Tower

This is a short story, and sometimes it’s nice to read a short story. Sometimes it’s nice to read a story in a couple sittings and not have to worry about complex mind-blowing plots and two-hundred characters. Reading to be entertained is nice. But this doesn’t mean the story is simple by any stretch. It’s every bit as entertaining as a full-length novel; the short time you spend with the characters you see their qualities emerge. And even though this is a standalone, you can sense there’s more to the events unfolding. That’s nice too.

So Tower is a short story which ends, but doesn’t quite end in the sense that you understand all that’s going on. It’s only the beginning and that makes you want to find out more of what’s happening. Very nice. 🙂

Soda Pop Soldier

My take on it all:
A recipe for success: Take one-third future time dystopia, where the haves and have-nots are a world apart, one-third imaginary techno-Vietnam where the prize is marketing, and one-third old school Quake. Throw all that in a blender with ice, and then pour. And you have Soda Pop Soldier, a game noir science fiction novel that kicks conventional novel-wisdom in the teeth.

But don’t think this is just for fifty-year-olds who still live in mom’s basement and list “Level 100 Uber-Mage” as their best asset on a resume.

Nick touches on lofty ideas such as right vs. wrong, good vs. evil, and free will vs. determinism. While the hero PerfectQuestion doesn’t always make the best decisions, he’s understanding and growing, which is what we want to see in a hero.

This book is fun upon fun, sticking with you long after you finish turning pages. 🙂

Tango Desolado

Pablo Neruda’s Veinte Poemas de Amor y Una Canción Desesperada defined the heights of love and the depths of loss for generations of lovers, readers, and poets.

Tango Desolado is Samuel Peralta’s own canción desesperada, his song of despair, coming on the heels of this award-winning author’s book of love poems, How More Beautiful You Are.

In this collection, Peralta engages the reader in stories of loss – of love unrealized, unrequited, bereft – weaving hope, melancholy, and sorrow into a tapestry of emotion.

Poignant and intense, Tango Desolado is an extraordinary record of longing, one that will linger in the heart after its last words are read.

 

 

Synchronic

My Review:
The collection is a treat if you are into time travel or just looking for some great speculative fiction short stories. I’m going to limit myself and use only a couple of sentences to sum up my impression after reading each story, because if I don’t I can ramble on for days, making my own short story.

Santa Anna’s Gold – Michael introduces us to a man who is out of his time and out of his mind. The story has a rugged feel to it, as rugged as the Texas land where it takes place.
Corrections – Susan writes an intense thriller of a person who relives moments in convicted murderers’ lives. I faced this story like when I watched Poltergeist as a child; with my hands in front of my eyes, peeking around the edges. It creeped me out.
Hereafter – Samuel writes a beautiful story of love between a traveler and an unsuspecting lady. Fine literary fiction within a speculative backdrop.
The Swimming Pool of the Universe – Forget his comparison to Hemingway. Nick is a modern day PKD. Enough said.
Reentry Window – Eric’s ability to spin a yarn about space flight makes me think I’m reading an astronaut’s memoir, that’s how sure and precise his writing is.
The River – Jennifer weaves a complicated story of regret and redo.
A Word in Pompey’s Ear – Christopher gives us a lesson, not only of history, but of pride.
Rock or Shell – Ann takes us for a metaphysical ride on a mattress. Her story has an ethereal quality to it, as fleeting as the fog.
The Mirror – A haunting story of a man, a woman, a mirror,  and a superstition. Irving writes the story predominantly in narrative, like it was pulled from a diary. It is compelling.
Reset – MeiLin gives us a story told not through the time traveler, but through her friend; a witness to the repercussions of reliving life. It’s a unique and interesting take on the typical time travel story.
The Laurasians – Isaac gives us a roller coaster, Jurassic Park-esque tale. The dinosaurs also win in this story.
The First Cut – Edward’s story is a glimpse of a future world, a disturbing occupation, and a good old whodunit.
The Dark Age – Jason weaves a tale of a family split by duty. It resonates with the pain of loss that transcends the story.

There are curse words spattered here and there, including one or two F-bombs. But the stories aren’t saturated in profanity. There’s also a couple of passing mentions of sex. Some violence, with one story (Corrections) having some particularly grotesque descriptions.

If you are shopping for entertaining, short, time-travel stories, then you definitely have to purchase this. Click that “BUY NOW” button now.

The Wasteland Saga

My Review:
This review covers the third novel in the Wasteland Saga, The Road is a River. You can find my reviews for the first two parts Old Man Review and Savage Boy.

So if you read the two reviews you’ll know I’m a fan of the series and of the author. Even though this is the third part, Nick saves the best for last. In my humble opinion, Road is the best because it follows the Old Man and the Savage Boy and their entwined story, finishing their journeys.

But it’s the beauty through the destruction that is most remarkable. Through the lawlessness, through the savagery, there is still a remnant of individuals that realize there is more to the bombed-out life than the immediate situation. There are still things in the world worth sacrificing self for, and there are still some individuals that deem other lives more valuable than their own. Nick’s story weaves the idea of self-sacrifice into Road, making for a compelling read, one that transcends a typical post-apocalyptic story.

Every story should end with the message Nick has put into Road.

If you’re considering purchasing the Wasteland Saga, then take the plunge and pick it up, no matter the cost. It will be money well spent.

Pennsylvania Omnibus

My Review:
I’ve posted reviews of Pennsylvania, Parts one and two, and now this review is of the five installment omnibus, the novel. I will gloss over many of the finer plot points because I don’t want to be a spoiler for anyone. 🙂

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I’m a fan of Michael Bunker. So he would have to do something completely out of character in his story for me to have issues with it. But like always, he is consistent, and the remaining three installments of Pennsylvania lives up to my expectations.

Since this was my first Amish Sci-Fi, I didn’t know what to expect. Would everyone be named Yoder (although there is ONE Yoder family)? Would the story center around quilting and wood furniture sold to tourists? With those caricatures aside, I find the story to be entertaining, while at the same time showing a segment of religious stalwarts thrust against a technological future and having to find their niche in a hostile world. I also find Pennsylvania refreshing because it’s a science fiction story has room for God, and not in a derogatory fashion. While the book isn’t Christian fiction, it shows a people that rely on their faith and their God while having to deal with the actions of others.

When Bunker speaks of the “plain” people, you can tell that he has taken pains to pay due respect to a people that has resisted societal ebbs and flows. His writing is genuine concerning them, and it makes for a realistic story foundation. The story itself moves along well, with many plot twists and turns. For a while in the thick of it, I found myself second-guessing character actions and motives. I think that makes for some good reading.

There are a couple of d*mns and h*lls, and several instances of battle violence. I appreciate Pennsylvania not because of this, but at how sparingly Bunker used them. I didn’t have to worry about hard cursing, graphic violence, sex, zombies, or vampires. It makes for a novel that I would have no trouble recommending to my mother (if she ever asked me for a good Amish Sci-Fi book). So in all, if you are looking for a good science fiction read, then pick up the Pennsylvania Omnibus. You will not be disappointed.