Broody New Englander THREE STORIES BY Kenneth Weene Red Chameleon Books, 2014 ISBN: 978-1502759283 Trade Paperback 234 Pages Fiction/Poetic Prose
The Broody NBroody New Englander THREE STORIES BY Kenneth Weene Red Chameleon Books, 2014 ISBN: 978-1502759283 Trade Paperback 234 Pages Fiction/Poetic Prose
The Broody New Englander is exactly the type of book you would think it would be—broody people, broods of people and even a broody tale. All set in new England in different times and in one case in a world somewhat different than our own (or at least we hope it is different), these stories take us deep into the lives of New Englanders. These are New Englanders as remembered by Ken Weene, who no longer lives among them. No, Ken even admits to sitting high on a pole and looking down on his creations. This long view, the distance gained from age and many, many miles is then filtered through Ken’s version of poetic prose.
The product is more, however, on a number of levels. It is delivered into our hands as a beautiful piece of fiction, meant to be read aloud, as all poetry is meant to be read aloud. Will you catch the subtle rhythms, the literary pounding of the prose? I don’t know. Whatever was happening there happened in the background for me. I was much more taken by the intimate portrayal of his characters, of the deep, but largely wordless people of these brooding lands. The currents of feeling he was able to create were remarkable; the roiling emotions, the hidden but passionate burn of love, the loyalty and deceit, the infidelities, and the sweet, siren song of death.
All of these things—and more—beg to be carried off the page and into the air. So I suggest you order a copy and read it to yourself or a loved one. I’m sure the book of stories will capture you as it captured me.
ed.pendragon's reviews By Chris Lovegrove, July, 2012 Fantasy 3 Stars
Fantasy is a tough genre for some readers who find it difficult to suspend their disb ed.pendragon's reviews By Chris Lovegrove, July, 2012 Fantasy 3 Stars
Fantasy is a tough genre for some readers who find it difficult to suspend their disbelief enough to accept magic as a sine qua non of this type of fiction. Once you accept it then the story proceeds as normal, providing of course that you also get the narrative and characters and setting that all good fiction requires.
Clayton Bye's The Sorcerer's Key certainly has a narrative that draws you on and characters that are believable and distinctive. The young hero of the tale, Jack Lightfoot, has been brought up with a magical heritage while living in a small town in Ontario (coincidentally the author's hometown of Kenora). He finds himself trailed by a shady character and his previously humdrum life (as humdrum as it can be with clandestine magical training from his parents) gets turned upside down as he gets drawn into conflict with a powerful sorcerer from another world, meets new friends and gains new insights into his abilities.
The author has the gift of weaving a good tale with a sense of immediacy and a confident writing style that comes from writing self-help inspirational books. Though there are a few typos (such as missing pronouns) and the occasional confusing dialogue (where punctuation doesn't make it clear where one character stops speaking and another begins), Bye has a good command of suspenseful narration: short chapters, snappy exchanges, cliffhangers and a lack of longeurs which all make for a novel that keeps you wanting to read on.
Bye's preference for organised precepts help make much of the magic in The Sorcerer's Key consistent. His Three Laws of Magic, while related to the triads that self-help books seem to abound in, provide a credible conceptual underpinning to the sorcery Jack encounters. The Key of the title is a clever touch which enables progress from one world to another. And while I'm less convinced by the religious apparatus that helps structure the story, requiring an acceptance of Western ideas of Eden, Hell, angels and so on, at least the author has given them all a spin that stops the religion tipping into religiosity.
At times character motivation and actions were a little opaque; for example, why doesn't Morgan Heist, Jack's adversary, search the young man when the latter is captured? How is it that Richard the seer is all-seeing one moment and off his guard the next? Such few reservations aside, I enjoyed this tale immensely; I liked names like Morgan and Merlin and objects like the Sword to suggest Arthurian associations along with the Biblical references, and Jack Lightfoot's own name conjured up nursery tale figures like Jack and the Beanstalk, Jack the Giant-Killer and the nursery-rhyme Jack of "Jack, be nimble, Jack be quick..."; and naturally I'm looking forward to reading the follow-up title Technomage, which also features the boy himself as well as at least one other adversary of his.
From the talented Lisa Lane...
