Gliese 581: The Depature

Gliese 581: The Departure

Christine D Shuck

guest post by Evan C

shuck gliese 581

Genre: Science Fiction

Sub-genre: Colonization/Apocalypse

Novel, novella, short story: Novel

Serial or stand alone: Serial

Setting: Earth/Deep Space/Gliese 581

Synopsis: In the final days of the 21st century, Daniel Medry and a crew of brilliant and talented scientists and researchers leave Earth on a mission to the Gliese system – the first extra-solar journey of its kind. Shortly after their departure, a terrible virus is unleashed upon Earth, highly infectious and nearly 100% fatal. Soon the colonists will learn that they are some of the last unaffected humans left. And if the challenge of establishing a colony on a distant alien world and re-creating the human race wasn’t enough, someone on board is trying to kill them all. Will Daniel and the rest of Calypso’s crew survive the journey?

Thoughts: What a great story! There are two major plot points going on here… one, a deep space colony ship is making its way to a planet that is (hopefully) suitable for mankind. Two, Earth is succumbing to a virus that will make certain that this is a one-way trip.

The colony ship is not a generational-ark, but rather the crew is placed into hibernation, using a skeleton crew to simply to make sure things run smoothly during the trip. What they don’t know is that someone (or something) wants to make sure they never arrive. The suspense is palpable during the ship scenes.

On earth, corporate greed raises its ugly head and in the race for profit, a virus of sorts is accidentally released into the world that will make you think twice every time you have hunger pains. Seriously, I freak out a little bit every time my stomach growls now. Thanks, Christine! 😉

And that cliffhanger ending… Wow! You can be damned sure I’ll be reading the next book when it’s released!

I recommend this book for those who like deep space colonization stories with a nice little apocalypse thrown in for good measure.

shuck

About the author: Christine Shuck is a writer, community educator, business owner, homeschool mom, and organic gardener. She lives in an 1899 Victorian in Kansas City with her husband and youngest daughter.

A self-described auto-didact and general malcontent, Christine can be found outside in the warm months, tending her garden, laying brick walkways, and threatening her chickens. In the cold months you will find her inside, painting walls, creating art, hand-sewing curtains, and trying out new recipes in the kitchen.

At all times you will find her brain filled with words, plot twists, and characters just waiting to get out. Just ask her, she’ll smile secretively and nod.

Christine writes cross-genres. At present, all of her fiction is linked through families and shared characters in a shared universe known as the Kapalaran Universe.

She also blogs regularly at:

The Deadly Nightshade – http://thedeadlynightshade.com

The Homeschool Advocate – http://homeschooladvocate.org

You can also find the latest updates on her writing adventures at: http://christineshuck.com

Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Gliese-581-Departure-Christine-Shuck-ebook/dp/B01FIRKNRY/  

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cshuck1970

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Christine.D.Shuck/?fref=ts

evan c

About Evan C.: Evan a devout fan of all things post-apoc. Thankfully (for me at least) he’s also got a bit of in the stars sci-fi love as well. If you have an interest in post-apoc books, films, or art, Evan is THE Man to see. He can be found here:

Website: https://fromthewastes11811.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/FromTheWastes

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FromTheWastes/?fref=ts

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Making Monsters

Making Monsters

by Joe Turk

guest post by Evan C

turk making monsters

Genre: Science Fiction

Sub-genre: Dystopian/Post-Apocalypse

Novel, novella, short story: Novel

Serial or stand alone: Stand Alone

Setting: Planet EarthSynopsis:   Making Monsters is an apocalyptic horse race. Ozark reluctantly participates in a half-baked conspiracy to overthrow the United Corporations of America. But time is running out. Manmade earthquakes create sinkholes that devour the landscape. Engineered sterility devastates crops and plant life. Chemically induced insomnia spreads like a virus. Scorned militants indulge dark desires. And ancient, subterranean nightmares will compete to bring the era of man to an abrupt and unmerciful conclusion. The end is near…and it’s corporately sponsored.

Thoughts: Joe Turk describes Making Monsters as “dystopian humor with an apocalyptic chaser.” I’d say that hits the nail on the head. The humor can be fairly dark, but this is story about the end of things, so that goes without saying. We get to travel along with the characters as the world is being broken right before our eyes. It’s like Doctor Strangelove meets the Cthulhu Mythos. I never once got bored reading Making Monsters and if it wasn’t for this ridiculous thing called being an adult and having to work, I would have read it in one setting.

