5.22.2018

Review of Pump Six by Paolo Bacigalupi


So, there’s sci-fi (science fiction), and cli-fi (climate science fiction), and now there’s bio-fi (biological science fiction). This last sub-genre is what Paolo Bacigalupi focuses on. He writes novels, young adult fiction and stories. And he’s my favorite fantasy/sci-fi writer. I’ve taught his stories in my classes now for years, and my students also love his writing. As twenty-somethings they feel the winds of change on their necks, and he’s describing it so articulately. His breakout novel was The Windup Girl, set in a future alt-southeast Asia. But if you want to start with something quick and easily digestible try his story collection Pump Six.


Two standout stories are Pocketful of Dharma and The Fluted Girl. These are lyrical yet sharp as tacks, wondrous yet horrifying, pure fantasy yet containing believable scenarios. In the first, we meet Wang Jun, a poverty-stricken beggar wandering the streets of old Chengdu. All he wants is to get to the top of a gigantic biomorphic city, It’s a living architectural structure, like a blob with a beating heart and arteries that a person can run inside of. It grows, it breathes, it oozes and it stinks. A strange foreigner gives Wang Jun a data cube and asks him to take it to a certain bridge and give it to a person wearing white gloves. I won’t get into a blow by blow synopsis partly because it gives away too much. Suffice it to say, the characters Jun meets and the origin of this strange cube will blow your mind.

The Fluted Girl combines the torturous art of foot binding, with genetic enhancements designed to lure, kill, seduce and prolong life. It combines classic fairytale in that it’s set in a castle in the snow, yet it’s also sci-fi at its most savage. The girls—two sisters, Lidia and Nia—have been painstakingly crafted to stop growing at puberty, and have holes in their bodies at strategic points so that they can literally play each other like flutes. They perform at parties and produce beautiful music with an almost sexual crescendo. Their directress doles out drugs, which renders the audience lustful. Add in a mix of very nasty villains with quirky flaws, and it’s a recipe for a gripping thriller.

With geneticists able to grow body parts, celebs like Bette Midler cloning their dogs, and geneticists on the cusp of being able to literally go into one’s DNA code and reprogram the diseased parts, these Bacigalupi stories satisfy like little else. We just feel it. It's a déjà vu that exists in the future, an itch you can't quite scratch, but it’s oh, so close.

5.08.2018

Movie and TV Tie-ins #specfic #books

Some movies and TV shows are created from books, but others inspire books all their own, especially as a series gains popularity.

As a big fan of several—um, okay, it's really many—TV shows, I love following the characters I love from the small screen to the page. I've read TV tie-in novels from series such as The X-Files, Grimm, Star Trek, Stargate SG-1, and many more! This year I've read a book each from Star Trek: Discovery and Stargate SG-1, and I'm currently reading a book from Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda.

I find the books to be more in-depth. I'm a visual person, so it's nice to see the actual names of people, places, etc. spelled out too. Plus, it's relaxing to read in a world you're already familiar with.

I admire writers who write movie and TV tie-in novels. It's not easy writing in another person's world as well as keeping the characters realistic to the series. Fans are quick to spot inconsistencies and can judge the books more harshly for it.

We writers of Untethered Realms are finding it to be a difficult task to write in a world not singularly our own as we're jointly creating our own world to write in, but I'm sure it'll be rewarding too. If all works out, we'll have our world revealed in Fall 2019.

Have you read any movie and/or TV tie-in books? If so, what's your favorite series to read in?

4.17.2018

Book Review: Anchor Leg by Jack Croxall #mystery #sciencefiction #thriller


Stranded 750 million miles from Earth. Stranded with a saboteur. Stranded with a killer.

Humanity has spilled out into the Solar System, into a succession of giant space stations known as the Relay. Seren Temples is a security apprentice running the Relay's remote Anchor Leg. When sabotage strands her vessel near another damaged ship, Seren and her team are sent across to investigate. The second ship is a zero-G graveyard. Inside its vast hold, nothing but a single vial of frozen blood.


My review:

Anchor Leg follows the journey of Seren, a young security apprentice and her tough initiation into life aboard a cargo ship. Set in deep space, she's running away from an over-populated Earth and determined to build a new life for herself. What she gets is a baptism of fire aboard a space ship, with a crime to solve. 

The fast-paced plot grabbed me straight away, and the twists and turns kept me hooked until the end. As well as the superb world building, Croxall managed to bring real life to the characters. I became invested in their futures, and was genuinely sad when the story ended. I wanted more from this world he'd created. 

