Tag Archives: #ResistanceMovement

Murray, R.J.: The Event (Tales of the Triad I) (2011)

The Event

If an author is going to create an Apocalyptic event he might as well do it thoroughly. Killing off seven billion people overnight seems to be pretty thorough to me. Messing with the environment and changing the stars and planets we usually see adds to that thoroughness. R.J. Murray shares such an event with us in The Event. The Event appears to be a science fiction tale that slowly but surely leans toward fantasy. Not fantasy as we know it but rather new technology that has to be developed due to the teeny tiny damages wrought by Earth’s changes. Mutated people that have the qualities we find in traditional fantasy adds to the fantasy feel of the story.

As with other apocalyptic tales, we find that the qualities people already have seem to intensify in times of crisis. This is a normal trait in humans. Any type of traumatic event tends to pare down all of our extras leaving some sort of quality central that we draw upon. This is when we see a person run back into a mall again and again saving people’s lives while others break into buildings raiding them of wares, beat up others and do other heinous deeds. People are people whether our skyline changes or not.

The mutations we see are people whose bodies morph into something other than they were used to being (that is, those who did not turn to dust or remain human). Let’s see what we have:

Wizards are people who find themselves younger/stronger/longer-lived and able to handle the tools left from before the apocalypse. All races have their own wizards.

Elves also seem to be long-lived and changed into a stronger/younger version of themselves. But they seem more attuned to plants and living creatures rather than technology.

Dwarves are like the ones in stories: like to live underground and have an affinity for stone. Dwarves are shorter and more compact than humans. They will probably end up being longer-lived as well.

Humans are more numerous than the others and breed easier. There really isn’t much more to say about them.

Goblins are like the goblins we know from epic fantasy. There are various types, sizes and numbers. Most of them live underground or underwater. They too have wizards.

Thankfully Murray hasn’t fallen for the temptation of making people smarter or dumber than they were just because they happen to be elf, wizard, dwarf or goblin. There are qualities that are intensified but if you were dumb as bread before the apocalypse, well, you are going to remain dumb as bread – and probably dead within a very short time. Some of the people have to learn the hard way and for some that means they end up dead.

That probably tells you that it is not all happy endings. In spite of that I would not say that The Event is particularly dark. It is more like the traditional sword/sorcery stories in tone. I’m guessing this is a young adult story. It’s a pretty straight-forward tale without explicit violence or explicit sex. There is action and plenty of it.

Murray builds his world for us showing us how people become what they are and what happens to the Earth itself. By the end I felt pretty comfortable with the whole thing. I felt there was a proper ending although there was a tiny hill-hanger showing me that a continuation was on its way.

A pretty enjoyable tale that looks as if it has great potential.


Reviews:


  • Print Length: 398 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0083CMJ74

Marquitz, Tim: Requiem (Blood War III) (2012)

Requiem
Cover artist: Carter Reid
My favorite of the three

Requiem is by far the best of the Blood War trilogy. It seems as if Marquitz is finding his fantasy feet (although I doubt he ever lost them since feet are usually stuck on).

What I like about Tim is that we have little romance and lots of action. Tons of it in fact. The Blood War trilogy is after all about a war fought on all possible sides against overwhelming odds. Which is why I add my warning: Beware of blood and gore. War is ugly and so is this. There is no attempt at sugar-coating the brutality of warring parties in Requiem nor is there a glorification of the violence.

I retain my favorites from before: Arrin / Uthul and Zaree and this time I am adding Ellara (this is one resilient girl). Ellara is an orphan from Lathah who ends up helping orphan friends and the royal family in their escape attempts. She showed the kind of grit she had in Embers of an Age and has the same kind of gumption in Requiem. A girl to admire.

While Blood War is considered dark fantasy it is still full of hope. Maybe it is this hope that makes intelligent beings fight for their lives. My brain finds it mysterious to see the lengths of suffering people are willing to endure just so they will not die. But in Requiem we also see that for some people there comes a point when dying is an expression of hope.


Reviews:


  • Published: Oct. 21, 2012        
  • File Size: 424 KB
  • Print Length: 226 pages
  • Words: 61,210 (approximate)
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services,  Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009UDZRW4
  • ISBN: 9781301454877

My review of Dawn of War and Embers of an Age.

