Spring Into SciFi 2021 Now Available for Pre-Order

2021

Cover art for the Cloaked Press anthology “Spring into SciFi 2021”

This is it! My short story “Wayback” is being published in the Cloaked Press anthology Spring Into SciFi 2021 Edition.

I’ve been honored to have my stories “The Recall” and “The Colonists” published in the 2019 and 2020 editions respectively. It’s a tremendous joy to me that the editing team over at “Cloaked” think so well of my writing.

However “Wayback” has another special significance. It’s the very first story representing a “steampunk” universe that has already seen the light of day in other anthologies. You can find the continuation of “Wayback” featured in my short stories “The Mechanical Dragon” (which also explains how steam-cold fusion technology is possible) in the Zombie Pirate Publishing anthology Clockwork Dragons and “The Deseret War” which can be found in the Immortal Works anthology A Mighty Fortress.

But before all that, there is “Wayback.”

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Review of Robert Heinlein’s “Starship Troopers”

starship

Cover art for Robert A. Heinlein’s novel “Starship Troopers”

I decided to re-read Robert Heinlein’s 1959 classic Starship Troopers (I probably last read it sometime in the late 1960s or early 70s) because science fiction writer Neal Asher‘s book Prador Moon (which I recently reviewed) was unfavorably compared to it by a few Amazon readers.

I must say Heinlein doesn’t disappoint. “Troopers” remains timeless, or nearly so, but as I understand it (I wouldn’t have picked up on this as a teenager), even in the late 1950s (and so much more now), the book was considered to have numerous controversial elements.

Yes, the idea that only military veterans are allowed to be full citizens with voting rights does go against the grain. However, this novel was Heinlein’s breakout book from “Young Adults” novels. Thus, Heinlein injected (supposedly) his personal perspectives into the world he created. His reasoning relative to citizenship is only a soldier, who is willing to give up his (all ground troops are males and most Navy pilots are females) life for the many of society has the moral and ethical perspective to casts a vote in that society. It’s also why he advocates for a volunteer only Army rather than a draft or compulsory military service for everyone. A volunteer willingly enters that world and can quit at any time during training. If the volunteer makes it to soldier, goes into combat, and remains, then they’ve established themselves as that ethical/moral model.

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The Beat Goes On: Mike Glyer and File 770 Decide to Aim the Laser of Disapproval at Me (I’m such a disappointment)

Well, it’s not every day that Mike Glyer uses his File 770 fanzine to insult me, so I guess I should be honored. I’ve been criticized for being an attention hog (look who’s talking) and for not knowing the various names of SF/F authors involved in the Baen Books forum debate (oh the horror…I didn’t kiss someone’s arse or something).

Anyway, here’s the link to the relevant Pixel Scroll. Scroll down for item 6.

Now here’s the screenshot since things sometimes go “poof” on the internet  (keep on scrolling).

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On Reading Heinlein’s “Starship Troopers” and Baen Books

starship

Cover art for Robert A. Heinlein’s novel “Starship Troopers”

I suppose I should leave this alone, especially after taking quite a bit of criticism, mainly from conservative authors, when I suggested that the left side of the science fiction industry was using the “Baen’s Bar” incident, which I chronicled HERE and HERE, to paint all conservative authors and just plain all conservatives with the same unjust and extremist brush.

However, I also acknowledged that at least some of the things said (or allegedly said, since the accuracy and validity of Jason Sanford’s report has come under dispute) on the forum could foment violence, and this is where I triggered quite a number of people. At this point, the matter has become too muddied for me to make sense of, so I’m going to stop commenting on something I’m not nearly as emotionally invested in as both Baen’s supporters and critics.

Though if indeed, some undisclosed competitor of Baen’s is using up their bag of dirty tricks in an attempt to deplatform a publisher that is just as friendly to conservative science fiction writers as it is to more liberal and socialist authors, it’s a pretty low deed.

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Book Review of “All Systems Red”

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Cover art for “All Systems Red” by Martha Wells

First the “official reviews” including praise for the author’s other works:

“I love Murderbot!” ―Ann Leckie, author of Ancillary Justice

“The Murderbot series is a heart-pounding thriller that never lets up, but it’s also one of the most humane portraits of a nonhuman I’ve ever read. Come for the gunfights on other planets, but stay for the finely drawn portrait of a deadly robot whose smartass goodness will give you hope for the future of humanity.” ―Annalee Newitz, author of Autonomous

“Clever, inventive, brutal when it needs to be, and compassionate without ever being sentimental.” ―Kate Elliott, author of the Spirit Walker trilogy

“Endearing, funny, action-packed, and murderous.” ―Kameron Hurley, author of The Stars are Legion

“Not only a fun, fast-paced space-thriller, but also a sharp, sometimes moving character study that will resonate with introverts even if they’re not lethal AI machines.” ―Malka Older, author of Infomocracy

