The Sound Track of World War III

While a book is created and enjoyed through written text, music can have a powerful interaction with it. Songs can inspire the writer, change a mood, capture a moment, crystalize a character, or deepen the experience of the read. There is science behind the way music affects your brain, but it is something any writer and reader instinctually knows.

Below are some of the various songs that did so for us, as we built the world of Ghost Fleet, along with page number for where you might play them. If you enjoy them, please check out more by these great artists.


Space Pirates | Alice Cooper

Page 254: The song that plays in the background of the Tiangong. Little did we expect we when set out to write a book about World War III that we would become the proud owners of the rights to an Alice Cooper space opera.

Mama | Genesis

Page 275: The story of a lethal woman and an obsessive hunt (plus this song was also used as background in the hunt for another Hawaii serial killer in one of the best Magnum PI episodes)

All You Zombies | The Hooters
All you zombies show your faces
All you people in the street
All you sittin’ in high places
The pieces gonna fall on you.

Page 290: “It was as if the entire virtual world has risen up in revolt.”

Sirens  | Pearl Jam
Want you to know that should I go,
I always loved you, held you high above, true.
I study your face, and the fear goes away,
The fear goes away.

Page 370: “He could hear his father speaking through him.”

Maunaleo | Kealii Reichel
He kamalani kamaehu kau i ka hano e
He kamalei, kamahiwa pa i ka lani e
A cherished one, respected for power and strength
Esteemed, treasured, touched by heaven

Page 139: Beauty haunts.

Over the Rainbow | Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole
And the dream that you dare to, why, oh why can’t I? I?

Page 378: “But promise me you’ll look out for that leash next time; it can be a real killer.”

王铮亮 时间都去哪了 (Where Has the Time Gone  | Wang Zhengliang
Bàn shēngcúnle hǎoduō huà
I’ve held on to so many words over a lifetime

Page 45: “The smiling Ming, missing his two front teeth, wore his father’s blue air force officer’s  hat.”

Fade Into You | Sam Palladio & Clare Bowen
If you were the ocean and I was the sun
If the day made me heavy and gravity won
If I was the red and you were the blue
I could just fade into you

Page 175: A Navy officer we met with for the book talked about how the hardest challenge he faced was living up to his own expectations to be the best possible ship captain and husband, wondering whether either could be done, let alone in combination.

I miss you | Blink 182
Hello there,
The angel from my nightmare

Page 186

California | Mates of State
We’ve be on the run
Driving in the sun
Looking out for number one
California, here we come
Hustlers grab your guns

Page 178: “But to anyone local, it smelled like Money.”

This could be Yours | Cold War Kids
I have cracked the code on this old machine
Ten thousands hours to be released

Page 39: “The darkened arena seemed to be lit by hundreds of fireflies as the student’s hands wove faint neon green tracks through the air.”

Young and Beautiful | Lana Del Ray
Will you still love me
When I’m no longer young and beautiful?
Will you still love me
When I got nothing but my aching soul?

Page 365: “Mike felt Vern’s hand slip from his grasp….”

Heroes | David Bowie
We could be heroes, for just one day

Page 331: “The hell with that.” said Welch

My Hero | Dave Grohl
There goes my hero
Watch him as he goes
There goes my hero
He’s ordinary

Page 378: “Tracking now, Dad!”


Gimme Shelter | Rolling Stones
War, children, it’s just a shot away.

Page 35: “Attack your enemy where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.”

Godspeed | Chicks
Godspeed, little man
Sweet dreams, little man
Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels wings
Sweet dreams

Page 372: What Conan sings every night. A scene written with tears in eyes.

Running on Empty | Jackson Browne
Running on, running on empty
Running on, running blind
Running on, running into the sun
But I’m running behind

Page 199: “He was too damned old, and now he knew it.”

Stabbing Westword | Save yourself
I can not save you 
I can’t even save myself 
So just save yourself

Page 69: Worm banked the F-35B hard to the left.

Everybody Wants to Rule the World | Tears for Fears
Of freedom and of pleasure
Nothing ever lasts forever
Everybody wants to rule the world

Page 29: “Must, Demands. these are he words of power but also responsibility.”


Dead Inside | Muse
Unleash a million drones
And confine me then erase me babe
Do you have no soul
It’s like it died long ago

Page 242: “It all sounded good, but she knew something Finn didn’t. She knew she was already dead.”

Mind Over Matter | Young the Giant
Mind over matter,
I’m in tatters thinkin’ about her
Taste my disaster

Page 264: “The fact that he couldn’t feel the drill going into the bad if his head made the noise all the more terrifying.”

MS MR | Painted
What did you think would happen…

Page 77: “Worm’s fate, though, had been decided several months before.”

What I’ve Done | Linkin Park
I’ll face myself to cross out what I’ve become
Erase myself
And let go of what I’ve done

Page 175: “It was always a risk that something bad would go down at the school. Why do you think I chose it?”

Plowed | Sponge
Say a prayer for me

Page 65: “Wake the bitch up, I want targets!”

