Archive for the 'Book Reviews' Category
April 11th, 2012 by jdsawyer
This is a review of Trader’s Tales from the Golden Age of the Solar Clipper, a science fiction series by Nathan Lowell comprised of the books Quarter Share, Half Share, Full Share, Double Share, Captain’s Share, and Owner’s Share. The series is reviewed as a whole.
Call him Ishmael–and forget the Moby Dick reference at your peril. This really IS a series about a whale (a dolphin, actually) and the man who is ruled by it. Nathan Lowell’s “Trader’s Tales” starts as a coming-of-age novel. Over the course of six gently-paced books, it becomes something unique: a coming-of-age epic. A meditation on the nature of adulthood through the eyes of a man trapped by the very tragedy that catapults him off into the cosmos to seek his destiny.
Continue reading ‘A Golden Epic (Review of Trader’s Tales)’
October 15th, 2010 by jdsawyer
Welcome to the second of several Down From Ten Feedback shows. This one is episode ten, part two of the Dealing In series of feedback shows, where I and several friends answer your emails and talk about whatever comes up. This time, I’m joined by Metamor City and Down From Ten cast member Chris Lester, New York Times Bestseller Gail Carriger, and producer/actor/cartoonist Kitty Nic’Iaian. What do we talk about? An incomplete list, in no particular order:
Racism and bigotry in the Victorian world
Cultural change throughout history
The Death of the Author
The Royal Shakespeare Company
George R.R. Martin
Employing Symbolism in writing
March 22nd, 2010 by jdsawyer
Last night I had occasion to send an email to Spider Robinson, thanking him for his recent book Variable Star, a posthumous collaboration with Robert A. Heinlein. If you are unfamiliar with Spider’s work, or have not read Variable Star, you owe it to yourself to take a gander. All royalties from the book go to fund the Heinlein prize, which is a nice bonus, but really, the book is worth it on its own well apart from that. I reproduce part of the letter below, to give you a flavor for why.
Continue reading ‘An Open Letter to Spider Robinson’
May 15th, 2009 by jdsawyer
Those of you who listened to Predestination heard Christiana Ellis’s voice playing bit parts — when you listen to Down From Ten you’ll hear her as one of the main characters. But when you listen to her podcasts – Shallow Thoughts, Space Casey, or Nina Kimberley – you’ll be holding your sides.
Which is what this post is about. Christiana Ellis’ hysterical send up of epic fantasy, Nina Kimberley the Merciless is now available on Amazon.com. I *LOVE* this book — very clever, loads of fun, and written with a genuine literacy that’s very refreshing in any kind of Fantasy, let alone comedic fantasy. Download the ebook here to read on your computer or portable reader, subscribe to the podcast here, and support the author’s print debut by heading over to Amazon and buying today.
October 14th, 2008 by jdsawyer
So, with Steamcon coming soon, and me sitting on a couple panels, I’ve got to bone up on a genre that I’ve hereto only been passingly familiar with. This involves an extensive reading list, which I’m honestly not going to have time for. Fortunately, I’m not giving a talk on writing in the genre, I’m merely sitting on a couple of panel discussions. One of them is about Victorian science and tech, which I’ve loved for years. The other is about Steampunk film and multimedia production. The “Multimedia Production” part of this I’m well versed in. The “Steampunk” part, not quite as much.
So, this week, in between evaluating the Trinity Indamixx (initial impressions – favorable but with caveats), which I’m blogging on right now using an external keyboard (I could seriously get addicted to this thing), I learn all about Steampunk Films!
Continue reading ‘Steampunk Education, part 1′
March 21st, 2008 by jdsawyer
Just finished Seth Harwood’s once-podcast, now-published book Jack Wakes up. Here’s the skinny:
In Jack Wakes up, Harwood gives us a new twist on the old noir heist formula. Jack Palms, out of work actor, is tapped by a friend to play second fiddle on a giant drug dealer. He needs the money. He needs the distraction. He’s so amazingly bored that when bullets start flying and people start dying, he finds it exhilarating. In this, his first outing, Harwood combines the classic noir sensibilities of James M Cain with the quck-clipped plot movement that children of the nineties have come to expect from Tarantino films. He also gives Jack Wakes up an unusual but indispensable element: A sense of place. Not content to use just the familiar landmarks, Jack moves down in the older, decaying parts of San Francisco and other flavorful parts of the Bay Area.
In short, Jack Wakes Up is an excellent crime noir, and it keeps you on your toes with hundreds of little surprises, such as a trio of Czech gangsters who want nothing more than to tour the USA on Harleys bring a touch of the tragicomic (reminiscent of the gangsters in Ludlum’s “Road to Gandolfo” without descending into farce). Add to that the use of present tense narration (the last time the present tense used this well was in Scott Turow’s “Presumed Innocent”), and you’ve got the recipie for a novel that moves fast, keeps you on your toes, and has some delightful and moving twists that leave you sincerely caring about every one of the characters, from the buffoons to the monsters.
With the superb use of language, the far-above-par-writing, and the hopping story, Harwood’s debut is the start of a promising career. Highly recommended.
Find it on Amazon.com, or in podcast form at Harwood’s home page or Podiobooks.