Full Disclosure: I wrote this book. That out of the way, writing this book really was an eye opening adventure for me. Not only has it been a diversion...moreFull Disclosure: I wrote this book. That out of the way, writing this book really was an eye opening adventure for me. Not only has it been a diversion from pulp fiction and middle grade, but getting to know Cosmo Zimik has been an honor.
I've always prided myself on being "global" and staying informed on happenings beyond the glimmering shores of the USA. But I had no idea of the 50+ year war in Northeast India. Tibet? Sure. The true experiences recorded in these pages flooded onto my computer screen as easily as any crazy pulp story. But I couldn't have made this stuff up.
The fact that this stuff actually happened has impacted me much more than the nutty, over-the-top stuff I normally conjure up out of the aether. I truly believe this book can entertain with the best of them, while also impacting people.
I won't attempt to predict the future, but I'm sort of hoping the Empty Hand Revolution comes to mean something for a broad audience. Enjoy the show.(less)
Again, I've gone and rated a book I've authored with five stars. Of all the nerve. Hey, it is just that good.
Now for a few things I should explain up...moreAgain, I've gone and rated a book I've authored with five stars. Of all the nerve. Hey, it is just that good.
Now for a few things I should explain up front. If you are new to my novels AND you don't tend to read very much, you should probably keep on moving. I don't write stand alone novels. I don't even write stand alone series. If you like things such as roller coasters, being discombobulated, saying the word 'discombobulated,' and experiencing your heart in your throat, then I'm your guy.
First Relic is book one in my new series, Relic Hunters. This series runs parallel to the DMB Files. It also has ties to a yet to be released serial, The Green Ones. Relic Hunters will explore the DMB universe from yet another angle. You can choose to read them on their own, or you can choose to read them in concert with the rest of the DMB universe.
Oh, I'm a fan of Joss Whedon. Kudos to you if you can find all 38 references to his work in this novel. THE BROWNCOATS WILL RISE AGAIN!!!(less)
Dripping with science and sex, Sequela is a thought provoking excursion into an extremely sexualized future built from the foundation of raunchy possi...moreDripping with science and sex, Sequela is a thought provoking excursion into an extremely sexualized future built from the foundation of raunchy possibilities already present in our society.
Life has evolved within the urban core of London, protected from the countryside by a wall, into a matter of sexual posturing. The key means of upward mobility is "wearing" the latest and most desirable sexually transmitted disease. Yep. Human engineered viruses with visible side effects. The more visible the side effects the better.
Such a reversal on the common attitude toward viruses has been made possible through a series of scientific discoveries (built in bio-screens, etc.) along with a healthy dose of hedonism and a sturdy superiority complex the people of the city have over those in the country who can't afford the good life. Overall, I found the premise to be quite believable and internally consistent.
This futuristic setting (and the commentary embedded in it) is the genius of Sequela. Every aspect of the debauched society comes across in wonderfully disgusting detail: The Real Church--determined to strong-arm its way back inside the city; The working girl tasked with the extra job of contracting the newest and most desirable diseases in order to boost business for her madam; The marginalized scientific community stewing in their own juices as private industry steals away talent in order to create designer viruses for the sex-crazed.
The society is detailed and vivid. The characters are multi-dimensional, flawed and memorable. These are the things I loved about the book.
My problem with Sequela stems from these same characters. By the end, I simply wanted all of them to lose. Selfish, misdirected, egocentric, self-righteous, vindictive--they are a nasty lot. I actually started enjoying the book much more toward the latter half when everything goes awry. This can be a great accomplishment on the writer's part IF, (and here is the catch) if there is a cost or lesson or moral for all these nasty characters (or if the reader hates them so much the reader can really cheer on their destruction).
But none of that happened for me. Instead I was stuck with mixed emotions. I didn't want the characters to succeed. At the same time, I didn't want their total destruction. I wanted them to learn and change for the better. This gets into choppy waters (my definition of "better" may not be yours).
Let me be clear, this is more of a personal taste issue than one reflecting on Cleland's skills as an novelist. The one thing I felt Cleland failed to do well was establish the motives of the main character, Kester. I never could be sure really why he was doing what he was doing. Often he simply ended up being passively swept along. This certainly contributed to my annoyance with him. Other than that, I simply didn't like the moral conclusion of the story.
And while the ending of Sequela is brilliant in its own nihilistic or cyclical sort of way, it certainly fails to hit the uplifting or redeeming note I had personally hoped for. All said and done, Sequela is written cunningly enough to make the reader care how the story ends. It pokes and prods one throughout. For that, I give Cleland full kudos. Alas, as many of us readers know, it's these cunning books that can be most disappointing when they deviate from our aspirations for them.(less)
First off, I'm the author. If you're familiar with my work, this may seem a divergence from things like Paraplegic Zombie Slayer and Reefer Ranger. I...moreFirst off, I'm the author. If you're familiar with my work, this may seem a divergence from things like Paraplegic Zombie Slayer and Reefer Ranger. I suppose it is. Stated most simply, I'm a Christian who writes, but not a Christian writer. Not wanting to limit my material or my readers to people of my personal faith, I intentionally waited a season before venturing back into writing spiritual/Christian content.
Having said that, I love this simple little story. I love that Jesus the Christ sought out the least, last, lost and loser while he walked the earth. Each INCARNATIONAL SHORTS will highlight a different one of these losers. My own experiences demanded that I start here, with the woman at the well.
I hope you read the story, enjoy it and discuss it with a friend.(less)
If you have gotten to book two, hopefully you realize Jim Buckner and I are one in the same. (But only within the universe we call "reality.")
Is it a...moreIf you have gotten to book two, hopefully you realize Jim Buckner and I are one in the same. (But only within the universe we call "reality.")
