To Die in Italbar by Roger Zelazny

To Die in Italbar by Roger Zelazny is a 174-page science fiction novel originally published by Doubleday & Company in January of 1973. The book is actually the second in the Francis Sandow series–I guess I’ll have to read the rest of the series now! The book can stand alone, though, as it’s not *technically* a sequel. I certainly didn’t feel like I was missing any information about characters, plot, or setting. I read To Die in Italbar as a part of Vintage SciFi Month.

To Die in ItalbarThe story revolves around the journeys of a mysterious man called “H” who has a unique power that allows him to heal even the most terminal of illnesses. Another important point of view is that of Malacar Miles, a military man who is determined to find H to use the horrifying flipside of his healing power–the ability to spread diseases that H has contracted–in order to strike at Malacar’s old enemies. There is one female POV of note–a girl who works in a brothel but secretly idolizes the military prowess of Malacar and wishes to meet and help him take revenge on their mutual enemies. I loved her raw anger, but More


The Martian by Andy Weir

The Martian is a 369 page science fiction novel by Andy Weir. It was originally self published, then picked up for publication by Crown in February of 2014.

The MartianThe book begins with Mark Watney writing in his log that while his team (of astronauts on Mars) thought he died in a windstorm, he actually survived and now is living alone on Mars. As an engineer and botanist, Mark devises many different ways to extend his survival on Mars–all the while trying to figure out how to contact his team or Earth, both of whom believe him to be dead and his mission to be scrapped. The plot revolves around his triumphs and failures on Mars and his ingenuity as a lonely man and only resident Martian. More

Doodling by Jonathon Gould


I was completely drawn in by this cover, it’s both dark and bright, and uses excellent colors. It makes it onto the top of my list of favorite covers, which is why I thought I would include such a big picture of it.

I don’t usually use quotes, but the beginning of this story so well introduces itself that I thought I would include it…

Neville Lansdowne fell off the world.

Actually he did not so much fall off as let go. The world had been moving so quickly lately and Neville was finding it almost impossible to keep up.

Doodling is about Neville, a man who has fallen off the earth and is looking for a new home in an asteroid field. He finds many strange people on the asteroids, including a group of people who worship toasters, some cyclists who are endlessly racing, and two party people, who drink dust in champagne bottles.

This book was pretty short — I don’t really know how short, because Kindle only has ‘locations’ and not pages. The plot of the story was very enjoyable, and of course the setting (space) made it all the better. I read it in one sitting, and I wouldn’t recommend it any other way. It’s a quick read and it is very fun.

Like Jonathan Gould suggests, I definitely felt a Hitchhiker’s Guide vibe from this book.  A quick romp through space is something everyone can (or should) enjoy. I highly recommend looking into buying and reading this book.