Saturday Morning Over Easy

What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness. – John Steinbeck

  

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Spotlight on Astounding Authors

We are back after a short break with a new edition of Astounding Authors. This week we have a young adult novel, a sexy thriller and a satirical fantasy. Our regular reviews return next week. I had some eBook troubles the past two weeks. But never fear! More Astounding Books is headed your way. Please visit our spotlight authors and tell them you saw their books on Astounding Books!

Touched by a Phoenix image
Author: Sophia Byron
Publisher: Sophia Byron (April 2015)
Pages: 606
Genre: Romantic Suspense with a bit of sci-fi and action Twitter: @Sophia_Byron
Facebook: OfficialSophiaByron

Military technology, shrouded in secrecy and isolation. So was the man that gave it life…or so he thought.

Playboy Brad Scott spent years avoiding love, his heart and mind dedicated to only one thing—global security.  That is, until he meets the elusive Alexandria Saunders, daughter of one of the wealthiest men in military technology and the fiercest corporate attorney in the mixing bowl. Alexis tears Brad’s world apart the moment they meet and with a single touch, becomes the breath against his fire…his obsession. Unwilling to trust any man due to her haunted past, Alexis has allowed her career to consume her life until nothing else seemed important.  While Brad’s devastatingly good looks and charming ways do little to impress Alexis, his touch has managed to crack the walls—walls she had built to protect her heart.  If Alexis can overcome her insecurities and fear, will she finally discover the man of her dreams—the man whose touch will heal her wounds and ignite the inextinguishable flame within her?

With an IQ of 229, Brad has been responsible for the most advanced developments in the history of surveillance systems.  With Alexis at his side, he has realized the greatest breakthrough of the century in military technology.  Now, the world wants what he knows and will stop at nothing to hunt him down. In a game of betrayal, terrorists seem determined to destroy Brad but should they fail, they’ll opt to eradicate the next best thing—Alexis.  In a race against time, can Brad swallow his pride and allow former CIA agent John Martin to help him save the only woman who has the power to save him from himself? Along the way, can they save the world from the horrors about to be unleashed? Interested in a sexy thriller?

Pick up a copy of Touched by a Phoenix today by clicking here!

 

I Am Sleepless: SIM 299 image
Author: Johan Twiss
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing (November 2015)
Pages: 286
Genre: Young Adult / Science Fiction
Twitter: @JohanTwiss
Website: Iamsleepless.weebly.com
Facebook: JohnBurgerWrites

While the others slept, Aidan spent hours each night running sim after sim. Although he was only a twelve-year cadet, he had completed more simulations than any prime— ever.“You are setting history,” General Estrago told him. “No one has ever made it to the current simulation you are attempting. The other Masters and I are eager to see what comes next.”So was Aidan.

The planet Ethos is at war with a mysterious enemy known as the Splicers. Their only successful defense is the Prime Initiative. All newborns with the compatible genetic code are taken from their families and injected with the Prime Stimulus. Each child that survives the stimulus develops an extraordinary ability and is conscripted into the military for training. After turning twelve, Aidan is moved to the upper-class at the Mount Fegorio training complex. His special gifts allow him unprecedented success in the virtual training simulations, advancing him further than any prime cadet in history.

No one knows what lies after sim 299, not even Director Tuskin, the ruthless and reclusive ruler of their planet. But something, or someone, has been guiding Aidan there. If he can pass the final tests, he may discover the key to ending the Splicer War.

Stay up all night and read I Am Sleepless: SIM 299 by clicking here.

 

Descent Into Madnes
Author: Evan Thomas Dixonimage

Publisher: CreateSpace (November 2015)
Genre: Satirical Epic Fantasy
Pages: 378
Twitter: @EvanThomasDixon
Website: EvanThomasDixon.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/evandixonwriting

When Mr. Brightley’s mansion is razed to the ground in the dead of night by a pack of wherewolves [sic], he finds himself wandering the wilderness with a couple of his surviving servants in tow. After escaping into the city of Lyverpool, our protagonist discovers that an organization known as the Intelligentsia, led by the infamous Finesse l’homme Pecheur, has invaded Buncombe and established a nationwide reign of tyranny. Alas! What is one to do? Why, join the Circus of Outcasts, of course! Especially when said Circus is an insurrection in disguise.

