Tag Archives: Ecological changes

Gimpel, Ann: Earth’s Blood (Earth Reclaimed II) (2014)

Artist: Kelly Shorten Interior book design: Cera Smith Editor: Angela Kelly Line editor: Jenny Rarden
Artist: Kelly Shorten
Interior book design: Cera Smith
Editor: Angela Kelly
Line editor: Jenny Rarden

First of all I am going to talk about going off on tangents. My thing is words – Autism is part of me. That means that sometimes the sound of a word in my head or the way it feels in my mouth sets me off on a chase. One of the words in Earth’s Blood that set me off was Lemurian. The Lemurians are also called the Old Ones and are hated by both the Celtic gods, of which Fionn is one, and Aislinn. But the name Lemurian. It keeps on going round and round in my head. Part of it has to do with lemurs. Lemurs are soooo cute/adorable/sweet (maybe not) and all of those adjectives that we give animals that look like them. The other part was when I started looking for things to do with Lemurian on the net. Wow, there is actually a whole belief system centered around the concept (see links below). People are fascinating.

Sometimes when I read a novel one of the characters begins to annoy me. Once I realise what is happening I stop and ask myself why. This time it was Aislinn’s way of handling her situation that got to me. I was getting more and more frustrated with her until I finally stopped and looked at what it was I was projecting. Surprise, surprise. Thinking is problematic to my imagined self.

One of the things that bothered me was all of the sex between Aislinn and Fionn. This is coming from the woman who claims that she wishes there was as much sex (vanilla kind) in novels as there is action. In Earth’s Blood there is. But it bothered me and here is why: Conditioning. My child-hood religion is very orthodox. Sex is no exception to the rule. That in itself makes the whole concept of reading about it – even when it is as well written as Ms. Gimpel writes it – problematic. Oatmeal has a really great poster on the subject. It is funny and incredibly sad at the same time.

My other problem with descriptive sex was my childhood. I was sexually abused by some of my relatives and that scarred me and made sex less than fun for a long, long time (my poor husband). Once I realised what was going on in my head and emotions I could let go of the pain. Sex is good for me now. I got so turned on by some of the scenes that I dragged my husband upstairs and had some adult playtime.

The other thing that annoyed me was how volatile Aislinn was. Once again I had to stop myself from reacting and instead looked at what on earth was causing such a strong emotion in me. One of the things going on between Aislinn and Fionn was a whole lot of insecurity about their relationship from Aislinn’s side. No wonder, considering how it all came about and all of the challenges thrown their way (an understatement if there ever was one). I looked at my own insecurities when it comes to people and especially my husband. Being an autist is a challenge when it comes to a relationship – both for me and my non-autistic husband. My husband is the kind that shows his love through action and not through words. For me that is incredibly cryptic. My thinking muscles are severely challenged when trying to interpret what is going on in our relationship. We have been together 25 years, so I ought to have caught on by now, but you know – some people are just slow.

The other thing that caught me was what happened when Aislinn discovered she was pregnant and the following abortion. The myth about pregnant women being volatile is no myth. Sometimes our hormones take over completely and there isn’t much we can do about it. Add to that the new relationship between Aislinn and Finn and Aislinn just beginning to open her sealed chest of grief over her many losses in life thus far – and my feelings about Aislinn changed.

Is there action in Earth’s Blood. I realise that the above might have made you think otherwise, but there is plenty of action. Plenty, plenty, plenty. And like the sex it is detailed but not explicit (if that makes sense). The dark gods (another concept that sent me off on a tangent) and the old ones used to fight each other. But in their craving for control over the earth they have pooled their resources for the time being. Power is such a seductive thing and power is what both the Old Ones and the Dark Gods want. Power over the people and power to consume the earth’s resources.

By destroying anything to do with technology they have handicapped humans. And by killing off people without magic they have reduced the population and the potential number of people who could rise up against them. These are the creatures the Celtic gods and Aislinn and their bond animals have to fight. But when one of those Celtic gods is a dragon there is hope. Especially when that dragon does what she does best and goes off on a mission of rescue. I like Dewi. She is a cranky, self-important, stubborn, independent and insecure dragon who is terribly lonely as the only dragon left on earth. I believe she is my favorite character.

Anyways, Earth’s Blood affected me and helped me realise something about myself. That is probably one of the more important things an author can achieve. My imaginary hat off to Ann Gimpel.

