Category Archives: Science Fiction

The Perfect Family by Luca Rossi

perfect familyReview: If you’ve ever read “The Silver Metal Lover” by Tanith Lee, the story’s premise could be compared with Rossi’s The Perfect Family, as a relationship between a human/humanoid and an android or artificial being is explored. The basic question seems to be: what is perfection? The difficulties arise when what we once felt to be perfection changes, but only because of humanity’s changeable nature. And daily observation of perfection can make one more critical to oneself, or conversely, oblivious to the fact you are being influenced.

The author is a native Italian speaker from Turin, and it wasn’t clear if this work was written in English or translated from Italian to English after being completed. There are some wording and grammatical issues, for either of those reasons. I liked the premise and how the story was presented, yet since it is a short story from a larger work supposedly a collection, it does seem to end abruptly and without any kind of resolution or satisfaction. For whatever reason, I liked it, and it might spur a reader to consider other works by the author, but it just  might have the opposite effect for some.

Description: “Aurelia’s relationships have always ended badly, so far. When a friend of hers gives her an unusual advice, she decides to follow it and finds the man of her dreams: a perfect husband and a wonderful father. But perfection does not belong to human males….”

  • Published: Feb. 06, 2013
  • Genre & Length: Sci-fi short story
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 9781301549627
  • Source: Free on Smashwords

Author Profile:

Research, science, sci-fi and high technology are the world Luca Rossi lives in and the subject of his literary work. He believes in the Web as a way to approach the individuals and make the world a more rightful, open and democratic
place.

In 2013 he publishes Energies of the galaxy, a collection of short stories set in a universe that for him is moved not only by the physic’s laws, but also by the equally true ones of Eros, passion, desire and spirit.

He was born in Turin the 15th of April, 1977. He likes to go biking, to go strolling in the nature and to spend the most of his free time with his family.
Visit http://www.lucarossi369.com.
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Filed under Science Fiction, Short Story

Nirvana Effect by Craig Gehring

THUMBNAIL_IMAGEReview: I knew going in, as most works  dealing with indigenous or tribal peoples from an outsider’s perspective, that the work can have aspects I find questionable and which I may be more focused on. Although the author clearly did have a certain story they wished to tell in a certain way, as the description relays, I found the “primitives” (as they repeatedly called them) to be very stereotypical, as well as the suggestions that most anything western was great, good, and beneficial.

It may not have been what the author intended at all, but in their attempt to build their plot: the primitives had to be morphed into caricatures. Especially to the extend they were throughout the whole book, I really feel Nirvana Effect would have been a more balanced, believable and memorable if the members of the Onge were treated as human beings. Just because a group of people or culture are not like one’s own, doesn’t necessarily make their way of life or them inferior to one’s own.

I found the plotting of the story predictable, with the protagonist doing almost everything just as you expect: being forbidden to view a ceremony, but of course he dismisses this warning because he wants to see it anyway. Naturally, he gets in trouble. Repeatedly. Doubtless, some readers may see the Onge tribes as just primitives, exactly the way the author wrote them, so they won’t be bothered by how they were portrayed, and they may like this book well enough. It wasn’t one I found especially readable, but I think it’s important readers give it a chance and make their own decision.

*
Description: “A washed up missionary gets a second chance at his aspirations of a scientific career when he stumbles upon a jungle medicine that enhances mental and physical prowess. But the young native who discovered it has other, more devious schemes for the drug. What starts as simple research becomes a life or death struggle for power that reshapes the destiny of a primitive people and ultimately the fate of Earth.”

  • Paperback and Ebook
  • Published June 28th 2012 by Ring Publications LLC
  • ISBN 0615664660
  • ISBN13: 9780615664668
  • Available on Amazon.com.
  • Source: Author

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Filed under Books, Reviews, Science Fiction, Speculative

Retro Neon Super Life By Brendan Borba

Review: Heavy on description, many were completely imaginable, and vividly so, though like a bright, flashing scene viewed too long: it can be tiring. But considering the synopsis of Retro Neon Super Life, a “boundary testing unreality; a glittery, vibrant cyber-world,” that is exactly what the author might have been trying to convey, and so seemed to have achieved this aim.

You’ll have to suspend disbelief or either immerse yourself fully, accepting of whatever comes, and though a short novel or longer novella at almost 115 pages, initially you’re provided with a lot of information rapidfire. Why and how, a seemingly average, level-headed young man came to be in the situation he was: coming in contact with drugs, people, and ways of living for which he was unprepared and unfamiliar. These things were the bulk of the “rapid download.”