Marquitz, Tim: Embers of an Age (Blood War II) (2012)

Embers of an Age a
Cover art by Jessy Lucero

I think a fair criticism of Embers of an Age comes from Sylvain Martel (below). Sylvain comments on the way the various nations must be squashed together as the time from one to the other takes such a short while. I had the same thought while reading but had forgotten that disturbance as I was paying more attention to the characters themselves. It is true. The pace at which these characters must travel is immense.

My favorite character continues to be Arrin. He is so obviously a tragic hero who happens to be part of a story that seems to have very few happy endings. With all of the blood and gore Marquitz places us in it is difficult to imagine any of the characters having a Disney ending to their story – Arrin least of all.

Next to Arrin come Zalee and Uthul (the Sha’ree). Zalee and Uthul are daughter and father. Both are subject to the strange illness that comes with using magic contained in the O’hra but still choose to do so. Coming out from their homeland has brought home to them exactly what the Sha’ree have missed by absenting themselves for so long. I sometimes see that in my own life. Because I am fortunate in so many aspects of my life it is sometimes tempting to stick my head in the sand and become blind to the lives of other people. Maybe that is why I like Uthul and Zalee so much. They have chosen to raise their heads and see.

Sultae is my final favorite. She is obviously out to get revenge for how she has been wronged and she has become insane with that need and her understandable hatred. I get that feeling as well. Sometimes I have felt it myself and sometimes I have had friends and acquaintances who have wanted to destroy those who have wronged them so badly. While she does not take up much space in Embers of an Age, Sultae is an essential part of the story. Without her it would not have happened.

There is tons of fighting of one type or another. People are running from place to place chased by various creatures. Action is present from beginning to end and Marquitz ends this story on a cliff-hanger. There are still hiccups but the Blood War trilogy is getting better.

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Reviews:

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My review of Dawn of War

Maxey, James: Bitterwood (2007)

Bitterwood
Cover art by James Maxey

Originally Bitterwood was meant to be a stand-alone novel. I guess sales must have been better than expected and therefore an invitation was extended to James Maxey to expand the tale with Dragonforge and Dragonseed. Due this expansion Maxey now has an edition of Bitterwood that brings the original story more in line with the two other novels. My review is based on the revised edition.

Bant Bitterwood’s mission in life is hunting dragons. Sent by the prophet Hezekiah he believes this is God’s will. Leaving the love of his life behind he sets out and 20 years pass in the turning of a page. While adored by many humans Bitterwood is despised and feared by the dragons who see him as the bad guy. Each story has two sides and we get to have a look at both of them in Maxey’s Bitterwood.

In this tale of action and fantasy set far into the future we see humans made into slaves and dragons more like ourselves than we might like to admit. Karma has bitten humans in their rear ends and shown them (if they only knew) that their meddling with genetics has consequences.

Early on we get to see remnants of previous technology on something that the dragons call the ghost lines. Here dragons fear for their lives for there is a very real danger of them being killed by what is within. Later on in Bitterwood we also come accross surprising pieces of technology. I think one of the reviews below reveals what that is but I shan’t.

Vendevorex (wizard dragon) is the most interesting character of the novel. Perhaps that is because his views correspond with my own in some respects. He is of the faction of dragons that believes that humans should be treated with some decency unlike his extremely feudal king Albekizan. Our own history of slavery and feudalism is reflected in this tale of dragon lords and human slaves. As our own stories tell us, rebellion is part of our past. But as with our history, the consequences of fighting the system can be devastating not only for the rebels.

Another character that I enjoyed a lot was Zanzeroth (tracker dragon). He is ambivalent when it comes to humans and their value. Age is catching up with him and he does not like it. Vanity is not only a human thing in this tale of dragons and humans.

Bitterwood is a good novel. It raises questions that ought to be raised and does so in a highly entertaining manner. Because of some of the reviews on the net I get the feeling my revised edition is quite different to the original. My recommendation is to get the revised edition of the novel.


Reviews:


  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Solaris; 1 edition (2 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184416487X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844164875
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 10.6 x 4 cm

Marquitz, Tim: Dawn of War (Blood War I) (2011)

Dawn of War
Cover art by Jessy Lucero

Dawn of War was free on Kindle and it sounded interesting enough for me to try it out. No regrets there. While I hesitated to buy the rest I found Arrin so interesting that I had to get the rest of the trilogy so I could find out what happened to him.

