Category Archives: Sci Fi & Fantasy

A Review of The Classic Horror Stories by H. P. Lovecraft and Roger Luckhurst

The Classic Horror Stories by H. P. Lovecraft and Roger LuckhurstThe Classic Horror Stories
by H. P. Lovecraft and Roger Luckhurst

H. P. Lovecraft, the classic horror writer, or so I had always heard.

I knew that I had read a couple of comic books based on Lovecraft stories many years ago, and I thought that there was a TV show or maybe a movie called The Dunwich Horror. But I didn’t really think that I had read any stories by H. P. Lovecraft. So here was my chance.

First off, let me say that the introduction by Roger Luckhurst is excellent. He suggests that you might want to save it until after you have read the stories, but I was glad that I had read it first. He gives you a lot of very interesting and valuable insight into the mind of H. P. Lovecraft. I didn’t feel that there were any spoilers, so that wasn’t a concern. Mr. Luckhurst chose a fine selection of stories for this volume and also included a short article from H. P. Lovecraft that explains his idea of “weirdly horrible tales”. Mr. Luckhurst concludes this book with an extensive section, entitled Explanatory Notes.

There are a total of 9 tales included in “The Classic Horror Tales”, but not a one of them would be considered a horror story today. In fact H. P. Lovecraft didn’t call them horror stories. He called them weird tales. Every science fiction, fantasy, or horror fan should read these stories, just so that you understand where H. P. was coming from.

Most of his tales are from a first person point of view. He will tell you that he has found something that is too horrible to describe, then go on spending a couple hundred words describing it. And speaking of descriptions, try to get this book as an ebook, so that you can use the built-in dictionary on your ebook reader, because H. P. uses a lot of words that you will have to look up. Mr. Luckhust has a note for many of them, but even those will be easier to use with an ebook.

H. P. Lovecraft had a whole made up universe. He referenced a bunch of nonexistent books by nonexistent authors such as “the Necronomicon by the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred”. Many of his experts came from Miskatonic University, a fictional college in Arkham, Massachusetts, a fictional town.
Many of his stories have an alien race that landed on earth long before there were any humans. Using various devices, he will let you know about these horrible creatures, but always is of the opinion that they are too terrible to be talked about, that people would go mad if they knew that such a thing had happened in the far distant past. H. P. Lovecraft is very wordy, but that isn’t always a bad thing, sometimes you can get into the flow of his many adjectives and adverbs and it is nearly poetic. Other times, not so much. These are good weird tales, just don’t expect to have the sh-t scared out of you, because these aren’t horror stories.

I give this book 4 stars out of 5 and a Thumbs Up! Read this if you have never tracked down any H. P. Lovecraft stories and always thought “I have to read H. P. Lovecraft sometime”. The introduction and notes from Roger Luckhurst make this volume the one to read.

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com.

Book Description
Publication Date: July 1, 2013

H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) was a reclusive scribbler of horror stories for the American pulp magazines that specialized in Gothic and science fiction in the interwar years. He often published in Weird Tales and has since become the key figure in the slippery genre of “weird fiction.” Lovecraft developed an extraordinary vision of feeble men driven to the edge of sanity by glimpses of malign beings that have survived from human prehistory or by malevolent extra-terrestrial visitations. The ornate language of his stories builds towards grotesque moments of revelation, quite unlike any other writer.

This new selection brings together nine of his classic tales, focusing on the “Cthulhu Mythos,” a cycle of stories that develops the mythology of the Old Ones, the monstrous creatures who predate human life on earth. The stories collected here include some of Lovecraft’s finest, including “The Call of Cthulhu,” “At the Mountains of Madness,” “The Dunwich Horror,” “The Colour Out of Space,” “The Shadow over Innsmouth,” and “The Shadow out of Time.” The volume also includes vital extracts from Lovecraft’s critical essay, “Supernatural Horror in Literature,” in which he gave his own important definition of “weird fiction.” In a fascinating introduction, Roger Luckhurst gives Lovecraft the attention he deserves as a writer who used pulp fiction to explore a remarkable philosophy that shockingly dethrones the mastery of man.