I absolutely enjoyed the hell out of this book. There’s a cautionary tale going on here and I’m not quite sure if I should pass it off as fantasy or be scared to death that something like this might happen. Ya never know…

p.s. I liked this book so much and got such an awesome vibe from Joe, that I asked him to write a guest post on my blog… you can go here and read it if you’re so inclined.  https://fromthewastes11811.wordpress.com/2016/06/03/a-corporately-sponsored-apocalypse-guest-blog-by-joe-turk/

turk

About the author: Joe Turk was born a second son. At the age of sixteen, his working class family moved from his rural childhood home to a university town where he graduated high school and received a bachelor’s degree in Architecture. After college he traveled to Paris, Rome, Barcelona, Rio de Janeiro, and much of the US, before taking up residence in Dallas, then later Oklahoma City, and finally Charlotte, working at each stop as a residential architect. In 2008, the Great Recession hit and he lost his job. With few job prospects in the city, he sold his home and moved back to the grasslands where he dedicated himself to writing fiction and making oil paintings. Four years later, he found gallery representation for his art with Obsolete in Venice, California and Kasum Contemporary in Oklahoma City. In 2014, he published his first novel, titled ‘Making Monsters’.

Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Making-Monsters-Joe-Turk-ebook/dp/B00IM4RG5S/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/joeturk182

evan c

About Evan C.: Evan a devout fan of all things post-apoc. Thankfully (for me at least) he’s also got a bit of “in the stars” sci-fi love as well. If you have an interest in post-apoc books, films, or art, Evan is THE Man to see. He can be found here:

Website: https://fromthewastes11811.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/FromTheWastes

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FromTheWastes/?fref=ts

Every Part of the Animal

ralston every part of the animal

guest post by Jenn W.

Every Part of the Animal

Duncan Ralston

Genre: thriller

Sub-genre: gorey awesomeness

Serial or stand alone: stand alone

Setting: Canadian Mountains

Characters: Bo, a single mother; Caleb, Bo’s 10 year-old son  

Synopsis: Bo is a single-mother working hard to survive in the harsh and unforgiving mountains of Canada. Since the disappearance of her son Caleb’s father, she has managed to provide everything she and her son need to live, even if that means hunting and killing animals. Bo’s life seems to be going as planned until an interruption from a big-city, animal-loving music star threatens to destroy the safety and way of life she has worked so hard to build. Bo has to decide if there are limits to what she will do to protect her life and her son.

Thoughts: Duncan Ralston does not disappoint. The story is simple but the characters and plot are surprising and complex. As a mother, I can related to Bo’s need to protect her son and her way of life. Limits cannot be placed on a mother’s instinctive desire to love and sacrifice for her children, but circumstances may create a situation where doing what is right becomes confusing. I empathize with Bo as she tries to protect her family and her privacy. I also cringe at the reality of life, but revel in the gruesome horror of how one decision may change everything. Duncan Ralston holds nothing back.

ralston author

About the author: In addition to Every Part of the Animal, Duncan has also published the collections Gristle & Bone and Sweat & Blood. His first full length novel, Salvage, was released in 2015. He is one of the creative madmen behind the indie publisher, Shadow Works Publishing. He lives in Toronto with his girlfriend and dog.

Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Every-Part-Animal-Duncan-Ralston-ebook/dp/B01F27Q8JM/

Website: http://www.duncanralston.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shadowworkpublishing/?fref=ts

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/duncanralstonfiction/?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShadowWorkPubs

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DuncanGRalston

About Jenn W: She’s a reader spanning the genre-globe, an NP (nurse practitioner for those unaware), and mother of two. She loves a good story, but great ones are even more awesome.

Weekly Round-up 6-3-2016

Weekly Round-up

6/03/2016

Well, after one hell of a long couple of weeks getting some projects finished (not writing, let us just say one of these tasks involved a sledgehammer), I’m now enjoying a few days of relaxing sit-down time, with no pressing concerns. Of course, fifty new projects are always in the waiting, however, for the next day or two, I am going to do as little physical labor as possible. I’ve also mentally sang Sam Cooke’s “Chain Gang” more times than I thought possible. But it is summer, and as I’ve stated in earlier posts, my reading and reviewing are markedly less when June arrives. My patio beckons me to sit and watch Pirates baseball, or to merely enjoy the greenery and plan future yard revisions. When July and August roll around, I tend to settle into a summer writing cycle, so for those interested in something new from me, the words are starting to roll around in my labyrinthine brain. Some of them do dead-end themselves, but others manage to navigate to the end. So we shall see what emerges come September. In other news, the paperback of Suspended Bridges was released last week, and work is still progressing on The House on Lake Tacit, which should be out at the end of the month, or the first of July. And with that update out of the way, here’s a look at a couple films and a couple books.

