Category novel

NaNoWriMo progress

I haven’t put any new reviews up in the last couple of weeks, because I’ve been working nights and weekends, counting inventory battling the forces of bad science fiction, and I can’t seem to shake the cold I caught on the plane home from South America the PDC was hit by a biological weapons attack.  I […]

NaNoWriMo

If you’re not familiar with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), it takes place each November, when aspiring authors attempt to write entire novels in 30 days. For most people, writing a novel in 30 days would be an ambitious goal, but for someone with my awesome writing skills, it’s not much of a challenge.  So, for this […]

Vacation Reading

On Sunday, I returned from a two-week vacation (My last couple of posts were set up to run automatically while I was away).  I’ll eventually do an off-topic post with vacation pics, but I’m a bit weak thanks to catching a virus or something on the flight home, plus some pre-vacation injuries, so I’m doing […]

21st-Century SFF Publishers

If you’ve been following this blog, you know that I’ve been struggling to find good science-fiction stories in magazines.  Although I haven’t blogged about longer fiction lately, I also have trouble finding good sci-fi and fantasy novels. I normally don’t pay any attention to a book’s publisher.  I usually decide what to read based on […]

For Steam and Country

For Steam and Country Fellow blogger Jon Del Arroz recently released his first steampunk novel, For Steam and Country.  I haven’t read it yet, so this post won’t be a review.  (I will point out that there must be some humor in it, as one of the characters is named Baron Von Monocle.) I’ve only […]

Review of The River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey

Originally posted on Every Day Should Be Tuesday:
The River of Teeth has a killer concept. It riffs off a cockamamie scheme to deal with invasive vegetation and a meat shortage in America by importing hippos en masse. In Gailey’s world, Congress went forward with the scheme (at a slightly different time than proposed), and…

Planetary Award Winners – 2016

The winners of the 2016 Planetary Awards have been announced. The winning short story was “Athan and the Priestess” from the collection Thune’s Vision by Schuyler Hernstrom.  I’ve purchased a copy, and I’ll review it once I’ve read the entire book.  I’ve only read the winning story so far, but I enjoyed it.  I found it very Conan-esque, […]

Vote for the best stories of 2016

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
We’re expanding the voting pool for the awards this year, so read this entire post to find out if YOU are eligible to vote. But first, here are the 2016 stories nominated by book bloggers across the internet: Short Stories / Novellas “Athan and the Priestess” by Schuyler Hernstrom, found in…

My 2016 Planetary Award Nominations

I’ve posted my thoughts about 2016 short stories, 2016 novels, and 2016 indie reading.  Many of the stories I mentioned could have been #1, but it’s time for me to quit being indecisive and pick my nominees for the Planetary Awards. Short Story For best short story, I’m choosing “Paper Cut” by Aeryn Rudel.  It was published in […]

Award Thoughts – Indie Reading

I’ve already posted my award thoughts concerning short stories, and the better novels I read last year. At the start of 2017, I made an effort to read some self-published books (and a couple of traditionally-published I hadn’t gotten to) to see if they might be worth nominating for best SFF book of the year.  (I […]

Award Thoughts – Novel

I’m having trouble picking my favorite novel of 2016, just like I’m having trouble picking a short story.  I don’t have as many novels to choose from, so I’ve expanded my candidates to include books that aren’t the first in a series. Joel Shepherd’s Drysine Legacy was in the lead, until I realized that although the […]

Submit Your 2016 Nominations

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
Happy New Year — it’s time to nominate your favorite science fiction and fantasy writing for the 2016 Planetary Awards. We’re doing only two categories this year: Shorter story (under 40,000 words/160 paperback pages) Longer story (novels) If you’re a book blogger, book podcaster, or booktuber, the nomination process is…

Review: Children of the Different

Children of the Different     Three flying saucers (3 out of 4 rating) Fellow blogger SC Flynn gave me a copy of the audiobook version of his first self-published novel, Children of the Different. I enjoyed listening to an Australian-authored audiobook with an Australian narrator — most Aussie audiobooks I’ve run across are read […]

PDC on Facebook

I’ve bitten the bullet and created a Facebook page for Planetary Defense Command. Facebook considers PDC an “artist, band, or public figure”. I’m certain I’m not a band, and I’ve never considered myself an artist, so I guess that makes me a public figure — and I didn’t even have to put on a tie! […]

Last Week

I was on vacation in Maine last week. I logged in here, posted a pre-written article, and responded to a few comments, but otherwise stayed away from email and blogs. I’ll write up a full travelogue of my trip this weekend or next week, including a few photos. The alien rover has already broadcast one […]

