Author: Alexandra

SF TBR Pile

Today sees the start of both NaNoWriMo and SciFiMonth in which I have set myself the task of not only writing 50k words between November 1 – 30, but also reading as many speculative fiction titles as I can while writing a number of SF-related posts. Part of SciFiMonth are a set of prompts to aid in writing speculative-related posts, and today’s is what will be in our SF TBR pile. I narrowed mine down to five books, given everything else I’ll be doing and even then, I’m not sure I’ll finish reading all five novels. First up from the reading pile is Beth Cato’s fantasy novel, ROAR OF SKY, which I’m also reviewing for the Science Fiction Foundation (as you can see, I have committed myself to an insane month!) DETAILS Title: ROAR OF SKY Author: Beth Cato Publisher: Harper Voyager ISBN: 9780062692252 Genre: Fantasy Release date: 23 October, 2018 Thanks to her geomantic magic, Ingrid has successfully eluded Ambassador Blum, the power-hungry kitsune who seeks to achieve world domination for the United Pacific. But using her …

Let’s Party like it’s Halloween!

Okay Folks, we all know today is Halloween, or All Hallows Eve, which is the evening before the day of the dead or, if you are Christian, All Saints Day. Either way, saint or sinner, spooky things are about to take place tonight, and you’re invited to answer a few simple questions to gain entry into the haunted house of horror: Name something you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark forest, or abandoned building at night. Do you believe in vampires, ghouls, and ghosts? Share the spookiest thing that’s ever happened to you. How long do you think you would last in a horror movie? What creeps you out the most, Freddy, Jason, or Clowns? Zombie apocalypse, or rise of the werewolves? Love shiny vampires or, stab ’em through the heart with a stake? And here’s my answers: There’s no way I’m running into a dark forest at night! I know what’s waiting for me in there: all sorts of scary dudes with dripping fangs, howling at the moon, and brain-eating zombies. Vampires? Maybe …

Let’s Get Definitive

Following on from yesterday’s post on spelling and grammar, I thought to bore you senseless with the Indefinite Article, and Split Infinitives. And who doesn’t want to split their infinitive, right? Unlike the Definite Article The, A and AN refer to someone or something whose precise identity is not specified. And, although they are among the most common words in the English language, confusion still arises as to which should be used when. So here’s a reminder. A is used: (i) before all consonants: a woman, a tree, a rock. (ii) before an aspirated h: a horse, a hero, a humorist. (iii) before the letter u when sounded like ‘you’: a unit, a use, a union. (iv) before a diphthong eu: a European, a eulogy. (v) before words beginning with y: a year, a yellow balloon, a youth. AN is used: (i) before a vowel sound: an animal, an example, an umbrella. (ii) before a mute h: an hour, an honest woman, an historian. A split infinitive occurs when to is separated from the infinitive by …

Let’s Get Specific

NaNoWriMo is coming up on us fast and, for those of us out there who are considering taking the challenge, I thought it would be a good idea to share a few pointers with you all. Primers that you can refer to and or, if you feel so inclined, print out and keep at the ready as a reminder. Today I’m starting with spelling, grammar, and punctuation, things we easily miss and or forget. Spelling First rule of thumb, proofread your work by reading it out loud. Grammar • it’s = it is. • its = belonging to it, used exactly the same way as his or hers. • there = a location, as in: over there, there it is. • their = belonging to them, as in: their house, their car. • they’re = they are, as in: “They’re coming right at us!” • your = belonging to you, as in: your hat, your glove. • you’re = you are, as in “You’re starting to annoy me.” Punctuation • Terminal period and commas inside …

Book Review: THE EMPRESS OF MARS

DETAILS Title: THE EMPRESS OF MARS Author: Kage Baker Publisher: Tor Books, 2009 ISBN: 9780765318909 Genre: Science Fiction BACKCOVER BLURB When the British Arean Company founded its Martian colony, it welcomed any settlers it could get. Outcasts, misfits and dreamers emigrated in droves to undertake the gruelling task of terraforming the cold red planet—only to be abandoned when the BAC discovered it couldn’t turn a profit on Mars. This is the story of Mary Griffith, a determined woman with three daughters, who opened the only place to buy a beer on the Tharsis Bulge. It’s the story of Manco Inca, whose attempt to terraform Mars brought a new goddess vividly to life; of Stanford Crosley, con man extraordinaire; of Ottorino Vespucci, space cowboy and romantic hero; of the Clan Morrigan, of the denizens of the Martian Motel, and of the machinations of another Company entirely, all of whom contribute to the downfall of the BAC and the founding of a new world. But Mary and her struggles and triumphs is at the centre of it …