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Your Shelves Are Looking a Bit… Non Bendy. Let’s Fix That

A proper reader’s shelf needs to look like this:

No, not Russian. Bendy.

If the shelf isn’t squealing under all that weight, you’re doing it wrong. That’s why we’ve brought you a massive paperback giveaway.

You can sign up here at SFF Book Bonanza.

Win 52 Sci-Fi & Fantasy paperbacks. Escape to another world for an entire year and enjoy this whopping collection of novels, from classics and bestsellers to new reads.

The giveaway starts at Nov 1 and ends at Jan 31. Sign up for a chance to win one of these epic reads:

  • The Human Division, by John Scalzi. Mother frickin awesome. I suggested that one, just read it. Fall in love with the B team.
  • Robert Jordan. Meh, TLDR.
  • Michael Crichton. Should be a good thriller.
  • Star Wars. If you’re into the EU.
  • The Book of Lost Tales. J.R.R. Tolkien. Posthumous publication. It’s worth being on your shelf. Not really dying for it, but I’d want to rifle through it’s pages. Sniff them. My preciousss.
  • Good Omens. Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Quite good. Falls flat at the climax, though. Will be made into a series starring David Tennant. Read it before it premieres. For hipsterism.
  • The Martian, Andy Weir. So fucking good.
  • Hunters of Dune. Another Dune novel? Meh.
  • Fall of Hyperion. As much as I like Dan Simmons, I can’t stand Hyperion. “We are of the cruciform. We are…” Bleh.
  • We Are Legion (We Are Bob). Dennis Taylor. SO FUCKING GOOD. Read the whole trilogy.
  • Steelheart. Brandon Sanderson. Read it. Read it. Read the whole trilogy, it’s the perfect trilogy.
  • Ready Player One. Nostalgia fueled crap. Can’t stand it.
  • The Handmaid’s Tale. Margaret Atwood. In my TBR pile, want to read it.
  • Three Body Problem. In my TBR.
  • Jim Butcher, Aeronaut’s Windlass. So. Many. Fucking. Cats. Watch as a beloved bestselling author turns into a crazy cat lady.
  • Brandon Sanderson, Way of Kings. Just read it. No, don’t mind the word count. Trust me. I’m Stormblessed.
  • Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Classic. Must have.
  • Magicians. HAS to be better than the stupid series. It has to be. Now I’m curious.
  • A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms. George R.R. Martin. No idea, haven’t gotten around to the first tomes yet.
  • The Book of Dust. Everybody seems to be talking about this. At least that’s what they do in my social media echo chamber.
  • And a bunch of other novels I don’t know about. But you can win them.

Share it with your reading buddies. Only the ones you actually like, though.

My Shelf Is Too Light Indeed

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Do You Miss Old-School Science Fiction? Then Check Out These Little Beauties

There’s a project out there, that is quite interesting. Future Fiction translates sci-fi stories from selected authors around the world and makes them available in English (And Italian, apparently).

Finding the books on Amazon is a mess, to be honest. You can start with a search on Kindle here. Or you can buy directly from the Future Fiction website.

The one I want to point out to you is the one containing two excellent shorts by my mentor, Michalis Manolios. Mentor is a strong word when you’ve had as many beers together as we’ve had, but it’s accurate. I think it was 2010, maybe 2009 when he read my stories, pushed me forward and told me I could do this, and do it well. I was fascinated with fantasy back then, but my true calling has been science fiction apparently. I shifted towards sci-fi and I honed my craft every year. The results seem to be good, as shown by reader reactions and sales numbers.

So, Michalis has two of his best short stories translated into English. They are not my favourite but they are definitely good. The stories in that Greek collection are pretty mindblowing, and these two fit the bill. Aethra and Quantum Mommy.

Read this now


I Wanna Get My Mind Blown

The rest of the volumes are either a single novella or two short stories from authors around the world. It’s a shame that we don’t have access to these stories, and that’s what I like about Future Fiction, they bring these unreachable gems to English, thus making them available to us. Some authors you’ve never heard of, naturally, others are quite well known in their countries.