Jack Lightfoot has a family history that makes him unique to our world. His father is a sorcerer from Eden, an alternate world to our own, and although Jack was raised on our familiar Earth, the sorcerer blood runs deep in his veins. When an Eden bounty hunter tracks down his family, hired by the high sorcerer Morgan, Jack learns that he holds the key to both worlds--and the power to take on Morgan himself.
Bye offers an intriguing take on the classic hero's journey, meshing biblical myth with Dungeons and Dragons-style sorcery to create a story that is as provocative as it is exciting. I enjoyed Bye's take on the Eden myth and its connection to modern day Earth, and the story's fast pace made it a quick read. His voice is strong, his dialog smooth, and with one exception, his style is flawless. I did find an overuse of "be" verbs, which was the only issue I had with this book, but it was a small fault to an otherwise exceptional story. I highly recommend THE SORCERER'S KEY to fans of high fantasy. It is a fun and adventuorous tale that readers will not soon forget.
I give this work an enthusiastic four stars. .
Peggy Ullman Bell, author and editor:
Peggy Ullman Bell 09/15/09 Peggy Ullman Bell rated it: 5 of 5 stars
The Sorcerer's Key was so intriguing I forgot to take any review notes, nor did I find any significant typos.
In this tale of a young sorcerer's journey to connect with [the homeworld of] his father, Clayton Bye has woven magic, sorcery, logic and psychological principals in a delightful montage that kept this reader involved in his fictional world even during the times when reading the next chapter proved logistically impossible.
An excellent romp though the realm of the imagination, The Sorcerer's Key gets my highest praise and my strongest recommendation to all who enjoy the historical, fantasy and/or science fiction genres.
Marva Dasef Sep 02, 2009 Marva Dasef rated it: 4 of 5 stars (review of isbn 0973993340)
Read in June, 2010 recommends it for: fantasy readers
Jack Lightfoot's parents were on the run from their homeworld of Eden. The nasty sorcerer, Morgan, wanted what the Lightfoot family had: the ability to cross over into Earth to take advantage of the technology that Earth has, something that Eden does not.
When Morgan finds a way to send an assassin after the Lightfoot family to find the key to opening the door between worlds, Jack is thrown into a battle between sorcerers. Only problem is, Jack has lived on Earth his entire life and all the magic he knows is entirely theoretical.
With only the training his father has given him, Jack has to jump worlds and learn to use his magic ... fast. Morgan is out to kill Jack for the key to move between worlds.
The Sorcerer's Key is a fast action tale of magic and action. It's fast moving from the first page onward. I knew I'd like this book from the beginning.
It's modern, rather than medieval, setting makes Jack a young man who might be the teenager down the street. Very modern Jack has to cope with the 19th C. non-technological, yet highly magical world of Eden.
Clayton Bye's writing is smooth and exciting. He keeps the reader on their toes, or at least propped up in bed reading into the wee hours.
I'd definitely recommend this book for all fantasy fans.
Posted by Alternative-Read.com reviewer: Lucille
Title: The Sorcerer's Key Author: CC Bye Genre: Fantasy Publication date: 2005 ISBN: 0-9698428-5-6 Length: 272 pages Format: Paperback / eBook Reviewer: Lucille P Robinson http://www.lucilleperkinsrobinson.com Alternative-Read.com
Jack Lightfoot, son of an Edenite sorcerer who'd came to Earth when Jack was a baby, was reared in a training environment where he learned self-defense in martial arts along with a few simple magic spells.
The story opens with the arrival of a bounty hunter. Jack faces this bounty hunter from Eden almost immediately. Jack's father's old partner and friend had sent the hunter to capture Jack. Seems Jack's father, John, had created a surefire way to travel between Eden and Earth. Jack held the key, but the hunter didn't know it. A few well-placed hits put the hunter out and Jack fled.
When the hunter decided to go after the father, he didn't survive, but his arrival sent Jack's parents on the run once more. Jack, however, had reached the conclusion he needed to get on the offensive and go find Morgan, the man responsible for Jack's parents running into hiding. Needless to say, Jack used the key and went to Eden. His magic powers were small and on his first visit to the more powerful Morgan showed Jack he needed more than the powers he had, more than the martial arts training he'd received all those years.