Alongside Thom Bloom and his ragtag band of freaks, Mr. Brightley helps emancipate cities, infiltrates a mental hospital, and barely evades an ambush at the hands of psychotic crusaders, all to prevent the Intelligentsia from accomplishing their true goal: the emancipation of Dionysos, the God of Madness, from the alternative dimension of Darkether, in order to establish a Dæmonocracy by which they will rule the known universe. The Circus is determined to stop them. And Mr. Brightley hopes he can help – if only he can stop having these strange hallucinatory dreams…

Join the outcasts and read Descent into Madness today!

Spotlight on Astounding Authors

We have a great selection this week! This installment of Astounding Authors features a fantasy crime noir, a sci-fi action adventure, a dystopian tale and more. Support our Astounding Authors by reading one of these exciting novels today. Stop by our Facebook page and let your friends and family know you found an exciting new author on Astounding Books!

 

imageBest Left in the Shadows
by Mark Gelineau and Joe King
Publisher: Gelineau & King (2015)
Pages: 80
Genre: Fantasy Crime Noir
Twitter: @GELINEAUandKING
Website: gelineauandking.com

The body of a Highside girl is found dead in Lowside, beaten and murdered. Daxton Ellis, Magistrate Inspector, and friend to the girl’s noble family, comes to find answers.

He knows the doors of the underworld open only to its own kind. His only hope lies with an old lover, Alys, a daughter of the underworld gangs, and the one person he swore he would never see again.

She agrees to help him, but for a price.

First they must gain the approval of Blacktide Harry, the boss of Prion and the king of rats. Then, deeper they go, traveling into the dark heart of the underworld in search of a killer.

Like everything in Lowside, nothing is as it first appears, and everything has a price.

Interested? Click here to read Best Left in the Shadows and support our Astounding Authors!

 

imageInevitable Ascencion
by V. K. McAllister
Publisher: KZA, LLC (September 2015)
Pages: 242
Genre: Sci-Fi / Action, Adventure
Twitter: @VK_McAllister
Website: Inevitableascension.com
Facebook:  Inevitable Ascension

The innocent never waver from doing what’s right, even if it means drowning the world in fire.

Violina, a girl polarized by love and loathing, finds herself thrown into a post-apocalyptic world with mankind on the brink of extinction. Discovering the means to travel back in time, she sets out to save the world by preventing the events leading up to the apocalypse. But as her quest advances, she becomes increasingly disgusted by the evil inherent to humanity and seeks lethal justice against all who wrong her—a list that grows exponentially until it encompasses all of mankind. By the end of her crusade, she realizes the future cannot be changed, and it was she who brought about the apocalypse in the first place.

You can purchase a copy of Inevitable Ascension here!

 

imageSystem_Failure
by Justin March
Publisher: BookRix (March 2015)
Pages: 300
Genre: Futuristic/Dystopian
Twitter: @AmericanHex
Website: Americanhex

In the near future, wealthy “patricians” access the internet through a chip embedded within their flesh, while scavengers eke out a meager existence in the slums that surround their walled cities. All technology that is not approved by the company running this network, known as the “bionet,” has been banned, so scavengers live off the grid.

A teen scavenger named Clark finds an illegal laptop and befriends a fellow scavenger named Starla who gives him access to a power supply. Together they learn how to hack into the bionet, but in doing so, Clark is intercepted by agents working for the CEO of the mega-corporation that runs the network. Impressed with Clark’s brilliance, he offers to make Clark a patrician. The operation to insert a biochip will wipe out Clark’s memories of Starla.

Clark must choose between remaining a scavenger and becoming a patrician, between freedom and wealth, between Starla and absolute power. When the plan Clark hatches to have it both ways goes awry he finds himself in a fight for his life against the world’s largest corporation and its CEO.

Read System_Failure! Click here to purchase.

 

imageImmaculate Conception 
by Guilherme Solari
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services (October 2015)
Pages: 81
Genre: Cyberpunk / Young Adult
Website: Guilhermesolari.com
Twitter: @Solari
Facebook: Guilhermesolaricom

The year is 2116. Millions of American and European refugees run from the destruction of the war-torn Northern hemisphere and flood into Megasampa, the urban sprawl formed by the combined metropolitan areas of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

They gather in the Novo Bronx ghetto, a place of vice, death and hardship, but also of refugees just trying to rebuild their lives. Novo Bronx was never a quiet place by a long shot, but now unrest grows as a series of macabre murders strike fear into the heart of the populace. Murders attributed to a creature the locals are calling Bebê Diabo, the Devil Baby.