Everything in the collection has the feel of old-school sci-fi, like the books I have in my bookcase. The covers, the stories, the atmosphere is a way to go back to that time when science fiction showed us what was possible instead of just shoving dystopian warnings at us. Which I’m guilty of, obviously.

Check out some of the volumes:

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The 3rd ΦantastiCon Event in Athens Was Memorable And Full of Zombies

Athens is becoming an important stop in the worldwide fantasy event circuit. This year, we had guest visitor Kate Madison, who’s made an indie series called “Ren – The Girl With the Mark.

The cosplay competition was extremely fun and very popular. Here are some indicative pics, for the whole gallery from CosplayersGR click here.

And we had the author Ioanna Bourazopoulou, who has been translated in English and won awards for her novel “What Lot’s Wife Saw.” Here’s where you can get copies on Amazon US and UK:

There were plenty of other stuff, mostly in Greek of course. Check out the convention’s English page here and contact them in case you want to take part next year. The visitors gobble up English content like there’s no tomorrow, stuff like Saga comic volumes, memorabilia, Chibi figures and whatever sort of loot you might peddle.

To end this article, here’s Sci-fi author Judith Blish getting eaten by a zombie. Um, guys, maybe we should be taking better care of legendary writers, especially now that Star Trek is cool again? Guys? Anybody left alive?

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This Year The Nobel Goes To Science Fiction

Kazuo Ishiguro has won the Nobel prize in literature this year, and we’re ecstatic.

Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

Why?

Well, the reason is that some people think that genre fiction is somehow less than literary, as if the injection of a fantastical or a technological element somehow lessens the impact of a perfect story.

Here’s the article about his Nobel:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/oct/05/kazuo-ishiguro-wins-the-nobel-prize-in-literature

And here’s Ishiguro’s opinions about transhumanism:

https://futurism.com/kazuo-ishiguro-soon-we-will-be-able-to-create-humans-who-are-superior-to-other-humans/

Ishiguro, like Heinlein before him with Stranger In A Strange Land, has proven that you can talk about love, you can talk about science fiction, you can talk about mortality and make it shine.

Start reading Ishiguro’s books and see for yourself.

What I really like about him is a tidbit of a belief that I have injected into my own stories, this quote below:

Like the saying goes, history is written by the victors. But history is rewritten every day, in every tiny event, in any major revelation. Steve Jobs was said to ignore facts that didn’t match his beliefs.

And people, when they tell themselves that something happened a certain way, they alter reality for themselves. Because it’s impossible to be truly objective, you can only be subjective and hope for the best.

The God Complex Universe is a warped version of events, a splintered timeline branching out from 2009, in which people have told themselves how certain events happened and have affected the future.

And when a powerful billionaire tells himself that something happened a certain way, everybody bends to his will eventually.

As for Kazuo Ishiguro, we can state for certain that he did it by himself, he won the Nobel prize fair and square. No Muses were dispatched.

Honest.

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I Have a Patreon Now. Patreons Are Cool.

Patronage. Just like the practice of old, we’ve resurrected the model into a digital mold, more fitting to the age.

I’m new to this. Be gentle.

Micropatronage, having a bunch of regular people pitching in small amounts instead of one wealthy patron, is being successful with plenty of examples.

What I had was a PILE of story ideas sitting on my projects folder. Some have merit, some are simply the butt of a joke. Others are pretty damn brilliant, I might say.

I took all that and decided to squeeze out at least one short story per month. That way, I can see the works-in-progress slowly thinning down, I can test them with real people and real readers, and see which one’s a winner and which one’s a dud.

I’ve been doing that already with the Epic Poets, but to be honest, I firmly believe in putting one’s money where one’s mouth is. Feedback from fans is excellent, but feedback from people who have paid a dollar carries much more weight.

Also, I have plenty of ideas that fall into fantasy or urban fantasy. At some point, as I burn through the sci-fi ones, I’ll eventually work on those too. Having patrons will provide a steady and verifiable metric that my output will be worth the time invested. I’m bound to change a lot of this on my Patreon page, I just threw one up quickly.

