Category: Science Fiction (page 1 of 2)

My Favorite Series

Any time I take a break from writing, I’m reading. I love to lose myself in someone’s else’s world for a day or two. If that includes some fantasy and ass kicking, even better.

Here are the series I follow. I’ll even stop writing to read at least the first chapter when these are released.

Kim Harrison’s The Hollow’s Series. I love Rachel Morgan and her companions. This series reignited my passion for fantasy my last year in grad school when psychology had pushed everything else to the side.

Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin Series. Gin Blanco is an assassin with a group of friends that fascinate me. Jennifer created a villian, in Mab Monroe, that made me so angry I would yell back at the pages of the book.

Molly Harper, Anything she writes. I love fantasy books but even her “And Another Thing…” book hooked me. I laugh harder reading Molly’s work than I do with anyone else’s. Just read everything she writes. All of it.

Julie Kenner’s Demon Hunting Soccer Mom Series. Kate Connor lives in surburbia, has a teenager and a toddler, and hunts demons in the grocery store, her back yard, and anywhere else they pop up. I read every book in this series when I found it and keep rereading them today.

Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld Series. I found this series when I read an anthology and fell in love with it. I’m going to read everything she’s written eventually but for now, I make sure I never miss an Otherworld release.

Yasmine Galenorn’s Otherworld Series. (See a theme here? :) The D’Artigo Sisters hooked me in an anthology. I’ve never looked back.

I read more than this, I also love Dakota Cassidy’s ‘Accidental’ Series, Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock Novels, Jim C. Hines Goblin series, Jocelynn Drake’s Dark Days, and Laura Resnick’s Esther Diamond series. I’m a voracious reader.

What are your favorite series?

Graylin

 

My Inspiration

I started reading when I was four years old. I was always fascinated by books like The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, and Grimm’s fairy tales. A part of me always believed that magic was real. That part is still with me. And that part fell in love with fantasy novels.Then my father took me to see Star Wars and I *so* wanted to be Princess Leia. Me and about 4 million other girls/women, many of whom still dress like her at Comic-con today.

I wandered into Harlequin romances in my teen years. Mostly because my mother and I would spend one afternoon a week in the used bookstore and they had a huge collection of romances. And I was a teenager. A dreamy teenager. Oh! That is when Fabio showed up on book covers. There wasn’t anyone who compared to his overly large pecks (Moobs) and long flowy hair where I grew up. Man, the fantasies I had.

 

Then I hit adulthood and got a hold of Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Seeing her vision of Arthurian legend from the view of women enthralled me. I still have that book and it’s moved with me 9 different times. I did love the movie but as is usually the case, the book was much better.

I read all of the MYTH series of books by Robert Asprin.  The three book series by Esther Friesner (Gnome Man’s Land, Harpy High, Unicorn U) made me see the wonder in the humorous fantasy tale and I was hooked. Gnome Man’s Land is the first time I can remember laughing out loud at a book. I laughed so hard I had to put the book down and gather myself before I continued.

Today I keep up with the Hollows series by Kim Harrison, the Esther Diamond series by Laura Resnick, the Gin Blanco Series by Jennifer Estep, the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong, the Demon Hunting Soccer Mom series by Julie Kenner, and the demon series by S.L. Wright. And I love anything Molly Harper writes.

What are your favorite series of books that influenced you? I would love to hear them.

Graylin

Happy New Year

This year I have been very blessed. Professionally, I completed all of my psychology studies and joined a wonderful practice that keeps me on my toes every day. As a writer and poet, I’ve had 6 poems published this year and am currently completing revision and edits on TWO Novella’s that will be released by Decadent Publishing next year.

 

AND *drumroll* COMING HOME will be released on January 1! Head over to Decadent Publishing and pick up a quick read to start your new year!

This blog took off, really took off, because of Sara Brookes and the Six Sentence Sunday posts each week. She is a wonderful friend and I owe her.

I wish you all the best and hope that  you greet your new year with an anticipatory grin.

Graylin

Science Fiction & Fantasy Author Quotes

Albert Einstein:

  • I can’t believe that God plays dice with the universe.
  • Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.
  • E = MC^2: Energy equals mass times the speed of light squared.
  • When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute, and it’s longer than any hour. That’s relativity.

Arthur C. Clarke:

  • Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Isaac Asimov:

  • Science fiction writers foresee the inevitable, and although problems and catastrophes may be inevitable, solutions are not.
  • The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.
  • Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today – but the core of science fiction, its essence has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all.
  • The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ but ‘That’s funny…’

Carl Sagan:

  • For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
  • For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.
  • I am often amazed at how much more capability and enthusiasm for science there is among elementary school youngsters than among college students.
  • Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.
  • The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition.
  • The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent.

Robert Asprin:

  • Writing that’s not working for a living.