Featuring a chronology, bibliography, and informative notes, this is a must-have critical edition for Lovecraft aficionados, and the best introduction to his work for first-time visitors to his strange fictional world.

Product Details
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (July 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0199639574
ISBN-13: 978-0199639571
Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 1.4 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds

About the Authors

Roger Luckhurst is Professor of Modern Literature at Birkbeck College, University of London. An expert on science fiction and Gothic literature, he is the author of The Invention of Telepathy, Science Fiction, The Trauma Question, and The Mummy’s Curse: The True History of a Dark Fantasy.

H. P. Lovecraft was born in 1890 in Providence, Rhode Island, where he lived most of his life. He wrote many essays and poems early in his career, but gradually focused on the writing of horror stories, after the advent in 1923 of the pulp magazine Weird Tales, to which he contributed most of his fiction. His relatively small corpus of fiction–three short novels and about sixty short stories–has nevertheless exercised a wide influence on subsequent work in the field, and he is regarded as the leading twentieth-century American author of supernatural fiction. H. P. Lovecraft died in Providence in 1937.

The book description is from Amazon. The Classic Horror Stories

A Review of Avatar and Nature Spirituality by Bron Taylor

Avatar and Nature Spirtuality by Bron TaylorAvatar and Nature Spirituality
by Bron Taylor

Avatar was a magical movie for me. I saw it in 3D at a theatre soon after it was released. The 3D was so lifelike that I felt that it was real, not a movie . It pulled me into the film. I felt more a part of the action than I ever had. It was like I was spending a few hours of my life on Pandora. I walked out of the theater feeling that my life had changed. I just knew that Avatar would change the way people interacted with nature. When I saw that this book was being released and available for review, I jumped on it.
This book has 14 articles that were published around the world along with a Prologue, Introduction and Epilogue by the editor, Bron Taylor and  Afterword by Daniel Heath Justice. The book is divided into 3 parts. Part 1 is Bringing Avatar Into Focus. Part 2 is Popular Responses. Part 3 is Critical, Emotional & Spiritual Reflections.
Avatar has been many things to different people, and these articles discuss many of the reactions that people have had to the film. Two of the articles research responses to the film by visiting some of the web sites that have forums devoted to discussions of Avatar (avatar-forums.com, learnnavi.org, avatarprime.net, naviblue.com, tree-of-souls.com). In two other articles, the authors interviewed individuals or groups and based their articles on the feedback they received. Most of the rest of the articles draw their research from previously published articles, blogs, web sites or books. Most of the articles seem well researched and bring a thoughtful insight to this book. A couple of the articles were less valuable to me because they seemed to be pushing the author’s preconceived agenda and fitting the facts to that preconception.
On the whole this book is a interesting, if somewhat dry, discussion of current ideas concerning the various reactions to the film Avatar, the ecological impacts, and the controversies surrounding the treatment of indigenous people on our own planet. The authors present many interesting and thoughtful ideas in their articles. They make you examine your own ideas and prejudices. The articles are also very good springboards for discussions. This would be a valuable textbook for a high school or college setting.
I give this book 4 1/2 stars out of 5 and a Big Thumbs Up. If you have seen Avatar and had a connection to the film, then this book is for you. If you think that there needs to be a reevaluation of current trends of allowing corporations unfettered access to natural resources, no matter the cost to the environment or the people who live in the area being developed, then you need to watch Avatar and then read this book.
I received this Digital Review Copy for free from Edelweiss.com.

Book Description
Release date: July 1, 2013 | Series: Environmental Humanities
Avatar and Nature Spirituality explores the cultural and religious significance of James Cameron’s film Avatar (2010), one of the most commercially successful motion pictures of all time. Its success was due in no small measure to the beauty of the Pandora landscape and the dramatic, heart-wrenching plight of its nature-venerating inhabitants. To some audience members, the film was inspirational, leading them to express affinity with the film’s message of ecological interdependence and animistic spirituality. Some were moved to support the efforts of indigenous peoples, who were metaphorically and sympathetically depicted in the film, to protect their cultures and environments. To others, the film was politically, ethically, or spiritually dangerous. Indeed, the global reception to the film was intense, contested, and often confusing.
To illuminate the film and its reception, this book draws on an interdisciplinary team of scholars, experts in indigenous traditions, religious studies, anthropology, literature and film, and post-colonial studies. Readers will learn about the cultural and religious trends that gave rise to the film and the reasons these trends are feared, resisted, and criticized, enabling them to wrestle with their own views, not only about the film but about the controversy surrounding it. Like the film itself, Avatar and Nature Spirituality provides an opportunity for considering afresh the ongoing struggle to determine how we should live on our home planet, and what sorts of political, economic, and spiritual values and practices would best guide us.