The Dark Half (1989) Stephen King

the dark half 

I first read this at the time of its publication. Back then I eagerly anticipated each new King release (Tom Clancy was another who I preordered hardcovers). Insomnia ended my love affair with King (as Rainbow Six did me in for Clancy). But back in the 80’s/ 90’s King was my guy. I loved reading him, loved his imagination, his writing style, his trips into darkness. Alas, the decades have altered me and my impressions. Writers who use fictional writers as a protagonist is something that just doesn’t work for me. I can’t say exactly why this is; I just don’t care for it. John Irving’s done it multiple times, as has King, among hundreds of others. The Dark Half is an interesting take on the duality of writing, but it is nothing more than another doppelganger tale. And while he does have a line acknowledging Poe’s William Wilson, there is nothing about Asimov’s “Author! Author!” In Asimov’s story the fictional character comes to life, so there are thematic differences, but to me the elements of the fictional half usurping the “real” half are just too similar to go unnoticed. I’m not saying King stole the plot from Asimov. If that were the case, then all writers would be nothing more than plagiarizers. This is also not King’s best writing, nor is it his worst (that honor goes to Christine). I won’t say I was disappointed with The Dark Half reread. I kind of expected it. I’m older now, perhaps not wiser, but I’m not willing to just accept something as great, or even good, just because a favorite writer wrote it. In a related note: this did raise a question about King films: who played a better Sheriff Pangborn, Michael Rooker or Ed Harris?

Apocalycious: Satire of the Dead (2013) KR Helms

helm apocalycious 

If you don’t like fantasy in your zompocs then don’t read this one, or aliens, or God vs. Satan. This 500 plus page zombie extravagancy has a bit of everything. Flying saucers, doorways to other planes of existence, a king in medieval armor, human psychopaths, naïve survivors, one-handed conspiracy nuts, Big Foot, necromancers, oracles, Lucifer, and lots and lots of distended jaw walking dead. This novel is all over the place, and is fairly damn entertaining. Zombie “traditionalists” may scoff at the UFOs and sorcery, but in a shotgun blast sorta way this whole blunderbuss worked for me. Characters die, characters evolve, characters win, and some lose. This is good over evil, in a convoluted Bible sense, that nothing is ever truly what it seems, nor is it ever truly resolved. A fun read, with something unexpected in almost every chapter. Here is proof one need not stick to the standard zombie formula, which doesn’t really exist other than certain peoples’ minds. Hey, if a necromancer from another plane is the reason the undead walk the earth, then I’m just fine with that. Great stuff from Helms.

I Am Legend (film) (2007)

I AM LEGEND, Will Smith, 2007. ©Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection

I AM LEGEND, Will Smith, 2007. ©Warner Bros.

 A second viewing of this film didn’t diminish how I feel: it’s still really good. The scene with Sam still gets me (it also traumatized Bismarck, and he spent the next day on KV-infected patrol). The depiction of Neville’s progressing insanity is very well done. Those of us reclusive types may long for complete isolation; however, watching Will Smith talk to manikins makes me rethink the completely alone thing. Of course, I’d still have Bismarck, but, man, I don’t want to be fantasizing if the dummy I dressed and provocatively posed has the hots for my lonely bones. And anytime I watch something like this, it makes me want to see the other film versions, and I do need to read Matheson’s book. More things to add to my infinite to-watch/read list.

V for Vendetta (film) (2006)

v for vendetta 

The last mention of the week. I’ve not read the comic/graphic novel this is based on, though I hear this is a faithful adaption. With the current political situation in the US, this film is certainly poignant. Turn on the nightly news and you will hear similar demagoguery from more than just presidential candidates. I loved this movie this first time I watched it, and I loved it the second time. I’m not a fan of the idealist on a personal mission of revenge (which is why I’m not a fan of Braveheart). To me an individual killing those who wronged him (or her) which evolves into a countrywide crusade dilutes the national movement. In V for Vendetta, for whatever reason, this does work for me. Perhaps the contemporary setting is more personal, more immediate, more relatable. Hard to say. Perhaps it’s Natalie Portman (adding to the Demi Moore, Charlize Theron, Sigourney Weaver, Sinead O’Connor files). Ah, but the film is far more than Natalie Portman. A man creating a movement, destroying the oppressor, is inspiring material. And hey, one can’t go wrong with the “1812” as a theme.

And that’s it for this week. See you all next time. Cheers folks.

Weekly Round-up 5-20-2016

Weekly Round-up

5/20/2016

Friday (or in this case Saturday) is upon us once again. With at least a few consecutive days of sun, this week has been spent in the yard. I find this is a great form of catharsis, it purges the mind of stray thoughts and, more often than not, provides a literal hands-dirty form of mental composition. Numerous ideas come and go whilst (I’m feeling briefly British today) I toil in the soil. My reading time does suffer this time of year, but after six months and several hundred books, a break from my Kindle is a welcome occurrence. I read The Dark Side by Stephen Campana (a review of this religious/horror is forthcoming). More on this later, as I gather and organize my thoughts about it.

