Posts Tagged ‘science fiction’

Sunday Book Review: Binti and America Again and READATHON announcement.

This week I read Binti by Nnedi Okorafor and America Again by Stephen Colbert. As always I say what I liked and didn’t like about each book.

Nebula and Hugo Winner, Binti is a coming of age novella that follows a 16 year-old-girl as she leaves home to go to the university and ends up a prisoner of an alien race, the Meduse. Ultimately though there was a lot I enjoyed in Binti, I felt the setup felt a little lopsided as Okorafor explored Binti’s culture in depth, while every other human was unimportant. Otherwise this is a great allegory novella with layers of meaning with an intelligent hero who finds non-violent solutions to her and humanities problems.  4 stars

America Again is Stephen Colbert being Stephen Colbert from the Colbert Report. He explores topics such as gun control, food, the justice system and others. If you liked the character, you’ll like it. I got tired of the sarcasm. 3 stars.


A regular feature to my blog, Elizabeth’s Sunday Book Review, is simply a review of the book (or books) I read during the previous week on Sunday. Since I started adding videos, I started doing stars. I do say what I liked and didn’t like. You will notice that some will be independent titles, some will be mass market books, others will be classics. I write a review on whatever I read that week.

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Sunday Book Review : Esquelle and Marie

As a regular feature to my blog, Sunday Book Review, is simply a review of the book (or books) I read during the previous week on Sunday. While on Goodreads and Amazon, I give books a star rating, I don’t do stars here. I just say what I liked and didn’t like. You will notice that some will be independent titles, some will be mass market books, others will be classics. I write a review on whatever I read that week. I get most of my books from conventions from the author or bookstores, but as per FCC regs, I do mention if I received a book for free.


Apparently my reading this week was all about government secrets, espionage mixed with science fiction  with a kickbutt female title character.  That is where the similarities end. I enjoyed them both, but for different reasons.

51x-xe5tnjl-_ss300_Joe Dacy’s Esquelle is a book that Ihad been meaning to get to for awhile. An enjoyable techno-based thriller filled with smart characters, action and adventure.

While there is a lot of technology in the novel, the plot didn’t get bogged down. Dacy’s prose is detailed enough that you feel like its coming from a place of authority. It read very much like a Dan Brown’s book when the characters are discussing art or Tom Clancy discussing the ins and outs of submarines.

My only negative was the romantic subplot. I saw it coming when Dacy started mentioning what pajamas the two leads wore. It just seemed rather pointless. Or rather that “this is the spot where a sex scene goes.”  (But I admit, I find most romantic subplots pointless.)
Otherwise this is a awesome book.

People who enjoy books about computer technology or hard science fiction would love this novel.

511-11zherlMarie (Teumessian Trilogy Book 1)  by Ana Elise Meyer

Though it starts a little slow, once it gets going the action sequences are excellent and the pace quickens. And the climatic scenes is written wonderfully. This book is Jason Borne mixed with Kill Bill.

The title character Marie goes on a murdering rampage after the death of her husband and son, but she was so sympathetic (and kind to children) that I was cheering for her.

Marie is a great first book, but it has a few “first book” issues. As I said above it took awhile to get going. Since the first 100 pages was dedicated to the experiment to create super soldiers, I wished there was more science, but that was glossed over and instead we were shown how cold and calculating the scientists were. The book is well written and nothing pulled me out of the story, but the prose was blah specifically because the author used expositional dialogue. (Used in television and film this is dialogue  that no one would really say, but tells the audiences something. But books can use a little exposition) For example: There is a scene when the experiments are teenagers that is specifically to introduce their traits, but it was slow and plodding specifically because all the descriptions of each person was in the dialogue. “You are the X”  It didn’t need to be there.

However, if you like revenge books with secret government programs check out Marie.

 

Reading at Queen Anne Books Thursday

417d5Gdv+HL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Beyond the Hedge Anthology Reading!

Thursday, August 11th @ 7pm

Queen Anne Books
1811 Queen Anne Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98109

I will be reading from my short story, Charge of Nynlothe. Besides me, Alissa Berger, B.J. Neblett and Matthew Buscemi will also be reading

Charge

Want to know more?  Come to the reading! 

 

Sprained Wrists + Books = Reading Rampage

So I sprained my wrists. Since I needed to take some time not typing, I used the time to catch up on some independent horror films which is not part of this blog post, and my TBR pile which is the focus of this post.

