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12 July 2011 @ 06:15 pm
In fact, Darkside by S.K.S. Perry (no relation to yours truly), if not exactly light, is quite witty, fast-paced, and seriously genre-bending. The story is about a guy named James Decker who dies in the process of saving a young woman from being attacked. But he finds that he really isn't dead...well, sort of.

From the blurb:

Haunted by the ghosts of his father and grandfather, [James Decker] learns that the woman he rescued is in fact an Innocent, the physical embodiment of hope. As it turns out, seeing dead people is the least of James' worries. It's the trolls, goblins, vampires, and other assorted creepy-crawlies that make being dead a living nightmare.

Turns out Darkside is what all these dark creatures living in the Otherworld call our reality. And that's just one of the rules of the afterlife James has to learn as he finds a new lease on life protecting the Innocent from further harm. With wry humor and snide first person remarks, Perry transports you from one realm to the other and back again in a quest you'll not likely forget - if you don't die laughing first. A bit slow in the middle, but overall, a solid debut novel.

The frolicking adventure continues in Darkside: Waking the Dead, which I just loaded on my Kindle! By the way, Darkside, first novel is available for only 99 cents! (BTW, I received a free copy from the author a long time ago. But I bought the sequel. :)
19 December 2009 @ 09:47 am
My review of editor Michael Lea's collection of super human fiction, POW!erful Tales, is up at TangentOnline.com. Here's my opening take:
I have to admit at the outset that I’m not a super huge fan of superhuman stories, but I do like well told speculative adventures, which is what this anthology boils down to. And for the most part, the stories contained in POW!erful Tales, edited by Michael C. Lea, are fairly well told fictions featuring superheroes and super villains battling it out in and over Beta City, “the hero capital of the world.”

The setting of Beta City (on the shores of a post-cataclysmic Lake Erie) is important as it serves as a unifying thread for a collection of (for the most part) disparate stories written by thirteen different authors. Lea did a fairly good job tying them together with a running narrative that grouped thematically similar adventures into four sections. He even referred back to some of the characters and situations in his climactic story, “Uncreation Myth.” The overall project was maybe a bit ambitious as the groupings were somewhat forced, but I have to admit it was fresh and creative and did serve to set this anthology apart from the various other hero fiction collections out there.

After a fictional introduction by Lea that seeks to offer the reader some rationale for the increased hero activity in and around Beta City, the dossier is opened and we are invited to judge for ourselves the origins of the sensational happenings as well as the “menaces catalogued” there.
Read my reviews on all 15 stories included in this collection. And if this is your type of lit, then I'd give it a recommended thumbs up, a 6.5 out of 10.
12 December 2009 @ 09:37 am
Came across an intriguing genre of fiction in recent months, although it's been around for quite some time. It's called "sword and soul" and can generally be described as African-inspired heroic fantasy. Charles Saunders is probably the most well known author of this type of literature, introducing heroes like Imaro and Dossouye who could probably, or so I'm told, go head to head with the likes of Conan and Elric any day.

While I've not read Saunders, I frequent SFReader.com, a SF/F discussion board, where another Sword & Soul writer has generated quite a bit of interest. Milton Davis is the author of Meji Books One & Two, a nice review of which is up at Black Gate (written by Saunders). From what I've read and heard, these stories seem fresh and exciting. And the publishing world is always on the lookout for something new and different. Like I said, the genre isn't exactly new, but it's a niche that I believe will find a wider audience. Davis and Saunders may be on the cusp of a new wave in fantasy fiction. It's definitely a genre worth exploring.

Here's the official blurb from Milton's website:
On the continent of Uhuru, in the grasslands of the Sesu, Inkosi Dingane is granted his wish. His Great Wife Shani bears him a son, an heir to his growing empire. But the ancestors have plans of their own. Shani bears him twin boys, meji, an abomination among the Sesu, but a blessing to Shani’s people, the Mawena.

Thus begins the story of two brothers destined to transform their world. One brother, Ndoro, fights for his place among the Sesu, hoping to shed the stigma of abomination. The other, Obaseki, grows to a man among the Mawena, struggling with a gift that alienates him from his family and eventually leads to his exile. Each brother sets out to find his destiny, revealing a prophecy that changes them and their world forever.
I don't know about you, but I get Christmas money every year...so it looks like I know what I might be getting myself come the New Year!
01 December 2009 @ 11:13 am
Okay, I've come to realize I need to update FB, Twitter, my blogs, my zine, my email addresses... this is just getting ridiculous! Calgon!
03 August 2009 @ 06:00 pm



When The Sky Fell
(Silver Leaf, 2009)
by Mike Lynch and Brandon Barr

The year is 2217, and Commander Frank Yamane is the captain of the stellar cruiser, Corona, stationed at Titan. A battle-hardened man who has experienced a series of personal tragedies, Yamane is guilt-ridden over his inability to prevent the death of his beloved wife, Liana. Plagued with doubts regarding his ability to lead, he will soon face the ultimate crisis when an alien race known as the Deravans attack the Earth without mercy. Knowing he cannot stop them alone, Yamane has no choice but to seek the assistance of an enemy he helped defeat in a war ten years before. The problem is, Commander Yamane knows they have every reason not to come to Earth’s rescue.