Product Details
Paperback: 350 pages
Publisher: Wilfrid Laurier University Press (July 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 155458843X
ISBN-13: 978-1554588435
Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds

About the Author
Bron Taylor is a professor at the University of Florida and a fellow of the Rachel Carson Center in Munich, Germany. His books include Dark Green Religion: Nature Spirituality and the Planetary Future (2010), and he is the editor of the award-winning Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature (2005) and the Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture. His website is http://www.brontaylor.com.

The book description is from Amazon. Avatar and Nature Spirituality

A Review of 14 by Peter Clines

1414

by Peter Clines

Wow! This is one hell of a fine book. You meet Nate. He needs a new place to live. He finds an apartment. He meets some of the neighbors. Simple story, slow even pace, then it starts to get a little strange. The pace speeds up a bit. More neighbors become friends, they talk and compare notes, weirdness, different things. ….. And that is all I can say. You need to read this book, or better yet listen to the audiobook, so that it can sneak up on you and get you before you know it.

Mr. Clines can spin a yarn! This is a perfectly paced novel. I give this 5 stars out of 5, and 2 Big Thumbs Up! I loved it. The narrator also gets 5 stars.

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com. But then I bought it from Audible.

Book Description

Publication Date: May 7, 2012

Chosen by Audible.com as the best sci-fi novel of 2012!

Padlocked doors. Strange light fixtures. Mutant cockroaches.

There are some odd things about Nate’s new apartment.

Of course, he has other things on his mind. He hates his job. He has no money in the bank. No girlfriend. No plans for the future. So while his new home isn’t perfect, it’s livable. The rent is low, the property managers are friendly, and the odd little mysteries don’t nag at him too much.

At least, not until he meets Mandy, his neighbor across the hall, and notices something unusual about her apartment. And Xela’s apartment. And Tim’s. And Veek’s.

Because every room in this old Los Angeles brownstone has a mystery or two. Mysteries that stretch back over a hundred years. Some of them are in plain sight. Some are behind locked doors. And all together these mysteries could mean the end of Nate and his friends.

Or the end of everything…

Product Details

Paperback: 370 pages

Publisher: Permuted Press (May 7, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1618680528

ISBN-13: 978-1618680525

Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches

Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds

About the Author

Peter Clines grew up in the Stephen King fallout zone of Maine and–inspired by comic books, Star Wars, and Saturday morning cartoons–started writing at the age of eight with his first epic novel, LIZARD MEN FROM THE CENTER OF THE EARTH.

He made his first writing sale at age seventeen to a local newspaper, and at the age of nineteen he completed his quadruple-PhD studies in English literature, archaeology, quantum physics, and interpretive dance. In 2008, while surfing Hawaii’s Keauwaula Beach, he thought up a viable way to maintain cold fusion that would also solve world hunger, but forgot all about it when he ran into actress Yvonne Strahvorski back on the beach and she offered to buy him a drink. He was the inspiration for both the epic poem “Beowulf” and the motion picture -Raiders of the Lost Ark-, and is single-handedly responsible for repelling the Martian Invasion of 1938 that occurred in Grovers Mills, New Jersey. Eleven sonnets he wrote to impress a girl in high school were all later found and attributed to Shakespeare. He is the author of numerous short stories, EX-HEROES, EX-PATRIOTS, –14–, THE EERIE ADVENTURES OF THE LYCANTHROPE ROBINSON CRUSOE, and an as-yet-undiscovered Dead Sea Scroll.

There is compelling evidence that he is, in fact, the Lindbergh baby.

