This Memorial Day weekend, you might have time to stretch out with a good book, in between the grilling and the beers. There are a lot more military personnel (current as well as former) creating genre fiction than you might imagine. Supporting one or two of them by picking up an awesome read would accomplish multiple acts of awesome with just a few mouse clicks. Here’s a short list, just to start you off. If I left out your favorite veteran/author, add him or her in the comments box. I’m certain to miss one or two. If your wallet’s a little light after buying all that beer and meat, follow a few of these folks on Twitter or Facebook, or subscribe to their blogs!
Of course, this being my site, I’m going to lead off by pimping my dark superhero anthology, CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY? (which opens with Tim Marquitz’ tale of a superhuman weapon in the War on Terror followed by an excellent story by Weston Ochse) but, if you already have that or superheroes aren’t your thing, you can pick up a copy of FOUR IN THE MORNING today, in advance of the official release date of 1 June.
Former Navy man Brian Keene has something for everyone–the holiday is certainly a good excuse to pick up something from him. I recently reviewedTHE CAGE and recommend it if you’re in the market for a quicker read.
Army vet Weston Ochse’s BLOOD OCEAN is available for a measly five bucks on Kindle. I have this one on my stack and will be cracking into it soon.
I haven’t read Army Reserve officer Myke Cole’s CONTROL POINT yet, but it looks interesting and has a lot of good reviews.
Weston’s a great guy, a retired Soldier, a killer author, a CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY? contributor and, most importantly, a friend and mentor I trust to tell me when my head’s up my ass. I got my hands on a review copy of his novel EMPIRE OF SALT well before I met him, and since then, I’ve still yet to read a bad Weston Ochse story. You can read my review of EMPIRE OF SALT here. You can read my review of MULTIPLEX FANDANGO (one of my 2011 recommendations) here. And you can read information on his latest novel, BLOOD OCEAN, below. Click on the break to view more bookstore links than any twenty people will ever need in their lives.
BLOOD OCEAN Released on 16th February in the UK and 14th February in US & Canada
£7.99 (UK) ISBN 978-1-907992-87-2 $9.99 (US & CAN) ISBN 978-1-907992-87-2 Will also be available as an ebook
In a world reduced to ruin by all-consuming plague, one young boy embarks on a mission of revenge after one of his friends is found dead … harvested for his blood!
Kavika Kamalani is a Pali Boy on Nomi No Toshi, the floating city. The post-plague heir to an ancient Hawai’ian warrior tradition that believes in overcoming death by embracing one’s fears and living large, Kavika’s life is turned upside down when one of his friends dies – and he sets out to find the killer.
When he is kidnapped and subjected to a terrifying transformation, Kavika must embrace the ultimate fear – death itself. It is the only way if he, his loved ones, and the Pali Boys are to survive.
This stand-alone title is the latest pulse-pounding story of post-apocalyptic survival in The Afterblight Chronicles series from Weston Ochse – a writer who pulls no punches.
“Weston Ochse is an artist whose craft, stories and voice are so distinct and mesmerising that you can’t help but be enthralled.” – Dani Kollin, Prometheus Award-winning author of The Unincorporated Man
About the Series
The Afterblight Chronicles is a post-apocalyptic series in which a devastating epidemic has ravaged the world. In the Afterblight, pockets of humans attempt to continue civilization amidst the mounting chaos of the collapsed infrastructure . Mobs run rampant while cults and warlords fight for authority over the survivors of the global plague.
One of the three series with which Abaddon Books launched in 2006, The Afterblight Chronicles is a collection of stand-alone novels that has showcased the talents of a number of brilliant, up-and-coming authors, including Scott Andrews, Paul Kane, Jasper Bark and Rebecca Levene. Blood Ocean is the eleventh Afterblight Chronicles title.
About the Author
Weston Ochse is the Bram Stoker award-winning author of various short stories and novels, including the critically-acclaimed Scarecrow Gods and Tomes of the Dead novel, Empire of Salt
He is much in demand as a speaker at genre conventions and has been chosen as guest of honour on numerous occasions. Weston lives in Southern Arizona with his wife Yvonne and their menagerie of animals.
Here are my top books of 2011, with a couple of bonus mentions at the end. It’s a shorter list than my usual Top Five, but that’s because much of my reading this year was published prior to 2011, and the list only covers books published this year. If you’d care to read previous years’ lists, you may do so here. The books aren’t listed in any particular ranking, except for the Squee.
SQUEE OF THE YEAR: Livia Llewellyn’s ENGINES OF DESIRE. A provocative, arousing and diverse collection of speculative fiction. Hell, I even loved the cover. I’ll definitely be re-reading this one, and I almost never have time to re-read these days. This is Livia’s debut book, and I can’t wait to read more from her. You can read my full review here, and buy the book here.
THE REST OF THE BEST:
1. Weston Ochse’s MULTIPLEX FANDANGO. Even if Weston wasn’t a career Soldier who started his writing career while in the Army (sound familiar?) and one Hell of a guy, this book would be on my list. But he is, so instead of just telling you to buy one copy, I’ll recommend you grab two. It’d be worth picking up a copy for a friend, anyhow, especially if you or your friend haven’t read Weston before. MULTIPLEX serves well as an introduction to a talented and extremely hard-working author at the top of his game and as a damn-near epic, and career-spanning, collection of his short fiction. You can read my full review here and buy the book here.
2. Kelli Owen’s WAITING OUT WINTER. This is a limited-edition chapbook, so copies might be hard to come by, but this is a fun read you should snap up if you get the chance, and a story I’d expect to see in a collection of Kelli’s short fiction. It’s an apocalyptic story without zombies, as impossible as that may sound these days, and more importantly, it’s a human story, with a fun and ironic twist at the end. You can read my full review here, and if you have a Nook, you can pick up a digital copy.
3. Stephen King’s 11/22/63. King, even at the top of his game, has a habit of being a bit long-winded. His last novel, UNDER THE DOME, was a thousand-page brick and also, in my opinion, disappointing as Hell. I really wanted to like this epic-length story of a guy going back in time to stop the Kennedy assassination–and I did. Alot. As much as an unnecessarily padded book can aggravate me, nothing satisfies me like a long book done well, that I can lose myself in for a big chunk of time. This book did that, admirably well. King didn’t beat the mechanics of time travel to death, which I greatly appreciate, and Jake’s relationship with Sadie is at least as poignant, and somewhat reminiscent of, BAG OF BONES, another favorite King of mine. The bonus visit to Derry during the first quarter of the book is the cherry on top.
HONORABLE MENTION: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES by Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz and Dan Duncan. This isn’t a one-book sort of deal, where I can just throw up one pile of stapled-together pictures and words and call it good; it’s an ongoing comic series, hence the special mention. I’ve been a Turtles fan since forever, grew up watching the cartoon and have read the bulk of the original Mirage and later Archie comics turtles series’. I was stoked beyond words when I heard IDW was going to be doing the Turtles; even moreso when I learned that original creator, Kevin Eastman, was going to be on board. I’ve read the first three issues and I’m loving it. The first trade, which I’d imagine will collect the first four-issue arc, will be on sale in February, but I’m sure you can track down the individual issues at your local comic shop. Any concerns about the comic being cartoony, or for kids, or that the writers will just be rehashing what’s already been done..? Lay them aside. Already, we’ve had an entirely different Turtles origin and not a Shredder in sight, though even I’d be disappointed if we didn’t see the ol’ Shred-head eventually.