Category Archives: Fantasy

Insanity – Cameron Jace

I’ll be honest, I knew nothing of Cameron Jace…never heard of him, never seen any of his work when one day I received an email from an ebook service that I subscribe to that described one of his books that was on sale (OK free) and the description intrigued me…since the price was right I went and “purchased” it.  I didn’t get around to reading it for quite some time but finally did just before the holidays.

According to Mr. Jace’s web site, he isn’t a professional writer but likes writing stories that he always wanted to read but couldn’t find already done. There’s really not much more I can tell you about the author…which bothers me as I tend to like to know at least something about the author I’m reading so I can get an idea of how their background and experiences have molded their writing.

Insanity is the first book of a series of books that he refers to collectively as Insanity; however, I think a more accurate title would be the Wonderland Wars….but, we’ll see.

Years ago, I purchased and absolutely adored a computer game called American McGee’s Alice.  It tells a very dark tale of Alice (as in Alice in Wonderland) who accidentally set fire to her home as a child which resulted in everything and everyone she loved to be destroyed or killed.  She gets institutionalized in an insane asylum and is eventually called back to a much more dark and twisted Wonderland.

The reason I mention this game is because Mr. Jace’s stories have a striking resemblance to the concept (but not execution).  In Insanity, Alice Wonder is in an institution for having killed her classmates on a school bus.  There she meets Professor Pillar, a serial killer (a-la Hannibal Lector) who believes that she is “THE” Alice and that he is The Caterpiller from Wonderland.  Together they are trying to stop a Wonderland monster that is in the real world who is brutally killing people, leaving a sewn up grin on their faces.

The story is at turns bizarre, humorous, educational and dark…very much like the real Alice In Wonderland books.

Honestly, I could not put the book down (a rarity for me).  Once finished, I actually wrote a review on Amazon.com…which I seldom do and have never done so for a freebie.  I have since purchased the collection for the first 3 ebooks and will likely buy books 4 and 5 (I think that’s as far as it goes so far).   Honestly, I was afraid to start book 2 since often books that may have been intended to be one-off frequently doesn’t translate well into a series, completely changes the characters or changes the sense of wonder…..so far, I’m happy to report that book 2 “Figment” is every bit as much fun as book 1 although perhaps a bit darker.

 

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Mort – Terry Pratchett

I’ve previously written about Terry Pratchett, please see my previous reviews of The Colour of Magic and Equal Rites.

In the third (or fourth depending on whether you count the first two books as one or two books), a young man is offered a job he can’t refuse, Death’s apprentice.  While the position has much to offer, free room and board, the use of the company horse, i.e. Binky, and much, much more….but, like many busy professionals, when does one find time for love, particularly when the one you fall in love with is one of your “clients”.

The story is one part comedy, one part romance novel, one part Final Destination and all parts entertaining.  By some, this is considered to be one if not the favorite Discworld novel.  Unfortunately, while I very much enjoyed the novel, it is not my favorite, but, then again there are 20+ novels to choose from.  It is however my favorite of the first 4 novels….in my opinion they just get better and better.

If you enjoy this, read any and all of the Discworld novels.

The Sexphiles: Haunting Melody by Kimberly Zant

I still know next to nothing about Kimberly Zant… if anyone knows anything about her, I’d appreciate some feedback.  I like to know at least a little about the authors I read.

I frankly don’t know where I picked this eBook up at, possibly part of a collection or maybe from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or possibly years ago from Fictionwise.  I never got around to reading it until this week.

The story is an obvious erotic spoof of The X-Files with the main characters working for either the FBI (Florida Bureau of Investigations) or the PIA (Private Investigators Association), Dianne Skelley and Sly Mullien as they investigate strange cases.  In this case, they first meet and investigate and are assigned a case to investigate a old plantation style house that appears to be haunted.  The ghost rapes Dianne while she’s showering at the house the first night they stay to investigate…although frankly, she more enjoys it that is actually physically or emotionally injured.  Roles are reversed and Sly is the skeptic and Dianne is the one more inclined to believe. They are joined early on by Dianne’s identical sister, Dee who is an paranormal investigator.  Soon, Dee is also raped by the the ghost, although she is more “injured” by the ghost, although only emotionally as she was having an orgasm when she realizes it’s a ghost rather than Sly.

The story is really more of a short story than a novel at only around 125 pages and while Kimberly writes very well and has some of the most approachable, if unrealistic, sex scenes of any modern erotica, what she does lack is convincing closure in her stories.  Admittedly, this appears to be an intended recurring series of stories, the ending was, much like others I’ve read of hers, ends rather abruptly.  Never the less, it’s an enjoyable romp, if short.

If you enjoy this, try:

  • Surrender and dozens of others.

 

Equal Rites – Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett is one if not my favorite author of all time. His books are witty, intelligent, funny yet with serious undertones, pure fantasy….yet, very much grounding in reality.  He can turn phrase that is at once hilarious but poignant at the same time.  This is the third (or second if you count The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic as one book) of collection of books (at the time of this writing number around 40 books and comics) based on a fictional world known only as the Discworld.  The Discworld is a flat micro-planet which rests on the back of four massive elephants which stand on the great world turtle, A’Tuin (whose sex is unknown…but that’s another story).

