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The Beyond Saga
Discover action-packed space combat, faster-than-light speeds, cool technology, first contact with aliens, time travel, and more in the award-winning BEYOND SAGA book series.
BEYOND CLOUD NINE
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Posted 04/28/19 9:52 pm by Greg
Alien Affairs by Scott Skipper is a very well-executed first contact science fiction novel. The book gives the author's take on how the alleged UFO crash near Roswell, New Mexico in 1947 might have transpired. As the story progresses, it covers the subsequent ramifications decades in the future.
I was pleasantly surprised at how many of the events and character actions seemed plausible. Even though the tone of the drama is light-hearted, the author still took the time to think through the logistics of how first contact with a more advanced species might truly unfold. In fiction, the underdog triumphs over a superior force all the time because it's satisfying. Such a feel-good result emboldens us to believe that we can each transcend whatever stands in our way. But in real life, Goliath slays David the vast majority of the time. With that in mind, the struggles and failures of humankind's efforts against the aliens in the story rang true, and the bittersweet ending concluded the tale appropriately.
The characters, while seemingly dry at first, eventually show a great deal of personality through their dialogue and actions. This, as opposed to descriptions given in prose, is a sign of effective writing. Along those lines, the story unfolds very fluidly. It was an easy read. I tore through the novel in a pair of four-hour flights. However, in the last quarter of the novel, the author increased the level of detail and made his prose a bit meatier. This is in contrast to the first three-quarters of the story where the exposition was more bare-bones.
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Posted 04/28/19 9:49 pm by Greg
The Lost Spell (Tales from the Lost Horizon) by Michael Eging is an entertaining short story within the sword & sorcery (S&S) subgenre of fantasy. When the cantankerous old wizard and main protagonist, Thondric, suspects the theft of one of his spells, he embarks on a quest to reclaim it.
Along the way, Thondric's viewpoint is engaging enough to maintain reader interest. Some of what transpires does so a little too coincidentally, and the tale has its typical S&S pitfalls (lack of firm magical rules, a character casting or not casting the right spell at the right time for the convenience of the plot, etc.). The characters are quick to make assumptions or resort to violence and slow to find more clever or diplomatic solutions. This results in each character coming across as a bit cliche (the cranky but wise old wizard, the honor-bound knight, the evil ogre, and so on). There are no deviations from what's typical of the genre.
All that said, none of these finer points detracts significantly from an otherwise well-written tale. Fans of the genre will feel right at home, while the story should also satisfy the casual reader (4/5 stars).
Posted 02/23/19 8:21 pm by Greg
In short, go see this movie. It's awesome. Alita: Battle Angel (2019) features an endearing main character who kicks butt, a plot and story far better than what the critics are claiming, edge-of-your-seat excitement, and excellent world-building. Refreshingly, the movie honors the source material. I rate Alita 9/10 = 4.5/5 stars. For a much more detailed review, keep reading.
Opening weekend, I had the opportunity to see the Alita: Battle Angel (2019) movie. I don't often write movie reviews (never mind the fact that I don't post to my blog anywhere near as often as I should). The exception, of course, is when the movie is based on something I've loved for a long time. Since the early nineties, I've been a fan of the original Battle Angel (1993) Anime and Gunnm comic (manga) by Yukito Kishiro on which Alita is based. My writing draws significant influence from Anime, and I would include Gunnm/Battle Angel as one of those influences.
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Beyond Cloud Nine
Beyond the Horizon
With the Earth conquered, Admiral Maya Davis must travel through space, time, and alternate universes to prevent mankind from being wiped out of existence.
Lyana, an orphaned martial artist with bio-augmented abilities,
embarks on a quest to liberate her home world and prevent the fabric of the universe from unraveling.
Bears in Space
Roz and his goofball crew must save the galaxy from cliche alien invasions, trite zombie apocalypses, and bad rom-coms.
Ryssa Nilsson must avoid the deadly stings of heat-loving bugs known as
thermophiles and escape Mars before the Sun's expansion
sterilizes the planet.