Itsy Bitsy is a free 78-page Kindle story by John Ajvide Lindqvist, Swedish horror writer of Let the Right One In. I have not read it yet, but from the description below it sounds like a paparazzo gets punished, so I am looking forward to reading it. A young celebrity lives on my street and the paparazzi tear up and down it like maniacs. One day they are going to kill a pedestrian.
Destined to become a modern classic, the short story Itsy Bitsy is guaranteed to make you think twice before you take a picture of someone in a bikini. In this creepy shocker, horror author superstar John Ajvide Lindqvist gives new meaning to punishing the paparazzi.
I must have read Space Viking over a hundred times. Since my youth, H. Beam Piper's Terro-Human histories, as well as his Paratime novels, have thrilled me.
Space Viking lays out Piper's Terro-Human universe several generations after the collapse of the Federation, a galaxy spanning human government. Civilization, across space, is slowly reverting to barbarism, except a few worlds that've held on.
The Sword Worlds struggle on but they are unwittingly watching their chances at a civilized future slip away. Pirating former colonized worlds for goods and treasure has left the Sword Worlds uncreative and culturally parasitical. Few realize the doom looming on the horizon but when a madman kills Lucas Trask's fiancé, Trask's quest for vengeance becomes instead a movement for hope.
I love H. Beam Piper and can't recommend Space Viking highly enough.
H. Beam Piper's Space Viking -- FREE in the Kindle Store
H. Beam Piper's Space Viking -- FREE on Project Gutenberg
As a kid I loved Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. What an incredible TV series! TWIKI, Buck, Wilma, Doctor Theopolis and some incredible dance moves (that NBC appears to have taken down from YouTube) grabbed my attention and promised an amazing future for a resilient human race.
In my 20s I discovered Philip Francis Nowlan's Armageddon 2419 A.D.
Read the rest
We just released Boing Boing's first short ebook, Mark Dery's "All The Young Dudes: Why Glam Matters
," and the feedback has been terrific. Mr. Dery was just a guest on New Hampshire Public Radio's "Word of Mouth" show talking about this subculture that served as a glitter bomb of fashion and attitude and briefly relieved the malaise of the '70s. You can hear the interview here
, read a free excerpt
to whet your whistle, or take the plunge and buy the ebook
for just $2.99 from Amazon.
Gooseberry Bluff Community College of Magic: the Thirteenth Rib by David J. Schwartz is the first Kindle Serial I've tried. Serials are one time purchases episodically delivered as the author completes shorter installments.
Kindle Serials hold the hope of performing like an old time radio show. I enjoy looking forward to them.
Very much in the vein of the Magicians by Lev Grossman, Gooseberry Bluff is set in a future where magic is real and taught. The first episode hooked me as a Federal Bureau of Magic agent is sent undercover to investigate a community college professor's disappearance, apparently related to a larger demonic summoning/terrorist plot.
Schwartz uses 30-40 page installments to develop the story very well. I hope this format catches on.
Gooseberry Bluff Community College of Magic: the Thirteenth Rib by David J. Schwartz
I had a lot of time on my hands this holiday season and decided to get an arduino kit (I have solar panels I want to aim for max efficiency during the day, on a VW van.) A lot of intro titles seemed interesting but Simon Monk's 30 Arduino Projects for the Evil Genius grabbed my attention. Good title!
Sadly, this is no guide to building shark-mountable lasers. There are however a lot of simple, short projects that help you understand building with an arduino controller. Monk uses very clear pictures and schematics to show what needs doing. His text is precise and understandable. The steps are easy to follow and the thing you should learn from an exercise is blatantly obvious. Most importantly these projects are fun! I'm not just making an LED blink or a speaker chirp when I work with this book. Projects like the temperature monitor and computer controlled fan are giving me the foundation I need to aim my solar panels. The results and functions are easy to apply to the types of things I want to do with an arduino.
Lasers would have been nice.
30 Arduino Projects for the Evil Genius by Simon Monk
Sean Hammer's Cornbread is a dark kindle single that made me laugh.
With an empty life and nothing to look forward to ever, Jenny's sole pride is the cornbread she feeds her husband once-a-week. When Jenny messes up the recipe, everything changes.
Well paced, Cornbread went by just a little too quickly.
Cornbread by Sean Hammer
If the only new author I'd been introduced to in 2012 was Hugh Howey, then 2012 would have been a fantastic year. His series Wool is the best set of kindle shorts I've read, bar none.
To avoid spoilers, Wool is a tale of discovery that shines through the open holes in its backstory. Howey takes advantage of the short form to create an amazing and full world, skillfully letting you imagine huge swaths of history. Parts 6 & 7 represent a prequel trilogy, First Shift and Second Shift tell part of the story, the beginning.
