CRAIG MARTELLE 7 of the Best

Craig Martelle’s 7 of the Best

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Written by Craig Martelle

Conan – the 1967 edition by Robert E. Howard, L. Sprague de Camp, and Lin Carter.
I was introduced to this series in the early to mid 1970s. I know that this may not be the best edition, but it is the first one that I read and it hooked me on the sword & sorcery genre. More importantly, the language was so unique compared to what I’d read before that it resonated well with me. I read the whole series and anything else that authors wrote in that genre, like Fritz Leiber, for example. Of course I read all twelve books published in that Lancer/Ace series (still have them after all these years and a dozen moves while in the military), and then the new ones that were written by other people like Robert Jordan, Andrew Offutt, Poul Anderson, and Karl Edward Wagner.

The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey
In the 1970s, booksellers offered deals where if you joined their book club, you’d get a bunch of books and you committed to buying a couple more over the course of the next year. I picked up the hardback that contained Anne McCaffrey’s first three books from Pern – Dragonflight, Dragonquest, and The White Dragon. These were an incredible blend of world building, fantasy, and science fiction. The post apocalyptic aspect of these books in finding the lost technology inspired some aspects of my Free Trader series. McCaffrey’s style of writing made you care about the characters; the main ones as well as the secondary ones, as their lives intertwined on the incredible backdrop of the planet Pern with their partners, the dragons.

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
We had to read this in 10th grade for English class. Talk about setting the bar pretty high regarding quality literature. An incredible story dancing through a vivid new world. Tolkien’s storytelling is second to none. He wrote in complex patterns with humor and insight into the human condition, based on characters that weren’t human at all. I remember that as a teenager, I wanted to be a better person, just in case I met a real-world Gandalf, he wouldn’t find me lacking. I went on to read the Lord of the Rings trilogy and that sets the standard for an epic adventure. I could not get into the Silmarillion…so that makes me an 80% fan, I guess.

Star Wars
I saw this on opening night in 1977 in Dubuque, Iowa. It was something like a Thursday night and the theater was mostly empty. I was blown away! It was much later that I realized the acting could have been better, maybe the plot a little cleaner, but that’s hindsight. When Star Wars was made, it was cutting edge across the board. The special effects had never been as spectacular before. It painted all aspects of the medieval onto a science fiction backdrop.


Dune – the 1984 movie
I read the book after watching the movie, so I got to love the movie for what it contained and then the book even more because it was different and fuller. You can’t beat a good science fiction movie, especially if your expectations aren’t tainted by having already read the book. No movie can live up to your imagination, so get the benefit of seeing what the filmmakers come up with and then live it yourself the second time around.


Star Trek – the Original Series as they came out new in the 1960s
I know that these aren’t movies, and the books came later, but this was so influential on me that it helped shape my perception of humanity. I was only six when the series first began airing on television. My brother was fourteen and he convinced my parents to let him watch it. I’m not sure what they got out of it, but I know that a few of the episodes scared the heck out of me! Like the one with the flashing lights that took over the people and made them talk funny before they died. Fifty years later I’m still watching the same episodes and am amazed at how revolutionary Gene Roddenberry really was. He made something that withstood the test of time, maybe even getting better with age. We should all aspire that our works in science fiction should so endure.

Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein
I watched the movie before I read the book. As long as you don’t consider the movie to have come from the book, you can enjoy both. I’ve read a great deal of Heinlein since then. He is another author who takes the social issues of the day, puts them onto a science fiction backdrop, and then tells a great story to teach a life lesson. In Starship Troopers, I put myself there, especially as a U.S. Marine. I could see us going into space to keep the peace.




And that’s seven, but there are so many more like Aliens (more Space Marines), 2001: A Space Odyssey (all-powerful aliens? Heavens yes), Starship by Brian Aldiss, and then the games of James M. Ward that piqued the imagination (Metamorphosis Alpha and Gamma World).

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Other Books by Craig Martelle

The Terry Henry Walton Chronicles, a Kurtherian Gambit Series, co-written with Michael Anderle

Book 1 – Nomad Found (Dec 2016)

Book 2 – Nomad Redeemed (Jan 2017)

Book 3 – Nomad Unleashed (Feb 2017)

Book 4 – Nomad Supreme (Feb 2017)

Book 5 – Nomad’s Fury (2017)

Book 6 – Nomad’s Justice (2017)

Book 7 – Nomad Avenged (2017)

Book 8 – Nomad Mortis (2017)

Book 9 – Nomad’s Force (2017)

Book 10 – Nomad’s Galaxy (2017)


Free Trader Series

Book 1 – The Free Trader of Warren Deep (February 2016)

Book 2 – The Free Trader of Planet Vii (March 2016)

Book 3 – Adventures on RV Traveler (April 2016)

Book 4 – Battle for the Amazon (August 2016)

Book 5 – Free the North! (September 2016)

Book 6 – Free Trader on the High Seas (October 2016)

Book 7 – Southern Discontent (2017)

Book 8 – The Great ‘Cat Rebellion (2017)

Book 9 – Return to the Traveler (2017)

Cygnus Space Opera – set in the Free Trader Universe

Book 1 – Cygnus Rising (Sep 2016)

Book 2 – Cygnus Expanding (Nov 2016)

Book 3 – Cygnus Arrives (2017)

End Times Alaska Series, a Winlock Press publication

Book 1: Endure (June 2016)

Book 2: Run (July 2016)

Book 3: Return (August 2016)

Book 4: Fury (January 2017)

Rick Banik Thrillers

People Raged and the Sky Was on Fire (May 2016)

The Heart Raged (2017)

Paranoid in Paradise – a short story (2017)


Short Story Contributions to Anthologies

Earth Prime Anthology, Volume 1 (Stephen Lee & James M. Ward)

Apocalyptic Space Short Story Collection (Stephen Lee & James M. Ward)

Lunar Resorts Anthology, Volume 2 (Stephen Lee & James M. Ward)

Just One More Fight (published as a novella standalone)

Wisdom’s Journey (published as a novella standalone)

The  Expanding Universe, Volume 1 (edited by Craig Martelle)

The Misadventures of Jacob Wild McKilljoy (with Michael-Scott Earle)

Metamorphosis Alpha – Chronicles from the Warden Vol 1 (with James M. Ward, edited by Craig Martelle)

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    John Enfield

    Great insights on the list here, some I’ve also loved ever since they came out. I’ve not come across Craig’s books before. I’ll have to look for them as the titles are intriguing.

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