On p. 32 of the March, 2012 edition of QST that came out this week, I am pleased to see a review of The Road Home, a novel written by Andrew Baze, AB8L. Coincidentally my son and I just finished reading this book, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Despite a few typos and minor grammatical errors (specifically, the use of the indicative mood where the subjunctive mood should have been used), it is very well written. The plot is plausible and captivating. Mr. Baze makes ham radio (2m FM and APRS) an integral part of the story, and he makes it work — it doesn’t seem at all as though he were straining to slip it in somehow. Furthermore he displays a high degree of competence in operating procedures, emergency preparedness, and even defensive tactics.
While this book is light reading, there is still some character development of the young man who is the main character of the story. Refreshingly, the boy’s father is his guide (rather than being marginalized or vilified as parents often are in teenage fiction). Not only does Mr. Baze inspire a young person to get a ham radio license, he succeeds in developing the moral imagination of his readers. The Road Home cultivates an affection for such admirable qualities as diligence, perseverance, courage, level-headedness, familial love, compassion, and a chivalric desire to avoid violence yet defend women from evil with deadly force when necessary.
You can read this book for free, if you have a Kindle and an Amazon Prime account, by borrowing it from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library for Amazon Prime Members.
Other novels that my children and I have enjoyed are those written by Cynthia Wall, KA7ITT: Night Signals, Hostage in the Woods, Firewatch!, Easy Target, Disappearing Act, and A Spark to the Past. These six books are a series chronicling the adventures of fictional characters Kim Stafford, KA7SJP, and her boyfriend Marc, KA7ITR. They are definitely aimed at children, but if you’re like me you’ll still read them — it’s so hard to find novels incorporating ham radio that you just can’t pass these up.
Another novel that incorporates ham radio is Cornbread Road, by Jeff Davis, KE9V. Mr. Davis released it as an audio-book in a series of podcasts in 2010-2011, and my wife and I enjoyed listening to it together. The podcast is not currently available but hopefully it will be back up soon. Cornbread Road is aimed at adults. The main character is a ham who gets involved with a secret society of ham radio operators led by a mysterious figure with a past, a ham who is an inventive genius and who is himself caught up in a web of international intrigue. While the plot may tax your ability to suspend disbelief, it is still an amusing story and throws in a little of everything in ham radio.
Do you have any ham radio novels to recommend? I dimly recall one or two that I nearly wore out as a child (back in the days when I would ride my bicycle to the local library and read my favorite books over and over), but I couldn’t tell you much about them now. If you know of any — and where to find them — please chime in with a comment!