Trapped is the fifth novel in Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid Chronicles. A Harry Dresden-esque story of Atticus, the last remaining druid.
Atticus largely spends his time hanging out, loving the earth and being all druid-y. This is how he has stayed alive when all the other druids were killed off! The series, however, shows how events unfold to lead Atticus in bringing the magic back and training an apprentice, a hot one. In book five it appears Granuaile, said apprentice, is ready to be sworn in or, conveniently "bound," when everything goes awry.
I really enjoy these books. They are clever, fast paced and a good escape. Hounded is the first in the series.
Trapped (The Iron Druid Chronicles, book five) by Kevin Hearne
San Francisco is certainly a quirky place and Cecelia Holland's Vigilante Wars
sheds a lot of light on how we got there! The inner-workings and many of the social mores that today are common-place were founded in some crazy times.
Holland recounts the lawlessness, mob rule and colorful characters that the 1849 Gold Rush brought to San Francisco. Tales of gangs like "the Hounds" wandering the streets, the massive in-flux of wealth seekers and the poverty that followed. You can easily see how today's San Francisco evolved.
Vigilante Wars by Cecelia Holland
I am addicted to Jim Butcher's tales of Harry Dresden, Chicago's wizard PI. With the film noir touches, the old VW bug and a Fu dog of his very own, how could I not love Harry Dresden?
Cold Days is the latest installment in Butcher's series about the politics and antics of the magical realm and how they cross over into ours. The entire quirky cast is back and Harry isn't even dead! I'll hold off on other spoilers and suffice to say I loved it.
Cold Days, a novel of the Dresden files by Jim Butcher
Mark Ernest Pothier's The First Light of Evening explores the life of Jim, who would rather not have it explored. Marriage over and retired Jim has spent the last few years reading all the books he said he would, and then his daughter sets him up on a date.
An elegantly written Kindle Single, Pothier makes every word count without creating the rushed or crammed feeling the format can often take. I'll be looking for additional works by this author!
The First Light of Evening by Mark Ernest Pothier
Blue Skies is a great start to Matthew Mather's Atopia Chronicles. In just a few pages he introduces you to believable future and a character I immediately identified with.
Olympia is an advertising exec run out of steam, but she can't admit it. She is past the edge of a nervous breakdown and needs to find some control. She doesn't like to use drugs but agrees to test a new technology, nanobots embed 'smaticles' into her nervous system and give complete control over the reality she perceives -- bots aren't drugs! With the help of her new poly-synthetic sensory interface, or "pssi," Olympia learns one of those "be careful what you wish for" lessons.
Blue Skies, Atopia Chronicles Book 1, by Matthew Mather
or consider the entire collection:
The Complete Atopia Chronicles by Matthew Mather
Warm Moonlight is the second Kindle Single I've read by Joseph Wurtenbaugh. I really like his style!
Warm Moonlight reveals a former 20's gun moll turned grandmother, sharing a supernatural story of their family past with her granddaughter. While the story isn't the most original and you've heard it before, Wurtenbaugh does a wonderful job of drawing you in. Do not, however, expect a repeat of Old Soul, which was told from the pov of a microscopic parasite/symbiote, this story is very different.
Joseph Wurtenbaugh's Warm Moonlight
by JF Perkins is a post-apocalyptic tale of rebuilding American society. It is intentionally short and sets the stage for future installments. I was interested enough that I'll be reading the second.
China and the U.S. apparently let the nukes fly and absolutely nothing good comes of it; society has collapsed. 30-40 years later a young reclamation engineer is sent out on his first mission: survey some former housing with the idea of securing more arable land. He finds something else entirely.
The Renewal by JF Perkins
Hugh Howey, the author of the Wool
series that I love and reviewed a few months ago
, is a master of creating interesting realities.
Howey's The Plagiarist is the tale of a college professor who moonlights prospecting virtual worlds for great works of art and literature. The moral quandaries, his love life and general lack of mental health all blend to tell an engrossing tale.
As usual Howey's work is hard to put down. If you enjoyed Wool, be sure to read the Plagiarist.
Hugh Howey's the Plagiarist
Why aren't we suffering under a flood of time-travelling tourists? What will happen if I meet my own grandfather? In From Hither to Yon
author and humorist Rich Cohen shares with us his research on the wheres, whys and whens of time travel.
Providing examples of Einstein's theory of relativity at work today (why satellite clocks run faster than ground based ones), Cohen documents a number of different views about the possibility, inevitability and futility of time travel. This very short romp through topics like string theory, wormholes and light will make you think.
While not a DIY handbook for construction of my own T.A.R.D.I.S. this was certainly worth the quick read.
