Over Christmas, I did get in a little bit of fiction reading, most of it in the form of advance reading copies from Tor and another publishers. One was Wolf’s Empire:Gladiator, by Claudia Christian and Morgan Grant Buchanan, which will be released in June and which is filled with action, aliens, incredible treachery and double-dealing and is the kick-off volume of a series [don’t say I didn’t warn you]. Another was Faller, by Will McIntosh [from Tor next October], which has an almost whimsical SF premise presented in a most factual manner and which begins with a man waking up with no recollection of who he is, and only two objects in his hands. One is a toy paratrooper and the other a photograph of him and an unknown woman, on which he has scrawled symbols with his own blood — and the cut he made for the blood is still bleeding, not to mention that he and others are marooned on a section of a city floating in an ocean of air. As for non-fiction, one of my Christmas presents was what if? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, which I found both amusing and strangely informative. The other book I found truly fascinating was Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens, most accurately billed as a brief history of humankind, a very well-written but quite provocative work.