Pratchett was born in 1948 in Buckinghamshire, England.  Growing up, he wanted to be an astronomer and collected Brooke Bond Tea cards on astronomy. This eventually led him to space-based science fiction.  At 13, he published his first story in the school magazine which was later published commercially at age 15.  At age 17, he began his first job in writing working for the Bucks Free Press writing, among other things, children’s stories published under the name Uncle Jim.  One of these stories eventually led to the characterizations in his story, The Carpet People (not a Discworld novel).

In the 1980’s, Pratchett became the press writer for the Central Electricity Generating Board covering the nuclear power stations all the while writing his first Discworld novel The Colour of Magic which was published in 1983 and gave up working for the Central Electricity Generating Board in 1987 shortly after his fourth Discworld novel was published Mort.

He has been extremely proficient writing not only the many Discworld novels, which in itself contain several childrens or young adult stories, several children/young adult books not related to Discworld and several other fiction and non-fiction books.

In 2007, Pratchett was misdiagnosed as having had a stroke.  It was later discovered that he has a very rare form of early onset Alzheimer’s disease, posterior cortical atrophy in which parts of the back of his brain began to shrink.  While his speech and motor skills have been affected, his cognitive abilities have not been impacted and he continues to write by dictation to his wife.

Having given so much joy to many lives including mine, I continue to wish him well.

Equal Rites, being the third (or second) novel in the Discworld stories and being an early work unfortunately show.  Don’t get me wrong, Pratchett’s wit and shear joy are present; however, the characters are slightly different than they are in the later stories.

The story begins by the death of a wizard who, upon passing, transfers his powers to the newborn child of a rural blacksmith. The wizard made a mistake though, he had thought the child was a boy…it was a girl!  On the Discworld, girls become Witches, boys become Wizards…girls do NOT become Wizards, it just doesn’t happen.

Granny Weatherwax, the local Witch, realizes that there’s not much she can do to help this young female Wizard, Esk.  Granny knows what she must do….well, she always knows, even when she doesn’t, that’s part of being a Witch, and takes Esk on a long journey to the seat of all wizardry on the Discworld, Ank-Morpork and the Wizards at Unseen University.

This story is a great introduction into what a Wizard is and what a Witch is in the world of Discworld and what it means to be one or the other.  In this story, Equal Rites is both an allusion to Women’s rights  and to the commonality of rites between the Wizard and Witches on Discworld.

If you enjoy this story, by all means read the rest of the Discworld novels, too many to list individually here.  I will likely review them over time.

 

 

Red Dwarf: Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers – Grant/Naylor

Grant Naylor is the collective writing name of Rob Grant and Doug Naylor.  They gained quite a bit of notoriety for writing the hilarious long running BBC SCI-FI/comedy series  Red Dwarf.  This collaboration, unfortunately ended in the 1990s, when Rob Grant left due to the age old euphemism “creative differences”, although the series continue(s) on through series VII, VIII, IX and X.

The Red Dwarf series had it’s ups and downs, sometimes side split-tingly hilarious and sometimes just OK with series X airing in 2012 with a much aged cast, but closer to how some of the previous seasons were.

Grant Naylor wrote several Red Dwarf novels that, in some ways, were better written and “acted” than the actual series since some things just could not be done on the meager budget and technologies available.

This is the first of the novels and is very, very funny and an excellent way to get to know the series.  It takes elements of much of the first few series and combines them into a novel that is one part SCI-FI, one part comedic masterpiece and all parts entertaining.

If you’ve never seen the series is about one human, Dave Lister, who due to an infraction on board the Jupiter Mining Corporation ship Red Dwarf is put into suspended animation as punishment. During his hibernation, the ship had a radiation leak and all of people on board died.  Holly, the ship’s intelligent computer, sped the ship into the deep outer space for millions of years to prevent others from dying from the radiation and finally woke Dave after the radiation levels were acceptable.  Sounds funny?  Well, oddly it is….Dave’s infraction was bringing aboard a cat, named Frankenstein, which escaped into the holds and survived the radiation and somehow bred and over the millions of years evolved into a humanoid race which has many cat tendencies…they all left except for the dying and the “terminally stupid”.  This leaves Dave with a companion, aptly named “Cat”.  Holly, who has pretty much gone insane over the millions of years, creates a hologram of Dave’s cabin mate, Arnold Rimmer, an officious but completely inept career Space Corp member who’s main job before death was as a food dispenser cleaner and who now is supposed to keep Dave sane.  Finally, a “nanny” type android that was near the end of the first season named Kryten who cooks, cleans, etc…

These are their bizarre, hilarious adventures, hurtling though space in a ship piloted by an mixed up computer, manned by a lager, curry, and chili sauce consuming Human, a creature evolved from his pet cat, a hologram of the Humans long dead roommate and a vaguely human shaped android.