There was some POV tics and lack of punctuation that had me rereading for clarity a few times, and I felt the story could have benefited from clearer breaks in scenes or character flashbacks, but even referencing the issues I felt were in the story: I felt Retro Neon Super Life was a little gem that more people should read and enjoy. I felt the author’s strong vision, could understand the emotions and motivations of April and Jake Avery, the main characters. Minus a few things that could be teaked, it is a stand-out piece, and a cover more suggestive of content might help make it more so.

Description:  “Gritty and mesmerizing, Retro Neon Super Life follows Jake, a straight laced, hard working victim of identity theft and Alice, a young product of the digital age as they traverse the glittery, vibrant cyber-world. But all is not as it seems. Beneath the polished, user friendly surface lurks something much darker. In a world that is not real, it is the question of self that tests all boundaries.”

  • Published: June 13, 2012
    ISBN: 9781476178233
  • Genre: Science Fiction, Adventure
  • Source: Author

Author Profile

Brendan Borba was born in Burnaby, BC, on April 27, 1988. He currently still resides in the metro Vancouver area and writes books about pretty much whatever he feels like. Get in touch with him at brendanborba@hotmail.ca. Blog site http://brendanborba.wordpress.com/the-novels/.

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Filed under Action/Adventure, Science Fiction

Shadow of a Dead Star by Michael Shean

11822933Review: Please see the note below regarding edition, which is primarily the reason why it took me longer to read and review this book than my average: I had an earlier edition that had many editing errors.

That being said, there was an edge to Shadows of a Dead Star, incorporating mystery and darkness, an eeriness that attracts you but creates a sense of anxiety so that you’re reluctant to look full on: for fear of what you might learn. Mood and tension was great, and main character Walken, was both sympathetic and strong, with understandable vulnerabilities. Very well presented, I thought.

It might be considered strange but in conjunction with everything else, what I liked most about this book was its length, approximately 115 pages. There wasn’t pages and pages of superfluous information, slowing pace and progression. The writing was stylish but not trying to overly impress; instead the author used language that was gripping but not pretentious.  Shean used vivid descriptions and imagery that surprised and satisfied, just enough, never over the top. Very much reminding me of Christopher Hinz’s, Paratwa Trilogy, which had a strange beauty but was undeniably shocking and sometimes brutal, Shadows of a Dead Star was a book I was glad I gave another chance.

Note: This novel was listed as being self-published by Michael Shean, June 2011, then assumingly republished by Curiosity Quills Press, December 2011. After completing my review, as usual, I read through others, a number of which used editing and grammar issues as reason to rate the novel lower. Please take this fact into consideration regarding edition, making sure to get the updated, corrected version.

Description: “Seattle, 2078. The future hasn’t been kind to the spirit of humanity; commercial obsession and technological fetishism rules the day, religion and belief has died screaming in the fires of war, and what remains is moral decrepitude. Life in the future is hard on the soul.

As an agent of the Industrial Security Bureau, Thomas Walken knows that better than anyone. His job is to keep the worst kind of black-market technology out of the hands of citizens, technology born out of the shadowy nation nicknamed Wonderland. But the kind of fantasies that come out of that place aren’t for the good people of the world. Wonderland technology is like black magic made real.

Walken’s newest assignment starts out simply: intercept a smuggled shipment of Princess Dolls, little girls turned into sex toys, and bring them into custody. But when the girls are hijacked from federal custody and Walken gives chase, he finds a trail of bodies in their wake. Before he’s through, Walken will find himself confronted revelations that will answer every question that the troubled lawman has ever had about himself and the world he lives in – but his mind and soul may not survive it.

A dark, brooding piece of future noir, SHADOW OF A DEAD STAR will take you down the rabbit hole on a ride you won’t soon forget.”

  • Published December 1st 2011 by Curiosity Quills Press
  • First published June 21st 2011 by Michael Shean
  • ISBN13: 9781620070000
  • Source: Author

Author Profile

Michael Shean was born amongst the sleepy hills and coal mines of southern West Virginia in 1978. Taught to read by his parents at a very early age, he has had a great love of the written word since the very beginning of his life. Growing up, he was often plagued with feelings of isolation and loneliness; he began writing off and on to help deflect this, though these themes are often explored in his work as a consequence. At the age of 16, Michael began to experience a chain of vivid nightmares that has continued to this day; it is from these aberrant dreams that he draws inspiration.