Is it a bit cheeky to rate your own book with five stars? Maybe. But would it be better if I rated it less? Hey, I wouldn't be a writer if I didn't believe in my supreme talent.
Desert Gods is the tense, and at times humorous, follow up to De Novo Syndrome. In it, Buckner and his daughter, Evie, are challenged to truly function as a team. Desert Gods also drops a pretty big bomb near the end--one that will continue to expand the DMB Universe to crazy places. Of course, I won't say more on that.
I will say I agree with most of the reviews on De Novo Syndrome and think they will apply to Desert Gods as well. Both of these books are detailed. The plot is not a simple thing spoon fed to the reader. At the same time, I do not try to make them opaque or unnecessarily difficult. I simply enjoy a form of entertainment that requires my full engagement throughout rather than one in which I know the ending after the first few chapters.
Finally, I highly recommending reading De Novo Syndrome first. This novel is a continuation.
This is a surprising collection of shorts from an emerging author. The themes of dark and light, mysticism, and faith in the unseen, roll across its p...moreThis is a surprising collection of shorts from an emerging author. The themes of dark and light, mysticism, and faith in the unseen, roll across its pages like waves. Always toying with the edges of perception and poking at things that go bump in the dark, these shorts blur realism with fantasy and science fiction in ways I found amusing, inspiring and frightening in turn. Wilson's ability to craft provocative and endearing characters in so few pages is brilliant. While his craft certainly has not reached its apex yet, these stories easily demonstrate as much talent as they do potential. I found each story thoroughly enjoyable.(less)
Seeing how the author listed on the cover of this book is the main POV character, and the book is based in the near future, it shouldn't take too long...moreSeeing how the author listed on the cover of this book is the main POV character, and the book is based in the near future, it shouldn't take too long for readers to figure out Jim Buckner is a pen name. As it turns out, my pen name. Having come clean with that...
De Novo Syndrome begins a new series of stories within the same universe as the Lost DMB Files, but taking place 100 years later. A thriller for those who expect the unexpected, De Novo can be read looking forwards, backwards or both. When taken together with the Lost Files, these near future thrillers begin to unravel a universe broader than any of the characters have been able to guess.
This was the most influential book of my childhood in getting me to read at all. I swear I thought the librarian had screwed up, and that this book wa...moreThis was the most influential book of my childhood in getting me to read at all. I swear I thought the librarian had screwed up, and that this book was available only because no adult had bothered to read it. It was just that awesome to an 8 year old boy.
I mean, flying via fart power? It simply doesn't get any better. Roald Dahl was a gift to childrens' books. Few like him exist anymore--writers who don't dumb things down or rob children of wonder and mischief.
I’ve also reviewed the first book in this series and highly recommend reading it before the second. Rather than being separate entities, they are part...moreI’ve also reviewed the first book in this series and highly recommend reading it before the second. Rather than being separate entities, they are parts of the same whole. That being said, The City of Destruction is as toothsome as it is brainsome. It is a mind-altering twisty tale not without a devastatingly-human element. Two opposing forces, intelligent races, duel across time and space to win a war that dictates whether they ever even existed. History will remember only the winner, but does that make them righteous? or merely victorious? In a story where some sacrifices last forever and others never happened (or sometimes both at once) the main players develop complex motives and even more complex complexes in a manner that kept me thinking about the repercussions of human relationship. I love time travel when it’s done right. The City of Destruction was just that, sporting a host of character-testing contradictions that beg readers to inspect their deepest selves. If right and wrong were irrelevant would I abandon my humanity to do what had to be done to save it? Read it! Review it! Share it!(less)
I've gone and read another young adult book! It just keeps happening against my will. But The Dryad's Kiss has a hint of that Stand By Me/Super 8 retr...moreI've gone and read another young adult book! It just keeps happening against my will. But The Dryad's Kiss has a hint of that Stand By Me/Super 8 retro feel that drew me in (despite an opening dream sequence!). In truth the first couple of chapters left me wanting to skim read.
But when Finn embarked on a morally questionable unearthing of a haunted burial mound with his father and uncle, the text found its voice and came alive. Finn's voice-cracking, wobbly-kneed youth becomes endearing as he wrestles with everything from common sexual attraction to mystical revelation.
Overall I think Vankirk and his protagonist the Mighty Finn recover from a few missed cues early in the routine in order to stick the landing. Read it! Review it! Share it!(less)
This is a steampunk serial adventure by D.L. Mackenzie. Part of a planned 5 novelette serial, this second installment picks up with the solving of the...moreThis is a steampunk serial adventure by D.L. Mackenzie. Part of a planned 5 novelette serial, this second installment picks up with the solving of the mysterious death of Dr. Hogalum by Phineas Magnetron and the rest of the Hogalum Society (Think League of Extraordinary Gentlemen with the emphasis on gentlemen).
Truly anachronistic, witty and fun these stories embrace a vocabulary-stretching voice that reflects the Victorian era while sneaking in a bit of the post-modern sense of humor. With a Sherlock Holmes sort of intellect Magnetron endeavors to unwrap the mystery of his deceased mentor all the while coming up against Compost, his arch-enemy.
The supporting cast of gentleman are noteworthy as well. Despite the number of characters, Mackenzie manages to keep them set apart with unique names and backgrounds. There is not a tremendous amount of character development to slow down the story, but each of the gentlemen stands in a position to be called upon to carry a storyline when needed. (A nifty feat for a serial).
While there is a smaller story arc that comes to resolution within this serial, it feels like a minor note in the overall arc. This frustrated me somewhat, but I suppose that is the point of a serial. (Think TV mini-series in print.) At around 100 pages I recommend you Read it! Review it! Share it!(less)