Through near-death experiences with Morgan, Jack's powers grew stronger. Then Katy came along making Jack's purpose for getting rid of Morgan stronger as well. But Morgan was reportedly the strongest man alive in the magic department and he also had control of another man who was strong enough to call forth the dead and near-dead, the evil spirits and monsters, and other unmentionables, as well as watch anyone he desired to watch through a water filled view. As a result, Jack is thrown into battles for life itself and not just his own. Read the book for exciting trips to worlds unknown and a powerful ending that'll set your nerve ends tingling. I finally found the book I had trouble putting down. Usually, the books I read are interesting but not so captivating that I have problems putting them down until I've reached about half way through the pages. The Sorcerer's Key really grabbed me from the first page and never turned me loose. I found my mind going over and over what I'd read that day as I lay waiting for sleep. The few spelling mistakes failed to make my reading pace stumble. The story is a series of well-chosen events that lead to a surprising end. No question is left unanswered. Truly, I recommend this book for anyone who loves fantasy and for even those who love mystery and crime. The crime is as old as the human race and the mystery seems to face the criminal rather than the hero.
Clayton Bye began his writing career in 1994 as a motivator. He's devised a plan to create an independent business and make it successful, and offers that plan in his book Bare Knuckle MBA. A review of this book is found on Alternative Read.com website. All his nonfiction books can be found on his website at http://www.claytonbye.com
Mr. Bye has wanted to write a novel for a long time and The Sorcerer's Key is the result of that desire. Like many authors, Mr. Bye does not earn a living from his writing. And even though he has been recently disabled, he manages his own business Chase Enterprises. He lives in Kenora, Ontario, is married and has three children. Read his Interview posted on the An Alternative Read.com
HERE'S WHAT REVIEWER SYLVIA COCHRAN OF ROUNDTABLE REVIEWS HAD TO SAY ABOUT THE SORCERER'S KEY:
THE SORCERER'S KEY is Clayton Bye's 272-page fiction debut novel that was published in January of 2005. While this novel of the Fantasy genre is Clayton Bye's first work of fiction, he is a seasoned speechwriter as well as a well-known author of motivational books, such as GETTING CLEAR, HOW TO GET WHAT YOU WANT FROM LIFE, THE IT CAN'T BE DONE, NO WAY, YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING, CRAZY OR UNBELIEVABLY STUPID TO TRY IT HANDBOOK FOR SUCCESS, and THE HUNDRED.
THE SORCERER'S KEY examines the reality of God against the backdrop of Eden (as the cradle of life) and Earth. Existing parallel to one another, yet with the majority of Earth's inhabitants blissfully unaware of the magical place that is Eden, the fragile border that separates both worlds is suddenly in danger by the workings of Morgan Heist, sorcerer and ruthless user of the "dark arts." Heist will stop at nothing to gain free access to both worlds, and seeks to conquer and rule both. In his path stands young Jack Lightfoot whose key allows him to travel between the worlds. Unfortunately, Jack is unaware of the powers that seek to control him, and he soon finds himself in mortal danger. Will Morgan succeed and literally take over the world? Will Jack stand in his way?
Clayton Bye's work of fiction creates a fascinating set of "what if" scenarios. What if God had tried to start over? What if the devil is still around and lending active support? What if magic and sorcery were God's gifts to mankind? What if they weren't?
THE SORCERER'S KEY is a fast-paced read that combines action, adventure, and even romance with the elements of spirituality, religion, and magic. Without taking the quick way out by route of an omnipotent deity and an equally formidable adversary, Clayton Bye avoids the easy answers to the age old question of good versus evil, and instead offers the reader a third version, what if God made mistakes? What if the devil is not as powerful as we would have him be?
An interesting read!
LEA SCHIZAS FROM ALLBOOKREVIEWS.COM WROTE:
Eden - haven to both good and evil?
Jack Lightfoot feels a need to end a lifelong battle with the most feared sorcerer devil in Eden, Morgan Heist; a battle his father has struggled in for over 20 years
Young and inexperienced for Morgan, Jack finds himself in a very compromising position when Morgan confronts him at one point. The overpowering spell to reveal how Jack is able to travel so freely from earth to Eden, with no side effects whatsoever, is a climatic scene. Jack, realizing he foolishly and prematurely stepped into this fight without truly understanding what he was facing, now needs to pull every trick in his possession to get out of this predicament,
Traveling back and forth from earth to Eden, Jack desperately searches for the answer he unknowlingly possesses, before his next and ultimate face-off with Morgan: how does he, indeed, possess this power to travel so freely? With the help of old friends on earth and new ones in Eden, Jack slowly begins to piece together this puzzle.
