Tag Archives: kindle

Magazine: Grimdark #8

Grimdark Magazine #8 When I was a child, I passed my neighbor’s house every day while walking home from school. He would often be sitting on his front porch, tying his shoes, and would wave or say hello to me. I remember one day that was different from all the others: “Hi, Billy. I hope […]

Magazine: Albedo One #46

A bowl of cereal in one hand, a jug of milk in the other, I head to the kitchen table. There’s no room to set down my breakfast, because a two-foot-tall man in a three-piece suit is stretched out there, snoring. I use my elbow to shove him off, and he hits the floor with […]

Something for writers, something for readers

First, some news: I received a rejection letter for my first short story submission. I was originally going to give this post the pessimistic title of “Rejection #1”, because I’m a ‘glass is 96% empty’ kind of guy, not ‘glass is 4% full’. (According to The Grinder, 96% of stories are rejected at Analog magazine, […]

Magazine: Red Sun #1

Red Sun Magazine, Issue 1 I’d have known Old Man Brady was on his deathbed even if his nurse hadn’t told me. He raises a skeletal hand and motions me closer, then removes his oxygen mask to speak. “Thank you for coming. I’m sorry my wife couldn’t be here.” I don’t have the heart to […]

Today is the day

Originally posted on Entertaining Stories:
Well, it’s one of the days. My newest book The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II is now available for purchase on Amazon. It’s a pre-sale, and the books will deliver on August 31st. That is the other day. I wanted to do a short pre-sale, but Lisa my…

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 […]

Hot Off the Press: Honest Fibs, a Collection of SSF Short Stories

Originally posted on Nicholas C. Rossis:
Here is the promised update on the progress of Honest Fibs, my third collection of short stories, written in my trademark combination of speculative and science fiction: it’s alive! Sorry, I mean, it’s live. And you can buy it for the preorder price of $0.99 on Amazon until next week,…

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 […]

Magazine: Lightspeed Oct 2015

Lightspeed Magazine Issue 65 We got a call about a disturbance at the old Ferguson place. The house had been some rich guy’s mansion, then a nursing home, and most recently a failed bed and breakfast. We knew that empty places attract trouble (teenagers, meth cooks, and uglier things the people of the community pretend […]

Magazine: Galaxy’s Edge Jul 2015

Galaxy’s Edge Magazine – Issue 15 I’m shuffling through snowdrifts towards a Himalayan mountaintop temple. Why does it always have to be a mountaintop temple? Why can’t it be the ‘temple next to the burger king’? The wind dies down for a moment, giving me a glimpse of my goal through the blowing snow. Or […]

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 […]

Magazine: Clarkesworld Nov 2015

Clarkesworld Magazine Issue 110 The Sri Lankan mountainside is steep, and the ground is slick with mud and algae-covered tree roots, but I’m not even breathing hard as I ascend — I’m riding in a palanquin carried by a gang of jungle squid. They wrap their tentacles around upslope trees and pull, repeating the process […]

Magazine: Asimov’s Dec 2015

Asimov’s Science Fiction, December 2015 I follow the priests into the Temple of Asimov. Hooded grey robes hide their faces and bodies; I can’t tell what sex they are, or whether they’re actually human. They lead me to a reading room and motion for me to sit at an antique writing desk. One of them, […]

Magazine: Analog Dec 2015

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, December 2015 I’m in the space station’s control room, watching two progress bars on a computer monitor. One is labeled “Analog magazine download”. The other is labeled “Space station auto-destruct”. The two appear to be perfectly synchronized. — Novelette: A Case of Identity by Edward Lerner. An AI private detective […]

Magazine: Interzone Sep-Oct 2015

Interzone #260 Sep-Oct 2015 My quest isn’t off to an auspicious start. I’ve spent eight weeks in London, trying to get into the archives of the Ministry of Science Fiction. Every morning, I arrive at the ministry to find a person I haven’t seen before sitting at the front desk. I show them yesterday’s approval […]

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!

On a Quest

I’m setting off on a quest.  I won’t be sailing after the Golden Fleece, or throwing jewelry into a volcano. Instead, I’m searching for a science fiction / fantasy magazine worthy of my subscription dollars. I haven’t read a magazine in quite a while. For many years, my reading time was entirely devoted to scientific […]

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…

Review: The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack

The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack Four Royal Crowns (4 out of 4 rating) I had trouble reviewing this collection of 12 short stories. Deciding on a rating was easy — I enjoy short-format stories, and was totally immersed in 9 of the 12. My problem was what to write about each of them– […]

99 cents: The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack

C. S. Boyack is a long-time follower of this blog, and the second author I’ve interviewed. He has written novels in several science fiction and fantasy subgenres, and now he’s releasing a short story collection: The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack. The collection is available for pre-order now, and will be released September 15th. […]

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 […]

