28 May 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Analog Science Fiction And Fact - July/August 2013

Analog Science Fiction And Fact, July/August 2013 (Vol 133, No. 7&8)Analog Science Fiction And Fact, July/August 2013 by Trevor Quachri
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A good double issue. I found the conclusion the Dark Secret by Edward M Lerner quite satisfactory and overall really enjoyed this serial. The ending contains a little surprise which the author is hopefully open to explore further.
There are two other real stand-out stories, the first is Brad Torgersen’s novella “The Chaplain’s Legacy", a sequel to his popular short story “The Chaplain’s Assistant” from the September 2011 issue of Analog. This story is an interesting tale of a man's attempts to reach out to and placate a hostile alien species who would love nothing more than to wipe the human race from the galaxy. It's a really good read with a good mixture of action and dialogue.
The second is the cover story “Thaw” by Arlan Andrews, Sr. This story takes place in a setting that initially may not seem very science fiction, but overriding the story is something more, and this makes it quite interesting. I wonder if there is more to come from this story. I hope so.
Typically good stuff.

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24 May 2013

10 Novels That Are More Action-Packed Than Most Summer Movies

The Reality Dysfunction by Peter F. Hamilton
It's summer movie season, the time when blockbuster films come out every week and we pit Vin Diesel against Wolverine. But how do you keep that cineplex excitement alive when you're at home on the couch? With books!

HERE are 10 science fiction novels that pack more non-stop thrills than Fast & Furious 6. Really.

From iO9.com

17 May 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Galaxy's Edge Magazine Issue 1: March 2013

Galaxy's Edge Magazine Issue 1: March 2013Galaxy's Edge Magazine Issue 1: March 2013 by Mike Resnick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A good first issue of what will hopefully be a long lasting magazine to go along with the other excellent publications in this field.
There's a good mixture of stories in here, my particular favorite being THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS by Robert J Sawyer. Other stories of note are REQUIEM FOR A DRUID by Alex Shvartsman, a supernatural type story that I quite liked (unusual for me as I'm not usually into this sort of thing), and JUST A SECOND by Lou J. Berger is a great little tale about a fellow who eventually get what's coming to him.
Also the first five chapters of DARK UNIVERSE by Daniel Galouye got my attention and this looks like it should be an interesting and exciting story. It is very successful in full length novel form.
Mike Resnick's editorial about the early pioneering days of the science fiction magazines is interesting an informative.
All in all there was enough for me to go on and order Issue 2 which I am eagerly awaiting.

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15 May 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Analog Science Fiction And Fact, June 2013

Analog Science Fiction And Fact, June 2013 (Vol 133, No. 6)Analog Science Fiction And Fact, June 2013 by Trevor Quachri
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A good issue. None of the short stories grabbed me spectacularly but I did really enjoy the novelette A Cup of Dirt which was a simple yet fun little story about growing tomatoes (in a sci-fi setting, of course). Part three of the serial Dark Secret by Edward M. Lerner was also good. The plot makes a real turn and it's looking like a good conclusion next issue. A good science fact article about tsunamis and earthquakes too. All good stuff.

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12 May 2013

BOOK REVIEW: The Serene Invasion by Eric Brown

The Serene InvasionThe Serene Invasion by Eric Brown
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Serene are an alien race. The Earth in 2025 is an ailing world, and the Serene an end to poverty and violence - but not everyone supports the seemingly benign invasion. There are forces out there who wish to return to the bad old days, and will stop at nothing to oppose the Serene.It's 2025 and the world is riven by war, terrorist attacks, poverty and increasingly desperate demands for water, oil, and natural resources. The West and China confront each other over an inseperable ideological divide, each desperate to sustain their future. And then the Serene arrive, enigmatic aliens form Delta Pavonis V, and nothing will ever be the same again.

The best science fiction I've read so far this year.
Here we have a great story about humanity being saved from our destructive ways by a race of benevolent extraterrestrials called the Serene. Also, they must fight off a competing group of aliens who seek to stop them and impose their own will on the human race. This enemy is being assisted by factions of humanity who resent the Serene and what they've done. They see it as taking away our free will and replacing it with their own oppressive agenda.
What we end up with is a very good story chock full of incredible characters who are believable and likeable. The action is good and often enough to keep readers like me happy.
In fact, this story has a similar concept to Brown's earlier book Kethani which I also enjoyed very much. This story is much grander in scale, however, and has good space opera elements that I loved.
Once again, Eric Brown fails to disappoint.

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10 May 2013

Is Demonoid really back?

It appears that the rumours may be true - the legendary Demonoid torrent site is back in slightly modified guise as d2.vu.

