As we’re getting closer to the end of 2018, I’m also getting closer to the last page of my A Book A Month project’s December book. Columbus Day by Craig Alanson has been a somewhat rocky ride. But as it looks right now, it’s a book I’d be happy to recommend to any fan of the saving-Earth-from-technologically-superior-aliens-genre.

Science fiction and various related sub-genres have, not surprisingly, been the prominent topic of most of the books I’ve read this year. I’ve also spiced everything up a little with books that cover both science fiction and gaming, which is another favorite past time of mine: Phoenix Point: The Briefing is a collection of stories which help establish the setting and narrative themes of Phoenix Point. Available around summer next year, Phoenix Point is a strategy game with turn-based tactics combat. The game is designed by Julian Gollop, who designed the original X-COM series back in the days. That’s a recipe for success, if I every saw one.

But I digress. This post isn’t about potentially genius computer games, it’s about books.

Ups and Downs

Still, we’ll stay in the computer game genre for a little while longer. This year, I’ve read three non-fiction books. All of them tell the story of the making of some of the games that are important parts of computer game history. Stay Awhile and Listen: Book I by David L. Craddock and The Making of Prince of Persia by Jordan Mechner both failed to engage me, which was disappointing. The Making of Karateka, also by Jordan Mechner, on the other hand, was a great book. If you want to learn about Mechner’s journey from high school student to critically acclaimed game designer, The Making Of Karateka is a book you should read.

The biggest disappointment this year was probably Heretics of Dune by Frank Herbert. I absolutely love his Dune novel, but none of the other books in the series has managed to get to Dune’s level. Heretics of Dune, I didn’t even finish. Instead, the book was abandoned 21 pages in. Perhaps I will return to it some day.

Classic mid-century Penguin books.
Photo by Karim Ghantous on Unsplash.

Book of the Year

My extremely prestigious Book of the Year Award goes to Angles of Attack by Marko Kloos. It’s the third book in his Frontlines series. I also read the two first books this year, and they are both great, but Angles of Attack somehow manages to be a little bit better than the other two. It’s an intelligent, fast-paced, action-packed read, without a single moment of downtime.

The runner up for the Book of the Year Award goes to the entire Phoenix Point: The Briefing series. Main authors Allen Stroud and Jonas Kyratzes do an amazing job in establishing the setting for Phoenix Point. Even if you’re not interested in the game itself, you should read the The Briefing series.

All in all, 2018 was a good year for books. 2019 looks just as good, and I’ve already started to queue up the titles.