Tag Archives: technothriller

Summer Reading Suggestions – Thrillers

It’s summer, which usually means a bit more free time and a chance to catch up on your reading. If you don’t have a reading list, I’ve got a couple of suggestions that might strike your fancy as you’re headed to the beach or the backyard. I would consider all of these books to be thrillers, so they’ll keep you turning the pages to find out what happens next. Click on the cover to be taken to the Amazon page to buy the book (and thanks for supporting my blog!). If you click on the title, you’ll be taken to my original review of the book.

If you’re looking for something new, try Before the Fall by Noah Hawley. This is a current best-seller, so you’ll definitely be in the cool crowd if anyone catches you reading this book. The story starts out with a disaster (a plane crash, so perhaps something to read once you get to your location, not on the plane trip there), and you slowly find out details about the passengers on the private jet and potential reasons the plane went down.

Prefer your thriller with a post-apocalyptic flair? You might want to try Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. If you played video games or D&D as a kid in the 80s, this book is definitely for you. The world isn’t a great place so most people spend a lot of time in the virtual world of OASIS. The creator hid an egg in the world that will grant the finder control of OASIS. We follow a brilliant but poor searcher as he tries to find the egg before the evil corporation hoping to monetize OASIS find the egg.

My next suggestion, Kill Decision by Daniel Suarez, is more of a techno-thriller. It’s set in a plausible near future where an unnamed organization has taken research on ant swarms to create lethal, autonomous swarms of drones. The scientist in charge of the ant research joins a special forces agent to stop the drones. This book had me seriously questioning my online activities (once again) and wondering if I need to add another level of security to my online presence.

And finally, a psychological thriller: Just One Look by Harlan Coben. This book is based around the disappearance of Jack and the search for him by his wife, Grace. Jack has some secrets he’s been hiding, and the thread of his and Grace’s life unravels as Grace tries to find Jack. All the pieces come together by the end, so you want to pay attention while you’re reading (no matter how fast you want to skim).

Hopefully one of these will strike your fancy if you’re looking for a page-turner to read. Any other thrillers you’d like to recommend? Let me know in the comments!

 

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Weekly Wrap-Up: American History Club

We had American History Club this week, which was a bit stressful since I was still recovering from our trip to Philly. But, everyone got their books read and I even got something to talk about and do, so all was well. Last time we met, we had talked about the Alamo. Usually, we do two sessions on a subject before moving to choose your own. That was a little tricky with the Alamo, since our library didn’t have much about that event. So, we tried to find something that was close to the Alamo, preferably in both time and space.

The three younger girls read The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly. It is set in Texas in 1899 (a bit after the 1836 of the Alamo, but in the right area). Calpurnia is a young girl, just on the edge of becoming a young woman, which means she’s expected to act like a lady. Unfortunately, she doesn’t want to act like a lady. She wants to go out and explore the natural world with her grandfather. It took a bit for Miss Adventure to get into the story, but once she did, she didn’t want to put it down. I heard the book described as Anne of Green Gables for the natural world.

I thought the older boys might appreciate a bit more action in the their reading. So, I found them The Legend of Bass Reeves by Gary Paulsen. This book combines actual knowledge of Bass Reeves’ life with some speculation on how he lived his life leading up to the chronicled adventures. Bass started off as a slave in Texas in 1838. However, when he almost killed his master, he has to run to the Indian Territory. He lived for many years with Native Americans, before becoming a rancher (although the book skips completely over this part of his life, which I found disappointing). It was when he was asked to be a federal marshal that his life really got interesting. The book described several of the more than 3000 arrests Reeves made, and makes the case that Reeves should be revered for his exemplary life in the Wild West. We were all definitely impressed with this book, and would have been happy if it were twice as long as it is (it clocked in at only 160 pages).

Mr. Curiosity found a book that grabbed his attention this week, The Six by Mark Alpert. It’s a near future science fiction technothriller with teenager protagonists, which he enjoyed. It’s also interesting because all the protagonists (the titular six) are disabled. They give up their bodies to inhabit weaponized robots to fight a rogue AI. What’s not to love about that summary – I can see why Mr. Curiosity couldn’t put it down.

And those were the book we used this week. Linking up with Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers’ Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly-Wrap-UpIf you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image or title to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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What I Will Be Reading #21

I’ve got a new set of books to add to my reading list. Good thing – my list has gotten down to only about 50 books. That’s not near enough book guilt! So, here’s what I’m adding:

First up is Chuck Wendig’s Zeroes: A Novel from a GeekDad post. It sounds like a fun technothriller/Big Brother is watching type of book. Something else to scare me off of technology for a while, kind of like The Circle perhaps. As a bonus, it’s a “Z” title, which I’m always searching for with my Alphabet book challenge.

I came across a post suggesting books to read while we wait for the next Anne Leckie book to come out. Of course, I still need to read the first book in the series, Ancillary Justice, but then I’ll try the rest of the series on that list. I like space opera – it’s fun.