Isaac Asimov’s The Foundation Trilogy:

Elizabeth’s Review:  I’ve been meaning to read this book forever, so this was the first on my list. Our hardcover edition with gilded pages is a gorgeous book. As for the story, I enjoyed this book in the academic sense, but realized why I never got into it for pleasure.  Asimov’s use of language is beautiful, but as it is a history of The Foundation, I felt like I was traveling past these people at the speed of light, unable to truly connect to any character. After too-few chapters, their contribution to history had finished and time moved on. Regardless it is beautifully written book of 730 pages, which I read in four sittings. Even though at places it could be dry, the novel captured my attention. Four planets for an interesting book.

popcover01-662x1024Prince of Pieces
Written and Created By Sam Miserendino
Art and Colors by Colin Blanton Letters
Cover by Matthew Mason

Elizabeth’s Review:
I picked this up from the author at CryptiCon. It was darkly funny and the biblical language/punishments was used brilliantly with the art. I thought the artwork was amazing. The story got convoluted in places. For example: why did the kid kill the butterfly? To show the evilness of the world? Little details left me asking “Is this part symbolism? Hmmm.”
Otherwise four crucifixes for a great book!

The Devil and My Daughter51vntf2b6a9l-_sx331_bo1204203200_
Written by Josh Hancock

Elizabeth’s Review:  This book originally intrigued my husband at Crypticon, but I was awoken early by a noisy neighbor so I read it in a few hours.

Spanning a decade, this epistolary novel is written as if it is nonfiction. In this book, its important to read everything. The preface, the footnotes are all part of the story. Overall it took a serious look at what a real demon possession might look like. It follows a film crew who unleashes a demon with a song from their heavy metal soundtrack on to a young actress.

 Because the novel is told through police reports and news stories, some parts can feel dry and repetitive, however it is a fast read. The characters were well developed. I enjoyed the serious tone of the novel which added to the dark scenario. Five Demons for this scary novel!

 

Inspiration for The Grove

In all of my career, I’ve written a heavy story and then a light story. First Faminelands, then I took a break with Out For Souls and Cookies.

Confused which The Grove is? It might be about a sorcerer trying to stop a guy who wants to wake up some bloody-thirsty Gods in order to change the world, but it is a light story. The dystopian The Light Side of the Moon was heavy. (And of course, many of you may remember, I had to write it twice ;)) Once The Light Side of the Moon was accepted at 48Fourteen, I started The Grove.

First of all, I wanted to write a cosmic horror story or at least an end of the world, bloodthirsty Gods kind of story. Cosmic Horror is defined as a subgenre of horror fiction that emphasizes the cosmic horror of the unknown (and in some cases, unknowable) more than gore or other elements of shock, though these may still be present. I was interested in cosmic indifference. While questioning my own feelings of alienation as an artist and author, I decided I would explore the alienation of sorcerers. They would have to hide their gifts or face being diagnosed with mental issues. Then I decided the cost of magic was the ability to function within general society.

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A dark forest on the East Side of Cougar Mountain

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A starfish chilling on Vashon Island

My love of nature and hiking slid into the work. Then I added the gnomes and a few science fiction issues with the multiple universe theory. Then the Oddities Museum and the fake town Sitka’s Quay was inspired by visiting small towns during my library appearances during the summers. I had been to the coast a few times as an adult and remembered a visit to Ocean City, WA.  Originally, I figured I’d place Sitka’s Quay in my home state of Washington, but the Oregon Coast has more sandy beaches than WA and Highway 101 follows the coast closer. While I visit Seattle and Puget Sounds beaches quite regularly,  I visited the coast, both in Washington and Oregon. The smell of the Pacific Northwest Beaches inspired me. I felt constant noise of the pounding ocean, the wind on my cheeks and salt on my lips.  I knew I wanted to set the book and Sitka’s Quay would be a fake town.

At first it went slow, because I was working on it between edits, but once The Light Side of the Moon was published, I slammed out this book. It took me three months to get it to my beta readers.

Another three months for rewrites. Five months total for editing. Now its getting closer to be market- ready

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Discovery Park, Seattle. And Yes that’s a bald eagle on the lighthouse.

SciFi Movies that I can watch again and again

Like every science fiction fan, I was at the theater to watch StarWars The Force Awakens over mine and Dennis’s Christmas break. We enjoyed it a great deal. I don’t care about what other people decided to argue about. To me, the films must stand alone and it does.

So I decided to make a lists about those certain films that are pleasurably rewatchable. Some of these films are new, some are classics. but here are my favorite dramatic and horror science fiction films. You will totally notice that I tend to love double features.

MV5BMTU1ODQ4NjQyOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTQ3NDU2MTE@._V1_SX214_AL_1) Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986)
Directed by Ridley Scott

The Nostromo receives a distress call from an unexplored planet. After searching for survivors, the crew including Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt realize a deadly alien has joined them. For new viewers of this film, it is easy to forget how groundbreaking it actually was.

