This would be a good guide for a true beginner in the craft, however, that's not me (though I'm far from finished learning) so there were only a few lThis would be a good guide for a true beginner in the craft, however, that's not me (though I'm far from finished learning) so there were only a few little gems here and there which I can incorporate into my current methods. Worth it for newbies though....more
Covert military experiments never end well, do they? This short story contains espionage, military experiments, a lesbian love triangle, and a LovecraCovert military experiments never end well, do they? This short story contains espionage, military experiments, a lesbian love triangle, and a Lovecraftian monster. Short, but plenty to slake your appetite.
**This story is a re-release from the Darkest Depths anthology where it shares pages with one of my own short stories....more
A monster lives in the dam behind Simon's house, but there's also a monster living in the house next door, beating his best friend Beka. When Simon stA monster lives in the dam behind Simon's house, but there's also a monster living in the house next door, beating his best friend Beka. When Simon starts standing up to Beka's step-dad which of the monsters will get him first?
This story is a re-release from the Darkest Depths anthology where it shares pages with one of my short stories.
The Bandershin is a surprisingly touching and clever story which will leave you with all the right questions at the end...more
Half a Million words. Holy crap! But what's amazing is the (wittily delivered) advice inside to help you try to achieve the same results is surprisingHalf a Million words. Holy crap! But what's amazing is the (wittily delivered) advice inside to help you try to achieve the same results is surprisingly actionable.
A lot of the advice is time management related, but it's clearly laid out and detailed so you can walk through it yourself. Kalago comes up with some very creative ideas for motivation and planning which are well worth checking out.
Kalago looks at productivity from many sides, taking into account things like full time jobs, parental responsibilities and chronic illnesses and how writing time can be found around all of that. Be warned you are going to have to face some things you might not have thought you'd have to.
I'm so glad to hear someone recommend consuming audiobooks: preach! For several years now the bulk of my reading has been via audiobook as it's the only way to read as much as I want to while doing the hojillion things on my to do list. (I also say 'preach' to the to do list ;p )
I was also really intrigued by the science behind our avoidance of things too, like thinking and decision making eats calories so our brain tries to avoid it, I never knew that ;p
All up, funny, a bit irreverant, but smart and spot on. Worth reading if you want to achieve more productivity on anything, not just writing....more
A comedic and certifiably crazy collection of short stories about mad scientists. I enjoyed how in the majority of stories the mad scientist was victoA comedic and certifiably crazy collection of short stories about mad scientists. I enjoyed how in the majority of stories the mad scientist was victorious if not 'for ever after' then at least 'for now'.
The stories take a vast number of different viewpoints, from psychological science, gorilla overlords, assistants, as well as the typical scientists themselves. It was a great collection filled with laughs and insights.
What threw me was in the middle was a story that didn't fit with the rest of the collection. Now the story itself(The Space In Between) was good but it was at *least* four times longer than any of the others, had only the most tenuous connection to 'mad science' (and that's being gracious), and possessed very little comedy when compared to the majority of the other tales which were littered with it. Again, this story was good in it's own right, and would surely be a pleasure to any fans of Gabaldon's Outlander series I just felt it didn't fit with the rest of the anthology. At all.
Nearly all the females (with a few exceptions such as Bridezilla and the token 'beauty' to lure that story's protagonist into trying a suspicious therapy (of sorts)) were clever, dynamic, and not just cardboard cut outs or set pieces. Several were outright diabolical - in the best way possible!
This was a solid collection of very well told tales which I doubt you'll be disappointed with....more
Ginger is a medium working for a secret section of the British Military during the first World War. She and those like her use their powers to gatherGinger is a medium working for a secret section of the British Military during the first World War. She and those like her use their powers to gather intelligence reports from recently deceased soldiers to better inform the frontlines. Through a seemingly unimportant death Ginger discovers there is a traitor amongst the British soldiers who is trying to find the mediums and reveal their secrets to the Germans.
Spies, death, mediums, romance; what more do you want? To top it off though this book puts the feels on you too.