The book description is from Amazon. 14 [Paperback]

A Review of Red Moon: A Novel by Benjamin Percy

red-moon-book-coverRed Moon: A Novel

by Benjamin Percy

First thing that I have to make clear, I don’t read werewolf books because I don’t like werewolf books. When I read the description from the publisher, there was nothing in it that clued me into this being a werewolf book. I started reading this book about a month ago, and right away I said “This is a werewolf book”, and put aside. Last weekend I was in B&N with my granddaughters and saw a big display of this book, I read the book-jacket, and it still didn’t mention werewolves, so I said to myself, “Maybe this really isn’t a werewolf book, and since I did request this from NetGalley, I should give it a shot.”

Well I did read it, all 544 pages of it, and it is a werewolf book. Sure, there might be an alternate way of looking at it, this could be an allegory, using werewolves to represent other oppressed minorities, such as blacks, gays or some other ethnic minority, but if that is what Mr. Percy was trying to get across, he sure missed out with this reader. The story meandered too much, the connections between the major characters felt forced, and the book concluded on a really disappointing note. Most of the intertwined characters separate stories end without really feeling finished or even believable. Maybe there is a sequel  planned that will complete the story. If there is, I certainly won’t be reading it.

I give this 1 star out of 5 and a Thumbs Down. Maybe, just maybe, if you are a werewolf fan, you may like this book, but if you aren’t don’t bother.

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com.

Book Description

Release date: May 7, 2013

They live among us.

They are our neighbors, our mothers, our lovers.

They change.

When government agents kick down Claire Forrester’s front door and murder her parents, Claire realizes just how different she is. Patrick Gamble was nothing special until the day he got on a plane and hours later stepped off it, the only passenger left alive, a hero. Chase Williams has sworn to protect the people of the United States from the menace in their midst, but he is becoming the very thing he has promised to destroy. So far, the threat has been controlled by laws and violence and drugs. But the night of the red moon is coming, when an unrecognizable world will emerge…and the battle for humanity will begin.

Product Details

Hardcover: 544 pages

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (May 7, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1455501662

ISBN-13: 978-1455501663

Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.8 x 9.5 inches

Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds

About the Author

Benjamin Percy was born in the high desert of Central Oregon. He is the author of two novels, Red Moon (coming in May 2013, published by Grand Central/Hachette) and The Wilding (Graywolf Press, 2010), as well as two books of stories, Refresh, Refresh (Graywolf Press, 2007) and The Language of Elk (Grand Central/Hachette 2013; Carnegie Mellon, 2006).

His fiction and nonfiction have been read on National Public Radio, performed at Symphony Space, and published by Esquire (where he is a contributing editor), GQ, Time, Men’s Journal, Outside, the Wall Street Journal, the Paris Review, Tin House, Glimmer Train, Ploughshares, and many other magazines and journals.

His honors include an NEA fellowship, the Whiting Writers’ Award, the Plimpton Prize, a Pushcart Prize, and inclusion in Best American Short Stories and Best American Comics.

His story “Refresh, Refresh” was adapted into a graphic novel — co-authored by filmmaker James Ponsoldt and illustrated by Eisner-nominated artist Danica Novgorodoff — that First Second Books (a division of Macmillan) published in 2009.

He is currently at work on the adaptation of The Wilding with filmmaker Guillermo Arriaga (Babel, 21 Grams). And in 2014, Grand Central/Hachette will publish his third novel, The Dead Lands, a post-apocalyptic reimagining of the Lewis and Clark passage.

You can learn more about him at www.benjaminpercy.com.

The book description is from Amazon. Red Moon: A Novel

A Review of The Burn Zone by James K. Decker

BurnZoneThe Burn Zone 

by James K. Decker

Roc (February 5, 2013)

WOW! What a great book! I loved this story. Mr. Decker brings this world to life. He just throws you into a world that is as gritty and dark as “Blade Runner”, and then you have to learn how everything operates. He doesn’t make it any easier on the reader than it is on Sam Shao. Once you are able to wrap your head around what is going on, you are totally committed. You can’t stop, you have to keep reading right though to the final twist, then you just say “Whew!, what a ride. Too bad it’s over.”

The action is great, but the only complaint I have with this book, is that sometimes Sam survives when you think that she couldn’t possibly make it though. This isn’t a huge thing, since most action thrillers have this same flaw.