L. Sprague de Camp:

  • The story of civilization is, in a sense, the story of engineering – that long and arduous struggle to make the forces of nature work for man’s good.
  • There is no mistaking the dismay on the face of a writer who has just heard that his brain child is a deformed idiot.

Jack L. Chalker:

  • I write novels and other things.
  • If you got what it takes, you’ll make it. If you don’t, Shakespeare couldn’t help you.
  • No, I don’t autograph blank slips, checks, or stickers, and certainly no books without me in them.

E.L. Doctorow:

  • I can walk into a bookstore and hand over my credit card and they don’t know who the hell I am. Maybe that says something about bookstore clerks.
  • I thought I would lose, so I didn’t prepare a speech.
  • I try to avoid experience if I can. Most experience is bad.
  • Planning to write is not writing. Outlining, researching, talking to people about what you’re doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing.
  • The writer isn’t made in a vacuum. Writers are witnesses. The reason we need writers is because we need witnesses to this terrifying century.
  • We’re always attracted to the edges of what we are, out by the edges where it’s a little raw and nervy.
  • Writers are not just people who sit down and write. They hazard themselves. Every time you compose a book your composition of yourself is at stake.
  • Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.
  • Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.
  • Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.

David Eddings:

  • I get up at an unholy hour in the morning my work day is completed by the time the sun rises. I have a slightly bad back which has made an enormous contribution to American literature.
  • I hesitate to predict whether this theory is true. But if the general opinion of Mankind is optimistic then we’re in for a period of extreme popularity for science fiction.
  • I wrote a novel for my degree, and I’m very happy I didn’t submit that to a publisher. I sympathize with my professors who had to read it.
  • I’ve fallen back on this periodically, although I must say that getting out of the grocery business ranked right up there with getting out of the army as one of the happier experiences of my life.
  • If the general opinion is pessimistic, fantasy is going to hold its own.
  • The unfortunate thing about working for yourself is that you have the worst boss in the world. I work every day of the year except at Christmas, when I work a half day.
  • This is terrible, when a writer is bored by his own work, but it was a real bomb and had reached the point where I couldn’t even stand to look at it any more.

Harlan Ellison:

  • I don’t mind you thinking I’m stupid, but don’t talk to me like I’m stupid.
  • I hate being wrong, but I love it when I’m set straight.
  • I have no mouth, and I must scream.
  • Love ain’t nothing but sex misspelled.
  • The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.
  • To say more, is to say less.
  • When belief in a god dies, the god dies.

Neil Gaiman:

  • A nice, easy place for freedom of speech to be eroded is comics, because comics are a natural target whenever an election comes up.
  • American Gods is about 200,000 words long, and I’m sure there are words that are simply in there ’cause I like them. I know I couldn’t justify each and every one of them.
  • And there never was an apple, in Adam’s opinion, that wasn’t worth the trouble you got into for eating it.
  • As far as I’m concerned, the entire reason for becoming a writer is not having to get up in the morning.
  • Because, if one is writing novels today, concentrating on the beauty of the prose is right up there with concentrating on your semi-colons, for wasted effort.
  • Great, big, serious novels always get awards. If it’s a battle between a great, big, serious novel and a funny novel, the funny novel is doomed.

Ursula K. LeGuin:

  • Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.
  • The children of the revolution are always ungrateful, and the revolution must be grateful that it is so.
  • The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty: not knowing what comes next.
  • The power of the harasser, the abuser, the rapist depends above all on the silence of women.
  • What sane person could live in this world and not be crazy?

Terry Pratchett:

  • Build a man a fire, and he’ll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life.
  • Everything starts somewhere, although many physicists disagree.
  • Fantasy is an exercise bicycle for the mind. It might not take you anywhere, but it tones up the muscles that can. Of course, I could be wrong.
  • Five exclamation marks, the sure sign of an insane mind.
  • Genius is always allowed some leeway, once the hammer has been pried from its hands and the blood has been cleaned up.
  • He was the sort of person who stood on mountaintops during thunderstorms in wet copper armour shouting “All the Gods are bastards.”
  • In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this.
  • In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.
  • It is often said that before you die your life passes before your eyes. It is in fact true. It’s called living.
  • It’s not worth doing something unless you were doing something that someone, somewere, would much rather you weren’t doing.
  • Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.
  • Most gods throw dice, but Fate plays chess, and you don’t find out til too late that he’s been playing with two queens all along.
  • Only in our dreams are we free. The rest of the time we need wages.
  • Sometimes it is better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness.
  • Sooner or later we’re all someone’s dog.
  • The intelligence of the creature known as a crowd, is the square root of the number of people in it.
  • The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

R.A. Salvatore:

  • I never intended to be a professional writer; as the story developed, the one thing I had in my hopes was that this would be something tangible to separate me from the nameless, numbered masses.
  • I thought I would set the world on fire when I got out of college. I had done quite well in a field that was growing. Unfortunately, we got hit with a recession in 1981.
  • I’m a working-class kid from a blue-collar New England family.
  • I’m trying to make all the characters change and grow, or regress.
  • I’ve always been a fighter. If you tell me I can’t, I’ll die trying to prove you wrong.