Alongside this battle enters Kate, a resident and eye-beholding beauty of Eden, who allies with Jack to help him capture and rev up his hidden magical powers.
Interesting and riveting characters amidst an intriguing plot sets this fantasy novel apart from ones I have read. Mr. Bye, using first person point of view, draws you into the Lightfoot family predicament, allowing the reader to step right along with Jack and help him solve the mystery of the "key."
Mr. Bye excels his writer's voice in this truly highly recommended read. At times, its appeal felt like an Agatha Christie mystery, intermixed with a bit of that Stephen King flair for bonding a reader with his characters.
AND MY THANKS TO SERENA POLHEBER WHO WROTE THE FOLLOWING FOR THE GOTTA WRITE NETWORK:
Jack Lightfoot has known that Earth is not the only place where man lives. Beyond The Sword lies a land of magic and sorcery, Eden. Both of Jack's parents traveled through the void to settle on Earth taking with them the secret of traversing the void. Being raised as a child of other-worldly people has not been easy. Jack spent weekends throughout his childhood training and preparing for the day that his father's ex-partner, Morgan Heist, would rip through the void in search of his father's secret. Now that day has come and Jack is forced to rely on unused skills and his wits. He traverses the void and is chased from one world to the next. During his race for his life he comes to learn a myriad of truths that have been only alluded to in the myths and religions of Earth.
Morgan Heist has finally found a way across the void to find his erstwhile partner, John Lightfoot. Now that he has begun the search it will not end until he is successful. He will rule this world without magic. With magic.
This book was an amalgamation of magic, religion, self discovery, and adventure. Jack was a complex character that grew from the beginning of the book to the end. The fabulous world that CC Bye created was rich in details and consistent throughout the book. I felt as if it were not only possible, but probable. Morgan Heist did his job as the antagonist remarkably well. He was everything evil and his minions added an extra edge. I was amazed by the depth of character and the well-thought out plotline. With a unique look at the mythology and ideology of our culture CC Bye took a fantastical reality and drew the reader in from page one. I give Sorcerer's Key a full 5 turns of the key. --Copyright Serena Polheber September 18, 2006
EVEN PETER FERGUS-MOORE OF THE THUNDER BAY CHRONICLE-JOURNAL MANAGED TO SAY A FEW NICE WORDS:
...Bye succeeds in painting a believable picture through the eyes of his 20-something protagonist Jack Lightfoot, whose parents are fugitives from a parallel, magic-centred world named Eden. Bye loosely borrows his universe of Eden and Earth from the Judeo-Christian world view, with a Creator-God and a devil who more or less compete for influence. I say "more or less" because Bye's God is a deist God, who set the whole thing in motion and then walked away in disgust. Before leaving, however, God set up a barrier between the two worlds. That the barrier is somewhat permeable, and that people can occasionally travel between the worlds, though at great personal cost, makes Bye's narrative possible.
...The real competition for control and influence is between an evil, all-powerful sorcerer in Eden, Morgan Heist, and the Lightfoot family, who Heist sees as hoarding the secret to safe travel between the worlds. Heist desperately wants to extend his empire to the non-magical Earth, and so embarks on a deadly single-minded hunt for the Lightfoots, and Jack is caught squarely in the middle of it all.
...Bye's characters are largely believable, and the writer stays firmly within the parameters he has set up for his worlds. Much of the book is seen through Jack Lightfoot's eyes and rendered in Jack Lightfoot's language. Not surprisingly, Jack's story is not only a narrative of a struggle between good and evil, but a chronicle of Jack's growth as a person.
HERE'S WHAT PAYING CUSTOMERS ARE SAYING:
The Sorcerer's Key is a great, fast paced read. The narrative of the scenes was excellent. I could easily picture Jack running through the Safeway parking lot in Kenora, even though I haven't lived there for over 4 years. I could almost as easily picture in my mind the author's vision of Eden. Well done!
Gene, Mount Gambier, South Australia
Excellent! It should be made into a movie.
Lyle, Kenora, Ontario
I couldn't put it down.
Stephanie, Alexandria, Ontario
You've got a winner!