If you enjoy this, read:

  • Better than Life
  • Backward
  • Last Human

One Night with an Incubus – Folia Deux

I frankly have no idea who Folia Deux is…  I’m pretty much positive this is a pseudonym.  The only thing written that I can find is that “makes the most of her filthy mind” by writing….that’s basically it.  She has a blog that is interesting in and of itself.  Blog

I purchased this along with two other books as a bundle on Amazon for Christmas on the cheap and on a whim.  I have NOT regretted it.  The story is fast paced and essentially broken up in individual sex scenes and oh my, oh my, oh my, talk about keeping me warm during the winter nights.

The story is essentially about a succubus who, one night while out on the prowl, follows a man home and floats up to his window (yes, you read that correctly) and enters thinking she’s going to control him, have sex with him, and absorb all of his energy and thereby killing him; however, it turns out her “victim” is actually a powerful incubus which she discovers too late and while in the throws of ecstasy she realizes that which ever of the two of them has an orgasm first wins…not only their “game” but the looser really looses…their lifes.  In chapter 2, she wakes up to find they both climaxed at the same time thereby preventing either from loosing their lives…and so begins a increasingly dangerous dance between life and death.

Hot, hot, hot…by all means, read this, but definitely NOT for prudes.  Fast paced, fascinating and enjoyable.

If you enjoy this, read:

  • Revenge of the Incubus
  • Taken by the Incubus

The City at Worlds End – Edmond Hamilton

Edmond Hamilton was an American novelist of the early to mid twentieth century.  Much of his work was science fiction.  Born in Youngstown, Ohio, he was considered to be a child prodigy and graduated from high school at the age of 14 after which he gained admittance to Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania…although he left at age 17 without a degree.

His first short story in a genre that hasn’t been yet named as Sci-Fi, “The Monster God of Mamurth” published in 1926 in the magazine Weird Tales (the term Sci-Fi wasn’t coined until 1954).  Throughout the ’20s and ’30s, Hamilton was a very popular writer of space operas, in fact it is said that he an E. E. “Doc” Smith were the creators of this sub-genre of Sci-Fi.  His story “The Island of Unreason”, published in Wonder Stories in 1953 was the first story to win the Jules Verne Prize as the best Sci-Fi story of the year, which was the precursor of the Hugo Awards.   In 1945, Hamilton also wrote for DC Comics for Superman and Batman and was instrumental in the Legion of Super Heroes including many of the founding concepts.

In The City at Worlds End, the idyllic small town of Middletown, there is a secret; unknown by the majority of the citizens, Middletown is the home of the U.S.’s atomic defense research.  Our hero, Hamilton, is one of those scientists and one day while walking in town, an unnamed enemy has dropped a “superatomic bomb” over Middeltown…everyone drops to the ground and covers their heads although Hamilton knows this is futile…..or is it?  Shortly afterwards, he gets up off of the street and is amazed that he’s still alive and so is everyone else….but, something is different, the Sun is an odd color and it’s chilly.

So begins The City at Worlds End…Hamilton has transported this small town far, far, far into Earths future as a result to an atomic attack.  The citizens have to come to the realization that they are alone on an “alien”, inhospitable Earth.   Other than themselves, there are no other Humans on Earth and on a dying planet with a dying sun where every night is far below 0F and the days aren’t much above freezing either they are going to have to find some way to survive…they eventually do find a still standing domed city which offers some protection from the cold and has tanks of fresh water, but despite being Human it is very alien to these early twentieth century folks and just isn’t home.

This story is partly about the trials and tribulations of people trying to cope with such massive change and the daily struggle to survive.  It’s also also about human relationships and how they struggle to deal with crisis and drastic change from the norms.  It’s also about culture shock when alien races are eventually contacted and the how different and alien Humans become after thousands and thousands of years and how it’s possible to have more in common with alien races and less so with your own over time.

Yes, this is somewhat dated in some ways, but, in others it’s still quite relevant and very easy to read and relate to.  I quite enjoyed the story, but, it did kind of end abruptly and I found it quite unlikely that people would find out that they’ve been lied to for years then simply accept being led by the deceivers; however, if he hadn’t the story wouldn’t have gone very far.  The aliens are endearing and quite funny, it was the humans (both twentieth century and future) are actually the most annoying here; the twentieth century because they are so set in their ways and unwilling to give up their homes even to survive and the future humans in their “we know best” attitude.  Don’t get me wrong, I can see both in reality…frankly, we see it every day, I just don’t quite relate to either.  Without turning this into a political blog, this progressive attitude is overly present today with those on the far left and far right convinced that they know best and that everyone who doesn’t believe what they believe are the “unwashed masses” and just don’t know better so it’s our responsibility to “take care of them” and make them do what the were unwilling to or refused to take responsibility for in the first place.  On the other hand, there are those who are so resistant to change that they either fade from relevance or they gain enough power to suppress those that want to move forward.

I’m afraid I’ve not read anything else by Edmond Hamilton other than what I’ve mentioned; however, I do intend to remedy that.  If you want to hear this book rather than read it, there is an excellent LibriVox recording for free read by Mark Nelson.