Books Made of Paper

In the future… My granddaughter hops onto my lap, and once again I say a silent prayer of thanks for the medical technology which let me live long enough to know her. I pick up a paperback book from the table beside my chair. “Would you like to see something from back when Grandpa was […]

Review: The Awakening

The Awakening One dung Beetle (1 out of 4 rating) Abducted humans wake up aboard an alien spaceship. The aliens have been collecting apex predators from various planets, but for some reason the predators are waking up and running loose on the ship. Plus, an automated defense system is trying to kill all life on […]

Planetary Awards and Dragon Awards

The winners have been announced in the 2015 Planetary Awards. The winner for best short story was “Something in the Water” by C. S. Boyack. I wrote a little about the story when I nominated it, and I also reviewed the collection which contains the story. I ‘ve read the winner for best novel, Torchship, […]

99 cents: Wild Concept

Followers of this blog should be familiar with C. S. Boyack. I’ve interviewed him, reviewed his experimental notebook, and posted an excerpt from his latest novel, The Playground. For just a couple of days, his first novel, Wild Concept, is on sale for 99 cents at Amazon. I’ve picked up a copy — get one […]

Free David Drake

David Drake isn’t in prison (as far as I know) – I’m referring to free David Drake ebooks at Amazon. I don’t know if these are permanently free or short-term promotions, so grab them now if you want them. Several of the books are also available as audiobooks at audible; once you have the ebook […]

Questions from MarzAat

MarzAat recently nominated me for a Liebster award. If you’re not familiar with Liebster: basically you answer ten questions, then forward ten questions to ten bloggers who impress you. I’m not going to forward the questions on, as some bloggers have grown tired of awards. Reference this graphic from Entertaining Stories: However, if you would […]

Review: Heirs of Empire

Heirs of Empire I found Heirs of Empire when I was searching for a novel to nominate for The Planetary Awards. The book has a reasonably interesting plot: a military coup knocks out most of a ruling dynasty, the youngest members of the dynasty escape, and the dynasty’s allies lay a foundation for its return […]

Meet Clovis

Clovis is a character from C. S. Boyack‘s new novel, The Playground. (If I’m not mistaken, Clovis is on the short-list to receive a Nobel Peace Prize this year.) Here is an excerpt from The Playground which introduces him: The tweaker rushed around the corner behind the bushes, tried to slam the gate shut, and […]

Cover Reveal: The Playground

Freqent PDC visitor C. S. Boyack will release “The Playground” soon (pre-orders now being taken at Amazon). I’ve previously interviewed him on this blog, and also reviewed his short story collection, The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack. Watch for the book’s release by following Boyack’s author page on Amazon, on Goodreads, or, if you […]

Nine novels down, five to go

I read nine novels in my search for planetary awards nominees, so I thought I’d give you a rundown of them before I resume my magazine quest.  I’ll also lay out my plans for reading other bloggers’ nominees. Traditionally-published, from best to worst: #1) Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia was my nominee. […]

Vote for the best stories of 2015

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
If you’re a book blogger, podcaster, or booktuber, then it’s time to vote for the best stories of 2015. You are allowed one vote per category, chosen from the nominated works listed below: Short Story / Novella: Something in the Water by C.S. Boyack, in The Experimental Notebook of C. S.…

Son of the Black Sword

Son of the Black Sword I’ve made my short story and self-published novel nominations for the Planetary Awards, and now I’m nominating Son of the Black Sword for best traditionally-published novel of 2015. This post will discuss the book, but won’t really be a review. I’m going to talk about the author’s previous work, my […]

Rath’s Deception – my choice for best self-published novel of 2015

Last week, I posted my nomination for the Planetary Awards in the short story category. In that post, I mentioned that I found a couple of surprise gems in my December novel-reading binge. The best of these was Rath’s Deception, by Piers Platt. I wasn’t familiar with the author, and the polished writing and page-turning […]

My 2015 Planetary Awards Nominations

The 2015 Planetary Awards have three categories open for nominations: shorter story (including novelettes and novellas), traditionally published novel, and self-published / small press novel. It wasn’t too hard for me to find a short story nominee. I’ve read a dozen 2015 science fiction magazines as part of my magazine quest, and I’ve also read […]

Submit Your 2015 Nominations

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
It’s time for book bloggers, podcasters, and booktubers to nominate their favorite science fiction and fantasy books and short stories published in 2015. There are three categories for the 2015 awards: 1) Shorter story (under 40,000 words/160 paperback pages) 2) Traditionally published novel 3) Small press / self-published novel Nominations…

Free: Pearseus

Nicholas Rossis‘ book, Pearseus, Rise of the Prince, is free at Amazon from November 17th to the 20th. Nicholas is in Europe, and I’m not sure if the 20th cutoff applies to his time or to your local time, so don’t wait until the last minute to pick up your copy!

