Positive Novels

Positive Novels

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Star Wars: Wraith Squadron

I started to read the Star Wars: X-Wing novels when I ran out of ongoing Star Wars novels to read. At that point I believe they we either just wrapping up the New Jedi Order series, or hadn't started it yet (it's been a few years ^_-). Anyway, I wasn't really expecting much from the X-Wing novels, so I was pleasantly surprised to find out how good they were. Michael A. Stackpole does a good job writing them as action/adventure stories, and he vastly expands the character of Wedge Antilles, and a few others. Start with Rogue Squadron at book number one, and read them all, they are all good books.

However, I didn't fall in love with the series until I read Wraith Squadron, the 5th book in the series. Wraith Squadron was written by Aaron Allston, and it turns out, he's funny! At first I was bummed Stackpole wasn't continuing with the series, but after the first few chapers of Wraith Squadron, I was hooked. I have never laughed as hard as I did with Allston's books, as I have with any of the other Star Wars authors to date. The banter between some of the characters is downright hilarious in many cases, and even in dangerous/hostile situations, the "mood" of the book was always flippant and funny, which was a nice change of pace from how serious some of the Star Wars books can be. I heartily recommend the X-Wing books in general, and the ones written by Aaron Allston in specific. Those ones are: Iron Fist, Solo Command, Isard's Revenge, Starfighters of AdumarMercy Kill, which is a recent entry into the series published just this last August in 2012 by Allston. I hope it leads to a new set of books in the series :)

As with all of the Star Wars books, there can be drama and darkness in them. However, Allston's books tend to avoid most of that stuff (one of the reasons I love him), occasionally there will be the threat of something happening, but nothing ever does. You can read his Star Wars books safe in knowing that nothing horrifying happens. Yes, characters can and do die, and that is sad, but that isn't the kind of stuff I am trying to avoid with these reviews. I am just trying to help people avoid the truly dark stuff out there, not PG/PG-13 levels of violence.  Enjoy the books, and let me know how you liked them! :)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Lost Fleet: Dauntless, by Jack Campbell

The Lost Fleet Series, by Jack Campbell is a book series I wish I had discovered a long time ago. The series starts off with Dauntless, which is book one of the Lost Fleet series (which has expanded into spin-off series since I started reading them). It scratches the Star Wars/Star Trek itch fiercely, and leaves you satisfied. Like Star Trek, the series is good at exploring moral dilemmas and showcasing cool science fiction stuff, and it even has some great space battles in it as well.

The series isn't dark at all. It does have some politics and romance drama in it, but mostly it has space opera action and exposition and plenty of it.  If you are a Star Wars/Trek fan looking for a fix and waiting for new material from your series of choice, you should check this series out. It is very similar in tone and flavor to those series, while being different enough to be interesting (lots more "real" science in this series, as opposed to the technobabble features in Trek/Wars).

The book starts off right smack in the middle of an action sequence, and just keeps going from there. Character motivations are transparent and easily understood to influence behaviors. All of the characters are relateable on some level. The villains/antagonists are fairly straight forward, and that's OK with me, I am just looking for some space opera in a book like this, not deep thoughts and poetry.

I am close to finishing the third book in the series right now, Courageous, and I am happy that this series, like Star Trek & Star Wars is free of extreme violence, rapes, torture, etc. Really most of the violence is barely PG level, it is mostly just space warfare which still involves killing, but not visceral killing. The rules of war are discussed openly and often, and that also makes me happy.

I am very happy with this author, and this series, and based on what I have read so far, I heartily recommend it!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Reviews of books that aren't dark and depressing.

I have a tremendous aversion to dark and depressing stuff. I think most people as they get older and see real-life death and devastation and come to understand how very different it is when the long-term effects are forced to be felt (unlike how it is presented in modern "entertainment") are no longer able to view that stuff as "entertainment" any more, whether is comes in the form of books, magazines, movies, TV shows, video games, or the internet -- I tend to avoid it.

This blog is going to contain reviews and discussion of novels which avoid heavy drama, depression, human misery and the like to "entertain" (by that I mean: rape, torture, horror, graphic/extreme violence, etc. not PG-13 violence). I don't like that kind of stuff, and I think that kind of stuff is damaging not just to the human mind, but to the society that revels in it. This blog will make the effort to show people the content out there that isn't trying to make human misery into entertainment. I will also link you to that content whenever it is appropriate. Anything I link to, I recommend.

This blog is going to be about novels set in the Star Trek/Star Wars/Mass Effect universes. It will be about novels written by Jack Campbell (of the Lost Fleet Series), it will be about novels written by the likes of: Michael A. Stackpole, Karen Traviss, L. E. Modesitt, Jr., J.R.R. Martin, Robert Jordan, R.A. Salvatore, Ed Greenwood, Christie Golden, Elaine Cunningham, Patrick Rothfuss, and Piers Anthony. No, not everything every author I've liked in the past will get recommended. And yes, I am well aware of the fact that quite a few authors and series I just named have touched on dark & depressing things, or a section of something they wrote is dark, while the majority isn't. Those works either won't get recommended, or will be recommended with extreme caveats.

I will also cover comics & manga when I can, things like: Penny Arcade, The Oatmeal, Questionable Content, Ranma 1/2, Tenchi Muyo, El Hazard, etc. Anything which has come out in book form, and isn't only on the internet (for now, I may expand that later).

This blog is going to be about stuff that I wish I could find easier to help point me to the next thing I would love to read, in the hopes that it will help someone else find something great to help brighten their day. And, of course, if any of you have any suggestions, let me know, and I will check them out.

Let's get started, shall we? :)