The Proctech private police quells the rebellion for the time being, but the gruesome deaths are unlike anything they have ever encountered. Reluctantly, they call out of retirement the only detective insane enough to solve an insane case.

A detective called Cascavel.

IMMACULATE CONCEPTION is the first book in the CYBERSAMPA series.

Your door to Immaculate Conception starts here! Click to purchase a copy.

Thanks for stopping by this week. Stop on over to our Facebook page and let us know what you thought.

The Forever War a Forever Classic

imageThe Forever War

By Joe Haldeman
Originally published: 1974
Pages: 264

I’ve never been a fan of classic military science fiction. I feel there is always more emphasis on battle scenes and tech rather than character and story.  There were exceptions:  Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, which dealt  with the emotional and moral effects of war; and John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War series, giving us the “wise man’s” perspective of combat and death.  In both cases there is a xenophobic subtext of how man deals with aliens (or humans) they fail to understand, but convince themselves to fear. Both Card and Scalzi (and others) owe a large debt to Joe Haldeman who created the template for speculative military science fiction novels that deal not simply with tech, but much broader and controversial issues that we as humans struggle with today.

Published in 1974, The Forever War (winner of the Nebula, Hugo and Locus Awards) is the quintessential “war novel”.  Its thought-provoking parallels to modern day warfare, uncanny prescience toward changes in human sexuality and economics, exploration of xenophobia,  and  mind-blowing  use of time-space travel mark it as a classic among classics.

At its heart The Forever War follows the career of William Mandella, one of the first space soldiers sent to battle the Taurans, a distant and virtually unknown alien race. To conquer this perceived threat, soldiers are sent through ‘collapsars’, allowing them to travel light years in mere seconds. The kicker?  While the battle or campaign only lasts a few months, Albert Einstein’s general relativity has the last laugh: the soldiers return to their original bases only a few months older, but decades later.

Those lucky enough to survive return only to find society changed and their hard won battles nearly forgotten as technological advances and additional decades-long battles have changed the war. They are sent out time and again to ever more distant locations in the galaxy while changes to society on Earth further widen the gap that links them to their former lives.  Mandella and his fellow soldiers signed up for a simple 4 year tour of duty. Instead, centuries have passed.

The author, Joe Haldeman, wrote The Forever War a few years after his service in the Vietnam War, where he served as a combat engineer. The novel is as much an exploration of that war as it is a science fiction tale of a war against an alien race. It reads like a war diary: short unemotional verses about combat, training and loss of life.  The passages where Mandella gets leave to visit his Earth (or a hospital planet) explore the trouble combat veterans have while trying to re-enter a society much changed since they enlisted.  These “shore leave” sections are a welcome reprieve from the senseless killing and combat that make up much of the novel. The novel will hit you hard in the gut, but also earn a chuckle or two as the reader sympathizes with  Mandella as he struggles with military protocol and the politics of war.

While much of the story begins in 1997, it doesn’t feel dated. Even now, 40 years after the end of the Vietnam War, the themes of The Forever War are still echoing around the world. Unfortunately.

This is exactly how classic science fiction should be: addressing important issues; raising questions that parallel our current lives; and exploring the relationship between humans and the society we live in. The Forever War is worthy of numerous re-reads and further discussions. Haldeman was named a Grand Master of Science Fiction, a title well earned. As a result of reading this in e-book format, I am now left with task of finding a hardcover copy  so I can place The Forever War on my shelf next to editions of 1984, Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World and Darkness at Noon. All should serve as warnings to avoid past and future paths.

Read this book.

5 Stars out of 5

Click here to purchase and read The Forever War. 