Anchor Leg skillfully combines the science fiction, thriller, and crime genres. It's a mystery set in space, and I loved it. If you like your crime stories to be dark, taut, and containing a speculative angle, this is the book for you. 

4.03.2018

Because we have a little tilt


Spring has sprung in the Northern Hemisphere. Though some of the days my flowers were hidden in the snow, the rain has washed the frigid temperatures away. People are celebrating by wearing shorts even though they still have tuques on, and others are pushing through their rigorous spring cleaning.

Many of our beliefs, myths, and annual events revolve around the changing seasons. Demeter welcomes her beloved daughter back from the underworld and the world grows lush again. Fertile bunnies hide chocolate and colored eggs. Masses gather in the streets of India to throw powered dyes at one another.

But what would the changing of seasons be like on other worlds?


The changing of seasons depend on a planet's axial tilt, but not many other planets have tilts like Earth's. It's rare to have four regular seasons like we do. In fact, most planets have no seasons or wildly fluctuating ones.

It's interesting to imagine what the beliefs and myths in the lives of other worldly beings might be like. Would they even have annual events like we do?  Would they celebrate instead things like the passing of a comet in a regular orbit around their solar system or have myths about the great storm that swirls constantly in the south? How would it shape their minds to have no seasons or ones that could not be predicted?

One things for certain, aliens would likely see Earthlings' traditions as baffling and ridiculous. So much of who we are is based on the fact our planet has a little tilt.

What do you think an alien culture would be like based in a world with no seasons or wildly fluctuating ones?

3.21.2018

For You, I Will by Georgia Lyn Hunter #supernatural #romance #Book #Review



It should have been the happiest time of their lives…

As a Guardian of the realm, Blaéz is aware of the danger that can shadow him, but he’s determined to give his human mate the wedding of her dreams. Flowers, ring, and all, including following a baffling mortal tradition of abstinence—a challenge he gamely takes on.

Then the past and future clash…

Things start to unravel when an old rival from an accursed life he thought long over suddenly reappears. Blaéz realizes it’s a tie he must sever and finally put an end to a longstanding feud. A straightforward job, until his vindictive nemesis snatches his mate.

It’s a time of reckoning…

Now Blaéz must face his own dark and painful past for a future with the one woman who is his very heartbeat. If he doesn’t, it just might destroy everything he’s fought for…


Author’s note: This novella is set after book 3 in the Fallen Guardians’ series and gives you further insight into the lives of the Guardians. For better reading enjoyment, it is best if you fully immerse yourself in the Fallen Guardians’ World first. No cliffhanger.


Review by Cathrina:

When Georgia Lyn Hunter sent me the ARC to this new installment for her Guardian Series I was thrilled. FOR YOU, I WILL is a novella tying together, literarily, in matrimony, Blaez and Darci. However, they stumble upon some lofty roadblocks. It didn't read exactly like the previous books with the action-packed combatant sequences, this tale read more like an altra-superb romance. I liked the intense scenes between Darci, Blaez and Finnen (his twin brother).

If you like to read speculative fiction with devastatingly handsome immortal guardians that have supernatural powers and action-packed, fast-paced, and lots of steamy scenes, then you'll love these books.

Georgia Lyn Hunter has hit another home run with FOR YOU, I WILL.

3.06.2018

Legend of the Mothman #Paranormal

By Jason W. (https://www.flickr.com/photos/fokket/4011253068/) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


Have you heard of the Mothman? Have you seen him?

The first sighting happened in November 1966 near Clendenin, West Virginia. Six men were digging a grave and saw a winged figure fly overhead. Three days later, two couples in Point Pleasant stated they saw a similar flying figure.

"A flying man with ten-foot wings. Its eyes glowed red when hit by the car lights."

During the next few days, there were several other sightings. Some claimed to have premonitions about a bridge collapse. A month later, a local bridge, the Silver Bridge, collapsed and killed 46 people.

Was the Mothman trying to warn them?

The legend is mixed up with UFO sightings and visits by 'men in black.' A wildlife expert suggested the sightings were a sandhill crane. However, there are too many 'reliable' eyewitness accounts of the creature and strange lights for the 'mothman' to be so easily dismissed.

In 2016, more sightings of the Mothman were reported in Chicago. I have to wonder what this elusive being wants. I have to wonder in general.

On a trip to the remote Oregon town that inspires Settler (the town where The Rifters is set), I misread a sign. I can't remember the 'mundane' words, but I recall reading, Premonition Center. At the time, I was looking for ideas for book 4 in the series, and the Premonition Center stuck with me.