When reading the Blood War trilogy you are going to have to bring your brain. There are a lot of plots and subplots and characters to keep in order. Even though Dawn of War is an uncomplicated novel it is definitely full of threads to keep hold of.

Violence is frequent and descriptive. Dawn of War is no children’s novel nor do I think it would be a good fit for below 15s (just my opinion).

The Blood War trilogy is dark fantasy. There are no easy or happy endings here. Well there are some happy endings but plenty of endings of lives that I wished had lived. If you do not like beloved characters dying then you had better stay away from Blood War.

In Dawn of War we get to meet several races of people:

  • The O’hra: Ancients (not much info on them yet)
  • The Sha’ree: The supposed top of the top of the different races of Ahreele but probably dying out.
  • The Grol: A doglike people with highly aggressive and racist behavior.
  • The Bloodpack: A wolflike people with aggressive yet controlled behavior.
  • The Lathahn: Arrin Urrael has been exiled from them for the past 20 years.
  • The Pathran: A catlike people
  • The Velen: A pacifist people.
  • The Yvir: A people dedicated to the protection of the Velen.

All of the races are somewhat war-like with the exception of the Velen. Without the Yvir they would have been extinct. The most warlike seem to be the Grol who want to kill and eat anything not themselves and when it suits them even kill and eat their own. So not people you want to mess with. But up until the beginning of Dawn of War the Grol have been too weak to eradicate the rest of the races. Now, somehow, they have gotten hold of magical artifacts, artifacts that make it possible for them to tear down the walls of cities without much damage to themselves.

This is pretty much what the Blood War trilogy is about: the desire of the Grol and their allies to take all of Ahreele and the rest who are not interested in this.

Two major mysteries present themselves. How did the Grol get a hold of their magical weapons and who is directing their movements? Good questions and you know I am not going to answer them because that would just ruin the whole thing.

Arrin Urrael is our reluctant hero. Others come our way in Dawn of War, but he is the HERO: loyal, good fighter, kind, brave, dutiful, self-sacrificing and all of the other terms that might fit for a hero. The funny thing is that Arrin is all of this in spite of being able to see the world and people for what and who they are. Arrin has, after all, kept himself alive  for the past 20 years in spite of the odds (with the help of his magic collar).

Marquitz writes in a way that hops from one important character to the other from chapter to chapter. For Dawn of War this approach both works and does not work. Keeping in the flow is incredibly difficult when you switch characters. I know I could never do it.


Reviews:


  • File Size: 473 KB
  • Print Length: 263 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1466325348
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Tim Marquitz; 2 edition (July 1, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services,  Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0059HAUW2

 

Thoma, Chrystalla: Rex Rising (Elei’s Chronicles) (2011)

Rex Rising
Cover design by Chrystalla Thoma

Like so many others, I really like this cover. It is probably the eye that does it for me. I am a sucker for eyes.

Kabam is how Rex Rising begins. Elei is on the run and working to stay alive. Rex Rising keeps on going at that pace. We are thrown from one action scene to another never really able to catch our breaths. Chrystalla Thoma does it so well. She links the different episodes and never goes over the top. If you want action Rex Rising would be a good choice.

While a page turner Rex Rising is also about the effect parasites have on us and could have on us given certain circumstances. At the end of the novel Chrystalla Thoma links to books and studies dealing with the subject. I love what she has made of a topic that could have easily become boring. But Ms. Thoma did not let me withdraw. Perhaps one of the parasites jumped from the novel and “made me do it” as in read the novel almost without stop.

Another thing Chrystalla Thoma has conquered is the art of the flow. Words falling together like water in rapids is a beautiful thing to be part of. I love words when they are treated in such a manner.

The novel concentrated itself mainly on Elei and his adventures and not so much on the world he lives on. We get glimpses and an understanding of the political situation, but there is not room for an in-depth study of the landscape. But we certainly get an in-depth look at sweet Elei. He is such a loveable character. Hera is another character whose qualities become more and more apparent through Rex Rising. Like the author states on her website, she likes her female characters a bit gung-ho. So do I.

Anyways, this is one YA series I highly recommend.



