Every Wednesday from now until the end of the year, we're asking people to tell us about three favorite books they read in 2016. Last week, Matthew FitzSimmons joined us and today it's Christopher Mari, author of Ocean of Storms.
Christopher has edited books on a wide variety of topics, including three on space exploration. His writing has appeared in such magazines as America, Current Biography, Issues and Controversies, and US Catholic. His next novel, The Beachhead, will be published by 47North in 2017. And now onto Christopher's recommendations.
Every year I try to read broadly—both fiction and nonfiction, classics and modern works. I don’t always do it, but this year wound up being pretty good for my brain, nice and eclectic. If I had to pick my three favorite books read in 2016, they would have to be:
1) The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick. Dick is one of my all-time favorite authors and I’ve read this sci-fi masterpiece several times. It’s set in 1962 in an alternate reality United States, in which the Allies had been defeated by Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in World War II and the country (and world) is divided between these fascist dictatorships. Chilling in its attention to detail and frightening in its implications, I never finish its final pages without wondering if I had really just glimpsed another world, lurking on the other side of a funhouse mirror. (The Amazon TV series based on the novel is pretty awesome too!)
2) Papist Patriots by Maura Jane Farrelly. This is a recently published history of the colony of Maryland in the years leading up to the American Revolutionary War. I’m particularly fascinated by this period of American history and found the book’s discussion of how Maryland’s Catholic population helped to shape our freedom of religion laws absolutely enlightening.
3) Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe. Everybody rightly knows and loves Marvel now through their hugely successful series of films, but this book—about the history of the company from its inception as Timely Comics in the 1940s to the modern day—spoke to the eight-year-old me who fell in love with imperfect heroes like the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, the X-Men and Daredevil and who still uses them as guideposts for creating flawed but intriguing protagonists in my own writing.
Here's a little about Christopher's book, which he co-wrote with Jeremy K. Brown:
In the near future, political tensions between the United States and China are at an all-time high. Then a catastrophic explosion on the moon cleaves a vast gash in the lunar surface, and the massive electromagnetic pulse it unleashes obliterates Earth’s electrical infrastructure. To plumb the depths of the newly created lunar fissure and excavate the source of the power surge, the feuding nations are forced to cooperate on a high-risk mission to return mankind to the moon.
Now, a diverse, highly skilled ensemble of astronauts—and a pair of maverick archaeologists plucked from the Peruvian jungle—will brave conspiracy on Earth and disaster in space to make a shocking discovery.
Ocean of Storms is an epic adventure that spans space and time as its heroes race to fulfill an ancient mission that may change the course of humanity’s future.