Bookends: Leyfarers and Wayfarers

Leyfarers and Wayfarers is a collection of 16 stories (in a variety of genres) by G L Francis. As usual for my bookends series of posts, I read the first and last stories, then made a decision whether to continue. First Story: Tools of the Trade In this steampunk tale, Russian water spirits are killing […]

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 […]

Bookends: Wyrd Worlds

Wyrd Worlds is a collection of fantasy and science fiction short stories by self-published authors. The book is free, as is its sequel, Wyrd Worlds II. The authors of these stories are hoping that you’ll enjoy their work, then seek out something else they’ve written. As usual for my Bookends series, I have read the […]

Review: 1000

1000 One dung Beetle (1 out of 4 rating) I haven’t written a negative review in a while, and I thought it was time, before people start to think I’ve gone soft. [I mention why I’m doing fewer negative reviews on my revised About Page.] So, beetles, roll this ball of dung away: A combination […]

Free: Into the Wazoo of Death

My review of Eat Fish and Die was one of the first posts on this blog, and the first review where I gave out my top ranking. There is now a sequel to the story, Into The Wazoo Of Death, which is free at Amazon this week, as is the original story: Eat Fish And […]

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: […]

Bookends: Quantum Zoo

In an earlier review of The Power of Six, I mentioned my plans for a new feature where I read the first and last short story from a collection. In each post of this feature, I’ll briefly describe the two stories, and then indicate whether I’m inclined to read further in the collection. My theory […]

Review: The Power of Six

Three flying saucers (3 out of 4 rating) I’ve been wanting to read something by Nicholas Rossis for a while, as he’s a frequent visitor to this blog and seems like a really nice guy. I had planned to write about The Power of Six, his short story collection, as the first post of a […]

Blurb Doctor: Dimension Lapse

Nicholas Davis asked me to look at his story, Dimension Lapse, so it’s getting a full workup from the Blurb Doctor. Jeff Walker, a Martian colonist is trapped in another universe, and lands on an island on a far away planet. He is befriended by its inhabitants,the Lingworts and learns to live in peace. When […]

Review: Adam

Three flying saucers (3 out of 4 rating) Fellow blogger Justine Allen has been a frequent visitor here, so I made sure to include some of her work in my latest reading binge. I’m glad I did so; I was reading a long string of stories which didn’t really go anywhere (not bad enough to […]

Blurb Doctor: Gem-Oh Line

This is the second house call by the Blurb Doctor for one of Natalie McKay‘s stories. This time it’s Gem-Oh Line, here’s the current blurb: Nyria’s life couldn’t get much worse. Not only was she now the laughing stock of the Afgadu Military, she now was sent as a form of punishment to the other […]

Blurb Doctor: Red Haven

Natalie McKay has volunteered her short stories for the first posts in my new series, the Blurb Doctor. In these posts, I’ll take apart a book or short story’s marketing blurb, and rebuild it … better … stronger … faster. [For the younger crowd, that’s a Six Million Dollar Man reference. Hmmm, inflation is making […]

Review: Spikebreaker

Four Royal Crowns (4 out of 4 rating) Spikebreaker is a story about a police unit which partners regular officers with telepaths. I wasn’t sure if I’d like it; I’m a sucker for anything which combines sci-fi and cops, but I wasn’t so sure about the psychic angle. After reading, I was impressed enough to […]

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: Moment of Extinction

Two nuclear missiles (2 out of 4 rating) I can’t say anything about this story without spoilers, so here’s the dragon: MINOR SPOILERS BELOW – ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK There are two types of characters here: workers for a relief agency which rescues people from alternate universes / parallel dimensions, and the refugees. (The […]

Review: The Energy Scavengers

  Three flying saucers (3 out of 4 rating) This is an ambitious story, as every character is a robot; there are no humans or bugs or squids, only metal parts and circuitry. Two human-built robots (a lander and a rover) touch down on what was once an alien mining colony, and interact with the […]

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 […]

We have a “winner”

New Beginnings (Vitalis) has won the first Radioactive Dung Beetle Award! I think this victory provides an important lesson for authors: make sure your marketing blurb matches the genre, style, and tone of your story. Don’t bait-and-switch, and don’t assume that the customer has read your previous work and therefore knows what to expect. If […]

First Radioactive Dung Beetle Award

It’s time for Planetary Defense Command’s first ever Radioactive Dung Beetle Award. So far this year, the blog has featured six stories awful enough to be balled up and rolled away by my dung beetles. Now, it’s time to choose the worst of the worst. This will be done in a democratic fashion; it’s your […]

Review: Seventy

One dung Beetle (1 out of 4 rating) I’ve given this story a dung beetle rating for its content rather than its writing style. I have two major problems with the content. First, the failure of certain terraforming technologies is a key plot device, yet the author fails to explain why those technologies were being […]

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: The Mighty Peculiar Incident at Muddy Creek

Two nuclear missiles (2 out of 4 rating) This story throws a science fiction twist into a western setting. The story is written well, and the western setting will seem familiar to anyone who has watched western movies, but I didn’t feel that the science fiction element was taken far enough. The author has a […]