  • File Size: 955 KB
  • Print Length: 322 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1475096852
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Amazon.com (August 11, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services,  Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005GZPOQE

Swift, J.K.: Altdorf (The Forest Knights) (2011)

Altdorf
Cover design by Chris Ryan, collecula

“The Knights Hospitaller, also known as the Hospitallers, Order of Hospitallers, Knights of St John, Order of St John, and currently The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders during the Middle Ages.” (Wikipedia)

J. K. Swift writes historical fiction. This time he writes about the lives of ex-Hospitallers. What kind of person do you become after having been taken away from your parents at a young age and sent into the “Holy War” against those terrible heathen Jews and Muslims?

Like most people our ex-Hospitallers seem to be the same personality they were upon entering the Hospitallers. You know, just people – greedy, selfless, courageous, lonely and so on. Just people.

In the name of religion people sometimes do terrible things. Ignoring terrible actions carried out toward others is the most common one. To begin with Thomas ignores the plight of the citizens of Altdorf. But once the deeds of Duke Leopold of Habsburg touches closer to home, Thomas can no longer deny the unrighteousness of Leopold’s deeds.

Duke Leopold is a greedy man who wants to control the flow of merchandise through the pass of St. Gotthard. “The Gotthard Pass or St. Gotthard Pass (Italian: Passo del San Gottardo) (el. 2106 m) is a high mountain pass in Switzerland between Airolo in the canton of Ticino, and Göschenen in the canton of Uri, connecting the northern German-speaking part of Switzerland with the Italian-speaking part, along the route onwards to Milan.” (Wikipedia)

In The Empire of Man one even finds that “the College of Magic which studies Ghyran, the Lore of Life, is the Jade Order of Wizards. Jade Wizards, (also occasionally mistaken for druids to which their power is related), are powerful healers, who spend most of their time wandering the countryside of the Empire providing their services to rural communities. They construct monolithic stone circles around hidden groves where Ghyran is strongest, using them in their yearly rituals which they perform in order to channel their magic into the soil to provide fertility and abundance.” (Wikipedia) Seraina is a Priestess of the Old Religion, and the last Druid disciple of the Helvetii Celts. She has been gifted by the Great Weave to see what others cannot. In it she knows that she and Thomas will be needed in her people’s fight for freedom.

Part of my reason for digging a little into various sites had to do with the excellence of the novel. Altdorf made me curious about the background for the novel – beyond what the author tells. The whole area has a fascinating history and it was amazingly fun to discover that Altdorf (the area) is used in The Empire of Man.

Anyways, history and fantasy lesson over – except maybe a hint that you check out the background of the Wilhelm Tell myth – you know the whole shooting an apple off the son’s head story. It has relevance.

There is one scene that involves Pirmin that made a huge impression. Pirmin is a lovely character – full of life and enjoyment of life. Anyways, there is one scene that made me think – once again. Fantasy can do that to you. All of a sudden I see humanity in a new light or am reminded of a quality that some people do possess, even people I know.

The Forest Knights is a serial. You can walk away from the serial after Altdorf, but I believe you might regret it. I am going to get Morgarten myself – simply because I want to keep in touch with these people.


Cummings, Shane Jiraiya: The Smoke Dragon (The Adventures of Yamabushi Kaidan) (2011)

Cover design by Shane Jiraiya Cummings

Shane Jiraiya Cummings is a popular writer of dark fantasy. You can get the short-story Smoke Dragon for free on his website.

Power-hungry and greedy people are to be found all over the world I imagine. Along with the hunger for more we also sometimes find those who work for a lighter world.

Smoke Dragon is the story of the fight between two who are on the polar opposites of the above traits. The people fighting on the side of the Smoke Dragon want what they do not have even if it means killing to get it. On the other side we find Yamabushi Kaidan and his apprentices.

In Smoke Dragon we get a story packed with action, magic and martial arts set in a kind of Japan. Mr. Cummings writes a fascinating tale of disillusionment and the fight for something more than oneself and those nearest and dearest to us.


Originally published as “Yamabushi Kaidan and the Smoke Dragon” in Fantastic Wonder Stories, ed. Russell B. Farr (Ticonderoga Publications).