FREE SCI-FI NOVEL

Originally posted on North of Andover:
Yeah, I kinda figured that would get your attention… 🙂 Who doesn’t like free books? This Saturday through Wednesday (October 24-28), you can get a free digital edition of The Remnant on Amazon. (Of course, if you have Kindle Unlimited, you can borrow it anytime, but this way you can…

Award Categories

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
We’ve announced a new science fiction / fantasy award, discussed who should be eligible to vote and when we should vote. Now, we tackle the issue of award categories. Should different genres get their own awards, such as one set of awards for science fiction, one for high/epic fantasy, and…

When to Vote?

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
This post continues the thread announcing a new science fiction / fantasy award, and discussing who should be eligible to vote. The next question is: when to vote? If a book is released on December 31st, it’s unlikely many potential voters will have read it by January 1st. So, how…

Who votes, and how?

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
The winners of our new science fiction and fantasy awards will be chosen by book bloggers, podcasters, and booktubers. That seems simple enough, but how do we decide if a person is one of those? Is one book review some time in the distant past good enough? One book review…

Creating New Awards

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
I’m asking my fellow book bloggers, along with podcasters and booktubers, to join me in creating a new set of awards for science fiction and fantasy stories. Why invent another award? In addition to numerous regional and sub-genre awards, there are currently two broad awards: The Nebula and the Hugo.…

Sale: Book of Lost Doors Series

Until next Thursday (August 13th), Misha Burnett‘s Book of Lost Doors Series is on sale. There is a post on Misha’s site which links to the books on Amazon. Long-time followers of this blog will remember that I’ve reviewed Catskinner’s Book, Cannibal Hearts, and The Worms of Heaven. I’ve also interviewed Misha. If you’ve been […]

How fast can you write?

Last week, I read a message board post by a moderately-popular science fiction / fantasy author, in which he claimed that he typically writes a 120,000 word novel in 100 hours. That’s 1,200 words per hour, or 20 words per minute. That doesn’t seem possible to me, so I’m hoping those of you who are […]

Review: Emperor Mollusk versus The Sinister Brain

Emperor Mollusk versus The Sinister Brain Two nuclear missiles (2 out of 4 rating) The recent 4th of July holiday here in the USA brought this book to my mind. The story isn’t set during the Revolutionary War, but in the audiobook, Emperor Mollusk has a British accent, and he fights against The Sinister Brain, […]

Review: The Worms of Heaven

The Worms Of Heaven Three flying saucers (3 out of 4 rating) The Worms of Heaven is the third book in Misha Burnett‘s “Book of Lost Doors” series. I’ve previously reviewed the first two books, Catskinner’s Book and Cannibal Hearts. The stories focus on James, a young man who shares his head with Catskinner, who […]

Status Update

You may have noticed that I’ve been away from the blog for the past month. The fact that 30 days is the minimum time required for aliens to clone a fully-grown human is purely a coincidence. I just had something pop up at work, and then decided to spend my few spare hours planting a […]

Review: Leviathan

The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier: Leviathan Four Royal Crowns (4 out of 4 rating) I’ve blogged about why I enjoy the Lost Fleet series and why I was disappointed with Steadfast; now I’m glad to see the series got back on track with Leviathan. The novel starts off a bit slow, as the two […]

Review: The Might of Fortitude

The Might of Fortitude Two nuclear missiles (2 out of 4 rating) This military science fiction story follows an officer as he moves from ground combat to command of one of his space navy’s most specialized high-tech warships.  I think I need to follow the good, bad, and ugly format: The good: The author paints a picture […]

Say no to prequels

A while ago, I noticed that every time I read a novel (or see a film) that is a prequel, I like it far less than the original material. So, I’m going to make a conscious effort to avoid prequels in the future. I think I’ve boiled down my aversion to two factors: 1) Lack […]

Review: Cannibal Hearts

Three flying saucers (3 out of 4 rating) Cannibal Hearts is the sequel to Catskinner’s Book, which I reviewed last year. Although paranormal/urban fantasy isn’t my favorite sub-genre, I enjoyed Catskinner’s book. To me, the best aspects of the story were a world where it felt like anything could happen, and the dual nature of […]

Christmas Science Fiction

I didn’t have time to get each of you that present you really wanted, so instead I browsed Amazon for some Christmas-related science fiction: Last January, I reviewed Merry Christmas, Mr. Babbers In April, I reviewed The Mighty Peculiar Incident at Muddy Creek, which is not Christmas-themed, but the author has another short story which […]