Read the rest of this interview »

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16 April 2009 @ 04:22 pm

A Zine of Speculative Fiction 
with a Spiritual Thread
30 March 2009 @ 05:16 pm
Interesting response to part of my take on Nancy Jane Moore's Conscientious Inconsistencies (PS Showcase #2) that I reviewed at The Fix a few months back. 
My opening paragraph was this:

Conscientious Inconsistencies by Nancy Jane Moore is the second volume in PS Publishing’s series of “mini-collections of brand new short stories by some of the best and brightest new writers on the genre fiction scene.” And I have to say I was impressed. Although touted in the introduction as a sampling of stories influenced by Moore’s feminism, I found, rather, the four pieces of fiction (and a list of “Thirty-One Rules for Fulfilling Your Destiny”) as examples of great writing featuring fully characterized protagonists who just happen to be women. Moore’s style rises above a particular perspective and stands on its own as quality short fiction. To classify this collection as feminist literature, in my opinion, might unnecessarily marginalize these stories away from the very genre fiction scene it seeks to represent.
Here response at SFSignal was this:
In recent years, I've been exploring gender issues in a lot of my fiction, and I've never made any secret of the fact that I'm a feminist. I hadn't thought I was violating any taboos by doing that, but a comment in a positive review of my collection, Conscientious Inconsistencies, has given me some food for thought. On The Fix, Lyndon Perry wrote, "To classify this collection as feminist literature, in my opinion, might unnecessarily marginalize these stories away from the very genre fiction scene it seeks to represent."

His observation, which was based on the fact that the introduction and the jacket cover both discuss feminism, has made me wonder if some of the rejections I receive have to do with the fact that many of my stories do touch on gender issues, or if - as Perry suggests - my reputation as a feminist makes some editors (and readers) dismiss my work without paying close attention.

I wouldn't go so far as to suggest that a taboo exists against feminist material - or political material generally. Frankly, I hope Perry's wrong, much as I appreciate the nice things he said about my stories. But it does seem as if fiction that goes farther than simply writing a woman character into a role once reserved solely for male ones is not common in mass market fiction. It's nice to see the kick-ass heroines, but I am hungry for meatier material.

Thinking about this hasn't driven me to self-censorship, though. The truth is, I just find gender issues too interesting to stop writing about them. And I've been told "girls can't do that" too many times to let any criticism stop me from being a feminist.

Actually, I think Moore and I are on the same page with regard to what makes good writing and I hope I'm wrong as well when it comes to the criteria that people use to filter what they read. But we might just be operating from two different perspectives on what entails feminism in literature. I admit my ignorance regarding this issue and probably speak from a broadly masculine perspective when I state that my impression of feminist lit is that it seems to be more about proving points than exploring issues. I've never liked chip-on-the-shoulder writing, whether it be gender related, political, social commentary, anti-religious or religious based, or anything else that can cause strong reactions on either side. But as I said in the intro to her collection of stories, I didn't sense that Moore had an axe to grind, I simply enjoyed the ride she took me on. So for those of us (preaching to myself here) that are quick to judge a book by its cover (or perceived agenda), slow down, take a breath, and start reading.

20 March 2009 @ 02:52 pm

My review of Future Bristol, an anthology of 9 stories by writers connected to a city they love, respect, and want to see flourish, will soon be up at The Fix. It will be released in April, 2009 by Swimming Kangaroo Books

Here's my opening blurb: "The stories in Future Bristol propel the reader into both the near and distant future of the United Kingdom's famous industrial city of Bristol. These speculative pieces immediately bring life and color to its past and present while painting surprisingly vivid and imaginative scenarios of its future. Through a wonderfully accessible selection of stories and genres —from steampunk to biotech suspense to superhero fiction — this collection is entertaining, compelling, and thought-provoking. As for the writing itself, the craftsmanship of each story is superb. Editor Colin Harvey did a fine job of compiling a diverse yet complimentary collection of short fiction. If the authors of Future Bristol continue to write at this high a level, then the future of British speculative fiction is secure. A delight for science fiction fans of all stripes."


For more information, visit editor Colin Harvey's site.
24 November 2008 @ 06:00 am
I like Orson Scott Card. On a number of different levels. First (and maybe foremost, I'm not sure since the levels are interrelated) for his inclusion of religion, spiritual themes, and discussion of God as a natural and integral part of his writings in general, and the Ender universe in particular. "Most scientists believe in God," states one of the xenobiologists in Ender in Exhile (p. 184) – and reading Card you accept it at face value. Thank you! So much of SF is devoid of even a hint of theological pondering that one gets the impression some authors are either simply clueless or too skittish to engage the subject. I admire Card for his candor, and while at times his Mormonism seeps through, his themes are, by and large, universal in scope and therefore applicable to theists and non-theists alike.

+ For the rest of my review, visit SFReader.com.
+ Another review is at Bibliophile Stalker.
+ And yet another is at book : thirty.

The Diary of Hillary Sorensen-French by SC Bryce
(science fiction, humor, 2650 words, posted Nov 17-21, 2008)

#08.28a ~ Ode to Bacon and Eggs
#08.28b ~ The Universal Need for Seatbelts
#08.28c ~ The Effects of Traitorous Neighbors
#08.28d ~ Thanks for the Little Things
#08.28e ~ The Purple Light District & Space Cadet

+ Hillary Sorensen-French has made first contact. Which is quite inconvenient given that the aliens' arrival interrupts a sumptuous breakfast of bacon and eggs! But no fear, Hillary will make the best of a difficult situation. These fun and humorous journal entries - one posted each day this week - will provide the reader with some light-hearted chuckles to brighten the day. Enjoy!