Admin
Wednesday, 19 September 2012 14:38

Enraptured by Nerds'

Novel offers satiric look at post-Singularity society

When speculative fiction is at its best, it transcends genre. It becomes a literature of ideas, and if it those ideas are presented in the context of good storytelling, so much the better. Bringing together thoughtful, polished prose and well-developed and fully-realized characters makes for an outstanding foundation upon which to build a vision of the future, be it a millennium away or merely years.

'The Rapture of the Nerds' (Tor; $24.99), co-authored by Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross, serves as a first-rate example of just how great and how much fun the literature of speculation can be.

Published in Buzz
Wednesday, 11 July 2012 12:11

The end of the world as we know it

The Apocalypse Codex' a fantastic, funny sci-fi spy thriller

There are a lot of science fiction series being written out there. Scores of writers churning away, assembling trilogies and quadrilogies and what have you up to and including the ominous 'open-ended' series. There's so much that it can prove tough to cut through the noise and find a series that speaks to your personal sensibilities.

Finding that series is exciting; receiving the latest book in that series even more so. Charles Stross is one of the best authors working in the genre today; 'The Apocalypse Codex' (ACE; $25.95) is the latest in his Laundry series featuring accidental paranormal secret agent Bob Howard.

Published in Buzz
Novel filled with humor, heartbreak and hubris

Weddings are complicated business. Not only do you have to deal with your own family, but with that family whose fate will soon be intertwined with yours. There are so many particulars that need to be addressed; crossing t's and dotting i's. Everyone is emotionally charged and walking on eggshells. Whether you're the bride or groom or just a family member on the periphery, weddings are often incredibly complex.

That said, wonderful stories can be mined from those complexities. Author Maggie Shipstead has created one such story with her debut novel 'Seating Arrangements' (Knopf; $25.95). It's a tale of a single weekend in a man's life the weekend his eldest daughter is getting married. Unbeknownst to him, however, he is set to gain much more than a son-in-lawand lose much more than a daughter.

Published in Style
Wednesday, 30 May 2012 13:18

Modern magic Cursed'

Urban fantasy sequel continues adventure

I'm a relative latecomer to the urban fantasy genre, but it has turned out to be a nice fit. It suits me much better than the standard sword-and-sorcery boilerplate creating a magically-based analogue of our own modern world is so much more engaging. It's the realm of magic explored with 21st century attitudes.

So many of these novels are generated as part of a longer series of books; it's always a crapshoot to pick up Book One. If you're like me, it's almost impossible to walk away from a longer ongoing story, so you have to hope that you're not investing in something that will ultimately disappoint.

Benedict Jacka is currently two-for-two.

Published in Buzz
Thursday, 17 May 2012 08:39

The beauty of motion The Cranes Dance'

Novel offers behind-the-scenes look at ballet

As a reader, picking up the second offering from an author whose debut I enjoyed is a mixed bag. Sometimes, the writer picks up right where he or she left off, continuing onward and upward in their literary journey. Other times more times, frankly the descent begins as the author grapples with the law of diminishing returns.

Take Meg Howrey, for instance. Her debut was a novel called 'Blind Sight.' It was excellent; well-written, thoughtful, literate fiction. So I had high hopes for her sophomore effort 'The Cranes Dance' (Vintage; $17.95).

I would not be disappointed.

Published in Style
Wednesday, 16 May 2012 13:09

Seven authors, one trilogy The Mongoliad'

Serial story converted to novel

What do you get when you try to carve a cohesive trilogy of novels from a freewheeling, centuries-spanning serial narrative created as a subscription service and originally consumed as a work-in-progress? Especially when your subject matter happens to involve the descendants of Genghis Khan, crusading knight-priests and of course, the Romans?

Oh and there are seven authors. Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Erik Bear, Joseph Brassey, E.D. deBirmingham, Cooper Moo and Mark Teppo that's seven. They are novelists and editors and video game writers.

So with all that, what are the odds of getting something that actually works?

Published in Buzz
Thursday, 26 April 2012 08:24

POD' a solid sci-fi effort

Wallenfels impresses with powerful debut novel

It's always exciting to pick up an author's debut book. The sense of potential informs the experience with a high level of excitement. This first book could be the start of a wonderful writer/reader relationship. Of course, it could also be a complete dud. It's a Schrdinger's cat dilemma; an experiment in quantum literature. It's a situation where you simply can't know whether the book is good or bad until you open it and see for yourself.

In the case of 'POD' (Ace, $7.99), the debut offering from author Stephen Wallenfels, you'll be glad you turned to page one.

The aliens descended from the sky at 5 a.m. (PST), taking the entire world by surprise. They announced their presence with an ear-shattering shriek, and their round black ships dominate the skies. Any human being caught outside immediately vanishes in a flash of blue light. What survivors remained were trapped in their homes trapped without any way of communicating with the outside world. Everyone remaining in this new world is forced to come to terms with what's happening on an individual basis.

Published in Buzz
Maine author's debut an enthralling read

There's something magical about those moments when a book grabs your attention. It can be anything: a clever title, an evocative cover image or a jacket quote from a previously-enjoyed author. And when you've given your attention and picked up that book for a closer examination BOOM! The hook is set.

So it was for me with Maine author Kieran Shields's debut novel 'The Truth of All Things' (Crown, $25). It's a great title. The cover art is intriguing. So I took a look at the inside jacket copy. I was hooked before I was halfway to the bottom.

Archie Lean is a newly-appointed Deputy Marshal for the City of Portland. When he's called in to investigate the death of a prostitute, he is confronted with a body that appears to have been ritualistically murdered, surrounded by a pentagram and pinned to the ground with a pitchfork a killing method traditionally associated with the execution of witches.

Published in Buzz
Multi-generational novel both epic and intimate

The power of family is a constantly explored theme in the literary world. Telling stories that span generations has long been a favorite undertaking for novelists great and small; Maine resident Peter Behrens is one of those who falls more into the former category. His latest offering is 'The O'Briens' (Pantheon; $25.95), a story that springs from but is no way reliant on his previous work 'The Law of Dreams.'

Our book begins with the O'Brien family struggling their way through a hardscrabble existence in the wilds of western Quebec right around the turn of the 20th century. We watch as young Joe O'Brien comes of age the hard way, slowly and steadily building himself an entrepreneurial empire.

Of course, life is about more than just monetary success. We also watch as Joe builds a family of his own, a family he swears will never have to endure the same hardships that dominated his own youth. However, life is rarely as easy as we feel it should be, and Joe and his family are confronted with an entirely new set of obstacles to their happiness different, yes, but no less difficult because of that.

Published in Buzz
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 Next > End >>
Page 3 of 3

Advertisements

The Maine Edge. All rights reserved. Privacy policy. Terms & Conditions.

Website CMS and Development by Links Online Marketing, LLC, Bangor Maine