More Dogs in Science Fiction

In my previous post, I was only able to come up with two science fiction works where dogs were important characters. Fortunately, readers came to my rescue: Misha Burnett, in addition to mentioning a dog-themed role playing game, provided this example – more in the realm of fantasy than science fiction, but still very interesting: […]

Dogs in Science Fiction

My previous post, about my new puppy, led me to think about dogs in science fiction. Two stories immediately came to mind: The first story is a post-apocalyptic tale where one of the two main characters is a telepathic dog. (The images/links below are for the relatively well-known film and the less well-known book it […]

Review: The Fallen Race

  Three flying saucers (3 out of 4 rating) Fellow blogger Kal Spriggs responded to my last call for authors, and provided an audiobook version of The Fallen Race. In doing so, he’s given me a bit of a puzzle: I don’t think I can write a one-size-fits-all review; whether you’ll enjoy this story or […]

Setting: the middle of nowhere

I took the above photo during my honeymoon, part of which included a drive from Springbok to Augrabies Falls in South Africa’s Northern Cape. I drove through this terrain for hours, and tried to imagine what it would have been like centuries ago, traveling in an ox-drawn wagon, with no road or power lines to […]

Review: A World Out of Time

Two nuclear missiles (2 out of 4 rating) When you read a Larry Niven novel, you shouldn’t expect memorable characters. You should expect big-picture science fiction concepts, with characters who serve as vehicles to carry you through the sci-fi landscape. I’m OK with that; I think there’s a place for stories focused on ideas and […]

Setting: Underwater Dome City – part 2

In part 1 of this topic, I introduced the underwater dome as a setting for science fiction stories. Here, I’ll discuss some of the difficulties of life in an underwater dome, because they can be used to give more detail and flavor to your story. First, you’ll need to build your dome out of something […]

Setting: Underwater Dome City – part 1

I wanted to live underwater as a child. I saw underwater domes on Saturday morning cartoons, but also in serious reference books predicting that by the far-off future of 2015, there would be cities inside underwater domes as well as domes on the lunar surface. I would imagine myself driving a kelp-harvesting tractor, piloting a […]

Calling all Authors

In August, I’ll be making several long international flights, so it’s time to load my kindle and ipod with reading material. If you’re an author and would like me to review one of your stories, leave me a message in the comments section below. If you’d rather speak privately, send me a direct message via […]

Logan’s Run vs. Logan’s Run

    VS I listened to an audiobook of the classic science fiction novel “Logan’s Run” with the intention of reviewing it. However, I couldn’t evaluate the story on its own; I could only think of it in terms of the “Logan’s Run” movie, or more accurately, my decades-old memories of the movie. So, instead […]

Review: Catskinner’s Book

Three flying saucers (3 out of 4 rating) The author of Catskinner’s Book, Misha Burnett, gave me a copy of the audiobook version and asked me to review it. I’ve decided to try something a little bit different with this review, dividing it into the good, the bad, and the ugly. Fortunately, the story pulled […]

Review: Steadfast

Three flying saucers (3 out of 4 rating) This will be a brief review, as I recently posted about things I liked in Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet series. As the Lost Fleet is one of my favorite science fiction series, why didn’t the latest book receive my top rating? My problem is with the structure […]

Series Review: The Lost Fleet

Four Royal Crowns (4 out of 4 rating) The Lost Fleet series by Jack Campbell (pen name of John G. Hemry, a retired naval officer) is one of my favorite science fiction works. As a new book in the series (Steadfast) was just released today, I thought this would be a good time for a […]

Blog: the parasite guy

In my blog’s first post, I mentioned that 62,597 science fiction titles were available at Amazon’s Kindle store. That total is now up to 70,246 (a change of 7,649, or almost 65 per day). During the same time period, I inspected 17 titles for bad science fiction. Even if I had reviewed only new releases, […]

Review: Steelheart

Three flying saucers (3 out of 4 rating) I’m not normally into superheroes, but I almost gave this story my very top rating. I’ll discuss why I didn’t at the end of the review (below the triple spoiler dragons), but basically the story just went a chapter too far. If it had ended right at […]

Review: The Dragon in the Sea

Two nuclear missiles (2 out of 4 rating) This is my second discount audiobook by Frank Herbert, the author of Dune. In this story, the western hemisphere is at war with a not-quite-specified coalition of Asian powers that includes Russia. Britain is a nuclear wasteland. The westerners need more fossil fuel, so they’ve been drilling […]

Review: Whipping Star

One dung Beetle (1 out of 4 rating) Audible, the dealer for my audiobook addiction, periodically has deep-discount science fiction sales. During one of the latest, I picked up two books by Frank Herbert, the author of Dune, which I’ve seen reported as the most-loved and the best-selling science fiction book ever. I read Dune […]