“We are Forerunners. Guardians of all that exists. The roots of the Galaxy have grown deep under our careful tending. Where there is life, the wisdom of our countless generations has saturated the soil. Our strength is a luminous sun, towards which all intelligence blossoms… And the impervious shelter, beneath which it has prospered.”

The Didact’s Best Books of 2019

by | Dec 31, 2019 | Das Beste Aus, Uncategorized | 2 comments

It’s time to go through my reading list for 2019 and pick the best books of the year in both the Fiction and Non-Fiction categories. After all, it’s time for the traditional festivities around here, and tradition dictates that I go through the books that I read and tell you what I found good and interesting about them.

Now, I’m sorry to say that my reading for this year was nowhere near as prolific as it was for the previous one, and that is entirely my fault. I only managed to get through 41 books rather than my usual 52 or more. This was in large measure due to all of the traveling that I did. And that’s actually worse than my record for last year, where I only read about 45 books. To be very honest, I wouldn’t even have read 41 if it weren’t for the fact that several of the books in my list were essentially pamphlets turned into 130-page “books”.

Still and all, reading is the key to making one’s mind and intellectual horizons grow, so there is that, at least.

So let’s get started with the best fiction books that I’ve read all year.

The Didact’s Top 5 Fiction Books of 2019

1. Journey to the Year One Billion: Complete Uncensored Version by Gary L. M. Martin

Journey to the Year One Billion: Complete Uncensored Version by [Martin, Gary L.M.]

I had never heard of this author until about October of this year, which surprises me because it turns out that he is extremely prolific. His production rate for books is jaw-dropping. He regularly turns out 500-page doorstoppers at the rate of three or four a year, maybe more. And this book is at least 800 pages long. The premise behind it is a fascinating one. Essentially, some sort of spaceship shows up near Earth and causes seismic shockwaves of increasing power and intensity. The Earth government sends a few spaceships in to investigate what is going on. The ship in orbit turns out to be a gateway to the future, and the crew of the last ship to go in are transported first thousands, then tens of thousands, then millions, and then HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS, of years into the very far future. The imagination that Mr. Martin shows here is quite astonishing; he deliberate set out to create a future-worlds story in which the entities encountered were anything but human, unlike most far-future fiction that you end up reading these days. You really have to read this book in order to understand how imaginative and well done it is. One word of warning, though – this book is packed with sex scenes of a highly erotic nature, so if you’re squeamish about that sort of thing, get the censored version instead. The other major problem with this book is quality control; while Mr. Martin does a quite admirable job of policing his grammar and spelling, the occasional error does creep in here and there, which is to be expected given how damned fast he writes these things. Easily the most imaginative and interesting book I’ve read all year, and quite a page-turner too.

2. Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin A. Abbott

Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (AmazonClassics Edition) by [Abbott, Edwin A.]

This was an intriguing book recommended to me by one of my readers in one of our MANY long conversations over the past 18 months. It basically takes place in a two-dimensional world inhabited entirely by polygons, and the main character is a polygon who spends a great deal of time explaining how a completely flat world of two-dimensional shapes work. The females of this world are basically triangles with one eye, while the males are polygons whose rank in the society of Flatland is determined by how many edges or angles they have. The most highly esteemed member of such a society is of course a perfect circle, but this is extremely rare. Having explained all of this, the protagonist, a square, falls asleep and has a dream in which he goes into a one-dimensional world, inhabited entirely by points on a line, and tries to explain to them how two dimensions work, with no success whatsoever. He then dreams further of a sphere descends into Flatland and tries to explain how a three-dimensional world works – only to find that he isn’t dreaming, and this is very real. He tries to go to his fellows and explain how three and even four dimensions work, but is ridiculed and rejected for his troubles. This book has been interpreted through time as something of a send-up of very straight-laced Victorian sensibilities about rank and social status, but if you look at it through eyes informed by the Holy Spirit, then it becomes a very different book entirely. While slow to get going, perseverance with this book is well rewarded.

3. Necroscope by Brian Lumley

Necroscope by [Lumley, Brian]

I first read this book back when I was in college, and I really liked it. This is a great take on the tried-and-true vampire horror genre by an author who really knows his Lovecraft. Reading it again has shown its flaws, particularly Lumley’s extreme propensity for wordiness. (Yes, I know, pot, kettle, etc.) And some of those flaws are quite annoying when you just want the plot and the story to get a move on. That tendency to ramble gets much worse in Lumley’s later books, to the point where I basically found his E-Branch Trilogy to be a tedious and boring experience. But the very first of his Necroscope books was, and remains, a classic of the genre.