Review: Making a Gilling

One dung Beetle (1 out of 4 rating) This is a marginal story, buried under some of the worst writing I’ve seen. I realize that the author isn’t a native English speaker, but if someone is going to publish short stories and novels in English, they can at least take the time to turn on […]

Seven Cities of Paper

I’ve created a second blog; it is similar to this one except it is for non-fiction, primarily history books. If you have any interest in non-fiction/history, check it out at sevencitiesofpaper.wordpress.com Here at Planetary Defense Command, I try to shine a light on lesser-known writers, focusing on short stories to increase the number of authors […]

Review: Toy Planets

Two nuclear missiles (2 out of 4 rating) The concept and main character of this story are outstanding, worthy of inclusion in any collection. Unfortunately, the writing and editing don’t rise to the same level, dragging the Asimov/Clarke class concept down to produce a story which is just average. The story also goes on a […]

Review: Redtooth

Two nuclear missiles (2 out of 4 rating) This story is written well, has a distinctive main character, and makes good use of humor; I wouldn’t hesitate to read another story by the author. So, why didn’t I give it one of my top ratings? I would have preferred slightly more development of the plot, […]

Review: Empty Sea

Two nuclear missiles (2 out of 4 rating) This story begins with several tourists hiding in a resort on an out-of-the-way planet. They are hiding because some sort of armed conflict is taking place / has taken place outside. The early part of the story is written well; if you’ve ever been holed up in […]

Review: Le Morte d’Arthur

Unrated Once again, I am psychically tuning in to my readers’ thoughts: “Two unrated stories in a row? You are worthless and weak. We welcome our new alien overlords.” Wait, don’t surrender yet! This is another story which is a bit light on plot: A captain welcomes a replacement crew member on board the ship. […]

Review: From the Ice Incarnate

Unrated I am using my psychic powers to tap into my readers’ thoughts: “Your entire purpose in life is to rate things, and you chose ‘unrated’? You are lazy and pathetic. Is this what my planetary defense taxes are paying for?” Wait, let me explain! This story is a vivid description of two people being […]

Review: The Is Shop

One dung Beetle (1 out of 4 rating) This story is based on an interesting premise: a retail store that will acquire anything a customer desires. Unfortunately, beyond that concept, there’s nothing worth reading. The story is also another example of a “sci-fi” story without any “sci” in it. There are some sentences that seem […]

@PlanDefCom on twitter

Planetary Defense Command now has a twitter account: https://twitter.com/PlanDefCom The twitter account’s purpose is to allow non-wordpress users to follow the PDC; all of the story reviews will continue to appear here. I’m experimenting with some additional content on twitter that doesn’t need a full blog post: 1) Lists of upcoming story reviews 2) Running […]

Review: Delirium (Debt Collector)

Three flying saucers (3 out of 4 rating) Although I didn’t give this story my highest rating, I don’t have anything negative to say about it. It is well written and has interesting characters; I wish I could produce something of this quality. My only problem is with the category/placement; I need more “sci” in […]

Review: New Beginnings (Vitalis)

One dung Beetle (1 out of 4 rating) I chose this story because in its marketing blurb there is talk of space pirates, and there are also some vague statements which, to me, implied the heroine might have a past as a secret agent. There was absolutely nothing to warn me that I would soon […]

Review: Merry Christmas, Mr. Babbers!

Two nuclear missiles (2 out of 4 rating) To me, this story breaks into two very different halves. I interpreted the first half as social commentary about technology and human relationships; since it’s fairly depressing, you might even call it “literature”. The second half of the story takes a left turn into la-la land; the […]

Review: Eat Fish and Die

Four Royal Crowns (4 out of 4 rating) I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this story from the description; I was expecting a two-fisted, butt-kicking shoot-em-up with a side order of humor. The main character seems to fit my expectations; he sounds like a man who’s been around the galaxy, and now sits […]

The Spoiler Dragon

The Spoiler Dragon

I try to keep my reviews as vague as possible concerning plot twists or resolutions. Sometimes, it’s difficult to make a point about a story’s strengths or weaknesses without getting specific. When I’m about to get into details, I’ll display the spoiler dragon (image from Clker.com, a provider of free public-domain clip art).  The spoiler […]

Review: The Last Manned Fighter

  Three flying saucers (3 out of 4 rating) This story begins with a preface (about 5% of the work’s length) about how science fiction could influence military planning, but my comments will be limited to the fictional portion of the work. I’ve tried to avoid writing anything specific enough to be a spoiler, although […]

Review: Change by Design

One dung beetle (1 out of 4 rating) I chose this story because the main character is supposedly fighting against a bureaucracy. Who hasn’t fought with a bureaucratic government agency, military organization, corporation or university? I guess the answer is: everyone who’s smarter than I am, and realized there’s no hope of victory. Change by […]