I have to add one comment here. If you are one of those who struggles with talking to your teenagers about sexuality, I recommend letting them read this series. There is a lot of action and a whole lot of wholesome and fun sex in it. Sexuality is shown as something fragile in new relationships while also showing how turned on by each other people are at the beginning of a relationship.


I’ve reviewed an ARC copy, so Earth’s Blood is not out on the market yet. For a description:


My review of Earth’s Requiem


Lemuria/Lemurians (not connected to the Lemurians of the novel but I got off on a tangent.):

Stross, K.M.: The Man in Black – The Woman in White (2013)

The Man in Black-The Woman in White
Cover art by Chris Smith

The Man in Black – The Woman in White shows us what the earth could be like in almost 200 years if we keep on letting it go to pieces and allow money to rule the world.

Stross presents us with a world without hope, a dark story of loss, poverty, inequality and disinformation. The town of Present, Nebraska thinks the world works in one way, and it seems they have been intentionally kept in that belief. Maintaining this status quo is the will of the people who hold power to change the lives of the citizens of Present for the better.

One of the tools the powers that be uses to keep the people of Present in Present is lack of education and information. Another tool seems to be to allow companies to move in and “encourage” farmers to sell their land and water-rights.

Stross encourages me to question my own beliefs of right and wrong. Exactly who is the culprit and why do I consider that person to be a culprit?

Poor young Kyle, living in circumstances that quite a few young people live in today. Desertification, water shortage and hunger are all parts of the lives of young and old in certain places of the world. There, too, tools such as the ones used against Present, Nebraska are utilised. The Man in Black – The Woman in White speaks of a world that already exists for many and will probably exist for many more in the years to come.

Stross doesn’t give us a solution or an answer to the problem. I appreciate that. Having an open ending allows me as a reader to look around and see if an answer exists at all.


Reviews:



I could not find any information at all on K.M. Stross.

Bridger, David: A Flight of Thieves (Sky Ships I) (2013)

A Flight of Thieves
Cover artist Georgia Woods
Love this cover

A Flight of Thieves was given to me as a reviewer’s copy.

While I do try to say something positive about all novels I review, some novels need less work from my side than others. David Bridger’s new series Sky Ships is such a series. Right off the bat A Flight of Thieves caught my reader and I had to work to put A Flight of Thieves down when real life called.

A Flight of Thieves is very definitely a young adult novel with intelligent language. It has that warm sense of humour that only the British manage to convey. After so many reviews I feel certain some of you have gotten an idea of how much I enjoy writers from all over the United Kingdom. David Bridger just added himself to that list.

We get a combination of political intrigue, action, steam-punk, robot/human interaction and humour blended into 170 pages worth of enjoyment.

King Henry happens to be one of three robot kings who have ruled the Earth after humans managed to ignore the threat of climate warming long enough for it to be too late. We saw that we had been idiots and Henry and his brothers were created to rule us and hopefully keep us from flooding the Earth once again. 1000 years later he has experienced two rebellions and is looking at a third. Only by chance did he and Princess Victoria discover what was going on. The King joined the Princess on a trip to the Lord of Ireland as her footman (travelling incognito as Henry called it) and discovers that all is not well in his kingdom.

Princess Victoria is our main character. It is through her point of view that we learn of this world 1000 years into the future. She is an adventurous sort of person ready to explore her world if only her parents will let her. There is a little rebellion in Victoria and her sister Anne, but these two are pretty good kids who want to do the best for their kingdom. We get to see how Victoria deals with success and failure, love and death – for not all of her allies will make it through the story. That is the way it is when rebellion enters a land. I liked her optimism and willingness to face reality – panic attacks and all.

Definitely had fun with this one.


Rigel, L.K.: Space Junque / Hero’s Material / Samael’s Fire (Apocalypto I) (2010)

Apocalypto
Edited by Anne Frasier/Theresa Weir
Cover art by Phatpuppy (link)
Cover design by eyemaidthis

I saw the old cover for Space Junque on Rigel’s site and much preferred this one. This cover is seriously cool. Phatpuppy is on my list of favorite cover artists (she’s got her Halloween theme going right now).

Why change the title so often? Weird. Rigel explains it (I still like the above cover best):

Hero Material is a prequel, the story of how the paranormal world in the Apocalypto series replaces the old unmystical normal world. The series proper is a paranormal fantasy, and all the action is definitely on earth or within the realm of the gods.

In fact, when the paranormal elements of Hero Material nee Space Junque kick in, it’s been a shock to a lot of readers, not expecting such things in science fiction. I blame myself for too-light foreshadowing. But I blame the old cover too.