Robert Sheckley:

  • Once you find you can’t walk as far and as fast as you were able, life becomes more complicated.
  • So I wrote what I hoped would be science fiction, I was not at all sure if what I wrote would be acceptable even. But I don’t say that I consciously wrote with humour. Humour is a part of you that comes out.

Dan Simmons:

  • But I think, and hope, that the novels can be understood and enjoyed as science fiction, on their own terms.
  • I knew that I wanted to be a writer even before I knew exactly what being a writer entailed.
  • I loved almost everything about being a teacher, but I was an unusual teacher.
  • It’s odd how violence and humor so often go together, isn’t it?
  • It’s one of the strangest attributes of this profession that when we writers get exhausted writing one thing, we relax by writing another.
  • Movie SF is, by definition, dumbed down – there have only been three or four SF movies in the history of film that aspire to the complexity of literary SF.
  • No one inspired me to write, but writer Harlan Ellison terrified me into getting published.
  • Writing, I’m convinced, should be a subversive activity – frowned on by the authorities – and not one cooed over and praised beyond common sense by some teacher.

Jules Verne:

  • Science, my lad, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which it is useful to make, because they lead little by little to the truth.
  • The sea is everything. It covers seven tenths of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides.
  • We may brave human laws, but we cannot resist natural ones.

H. G. Wells:

  • Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature’s inexorable imperative.
  • Advertising is legalized lying.
  • Affliction comes to us, not to make us sad but sober; not to make us sorry but wise.
  • After people have repeated a phrase a great number of times, they begin to realize it has meaning and may even be true.
  • Beauty is in the heart of the beholder.
  • Biologically the species is the accumulation of the experiments of all its successful individuals since the beginning.
  • Cynicism is humor in ill health.

Some of my favorite quotes from my favorite authors..

Graylin

A Newtonian Universe

Stirring up trouble

I participated in a Twitter chat last Friday with fellow science-fiction/fantasy writers, in which it was suggested by one commenter that it would be a good idea for a writer to study science in order to better his or her writing.  I made the perhaps foolish comment that if any writer were to really study physics, they would quickly learn that most of what they have been reading and writing is impossible.

This caused a bit of a debate, to say the very least.

Faster than the speed of light

But it’s a defensible statement; I just needed more than 140 characters to do it.

Start with space travel in science fiction.  It’s understood that everything in space is a great distance away from everything else in space, so the only way to go tooling around the galaxy in space ships is to posit the existence of faster-than-light travel (FTL for short).  The problem is FTL is impossible.

It’s easier to appreciate this if you look at time and space as parts of the same thing, i.e., spacetime.

Approach #1: Imagine two buckets, one called space and one called time, with enough water to fill only one of the buckets.  Sitting on Earth right now, let’s say 1/4 of the water is in the space bucket and 3/4 is in the time bucket.

Got it?  Okay, now: per Einstein, the faster you move through space the slower you move through time, so  on a rocket ship moving away from Earth at great speed you’re going to be moving some of the water from the time bucket and into the space bucket.  (It’s the same water because space and time are part of the same thing; there is a direct trade-off.)  The closer you get to the speed of light the more water is added to the space bucket and the less water there is in the time bucket.

When you reach the speed of light all the water is in the space bucket and none is in the time bucket.  And here’s the problem: you’re out of water, and buckets.

Approach #2: the faster you go the greater your mass becomes.  At the speed of light you become infinitely massive.  There is nothing beyond “infinitely massive”.

Approach #3: the cosmic speed limit isn’t really the speed of light: it’s the speed of particles without mass.  There is no such thing as negative mass objects, so there is no such thing as particles that can travel faster than that speed.

There is no Stardate

Here’s another problem: time is a strictly local concept.  There is no non-local “now”.

As stated above, the faster one moves the slower one passes through time.  But this statement presumes the existence of an objective “time” one can pass more slowly through, which is inaccurate.  It’s more precise to say that time passes more slowly for a rapid traveler from the perspective of another observer

What this means is, the Starship Enterprise’s five year mission to explore strange new worlds may be five years of ship time, but it’s thousands of years–conservatively–of Earth time.

There is no Stardate to enter into the captain’s log, because a common “date” would imply a universal measure of time, and there is no such thing.  In Einstein’s universe, time and space are both malleable and subjective.

Tooling around in a Newtonian universe

And that’s the real problem with modern science fiction: most of it is set in a Newtonian universe, rather than an Einsteinian one.  In Newton’s universe you can travel as fast as technology will allow, time is an objective thing, gravity is a force that can be countered, a laser is something that can be dodged, and so on.

