Book Review: Somewhither

How does one describe John C Wright’s Somewhither?  That is, indeed the question.

While this book won the Dragon Award for Best Science Fiction novel this year, Science Fiction doesn’t quite cover it.  In some ways, it’s about as Science Fictional as Star Wars.  But since it deals with multiple parallel universes, with technological interfacing between them, I suppose the label “Science Fiction” works.  It could just as well have been called “Philosophical/Metaphysical Action Adventure,” though even that wouldn’t quite cover it. Continue reading “Book Review: Somewhither”

Rock, Meet Hard Place

So, a couple posts back, I spoke of a 22,000 word story that I couldn’t really talk about.  Well, now I can.

A few months back, Mike Kupari hit me up with the idea of doing a short story for Baen.com with him, set in the Dead Six universe, created between him and Larry Correia, between Swords of Exodus and Alliance of Shadows, which comes out next month.  Being a big fan of the Dead Six series, myself, I readily agreed.  The end result is Rock, Meet Hard Place, Part 1 and Part 2.

 

Book Review: Gray Matter Splatter

Jack Murphy definitely has a way with titles.  Gray Matter Splatter is a title that few could pull off, particularly in a day and age of nonsensical buzzword thriller titles like True Faith and Allegiance.

But Jack pulls it off, somehow.  Gray Matter Splatter is a breakneck bloodbath in the Arctic, a bit of a change of pace from the last couple Deckard installments. Continue reading “Book Review: Gray Matter Splatter”

Book Review: The Perseid Collapse Series: The Complete Scavenger Trilogy

I’m a little late getting to this one, as the omnibus version came out in June, but I finally got to it.  (My TBR pile is pretty tall, and since I’m usually working on reading about six books at a time, not to mention writing, it can sometimes take a bit.)

I haven’t read any of the rest of the Perseid Collapse series, but that doesn’t take away from Ross Elder’s contribution.  There is little extra background needed, and what is needed is provided.

The book opens after the Perseid Event (the nature of which is never clear in the Scavenger Trilogy, though there is some speculation), with society already pretty well in collapse.  We meet the protagonist, Zack Morris, as he’s investigating an abandoned house. Continue reading “Book Review: The Perseid Collapse Series: The Complete Scavenger Trilogy”

A Bit of News

Those who follow my Facebook page might have seen this already, but I ran into a spot of trouble concerning Hunting in the Shadows‘ Kindle Select status.  Long story short, it seems that Kobo Ebooks failed to take it down after I unpublished the Smashwords version (though all the others are down).  I’ve contacted Smashwords about it; they have contacted Kobo, and hopefully this will be getting sorted soon.  I also contacted Kindle Direct Publishing, explaining the situation, and HitS has a bit of a reprieve; I’ve now got 30 days to make sure Kobo gets their act together.  Considering that Kobo’s website has no contact portal for anything but troubleshooting their ereaders, I’m going to have to rely on Smashwords for it; fortunately, Smashwords got back to me within a couple of hours, so that’s a good sign.

Kill Yuan has now been out for two months, and a few people have asked about the next Praetorian book.  Lex Talionis is coming, and I’ve started to do a little bit of groundwork for it.  I’d hoped to see it out the door by the end of the year; however, depending on how things go over the next couple of months, it might get pushed into early next year.

Here’s why: I just finished a 22k word short story that should be coming out on a major publisher’s website in a couple of months.  I can’t say much more than that, but it’s pretty cool.  It’s my first collaborative fiction project, and my first time playing in somebody else’s sandbox.

