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From the very earliest days of the science fiction genre, authors have been exploring the implications of moving back and forth in time. 

Author Sean Ferrell offers his own take on the genre in his newest novel 'Man in the Empty Suit' (Soho Press, $24.95). Rather than attack the concept of time travel on a macro level, Ferrell instead chooses to share a story on the micro level; it's the tale of one man the inventor of the time machine.

Our unnamed narrator is the first man to achieve time travel. However, after untold time spent traveling from the distant past to the future and back again, the outside world has begun to lose some of its appeal. So every year, he spends his birthday partying with himself.

Published in Buzz
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 12:43

More than a game

Game Over' shows connection between sports and politics

In today's cultural landscape, sports are much more than what takes place on the field. 

With 'Game Over,' author Dave Zirin has laid out his case for a perhaps-unexpected truth: sports and politics are irrevocably intertwined. The political theater and the athletic arena share an undeniable overlap, and the sporting world can and does have a real effect on the realm of the political.

Published in Sports
Maine author's second historical mystery an even stronger offering

Last year, Maine author Kieran Shields blew me away with his debut novel 'The Truth of All Things;' I even included it in my 'Best Reads of 2012.' It was a wonderfully constructed historical mystery populated by a cast of fascinating characters.

His latest book is 'A Study in Revenge' (Crown, $25). In it, we once again pay a visit to the turn-of-the-century Portland that Shields has meticulously created. We also get to become reacquainted with his notable creations - Portland policeman Archie Lean and the indefatigable detective Perceval Grey.

Published in Buzz
Wednesday, 02 January 2013 15:46

A future trip on the Great North Road'

Science fiction epic offers snapshot of humanity's future

The science fiction epic has become an increasingly rare thing. The genre has become a world of multi-book storylines and ongoing series to its ultimate benefit, truth be told. However, there is no reading experience quite like the well-done inches-thick doorstop of a sci-fi novel. Sometimes, you just crave 1,000 pages of future thriller.

Published in Buzz
Thursday, 20 December 2012 10:24

We Got To Play Baseball' a solid hit

Collection offers 60 stories from behind baseball's scenes

Of all the major American professional sports, perhaps none carries as much reverence and respect for its own history as baseball. It is a game built generationally, each era constructed on the foundation of the one that came before it.

It is also a game that comes to life not just through its numbers, but through its stories. That's what makes a book like 'We Got To Play Baseball' (Strategic Book Publishing, $15.95) such an engaging read.

Published in Buzz
Wednesday, 05 December 2012 14:33

Turtledove continues Supervolcano' series

Second book carries on story of disaster's aftermath

Science fiction and fantasy have a tendency toward the epic. That tendency means that many authors within those genres will create extended series of three or more books to tell their single story. Sometimes, these series focus on a single character or event. Other times, they are more exercises in world-building.

Few authors exhibit a mastery of the series quite like Harry Turtledove.

Published in Buzz
Wednesday, 28 November 2012 22:09

Mystic mysteries in the City of Dark Magic'

Fantasy thriller blends and transcends genres

Prague is a city of mysteries. While many European cities have histories filled with intrigue and mysticism, Prague might well surpass them all. It was once a place of vast wealth and cultural depth; even today, after years of damage done by Nazis and communists, it remains a place of significance.

And according to Magnus Flyte, Prague is also the 'City of Dark Magic' (Penguin, $16). Flyte the shared pseudonym of writers Meg Howrey and Christina Lynch has taken this city that has been home to royalty and rabble and alchemists and artists and constructed a tale of mystical mystery and intrigue.

Published in Buzz
Friday, 16 November 2012 10:39

The Curious Steambox Affair' a near miss

Steampunk mystery never quite finds its feet

The relative popularity of steampunk as a literary genre makes a good deal of sense. It combines the romanticism of the Victorian era with the trappings of science fiction, resulting in a mash-up to delight history buffs and sci-fi fans alike. The possibilities of a world where major scientific advances are made with the power of steam are myriad.

Of course, having a lot of directions in which to go also means that there are a lot of directions not worth going.

Published in Buzz
Wednesday, 14 November 2012 17:35

Embracing the everyday with Penn Jillette

'Every Day is an Atheist Holiday' humorous and honest

There are plenty of writers out there who celebrate their respective faiths. Religion is a great part of our world's wonderful literary tapestry. Authors everywhere wax poetically about the whats and whys of their beliefs.

And then there's Penn Jillette.

Published in Buzz
Wednesday, 24 October 2012 13:41

Tom Wolfe returns with Back to Blood'

Miami stars in author's first novel in seven years

One of the masters is back in business.

In an age of hyperbole, it's easy to throw around a term like 'literary icon.' However, there are precious few authors who genuinely deserve such a title. Tom Wolfe is such an author. While perhaps best known for groundbreaking non-fiction works such as 'The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test' and 'The Right Stuff,' Wolfe has also written masterful novels that turn his critical eye on the social dynamics of New York City ('Bonfire of the Vanities') and Atlanta ('A Man in Full'), as well as private university life ('I am Charlotte Simmons').

Published in Buzz
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