The Mothman is a natural fit with premonitions, and I mixed in a little Mothra as well. Moths are very abundant in the summer months here. When I'm astronomizing, they often bombard me in the eye or cheek.

Oregon always inspires my stories, especially The Rifters series.


The Tracer, Rifters Book 4 releases March 13 and is available for preorder!


The portal connecting Earth to other worlds reopens, and Daelin Long stands ready to rescue her sister. After a winter of strenuous training, she’s prepared to battle the evil her sister warns against.  Only, the rift is more unpredictable. The Mothman arrives whispering of death and transports Daelin to a land with seven moons. There, she faces a monster that can exist in two universes at the same time. Refusing to believe her fate is sealed, Daelin searches for the way home. With only her staff, her wits, and an uninformed detective, she dares to lead the fight. Otherwise, her sister and Earth don’t have a chance.


Kobo / Googleplay / iBook / Nook / Smashwords /
Amazon / UK / DE / AU / CA / FR / ES / NL / IT / MX / BR / IN / JP

And the Rifters Box Collection Books 1-3 is on sale for 99c!

A monstrous secret hides in the backwoods of a remote western town—a portal connecting our world to forty-two other universes. The visitors—most would call them terrifying—often have devastating effects. Their destruction hasn’t been intentional… until lately. The usual band of protectors, The Rifters, defend us with daring and weapons built from coils, gears, and crystals, which is no longer enough. Earth’s survival depends on an outlaw from 1888 and a librarian with a knack for ghosts.
The Rifters Box Collection includes: The Rifters, The Initiate, and The Reader.
Amazon / UK / AU / CA / DE / FR / IT / ES / NL / MX / BR / IN / JP

2.20.2018

#BookReview: Southern Spirits by Angie Fox

Review: Southern Spirits (Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries Book 1) by Angie Fox

Book Blurb:

One simple mistake…
For a girl who is about to lose her family home,
Releases the ghost of a long-dead gangster,
And opens Verity Long’s eyes to a whole new world.

When out of work graphic designer Verity Long accidentally traps a ghost on her property, she’s saddled with more than a supernatural sidekick—she gains the ability see spirits. It leads to an offer she can’t refuse from the town’s bad boy, the brother of her ex and the last man she should ever partner with.

Ellis Wydell is in possession of a stunning historic property haunted by some of Sugarland Tennessee’s finest former citizens. Only some of them are growing restless—and destructive. He hires Verity to put an end to the disturbances. But soon, Verity learns there’s more to the mysterious estate than floating specters, secret passageways, and hidden rooms.

There’s a modern day mystery afoot, one that hinges on a decades-old murder. Verity isn't above questioning the living, or the dead. But can she discover the truth before the killer finds her?

My Review:

Verity Long becomes an accidental ghost whisperer when she inadvertently releases and grounds the spirit of Frankie “the German” Valentine to her ancestral home—which she’s about to lose simply because she left her fiancé at the altar (trust me, he deserved it!) and her would-be rich mother-in-law is suing her. Of course, Frankie has a plan on how to save her home and it’s not strictly legal. It just involves a little trespassing, and with one thing and another, shots are fired and the cops are called.

The cop who shows up is her ex-boyfriend’s brother, the handsome Ellis, who doesn’t know Verity but holds a grudge. And of course sparks fly about like it’s the 4th of July. They need each other and Ellis makes an offer Verity can’t refuse, one that will save her family home from being sold at auction. All she has to do is stop the vengeful spirits haunting his property from destroying all the costly remodeling he’s done. With the gangster ghost Frankie’s help, she makes contact. Some pretty bad spirits are haunting the place, but that’s the least of her worries when she uncovers…I’ll just leave it there so I don’t drop any spoilers.

What makes this book fun is the contrasting personalities of the sweet young woman and the developing relationship with the hardened gangster. Frankie pulls some self-serving gangsteresque moves, but he’s not all bad. Trust me, if I got to choose my afterlife location between Frankie’s speakeasy style hangout or Verity’s southern style ancestral home, the gangster might be more fun. 

This is just the sort of escape book I like. It keeps me amused, and has just enough ghostly shenanigans to keep my attention without stressing me out.

This is the first book in the series, and I liked it well enough to read a couple of others, as well as some of her short stories. 

Five out of five stars to Angie Fox!
What is your go-to genre for relaxation?
Have you read Angie Fox?