Books, Review

Review: Shorts N Stuff

I’m seriously behind in my reviews. For that matter, I’m behind in my reading. Well, reading of fiction. This summer in between writing Tanager’s Fledglings, art, life, and other stuff, I’ve been reading such scintillating material as Molecular Biology of the Cell: Fifth Edition. I’ve also got my biochemistry and invertebrate zoology books. So yes, I’ll be prepared for classes, and it’s not interfering with my writing. But it’s rather dull fare to review for the blog, largely.

There are a few long-overdue reviews I want to take care of, though.

ten gentle oppsTen Gentle Opportunities is a fun read. It is comic, without being harsh in poking fun at anything. There is a bit of a stretch in the whole concept of the trans-dimensional traveler being mistaken for an Eastern European intern, but once I decided I would accept that, I settled into enjoying the story. It reminded me slightly of a few others – the idea of magic and programming being related isn’t new – but the addition of the artificial intelligences was a new plot twist to me. All in all, it’s a light read with magic, technology, action, and even a little romance blended together.

The main characters are not deliberately heroic, and I wish there had been more development of the former military man turned tech-start up. I did enjoy the interpersonal relationships between the nascent AIs and the main two human characters, though.

Ignore the cover. Yes, I know it's weird. Just click on it and read the story!
Ignore the cover. Yes, I know it’s weird. Just click on it and read the story!

Lloyd Behm’s Rose Tint My Quest is a gaming group gone wild, as the premise. Think you’ve read that before? You probably have, but Behm makes his tale fresh and readable with his poking fun at everything and everyone. The First Reader was hesitant about it, but came to find me once he’d read it and tell me he really enjoyed it.

This is a really fun short story. The premise is that magic warped the world as we know it, leaving what were once ordinary humans to make of life what they can. Sometimes, that involves quests… but you must follow the new rules, or there can be dire consequences. Not that this slows anyone down much. They still quest, even those who want it to be a bed of roses.

Lloyd’s sense of humor really shines in this tale, and I think you’ll join me in hoping that he writes more, and longer, in this world.

Leaving the realms of fantasy, many and varied as they are, we proceed onward to the science fiction end of the spectrum.

rimworldJL Curtis’s Rimworld: Stranded was a blast to read. I highly recommend it to anyone who reads and enjoys military science fiction, and even if it’s not usually your cup of tea, you may still like this story. It’s the tale of a man who got caught behind enemy lines while doing something he wasn’t supposed to be. Left behind for dead, he decides that he won’t just slip quietly into death and dishonor. The character reminded me in some ways of my own First Reader. I really hope Curtis writes more of this world soon. I’ll be standing in line to purchase a novel!

netherealThe only novel I’ve finished recently was Brian Niemeier’s Nethereal. A science fantasy tale, this book follows the descent of a pirate crew on a strange spaceship into Hell. The central conceit of the book is modeled after Dante’s Nine Circles in Hell, and the story follows those levels downward until a price is paid and the ship can be reborn… if it can be. I recommend this for people who enjoyed Jack Chalker’s Midnight at the Well of Souls, or John C Wright’s work. It’s a dense read full of spiritual significance and allusions. Nethereal is a very big book and will take most readers a while to work through it. Value for your money!

Happy Reading! I am going to try and make a little time for reading, myself. I have some books in the TBR that don’t deserve to be neglected.