On to other things.

The Guns at Last Light (2013) Rick Atkinson

atkinson guns at last light

I did finish reading Rick Atkinson’s The Guns at Last Light, the final book of his Liberation Trilogy. These three books are an excellent overview to the western Allies campaigns, from the Torch landings in North Africa, through Sicily and Italy, Normandy, crossing the Rhine, and to the final defeat of Germany. Atkinson does take the high road, that of the generals and statesmen, but he doesn’t lionize them. He shows these giants of the 20th century to be ordinary men, some lucky, some intelligent, some vainglorious, others one step short of lunacy or suicide. Band of Brothers showed war from the company level, Atkinson’s work is too large in scope for detail of the individual platoons or the nuances of battle. This has opened the door for further exploration and reading. I’ve always been fascinated by the war in the Pacific, however, there is much to learn about what happened in France, Belgium, and Germany, beyond the landings on D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge. Though I did find it odd, he didn’t mention Patton’s death, after quoting him repeatedly. Still a fine read, which doesn’t get bogged down in military lingo (though more maps would have been nice, but I have a love affair with maps, so too many is not enough).

I did watch two films this week.

The first I won’t spend much time on, because, well, to be honest, it wasn’t very good.

Van Helsing (2004)

van helsing If the entire movie had been as good as the first five minutes, then I’d been gushing with praise. The opening scene, in black and white, was a clear homage to Universal’s monster movies from the 30’s. Alas, once the color arrived, this devolved into a shotgun affair, with a cast of every 19th century monster, combined with steampunk weaponry, bad acting, a near useless Kate Beckinsale (though she still looks great), and characters who continue to utter the phrase “Oh my God” at every vampire/werewolf/horrific monster/ghoul appearance. I did like the take on Frankenstein’s monster as a good guy. While Shelley didn’t portray him as a saint, nor was he a rampaging arbitrary killing machine. A few good moments couldn’t save this slapdash over-CGI’d nonsense. Oh well, time for better things.

Serenity (2005)

serenityI admit to not have liked this film the first time I watched it about 6 years ago. On this second go-round I have a different appreciation for what Whedon tried to do. I originally watched it right after couple of binge-sessions of the 14 episodes of the series. After those great television episodes, the feature-film production values and plot didn’t work for me and I felt disappointed, that it deserved more (and not merely because of certain character deaths). However, now I can say, the movie is actually pretty good. My problem was, I first watched all the episodes and film in the span of a few days. This was not the way the TV series and the movie were intended to be viewed. Even a series, if watched faithfully once a week, still has 6 days in between episodes. During that time, the details of the previous episode are lost in the normal doings of life. And the film came out 3 years after the final episode, so there was even more time to forget the small things. I haven’t re-watched the series, but I did enjoy the re-watch of the film. And damn, if there isn’t another series, or at least a film, just waiting to be made about what happened on Miranda. The Reavers are a fascinating take on the apocalyptic cannibal horde theme (think zombies in spaceships) and I would love to see this portrayed on either a small or big screen.

Weekly Round-up 5-13-2016

Weekly Round-up

5/13/2016

Here we are again. Friday that most blessed of days, and an ominous thirteenth to boot. Not much to report on the reading side of things. I read a couple of romances(?!!!?), which actually made me quite happy to be a single male. All that dating angst is a young person’s trial, and hence I couldn’t relate to the characters’ plights and vacillations. This attitude is in direct opposition to my earlier stated goal of not becoming a grumpy old man; however, plucking petals, staring hopefully at a blackened phone screen, experiencing electrically-charged heart palpitations, and other assorted yearnings are not activities in which I choose to spend my days. Grumpy and cynical I am, but I’m content with such a flatline existence. Enough about that. I’ve also been reading the third book of Rick Atkinson’s Liberation Trilogy, this one so cleverly titled The Guns at Last Light. The first two books are An Army at Dawn and The Day of Battle. I sense a “day” theme here. At this point in book three, The Battle of the Bulge is in full swing, or more accurately, full disaster. If you’ve seen Band of Brothers, then you know what happens at Bastogne. More on this later, but I will say now that these three books are a good overview of the war in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, and Western Europe.