“We are all a little bit Murderbot.”―NPR

“Wells gives depth to a rousing but basically familiar action plot by turning it into the vehicle by which SecUnit engages with its own rigorously denied humanity.” ―Publishers Weekly starred review

“I already can’t wait for the next one.” ―The Verge

“Meet your favorite depressed A.I. since Marvin.” ―B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog

“A great kick-off for a continuing series.” ―Locus

“Wells imbued Murderbot with extraordinary humanity, and while this is a fun read, don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s not a profound one.”―LA Times

The Cloud Roads has wildly original world-building, diverse and engaging characters, and a thrilling adventure plot. It’s that rarest of fantasies: fresh and surprising, with a story that doesn’t go where ten thousand others have gone before. I can’t wait for my next chance to visit the Three Worlds!” ―N. K. Jemisin, author of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

And as far as author Martha Wells’ awards:

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January 6th, Baen’s Bar, and the Definition of “Evil”

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AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Addendum, 2-17-2021, 4:45 a.m. mountain time: Just an update from File 770 (still not a fan but it is an information source) on the whole Baen Bar fiasco. Of course, from that perspective, all conservatives are evil, but while 770 is also heavily biased, we must make certain that our own behavior and attitudes doesn’t support violence. No one is going to (I hope) cancel us because we believe in smaller government, the freedom to worship as we wish, free speech as guaranteed by the First Amendment, and eating actual beef hamburgers in opposition to the dictates of Bill Gates.

Original content starts here: Oh, good grief. Here we go again. I can just hear it. “All people even slightly to the right of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are Trump, Hitler, and Satan combined.”

What do I mean?

Well first off, a little personal background.

When I started reading science fiction in the 1960s and 70s, it was well before we had any idea of an “internet” much less “social media.” Today, we can investigate pretty much anyone’s past, at least up to a point. And not just individuals, but organizations as well. Thus we can make some sort of determination if we want to be associated with people and groups with a particular “reputation” before we partake of any of their “wares.”

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Planetary Anthology Saturn Available Now!

Promotional image for the Planetary Anthology “Saturn”

It’s here. The Tuscany Bay Press Planetary Anthology Saturn is available for immediate purchase. As you know having read my previous announcements, it features my science fiction time travel story “Saving the Apostle,” the act and consequences of rescuing the Apostle Paul from execution at the hands of the Romans.

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Book Review: “Prador Moon” by Neal Asher

Prador Moon cover art

I’ve previously read and reviewed Neal Asher’s “Polity series” novels Dark Intelligence (2015) and War Factory (2016), both part of the “Transformation” trilogy.

Frankly, Asher has written so many novels, just within this one series, that I was stumbling blind when I read those two, and although I enjoyed them, I couldn’t figure out how everything fit together.

I needed some sort of context to make sense of the universe I was experiencing. Although it’s not the first “Polity” book Asher (metaphorically) penned, Prador Moon records the first encounter between humans and AIs in the Polity and the Prador.

It’s not a complex novel, but it does introduce some of the key elements presented in all of these stories, including “Augs,” “AIs,” “Golems,” “runcibles” (basically stargates), and of course, the utterly ruthless, crab-like Prador.

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Book Review of Galactic Patrol

Image captured from Amazon

In some ways, E.E. “Doc” Smith’s third Lensman novel Galactic Patrol feels like the first “real” Lensman novel. I suppose that’s largely due to the character Kimball Kinnison having a central role in the book. He is the Lensman hero I think all of my friends looked up to when these books were popular when I was in Junior High in the late ’60s. Of course I also think these novels were better consumed over 50 years in the past by boys between the ages of 12 and 14 than they are by a fellow in his late 60s today.

It also hung together a bit better than the previous two (“Triplanetary” and “First Lensman”). That said, most of the book felt incredibly episodic. It was like a television show where the season hadn’t been plotted out cohesively from start to finish. A great deal of the action bounced all over the place, introducing seemingly random characters, planets, and events throughout the first two-thirds of the story.

Eventually, Smith was able to tie (most) things together showing relationships in the last third, but even that seemed rushed.

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Read an Advanced Review Copy of Planetary Anthology Saturn

saturn

Cover image for the anthology Saturn.

As I’ve mentioned before, my science fiction/time travel short story “Saving the Apostle” is to be featured in the Tuscany Bay Press Planetary Anthology Saturn.

It’s available for pre-order from Amazon now (see the link above) for delivery to your kindle device on February 16, 2021.

However, if you can’t wait, you can read it right now. The publisher has placed an Advanced Review Copy (ARC) on Booksprout. Of course you have to be a Booksprout member AND you have to agree to leave a review in order to read the book.

From our point of view, this means that the reviews you leave will already be on Amazon when the book launches.

If you are not a Booksprout member but would like to review an advanced copy of the anthology, contact me by commenting on this blog post. I’ve got copies in PDF, epub, and MOBI. As long as you’re willing to leave a review, I’ll be glad to send you a finalized copy of the book in your desired format.

Let me know.

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