Andreas, Thunder Bay, Ontario
Better than J.K Rowling.
Judy, Kenora, Ontario
Enjoyed immensely. Read in a night. Very good read.
Hali, Kenora, Ontario
I am an avid reader of the genres of Fantasy, Science Fiction, and just plain “weird tales” ala H.P. Lovecraft, JRR Tolkien, Raymond Fiest, Tad Williams, Terry Goodkind, Terry Brooks, Charles DeLint etc. Clayton Bye’s new fantasy novel, “The Sorcerer’s Key” would not be out of place amongst these authors. The storyline of Eden and its parallel existence to our earth is storytelling at its finest, and I very much look forward to the continued interactions between the two worlds, especially the meshing of what is “traditionally” known about the biblical Eden and the realm of fantasy created by Mr. Bye. I recommend this book to any person with a taste for the fantasy genre.
This is a group of stories about man's inhumanity to man. The book is thoughtful yet entertaining. It is unlike other detective stories yet it captureThis is a group of stories about man's inhumanity to man. The book is thoughtful yet entertaining. It is unlike other detective stories yet it captures our attention. The title is a clear nod to Poe. And the writing is superb.
If you want something different to read tonight...something unlike anything you've read before...writing the way it should be, then pick up a copy. You won't be disappointed.
Author’s Note: “In addition to being a ghost story, TThe Hidden Valley: The Whole Story Leigh M. Lane Cerebral Books, 2012 http://www.cerebralwriter.com
Author’s Note: “In addition to being a ghost story, The Hidden Valley is an experiment in structure. The reader will find that nearly every chapter is, in itself, a work of flash fiction. Also, each main character’s story may be read individually, and for a different effect.”
Reviewer’s Note: Flash fiction is a style of fictional literature of extreme brevity. There’s no widely accepted definition of the length of such stories, but they tend to vary from about a 300 hundred word minimum to a maximum of a 1,000 words.
The Players… Grant: The father who rips the family apart to move from Las Vegas to the valley-hidden town of South Bend. He blames his wife, but Grant has a secret that could destroy them all.
John: A teenager who insists on running with the wrong crowd and doing wrong things—in Las Vegas and, now, in South Bend. His wrong choices are just too easy to blame on his screwed up family.
Jane: In apparent response to a teenage pregnancy and abortion, this former cheerleader and popular high school student is now anorexic and agoraphobic. But does anyone know the whole story?
Carrie: A confessed adulteress, she blames herself for fracturing the family. Grant says they can start over again in South Bend, but his behaviour says differently.
South Bend: There’s something very wrong with this town. In fact, things are so wrong that should one of these four put it all together, escape will still be virtually impossible.
Maxwell Smart: Otherwise known as “Smart Kitty.” This is Jane’s cat, and he’s able to see what the humans cannot. Will he somehow find a solution, a way to save them from the hell in which they are about to descend?
The Hidden Valley: The Whole Story is an ambitious novel. First it attempts to tell the story from 5 different viewpoints. One of these characters is a cat (shades of Robert A. Heinlein?). Second, most chapters are supposed to be flash fiction—very short, fast reading, stand alone stories that, in this case make up the body of the larger story at hand. And, finally, the novel is heavily influenced by Stephen King. Considering that Lane’s last book was a tribute to Poe, one wonders if this novel is meant to serve a similar purpose, that it’s intended to give an obvious nod to King. A lot for a reader to take in, isn’t it?
But there’s nothing wrong with that. Each reader will take away what they want and are capable of discerning, based on their knowledge of flash fiction and Stephen King. Having had some experience with this kind of novel (I’ve written one book that was almost completely flash fiction, although most people refer to each chapter as a scene, and another book where there were two stories, one beneath the other, with many people never getting past the first story.)
So where do we begin our analysis?
The different viewpoints: I found the different viewpoints were almost necessary to this novel. The family is one which holds many secrets, and riding along with the different characters is the only way some of them are revealed and explained. I will say including a cat in the mix threw me off for awhile, but as the study was done so well, Smart Kitty and I were soon good friends. No, there’s only one issue I had with the multiple points of view. I found that Grant’s story was somewhat chaotic or patchy. Leigh M. lane could have used Grant to create a much darker flavour of novel, but her choice of extremely short chapters or scenes made that kind of development almost impossible.