In 2001 his grandfather, whom he idolized in many ways, died. The event moved him to leave West Virginia to pursue a career in the tech industry, and he settled in the Washington, DC area as a web designer and graphic artist. As a result his writing was put aside and not revisited until five years later. In 2006 he met his current fiancee, who urged him to pick up his writing once more. Though the process was very frustrating at first, in time the process of polishing and experimentation yielded the core of what would become his first novel, Shadow of a Dead Star. In 2009 the first draft of book was finished, though it would be 2011 until he would be satisfied enough with the book to release it.

His work is extensively character-driven, but also focuses on building engaging worlds in which those characters interact. His influences include H.P. Lovecraft, William Gibson, Cormac McCarthy, Philip K. Dick, and Clark Ashton Smith.

Website: http://michael-shean.com/.

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Filed under Books, Dark Fiction, Fantasy, Reviews, Science Fiction, Writers and Writing

Twin-Bred by Karen A. Wyle

Review: Quoting myself from a previous review, “Human and alien interaction in sci-fi is one of my favorite themes when it’s done in an intelligent manner, such as in C.J. Cherryh’s Foreigner Universe and many others by her, or with humor, such as in the League of Peoples series by James Alan Gardner’s, which began with Expendable.”

In Cherryh’s Foreigner Universe, human and alien contact began eagerly on both sides, as they seemed similar superficially similar, yet the situation precipituously dipped into danger resulting in violence and aggression but eventually ended in a wise stalemate and limited contact between the two groups only through a translator/diplomat. In Wyle’s Twin-Bred, the situation is more ambiguous and the solution far, far more difficult.

My question was, since the two groups couldn’t readily communicate and understand each other, how did they come to the conclusion something as intimate as shared fetus pregnancies would be a possible solution? How could the aliens agree? Yet it takes place, which of course, is the theme of the book, clearly though out by the author and intelligently presented.

There were times when the reflection between Mara and her deceased though “present” twin Levi might have been lessened, as I understood the concept through the description of Twin-Bred in the first place, yet I could understand how this relationship was explanatory for other knowledge and emotions experienced throughout, and the scientist’s driving force behind the experiment.

There was believable complexity and conflict in this moderately paced, lengthy novel, and a mature feel to the characters and writing style.  None of the truncated or abbreviated feel some books have these days, Twin-Bred is in classic mode, which might certainly be appreciated by those searching for immersive science fiction.

Description: “Can interspecies diplomacy begin in the womb? Humans have lived on Tofarn, planet of creeks and rivers, for seventy years, but they still don’t understand the Tofa. The Tofa are an enigma, from their featureless faces to the four arms that sometimes seem to be five. They take arbitrary umbrage at the simplest human activities, while annoying their human neighbors in seemingly pointless ways. The next infuriating, inexplicable incident may explode into war.

Scientist Mara Cadell has a radical proposal: that host mothers carry fraternal twins, human and Tofa, who might understand each other better. Mara knows about the bond between twins: her own twin Levi died in utero, but she has secretly kept him alive in her mind as companion and collaborator.

The human Council approves the project. The Tofa agree to cooperate, although no one is sure they understand the project’s purpose. In fact, the Tofa have their own agenda. And so does one member of the Council, who believes the human colonists should have wiped out the Tofa before setting foot on Tofarn. Mara must shepherd the Twin-Bred project through dangers she anticipated and others that even the canny Levi could not foresee. Will the Twin-Bred bring peace, war, or something else entirely?”

  • Published: October 11, 2011
  • ISBN: 978-1463578916 (paperback)
  • ISBN-13: 9781466174566 (e-book)
  • ASIN: B005VDVHQ2
  • Available at Smashwords, Amazon & other online distributors
  • Source: Author

Author Profile:

Karen A. Wyle was born a Connecticut Yankee, but eventually settled in Bloomington, Indiana, home of Indiana University.  She now considers herself a Hoosier. Wyle’s childhood ambition was to be the youngest ever published novelist.  While writing her first novel at age 10, she was mortified to learn that some British upstart had beaten her to the goal at age 9. 

Wyle is an appellate attorney, photographer, political junkie, and mother of two daughters. Her voice is the product of almost five decades of reading both literary and genre fiction.  It is no doubt also influenced, although she hopes not fatally tainted, by her years of law practice.  Her personal history has led her to focus on often-intertwined themes of family, communication, the impossibility of controlling events, and the persistence of unfinished business.

Links:

www.KarenAWyle.net

www.facebook.com/KarenAWyle

www.facebook.com/TwinBred

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Filed under Books, Fantasy, Reviews, Science Fiction, Writers and Writing