Now, on to my recent viewing experiences:

I watched the 1951 classic The Thing from Another World last Friday. This is the first adaptation of John W. Campbell Jr.’s novella Who Goes There? John Carpenter made his version in 1982. I won’t go into detail here, as I wrote a “Where This Man Has Gone Before” post over on my other wordpress site. Here’s a link for those interested: http://wp.me/p4AelW-iN

izombie

I also finished watching season one of iZOMBiE. I liked this quirky take on the self-aware, living dead. By the end of season one the storyline had gotten much darker than the amusing initial handful of episodes. And as season two hasn’t yet made it to Netflix, I will just have to wait to see how things play out. All in all, the first season was a fun ride, with humor, wit, and a lovable performance by New Zealand (what, New Zealand???) actress Rose McIver as Liv Moore (yes that is the Dickensian name of the lead zombie/medical examiner/brain eater/crime solver/personality changer). And Ravi has some excellent, subtle one-liners, reminiscent of those on-the-fly references which made the West Wing so much fun to watch. Needless to say, I will be watching season two, once it shows up on Netflix.

ascension

As much as I enjoyed iZOMBiE, there always seems to be something out there to keep things in balance. In this case, the SyFy mini-series Ascension became the yin to iZOMBiE’s yang. I applaud the premise of the interstellar ship on a 100 year voyage. (I have written a generational arkship novel, Hope 239, for those perhaps unaware). Whatever the writers and producers were trying to do here, the six episodes didn’t accomplish it. If they were hoping for an outpouring of fan interest to turn into a regular series, that obviously did not happen. Instead, what is left, are six episodes which are all over the place, with little holding them together. Murder mystery, ghost horror, space opera, government agencies, a child with special powers, a closed society on the verge of collapse, all of this is tossed into a mix with little explanation and no resolution. Such a disappointment, as there is so much potential in the arkship theme (especially one that never even left Earth). I’m not opposed to open endings, where I get to speculate on what happens next. But Ascension never even got to an “ending”, it just stopped, the credits rolled, and that was it. This isn’t a case of Firefly being cancelled; this was all they wrote, beginning, middle, and what the hell is this? Oh well, life goes on. Perhaps one day the story will continue. By but then, I might have moved on to other things, like Falling Skies.

And that’s a wrap for this week. One final thing, in a moment of potential insanity, I am offering myself as a proofreader/editor. As of now, this is something I will do on a pay-as-you-can basis (most indie writers aren’t raking in the cash, so I will help in whatever way I can, for now, this is subject to change as the situation progresses). I know how hard it is to write a book, and I also know the near-impossibility of self-editing (you know like all the typos in this post I cannot see because I wrote it). If anyone is interested, then let me know. Also, if you are interested in a review your already published book, novella, or short story, then don’t hesitate to ask. Obviously, I cannot read everything, nor can I read what I’m not aware is out there.

And that’s the official wrap for the week. Until next time, have a great weekend. Oh, and you can also find me on Twitter twitter  and Facebook facebook

Weekly Round-up 5-6-2016

Weekly Round-up

5/6/2016

With last Friday consumed with the Kindle upload of Suspended Bridges, this week’s Round-up is actually for the previous 14 days. The upload went well, and while this new collection isn’t sci-fi or horror or any of my other tangents of weirdness, I’m pleased it is now up and I can move on to another project. The next item on my agenda is publishing The House on Lake Tacit, which is a large lit novel. I know, I know, this doesn’t fit into the Poets of the Dead Society theme, but this falls into the category of “anything else I feel like talking about.” So, with that announcement out of the way, here’s what I read and watched since we last communicated:

Legend of the Dawn (2012) JR Wright

wright legend of the dawn

And yes, I know, I really do know, this doesn’t fit the theme either. But I feel it is a good idea to read out of genre. It works as a mental palette cleanser, for me anyway. And this pre-Western (I consider anything with a setting prior to 1870 an anteWestern) definitely cleared the mind of mutants, aliens, demons, and all the other unfriendlies I typically read. Wright’s novel reads a bit like a McMurtry, not a Lonesome Dove McMurtry, more like Streets of Laredo. Wright does have McMurtry’s propensity of killing off characters, and doing so suddenly and brutally. No character is safe from the harsh life in the upper-Mississippi river frontier of the 1840’s. A fun, quick read, and just what I needed.

