Category Archives: Scott Asher

Surprised by Hope by Wright

My daughter was reading this in a NT college class so I read along with her. This is Wright’s attempt to refocus Christians on the resurrection that happens at the point of salvation, here and now, instead of a future hope in an otherworldly heaven.

Surprised by Hope
Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the of the Church

by N.T. Wright
HarperOne
February 2008

I found the book to be both challenging as well as explanatory. Challenging in the sense that we can work towards bringing the Kingdom here without going full Social Gospel, which I think can become a works oriented, and sometimes idolatrous, gospel. We can find a balance between God does the changing/ fixing and we were created for good works. It’s a balance that I haven’t solved, but I’m convinced I should be doing a better job living the Kingdom now.

It was also explanatory in the sense that I have, seemingly apart from Christianity, come to believe that the escapism of the modern western church is wrong and that I feel strongly that certain injustices should be addressed. I believe that mistreatment of creation (environment) and animals (factory farms) is wrong, that the enslavement of people literally and through debt or poverty is wrong, and that the wrongs we see around us aren’t just supposed to make us upset or tut-tut, but should spur us to action. Feeling that way but being raised in a Western church didn’t mix and didn’t give me a justification for these feelings being Biblically based calls to action and definitely not connected to resurrection or the Kingdom. Wright connected the dots for me.

I recommend this book highly.


Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com and a believer, a husband, a dad, a geek, an artist, a gamer, a teacher, a learner and tired.

One Second After by Forstchen

The title refers to what might happen immediately after an attack on America by an Electro Magnetic Pulse weapon. While I enjoy a good post apocalyptic story I don’t like how realistic this book is. At all.

One Second After
by William R. Forstchen
Forge Books
March 2009

The story follows a family in a small community in North Carolina. The father is a retired colonel (of course), and he has his mother-in-law and two daughters to keep safe when everything our current world runs on stops. Suddenly we are 100 years in the past technologically but no one knows how to use 100 year old technology. [SPOILERS] So what happens? 80-90% of the United States population dies. In one year. Consider that everything from housing, to medicine, to communication, to food and drink all rely on electricity. Take that away and you have a world with population groups that can’t sustain themselves and sick people who can’t get medicine and weather that can’t be mitigated. It’s horrifying!

Newt Gingrich provides the forward explaining that this may be a work of fiction but is based on real threats. If this book is even half right about what may happen and how easy it may be to bring America to it’s knees, then this kind of attack could result in the deaths of millions of Americans. I’m not sure how much had changed since publication if this book, (2009,) but I sincerely hope that or government has prepared in some way. I realize how that sounds, but what else can I do but hope?


Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com and a believer, a husband, a dad, a geek, an artist, a gamer, a teacher, a learner and tired.

Hell Divers by Smith

In the near future, the surface of the earth is decimated by nuclear war and the only refuge for humanity are floating fortresses created to drop those same bombs that made the surface uninhabitable. Now, 250 years later, humanity clings to life on just two remaining fortresses, Aries and the Hive. The ships are kept afloat by sending Hell Divers to the irradiated surface on suicide drops for supplies and replacement parts.

Hell Divers
by Nicholas Sansbury Smith
Blackstone Publishing
January 2017

Each ship is a world unto itself but when there are only two ships in the world and the total population of humanity is less than a thousand souls the Hive is obligated to respond to a distress call from Aries even though it’s coming from ground zero of the apocalypse, a place called Hades where no diver has ever returned from. It’s up to X, the longest tenured diver on the Hive, and his team to find the parts necessary to keep humanity from going extinct. To make matters worse, X finds out that he isn’t the only thing alive on the surface.

I found this to be very similar to Metro 2033 in both the cramped home of humanity as well as the irradiated surface and “other” obstacles. It even ends in a similar way. Not the same, but reminiscent. No spoilers.

X is a typical tough guy hero who has survived against all odds – at least until this new threat shows up. The other characters are vaguely interesting, but it’s all about what happens on the surface. This is a popcorn book, filled with action and suspense, adrenalin and fun. X-pect that and you’ll have a great time. I enjoyed it and will probably pick up book 2 in the future.


Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com and a believer, a husband, a dad, a geek, an artist, a gamer, a teacher, a learner and tired.

Up From Slavery by Washington

Booker was born a slave on a plantation in Alabama. He died the president of a university and one of the most celebrated men in America.

Up From Slavery
by Booker T. Washington
1901

This is a fascinating autobiography by an important fight in American history! The first few chapters, especially, give a history of the end of slavery and the first 25 years after emancipation from the perspective of a former slave that are indispensable! Later chapters focus more on Washington’s accolades and the growth of Tuskegee University and aren’t as interesting, except for certain events.

This is a book worth reading and one all Americans should read for the history and also Washington’s attitude and philosophy, which I think still matters: educate yourself, gain skills, work hard. Rise up.


Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com and a believer, a husband, a dad, a geek, an artist, a gamer, a teacher, a learner and tired.

The Abolition of Man by Lewis

This very short collection of lectures is a fascinating look at a mid last century argument against, what I believe we now call, postmodernism.

The Abolition of Man
by C.S. Lewis
1943

Lewis argues most vigorously against the attack on reason that a couple authors of a school text make, knowingly or not. The idea that sets Lewis off is a seeming rejection of objective reality; that things are objectively true regardless of our opinions. He carefully makes his argument without referring to Christianity or any religion at all, but falls back on what he calls the Tao or – and Lewis readers will recognize this one – natural law.

This argument is a winning one, but unfortunately we see that nearly 80 years later society has embraced it. Postmodernism and relativism rule academia and culture. “My truth” and “your truth” are accepted even though they don’t exist, objectively. “That’s how you see it” or “That’s your opinion” have not only been shown to be as destructive as Lewis anticipated but lead to exactly where he warns us: the death, or abolition, of all objective knowledge.


Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com and a believer, a husband, a dad, a geek, an artist, a gamer, a teacher, a learner and tired.

The Great Divorce by Lewis

I’ve read this classic before and revisiting this quick read is definitely worth it.

The Great Divorce
By C.S. Lewis
1945

For those that don’t know, the whole story is a dream that the main character has of waking up in Hell in a line for a bus that is taking a trip to Heaven. In Heaven we observe several miserable visitors as they are wooed and pleaded with to join citizens of Heaven (that they knew in life).

The story is very reminiscent of Lewis’ Screwtape Letters in that we aren’t supposed to take this as a true theology of Heaven and Hell, but instead we are to see the character and decisions we make in choosing Hell over Heaven. While Screwtape takes the point of view of a tempter of vice, this book takes the point of view of the sinner choosing vice. So long as we see this book from that perspective and not an attempt at theology of Heaven – or an attempt to paint Lewis as a Universalist – this is a great book.

Insightful as always and cutting for those of us who still struggle to choose Joy instead of Self. With the reminder ever so often.


Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com and a believer, a husband, a dad, a geek, an artist, a gamer, a teacher, a learner and tired.

Will Save Galaxy for Food by Croshaw

Imagine that you’re a starship pilot on the fringes of space (the black), saving whole planners of people in the golden age of space exploration. You’re a hero to humans everyone; beloved to all. Then humanity invents a way to get from any two points in space instantaneously. And you don’t have a job anymore. And now you’re scraping by, begging for jobs to fly tourists on quick planetary flybys. It’s a big step down.

Will Save Galaxy for Food
by Yahtzee Croshaw
Dark Horse Books
February 2017

Our hero takes a job pretending to be a different pilot – an incredibly hated one – for a mobster to take his son on an adventure. The boy, and his girlfriend, who happens to be the daughter of the President of Earth, want to go do into space. In an act of fear, our hero and the monsters former secretary decide they would rather kidnap the kids as a plan to escape the clutches of the mobster. It gets more convoluted. The good news is that almost none of it matters as this is incredibly shallow and no details are necessary to enjoy this quick and simple read. It’s supposed to be a satire, and while it is funny at times, this is no Discworld novel.

Complete pass time and nothing more.


Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com and a believer, a husband, a dad, a geek, an artist, a gamer, a teacher, a learner and tired.

Attack on Titan 1

Attack on Titan is an incredibly odd story, even for a manga or anime, which is where I first was introduced to this world. Humanity live in huge walled cities and outside the walls are giant steam monsters that look like naked humans and that eat humans if available. No one knows where they came from or what their goal is. Survival is the focus.

Attack on Titan 1
By Hajime Isayama
Kodansha Comics
June 2012

In manga 1, we meet Erin, the overly angry teenage protagonist and his friends, the smart thinker friend and the powerful warrior friend and the inexplicable enemies. Anime tropes = achieved. If there isn’t something introduced to make this story stand out quickly it’s easy to see how some readers would lose interest. (Like I did when I got so freaking bored watching Erin take his lessons on the anime – I wasted adventure; not high school drama.) Fortunately, things do get a little better as [Spoiler Alert] Erin gets eaten at the end of manga 1.

I’ve already queued up manga 2 and intend to finish all 22 prior to watching the live action Japanese movies (2014) with my daughter, who loves this story.


Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com and a believer, a husband, a dad, a geek, an artist, a gamer, a teacher, a learner and tired.

IQ by Ide

This detective novel won several awards: Shamus (Best First PI Novel 2017,) Anthony (Best First Novel 2017,) Macavity (Best First Mystery 2017,) and nominated for the Edgar Award. Along with the accolades, this is billed as a 20 year old black Sherlock Holmes solving cases in South Central LA. So I was sold on giving it a try.

IQ
By Joe Ide
Mullholland
October 2016

The main mystery – a rapper has been targeted by a hit man – isn’t really the main story here. Since this is the first novel, Ide weaves in IQ’s past as the more important of the two stories. He jumps back and forth between 2005 and 2013 and it flows well. By the end, we have s solution for the rapper mystery as well as a cheat understanding of IQ and his gangsta friend/ Watson.

While I enjoyed the book, I found getting to know Isaiah much for interesting than finding the person who took out the hit on the rapper. And I find that solution to be tagged on to the end of a book that maybe didn’t need that whole plotline. The ending felt hurried and unsatisfying. There is a second book and I’ll definitely read it, so this wasn’t a deal breaker for me.

For those that this matters to, it is important to note that this book is filled to overflowing with crass language, cussing, gang violence, sexuality and whatever else would automatically trigger an R rating if filmed.


Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com and a believer, a husband, a dad, a geek, an artist, a gamer, a teacher, a learner and tired.

Blessed are the Misfits by Hanson

I don’t often listen to the radio but I’m always excited when Brant comes on. He speaks clearly and with love. He knows the Bible well and, I think, has a good grasp of God as well. So I was excited to read his new book. It wasn’t a let down.

Blessed are the Misfits
by Brant Hanson
Thomas Nelson
November 2017

This book is about how those of us who are introverted, different, odd, and even those of us who may have a syndrome like Brant’s Aspergers, can find a place in the largest of big tents in God’s kingdom.

I found a lot to relate to and a release on certain aspects of my faith that just wasn’t like everyone else’s, and that I subconsciously blamed on myself. I must not be seeking God enough. That’s why I didn’t feel his presence at church this week. It’s good to know I’m not the only one. Definitely worth the read.


Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com and a believer, a husband, a dad, a geek, an artist, a gamer, a teacher, a learner and tired.