4. Gideon Ira: Knight of the Bloodcross (Deus Vult Wastelanders Book 1) by Adam Lane Smith

Gideon Ira: Knight of the Blood Cross: Deus Vult Wastelanders Book 1 by [Smith, Adam]

Here we have a rather exciting-looking dying-Earth horror series, which features a world in which a great cataclysm has torn asunder the veil between Heaven, Hell, and Earth – and the civilisations of Man have fallen completely. The world is overrun with daemons, witches, warlocks, sorcerers, and all manner of foul supernatural entities. Only a few small cities and towns survive, and those that inhabit the old lands of America are now religious outposts that serve Christ and God. The knights who defend Belltower, one of the most prominent of these bastions of light, wear power armour designed by the Ancients (Americans, basically) who perished in the catastrophe that destroyed their world. Into this apocalyptic daemon-infested wasteland strides Gideon Ira, a knight who defends his people and the realms of the Almighty with his power armour, huge broadsword, and hand cannon. High technology meets the supernatural meets holy faith in this series. The book itself holds a great deal of promise, and I’m very pleased to say that the second book in the series, which I finished just a few weeks ago, maintains the standard that its predecessor set. I am very much looking forward to what Mr. Smith can do with this world that he has created.

5. Caliphate by Tom Kratman

Caliphate by [Kratman, Tom]

LTC Tom Kratman is a regular reader and contributor to my blog, and he’s a damned fine author to boot. I have thoroughly enjoyed his Carrera series for years, but his oeuvre is significantly broader than just that. His earliest books are well worth a read, if nothing else simply to see how his work has evolved and changed over the years. This book is speculative fiction, which posits a future in which Europe has fallen under the sway of the “religion of peace”, while the USA has morphed from a Constitutional republic into an imperial superpower dedicated to fighting the Islamic menace around the world. There are two storylines in this book, one of which is narrated through flashback sequences and which shows how the world evolved into the one described herein. It’s not pretty, at all. Tom’s narrative skills are on full display in this book, and the action sequences are quite something to behold. Unlike some of his later Carrera books, which do tend to get bogged down with the logistics of planning and fighting a major war, this is all about individual first-person action rather than mass-scale engagements, and as such, the pace is taut, fraught, and fast. Definitely one of the best books that I’ve read all year, and a very sobering look at a very real possible future.

HONOURABLE MENTION: The Last Stand (Blood on the Stars Book 14) by Jay Allan

The Last Stand (Blood on the Stars Book 14) by [Allan, Jay]

If you’ve read any of Jay Allan’s books, you know what to expect. Pretty much every single book in the Blood on the Stars series follows exactly the same pattern. Tyler Barron and the crew of the legendary ship Dauntless go into battle. They are outnumbered and outmatched in every way. Yet through the heroic efforts and terrible sacrifices of their comrades and crew, they somehow defeat the odds and come through in the end. It’s a completely predictable formula and honestly I’m beginning to wonder just how many more of these books Mr. Allan plans to write before FINALLY ending the whole damned thing. I mean, it looks like there are going to be 20 books in this series, which adds up to more than pretty much everything else that Jay Allan has done, combined. Now, all of that being said, Jay Allan does know how to tell a great story and keep things fresh, and this book is easily the best in the Blood on the Stars series so far. At this point I basically read this series just to get to the end, because I’ve invested too much of my time to stop now, but I’m really looking forward to the day it finally ends, simply because putting out so many of these books is like scraping too little butter over too much bread. There are only so many times where you can read through a book where Tyler Barron fights Enemy A to a bloody stalemate, only to find out that Enemy B was there all along and now wants to tussle, and gears up for yet another fight. Despite my overall negative tone, though, this book is still worth reading; the only problem is that you have to go through the first 13 books to get to this one, and honestly, the first three books were much better than this one.

The Didact’s Top 5 Non-Fiction Books of 2019

1. The Coming Civil War by Tom Kawczynski

The Coming Civil War by [Kawczynski, Tom]

First things first: this is not a light or fun read. This is a serious book about a dreadful subject – the guaranteed fracturing of the United States of America into, probably, about 4 or 5 different political entities. Former town manager Tom Kawczynski, who did his civic duty as a civil servant and was then fired for the “crime” of telling people that he wanted to preserve Western (i.e. white) civilisation, lays out in carefully researched detail the fault lines between the various races, religions, cultures, and regions of America. The coming civil war will take place along a number of axes, but Mr. Kawczynski’s most stark warning is for the urban elites who have been stomping all over the rest of the country for the better part of thirty years. They are going to suffer the most, and be the least prepared, when SHTF and the country finally blows apart. A sobering read that will give you some idea of the fault lines that are splitting America apart right now.

2. Inside Scientology: The Story of America’s Most Secretive Religion by Janet Reitman

Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion by [Reitman, Janet]

Most of us regard Scientology as, basically, bugshit nuts. And that isn’t surprising. The more closely you look at Scientology in general, and at its founder, Lafayette Ron Hubbard, in particular, the more likely you would be to conclude that LRH was a world-class bullshitter who just so happened to stumble across a formula for creating a religious cult. But to come to that conclusion, you first have to look at the actual evidence, and this is surprisingly hard to digest – because there is so much of it out there. Rolling Stone reporter Janet Reitman actually does a reporter’s job for a change – yeah, I know, what a concept – and goes through much of the information that we currently have available about the cult and its founder. What you will read here is explosive. It turns out that LRH was, according to the book, a megalomaniac, an egomaniac, and a highly skilled gatherer of information from different sources, which he then stitched together with a bunch of sci-fi mumbo-jumbo into first a system of mental health diagnostics known as Dianetics, and then a religious cult. This book is worth reading if only for the sheer entertainment value of trying to understand how so many people got duped into believing such utterly crazy things.

