Wednesday, February 27, 2019

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Sunday, February 24, 2019

Off the Bookshelf: ZERO G, by Dan Wells

My second audiobook. This one was an Audible Original, meaning if you're in the know and a member ... Free! Audible Original = only available on Audible.

I knew the name Dan Wells from the Writing Excuses podcast, so that made me curious. I wanted to see how one of my "writing teachers" wrote.

FUN book. Or rather, a dramatization of a YA SF adventure.

Besides having a narrator, characters were given voices by actors. My brother used to collect old-time radio dramas on records (yeah, that long ago) so I'm familiar with, and like, audio dramatizations. I Love a Mystery, The Green Hornet, The Shadow, and others.

Zero is the nickname of our hero, the youngest of 3 boys in a family boarding a sleeper ship, heading for a new world 100-plus years of travel away. They have to spend the voyage in stasis because the speed at which their ship travels will kill the thousands of passengers. Zero is that kid who doesn't mean to get in trouble, but he doesn't always follow the rules, either. He wants to explore and know things. He wakes up before everyone else and realizes he's the only one awake on a ship about to shift into killing speed, and his stasis pod has malfunctioned so he can't get back into it, and his only help comes from a navigational artificial intelligence named Sancho. And oh yeah, did I mention a bunch of space pirates are at the airlock, and they've overridden Sancho's programming and are about to turn him off, and the clock is ticking down?

What does our hero do? Will time run out? Will the pirates win? Will his brothers wake up and see all the things Zero painted on their stasis pods, making fun of them?

Major fun. The 4 hours of the story went so fast. I didn't want to turn off my iPhone!
Can't wait until my to-be-read list has gone down a few feet, so I can explore more books by this author.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Off the Bookshelf: MYTHICAL DOORWAYS, A Fellowship of Fantasy Anthology

Another fun anthology from the Fellowship of Fantasy!

Can I just say that I DEVOURED both volumes? The fact this is a collection of shorts made them easy to read -- I knew I could finish a story, or two, maybe three, before going to bed. Better than "Calgon, take me away!"

Like the review of another anthology of theirs, I'll leave them to tell you what this collection is about. And again urge you to indulge!

"We present to you tales of gateways to marvelous places. These doorways open into adventure, wonder, and even danger.

"Within, you will accompany heroes on their way to fairy worlds. Brave the dangers of the past through a portal in time. Eavesdrop at the door of a forbidden workshop. Follow a girl on a search for a better life in her choice between three tempting magical doors. Help a sorcerer close a gateway before an unspeakable horror escapes, and slip through a portal on a quest for delicious chocolate!"

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Off the Bookshelf: REDSHIRTS, by John Scalzi

I confess, I'm a Trekker from the early days. I can remember seeing episodes when it was on network TV. Not going to tell you how young I was, and how rare it was to stay up past my bedtime to see it ...

So hearing this audiobook (my FIRST audiobook) was a Star Trek salute/parody AND is narrated by Will Wheaton (ST:NG) kind of nudged me closer to taking the plunge and getting my Audible membership. Besides, I'm hooked on listening to writing and marketing podcasts for long road trips, so switching over to audiobooks and having FUN while I make long drives (my business partner in Mt. Zion Ridge Press is 9-1/2 hours of driving away) wasn't that hard of a decision.

Audible is extremely talented at temptation. If you're careful with your credit that comes with your membership fee every month, and you wait and watch for specials, and the Audible Originals ... you can build up a huge library pretty fast, without spending a lot of money.

REDSHIRTS is ... for those not in the know ... a reference to the hapless crewmembers who are marked for death for the simple reason that 1) they're wearing a red uniform shirt and 2) someone has to die or come close to it to ratchet up the tension in that week's episode.

But what happens when this is happening to "real" people on a "real" starship in the far distant future, and they figure out that their lives (and deaths) are being controlled by ... ?

I'm not going to give away that much of the plot, because it takes a while for our heroes to figure it out. And a number of people we've come to like ... die! Let me just say that they figure it out, and hopefully live happily ever after. Maybe. With some ripples in the time-space continuum that make you wonder what version of reality is the real one.

Lots of snark. Lots of griping. Lots of fun. Lots of groaners and inside jokes. Hmmm, some profanity. Kind of understandable, under the circumstances.

If you love Trek, if you love parodies. If you're a writer who feels like your characters are coming to life and arguing with you about what you're doing to them ... Fun.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Off the Bookshelf: TALES OF EVER AFTER, Fellowship of Fantasy Anthology

This anthology from the Fellowship of Fantasy is ... WOW.
Major fun.

Retellings and new angles of known and not-so-well-known faerie tales.

Let their "Dear Readers" letter tell you what to expect (and let me strongly urge you to indulge):

"Have you ever wondered what happened after Cinderella's ball? Or why exactly all those princesses are so darn sleepy? Or if kissing frogs is really a good idea? Never fear! We have the answers to those questions and more. Enjoy sixteen original stories from awesome authors across multiple genres from Steampunk to Science Fantasy to Epic Adventure to Snarky Satire.

"There are many perilous journeys ahead of you, but no graphic content. All the stories here fall below a PG-13 rating.

"The Fellowship of Fantasy is an online group of writers dedicated to presenting the best in clean fantasy stories of any stripe. Some tackle epic quests to save the world, while others prefer more urban settings. Whether you enjoy contemporary tales, romantic retellings, or something else entirely, you're sure to find stories that speak to you."