I hope this is the beginning of a comeback of one of the best torrent sites that there's ever been.

Read more HERE.

07 May 2013

Why the Pitchforks and Torches?

More TUEBL debate from http://cheapassfiction.com/

Last week we answered the question once and for all, Is TUEBL legal? with a decisive YES! But on Friday, we heard from a pro-copyright author who still thinks we’re all dirty rotton thieves.

The fact remains that, despite efforts to serve both the writer and reader communities, our little library attracts the occasional hysterical mob. Authors and publishers, somehow missing all the DMCA Takedown buttons next to each and every one of their books, wind up taking out their frustration out on TUEBL. It can’t help but leave us bookworms looking up from our latest chapter a little confused, wondering WHY? Why, even though TUEBL is as legal as Google, Youtube, or your ISP, do the pitchforks and torches still get broken out with alarming regularity?

Because…. pirates!

Of course it is. Read more HERE.

04 May 2013

A great PDF viewer

PDF-XChange Viewer (Free)

I've recently begun using this handy little piece of software for viewing PDF documents.

I use a lot of different texts for a course of study that I'm undertaking and PDF-XChange Viewer is excellent. This is mainly due to the tabbed interface, which means that I can have many PDF files open at one time and easily change between them as and when required. This is a small, yet welcome advantage over more traditional readers like Adobe Reader.

Main screen

There are the usual PDF reader features like page rotate, snapshot, text & object select & document search, etc., etc. It does it all.

I'm actually running the portable version which is handy to run off a USB drive while using work computers, etc.

The best part? It's FREE!

Check it out HERE.

03 May 2013

Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror Kindle eBook Deals Under $5

From SF Signal - a most excellent site.

By  | Thursday, May 2nd, 2013 at 9:00 am

Click HERE for a roundup of some inexpensive science fiction, fantasy and horror Kindle eBooks for you to check out on your favorite reading device.

All of these titles are priced under $5 at the time of writing this posting — but prices are subject to change, so check the price before clicking “buy”.

If Amazon is not your eBook ecosystem, please do look up the titles wherever you buy your eBooks; discounts are often applied at other outlets.

There's some real goodies in this lot.

02 May 2013

Is TUEBL legal?

As you know, I totally rate and support TUEBL - but people often ask me about the legalities of such a sharing site (I much prefer the term LIBRARY). Following is a short explanation from Cheapass Fiction, the new official blog of TUEBL.

Is TUEBL legal?

It’s a common question about our friendly neighborhood ebook library. And fair enough. If something is awesome enough, there’s probably a law against it.

So let’s answer it once and for all with a resounding YES.

Under the current admins, TUEBL has always had a DMCA takedown process, which means it falls solidly into DMCA Safe Haven territory, just like YouTube or Google. In fact, TUEBL’s takedown process is morestringent than YouTube’s or Google’s! Every book page on TUEBL has a clearly-displayed DMCA button that an author can use should they object to their book’s presence in the library. The DMCA button takes the author to a form asking for basic information. (This provides a layer of accountability and helps to prevent abuse of the system.) Then, with that one step completed, the book is gone.

DMCA Safe Haven allowances for sites and service providers have been upheld over and over and over in U.S courts. As long as YouTube, Google, and every one else that simply carries user-submitted material is legal, then TUEBL is legal.

Of course, TUEBL supports the free sharing of books. Libraries are, after all, essential to both individuals’ and civilizations’ development. Libraries mustsurvive. But survival means playing by the rules – even as you try to change them.

01 May 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Lacuna: Demons of the Void by David Adams

Lacuna: Demons of the VoidLacuna: Demons of the Void by David Adams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book came as one hell of a surprise. I got it free from Amazon on my Kindle, thinking it sounded interesting but wasn't really expecting much from it. Well, was I in for a shock.

It's an excellent earth invasion/space battle military sci-fi yarn that I couldn't put down. The last time I was this enthusiastic about a book in this genre was with John Scalzi's excellent Old Man's War. This book is nearly as good.

The story centers around Melissa Liao who is a spunky Chinese officer in command of one of three "Pillars of the Earth" - huge space battleships built to seek out and avenge the attack of Earth by a mysterious alien race. It appears that humanity has gained the attention of the mysterious enemy after developing the technology necessary for faster-than-light space travel.

What ensues is a fast-moving and colorful story. The characters are excellent and perfect for this type of story. Melissa reminded me a little of David Weber's Honor Harrington, just with a bit more of a rougher edge. There's technology, aliens, space battles and even a bit of romance and sex as well. Something for every sci-fi action fan. This book is the first in what looks like is going to be a fantastic series.

So, so worth reading. Highly recommended.

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