Sequel CASTAWAY ODYSSEY now available

Castaway Odyssey, sequel to Castaway Planet, is now available. I just finished it and enjoyed it immensely.

Both books are part of a whole but I felt each one was a whole in itself, ending with a satisfying resolution, not a cliffhanger.

Ryk confirms that he’s working on the third book in the trilogy. I’m looking forward to it. The characters are fully formed, their work on surviving on the planet well-realized and believable, and the story moves right along but not so break-neck as to be breathless.

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KANTOVAN VAULT now available (Spiral Wars Book 3)

One of the best space-war writers is Aussie Joel Shepherd. He gets everything right: the human side of war, military tactics, hard science, and alien biology and psychology – all in stories which move briskly along.

Now he’s released the third book in his Spiral Wars series: Kantovan Vault. It’s available as an Amazon ebook for $3.99. I believe a printed book will also soon be available.

Click on the image for a preview and to buy the book.

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Latest DARKOVER book available now

When Deborah Ross took over Marion Zimmer Bradley‘s Darkover series I lost interest, thinking Ross could never equal the feel and thrill of MZB’s books. I’m happy to admit I was wrong, as proved by the latest book in the series – Thunderlord.

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NAPOLEONIC WAR WITH DRAGONS series finale available

Naomi Novik in 2006 introduced us to her Temeraire series. It re-imagined the Napoleonic War if both sides had dragons to use as an air force.

Normally stories with dragons bore me, as they strike me as being out of sync with the rest of the ecologies shown in the stories. Plus they can fly and shoot flames from their mouths, ridiculous possibilities to an engineer who has been very involved in creating aircraft to do the same. But Novik thought out all the details so well, and presents them so vividly, that the dragons in her stories seem utterly believable.

Her dragons are also willing and willful characters, each with a personality of its own. They are primary characters in their own right; their desires and thoughts drive the stories as much as those of the humans. In the course of the series the main characters, Captain Will Laurence and his dragon Temeraire, visit China, Africa, Australia, as well as Britain and France. We see how differently the societies treat dragons. In China, for instance, they are equal citizens with the humans, and the two species live mostly in harmony.

The latest book, League of Dragons, draws the series to a satisfying close. If you’ve not read the series I suggest you start with the first book, His Majesty’s Dragon.

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dance scene from SUCKER PUNCH

Zach Snyder‘s 2011 film Sucker Punch was a deep disappointment to me. It has a downer ending and all the action sequences are dreams or fantasies, making the victories meaningless. Still, it had some fun dance sequences (available only on the Blu-ray Extended Cut version).

Here is my favorite, performed by Carla Gugino and Oscar Isaac. It reminds me very much of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

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New RING OF FIRE book available

One of my favorite series of books is the RING OF FIRE series by Eric Flint. The first book was 1632, and seems to have been intended as a one-off. It follows a group of modern-day Americans who lived within roughly ten miles of the West Virginia city of Grantville. Mid-day it was transported to 1632 in the middle of what was to become Germany, during the horrible Thirty-Years War.

Both “up-time” and “down-time” people and their situations were brought vividly to life by Flint, and they proved to be fertile ground for later books. Flint enlisted the aid of several capable authors to co-author or author follow-up books which he did not have time to write by himself. For updates and more info on the series see the Eric Flint web site.

The latest book is 1636: The Chronicles of Dr. Gribbleflotz, by Kerryn Offord and Rick Boatright. It follows the early and middle life of Phillip Theophrastus Gribbleflotz. An alchemist and possible great-grandson of Paracelsus, he struggles to survive and in the process helps to create and grow the modern chemical industry of the 17th Century. I spent several happy evenings with the book and look forward to a sequel is there ever is one.

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Great new CASTAWAYS IN TIME book

Just finished a terrific addition to the old “castaways in time” books which started with Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. The book by Michael Z. Williamson is a bit long on the details of how the main characters adapted. This might bother a few but I enjoyed them. You can always skim if a book seems slow to you, but I might have felt cheated if the author had left them out.

From the book’s blurb:

“Ten soldiers on convoy in Afghanistan suddenly find themselves lost in time. Somehow, they arrived in Earth’s Paleolithic Asia. With no idea how they arrived or how to get back, the shock of the event is severe. They discover groups of the similarly displaced: Imperial Romans, Neolithic Europeans, and a small cadre of East Indian peasants. Despite their technological advantage, the soldiers only have ten people, and know no way home.”