There’s a short story waiting for you right now, called “Life Coach.”

So, click the orange button to get a steady flow of speculative fiction short stories. I’m your story-dealer. Be patronizing. Or just share the post with your friends.

Become a Patron!

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Teaser Chapter: Slow Up

Teaser Chapter: Moirai – Brains operating @ 12 times normal human speed

Two weeks ago:

It was a secure white room, in a nondescript basement owned by Moiragetis Holdings. The three women were perched upon their marble pedestals, mumbling and threading the flow of information.
The women, dressed in white, seemed aged beyond their years. Their thin hair barely flowed, their frail hands moving, twitching, as if working the air with purpose.

The Fates by Toradh

Bundles of flashing and glowing optic fibres were feeding into their backs, directly into their spine. They connected them to the server at the room below, an unlisted supercomputer with a singular purpose.

Their eyes were glazed white, for they could not see in the conventional sense. Their optic nerves had been claimed by the stream of data. In front of their eyes, it was as if the internet was the Earth’s seas and rivers, and you had struck a blow in the rockface and made a marvellous shower erupt, the rays of the sun making rainbows in the mist. It was like that, each second of each day, for the three Moirai.

Klotho, to weave the thread of data.
Lachesis, to measure the thread and assign it to its proper owner,
And Atropos, to cut the thread at its proper place.

For data was fate and fate was data. For if one person or three could see the twists and turns of fate, they could see the immediate future and seeing the future meant seizing it. Snatching it out of the infinite possibilities and probabilities in the quantum foam of the universe and forcing it to gel into existence, an Observer making electrons decide on molecular trajectories by the mere push of his gaze.

There was one misunderstanding, though.

Fate was not tailored to a person, as it was commonly believed. No. Fate was a given constant, only the person it was assigned to was the thing to be decided.

Take the Twelve Labors of Hercules, for example. One might think that Fate came with the life of the person itself, the demigod, despised by Hera and forced to endure endless tragedies. In truth, the Fate of Hercules was a constant, and it happened to befall upon the poor man. Like a story looking for its protagonist.

“Sister?” Klotho wheezed.
“Yes, my dear?” Lachesis replied in the same rasping whisper.
“Take note of this particular thread of Fate,” Klotho said and passed the data on to her left.
“Oh, my, what a nasty one this is!” Lachesis rasped and measured the thread of data.
Klotho turned her cataract eyes to her sister, watching with interest as she worked the thread. “To whom shall we assign this, Sister?”
“Give it to me,” snapped Atropos, the nastiest and oldest sister, as she snatched the thread from them. “Yes,” she said with delight as she cut the thread. “Yes, yes, yes.” She picked up another thread of data from the folds of her white dress, it seemed as if she was saving it for a special occasion. She spun and weaved the smaller thread to the original one, matching twists and making ends disappear. It was an expert’s work.

The younger sisters turned to her side, dreading to interfere. A woman’s face showed up in the shower of Augmented Reality they saw, along with every bit of data about her. Every keystroke she ever pushed, every step she ever took, every frame of video she ever watched and was in. Her life, digitised. They gasped. “Can she endure it?” the two sisters said in unison.

Atropos, finally done with her work, smiled.

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This Is The Best 2 Star Review I’ve Ever Got

Book Review: Crying Over Spilt Light

I’m about to share the best review I’ve ever got. Caron at Diminishing Thoughts blog was kind enough to read and review my book, “Crying Over Spilt Light.”

Android 3.0 by razzicr7

And now, get this:

It’s a 2 star review.

Why am I happy about a 2 star review, you might ask if you have your brains still attached to your body? Because, here are some quotes:

Thing is though, as annoyed as the layout of this book made me, I can’t say I hated it, because I didn’t.

 

I’m glad I waited a while to write this review because I was so pissed off and I honestly have no idea why.

 

But as I said, I didn’t hate it but the plot was not something I enjoyed. I continued reading because the author’s writing was amazing. I’m actually in a state of awe over how much I loved the writing.

 

I know that this review was basically me contradicting myself the entire time but my brain is still in shambles over this dang book.