The characters are the real highlight in this book. even 'bit parts' are given a depth of attention they rarely receive. People you thought 'well i hope that jerk dies' about, when they die reveal a side to them that makes you feel REAL guilty you thought that about them. You find yourself really intrigued and caring for each and every person, and though you KNOW it's war every time you lose one of the characters it's a killer blow. I swear I cried more in this book than any other in the last year.
The pacing is good and smooth with a solid velocity (how else does a work from home mum get through a book in a meagre two days ;p ).
The concept is definitely very cool too, and I was also impressed with the handling of disabled veterans and people of colour. I really appreciated how wealthy white American Ginger was able to appreciate that though she is now good friends with a Jamacan medium, a year ago she would have been just as appalled as any other member of the aristocracy at her friends presence at their dances, yet use that more as a way to keep herself moving forward in pressing for recognition for her friend.
The progression of ghost-hood and how it was depicted throughout was probably one of my favourite things too. By the time it was time for *someone* to go, you wanted them to move on because it was clearly time (apologies for vagueness, not wanting to spoiler anything).
The only thing that pulled me out of the story was her last name. This is an utterly trivial thing, but her last name is the name of a cheap brand of cigarettes over here in Australia, and though I never smoked, back when I went out a lot (ahh, my wild youth ;p ) I would often accompany a friend to the servo to buy some late night Stuvveys. I couldn't help but think of that whenever someone called her by her last name. Lucky she was Ginger most of the time.
Overall it was a surprisingly smashing read. I recommend to any fan of mediums/paranormal fiction and historical fiction lovers, as well as romance fans who want a bit of action with their feels....more
Set in an alternate version of New York City where strange massive 'bograt' fruit can bring hazardous sindle rats(mutated rodents) to the streets KeySet in an alternate version of New York City where strange massive 'bograt' fruit can bring hazardous sindle rats(mutated rodents) to the streets Key is a cop in the IDI, the department meant to handle the various pestilence. Looking at this giant fruit this morning though sindle rats aren't the worst case scenario. Wasps are.
This was an exciting and action packed short story with some strong horror elements. I was particularly impressed with the mixture of creativity with real facts about insects. The wasp's powers are awesome.
The characters are fun and Key is quite witty. I always like my horror to have a good smattering of jokes in to ease the tension and this story nicely walks that line without ruining the tension with too many laughs.
A slight warning though, there is a fair amount of gore, both from animals and humans, so be warned....more
While I love the series very much, I always found this ending rather lacking. Nothing really happened, no final conflict, no dramatic deepening of theWhile I love the series very much, I always found this ending rather lacking. Nothing really happened, no final conflict, no dramatic deepening of the relationship... just another episode really. It felt flat and unfinished. I really love the little subplot with the fundanshi and his roomate, but am baffled by how much page space it got for roughly four panels of integration with the main plot (which didn't even involve meeting in person). Overall I love the series, but the end... wasn't....more
I'm in two minds about this book. On one hand I did enjoy it, on the other hand there were several things that bugged me about it.
On the plus sides II'm in two minds about this book. On one hand I did enjoy it, on the other hand there were several things that bugged me about it.
On the plus sides I love the setting, both the realism of the early 80s (and the detail Murakami put into it), the locations in Japan and the immersion in the culture of that place and time (like NHK fee collectors). It was amazing. The added awesomeness is the fantastic elements which weave in at first so slowly and subtlely that you don't even realise you're in a spec-fic novel, then BAM two moons, sucka, this is magic realism! It was so well done.
The main characters are also beautifully created, both Aomame and Tengo have such depth to their backstories and personality and are strangely magnetic in their personalities. Many of the secondary characters (like Tamaru) are the sort of characters you fall in love with almost automatically.
The plot overall is wonderfully deep and intricate, and as you progress you discover more and more threads are actually linked to one another.
I also enjoyed how all sorts of literature were woven in, real fiction, plays, tv shows, movies, and historical figures were integrated into the story as well as made up ones such as 'The Cat Town' (at least I'm not aware of The Cat Town being real).