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Anything new from fave author Lois McMaster Bujold is a cause for celebration. The latest is her second novella in her Penric and Desdemona series set in her World of the Five Gods. It takes place four years after events of her first Penric story.

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WONDER WOMAN rethought – new beginning

Often after we finish a book we put it away to work on something else. Then when our intense focus on it has faded we look back at it – and see aspects we did not see before. I recently did that with my Wonder Woman Rethought book, Star Woman. And in the first chapter I noticed that it starts in the wrong place.

I fixed that chapter, and the second chapter since the fix affected it. Both they and the three following chapters are now online. Click Chapter 1 – Revelation to read the first chapter, which will lead you to the following ones.

A book should speak for itself. But a few of you may enjoy knowing how my Star Woman is like her inspiration, and unlike her. First, the look is different. It’s more grounded in reality. Really, what crime fighter wears a star-spangled bikini and high heels?!

But I love the look, silly as it is. So I wondered, how would a young woman who’s suddenly acquired super powers change her look? Maybe not at all, if one of the powers was to clothe herself in an invisible but super-hard force field. Which also let her fly.

Click either image to see the full-size version. (Why two images? I couldn’t decide which I liked best. Let me know your feelings.)

Anna in Air stormy bkgnd CROPPED.Anna in Air sunny bkgnd CROPPED

The force field shield dispenses with the need for those silly bullet-bouncing bracelets. Really! A heavy machine gun fires 60 rounds a SECOND. Each the size of our thumbs, weighing a tenth of a pound, and moving at over 2000 feet per second. Wonder Woman would have awfully sore muscles after deflecting a magazine of those bullets!

And the tiara? What use is it? In the comics it’s a status symbol and a boomerang-like weapon. In my version it’s a super-supercomputer, communicator, and “gravitar” sensor suite. And it can be invisible so she can use it without anyone knowing she has it. Oh, and it helps her sense if someone is telling the truth or lying, so no need for Wonder Woman’s golden lasso.

Which brings us to the greatest difference of my Star Woman from Wonder Woman. I always thought the Greek gods origins of Diana Prince really stupid. I opted for a sci-fi explanation: she’s an alien. Hey, if it’s good enough for Superman, it’s good enough for Wonder Woman!

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SMART WOMEN – that’s what Taliban, etc. fear most

This may be the most important news story I’ve read so far in this first half of 2016. Now you can read it too.

Meet Sultana, the Taliban’s Worst Fear

This young Afghan woman may be the next Einstein or Hawking. Or Rosalind Franklin. Or she may just be another curious young girl. Either way she is a deadly, deadly menace to tyrants and terrorists worldwide.

Why? It’s not because women are kinder than men. That’s a popular myth among women and men alike. They can be just as evil. Such as the several young women who recently drove another young girl to suicide because she was different. Or the woman who recently convinced a man to kick another woman to death with his steel-toed boots.

Nor is it because women are smarter than men, either at rational or creative or any other kind of thinking.

It’s because they are JUST AS SMART as men. No less. No more.

And they are half the human race. A half whose contributions have been denied and suppressed so long it seems “natural.” Letting that entire half of the population use their minds to effect even modest change? Enormously dangerous.

It is, however, inevitable. In today’s world many more jobs require brains than brawn. In field after field, especially in the under-developed world, it is becoming increasingly hard to find AND KEEP merely ordinarily smart people. Not geniuses. Just plain smart people, willing to work hard and long.

Such a job is fighter pilot. It takes several million dollars, and well over a year, to get one who is merely competent. They have to keep training, too. It’s not just done and done forever. They have to keep training, studying on the ground and burning fuel in the air, to stay sharp and stay on the advancing edge of the art.

Result? Even nations as backward and woman-hating as Pakistan are recruiting women as fighter pilots.

But many humble jobs are brain jobs, too, and certainly far more numerous. You think cleaning a house, nannying a child, flipping burgers, and doing the Big Mac weekly payroll are menial and requiring little thought and education? If so, you’re an idiot. Efficiency analysis studies of such jobs have shown they take a good deal of practical and even creative thought. And – SURPRISE – women can do that too.

Thus. I predict. This century will be the Century of the Woman. Hell, this MILLENNIUM may be the fucking Millennium of the Woman.

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