Now the name has been changed again – to Samael’s Fire.

As you see above Apocalypto is meant to be a paranormal fantasy series. Samael’s Fire is the first step on that road.

Charybdis Meadowlark is living in a post-apocalyptic version of our world where the corporations have been able to play to their heart’s content and the environment has gone down the drain. Environmental terrorists, like the DOGs, aren’t making the Earth any cleaner. When we meet Char, she is fleeing Sacramento. Her friend Mike has warned her that the DOGs are about to bomb Sacramento and that she needs to get off Earth and into space.

From the very beginning many of Char’s experiences are about fleeing one sort of trouble after the other. Trouble seems attracted to her but unlike a great majority of people Char has incredible luck in how it affects her.

Charbydis is very much our main character. The story is told from her point of view and she is the one we get to really know. The only other person we get to know fairly well is Jake. Char meets him as he sells her coffee at the coffee kiosk.

From all of the other reviews I feel certain you’ve realised that Char and Jake become an item. There is instant sexual attraction on both sides, they don’t really like each other and both are beautiful people. Like so many other novels there is a sort of love triangle.

In space there is plenty of action, a lot of explosions, some fighting and meetings with gods/goddesses and shapeshifters. These gods/goddesses are like the older type gods: norse/greek/roman = pretty selfish and fighting each other for their worshippers. It is upon meeting the gods/goddesses that the shift toward fantasy slowly happens.

Samael’s Fire is a safe and fun read both for those who do not like explicit violence and those who do not like explicit sex.


Reviews:


  • File Size: 287 KB
  • Print Length: 188 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Beastie Press (September 2, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0041T59IY

Dalglish, David: Night of Wolves (The Paladins) (2011)

Coverart by Peter Cortiz

Grrr, roar. Kind of looks like those nails and teeth could do some damage. With abs like that there is probably some strength as well. This wolf-man looks like the description in Night of Wolves – dangerous and fierce.

Jerico’s charm lies in his red hair, according to himself. As a Paladin of Ashhur, he fights for light/life/order. As fate would have it he has actually befriended a traditional Ashhurian enemy – a Paladin of Karak. Karak stands for dark/death (non-life)/chaos. Darius thinks his charm lies in his personality. These guys are really supposed to try to kill each other. Instead they are working together for the good of the village they live in and both of them struggle with their consciences because of it.

On the other side of the river that is next to the village Durham a clan of wolf-men live (see picture above). Well actually they are wolf-people because there are wolf-women too. The wolf-people are desperate to get away from the Waste (the place where they live). To do so they will even gather their clans together into a unit led by a wolf-king and try to attack the human side of the river.

Both Jerico and Darius are interesting personalities. Their struggles with their beliefs of what they are supposed to be like make for interesting tension in the novel. But the really fun parts come in the action that the wolf-people engender. We all know that I like action and Night of Wolves has plenty of it. The tone in the first novel of The Paladins is lighter than the tone in The Weight of Blood. Interesting to see the difference between the two. I like authors who veer from formulas used with one character to try on something new. Good on you Mr. Dalglish.

Dolphins are victims of Australia’s most environmentally controversial project at Gladstone

Flipper is in trouble yet again. Will their rights be able to survive this time? Unlikely, when it is big corporations against environment. Once again it seems corruption is rearing its ugly head. I wonder if humans are genetically unable to plan for long-term consequences.

Craig Hill Training Services

Australia’s most environmentally controversial project, the $33 billion expansion of Gladstone port in Queensland, is under investigation after being accused of breaching strict federal government audit conditions on harbour dredging and dumping of spoils in a World Heritage area.

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke confirmed a review was under way into whether the project had breached its conditions by failing to get an independent assessment of its work.

The Gladstone port expansion has been plagued by controversy since the discovery of widespread fish disease in the harbour in 2011, which has been blamed both on record floods and the impact of dredging.

Allegations of audit failure, raised by environmental group Australians for Animals, came as long-term monitoring of humpback dolphins in Gladstone Harbour showed a population reduction of 40 per cent since dredging began. Researcher Daniele Cagnazzi said he would undertake a new survey in April to establish whether…

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Aldo Leopold’s soundscape

Aldo Leopold’s soundscape

Check out University of Wisconsin – Madison’s article on how researchers have taken Leopold’s field notes and reconstructed a “soundscape” of how the chorus of birds must have sounded before all of our modern sound-intrusions.