Using Flash Fiction to create the form and pace of the novel: I’m all for flash fiction. The form has been around for a lot longer than its name. Vignettes and short, short stories and novels written in short punchy scenes (James Patterson, in his early days) have been used experimentally for decades. In fact, I must confess that until recently I had no idea what flash fiction was. So, when I came across the definition, the light bulb in my head came on, and I said “You’ve used this style before.” My poetry, novels and even short stories have quite regularly used the ultra short style that is flash fiction. But I have, on occasion, mostly in my last novel, run into problems with the form. Lane has done the same.
If you're going to use experimental forms in literature, it pays to know the basic rules so well that either you never forget to apply them, or you break those same rules consciously and obviously. While I enjoyed Lane’s story and found that, for the most part, it flowed well and was filled to the brim with interesting characters, her flash fiction was incomplete. Any story, no matter how short, demands a conclusion. And in modern literature that conclusion must also demonstrate how the character has been changed or enlightened by his/her experience in said story. Lane’s chapters did not always do this, and when they did I often found them unsatisfactory as a sub-story within the larger story.
Enter Stephen King: whether consciously or unconsciously, I think that Lane did indeed pay homage to King. Yet… her story was different enough, no one could ever say it was anything but influenced by the famous writer. For example, while Stephen fills his books with terrible human and nonhuman monsters, those monsters are never placed in the role or roles of protagonist. His heroes may be quirky or incomplete, but I don’t think they’ve actually been dark to begin with (some have become evil, but only through a complicated progression). Lane’s “family” is so damaged as to be morally corrupt and uncaring. It’s only against the backdrop of a far greater evil that we can forgive these things and begin to hope for these people.
So where does King’s influence show itself. The cat, right from the beginning, reminded me of PET CEMATARY. The quirky characters—while most definitely original—are a page right out of the imaginary “King’s Guide to Writing.” The Rock Lady is a perfect example of a character that cries out King’s place in Leigh M. Lane’s life. Other obvious nod’s are THE MIST that envelopes the valley, a fog we know will contain a monster or monsters but that will also mark the boundaries of its power. In the possession scenes, we eventually get to see the monster as a predator rather than a completely evil being, reminding me of THE DARK HALF and SECRET WINDOW, SECRET GARDEN. Stephen King has also dealt with the idea of possession in many different ways: THE SHINING and DREAMCATCHER being the first of many to come to mind. The Hidden Valley also nods to King’s revisiting the theme of possession in that there are not only multiple possessions (The truck driver, Carrie, Jane and, to lesser extents, both John and Grant), there are layers of possession within South Bend itself. And finally, do you think that the primary character in the story is named CARRIE by accident?
But this is what makes Lane such an effective writer: most of the references to King aren’t just giveaways—you have to look for them. In fact, I wouldn’t have put all these things together as readily if Lane hadn’t slipped and told me the book was influenced by King. Well… I probably would have caught the CARRIE reference.
What I think: The Hidden Valley: The Whole Story, as an original novel that’s a combination of ghost story and horror, is a solid 4 stars. If the family had been a little less dysfunctional and the efforts of the monster a little more insidious, Lane would have a 5 star novel on her hands. But, as flash fiction stories gathered up and formed into a novel? The author was less successful here. Her endings definitely needed some work. From this perspective only, you might expect the novel would come in at 3 stars. Not. The missing endings don’t matter in a novel; we expect to have to turn the pages to find an answer or conclusion to a story thread. It may be that to make the book work Lane had to change the endings to her flash fiction, but as readers you and I won’t know unless we go back and read the actual flash fiction series that’s included with the book. I just don’t have the time.
So, to Summarize: Experimental form. Only two words out of place. Flawless sentence structure (flow). Imaginative “bad things.” And the hard work of paying homage to The Master of Horror. The Hidden Valley: The Whole Story is the real deal, giving a 4 star performance and offering readers something truly new to read. This is quite an accomplishment.