Rich Cohen's From Hither to Yon
Zombies that aren't even really dead! Jess Walter's Don't Eat Cat
is a new (to me) and creative take on the coming zimbo epidemic.
Set in not-to-far-in-the-future Seattle, Walters paints a picture of a broken America. People frustrated by reproduction laws, intelligence testing that dictates the course of their lives, and Starbucks playing a lead role in US economy can apparently turn to zombie-ism as an escape! Through the abuse of a club drug they become quasi-functional zombies and forget all their cares; a pseudo-suicide that society seems desperate to accept.
A super fast read for lovers of zombie lit.
Jess Walter's Don't Eat Cat
Joseph Wurtenbaugh's Old Soul
is a fantastic Kindle Single. I tore through this short story, unwilling to put it down.
A tale of survival, change and perhaps the source of that eerie deja-vu that plagues you; Wurtenbaugh tells the story of That-Which-Had-Been. We follow a microbiological organism as it journeys from its dying host to another, and another, seeking a new home.
I can't recommend Old Soul highly enough. For .99 this is a do not miss Kindle Single!
Joseph Wurtenbaugh's Old Soul
The incomparable Rudy Rucker's just posted an ebook collecting his essays called (what else), Collected Essays. There's a Kindle edition, or you can buy directly from him without DRM. What a table of contents, too:
Collected Essays includes the nonfiction pieces from Rucker's two earlier collections, Transreal! (1991) and Seek! (1999). And many newer essays have been added as well. This comprehensive collection weighs in at twice the length of an ordinary book, with sixty essays and numerous illustrations. The essays fall into seven parts: (1) "The Art of Writing." Manifestos and talks about writing science-fiction. (2) "Silicon Valley." Cool scenes Rucker witnessed as he rode the Silicon Valley computer wave for over twenty years, starting in 1986. (3) "Weird Screens." Graphical programs that have obsessed Rucker—cellular automata, artificial life, fractals, space curves, and virtual reality. (4) "Futurology." Playful raps and speculations about the coming times. (5) "The Philosophy of Computation." Digital immortality, artificial intelligence, and the birth of a universal mind. (6) "Personal Stories." Tall tales and reminscences of strange times. (7) "Mentors." Appreciations of the great minds and wild freaks who led Rucker along his path: Kurt Gödel, Martin Gardner, Robert Scheckley, William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Ivan Stang and Stephen Wolfram.
In a break from the typical sci-fi/fantasy based Kindle Singles, I just read a biography of one of my all-time media favorites, Humphrey Bogart.
Stefan Kanfer's Tough Without a Gun is a fairly detailed analysis of what makes Bogie so iconic. If you believe the AFI, Bogart is the greatest American film star of all time. Yes, his acting was rather monotone and his ability to play outside a rather narrow band of characters was slim. But Bogart represents an America that many of us are nostalgic for, hence his staying power.
I found the story of Bogart's youth and his struggle to achieve his fame to be rather amazing. I'd never known that he was so lost -- the directionless son of a wealthy family. Poor little rich kid. Acting was really a trade he fell into, via family friendships and a lack of marketable skills.
I think I'll put on my trench coat, fedora, and go wander around Manhattan.
Stefan Kanfer's Tough Without a Gun
Sorry to have disappeared; work got a hold of me and I spent a week living on planes. It did give me time to read a lot of Kindle Singles...
I really enjoyed Harry Connolly's Child of Fire: a Twenty Palaces Novel -- it is a witty and fast-paced urban fantasy in the genre of 'Whoa! I've got magical powers!'
Ray Lilly is a convict an ultra-mysterious secret society called Twenty Palaces springs from jail to investigate some no-goodery going down in the Pacific Northwest! His boss Annalise is pretty tough and has a penchant for raw meat; seeing as Ray doesn't know much about the Twenty Palaces society and she doesn't seem to want to tell him much, a mystery unfolds.
I'm actually back on a plane later today and looking forward to reading Game of Cages, Connolly's second in the series. Warning, however, the price goes up to $4.99 from .99 once you're addicted (as I am.)
Harry Connolly's Child of Fire: a Twenty Palaces Novel
Chuck Klosterman's Downtown Owl is no cheap .99 Kindle Single. It cost $12 but looked so interesting I couldn't pass.
Downtown Owl is a story about life in the tiny town of Owl, North Dakota. We watch the several characters' lives unfold -- a high school teacher who has just moved to town, a HS kid who doesn't quite fit in, former football heroes, and folks who've lived their entire lives in Owl without ever leaving.
They live and they learn. Klosterman's characters are very engaging and by the end of the novel I found myself caring about what happened to them.