West of Paradise (2014) Marcy Hatch

hatch west of paradise

Since this is a time travel novel it does fit into the sci-fi theme. I have this strange thing going on with random connections. I will admit to not reading blurbs (I hate writing them, hence I dislike reading them), so the plot and setting of my reading material is always a first-page mystery. Here we have people going back in time, to the old-West of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, 1881 to be specific (though Tombstone makes an appearance later). I enjoyed this foray into the West, with the requisite bank/train robbers, bounty hunters, U.S. marshals, and other assorted L’Amour-esque characters. Male lead character Jack is a time traveler who decided to stay in the West and become a bounty hunter, chasing a femme fatale who shot him when he foiled a train heist. Female lead Katherine, another time traveler (five years after Jack), just happens to look exactly like the dastardly Alanna McCleod, the shooter Jack has been searching for. Ah, so we can see how this complicates matters when Jack sees Katherine. Enjoyable, with diverse settings, including 1880’s Boston, and plenty of old-West flavor. While this isn’t going to rock the world of a sci-fi purist (or probably a traditional Western lover), it is light, with the obligatory romance, and the mandatory comeuppance of the evil-doers. Hatch has set it up for a sequel, though, to my knowledge, that has yet to be published.

Children of the After: Awakening (2013) Jeremy Laszlo

laszlo children awakening

And now, back to the regularly scheduled post-apoc mayhem. Awakening is book one of Laszlo’s 4 book series about three siblings trying to survive in a devastated world. Jack, Samantha, and Will have been isolated in a vault for months and have no idea what has befallen the world. When lack of food forces them to emerge from their sanctuary, they find their home town of Chicago has been torched and deserted. Having no idea what has happened, they set out to find answers. The story is a bit slow, but the destroyed world is vividly depicted. The three lead characters are well-drawn, and Laszlo spends a substantial amount of time in his characters’ heads, letting each tell a part of the story. The psychological elements of young people trying to cope with a world in ruins are well done, and most importantly they are believable. The bond between the three siblings is also the glue which holds this story together. I cared for each of them, and didn’t want to see them come to harm. After reading the aforementioned Legend of the Dawn, I had fears of arbitrary character-killings. This is a good story, and I can understand why it has over 700 reviews. It’s also free, which does help, but I’ve read enough freebies to know that free isn’t going to get you 700+ reviews. Only a well-written story can do that.

Unnamed Novel by Unnamed Author

Knowing firsthand how much work goes into writing a novel, and how hard it is to get any exposure for said novel, has I read I try to find something good or worthwhile in everything, especially those indie-toilers with limited resources. However, every once in a while, something comes across my Kindle which is so bad I cannot find even the smallest piece to redeem it. I won’t name the novel or the author, as it serves no purpose other than to open a can of electrified worms better left buried in the bayou. Let’s just say this particular sci-fi novel had bad characters, a rehashed Borg-like plot, and enough stupidity to make James Rollins look like a potential Pulitzer winner. Writing a novel isn’t easy, but sometimes reading one can be even more difficult.

Okay, there’s the reading selections for the past two weeks. As I’ve said before, with the arrival of spring my reading time has been curtailed. I have watched a couple of new (and old) things recently. Here’s a brief rundown:

In the Heart of the Sea

I’d say a giant man-hating mutant whale fits the Poets theme. I enjoyed this Moby-Dick background tale. I might even reread Melville’s overly-long novel, or perhaps re-watch the Gregory Peck film. I do need to have a good revisit with the Patrick Stewart version, because it is always good to see a non-Picard, non-Shakespearean Stewart doing his commanding thing. But this new version of the misanthropic cetacean is pretty good. Chris Hemsworth is his squinty-eyed, rock-chinned self, and Cillian Murphy continues his career of Judson Scott lookalike. Entertaining, hey I enjoy being entertained, what can I say? And I might just read Nathaniel Philbrick’s book about Essex.

Inception

Carrying on my randomness, prior to In the Heart of the Sea, I’d no memory of seeing Cillian Murphy in anything (though after an IMDB search, I had seen him in 28 Days Later, granted that was over a decade ago and back when I was in a less than focused mental state). So, by the luck of whatever DVD was sitting on top of the stack, I watched back-to-back Murphy movies. Strange how this works, because the same thing happened with Chris Hemsworth (Star Trek being the other one). Inception has a great premise, which of course brought up memories of Brainstorm and the semi-truck off the cliff scene. But I digress (which will be the title of my never-to-be-written autobiography). Who wouldn’t want to be able to play an active part of his/her own dreams, or even run-amuck in other peoples’ dreams? At times confusing, like most dreams, and like certain other Christopher Nolan films, I still liked the movie. I decided not to try to make sense of everything, because any attempt to do so, would either make me feel an idiot or a psychopath. Dreams are dreams, and Inception is Nolan, ‘nuff said.

The Terminator

Since Inception got me in a throwback mood, what better movie to revisit than this classic? Love this flick, even thirty-plus years later. And yes there are more detail plot holes than a Dan Brown novel, but I don’t care. I don’t care how cheesy the special effects are, like the HK-Arial jerking itself around, or the Bass-Rankin stop-action of the 800 series endoskeleton, or the fact that somehow not one, but two!!! AMC Gremlins make an appearance. Watching a film like this can almost make me think I’m 13 again, and briefly forget I’m closer to 50 than 30. A ground breaking film, and while not perfect, it’ll always be close enough for me.