One thing that got on my nerves though was the repetition. Sure, I understand this was originally released as three books so you had to do a 'refresher course' here and there for those who might have had a long gap between reading the books. I'm used to that repetition, but thats just a quick recap sentence here and there, this was characters would rehash a HUGE chunk of the plot in one chapter, then in the next chapter the other character would rehash the exact same flipping thing, oh, and the events they were rehashing were only a couple of chapters old. All in that same damn book. I know in reality these characters would probably go through the entire thought process like that, but one of the joys of fiction is that I don't have to. You can summarise it in one maybe two lines. And it wasn't just now and again either. Aaaaaaaaall the way through you repeatedly are reminded of how Tengo ghost wrote Air Chrysallis. I am not exaggerating (I might even be underestimating) when I say it was mentioned at least twenty times. It was just so much unnecessary repetition. My eyes started to glaze over on multiple occasions.
Another problem was how too much was unanswered. I don't mind a few threads left loose, particularly in a story like this, but it felt like ENDING SPOILERS AHEAD (view spoiler)[ as soon as Tengo and Aomame were reunited Murakami decided to just get a sex scene in and go. They faced NO conflict getting to the stair case, getting up it and making it to the other world. They just got there, got down and you close the book... Sakigake got swept under the rug essentially. I thought they would have at least tried pursuit I even thought maybe - though much against his personal desires - Tamaru was letting them meet so he could finish them both off and be done with any danger to the dowager. But no. Once they met it was smooth sailing for the next few chapters to the end. I mean I wanted them to be happily ever aftering it up sure, but it felt cheap after so much struggle to get together to just waltz out of the world to safety...
And I really wanted to be given just a hint as to what the hell was the significance of Janacek's Sinphonietta, or the original taxi driver. I loved how were were left unsure as to which one the Fuka-Eri we met and knew was, and we were left to ponder that ourselves, but not such hint given to the other things.
But even the ending isn't just it. Maybe because of how well so many other things interconnected, I was expecting Ayumi's death and the random person stabbed by and NHK fee collector to be important. I kept thinking Tengo's dad would turn out to be the stabby NHK guy, but it came up a few times and then was forgotten. And Ayumi's death, well it seemed like she was killed for the plots sake... They both felt like unused Chekhov's guns.
Speaking of Chekhov's gun though, there was one great bit where the characters reference the principle of Chekhov's gun - literally in reference to a gun - and it was commented on a couple of other times, but then in the end, they make a light hearted joke about the fact the gun never did get fired, maybe in this 'modern' world old principles like that can be ignored. I thought that was magnificent and hilarious. But also I was then hoping afterwards that it would be fired after all, in self defence at the very person who gave it to her(and taught her the principle). But that awesome bit of drama only ever played in my head. (hide spoiler)]
Another one of the things I could have done without was how often Tengo was naked, in a bed with a sexy, younger, also naked girl, but 'wasn't aroused by her presence'. *eye roll* seriously? I didn't mind the sex through out the book, in fact one of the things I enjoyed was the fact that Aomame got her freak on plenty with no shame, even got a buddy for a while so they could pair up and literally go on the hunt for men together. at no point did it read that the author thought this unacceptable behaviour. In so many books the guy can go out and enjoy himself, but the intended romantic woman must be 'maidenly and virtuous'. It was good to lose that. But then, I assume so there was still some sexy shenanigans in the later books, there was a lot of Tengo, naked with other ladies but not into it. yeah, sure, if you're not into it buddy, why do you think of Kumi's 'wiry pubic hair' six or seven times after the fact?
And yet, I still really enjoyed the story overall. I just can't decide if this is a 3 or a 4 though, so chances are I will just go back and switch between 3 and 4 as often as it comes to mind....more
A very helpful book, particularly for people who are looking at how to reach their audience best. There's quite a bit about looking more deeply into wA very helpful book, particularly for people who are looking at how to reach their audience best. There's quite a bit about looking more deeply into what your audience wants, and what they expect. There's also quite a few interesting windows into how various writers approach outlining (the Indiana Jones brainstorming was pretty cool to 'hear').