Downtown Owl by Chuck Klosterman
Talk about crazy eBook genres -- I started with Zombie novels; survive the apocalypse, rebuild society after the apocalypse, zombie break-outs through history -- you name it we got it. Then I was reading super-hero fiction that was surprisingly similar to the teen-angst magical powers; just replace the dark and brooding black outfits with capes and cowls. One totally mind-bending jumble of genres, however, is Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines.
Meet a whole bunch of super-heroes! Think they were useful before the zombie apocalypse? They seem to be the only thing standing between humanity and a really bad ending. We meet and learn the backstory of 5 or 6 varied heroes with great names like "Zzzap!" He has the power to make electricity! Very useful when the zimbos have shut down your generator. Anyways this LA-based group of heroes gathers a bunch of survivors at Paramount Studios and sets up a society. They fight off Zombies, LA Gangs, former LA Gangs turned Zombie and other heroes turned zombie.
This one is fun. I laughed out loud at how ridiculous the genre could get -- but the story telling is great and I was entertained.
Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines
My friend and oft-times workshop mate Tom Marcinko, a very talented writer and critiquer, has just put seven of his previously published sf stories into the Kindle store for what he calls "the amazingly low price of absolutely nothing." He's getting back to work on new fiction after a long hiatus, and this is his way of marking the occasion. How can you resist a free sf collection with a story in it called "The Nixon Wrangler's Tale"?
An ardent missionary beams to another galaxy--but finds his convictions and personality altered in transmission.
A bounty hunter pursues a replicant from out of history. This is not called termination. It is called “impeachment.”
Aliens invade a globally depressed Earth with a sinister weapon: A new line of curiously addictive consumer products.
Superheroes must control their powers. Or a shadowy government agency will do it for them.
Plus the Second Coming, with a special guest appearance by the Patron Saint of Television.
Welcome to seven adventures in space, time, and from under the floorboards.
These stories were previously published in Realms of Fantasy, Interzone, Rosebud, Science Fiction Age, and other respected venues.
Tom is the person who introduced me to Mystery Science Theater 3000, and is a very happy mutant indeed.
Astronauts and Heretics
Hugo, Locus, and Nebula award winning science fiction author James Patrick Kelly is giving away the Xmas edition of his excellent ezine Strangeways. I have been enjoying his stories of time travel, space exploration, and more every month, and I thought I would share. Will Christmas survive the apocalypse? If you were uploaded into a computer, in what sense would you still be you? And how will you cope with your deceased but digitally-preserved family members when they gather on December 25th, 2061? Here are links to his Dropbox account. Download the one you want or drop him an email and he'll send you a copy for free.
Direct download: Mobi, ePub
Espen sez, "Yesterday, the Norwegian book industry introduced a scheme where they would sell electronic books on little plastic cards, to be inserted in proprietary readers - an astonishingly stupid idea even by their standards. Here is my riff on that idea
- and a solution to the 'books as status signals' conundrum."
40K, an Italian publisher, have brought out a standalone ebook version of my novella Chicken Little, publishing it simultaneously in English and Italian with some lovely illustrations. They're starting it off at a low price (which will go up on Nov 16): $0.99 in the Kindle store; £0.86 in the UK Kindle store; €0.99 in the German Kindle store; and €0.99 for the Italian edition in Bookrepublic (use discount code 7ATE9).
Cory Doctorow's novella 'Chicken Little' does an excellent job of updating and commenting on some of the themes that informed Pohl & Kornbluth's classic novel ‘The Space Merchants'. Doctorow's updated high-tech take on Pohl's take on Jonathan Swift's 'struldbrugs,' creatures who have immortality but not eternal youth, continuing to age through their extended lives, is particularly ingenious.
I wouldn't be surprised to see this one show up on an award ballot next year." -Gardner Dozois, Locus Magazine
"Chicken Little" also appears in my CC-licensed short story collection With a Little Help and was reprinted in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Eighth Annual Collection.
Lewis Shiner (one of my favorite writers!) sez, "My latest suspense novel, DARK TANGOS
, is now available as a free PDF download from my Fiction Liberation Front website
. The starred review from BOOKLIST said, 'Delivers its grim story line with artistic mastery....Short and precise, the novel uses the elegance of tango to radiate sensuality throughout. This is an absorbing and surprisingly action-packed tale based in the ugly truths of Argentina's history.'"
The book is also available as an article of commerce, should you be moved to financially support Mr Shiner's outstanding efforts.
Dark Tangos (free PDF)
Dark Tangos (Amazon)
My short story Clockwork Fagin, which will appear in the forthcoming YA anthology Steampunk!
is available from today as a free file for Kindle
, and other ebook platforms. The whole anthology comes out on Oct 11.