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WWW Wednesday #1

WWW Wednesday, which is hosted by Sam, over at Takin on the World of Words, is simplicity itself. All you have to do is answer the following questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish?
  • What do you think you will read next?

Currently Reading:

Orphan Brigade by Henry V. O’Neil. I started this one Sunday evening, and looked set to speed read to the end, but, somehow, life got in the way, and I’m only part way through. Not because the story is boring, far from it. I’ll review this one just as soon as I’ve finished. Promise!

Recently Finished:

Well now, I did a couple of re-reads but I don’t think they count as I raced through them when I should have been reading ROAR OF SKY by Beth Cato or any of the books on my TBR for SciFiMonth. So the last NEW book I read must have been THE CITY OF BRASS by S.A. Chakraborty, which wasn’t really all that recent. Doh!

Read Next:

Uh-huh, every time I say I’m going to read this or that book next, I end up reading something completely different. So I’m not so sure which book I’ll be reading, but it could be ROAR OF SKY or even EMBERS OF WAR by Gareth L. Powell. Or … SCYTHE if it arrives by Friday! 

And you, what have you just read, and what are you looking forward to reading?

RIP Stan Lee

I grew up reading comics long before I picked up a book. It was how my parents first introduced us to reading. Not with the more regular Ladybird books. No. My parents found we responded better, and, of course, found that we also stayed quieter longer when reading a stack of comics. So for them, and us, it was a win win situation.

And so it was, the prevailing choice of comic book in our household through out the 60s and into the late 70s, was Marvel. From Spiderman to the X-Men (one of my favourites) to the Hulk, Thor, the Avengers, and many others in between. We read them all and, I’m sure, if we had kept all of them, we might all be multi-millionaires by now. But, I digress.

For my mother, the secret to ever lasting peace within our household, was Stan Lee.

The man behind the Marvel has passed, at 95, Stan has done one last cameo, and left us to wonder what might have been.

It’s hard to believe how this one man and his legacy have impacted our lives in so many ways, and on so many levels. I for one will miss that man’s jovial personality, and kindness shown a young woman looking to get her comic book signed, way back when she thought she could still become a cosmonaut.

Thank you Stan, you enriched my life far more than you could have known. 

God bless, and god speed. And may Thor take you across the rainbow bridge!

A Blast From The Past

Or, speculative fiction books and authors I read a very, very long time ago!

I’m going back in time, not quite time travelling, as I don’t intend to leave the safety and comfort of my little office sanctuary, but I do want to take about authors and books I read decades ago, that yes, I still have a fondness for. I especially want to remind people/readers of those authors who came before, as with this being SciFiMonth, everyone is mostly talking about new (to me that is) authors, and what’s coming next year. 

But no one, other than maybe me, the dinosaur from another era, is talking about the classics, or to be exact, my classics.

So, let’s get started with a few books and authors you’ve all probably never heard of let alone read … yet:

  • JOAN D. VINGE — some of you may have heard of Vinge given she has written at least one book you might recognize: THE SNOW QUEEN (1980), and the The Snow Queen quartet of books. She also penned several collections and a lot of novelizations and tie-ins, including (would you believe) Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and for the movie, Ladyhawk. Yes, hard to believe. So please, go look her up. 
  • JOHN VARLEY — Here’s another author that I grew up with, and whose work fascinated me. Varley, a Locus and Hugo Award nominee, has written a number of short story collections, but is probably best known for his trilogy of novels— Titan, Wizard and Demon—set aboard a sentient hollow world orbiting Saturn. His novel, Millennium was also made into a TV movie. Check out his novel, The Ophiuchi Hotline, which was by far his best work.
  • C.J. CHERRYH — Cherry is probably one of the most prolific SFF authors you are ever likely to read (80+ books, I think?) She has done it all: space opera, aliens, colonization, fantasy—her world building is second to none. She has created some of the best fictional universes you are ever likely to visit (via a book). For SF, try the FOREIGNER universe, THE COMPANY WARS, ALLIANCE-UNION series, or CHANUR series. For fantasy, try MEROVINGEN NIGHTS series, or the MORGAINE series of novels. 

Next week I’ll highlight three more authors for you, in the meant time, go check out these three and, enjoy!

Q&A with author Gregory Frost

Of his writing, Greg Frost states on his web site that: “Edgar Allan Poe called them Tales of Mystery and Imagination. I just call them ‘what I write.’ Some are disturbing, some are capricious. Some, I hope, will make you think about something in a new way, and stay with you long after you’ve finished reading.” Indeed, it’s true, Greg’s work is thought-provoking, unusual, and delves way passed the what if with characters that grab you from the get-go, and haul you on dark journeys that maybe you didn’t want to take. [Note: This interview was first published on the SF Hub, 2008]

Of course, the first question has to be, why do you write? 

I can’t help it, really. It may not be an addiction, but if it isn’t it’ll do until the addiction shows up. I went through a number of years of something bordering on serious depression, and I tried to hang it up repeatedly during that time. Every time I would convince myself that I was done with this writing business, a week or three would pass and then I would find myself writing in a notebook, some crazy-ass idea had caught hold of me. I wrote mostly short fiction during that time—and I likely “quit” writing about as often as I turned out a story.

What genre do you feel most comfortable working in? 

None of the above. That’s my favorite one. I call myself a fantasist, because all of the fiction seems to have a fantasy element to it. But I’ve moved through horror, fantasy, high fantasy, dark fantasy, science fiction, comic fantasy…even Cthulhu westerns (I’m really not making that up). Now I’m working on a mystery novel and a horror screenplay. I’m sure I would be far wealthier if I’d just stuck to one thing and done it over and over again, but frankly even the sound of that bores me to tears.

What was the first thing you remember writing? 

Comic books. I used to write and illustrate comic books. I was a kid, so I was just stealing from the comics I was reading—Green Lantern, The Flash, Dr. Fate, Dr. Solar, Dr. Strange (clearly, I should have been a doctor). The first story as a story I remember writing was as an art major (foolishly he thought he wanted to be the illustrator part of the comic book). I wrote a 2000 word story about a concert violinist that was an utter rip-off of Fred Mustard Stewart’s The Mephisto Waltz.

Read More

SciFiMonth Update

Despite my best intentions, and selecting 5 really good books from my TBR pile to read for the SciFiMonth Challenge. I’ve failed, so far, to read any of them. It’s like having selected them, and done a post about how enthusiastic I was about my choices, I lost interest in all of them. 

That said, however, I did pick up ORPHAN BRIGADE by Henry O’Neil, last night, and began reading it. I think I just needed to choose one and get started. And, as Orphan Brigade is the second in the SIM WAR series—and I’ve already read and reviewed GLORY MAIN—this was probably the best book to start with. It picks up straight after where book one left off, and does so with intrigue. Setting up a series of new characters and threads.

I can see this one being more murky and political given what I’ve read so far. But these first few chapters also hint at what’s to come, a lot more action and adventure for our main protagonist, Lt. Jander Mortas, as he and his new platoon are dropped right in the shit!

Stand by, all hailing frequencies open …