 
And the absolute best:

I’ve come to realise whilst reading this novella that I do not like androids. I seem to have developed a deep dislike for them and probably won’t be picking up another book that features them ever again.

Not exactly what I intended, but I’ll take it! 🙂 I’m sorry Caron for ruining androids for you forever. I better put a warning label on it.

Read Crying Over Spilt Light here.

Caution: May cause deep dislike for androids in your chosen literature. You have been warned.

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REBLOG: We created our gods, and we can control them

This article first appeared in Standard Examiner. Reblogged here because it’s so brilliant.

By E. KENT WINWARD, special to the Standard-Examiner

“Once upon a time”… we told stories, stories that explained our world, how it works, and taught us how to behave and not behave. The ancient Greeks told stories about their gods. The almighty Zeus hurled thunderbolts, while Hera chased Zeus around, trying to catch him in the act of wooing a nymph or two. Athena protected warriors in battle, while Ares incited them.

Aphrodite, goddess of love, wreaked havoc with human lives, just as love continues to do today. Mercury was the gods’ “runner,” while Apollo drove his chariot across the sky until dusk. Schools wisely teach Greek mythology to adolescents, because the Greek gods usually end up acting like a Mount Olympus high school.

Zeus, Athena and other ancient Greek gods and deities on a building at the National University of Athens, Greece. Image by: Dimitrios.

Teaching Greek mythology is also a fantastic way to get smartphone-wielding teenagers to question how human beings could be so gullible: “Did those old Greeks really believe some cranky guy in the clouds was hurling thunderbolts, or a chariot drove the sun through its rotation?” But even as we ridicule the old beliefs, we love listening to the stories because they entertain us and carry an essence of truth within the obvious fictions. Lightning strikes are capricious. The sun’s rotation seems like a benevolent force: life-giving, light-giving, and reliable. We think about how silly those toga-wearing ancients’ beliefs were, and yet we continue to build our human societies around fictional narratives, even today.

My job as an attorney is not that far removed from being the Oracle of Delphi. I interpret the fictional story of “the law” and enlighten those who come with a query. The law is a story we have collectively created as a society. We believe in the story enough that we enforce the story with our collective force, but the fact remains that it’s a story we’ve made up and written down. The law is a story that serves a purpose — it makes sure we’re all on the same page.

The story of the law is fictional, but as with all fiction, many things are true. We have endowed our fictional legal story with godlike powers, and the law has responded in kind by giving us our very own pantheon of new and powerful gods. Instead of requesting answers from Apollo at Delphi, we consult the Oracle via our search bar, and the great god Google answers us. In the real world of concrete, tangible things, how is Google different from Apollo? “Is this mole cancerous? The Oracle told me it could be.”

We believe in our new gods so much, we allow them to sue and be sued in courts of law. The smartphone gods, Apple and Samsung, duke it out for supremacy, intellectual property, and credit from the masses, and humanity is divided into groups of believers. Are you an ardent follower of the one true Apple, or are you an Android heretic?

Have you heard the new commandment from the great god, Amazon? “True believers of Amazon shall buy Prime. Appeal at your desktop altar, or petition your prayer phone. Pay your indulgence, and with free two-day shipping, ye shall receive.” (Just a quick side note: in naming the company, Bezos even opted for a reference to a collection of powerful female Greek demigods, including the modernized comic book goddess, Wonder Woman.)

And like the Greeks, we have countless demigods running around, incorporated into our modern language and commerce, and we often don’t bother to rename them. The god Nike brings promises of victory; Ajax wasn’t a god, but a mighty warrior. The Trojans had a mighty wall that kept out the swarms, at least until the wall was covertly circumvented. And open Pandora’s box and along with musical wonders, you will almost certainly find unwanted ads.

Trademarks, intellectual property and corporations are all legal fictions. For that matter, the Constitution itself is the ultimate fiction: an agreed-upon set of rules that finds its strength in our collective commitment to believe in its underlying truths. Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and many more, are our new pantheon, and they remain just as fictional as any Greek god. Humanity created these powerful forces from nothing more than words in a law book, stories, and a collective belief in the stories. If we look at the almost miraculous gifts from our corporate gods, we believe they were created with intelligent design — our intelligent design.

