Some recent fluff reading and re-reading.
Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, The Mote in God’s Eye. Slightly dated (the computer technology in particular), but one of the most solid collaborations between Niven and Pournelle. This has a prequel (“Motelight”) that may be available on the web; it was printed in Analog after Mote was published. The sequel to Mote, The Gripping Hand, is pretty missable in my opinion.
Lucius Shepard, Eternity and Other Stories. Shepard is one of my favorite authors; the stories in this collection are really novellas, “literary” and heavy on characterization. Shepard’s first book, Green Eyes also is not to be missed (starts out slow, but wait for it…).
In anticipation of the sequel, John Varley’s Red Thunder. Essentially a Heinlein juvenile, this is a fun, rapid read, a lot more approachable (but less funny than) his The Golden Globe. Good escapist entertainment.
John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War tries really hard not to be a ripoff of Haldeman’s Forever War (and by association, Starship Troopers). He need not have bothered to file off the serial numbers, as it is quite enjoyable (if predictable) as it is. Yet another “War with the Alien Yucks” novel, with the twist that you have to be over 75 years old to volunteer for the corps. Another good, quick read.
Cryptonomicon, because I wanted to re-read some Stephenson, but couldn’t bring myself to pick up the middle book of that trilogy (should have taken notes — I do not want to go on a refresher).
I’m slogged down in Jack McDevitt’s Polaris, I’m not sure why. I didn’t much care for the prior book in the series, A Talent for War, but I liked most of his other books. Maybe it just seems drawn out, slow and kind of directionless.
Most scary thing spotted in a bookstore: A “checkerbee” checklist for Robert Jordan. Run away screaming.
Lois McMaster Bujold, Shards of Honor. I’m going to try to finish the Barrayar books (there are like ten of them now), and they’re all pretty good (Bob Jordan, take note).