This is a list of books I've read in 2006:

  1. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

    A fun romp, well-written as expected from Gaiman.

  2. The Ringworld Engineers by Larry Niven

    Re-visits the Ringworld, giving Niven a chance to look into some of the nuts and bolts of how the place works. An interesting story to boot.

  3. Storm Watch: Force of Nature by Warren Ellis et al.

    Ellis in hyper-activist mode I think. Good stories, well-written.

  4. Asmov's, September 2005

    Another good collection of short stories.

  5. Echoes of Earth by Sean Williams, Shane Dix

    Poorly-paced but otherwise pretty good story about human evolution. Just stick with the book for the first two thirds - something does happen.

  6. The Integral Trees by Larry Niven

    Looks into what life would be like inside a smoke ring - a planet and its atmosphere stretched out in an orbit like an asteroid field. Some really cool ideas and a great story to boot.

  7. So Yesterday by Scott Westerfield

    Cool doesn't just happen. This story is a great ride with some really fun ideas, but also amazing research and attention to detail by Westerfield.

  8. King Rat by China Mieville

    Quite a good book taking an old fairy tale, extending it and transplanting it into modern London. Quite successfully, I might add, and in Mieville's fairly unique style (significantly more gore than a similar tale by Gaiman, for example). Some parts read a little like a tourist guide, and felt like padding. These were sparse though, and didn't really detract from overall enjoyment of the book.

  9. Uglies by Scott Westerfield

    Pretty good story of a future society in which everyone is made pretty at the turn of their 16th birthday through extensive cosmetic surgery. Everyone is pretty, so everyone is happy. Only some people don't think this is a good idea, and stay ugly. There's a few holes but otherwise is a good read.

  10. Alias "The Underneath" by Brian Michael Bendis et al.

    Continuing the story of Jessica Jones, ex-superhero and now P.I. who unravels, and becomes part of the mystery or Mattie Franklin, the new Spider Woman (well, Girl). In the course of the investigation, we see glimpses into more of Jessica's past, and the book ends with the teaser "the secret origins of Jessica Jones." I'm ready!

  11. Y: The Last Man "One Small Step" by Brian K. Vaughan et al.

    So it turns out that Yorick might not be the last man after all. Another great story, though I'm not really getting the sense that we're going anywhere.

  12. Why Video Games Are Good For Your Soul by James Paul Gee

    Written in a semi-academic style, this book still manages to be a pretty good read. For the experienced gamer like myself it was a little repetetive, but had some interesting insights. I now understand a little better the attraction video games have for me.

  13. Battle Angel Alita #4

    These are great books :)

  14. A Fire Upon The Deep by Vernor Vinge

    Science fiction that's huge in scope and yet doesn't overwhelm. So many cool ideas in there - pack minds, thousands of galactic civilisations, technologies, the slowness, ...

  15. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

    Quite easy to read but at the same time it's occasionally tough-going as it really pulls you into the world of an autistic child. The story itself is quite good and was hard to put down (I finished it in two sittings.)

  16. Looking for Jake (and other stories) by China Mieville

    A collection of strange stories (exactly what I expect from Mieville). I quite liked some of them, but at least one was simply too vague to be able to follow. I could see at least one (The Tain) being made into a Hollywood action-horror movie - except the ending, which would have to change.

  17. Transmetropolitan volume 9

    A much darker Spider. Winding up to something big.

  18. Sandman volume 9

    The longest story arc in the Sandman series - and one that has been building up since the very start of the series. Brilliantly told.

  19. Daikaiju

    A great collection of stories about Daikaiju - giant monsters. There was quite a mix of stories in various styles. It was a little odd to see some of the stories set in Australian cities.

  20. Dark Knight Returns volume 1

    This was a welcome Birthday present. I was a big fan of the Tim Burton Batman films - the darkness of the films really suited the Batman character. The Dark Knight comics have the same darkness about them - not the wacky, zany Batman people know from the TV series or the 3rd and 4th (utterly forgettable) Batman movies. If you liked the latest Batman movie (Batman Begins) then you'd like this comic.

  21. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

    Ugh. In the spirit of "you can't bash it if you've not read it" I've now read it. And I feel quite justified in saying it's really not very good. As a murder mystery goes it's poorly constructed. As an action novel the pacing is all over the place. I got tired of the author reminding me of events that had only happened a few pages previously. The character solutions to puzzles were often pulled out of thin air. And when you did guess how the book was going to end right around the middle, the author had one of the characters say "no, that can't be how it all ends". Ugh.

  22. Alias volume 3

    Ah, the secret past of Jessica Jones.

  23. Fantasy & Science Fiction, June 2006 (short story periodical)

    Not as impressed with the stories in here as I am with Asimov's and others. I really didn't like any of them that much.

  1. Asimov's "Special Anniversary Double Issue", April/May 2006

    Quite a good selection of short stories. I particularly liked "Inclination" (William Shunn), "Heisenberg Elementary" (Wil McCarthy), "The Final Flight Of The Blue Bee" (James Maxey), "Not Worth A Cent" (R. Neube) and "The Walls Of The Universe" (Paul Melko).

  2. Down And Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow

    I was a little worried about 2/3 of the way through when I realised I didn't really give a damn what happened to the protagonist. Somehow Doctorow brought me back and in the end I quite enjoyed this tale. Aside: I read my copy (which was originally given to my wife on CD) on my Nokia 770 using FBReader. First time I've done that and I'll be doing it again with further e-books (I have two more of Doctorow's novels and have started one).