  • 2008 Ditmar Award Nomination, Best Novella/Novelette
  • 2008 Aurealis Award Nomination, Young Adult short story

 

Ee, Susan: Angelfall (2012)

Cover art by Silverlute

Angelfall is Susan Ee’s debut novel and the first book in the Penryn & The End of Days series. Wow. That woman has talent. The story of Penryn’s hunt for her sister is moving and exciting. It shows how low people can stoop and high they can rise once they are thrown into chaos through war. The angels have decided to destroy civilisation as we know it and Penryn and her family are one of the many victims. The situation is not made any simpler by Penryn’s mother being schizophrenic paranoid or her little-sister Paige having to use a wheel-chair.

Penryn’s mother is nuts. She is a frightening person that comes around every once in a while. But Penryn manages to communicate with her and is the parent in their little family. She has to make all of the tough decisions.

Then they are torn apart when the angels decide to take Penryn’s little sister – all because Penryn happened to throw a sword. Now Penryn ends up saving an angel (Rafe), making a deal with him and traipsing through dangers in her search for Paige. It isn’t easy being 17 years old and stuck with this kind of life.

There is plenty of action and the author manages to get whatever messages she has across without preaching. I loved it.

Lallo, Joseph: The Book of Deacon

Map of the Northern Alliance
by Joseph Lallo

The Book of Deacon is a trilogy that should be read in the following order: The Book of Deacon -> The Great Convergence -> The Battle of Verril.

the book of deacon
Cover art by Nick Deligaris

THE BOOK OF DEACON (2010)

My husband bought me an android for x-mas and we downloaded Kindle. They had/have a free offer on the novel The Book of Deacon. This is how I entered the world of Myranda, Lain, Myn, Ivy, Ether and Deacon.

First of all I want to say that you should go to Deligaris’ link and take a look at his art. There is some seriously cool stuff there.

Imagine what it must be like to live in a country ravaged by war for 150 years. This setting is where we find Myranda, our main protagonist. At the beginning of the war young men were the main victims. Then women were brought in as soldiers. Now cities and towns are left with the old and children, emptied of the people who are supposed to bring in the new generation. Seems kind of insane, does it not?

Myranda hates the war and all it stands for. She does not understand the need for this long-lasting enmity. As a sympathiser, she is ostracised by the general population. The general population of the Northern Alliance hates Tressorians. Having one of their own say that perhaps peace would be a good thing, grates on them and they tend to act aggressively. It is ever so in society. If you go against popular opinion, you are going to meet sanctions.

These sanctions have left Myranda feeling terribly alone. When she meets another who is hated as much as she is, Myranda opens up. Leo, the malthrope, saves Myranda from trouble and Myranda is left feeling grateful and lonely for his company.

The Book of Deacon does an excellent job of showing exactly how prejudiced we can be. It is also an incredibly good tale for both old and young. There is plenty of action and adventure. Joseph Lallo is one of those gifted persons that grabs hold of me. These authors are so much fun for an avid reader.

Cover art by Nick Deligaris

THE GREAT CONVERGENCE (2011)

I liked The Book of Deacon so much that I had to buy The Great Convergence. This is a serial, so reading these books in order is a must.

Myranda is caught in her black/white way of thinking. To her you have to do your best to follow the Prophecy. If not, you are a traitor. These books are as much about Myranda’s journey toward maturity and understanding as it is about friendship, loyalty and courage. Her thinking undergoes a radical change from the way it was at the beginning.

Finding the four other Chosen of the prophecy is her main goal. Discovering all of them is not a simple task. After all, the Northern Alliance and the Red Shadow are interested in putting an end to her quest.

Another malthrope turns up. Ivy pretty much has split personality. Her moods are what determines the personality she has. Anger, happiness, sorrow and fear are all taken to extremes and in ways that affect those around her. Arrogant Ether shows up and does her thing. She is a fun character. Her ability to annoy the others is priceless.

Cover art by Nick Deligaris

THE BATTLE OF VERRIL (2012)

It is always nice to not have to wait for the next book in a serial. As I had gotten into the game so late, I got to read The Battle of Verril right after Convergence. The promise of the previous two books was fulfilled in the last installment of The Book of Deacon. Each of the characters change into someone who is able to fulfill their part of the prophecy.

Answers to questions left open in The Great Convergence are found and solutions are discovered at the last moment.

Action and adventure are still the main ingredients of the series. Heroic deeds are obviously part of a quest and evil villains keep the plot moving. Mystical figures, monsters and friends appear suddenly. Myranda and Myn are kept busy through the novel going from one action scene to the next. The others are break-necking along them.