Reviews: - Micki Peluso, January 13, 2013 - James Secor, July 17, 2012, 5 stars - Lucille Perkins, July 28, 2012, 4 stars
Review by Micki Peluso January 1Reviews: - Micki Peluso, January 13, 2013 - James Secor, July 17, 2012, 5 stars - Lucille Perkins, July 28, 2012, 4 stars
Review by Micki Peluso January 13, 2013
TECHNOMAGE FROM EARTH TO EDEN II By Clayton Clifford Bye Chase Enterprises June 1, 2012
Richard awakens knowing he died on another hideous world, and finds himself facing a despicable creature who fully intends for the "magicker" to get up. And so he might if he could feel or move any part of his body other than his eyes and a mouth that rasps like a voice synthesizer. His liege, the Old One, tells Richard he's been resurrected in keeping with the Old One’s word — and Eden will soon be his and perhaps much more.
Sometime later Jack Lightfoot enjoys a cup of morning coffee after weeks of capturing ghoulish creatures which the seer, Richard had let loose in his town." Edenites consider them hell-spawn, from the time of Lucifer and man's final fall from grace." But Jack's work is far from over. He's about to face a new enemy. One that uses magic but is robotic like the "Terminator" and just as difficult to destroy. And so begins the extraordinary tale spun by author Clayton Clifford Bye, wild with horror and bloodshed, and fast-paced action, which rivets the reader to his pages. He portrays a terrible fight between Heaven and Hell, leaving readers holding their breaths in fear that in this final battle Satan will surely win. This well-written novella ponders the age-old question—can good and evil ever become friends?
TECHNOMAGE is the sequel to author Bye’s amazing dark fantasy, FROM EARTH TO EDEN.
Micki Peluso: writer, journalist, and author of . . . And the Whippoorwill Sang.
Review by James Secor July 17, 2012 5 Stars
Clayton Bye. Technomage. After years in a desert, like an oasis rising up out of the sands, the pulp fiction of Technomage appears. Pulp fiction. Dime novels. Penny Dreadfuls. Open the front cover and you've mounted a stallion that knows nothing but running through to the back cover. Pulp fiction. The adventure stories of Edgar Rice Burroughs, both Tarzan and John Carter on Mars. The detective stories of Dashiell Hammett. Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. Stories that you can't put down and must read--and then want to read more, like people reading serialized stories in newspapers anxious to get the next edition to see what happens. Pulp fiction is not long-winded or intricate; pulp fiction is straightforward, holding its own against the incessant need to detail 'til there is nothing left for the imagination and the narrative arguments that are bilious in the modern thriller of 400 pages. Technomage is 98 pages. There is no moment of pause.
Technomage flies along as the protagonists attempt to stop the total destruction of the world by The Old One, also known as Lucifer or the human Satan. The Old One cannot gain his ends without agents and, so, turns to technology. The evil Richard X, now a great roboticized being after resurrection by Satan, takes the lead with devilish powers only to run up against Jack Lightfoot who manages to combine magick--as it is spelled on Eden--with technology, developed by the child genius Victoria Ralston to defeat Richard's offensive.
The secret knowledge to defeat is found through old Indian practices but no one can figure out just what it is until Jack miraculously appears out of thin air and gives them the answer: the Godhead, The One God, is inside you. This is the essence of all religious teachings. It is the power of life from the very beginnings of recorded history. It is paramount in the story, in the defeat of The Old One and his evil. Without this power, our heroes--people--would not survive, despite their magick.
Jack sends himself up to the angels asking for help. But the angels are conservative and rather skeptical. So, Jack jumps inside one of the angels and takes her down to Eden to see the Hell that is raging. The angel is set free to report to the Angel Council and the Angel Michael is sought for.
With Jack holding The Power Within and Michael and the other Angels at his side, Satan is defeated in off-hand manner, for there is no possible way for him to withstand such power. And the door is left open for more in this legend.
Technomage is a legend. It is not a religious creed despite the religious references. As with the parable spinners and seers of old--where have they gone?--the story can only be told in the language and metaphor of the listener, in this case the reader. This speaking in the language of the addressed people is considered the height of wise teaching. And it is well worth reading. It is that instant gratification from childhood that we have lost. Don't let mommy and daddy tell you you must wait for 300 pages before you can gain enjoyment. Do it now!--with Technomage.
Review by Lucille Perkins July 28, 2012 4 stars
TECHNOMAGE is the sequel to Jack Lightfoot’s first story: From Earth to Eden. While Jack and Katy enjoy a rare moment of privacy in their own home, a metal monster comes to visit. Jack grabs Katy and ‘jumps’ to his parents’ house. Alas, Satan, The Old One kills Jack’s family and wife and takes Jack captive. From then on, it is war. War on Earth; war on Eden. The battles rage strong and ever stronger, until it looks as though all life will be destroyed. Jack Lightfoot is faced with finding an answer despite the fact that he, as the blurb says, “is forced to give up all that is human…in an effort…to stop the destruction” The Devil is bringing upon Earth and Eden.