  3. Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Issue #22, January/February 2006

    Wow, 12 stories packed in. Most of them I quite enjoyed. Quite a few of the stories were more playful, less serious than those in Asimov's or F&SF.

  4. Battle Angel Alita #5

    See comment at #13 :)

  5. Analog July/August 2006 double issue

    Some really good stuff in here as I've come to expect. Favourites would be The Keeper's Maze (Joe Schembrie), Environmental Friendship Fossle (Ian Stewart), Total Loss (James Hosek) and The Teller Of Time (Carl Frederick).

  6. Maus part 2 - And Here My Troubles Began by Art Spiegelman

    I was glad I could finally read the second part of this incredibly well-told tale.

  7. Valerian - The New Future Trilogy by Jean-Claude Mezieres and Pierre Christin

    I was a little disappointed with the English translation. In one place the speech in one cell had been copied from the previous cell. In other places the dialog just didn't make sense. On the other hand, it was a great story and quite beautifully rendered. For those who care, this compilation is actually volumes 14-16 of the series. I'm hoping there's more, and I'm hoping the English translation is handled better.

  8. Bone by Jeff Smith

    The local library had the (hefty) single-book compilation of the whole cartoon. It's a great read. The story is somewhat predictable but it's told really well, with great humor and drama as they're called for. And I really loved the Great Red Dragon :)

  9. Authority volumes #1 - #4

    Cool. Superheroes. Cool Superheroes.

  10. Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

    Didn't really enjoy this one. Maybe it's just that it's been subsumed into popular culture.

  11. Eastern Standard Tribe by Cory Doctorow

    I actually read this one at about book # 20 or so, and have forgotten most of my impressions of it. Having said that, it was a pretty good story, and well-told.

  12. Somebody Comes To Town, Someone Leaves Town by Cory Doctorow

    There's certainly some good ideas in this modern fantasy. The writing let it down though. Doctorow used a couple of devices poorly (mixing up the chronological order which only served to confuse and another of repetition which I just found annoying). Also, the secondary plot felt like some sort of public techno-wankery - it didn't feel at place in the story at all. The ending was a bit abrupt for my liking too. Even given those annoyances, some of the ideas ("my father is a mountain") make this a worthwhile read.

  13. The Family Trade by Charles Stross

    Pretty good yarn about family from a parallel Earth who have the ability to travel to this Earth. There's some interesting ideas in it, though the plot feels just a little too well-constructed. This is the first book of a series, but I don't think it is at all justified to just stop this book where it did. It didn't feel as though I'd just read a complete story-arc -- rather it felt like the book finished in the middle of something. Not even at a cliff-hanger. I do want to keep reading it, but I feel a bit cynical about having to buy another book to do so.

  14. The Grinding House by Kaaron Warren

    A collection of original and slightly (ok, in places very) disturbing sci-fi short stories. Some of them were really very good, some of them not as good, but I didn't skip past any.

  15. Specials by Scott Westerfield

    Completing the trilogy from Uglies through Pretties, this story sees Tally as a Special Circumstances agent, again trying to figure out where she belongs in the world. As usual, the world has its own idea and moves her along through a terrific ride of a story with a conclusion that was unexpected but also extremely fitting. Tally's growth as a character has been wonderful to experience.

  16. White Time by Margo Lanagan

    A collection of Margo's sci-fi and fantasy short stories. The title story, White Time, was a great introduction to the collection, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and the rest of the stories.

  17. Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett

    A story about Vampires vs. Witches in the Discworld universe. I wasn't very impressed with this book as it seemed too much like a formula book. It brought in some old favourite characters for little encore performances but overall there really wasn't that much interesting going on. The concept behind the story was quite good -- but then was unravelled too easily and almost without explanation. There was also at least two sub-plots which didn't fit with the main plot at all. I did laugh out loud a few times when Pratchett displayed his trademark humor. There were too many unanswered questions about the plot though for me to truly enjoy it.

  18. Weapons of Choice by John Birmingham

    A warship task force is sent back in time from 2021 to 1942, just prior to the Battle of Midway. Not a new idea, but done well.

    My previous experience with Birmingham was reading He Died With A Felafel In His Hand and its sequel The Tasmanian Babes Fiasco. This book was such a shift in genre that it actually took me a long time to remember that it was Birmingham that wrote those other two books. I'm not normally a spy thriller / action reader, though I did quite enjoy Firefox back in the day. This is more of a spy thriller / action / alternate history / sci-fi book - blended together extremely well by Birmingham. Descriptions of the high-tech blend in with the low-tech and the historical fact. I also thought Birmingham also treated the clash of cultures (1940s vs. 2020s) quite well. In particular 1940s men vs. 2020s women. The pacing is also excellent, with an ending that leaves you wanting more (in fact a friend of my was unaware it was part of a trilogy and complained bitterly that he wanted more :)

    A real warning though: there's a helluva lot of detailed descriptions of warfare and other really nasty stuff.

  19. Designated Targets by John Birmingham

    This is the second in Birmingham's Axis of Time trilogy. Again it was excellently paced and blended the various genres described above beautifully. In the timeframe of this book history is well and truly being rewritten, yet retains an air of realism.

    The wikipedia page on the Axis of Time trilogy has a length list of "easter eggs", including one that made me laugh: "Matthew Reilly (Australian action/sci-fi author) appears as a lieutenant on the USS Leyte Gulf. Redshirted."

    Can't wait for the final book, Final Impact, due out next year.