I found The Battle of Verril a read-through novel. It was impossible to put down.

Butcher, Jim: First Lord’s Fury (The Codex Alera VI) (2009)

Map by Priscilla Spencer

The last book of The Codex Alera is another brick. First Lord’s Fury is almost 700 pages long.

I think the reason I like Tavi’s character is because he is a bit crazy. Just crazy enough to see possibilities where the rest of us aren’t able to. Me, I lack that piece of genius that I sometimes meet in other people. Not often, but enough times to know how precious that ability is.

Tavi sees allies in traditional enemies, possibilities in impossibilities and hope where the rest of us give up. (Yes, I do realize he is a fictional character!) Sometimes people like this can be terribly annoying because giving up can be soooo tempting. He does annoy his friends at times. But this trait is also what has brought enemies to help and now another enemy needs to be brought into the battle against the Vord.

In Princep’s Fury Tavi discovered once and for all that the Vord were impossible to talk with/to. Their only aim in life is to convert Alera into Vord (land and creatures). However, the first Vord queen is a bit off for a Vord. She has limited the number of queens and made them sterile to boot. This gives Tavi some hope that Alera might prevail against them in the end.

Invidia Aquitaine is still fighting on the Vord queen’s side while her husband is the leader of the people left behind in Alera. The First Lord is dead and Tavi needs to hurry back to resolve the succession question at the same time as he utilizes any and all means to prevent the further spread of the Vord. But to do that he needs to take down the queen and that is quite a task. Thankfully, his old allies and family are still alive and fighting for the survival of Alera.


My reviews of books 1 (Furies of Calderoon), 2 (Academ’s Fury), 3 (Cursor’s Fury), 4 (Captain’s Fury), and 5 (Princep’s Fury)

Herbert, Frank: The Dosadi Experiment (1977)

“The Dosadi Experiment” by Robert Laftont

Nominated for a Locus Award for best science fiction novel in 1978

The Dosadi Experiment takes place in the same universe as The Whipping Star, but can be read on its own.

I dipped my toes into the waters of Frank Herbert’s writing with The Dosadi Experiment. It’s been ages and ages, back in the days of the dinosaurs, so I cannot really remember what I thought, but it must have been positive because I kept on exploring Herbert’s world. I reread The Dosadi Experiment from time to time, and each time I discover new bits to love. As I change, so does my understanding of The Dosadi Experiment, and that is a sign of a classic to me.

The ConSentiency is composed of many species who have different abilities. The Taprisiots provide instant mind-to-mind communication between two minds anywhere in the universe. The Caleban provide instantaneous travel between any two points in the universe.

Our extremely intelligent and empathic Saboteur Extraordinary, Jorj X. McKie, gets an assignment that he soon discovers is probably a set-up. He is sent by the agency to Dosadi as their “best”. Compared to those already living on Dosadi, he was like an infant in swaddling clothes.

What he discovers on Dosadi is shocking in its blatant disregard of any and all ConSentiency regulation. Dosadi has been placed behind an impenetrable barrier called “The God Wall”. Humans and Gowachin have been dumped together in numbers that defy description. The planet itself is poisonous except for a narrow valley, containing the city “Chu”, containing nearly 89 million citizens.

Senior Liator Kaila Jedrik starts a war and Jorj becomes a pawn in her hope of saving the population of Dosadi.

Asimov, Isaac: Foundation series

The Foundation series continues on from the Elijah Bailey series. The reason I call it a continuation of the series becomes apparent as one reads the books (too much of a spoiler to tell). If you go to Wikipedia, they will tell all. Having said that, their page carries quite an excellent description of the books along with analysis and links. For another in-depth analysis of Asimov’s work go to Wimmer & Wilkins’ blog. Asimov’s home page contains more general information about his life’s work.

Isaac Asimov brought fresh air into science fiction when he arrived on the scene in the 40’s. He wasn’t afraid of taking a hard look at the possible future of mankind based on what he knew of the day’s theories on sociology and psychology. The Foundation series is considered one of the most important contributions to the field of science fiction, a well-deserved opinion.