This is not a Young Adult Novel. There are a lot of YA novels with a 19-year-old heroine, but this isn’t one. There may be some YA novels out there with similar story lines, but this is way darker, more violent and has some events that you won’t find in any YA fiction.

I don’t know if we will be able to see another novel set in this world, but I would love to read it if it comes out. I give this book 4 1/2 stars out of 5. I recommend this to any fan of hard science fiction.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Book Description

Release date: February 5, 2013

Plagued by overpopulation, disease, and starvation, humanity was headed for extinction—until an alien race called the haan arrived. And then the real trouble began.

It’s been a rough day for Sam Shao. As part of a program that requires humans to act as surrogates to haan infants, Sam has been genetically enhanced to bond with them. So when three soldiers invade her apartment and arrest her guardian for smuggling a dangerous weapon into the country, Sam can sense that something isn’t right. One of his abductors is a haan masquerading as a human, and the supposedly fragile haan seems to be anything but.

Racing through the city slums, trying to stay one step ahead of the mysterious haan soldier, Sam tries to find the man who, in her twenty years, has been the only father she’s ever known. Could he truly have done what he is accused of? Or did he witness something both human and haan would kill to keep hidden? The only thing certain is that the weapon is real—and lost now somewhere in a city of millions.

Fighting the clock, Sam finds an ally in Nix, a haan envoy devoted to coexisting with humans, or so it seems. But what she really needs are answers. Fast. Or else everything she knows—and everyone she loves—will burn.

Product Details

Reading level: Ages 18 and up

Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages

Publisher: Roc (February 5, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0451413407

ISBN-13: 978-0451413406

Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 4.1 x 1.1 inches

Shipping Weight: 0.6 ounces

About the Author

James K. Decker was born in New Hampshire in 1970, and has lived in the New England area since that time. He developed a love of reading and writing early on, participating in young author competitions as early as grade school, but the later discovery of works by Frank Herbert and Issac Asimov turned that love to an obsession.

He wrote continuously through high school, college and beyond, eventually breaking into the field under the name James Knapp, with the publication of the Revivors trilogy (State of Decay, The Silent Army, and Element Zero). State of Decay was a Philip K. Dick award nominee, and won the 2010 Compton Crook Award. The Burn Zone is his debut novel under the name James K. Decker.

He now lives in MA with his wife Kim.

The product descriptions and author information is from Amazon. The Burn Zone

A Review of Future Games – Paula Guran (Editor)

Future GamesFuture Games

Paula Guran (Editor)

What’s not to like? This is the perfect combination: Sports and sci-fi. An excellent compilation. I loved most of the stories. But like any anthology, there are always a few stories that are really memorable and a few that you kind of skim though. One of my favorites was “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” by Scott Westerfeld. I also enjoyed revisiting the short story “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card which was expanded into the novel of the same name.

This is a collection of 16 stories from authors such as Orson Scott Card, Cory Doctorow, George R.R. Martin, Scott Westerfeld and many others.  All but one were previously published. The earliest “The Survivor” by Walter F. Moudy was from 1965. The latest “Kip, Running” by Genevieve Williams was published in March. 2010. Most of the stories have a central theme of a type of organized team sport, but a couple are more in the game vein, which works since the book is called Future Games.

I give this 4 stars out of 5.

I received this book for free through NetGalley.com.

Book Description

Publication Date: January 3, 2013

Human competition is eternal. No matter what the future brings, sports will be a part of it. But what forms will these games take? Who will be the spectator, who will play? Will aliens be our opponents or machines? What rules will we play by? What will be at stake? What rewards will be reaped by the victors? What fates await the defeated? Will the entire universe be our arena or will our world be smaller than today? Visionary authors speculate on what swifter, higher, stronger will mean in the near and distant future.

Product Details

File Size: 648 KB

Print Length: 384 pages

Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited

Publisher: Prime Books (January 3, 2013)

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Language: English

ASIN: B00AWVCATG

Text-to-Speech: Enabled

X-Ray: Not Enabled

Lending: Enabled

The product descriptions and author information is from Amazon. Future Games

A Review of Mars Attacks Volume 1: Attack From Space by John Layman & John McCrea

Mars Attacks, Volume 1- Attack From Space

Mars Attacks Volume 1: Attack From Space

John Layman & John McCrea

This is Volume 1 of many. The book contains the first 5 comics in the series that started with Issue #1, Published June, 2012. It also included Issue #6, which begins the second volume (at least my Advanced Readers Copy did). At the end of Issue #5, it says

“Fin
End
Mars Attacks
Book One”

So Issue #6 may not be included.