In the sequel, Aliens, the planet that they found the alien on has been colonized. When they lose contact with the colony, Signory Weaver and space marines go back to discover what happened. With all practical effects, these movies still holds up. I have to be honest I don’t generally watch Alien 3 which I feel is the weakest film in the franchise. Aliens Resurrection is okay. Sometimes we watch it as a triple feature, just because we are in an aliens type of mood. And if we need a fourth film we can always slide in AVP or Prometheus. MV5BNTQ5ODU0NjUwOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTcwNDgwNzE@._V1_SX214_AL_

 2) The Thing (1982)
Directed by John Carpenter

A US scientific team in the Antarctic Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, T.K. Carter, Keith David, David Clennon are confronted by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of the creatures it kills.

3) The Thing from Another World (1951)
Directed by Christian Nyby, Howard HawksMV5BODA5MjE1MTY2Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzU5MjQxMDE@._V1_SX214_AL_

Starring, Kenneth Tobey, Margaret Sheridan, and James Arness, this film follows a group of scientists and the US Air Force fend off a blood-thirsty alien organism while at a remote arctic outpost. What I love about this film compared to the 1982 version, is that the characters joke with each other and seem to really enjoy this film while still taking it seriously.

4) Interstellar (2014)
Directed by Christopher NolanMV5BMjIxNTU4MzY4MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzM4ODI3MjE@._V1_SX214_AL_

A team of explorers, which includes Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway travel through a wormhole in space in an attempt to ensure humanity’s survival. Other than a pointless death in the middle of the film, I loved this movie.

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5) The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961)
Directed by Val Guest

Two English reporters, played by Leo McKern and Edward Judd, discover the USA and Russia unwittingly test atomic bombs at the same time. This alters the nutation and the orbit of the Earth.

This film romanizes the time when being a science reporter was an exciting job that actually paid a salary. It is a classic End of the World tale. MV5BMjA4NDI0MTIxNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNTM0MzY2._V1_SX214_AL_.jpg

6) The Prestige (2006)
Directed by Christopher Nolan

Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman are stage magicians who try to one-up each other in an attempt to create the ultimate stage illusion. Scarlett Johansson steals the show in a supporting role and David Bowie appears as Nikola Tesla. While it is not a traditional “science fiction” film it has science fiction and fantasy elements.

7)2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Directed by Stanley Kubrick and
2010
(1984)
Directed by Peter Hyams

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MV5BMTkzOTk4NTcyOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTE4NjkzMTE@._V1_SX214_AL_.jpg

In 2001, Humanity finds a mysterious, obviously artificial object buried beneath the Lunar surface and, Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester with the intelligent computer H.A.L. 9000, sets off to discover its origins and purpose.

In 2010, a joint U.S.-Soviet expedition with John Lithgow, Helen Mirren, Roy Scheider are sent to Jupiter to learn what happened on the mission in 2001. I admit my sacrilege. I would rather watch 2010, than 2001. Though honestly, I tend to watch both of them at once so it doesn’t matter.MV5BMTA4MDQxNTk2NDheQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU3MDE2NjIyODk@._V1_SX214_AL_


8) Blade Runner
(1982)
Directed by Ridley Scott

In this gritty dystopian police drama, Harrison Ford plays a blade runner who must pursue and terminate four replicants, Rutger Hauer, Daryl Hannah, Joanna Cassidy and Brion James who returned to Earth to find their creator in hope to lengthen their shortened lifespans.

MV5BMjM2MDgxMDg0Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTM2OTM5NDE@._V1_SX214_AL_9) Jurassic Park (1993)
Directed by Steven Spielberg

A theme park/zoo—that spares no expense—suffers major corporate espionage that allows its cloned dinosaur to escape their pens and try to eat Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum.

(Note: I love this first one, I don’t necessarily love the sequels.)

10) When Worlds Collide (1951)MV5BMTg5MTkwNzQxNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTYzMjgyMQ@@._V1_SY317_CR6,0,214,317_AL_
Directed by Rudolph Maté

As a new star and planet hurtle toward Earth, a small group of scientists, technicians and industrialists frantically work to complete the rocket which will take 40 survivors to their new home. Starring Richard DerrBarbara RushPeter Hansen in a slightly annoying love triangle, the rest of the movie is fantastic.

And one more: that I have only seen once, but I think its very rewatchable, so I’m going to give it an honorable mention: The Martian.MV5BMTc2MTQ3MDA1Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODA3OTI4NjE@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_AL_

What movies can you watch again and again?

A Free Christmas Short: First Wave

MerryChristmas.jpgThis year, I am giving everyone a free Christmas Short that I originally wrote when I heard of Apex Magazine Christmas Invasion Contest. It did not win, but I enjoyed this story so much I wanted to share it on my blog.
Firstwave.jpg

Like it? Hate it?
Please comment below.

 

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