Alex's Bookshelf

These are some of the books I have on my bookshelf.

Science Fiction

Science fiction books

The Quantum Connection

Steven Montana, computer whiz and hacker extraordinaire, was attending college in Ohio when his world fell apart. A swarm of huge meteors fell all over the world, on Europe, on the United States, and in particular on Steven's home town in California. In an instant, his family and all his friends were gone. Suffering fits of deep depression, he dropped out of college and ended up working as a repairman in a video games store, where he did an brilliant job of repairing a 30-year-old video game. That caught the attention of the game's owner in, who happened to be in a position to get Steven a government job, cracking computer codes, and reverse engineering unusual hardware. When he was given a tiny piece of hardware to examine as a "test," he worked out its functions so well that he and his boss were called to Washington for a top secret meeting. They asked him countless questions, yet declined to answer his; but he would soon learn all the answers. The "meteor" onslaught that had orphaned him had actually been a brief and still secret war between the U.S and its enemies (as told in Warp Speed) using a new warp drive technology that was more secret than top secret. Another secret was that U.S. had been sending faster-than-light ships to other star systems. Most secret of all was that unfriendly aliens were observing the Earth, and while U.S. spaceships were not quite in a war with the unknown aliens, they were shooting at the intruders. Whether any of these answers would do Steven any good was an open question because he learned them only after his was abducted by those very same aliens and was held prisoner on one of their ships orbiting Saturn. At first, he was one of three human prisoners, but he had just seen the aliens completely dissect one of the three, and it looked like either Steven, or the Russian girl who was his fellow prisoner, were scheduled to be the next alien lab experiment. . . .

Trading in Danger

Kylara Vatta is the only daughter in a family full of sons, and her father’s only child to buck tradition by choosing a military career instead of joining the family business. For Ky, it’s no contest: Even running the prestigious Vatta Transport Ltd. shipping concern can’t hold a candle to shipping out as an officer aboard an interstellar cruiser. It’s adventure, not commerce, that stirs her soul. And despite her family’s misgivings, there can be no doubt that a Vatta in the service will prove a valuable asset. But with a single error in judgment, it all comes crumbling down.

Expelled from the Academy in disgrace–and returning home to her humiliated family, a storm of high-profile media coverage, and the gaping void of her own future–Ky is ready to face the inevitable onslaught of anger, disappointment, even pity. But soon after opportunity’s door slams shut, Ky finds herself with a ticket to ride– and a shot at redemption–as captain of a Vatta Transport ship.

It’s a simple assignment: escorting one of the Vatta fleet’s oldest ships on its final voyage . . . to the scrapyard. But keeping it simple has never been Ky’s style. And even though her father has provided a crew of seasoned veterans to baby-sit the fledgling captain on her maiden milk run, they can’t stop Ky from turning the routine mission into a risky venture–in the name of turning a profit for Vatta Transport, of course.

By snapping up a lucrative delivery contract defaulted on by a rival company, and using part of the proceeds to upgrade her condemned vehicle, Ky aims to prove she’s got more going for her than just her family’s famous name. But business will soon have to take a backseat to bravery, when Ky’s change of plans sails her and the crew straight into the middle of a colonial war. For all her commercial savvy, it’s her military training and born-soldier’s instincts that Ky will need to call on in the face of deadly combat, dangerous mercenaries, and violent mutiny. . . .

Warp Speed

Dr. Neal Anson Clemons, brilliant physicist and martial arts expert, was born at the very moment that men first landed on the moon, and his dream had always been to find a way to travel to the stars. And now he and his team have achieved a breakthrough, both in building a warp drive, and finding a new energy source powerful enough to make the drive more than an interesting theoretical concept. With the help of a beautiful Air Force Major and astronaut, Tabitha Ames, the US Government has funded the project, including assembly in orbit of the first faster-than-light probe. Unfortunately, forces working behind the scenes have much darker dreams, and they do not hesitate to blow up a space shuttle, attempt to kill Neal and Tabitha, and use the stolen warp technology to start what they expect to be a short victorious war with the United States. But Neal has ideas for using warp drive completely unsuspected by America's enemies, and repelling the all-out attack is only the beginning of a titanic struggle to reach the stars.

Kildar (Ghost series)

Problems, problems, problems! All Mike Harmon ever wanted to be was a SEAL. But after problems in the teams, college student was a decent second best. However, trouble seemed to follow him where he went. Now, after having angered every terrorist on Earth and at least five governments, buying a farm in a third world country was looking pretty good. Of course, nothing was ever simple. With Chechen terrorists knocking on the door and tenant farmers with a truly Byzantine culture, the question was whether he could drag the keldara into the 21st century before the Chechen put them back in the 6th. Kildar answers the question: Where would an international security specialist and former SEAL choose to retire-if he's going to buy the farm, it should be one with beautiful women and the best beer in the world. Valhalla on Earth complete with Vikings.
The second book in John Ringo's "Paladin of Shadows (Ghost)" series, which follows the exploits of former Navy SEAL Mike Harmon. This book isn't quite the same as the first, Ghost, -- there's not nearly as much boots-to-the-ground ass-kickery in this one, as Ringo's obviously laying the groundwork for the rest of the series. However, despite the lack of action, it's still an interesting enough read to keep you interested. I'm eagerly looking forward to the third book, Choosers of the Slain. (According to the author, the fourth book (Unto the Breach) is already finished, but don't expect to see it on the shelves for at least six months)

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

I recently finished reading this book, reading it for the first time. Quite an interesting and thought-provoking book, if you can get past the fact that it's written almost entirely in slang.

The Speed of Dark

Corporate life in early 21st-century America is even more ruthless than it was at the turn of the millennium. Lou Arrendale, well compensated for his remarkable pattern-recognition skills, enjoys his job and expects never to lose it. But he has a new boss, a man who thinks Lou and the others in his building are a liability. Lou and his coworkers are autistic. And the new boss is going to fire Lou and all his coworkers--unless they agree to undergo an experimental new procedure to "cure" them. This book is told mostly through the eyes of the main character, Lou. It was very well done. It's no wonder this book won a Nebula.

Non-fiction

Non fiction books.

Planetary Defense

An interesting foray into the what-ifs and why-fors of preparing for an extra-planetary attack of some sort or another. This book not only delves into the hows and whys of a "classic" alien invasion (as seen in science fiction), but non-standard approaches that should be accounted for. For example, the book also deals with: preparing for collisions with Near Earth Objects; preparations for civil defense, in the case of natural disaster; dealing with a resource depletion scenario of our own devising by reaching out to the stars. I recommend this book to: * Science fiction authors * Civil defense planners (not only federal, but state and local) * Military history afficionados * Wargamers * & anyone else involved in strategic or tactical planning that I might have left out.