This review is crappy because I'm reviewing the book a month after finishing it and life has been HECTIC. To help show this book is actually worth it, let me add I'll be re-reading it before outlining my next project for sure!...more
No one knows why, but for some reason whenever someone is murdered (well, 999 times out of 1000 anyway) they wake up naked in their home, safe and souNo one knows why, but for some reason whenever someone is murdered (well, 999 times out of 1000 anyway) they wake up naked in their home, safe and sound, the trauma of the preceding few hours vanished. Tony Valdez has a unique job which has sprung out of this bizarre miracle: dispatcher.
I'll admit I was on Audible and saw the message: look a book by John Scalzi. Oh, and Zachary Quinto narrates it. I was basically clicking download before the word 'free' even came in to the equation ;p
The miracle. Ok, how cool, and you want to know why and how, and why does that one in a thousand fail and all those questions (view spoiler)[ sadly that's not actually answered, only hypothesized over vaguely (hide spoiler)]. That's no issue though, because you just enjoy the ride. However I really wish there would be a novel, or some more novellas set in this world so we can find all those answers. (Also I secretly want to know more about Tony's love life, we hear he goes on a lot of first dates, and the assumption is that he never gets a second (I don't think that was explicitly said (unless I wasn't listening at that precise moment)) but I got that feeling, and I want to know what scares them off, because they ask him a whole bunch of questions about his job and theology apparently, so aren't bailing then and there, so I don't think that's the issue... anyway, side tracked, sorry ;p )
The idea isn't the only thing holding the story together though, Tony himself is an interesting character (as intimated by my rant above ;p ), though Langdon felt like she was there half the time just to bully him into doing her job for her (I still kinda liked her tho).
Quinto's narration is awesome, though sometimes when conversation was flowing a bit fast he dropped the differentiating voices and I became occasionally confused as to who had said what for a moment.
I started this audiobook on Halloween,immediately after finishing The Necronomicon. While in the Necronomicon I had already read the lion's share of tI started this audiobook on Halloween,immediately after finishing The Necronomicon. While in the Necronomicon I had already read the lion's share of the tales before, this one I'd hardly heard any before.
As mentioned every time I review a Lovecraft book I note i can see what was terrifying in the stories but they didn't scare me, a disconnect I assume created by the approximately century separating us. Also, Lovecraft is so racist at time it throws me out of the narrative.
I enjoyed many of the stories despite all that. I think I most enjoyed the story of the wandering bard seeking the lands he was supposed to be a prince of (The Quest of Iranon) but there were a lot of stories in the audiobook and to be honest I've forgotten half the names ;p
I did thoroughly enjoy at the end though his 'Supernatural Horror in Literature' essay. as a writer myself I liked his descriptions of what certain authors did well and poorly and how he could see supernatural horror in tales which aren't typically deemed thus (eg/ Wuthering Heights). It did at times become a bit of a laundry list, but for the most part was very intriguing, particularly the bits about Poe....more
With Halloween approaching I decided to revisit Lovecraft in audio form and do not regret it in the least.
Obviously having written the majority of thWith Halloween approaching I decided to revisit Lovecraft in audio form and do not regret it in the least.
Obviously having written the majority of this stories a century ago they aren't quite of 'modern standard' and not quite as terrifying as they must have been at the time. However they are still enjoyable, and I can appreciate both the horror they must have inspired and the horror a vivid imagination can draw from the 'unnamable horrors' he often drives people mad with. I am still a bit taken aback however by how intensely racist he is.
My eternal favourites remain 'The Outsider' and 'The Colour Out of Space'(though I was a little disheartened that my reread of Colour didn't give me the chill it did the first time - I assume because I already remembered much of it). However some stories that weren't so much on first read actually had a greater impact on me during this re-read (The Whisperer In The Darkness chief among these(damn the Mi-go are such a cool species)). Perhaps it was the narrators? Or awareness of what was coming?
This audiobook also contained several stories I hadn't yet read, so I was able to enjoy them to.
As soon as I finished this I chased it up with Eldritch Tales too....more