But we need to remember that, just like the ancient Greeks, we created these gods to serve specific functions, and we have the ability to tell them how to behave through our collective story (our laws), including what powers we endow them with, as well as their limitations and weaknesses.

If we don’t like how our stories are ending, especially because of the behavior of our gods, we must rewrite the story so that our “once upon a time” ends with us living “happily ever after.”

E. Kent Winward is an Ogden attorney. Twitter: @KentWinward.

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Incursion Is The Space Opera Book You Need

The war games are on, but the real battle has just begun…

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The entire Alliance is ready for the war games. The spectacular show of innovation and strength may change the way war is waged, but on far-flung worlds, devastating incursions have already begun. The Merkiaari are back, but news can only travel as fast as a foldspace drone.
Captain Eric Penleigh of the 501st Infantry Regiment looks forward to an easy assignment. All he needs to do is evaluate the best cutting-edge tech the Alliance has to offer and make nice with new alien allies. But when preparation for the games turns into a deadly war, nobody will be ready for what comes next…
Incursion is the long-awaited fifth book in the Merkiaari Wars series. If you like breathtaking space battles and heart-pounding military sci-fi, then you’ll love Mark E. Cooper’s latest entry in the beloved space opera saga.
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Preorder Incursion Now

Start Reading Merkiaari Wars Now:

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Get Bundle on Kindle

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Listen on Audible

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Dystopian Does Not Mean Post-Apocalyptic

Yeah, I noticed the trend and it bugs me a little. No, people, dystopian doesn’t mean post-apocalyptic. Post-ap is something after a major catastrophe, dystopian means Orwellian surveillance nightmare. You know, kinda like the God Complex Universe.

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Sometimes the two genres overlap like in the Hunger Games, but one does not necessarily mean the other. Anyway, here are some grim and post-apocalyptic books for you to choose from.

  • Science Fiction
  • Space Opera
  • Dystopian
  • Fantasy
  • Horror

You’ll find all that, and most importantly, you’ll find it across all major retailers. Yeah, we’ve made it the norm.

  • Amazon
  • Kobo
  • iTunes
  • Nook
  • Smashwords
  • Google Play Books

Any shop you prefer, we’re on it. First weekend of November only, 5-6 Nov. Get ready cause it’s closing in fast.

Show Me The Bargains

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Introducing the Bite-Sized Stories Anthology: 33 Indie Flash Fiction Tales for Stolen Moments

Looking for some short but high-quality entertainment over coffee or a snack? Grab Bite-Sized Stories and fill your stolen moments with 33 indie flash fiction tales. Just 5 minutes per engaging story.

Discover new authors!
Discover new authors!

From a creepypasta horror farm to a bullish love tale and from the bloody metal deck of the ESS Arclight to superhero octopus food trucks, you can transform your shortest stolen moments into utter delights with this diverse collection of 33 flash fiction stories.

Commuting to work? Grabbing a quick coffee? Each story tells a complete tale in but a few short minutes with the added promise of a lifelong introduction to new indie writers.

You never know, you might just find your next favorite author.

I Want To Download It For Free

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BEWARE: Never, Ever, Accept Gifts From An Alien

Promotion Over. To get notified in time for these, sign up for the newsletter.

The aliens have arrived. Heh, heh. Arrived. Can’t wait for the movie.

Anyway, they’ve arrived, and are bearing gifts. More than 100 free ebooks in our usual genres. You know, the cool kind.

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  • Science Fiction
  • Space Opera
  • Dystopian
  • Fantasy
  • Horror

You’ll find all that, and most importantly, you’ll find it across all major retailers. Yeah, we’ve made it the norm.

  • Amazon
  • Kobo
  • iTunes
  • Nook
  • Smashwords
  • Google Play Books

Any shop you prefer, we’re on it. First weekend of October only, 1-2 Oct. Get ready cause it’s closing in fast.

I Want Some Alien Space Gifts