I’m also working on a novel for (hopefully) the same publisher.  It’s not sold yet, but the editor has read the pitch and the first chapter (of an early version) and said that she wants to read the finished manuscript.  I’m told, by no less a figure than Larry Correia, that this is a good sign.  Of course, the overall novel has changed a bit since the initial pitch I sent in.  Some of this is because I’ve been working on it off and on since last summer, having put it on the back burner for Kill Yuan, and then again for the short story (which I actually had a hard deadline for).  Every time I’ve come back to it after back-burnering it, I’ve been dissatisfied.  Some of that is because I need to just knuckle down and finish it.  Some of it is because with the initial version, I had two major stories happening in the same novel, and the first one was getting rushed.  So, after talking to Mike Kupari about it, the realization came (with Mike’s prompting) that there were actually two separate books there, and the whole thing needed to be expanded into a trilogy.  After tearing my hair out with the words, “Dammit, Mike!  See what you’ve done!” (to which he laughed and said that spreading discord and making life more difficult for people is just what he does), I outlined the trilogy, threw out a good deal of what I already had written, and got back to work.  Hopefully I’ll have the first draft finished and ready to turn in by mid- to late-September.  Then I can get working on Lex Talionis.

I can say this much about the fifth Praetorians novel; it probably isn’t going to make me many friends on the political front.  A lot of threads, particularly from Alone and Unafraid and The Devil You Don’t Know are going to be coming together and the war is going to come home to the Praetorians in a new way.  Those who study classical history and can take a cue from the company name might get a bit of an inkling of what’s coming.

Now, back to work.

“Do-Something-ism” and Societal Childishness

“Jack,” Trent said, “When I was fourteen I was a man.  Had to be.  Well, it looks like your father dying has made you a man, too.

“I’m giving you this Sharps.  She’s an old gun, but she shoots straight.  I’m not giving this gun to a boy, but to a man, and a man doesn’t ever use a gun unless he has to.  He never wastes lead shooting carelessly.  He shoots only when he has to, and when he can see what it is he’s shootin’ at.

“This gun is a present with no strings attached except that any man who takes up a gun accepts responsibility for what he does with it.  Use it to hunt game, for target practice, or in defense of your home or those you love.

“Keep it loaded always.  A gun’s no good to a man when it’s empty, and if it is settin’ around, people aren’t liable to handle it carelessly.  They’ll say, ‘That’s Jack Moffit’s gun, and it’s always loaded.’  It is the guns people think are unloaded that cause accidents.”

Louis L’Amour, The Mountain Valley War

This isn’t just about guns or the current uproar over the reaction to the Orlando shooting.  This goes deeper than that.  It goes to the very heart of much of what is causing so much political and social turmoil in the US today. Continue reading ““Do-Something-ism” and Societal Childishness”

Memorial Day

Presented without further comment, a poem by my Recon Brother, Bryan Moulton.

Dedicated to those who have given all that they can in the defense of our nation, I offer my own humble tribute:

Morning rays, a golden hue, give to your pale visage
Shadows, banished by the day, lurk in angled lines and draws
I lie in peace amidst dew-dropped curves and blades on which you lie
A blanket, born of heavenly breath, warm and safe beneath the sky

An echo, a mourn, not seen but felt, a memory long ago
A flash of light, a flash of sound, age-faded but crisp and bold
Loving assault upon senses, dulled, these memories to the fore
O’ershadow the triumphant trumpets’ call to a friend in need no more

Eyes lift from the green to the playful draught, teasing brilliant stripes with ease
Starry night turns starry day, watched by timeless guardians, freed
A dance in the wind, the fabric plays, with its furl and snap of cloth
Watched over by beams of radiant gold, free of want and grief and wroth

Wondrous gaze falls to alabaster skin, in blessed relief, stark
By warmed touch, your closed eyes have kept me through the dark
A spot of color, here and there, my eye is drawn toward
As light’s embrace engulfs the forms lying there upon the sward

In it forms remembered touch, a soft caress of fabric bold
Nevermore to be prepared, to put hot iron to patch and fold
Hang up your cartridge belt, my friend, stow horn and save your shot
I recite familiar phrase, echoed in time, “I have the watch”

A duty ends, a soul at rest, I stand after the night
And turn my gaze to hallowed rows
Of marble ranks of white