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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.





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An Atmosphere of Angels by H.C. Turk

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.

“An Atmosphere of Angels” had a solid framework of science fiction know-how, and is eloquent and lyrical at times, but the sexual references, innuendo and preoccupation seemed overdone at the beginning. The supposed professionals behaved far less than professional on an important interspecies research mission reminding me of irritating adolescents but I found the premise of the story itself to be interesting and intriguing, and I enjoyed how it developed otherwise.

There were some idiosyncrasies I felt might have been left out, yet to be honest, this was one of the few books where I was at work or in transit and realized I was eager to get home and read more simply because it was different.

H.C. Turk has a distinct way of writing that, if you read their Q&A below, you can definitely sense their personality in the characters and situations within their work. Enjoyment of that propensity and difference in sense of humor can be subjective, and might not suit some readers’ taste, but the Atmosphere of Angels is a story you won’t soon forget.

Description: “As part of a treaty with a primitive race, Terran space explorers agree to dispose of an abandoned stellar craft. Trapped inside the ship, the Terrans (Parno and Kathlynn) find numerous alien corpses, and one ghost.

In order to escape, the Terrans must learn the workings of the ship. The ghost tries to kill them via spontaneous combustion, offworld narcotics, drowning in alien viscera, high-tech disintegration, and common beatings. Though severely injured, Parno and Kathlynn are healed by the ship.

When the entire ship begins disintegrating, Parno and Kathlynn are forced to face the ghost. If they succeed, the ether ore is theirs. If they fail, they and the ghost will achieve unending peace.”

  • Published: September 30, 2011
  • By H.C. Turk
  • ISBN: 9781465787
  • Available at Smashwords, Amazon and other online locations
  • Source: Author

About this author:

Q&A Written by the author:
A: This is hard.
Q: Why is making a bio so hard for you?
A: Because it’s like talking. I don’t like to talk; I like to write.
Q: But people want to know about authors. Reading a book requires a lot of effort.
A: Writing one ain’t exactly playtime.
Q: That’s better. Go ahead, tell us more. Did you have a pleasant childhood?
A: Ask my dog; he was there.
Q: Your dog is stuffed. He’s not a real dog.
A: He’s more real than you are. You can’t even ask a good question.
Q: Here’s one: Why should people read your books?
A: Because my puppy will be sad if they don’t.
Q: We need to get serious here. How many novels have you written?
A: 33.
Q: I’ll bet your dog can’t count that high. How long have you been writing?
A: I’ll answer if you promise not to kick my dog again (metaphorically).
Q: He wouldn’t feel it—he’s stuffed.
A: If someone kicked the stuffing out of you, I bet you wouldn’t enjoy it.
Q: Would I enjoy it more than reading one of your books? Or would it be equally painful?
A: You’re cruel to dogs AND to authors.
Q: If you answer my last question, I promise to be nice. How many years have you been writing?
A: [mumbles]
Q: That’s pathetic.
A: Why don’t you ask me about my stories?
Q: Stories are for campfires.
A: The basis of history’s greatest novels is the story: the story of nations, cultures, families, individuals. The greatest idea that can be expressed in fiction is story.
Q: Great, so tell me about your characters.
A: Dull and Dumb are not two of my characters, or characteristics.
Q: Do you ever write about animals, stuffed or not?
A: Rescued greyhounds in Heaven Again, tiny ponies in Only The Impassioned, mudfish in Resurrection Flowers, ghosts in An Atmosphere Of Angels.
Q: Ghosts aren’t animals, they’re unsettled spirits. If ghosts continue to read, what will they find in your novels?
A: They will find passion, idea, and spirited characters whose lives are a story. And puppies.

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Seeking Reviews/Review Copies for “Dear Frank: Babe Ruth, The Red Sox, and the Great War” by W. Nikola-Lisa

This is an announcement posting only: Please contact the author only through the links below.

W. Nikola-Lisa is pleased to announce his new book, Dear Frank: Babe Ruth, The Red Sox, and the Great War.  Set in 1918, Dear Frank offers the reader a glimpse of life in the Boston area during the waning days of World War I.

Babe Ruth, the Red Sox, and the Great War is a piece of historical fiction for the middle grade reader. The story follows a series of letters written by one brother to another during the latter part of 1918. It’s the last year of World War I and the Boston Red Sox, with Babe Ruth on the mound, are going to the World Series. Andrew, at home in the Boston area, writes to his older brother, Frank, a soldier on Europe’s western front, to catch him up on all the news.

  • Title: Dear Frank: Babe Ruth, The Red Sox, and the Great War
  • Author:  W. Nikola-Lisa
  • Publisher: Gyroscope Books
  • ISBN: 978-1468115215
  • Pages: 100
  • Published: February 2012

About The Author:

W. Nikola-Lisa’s interest in writing books for young readers began as an elementary school teacher. He is the author of numerous books, including the award-winning Bein’ With You This Way (Lee & Low), Shake Dem Halloween Bones (Houghton Mifflin) and the How We Are Smart (Lee & Low), recipient of the prestigious Christopher Award. As an accomplished storyteller and musician, Mr. Nikola-Lisa enjoys sharing his writing experiences with elementary and middle school students nationwide.

For more information, review copies, or interviews please contact:

W. Nikola-Lisa
Email: nikolabooks@gmail.com
Website:  http://nikolabooks.us5.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=87ee175b02a298dcec7e78690&id=c31efb9c4c&e=226d10a84a

Dear Frank is available for purchase online through the author’s website, from the publisher, Amazon.com, BN.com and other online retailers.  Bookstores should contact Ingram for wholesale orders.

Other books by W. Nikola-Lisa from Gyroscope Books:

  • Dragonfly: A Childhood Memoir
  • ISBN: 978-1450595605
  • Published: June 2010
  • Pages: 74

Dragonfly is the author’s childhood memories growing up in Texas in the early 1960s.  It was not a particularly positive time in his life, but it was one that left a deep impression on him.  As such, Dragonfly is not a book for young readers as its content, although not explicitly graphic, is provocative. The author would recommend it for the middle grade reader and up.

  • Hey, Aren’t You the Janitor?: And Other Tales from the Life of a Children’s Book Author
  • ISBN: 978-1453667392
  • Published: January 2011
  • Pages: 52

W. Nikola-Lisa chronicles his life on the road as a children’s book author. Although the stories in this collection reveal a wide variety of characters and settings, the central core revolves around the weird and wacky: a kiss on the hand from a first grader, a brief run-in with Benny the Bull, a case–or two–of mistaken identity. It’s the curtain pulled back on a highly esteemed and delightful profession. Readers young and old will enjoy the stories in this collection.

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