This book has some of the same feeling as the Mars Attacks movie, directed by Tim Burton in 1996, which was based on the Topps trading cards from 1962. The Martians look nearly identical and they use flying saucers, and ray guns to blast away the flesh on their victims. The movie has a bit more comedy to it than the book does.

Once you get away from the basic premise of Martians attacking Earth with flying saucers and ray guns, the movie and the book’s paths separate. This book has new versions of the Topps trading cards interspersed throughout. They show different scenes so that this story can follow them instead of the original series. There is a new set of heroes that will be the primary focus of the battles against the Martians. The story and drawings are very good. The action is constant. If you enjoy heroes instead of superheroes, you will like this series. This is a book binding the actual story pages from the comic books, so other features such as letters pages and ads are missing. The comic is a monthly, so January should see the publication of Issue #7. I will be looking forward to stopping by my local comic book shop and looking for it.

I give this book 3 1/2 stars out of 5. It’s a good, fast paced, action graphic novel.

I received this book for free through NetGalley.com.

Book Description

Publication Date: February 26, 2013 | Series: Mars Attacks

The invasion begins! The first stories of an all-new Mars Attacks universe are here, bringing outrageous action and dark humor to the comics page. Eisner-winning writer John Layman (Chew) is joined by Eisner-winning artist John McCrea (Hitman) to sound the alarm. Beware! The Martians are coming!

Product Details

Paperback: 124 pages

Publisher: IDW Publishing (February 26, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1613774214

ISBN-13: 978-1613774212

The product description is from Amazon. Mars Attacks Volume 1: Attack From Space

A Review of Erebos by Ursula Poznanski

Erebos softcover.indd

Erebos

Ursula Poznanski

Annick Press

Pub Date   Feb 1 2012

Nick Dunmore is on his school basketball team. His friend Colin Harris is also a member of the team. Recently Colin has been missing practice. In fact a lot of the team is absent. Coach Bethune is very angry. Nick wonders why Colin is skipping practice. He tries to get Colin to tell him what is going on. Colin says that he can’t tell him. But Nick knows that it has something to do with the dorky guys that Colin is hanging around with. Guys that he and Colin used to make fun of. So when Nick sees Colin passing something to a schoolmate, Jerome, he confronts Jerome and asks him what he received from Colin. Jerome refuses to tell him anything. Nick is sure that something is going on, so when Brynne offers him a game DVD, he takes it. He promises that he will follow the rules. The game makes the rules and all players MUST follow them or they will be out. Nick quickly gets deeply into the game. The game, Erebos, knows him. It can communicate with him. It gives him tasks to do, first in the game, then in the real world. It wants to control all the players.

Ms. Poznanski has written a very riveting novel. Its aimed towards the Young Adult crowd, but I was caught up into it just the same. The story is well written and believable. The story is structured well and the ending feels right. I haven’t played many computer adventure games, but this one sounds like one that would grab my interest.

I give this 5 stars.

I received a free e-book of Erebos from NetGalley.

Description

An intelligent computer game with a disturbing agenda.

When 16-year-old Nick receives a package containing the mysterious computer game Erebos, he wonders if it will explain the behavior of his classmates, who have been secretive lately. Players of the game must obey strict rules: always play alone, never talk about the game, and never tell anyone your nickname.

Curious, Nick joins the game and quickly becomes addicted. But Erebos knows a lot about the players and begins to manipulate their lives. When it sends Nick on a deadly assignment, he refuses and is banished from the game.

Now unable to play, Nick turns to a friend for help in finding out who controls the game. The two set off on a dangerous mission in which the border between reality and the virtual world begins to blur. This utterly convincing and suspenseful thriller originated in Germany, where it has become a runaway bestseller.