My opinion—If I describe any of the events, the story would be told. Suffice it to say, that, as in all great stories, the battles start large and grow ever larger, more menacing, more tension filled. TECHNOMAGE is a fitting sequel to Book I, but the last battle is too brief. A stab, a slash, a lunge of the sword to the chest—and it’s over. I would have liked to see the last battle be a bit more difficult to fight.
Great concept. The story pace was fast, almost too fast. I would have liked to see a longer story with more character development and suspense. In the end, though, everything seemed to work, making this compact thriller a story many are sure to enjoy.
Criticisms: the editing was just not up to par, a problem many self-published books fail to avoid. Past and present tenses were mixed together or improperly used. A much smaller issue was misspelling, usually due to dropped letters. As I don't know who the editor and proof readers were, I suspect the writers themselves. And I understand how difficult the job of self-editing is; I've been there. Especially when it's your debut novel.
So how do I sum up "Cruelty to Innocents?" The loss of a child, anyone's child, makes me physically ill. Webb and Weaver wrote down to this fear, then showed it to us. That's great writing. And because of the short length of the novel, the sense of panic and hurt and anger never really dissipated. I understand that this is both a mimicking of real life terror and a plot tool to keep this story raging along. These are all good things, and "Cruelty to Innocents" nailed them!
Then why only 3.5 stars? Very simply, the length. This could easily have been a much better book. If it had been longer, a greater suspect pool could have been written in (allowing for mystery as well as suspense, to give one example). Using the same "If," the main characters could have been developed through actions rather than thoughts and emotions, that oft-broken rule of "showing rather than telling." Basically, we're just beginning to know Sloanne and Shawn at the end of the novel. Perhaps this was intended, as the authors have at least two more books planned for this series.
Fast, attention-catching and filled with examples of strong writing, "Cruelty to Innocents" is also fundamentally flawed. But then Steven King was once referred to as "that hack!" and Asimov was derided for the simplicity of his stories and Robert Heinlein was chastised for writing fiction with all too apparent meaning. I have no problem recommending "Cruelty to Innocents." I also intend to read the next two books in the series; I suspect they will be better!
Review 1: Writers on the Wrong Side of the Road... 4.5 Stars
"This anthology contains some of the creepiest and unusual stories I’ve read in a long timReview 1: Writers on the Wrong Side of the Road... 4.5 Stars
"This anthology contains some of the creepiest and unusual stories I’ve read in a long time. While a few of the selections seemed out of place either by caliber or by genre, the best works in this anthology truly set the bar for greatness in speculative fiction. As a whole, I rate Writers on the Wrong Side of the Road at four stars and recommend it as a great addition to any speculative fiction library."
Review 3: Writers on the Wrong Side of the Road... Very Good (5 Stars?)
"The editing by Sassy Brit and C.C. Bye is excellent, and the entire presentation is beautifully professional. If you like the short-story genre and want something unique and innovative, you might consider this read. My personal favorite was Malpas, a novella, by Marion Webb-De Sisto, an erotica beauty and beast."
That was precisely the point of Writers on the Wrong Side of the Road; to take the reader off guard, similar to what the writers themselves must have felt as they explored new avenues and stretched their craft. Some pieces may have been formulaic, while others were seamless, but all represented the essence of skillful storytelling and every participating author should be justly proud of their willingness to get behind those unfamiliar wheels and step on the gas. I had been run down, backed over, run down and backed over again and again, mangled and rearranged and left gently on the curb, whole and wholly entertained.
Steve Beai is a professional author and musician whose short-story, novel and non-fiction work has appeared in numerous publications and has been recognized by both HWA and MWA. He is currently in the studio with the Rory Lewis Band, laying down the drums for their upcoming third CD, Belize.
Review 5: ..."Overall this was a really enjoyable read which I’d rate an easy four stars, with eight of the seventeen stories presented scoring four stars or up. Where there were problems, it seemed always to be with endings, endings too abrupt in otherwise well-written tales."