Saturday Morning Over Easy

imageThe Golden Globes are this weekend. Several nominees (for movie, actress, or other) are based on novels: The Revenant, The Martian, The Danish Girl, Room. As bibliophiles, we know there is a very tenuous relationship to what we read or our favorite novel to that which is portrayed on the big screen. Some can be gloriously done (Lord of the Rings) while others barely resemble the novel at all (I, Robot). For me, reading the novel first is paramount. If I know Hollywood is making a film or television series of a particular story, I run out and read the novel first. In some cases, if the trailers for the movie look bad, I’ll avoid it altogether, deciding instead to keep the enjoyment of the novel intact.

What is your experience? Movie first or Novel first? What is your Best Adaptation of a novel? The Worst?

Spotlight on Astounding Authors

Welcome to a new year of Astounding Authors. Check out this week’s offerings from exciting and new independent writers. Don’t forget to come back later and tell us how you enjoyed it. Please tell your family and friends about us. Now to this week’s Astounding Authors!

imageMoore Hollow
Author: J.D. Byrne
Publisher: CreateSpace (October 2015)
Pages: 253
Genre: Paranormal/fantasy
Website:  JDByrne.net
Twitter: @JDBAuthor

Ben Potter’s life is a shambles. As a journalist he’s hit rock bottom, writing dreck about monsters and ghouls to make ends meet after a big story blew up in his face. As a son he’s a disappointment, unwilling to follow his father, grandfather, and great grandfather into the family business. As a father, he’s mostly just not there.

Now a new assignment could change all that. All he has to do is go from London to the hills of West Virginia to investigate the strangest of stories his great grandfather told. Did a sleazy politician really raise the dead to try and win an election? And if he did, what happened to the zombies? Could they still exist? Ben needs to find out, to solve the mystery and find a way to get his life back on track.

But finding the answer only presents Ben with a whole new batch of problems. Does he use what he learns to put his life back on track? Or will he be compelled to do the right thing, even if it leaves his life a mess?

The hardest part of a mystery is deciding what to do once you’ve solved it.

Click here to learn more about Moore Hollow.

 

imageBasquiat Bounce
Author: Chris Murphy
Publisher: CJM Publishing 2015
Pages: 227

Acclaimed Abstract artist Sun Yat Pill has just had his most successful Gallery opening. After the exhibition, he goes home and retrieves the painting he has been working on for the last 2 years, his masterpiece, ‘The St. Matthew’. With painting in hand, he takes the subway to the South Bronx. On a deserted ghetto block, he leaves ‘The St. Matthew’ in the backseat of an abandoned, rusted Volkswagen Bug. With his mission accomplished, he returns home and promptly hangs himself, committing suicide.

Where is ‘The St. Matthew’ and why did Pill take his own life? As these questions grow in the media, a Basquiat Bounce begins to creep into play.

The Basquiat Bounce is a novel that highlights the talent and absurdities of the contemporary art world. A business where Terence Koh’s ‘Dialectic’ (A dried turd wrapped in gold foil) or Mark Kostabi (Who has his assistants paint for him) can command hundreds of thousands of dollars and have solo exhibitions around the globe. Through its cast of eccentric characters, The Basquiat Bounce tries to make sense of this industry in an often hilarious and always entertaining fashion.

Click here to purchase Basquiat Bounce by Chris Murphy.

 

imageAlawahea: The Azellian Affairs, Book One
By Sara L. Daigle
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fiction, Fantasy
Book Publisher: Merry Dissonance Press
Pages: 478
Web: SaraDaigle.com
Twitter: @SaraLDaigle
GoodReads:SaraDaigle

Tamara Carrington always felt different. One event in high school left her wondering if maybe she really was a freak, although she’d managed to leave that experience in the past—buried deep in her psyche. With the arrival of the exchange students from the planet of Azelle to her college, Tamara’s long buried memories threaten to erupt. As Tamara’s emotions build and her friendship with the Azellians grows, so does the knowledge of secrets within her own family.

With the deterioration of her mother’s health, Tamara doesn’t know where to turn for answers or solace. What has her family been hiding? Why does she feel inexplicably drawn to the Azellians? What will happen if she unleashes her long-suppressed passion? Will she survive or even recognize herself afterwards? Wanting answers, yet being afraid of what she might find, Tamara wonders if it would be better to remain asleep.

Click here to read.Alawahea: The Azellian Affairs, Book One by Sara Daigle.

That will do it for this week. Be sure to Like the Astounding Books Facebook page so you won’t miss any updates.