PRELUDE TO FOUNDATION (1988) AND FORWARD THE FOUNDATION (1993)

SciFi and Fantasy Art PRELUDE TO FOUNDATION by Slawek Wojtowicz
Cover for Polish Prelude to Foundation
by Slawek Wojtowicz

The Foundation series was started in the 1940’s, but for easier reading you should start with Prelude to Foundation and Forward the Foundation. In Prelude we meet Hari Sheldon, the inventor of psychohistory. Hari’s goal was to be able to predict the general future of humanity, and during a conference he presents his fledgling theory to fellow scientists on the planet Trantor. Unfortunately the Empiror finds Hari’s theories a threat and begin to persecute him. This makes it necessary for Hari to flee, and his flight takes him around Trantor. In Forward the story of how Hari develops his theory continues. Sadly for Hari, the people he loves die off (naturally and unnaturally). Hari refuses to give up and finally develops what ends up being called the Seldon Plan, a way to save the future of humankind.


FOUNDATION (1951) / FOUNDATION AND EMPIRE (1952) / AND SECOND FOUNDATION (1953)

Cover for Polish Prelude to Foundation
by Slawek Wojtowicz

After this introduction to the future Galactic Empire, The Foundation Trilogy with the books Foundation, Foundation and Empire and Second Foundation, follow. These are Asimov’s first installments in the Foundation history. When you read these books, please keep in mind that the series was written well before Wikipedia or the internet came into existence. As such, they seem a bit dated. Some of the theory can be tedious, but the adventures and people we meet are quite fun. The titles are a dead give-away, so we know well ahead of time that the Foundation is bound to survive. But we know nothing about the road taken.

In Foundation and Empire the leaders of the Foundation has become corrupt. The internal strife that arises from that makes the organisation susceptible to “The Mule”. The Mule advances, conquering planet after planet, making the Empire deviate from Seldon’s plan. The Foundation does not have it in them to win over the Mule, and desperately some of the members begin seeking a rumoured Second Foundation.

The title Second Foundation kind of gives it away. In this novel we are going to discover the rumoured savior of the Empire while enjoying adventure, science and social interaction. The only way to kill the Mule is by allowing members of the Foundation to find members of the Second Foundation. But this also reveals the fact that there is a Second Foundation and that its nature is somewhat different to the First one’s. Herein lies the conflict.


Foundation’s Edge
by Michael Whelan

FOUNDATION’S EDGE (1982) AND FOUNDATION AND EARTH (1986)

And so we come to the two final books in the Foundation series: Foundation’s Edge and Foundation and Earth. We meet Golan Trevize as main protagonist in both books. He is convinced the Second Foundation has survived the attempt to exterminate its members, and goes looking for them. His search brings him to many planets and finally to the ancient planets (no longer on any star-chart) of Solaria, Aurora and Melpomenia. Each journey brings Trevize closer to a conclusion that may or may not satisfy the reader. I felt ambiguous, and that seems to be the intent of the author.


  • 1966 –  Best All-time Novel Series Hugo Award for the Foundation series
  • 1983 –  Hugo Award for Best Novel for Foundation’s Edge
  • 1983 –  Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel for Foundation’s Edge
  • 1996 –  A 1946 Retro-Hugo for Best Novel of 1945 was given at the 1996 WorldCon to “The Mule“, the 7th Foundation story, published in Astounding Science Fiction

Grant, Mira: Newsflesh trilogy

Writing under the pseudonym Mira Grant, Seanan McGuire published the political thriller/zombie trilogy Newsflesh including the books “Feed”, “Deadline” and “Blackout”. I am anything but a zombie fan, but Grant has written a thriller that goes far beyond zombies. We become embroiled in politics and corruption, discussions on freedom of the press and get a look at dysfunctional societies and families. Excellent author that she is, Grant brings her characters alive and gives them depth and color. And the action. My goodness is there ever action in this trilogy. And death. Prepare yourself for a heavy toll on people who made me care about them. Did I say I liked these books??????? Keep on writing under either name and the world will be a better place.