Highway to the Danger Zone | Kenny Loggins
Highway to the Danger Zone
Ride into the Danger Zone

Page 334: You know why…


Winin’ Boy Blues | Art Hodes

Page 190: “The piano playing on the speakers was barely acceptable; It sounded like Art Hodes, if he were a half drunk robot and had a stim pump running on overdrive. Carr’es father had come from Gary, Indiana, in Chicago’s shadow, and had taught her about the beauty of jazz and the horror of men.”

Beat the Devil’s Tattoo | Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Your soul is able
Death is all you cradle
Sleepin’ on the nails
There’s nowhere left to fall

Page 103: “Her arm ached, but it was a familiar pain, terrible but comforting. She felt centered for the first time in months. Music was one of the best ways — and safest — to get to know Carrie Shin in order to understand how her wartime experience as a civilian could unleash a lifetime of demons. ”

Number with No Name | Ben Harper and the Relentless7
The very thing that drives you
Can drive you insane
Got a head full of thought crimes
And a number with no name

Page 178: Daniel Aboye’s desire to help the US government runs headlong into bureaucracy, but he quickly realizes the only thing he can do for the country that gave him everything is to give everything he has back when the nation needs him most — even if it doesn’t realize it.


Burn Piles, Swimming Holes | Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires
We’ve got satellites. We’ve got a new Tower of Babel
We eat machines, and we wear labels
Get off the fucking Internet, and cut off the cable
The mind is static, but the body’s still able

Page 105: The US war effort, in some really important areas, depends on a change in attitude as much as any one technology. That’s especially true for the digital natives trying to make sense of the wartime roles they’ve been thrust into.

Rowing | Soundgarden
Moving is breathing and breathing is life
Stopping is dying
You’ll be alright
Life is a hammer waiting to drop
Drifting the shallows and the rowing won’t stop

Page 9: Mike “Big Mike” Simmons can’t be anybody else but who he is, for worse more than better. Then the world finally falls apart and offers a chance at redemption.

Ambulances | Joe Fletcher & The Wrong Reasons
I signed the dotted line never knowing what it meant
Until they handed me a weapon
And off I was sent
To shiver through the night for a life misspent

Page 208: There’s more than one enemy that Dr. Vernalise Li has to face …

Touch Me I’m Sick | Mud Honey
I’m diseased, I don’t mind
I’ll make you love me ’till the day you die

Page 116: Traveling down the darker lanes of daily life in occupied Hawaii with Carrie Shin needs the right soundtrack to go with the unease and fear desire present in the simplest of actions like going to work.

Keeper | Shovels & Rope
Well Lula’s by the river and she’s got herself a good, good man
Friends say she should come join them in the West Coast sand
But she knows she’s got a keeper and they’ll never really understand.

Page 91: Jamie Simmons and his wife Lindsey feel the life they feel they were getting ready for after the navy slipping through their fingers, but they each know that war or not, there’s nobody else they want by their side.

Fixin’ to Die | G Love & Special Sauce
Feeling funny in my mind, Lord
I believe I’m fixin’ to die
Well I don’t mind dyin’ but
I hate to leave my children cryin’

Page 229: Conan nearly loses her life again and again, yet she fights with a savagery as strong as her love for her family who are safe back in California. She does not expect to survive the war, which makes living even harder.

Ocean Size | Jane’s Addiction
Wish I was ocean size
They cannot move you
No one tries
No one pulls you
Out from your hole
Like a tooth aching a jawbone

Page 207: Cory Silkins is used to taking things without asking, and now she has the power and to match Aboye’s outrage to do something about the war.

Black Uhuru | Apocalypse
Well Lula’s by the river and she’s got herself a good, good man
Friends say she should come join them in the West Coast sand
But she knows she’s got a keeper and they’ll never really understand.

Page 219: “A subdued Colombian reggae band played in the corner.”

Violet | Hole
And the sky was all violet
I wanna give the violet more violence
Hey, I’m the one with no soul
One above and one below

Page 222: “Carrie looked down. The soldier’s face was gone, just a patchwork of red lines. She couldn’t recall what it had looked like. Her father’s face was all she could recall.”

Malibu | Hole
Cry to the angels
I’m gonna rescue you
I’m gonna set you free tonight, baby
Pour over me

Page 139: “Strength did not matter in the water.”

Hash Pipe | Weezer
Come on and kick me
You’ve got your problems
I’ve got my eyes wide

Page 59: “What the hell, they weren’t supposed to be offloading for another day.”

Electric Feel | MGMT
With the voltage running through her skin
Standing there with nothing on

Page 168: “The ink of the tattoo was actually a derivative of the electric ink used in the old tablet computer readers.”

Hey Man, Nice Shot | Filter
now that the smoke’s gone
and the air is all clear
those who were right there
got a new kind of feare

Page 309: “Then there was a sudden roar overhead, almost like an airborne locomotive.”

Battle Flag | Lo Fidelity All Stars
This air to ground saga
Gotta launder my karma

Page 313: A plan comes together…