forerunners, this “Halo” is worshipped by the Covenant—a sacred artifact they hope will complete their religious quest for supposed transcendence, and they will stop at nothing to control it. Engaging in fierce combat, Master Chief and Cortana will go deep into the Halo construct and uncover its dark secret and true purpose—even as a monstrous and far more vicious enemy than the Covenant emerges to threaten all sentient life on Halo and the galaxy beyond…
This is the official novelisation of the hit video game ‘Halo: Combat Evolved’. The video game that pretty much put the Xbox on the map and, my all-time favourite first person shooter (Not that that’s saying much as I pretty much stopped playing that genre of game after this one … much more of an RPG kind of guy these days). Given my absolute never-ending love of the game, I was shocked beyond all belief that I enjoyed this book far more than the game. You get point of view chapters from the aliens in this rather than just from humans gunning them down like you do in the game. Because of that, I found myself getting quite attached to them. Especially one grunt in particular. Yayap will always be the coolest character. Ever. I want the little guy as a pet. If only he didn’t rely heavily on a methane atmosphere and have the powerful urge to kill humans. other than that, he’d be pretty cute.
Halo: The Fall of Reach by Eric Nylund:
The twenty-sixth century. Humanity has expanded beyond Earth’s system to hundreds of planets that colonists now call home. But the United Earth Government and the United Nations Space Command is struggling to control this vast empire. After exhausting all strategies to keep seething colonial insurrections from exploding into a full-blown interplanetary civil war, the UNSC has one last hope. At the Office of Naval Intelligence, Dr. Catherine Halsey has been hard at work on a top-secret program that could bring an end to the conflict…and it starts with seventy-five children, among them a six-year-old boy named John. And Halsey could never guess that this child will eventually become the final hope against an even greater peril engulfing the galaxy—the inexorable confrontation with a theocratic military alliance of alien races known as the Covenant.
This is the electrifying origin story of Spartan John-117—the Master Chief—and of his legendary, unstoppable heroism in leading the resistance against humanity’s possible extinction.
This novel is the prequel to the video game (and the above listed novel ‘The Flood’). It is also, as the blurb states, the origin story of the most blandly named, yet ultimate killing machine: Spartan John 117.
In the Fall of Reach we learn about how the Spartan project got underway and just how the Spartan warriors were created. It adds so much depth to the lore of the series (both book and game) and gives you all the information you were teased with in the games. An absolutely wonderful book from what I remember and I look forward to re-reading the series some day.
Bioshock: Rapture by John Shirley:
It was the end of World War II. FDR s New Deal had redefined American politics. Taxes were at an all-time high. The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had created a fear of total annihilation. The rise of secret government agencies and sanctions on business had many watching their backs. America’s sense of freedom was diminishing…and many were desperate to take that freedom back. Among them was a great dreamer, an immigrant who pulled himself from the depths of poverty to become one of the wealthiest and most admired men in the world. That man was Andrew Ryan, and he believed that great men and women deserved better. So he set out to create the impossible, a utopia free from government, from censorship, and from moral restrictions on science, where what you gave is what you got. He created Rapture the shining city below the sea. But this utopia suffered a great tragedy. This is the story of how it all came to be…and how it all ended
Another video game offering. The hit science fiction game ‘Bioshock’ told the tale of a magnificent city built under the ocean, far from the reaches of the greedy governments. ‘No Gods or Kings’ was the motto for Rapture. A motto that preached equality. Yes, it told of this wonderful city, but by the time the events in the game were taking place, this city had already come to complete ruin. This book tells of the origins, and the demise, of Rapture.
This is another one that I really need to read again. I have forgotten how much I enjoyed some of the books from my past. This series of posts is really giving me the re-read urge.