Product Details

Reading level: Ages 12 and up

Paperback: 436 pages

Publisher: Annick Press; Canadian and US rights only edition (January 19, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1554513723

ISBN-13: 978-1554513727

Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 1.1 inches

Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds

About the Author

Ursula Poznanski was born in Vienna, Austria, where she still lives today with her partner and daughter. The older of two sisters, she enjoyed reading, music, cycling, and skiing when she was a child. Her favorite books were The Flying Classroom by Erich Kaestner, Mio, My Son by Astrid Lindgren, and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.

Ursula started writing when she was no more than seven or eight years old. She was fortunate in that she had teachers who encouraged her a great deal, and loving relatives who would read her essays to everybody who hadn’t managed to escape in time. She found it quite embarrassing, but it did not deter her from writing.

The idea for Erebos (Spring 2012) came from her penchant for stories that include a change of worlds. These usually come in the form of fantasies, but she wanted to tell a story where this actually happens. She loved the idea of a computer game dragging the player so deeply into a virtual world that it would affect his view of reality. She also wanted to write about manipulation and how it works.

What Ursula enjoys most about the creative process are those moments when it seems as if the book is writing itself. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it is pure joy.

Her advice for aspiring authors is to read a lot and write a lot. Don’t believe that success is going to come fast or easy, but carry on nevertheless. Love your story; don’t run after trends. Look for a good writing partner who tells you the truth about what he or she thinks of your work. Appreciate profound criticism.

Ursula’s interests, besides writing, include photography, music (although she doesn’t play an instrument, she has not given up hope that she may still do so one day), talking to interesting people, and traveling.

Review of The Sum of Her Parts by Alan Dean Foster

The Sum of Her Parts by Alan Dean Foster
The Sum of Her Parts by Alan Dean Foster

The Sum of Her Parts (The Tipping Point Trilogy Book 3)

Alan Dean Foster

This is the final segment of a 3 part story. The picture of the world that was portrayed in the first book, “The Human Blend” was quite intriguing. The future was one where global warming had fulfilled all of the dire warnings we have been hearing for years. The oceans had risen which flooded the low-lying coastal cities. To combat the rising water, some cities had been built on stilts or floats. The warmer climate had driven tropical animals toward what had formerly been the temperate regions. More powerful tropical storms hit the coastlines more frequently. They had fashioned large moveable shields to divert the winds. And the most engaging part of the new world was the dramatically improved ability to adjust ones self. To have any sort of modification to your body  that you could imagine, as long has you could pay for it.

This was the world in the first book. The third book takes place entirely in the desert of South Africa, on the lands of a South African company, SAEC. The two  protagonists of this series, Dr. Ingrid Seastrom and Whispr continue on their quest to discover what the metallic thread found in the first book, has hidden inside of its encrypted data. They are trying to break into the SAEC research facility, which is in the middle of a large heavily guarded and patrolled desert.

I was hoping that Mr. Foster would be using the setting that was developed in the first book as a basis for many more stories, but the ending of this book makes that very unlikely.

If you have started reading the series, you will want to finish it. I think that the series had more promise than it delivered. I give this 3 out of 5 stars.

I received this book for free from Net Galley.

Title Details

Random House Publishing Group

Del Rey

Paperback: 288 pages

Publisher: Del Rey (November 27, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0345512022

ISBN-13: 978-0345512024

Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches

Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces

Price: 15.00

Currency: USD

Edition: Paperback

Description

In this thrilling science fiction adventure-the triumphant conclusion to the Tipping Point trilogy-New York Times bestselling author Alan Dean Foster returns to a near future in which genetic manipulation and extreme body modification have changed profoundly what it means to be human.

Dr. Ingrid Seastrom was once a respected American physician. Whispr, whose body has been transformed to preternatural thinness, was once a streetwise thief. Now, in a world on the edge of catastrophe from centuries of environmental exploitation, they are allies-thrust together by fate to unravel an impossible mystery-even as they are stalked by a relentless killer.

Ingrid and Whispr are hunted fugitives bound together by a thread: a data-storage thread made of a material that cannot exist, yet somehow does. Their quest to learn its secrets-and, in Whispr’s case, sell them to the highest bidder-has brought them to South Africa’s treacherous Namib desert. Beyond its dangers waits a heavily guarded research facility that promises answers, if they can survive long enough to get there. But that won’t be easy, not with Napun Molé on their trail. They’ve already escaped the assassin twice, and as far as Molé is concerned, finishing them off isn’t just a job anymore . . . it’s personal.