Sticking with my science fiction in space theme, I picked up two books from a YALSA postZeroboxer by Fonda Lee, which combines space travel with sports. Granted it’s boxing (not at all a favorite sport), but still an interesting pairing. As a bonus, it’s a “Z” titled book. Also, Entangled by Amy Rose Capetta, which promised action and humor.

Finally, one more list of books that sounded interesting, but are not science fiction. She Reads had a post about books to make you happy. I was most intrigued by The Little Paris Bookshop: A Novel by Nina George. But then again, I’m a sucker for books about bookstores. That should be enough to keep me reading for a few weeks, right! But in case you have any other books to add to my list, drop me a comment below.

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image or title to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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Influx by Daniel Suarez

Published: 2014

Genre: techno-thriller

Length: 513 pages

Setting:United States, present day

Interest: It’s Suarez’s latest book. Considering the enjoyment I’ve gotten out of his other books, I figured this was a safe bet as well. Continue reading

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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Published: 2011

Genre: post-apocalyptic science fiction thriller

Length: 372 pages

Setting: a near future Earth

Interest: It’s been on my reading list so long I forgot why I put it on in the first place. I do hear good things about it geek circles. Continue reading

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The Circle by Dave Eggers

Published: 2013

Genre: fiction (the book’s description made it sound more of a thriller than it actually is)

Length: 491 pages

Setting: California, near future

Interest: I was looking for an E author for my reading challenge and this book sounded interesting.

Summary: Mae is a new hire at The Circle, a computer company that has integrated all online interactions into one identity, TruYu. Mae starts in Customer Experience, and is gently chided when she tries to live a life outside of the company. Doesn’t she like her job and her coworkers? Why would she want to keep things to herself? That’s selfish, or are those actions illegal? Eventually, Mae is convinced to “go transparent” and wear a video camera at all times. Politicians around the world are doing the same, to eliminate backroom deals and improve transparency in the government. The Circle is nearing Completion and Kayden is the only one at the company who seems to think it would be a bad thing to have Circle technology monitoring and recording everyone all the time. The other founders just think of all the crime that would be prevented and money that can be made. Kayden tries to convince Mae to help stop Completion, but Mae had drunk the Kool-aid and just thinks of new and faster ways to reach the ultimate goal.

Final thoughts: I found this book to be highly disturbing. It’s a little heavy-handed in its message, perhaps (social media taken to the EXTREME), but I couldn’t stop thinking about the book while I was reading it. Mae didn’t have time to live a life because she was so busy commenting on other people’s lives and their comments. The Powers That Be kept adding more and more screens to Mae’s life that she had to pay attention to – starting with two screens and working up to eight, plus voices in her ear for her opinion. You had no time to yourself because that was selfish. Why wouldn’t you want to share your experiences with those who couldn’t it themselves? Are you ashamed? Mae lost her friends and family when she went transparent and couldn’t understand why. She didn’t even realize how empty her life was except at odd moments when she would tamp down the emptiness in her life with more work and comments. She also felt so brave by sending frowns to people or organizations. Wow – sending a frown to an organization like ISIS is really going to make a difference. They’ll stop their evil ways when they see how many frowns they’ve amassed. Or not.

The technology is so pervasive and easy to use to monitor everything. Mae couldn’t see how it could be bad to know everything about everyone all the time. What do you have to hide? I don’t know, but I don’t want the government or a computer organization knowing everything about me. It made me a little skittish about social media for a while. I’m still not sure how much of my life I should share online, because once you put it online, it doesn’t go away. Of course, in the book, if you didn’t document your actions online, they didn’t really happen.

Title comes from: The name of the company Mae worked for.

Reading challenges fulfilled: 83/100 in my 100 Book Challenge, and an E in my author Alphabet Soup Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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Kill Decision by Daniel Suarez

Published: 2012

Genre: techno-thriller

Length: 495 pages

Setting: present day, mostly U.S.

Interest: I’ve enjoyed his two other books (Daemon and Freedom TM) and decided I was in the mood for a thriller.

Summary: Odin is the head of a secret team tasked with determining who’s been leading drone attacks against the U.S. The drones are also targeting academics researching components of artificial intelligence. Odin’s team saves Linda McKinney, who developed a swarming model of weaver ants, from an attack. The team tries to obtain an attack drone by using McKinney as bait. Instead, their communications are compromised and a swarm of autonomous drones attack their safehouse. They manage to get away (with some casualties and injuries) and lick their wounds in Mexico. Eventually, they go back on the hunt and find a colony of autonomous drones on a ship ready to start an international incident.

Final thoughts: An intense story that totally makes you paranoid. Who is watching? Is there any electronic privacy? I found it interesting academics were targeted and a model of an ant colony was a key plot element. I loved the fact Odin got his call sign because he had two ravens that helped him in surveillance and finding drones. The technology all seemed plausible, but McKinney was a bit too perfect a fit in the switch from “field biologist” to “field agent”. The tension between herself and Odin was believably presented, though. All in all, an excellent addition to the genre.

Title comes from: A kill decision is done by an agent to switch a drone (or field agent) from passive surveillance to kill a target.

Reading challenges fulfilled: 26/100 in my 100 Book Challenge, and a K in my title Alphabet Soup Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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