Well that’s enough for this week. Next time look for a few thoughts on iZombie and Ascension. Along with whatever I happen to read and watch in the next few days.

Cheers folks, have an awesome weekend

Jeffrey

Weekly Round-up 4-22-2016

Weekly Round-up

4/22/2016

Another week has come and gone, and the weekend is upon us. As I said in the last Round-up post, reading is taking a brief respite. I did read one short prologue type thing; however, it was rather uninspiring and doesn’t warrant any further elaboration from me.

I did finish watching ZNation. This definitely has its good moments, but on the whole it didn’t work for me. Mainly, other than Murphy, I didn’t like the characters, and honestly I hoped most of them would die. That sounds crude and borderline psychopath but, sheesh these were some unlikeable morons. If those people are the ones who will continue humanity, then we are better off checking out right now. I will have a more detailed (yippee!) post on this in the near future.

I also watched the first Transformers movie, for the first time. Yes, the first time. I’ve not watched many films over the past ten years, so I’ve a few hundred to catch up on. This wasn’t a good movie, but it did have a couple of good moments. When all the Autobots show up, I did have a flashback to watching afternoon cartoons. Also having Peter Cullen return as Optimus Prime was cool. But on the whole, this wasn’t good, with a hair-thin plot, lots of explosions, CGI run rampant, and the requisite, sexy, superhot people saving the world. Well, I suppose there are worse ways to spend a couple of hours. Look for a “Where This Man Has Gone Before” post on this in the next week or so.

And that brings me to Star Trek. I re-watched the 2009 Abrams film, and was thoroughly entertained. It could have been better, but it wasn’t a bad film. Nero was a rather ambiguous, shell of a villain. However, his alteration of the entire Star Trek timeline was a clever use of time-travel (again!). By doing so, subsequent films need not worry about meshing with any existing plots, settings, ships, and characters. The future is indeed unwritten. I have written a post on this, over on my other site, hence the “Where This Man Has Gone Before” name mentioned above. I’ve had a fair amount of fun with this post, as it’s opened some interesting dialogue threads. It also allowed a bit of my inner-nerd to make an appearance. In all honesty, my inner-nerd is always on the surface, so this is certainly nothing new.

Here’s a link: http://wp.me/p4AelW-iv

That’s about it for this week. Thanks for dropping by. Have an awesome weekend.

The Eternal Seaon (a second look)

bumpus eternal season

The Eternal Season

(The Swallowed World book one)

Tyler Bumpus

Evan C. over at FromTheWastes has already done a PotDS post on Bumpus’s The Eternal Season, however, I wanted to share a few thoughts on it as well.

The story is a very good one, but what sets this apart from other post-apocalyptic works is the believable world Bumpus has created. The amount of work and forethought that went into building this world is nothing short of astounding. The Eternal Season, while a standalone novella, is but one snippet in the many lives of primarily post-apoc America, but also Mexico and Brazil, among others. There are scores, if not hundreds, of future stories to be told within the myriad events Bumpus has envisioned. From the downfall of America through climate and economic factors, to crusading religious zealots, to genetic alterations and new non-petroleum based energies and advances in genetic and neural technologies, this is a world completely rewritten. The depth and detail of the setting, as elaborated on in the provided glossary is akin to reading a Penguin History of Modern Times. Within the recent “historical” context and in the contemporary actions of the characters, the setting is what makes this book stand out. It is one thing for a writer to say, “This is the world after the fall.” It is something else altogether to delve into why it fell, and then explain how the fall has altered everything which followed.

And this background information is far more complex than the “one bomb led to a thousand and thereby destroyed civilization” approach. Not that this concise, often vague, prologue is flawed. Albanians nuked Naples, hence, bringing down the entire world, according to Nevil Shute in On the Beach. Of course, that was in 1957, and the brief premise still works now as well as it did then. George Miller didn’t elaborate on why the wastelands became the wastelands. It happened, the world changed, and survivors must persevere, which is the theme of most all post-apoc fiction. That hope the human race isn’t dead. Of course, Shute didn’t see it this way, but that is what makes his book so great. Even with nothing to live for beyond a few weeks, humans still clung to something that no longer existed.

But I digress. That point is Bumpus has explained the cause, and the effect, and the why leading to the how, when, and where.