The concept of the Newsflesh trilogy is based on the unforeseen consequences of biological research. By 2014 cancer and the common cold had been defeated. Unfortunately, the side-effect was that when you died you became a zombie and started feeding. Oops. The world was changed forever.  The mainstream media fell, Internet news acquired an undeniable new legitimacy, and the CDC rose to a new level of power.

by dust-bite

FEED (2010)

Set twenty years after the Rising, the Newsflesh trilogy follows a team of bloggers, led by Georgia and Shaun Mason, as they search for the brutal truths behind the infection.  When Senator Peter Ryman of Wisconsin decides to take a team of bloggers along on his run for the White House, Georgia and Shaun Mason are quick to submit their application.  They, along with their friend Georgette “Buffy” M. are selected, and they view this as the chance to launch their careers to a whole new level…that is, if they can survive the campaign trail. Feed follows the Masons and their crew into a world filled with the living dead—and the much more dangerous living.

Shaun Mason by Rowan

DEADLINE (2011)

In Deadline, the members of the After the End Times staff are reeling…none more than Shaun Mason, who can’t figure out what he’s supposed to be doing with his life now that he’s found himself unexpectedly in charge.  The arrival of Dr. Kelly Connolly from the CDC provides a new direction, and a possible new route into the conspiracy that caused so much damage just a year before. However, it turns out that Dr. Connolly’s arrival heralds more death and despair for the crew.

From All Forsaken

BLACKOUT (2012)

The world is getting more and more bizarre by the moment for Shaun and now Georgia. Both of them have had their worlds turned topsy-turvy and struggle to maintain their sanity and belief in humanity. Nothing is as they thought it would be and they are both bruised and battered. But there is hope. Not a great one, but nevertheless. The cost of a free press is clearly portrayed in the courage and sacrifice of the characters of this novel. Sometimes no price is too high to pay to share the truth with the general public.

Marsden, John: Tomorrow, When the War Began (Tomorrow I) (1993)

tomorrow_when_the_war_began_poster

The Tomorrow series consists of seven books that should be read in order. The first book of the series is Tomorrow, When the War Began.

In the series we meet a group of young people who have gone camping to celebrate their last summer together. They are:

  • Ellie Linton: Our narrator. Ellie was born and raised on a cattle and sheep farm not far from the edge of the country town of Wirrawee.
  • Corrie Mackenzie: Ellie’s best friend.
  • Homer Yannos: Ellie’s neighbour and close friend.
  • Fiona Maxwell: Fi is more brains than brawn.
  • Lee Takkam: Lee is also more brains than brawn.
  • Robyn Mathers: The pacifist of the group.
  • Kevin Holmes: Corrie’s boyfriend.
  • Chris Lang: An introverted, but well liked boy.

All eight of them are regular teenagers getting ready to enter the world of adults. They are all filled with constructive and less constructive qualities and I can see why so many would identify with them. At the beginning of Tomorrow, When the War Began the gang feel so young to an old person like myself, but that does not last. They certainly retain their youthful optimism but gain some of our adult cynicism. I think another thing that might appeal to readers is John Marsden’s willingness to address difficult topics. One of these is death. Unfortunately death is one of the consequences of resistance in war and so it will be for this gang. And, finally, There is plenty of romance and action, both kept well within the young adult literature boundaries. The writing certainly kept me going and Marsden raised some interesting questions along the way.

In Tomorrow, When the War Began a group of friends (in their last year before college) go camping together. They’re all exited and have a wonderful week together. On their way back they find their homes empty of people and their animals suffering from neglect. It turns out all of their families have been collected at the showground by a foreign power trying to take Australia over. The teens have to decide whether to fight or surrender.


  • ISBN: 9781742612683
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Published: 2012-12-01
  • Subject: Children’s: General Fiction
  • Imprint: Pan Australia
  • Pages: 304 page/s

  • Winner, Australian Multicultural Children’s Book Award 1994
  • Winner, Fanfare Horn Book Best Book 1996
  • Winner, Children’s Yearly Best-Ever Reads (CYBER) Best Book for Older Readers 2000, 2001, 2002
  • Winner, KOALA (Kids Own Australian Literature Awards) 1995
  • Winner, YABBA (Young Australian Best Book Award) 1995
  • Winner, WAYRBA (West Australian Young Readers’ Books Award) 1995
  • Winner, BILBY Awards (Books I Love Best Yearly) 1998
  • Winner, New South Wales Talking Book Award
  • Nominated, South Carolina Book Award 1998

2010: Film-adaptation released based on Tomorrow, When the War Began. Australian adventure movie written and directed by Stuart Beattie.