3. Diabolical: How Pope Francis Has Betrayed Clerical Abuse Victims Like Me – And Why He Has to Go by Milo Yiannopoulos

Diabolical: How Pope Francis Has Betrayed Clerical Abuse Victims Like Me—and Why He Has To Go by [Yiannopoulos, Milo]

Milo Yiannopoulos needs no introduction. Either you’ve heard of him, or you haven’t, and either you like him and his particular blend of “laughter and war”, or you can’t stand it. No matter what you think of him, though, it is impossible to deny that the man has a lot of courage. It takes balls to do what he has done, standing against the screaming hordes of SJWs who want his head simply because he refuses to bow down to their identity politics. And in this book, he is taking the fight straight to one of the most highly converged and corrupt institutions in the world – the Catholic Church itself. Now, the thing is that Milo himself is a devout Catholic – despite the fact that he quite openly violates the Church’s covenants concerning homosexuality and gay “marriage”. He is not attacking the Church because he wants to destroy it. He wants to save it from the corruption that has mired it, and he does so by calling out the terrible child abuse scandals that have festered for so long at its heart. In searing and graphic detail, he points out exactly how corrupt, perverted, and downright evil much of the Catholic clergy have become, while going to great pains to highlight the courageous and good work of those fighting to clean up the rot. Whether you like or despise Milo, and regardless of your feelings about the Catholic Church, this is definitely worth reading.

4. On the Question of Free Trade: An Economics Discourse by Dr. James Miller, PhD and Vox Day

On the Question of Free Trade: An Economics Discourse by [Day, Vox, Miller, James D.]

Several years ago our beloved and dreaded Supreme Dark Lord (PBUH) was challenged to defend his intellectual dissection and refutation of the dogma of free trade by a really-for-real University of Chicago economist, one Dr. James Miller. The transcript of that debate was compiled into this short, very entertaining, highly informative, and quite well-presented manuscript. This is a very readable explanation of both the origins and the extremely deep-seated flaws of the economic arguments concerning free trade. What is remarkable about the debate about free trade is the fact that the profession of economics, which has experienced several major revolutions in just the last 50 years alone, still has not caught up to the reality that one of its oldest dogmas is simply untenable. The Supreme Dark Lord (PBUH) lays out with carefully constructed and easily followed logical syllogisms, as well as thoroughly researched evidence, a practically irrefutable case against free trade as understood by the modern economist. The result of the debate was resounding and conclusive: the free trader and professional economist lost by a wide margin. Yet the debate is highly civil, very entertaining, and never once devolves into any kind of shouting match. Well worth reading for both the layman and the professional economist alike.

5. Corporate Cancer: How to Work Miracles and Save Millions by Curing Your Company by Vox Day

Corporate Cancer: How to Work Miracles and Save Millions by Curing Your Company by [Day, Vox]

I have already reviewed this book in full, so I will not go into much further detail here. I will instead simply point out that this book is highly informative and should, in a sane world, be required reading in any business school course. It is a very timely and necessary follow-up to the Supreme Dark Lord’s previous books (PBUH), SJWs Always Lie and SJWs Always Double Down. This book gives managers and employees alike the tools necessary to seek and destroy SJW convergence in their organisation and immunise themselves from further infiltration in the future.

CLASSIC BOOK OF THE YEAR: Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell

1984 by [Orwell, George]

What can I possibly write about this book that has not already been written? It is, quite simply, the most prescient look at the current technocracy that rules this world that could ever have been written. If there is one flaw in the book, it is that Orwell’s dystopic vision of the manner in which the world came to be ruled by single-party superstates is inaccurate. The people did not simply let it happen because that is how things always works, as Orwell posited in that classic passage from the book by “Emmanuel Goldstein”. Instead, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World provides a much more accurate description of a world in which the population is rendered insensate and uncaring by mass entertainment deliberately designed to make them stupid and blind. Nonetheless, 1984 remains a timely warning written some three generations ago that we are failing to heed.

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  1. Dark

    Thanks for the recs, it's rare I find someone who has a list without a single book I've read (1984 excepted, obviously). I have Caliphate loaded up on the Kindle for when I finish my current course of books.

    • Didact

      Yes, Caliphate is quite solid. It is not Tom's best work, perhaps – his writing has gotten better over the years, although his latest, A Pillar of Fire by Night, is not quite up to par relative with its predecessor. But it's a very good book nonetheless.


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