As I ponder this, I recall one of my favorite authors from my teenage years: Tom Clancy. Specifically, I’m thinking of Red Storm Rising. Here was cause and effect in detail. World War III didn’t just start on a whim, it had complexity many, many years in the making. Kind of like the convoluted history of the Balkans leading to World War I, which in turn led to World War II. Anyway, the point is, Bumpus has done his research, coupled with an expansive imagination, and done something not easily accomplished: built a realistic, believable world with a thousand possible stories. His world is a place I look forward to visiting a many times in the future. I applaud Bumpus for his work, his creativity, and for what stories he has yet to tell us.

I’ve included an excerpt from the glossary. This is but one element of Bumpus’s The Swallowed World setting:

GREAT AMERICAN RIFT, THE: the wholesale collapse of the United States of America as a political and federal entity in Y3, DE. Though pundits still argue over which “straw broke the camel’s back,” myriad issues were contributing factors. Including, but not limited to: the Petrol Drought; the resultant crippling of transit and supply lines; Old State resource disputes and rampant poverty; the nutricides and impending nation-wide famines; post-antibiotic pestilence; terrorism foreign and domestic; the Calamities and the shortfall of federal aid in devastated regions (esp California); and growing separatist camps lambasting the federal government as “a defunct relic unable to govern its vast continental breadth.” One thing remains certain: the Rift plunged America headlong into a new age of industry, war, and technology from which there was no returning.

 Bumpus, Tyler (2016-02-01). The Eternal Season (The Swallowed World Book 1) (Kindle Locations 1837-1840).  . Kindle Edition.

bumpus

Tyler Bumpus can be found at the following links:

Amazon

Twitter

Facebook

Website

YouTube

And here is a link to Evan C.’s review:

https://poetsofthedeadsociety.wordpress.com/2016/03/29/the-eternal-season/

Collapse

leonard collapse

Collapse

(Ferine Apocalypse book 1)

John F Leonard

Genre: apocalypse

Sub-genre: human mutation/fall of civilization

Novel, novella, short story: novel

Serial or stand alone: stand alone (book 1 of Ferine Apocalypse series)

Setting: UK (multiple locations)

Characters: Sam, George, Joe, Julian, Adalia, Pearcey, Elliott, Caroline, Ranj, Phillip, Mr. Monkton, Tom Crabtree

 Synopsis/blurb: The sweeping sickness, a global pandemic.

Billions lie fallen, gripped by an unknown affliction.

Hope is all the few survivors have. Hope that the collapsed will recover and wake again.

But waking is when the real nightmare begins…

A mystery illness sweeps the globe. Swifter and more virulent than anything ever recorded, enfolding the earth like a savage hand snatching a child’s marble.

The City Flu in Britain.

The Sweeping Sickness in America.

Misnomers, semantics, swirls of the matador’s cloak, the names don’t matter. There isn’t time for that. Normal life is slipping its gears, sliding into unknown territory. The illness is never properly classified, identified or studied. The descent into disaster is too fast, the effects so debilitating that the impact is already catastrophic. Put simply, vast numbers of people become too ill to work and so things stop working.

Horror is here, and greater horror lies ahead.

Because the collapsed aren’t just unconscious, they’re changing.

 Thoughts: These are not zombies, not as we’ve come to imagine them. Mutated humans have taken over and are determined to kill and devour those immune to the unknown pandemic which has swept over the Earth in a matter of days. Leonard’s tale is one driven by his eight (yes, at least eight) lead characters. Through these immune survivors, the reader sees how the outbreak began, how it consumed family and friends, and how they now fight to continue surviving in a world now populated with mutated killing beasts. The stories of these men and women are key and Leonard has created a believable cast of normal folks, cast into an unreal situation. What they did before the outbreak, what they did to survive, and how they come together is written extremely well. And with such a large cast, the question is, who is going to die? Or in this world, who is going to live? Through all the death and horror, Leonard does maintain a tone of humor. Not blatant comedy, but just enough wit and clever word-play to prevent the novel from falling into complete hopelessness. While there is little to be thankful for in this world turned mutant-infestation, there are a few moments of sun and wry smiles. All told, this is a great take on the apocalypse, full of the associated horrors, mutilations, sacrifice, determination, disbelief, and perseverance. An enjoyable read, and a great addition to the ever-growing genre.

amazon_portrait_1

 About the author: John was born in England and grew up in the industrial midlands, where he learned to love the sound of scrapyard dogs and the rattle and clank of passing trains.

He studied English, Art and History and has, at different times, been a sculptor, odd-job man and office worker. He enjoys horror and comedy (not necessarily together).

He is currently working on a number of projects, one of which is a new book set in the ever evolving post-apocalyptic world of Collapse.

Check out his website: http://www.johnfleonard.com

Links

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/22tPGDc

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/22tPHH2

Twitter: https://twitter.com/john_f_leonard

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/johnfleonard.author/