About the Author

Alan Dean Foster has written in a variety of genres, including hard science fiction, fantasy, horror, detective, western, historical, and contemporary fiction. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Star Wars: The Approaching Stormand the popular Pip & Flinx novels, as well as novelizations of several films, including Transformers, Star Wars, the first three Alien films, and Alien Nation. His novel Cyber Way won the Southwest Book Award for Fiction, the first science fiction work ever to do so. Foster and his wife, JoAnn Oxley, live in Prescott, Arizona, in a house built of brick that was salvaged from an early twentieth century miners’ brothel. He is currently at work on several new novels and media projects.

Review of The Human Blend by Alan Dean Foster

The Human Blend
The Human Blend by Alan Dean Foster


The Human Blend (Tipping Point Trilogy Book 1)

by Alan Dean Foster

Mr. Foster develops a very engaging world in this the first novel of the Tipping Point Trilogy. This is a world of flooded coastlines, powerful hurricanes and altered national identities. The human populace has also changed. There are people who haven’t undergone any body modifications, the Naturals, and people who have done nearly any imaginable thing to their bodies, the Melds.

In part one of this Trilogy, Whispr and Jiminy Cricket murder an unknown tourist in Savannah, so that they can steal his meld, a mechanical hand. During the crime, Whispr finds a small hidden metallic thread and takes it. This thread is the focus of the whole story. Police and underground groups are looking for it and will kill anyone who stands in their way of getting it.

The Human Blend is book one of a trilogy, and at the end of the book there is no resolution to the plot. This is similar to a three part television show. You will have to continue reading “Body, Inc.” and “The Sum of Her Parts”.

This is an interesting world and could be used for much more than the story that is being told here. I enjoyed the story and read it very quickly. I hope that Mr. Foster will develop other stories in this setting. I give this 4 stars out of 5.

Description

In this first novel of a thrilling new series set in our near future, New York Times bestselling author Alan Dean Foster reveals a place where criminals are punished through genetic engineering and body manipulation—and poses profound questions about what it means to be human.

Given his name because radical surgery has reduced him to preternatural thinness, Whispr is a thug. In a dark alley in Savannah, Whispr and his partner in crime, Jiminy Cricket, murder what they take to be a random tourist in order to steal his artificial hand. But the victim is also carrying an unusual silver thread, which Whispr and Jiminy grab as well.

Chance later deposits a wounded Whispr at the clinic of Dr. Ingrid Seastrom. Powerful forces have been searching for Whispr since he acquired the mysterious thread, and Jiminy has vanished. All Whispr wants to do is sell the thread, and when he offers to split the profits with Ingrid, she makes an astonishing discovery. So begins the formidable partnership between the Harvard-educated physician and the street-smart thief—as long as they can elude the enhanced assassins that are tracking them.

Product Details

Paperback: 256 pages

Published November 22nd 2011 by Del Rey

ISBN: 0345511980

ISBN13: 9780345511980

edition language: English

Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches

Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces

About The Author

Alan Dean Foster’s work to date includes excursions into hard science-fiction, fantasy, horror, detective, western, historical, and contemporary fiction. He has also written numerous non-fiction articles on film, science, and scuba diving, as well as having produced the novel versions of many films, including such well-known productions as “Star Wars”, the first three “Alien” films, “Alien Nation”, and “The Chronicles of Riddick”. Other works include scripts for talking records, radio, computer games, and the story for the first “Star Trek” movie. His novel “Shadowkeep” was the first ever book adaptation of an original computer game. In addition to publication in English his work has been translated into more than fifty languages and has won awards in Spain and Russia. His novel “Cyber Way” won the Southwest Book Award for Fiction in 1990, the first work of science-fiction ever to do so.

Foster’s sometimes humorous, occasionally poignant, but always entertaining short fiction has appeared in all the major SF magazines as well as in original anthologies and several “Best of the Year” compendiums. His published oeuvre includes more than 100 books.