I was at Borders a few nights ago and I picked up 'Warhammer 40,000: The Killing Ground', 'The Art of Clint Langley: Dark Visions from the grim Worlds of Warhammer', 'The Army of Flanders and the Spanish Road: 1567-1659' by Geoffrey Parker, 'Forgotten Wars: The End of Britain's Asian Empire' by Christopher Bayly and Tim Harper and 'The grand Strategy of Philip II' by Geoffrey Parker.

I finished 'The Lover' by Marguerite Duras a few days back. I have just started on 'Battles of the Thirty Years War: From White Mountain to Nordlingen 1618-1635'. I am also in the midst of a few other books including 'God is not great: How religion poisons the world' by Christopher Hitchens.

What you are guys reading?

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I'm currently reading Joan Crawford: Hollywood Martyr, by David Bret. A little trashy, but fun anyway.
Just finished Fighting by Minutes by Robert R. Leonhard. Very thought provoking and enjoyable read. Currently reading his The Principles of War for the Information Age. IIRC the author is a member of CSW, I had read his Art of Maneuver a few years back.
What am I reading? concurrently Doug Feith's book, 1948, Duel of Eagles, and Reevaluating Major NaAval Combatants of World War II....
Alot of "1948" going around. I am reading it as well (since I did a game on the topic, I though I should). Also reading Kevin Zucker's strategic study #2 on the fall of 1806 and "An army at War" (I know I'm late on reading this). I am perusing a 1998 book called the "Death of Yugoslavia" and for lighter reading finishing off R.A. Salvatore's Icewind Dale trilogy.

Reading "Red Victory" and "White Generals" from time to time on the Russian Civil War for a game project as well.
1948 is being read due to someone's new game on that subject along with several others on that topic that are home on the dining room table!
I finished reading 'The Martian General's Daughter' by Theodore Judson yesterday.

The basic premise of this science fantasy novel is one of a decaying and decadent empire in the future and the plot was essentially that of a parallel of the reigns of wise Marcus Aurelius, his murderous son, Commodus and the subsequent amoral pretenders to the throne. The wanton murders, the emperor's gladiatorial fights and the resultant succession war afterwards, culminating in the deaths and misery of millions are disturbing and have made for a read that is slightly reminiscent of misery depicted in the fatalistic caste-based culture in Paul Park's masterly trilogy 'The Starbridge Chronicles'.*

I have read Judson's previous work 'Fitzpatrick's War' and I have been impressed by the world-building, the quality of the narrative and the plot which has echoed Alexander the Great's reign.

With regards to the plot of both works, it will not be surprising if one views 'The Martian General's Daughter' and 'Fritzpatrick's War' as cautionary tales of empire-building and also an indictment of Pax Americana but my impressions are that these are more of a straight re-telling of facets of Greek and Roman history that have been transposed to a futuristic setting.

On another point, what I have liked about this work is that it is a nice 230+ pages in length which is a relief given the bloat that one finds in today's science fiction and fantasy works. 800-page tomes like each volume of that dreadful, neverending George R. R. Martin fantasy series 'A Song of Ice and Fire' anyone? The brevity and writing of Judson's work have effectively conveyed the drama and ideas without the overwriting one commonly sees in the two genres of SF and fantasy. Perhaps, Judson has a good editor, I don't know. A final note on 'The Martian General's Daughter', strangely enough, the novel is marred by a few lines of unnecessary Christian propaganda near the end. I wonder why.**

I am also reading 'The Last Colony' by John Scalzi. I guess this is the 'completist' side of me taking over. I should really avoid doing that. This will definitely be my last Scalzi novel.*** The last two which I read 'Ghosts Brigade' and 'The Android's Dream' were, I feel, already veering on the side of the writer's self-indulgence. My impression is that the 'Old Man's War' series appear to have degenerated into a jokey, self-referential family drama, not unlike those continuing fantasy novels by Terry Brooks, Raymond Feist, with descendents of the original protagonists going on adventures and so forth. This is my final Scalzi novel as continuing family dramas, not unlike that of soap operas, are tiresome. Yes, it's a space opera without the rayguns.

I read Scalzi's 'Old Man's War' last year which has a tone that harkens back to the gee-whiz attitudes in the old Heinlein classic 'Starship Troopers' and also his SF novels written for kids. That was refreshing in a sense.

I am also continuing with the humourous 'The Man Who Ate Everything' by food critic Jeffrey Steingarten. I started this some months back after reading 'The Omnivore's Dilemma' but was distracted.

I have read bits and pieces of 'Makers of Modern Strategy from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age' by Peter Paret, Gordon A. Craig, and Felix Gilbert over the years. Wei Yi had recommended the compilation over a decade ago but I haven't the time and energy then. I have decided to finally finish this volume before embarking on others which I will expand on in a future date.

On a curious note, Condoleezza Rice contributed an essay, 'The Making of Soviet Strategy' in this 1986 volume.

Lastly, I am in the midst of 'God: The Failed Hypothesis. How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist' by Victor J. Stenger after finishing that well-written and well-argued Hitchens' volume 'God is not great: How religion poisons Everything'.

* The Starbridge Chronicles consists of 'Soldiers of Paradise', 'Sugar Rain' and 'The Cults of Loving Mad
I read Old Man's War o nthe way to Astan in late 2006 and it was a refreshingly good read. I am getting ready to read Kapek's "War of the Newts", one of the great unknown sci-fi classics. Readthe Swarm earlier this year - way too green and way too anit-people.
Yes, you are right, 'Old Man's War' was refreshing.

I remember reading 'War with the Newts' almost twenty years ago on the Unwin/Unicorn imprint. I am surprised you were able to procure a copy of that. Has this 1936 classic come back into print?
My copy dates back to the mid-seventies. I never get rid of anything!

You got me curious, and I checked out Amazon. War With the Newts IS back in print, it turns out: War With the Newts (European Classics) - Paperback Edition.
I'm at page 106 of 'The Last Colony', the third book in the 'Old Man's War' sequence. I don't know, I think it is getting tired. There's going to be a fourth book. There is already one associated book that is a collection of diary entries from one of the main protagonists.

Oh, my post got cut off earlier. The rest of it.

* The Starbridge Chronicles consists of 'Soldiers of Paradise', 'Sugar Rain' and 'The Cult of Loving Madness'.
** Two other writers that I have read have shoehorned Christianity into their fantasy works. David Gemmell and Simon Green had made mention of Christianity in their fictional fantasy worlds that had appeared to have almost no connection with our timeline. Odd means of sermonising.
*** There is yet another one, 'Zoe's Tale' in that series. 'The Sagan Diary' is also another perspective. No, I will not be reading them. Enough.
War of the Newts - no the wife unit got it off Amazon for me. I read it for the first time in the spring of 1976.
What is 'The Swarm'? In your opinion, is it worth reading?


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