Ah, you might say, Einstein could be wrong!  Or better, there are things we simply don’t know yet that could make these things possible!

Okay, but here’s the problem: if you’re writing science fiction and positing that one of the laws of thermodynamics is incorrect, or that Einstein’s theories are incorrect, you’renot writing science fiction any more.  You’re writing fantasy.  There may not be any magic, but the science you’re using is impossible, so it may as well be magic.

Mutants aren’t real

This doesn’t end at the edge of Einstein, either.  Basically every steampunk invention ever imagined is impossible–usually because someone’s violating the second law of thermodynamics, which expressly disallows perpetual motion machines.  Likewise, every super-powered comic book character violates the same law.  (How much food would The Flash need to eat to run that fast?  The energy has to come from somewhere.  When Iceman creates an ice ramp to travel on, where is the water coming from?  And on a separate note, by what mechanism does Superman fly?  There’s no propulsion: he’s just floating.  It drives me nuts that nobody even tries to explain this.)

I have seen it written–and I have written it myself–that the difference between science fiction and fantasy is whether one attributes the fantastic to magic or to science.  But the truth is, once you get past the masters of hard science– your Asimovs andBradburys and Clarkes– it’s all fantasy.  Whether the writer knows it or not.

(The Original post with comments can be found on Gene Doucette’s blog – http://genedoucette.me/2010/07/26/a-newtonian-universe/)

Gene Doucette

Review: Vampire Assassin

220px-Vampire_Assassin
(I’m nice when I review books – Cheesy, bad movies. No such luck.)
This is the movie for people who loved the concept behind Blade but thought the acting and special effects were just way too good. It was awful. The star of the movie is the writer, director, and co-producer. I’m leaving his and the names of the others involved out of this. I’m hoping they are ashamed and do not want to be associated with it in any way. This may be painful for any of them to read.
  • The background to the opening credits looks like sperm swimming in green vomit.
  • In the opening sequence, there is a dark vampire with a platinum blonde wig that is falling off. When s/he stops moving it keeps going for a second, stopping slightly sideways.
  • When vampires die, lightning jumps out of their chests. Although, it doesn’t hit anyone. That would be a great weapon!
  • The main villain vampire has a cape that can kill, suffocate, and strangle solely by pointing at the intended victim and snarling at them.
  • When the vampire turns into a bat, you can tell its a huge grey rubber bat from the store.
  • The cape is bullet proof, which begs the question, why would someone who is undead need a cape to bat away bullets in one scene and act like they don’t hit him in another one?
  • The hero has a girl, an Asian girl. This very pretty actress’ voice track is the only one that is off. In one scene with the hero, her voice track is noticeably off and his lines up just fine. Very weird to watch (other Asian actors in this movie don’t appear to have this problem).
  • During one scene, a vampire opens his mouth to show his fangs. There are gaps where they should be and then you SEE them wiggle into place. Like someone has them on a string and is pulling them into place from off camera.
  • All of the fangs were obviously whitened and then pasted on over the actors teeth. They didn’t match their color and you could see their real canines underneath.
  • After a battle at the police station, most of the cops awaken as vampires. However, they get up like 90-year-old zombies and shuffle across the floor. I don’t know what the premise is for them moving that slowly. It is never explained. One actor even leaves his head tilted like he cannot hold it up. Ten of them moved too slow to catch one man dragging our hero out of the way. Really.
  • The final battle sequence was very odd. Each time our hero meets a new opponent they each take a moment to individually show off their martial arts skills. There are even pauses so each can pose and look angry. 

This was a very bad movie. Watch it if you like to yell at the screen because you will have plenty of reasons.

Graylin

Book Review: Inked (spoilers!)

inked521

Skin Deep by Karen Chance

The war mage Lia, is introduced to us as someone who has a knack for finding trouble. Or more accurately, being found by trouble. A dragon ward has embedded itself in her skin. Now moving of it’s own will over her body and she is not quite sure what this means. It may just come in handy when she needs help. Her mate is missing, so ignoring orders to stay put, she heads under Las Vegas to find him. The Hunter may have him, may or may not exist, but she is determined to find out. Fighting young wolves and following her connection to her lover, she finds clue

s to who the Hunter is, and why he has been killing.  Weaving a story of love and family that includes humans, werewolves, and magic protection that appears to go on just slightly out of view of the thriving humanity. Never quite sure Lia will survive this battle, the reader is taken along for an exhilarting ride.

Armor of Roses by Marjorie M. Liu

I was fascinated by the use of demons in this story. Sleeping just under the skin as armor for their charge, passed down from mother to daughter. Protecting, but not always very helpful, I easily pictured gargoyle-like demons whose memories cross time. This is a time travel story that doesn’t feel like one. The voice of our heroine never leaves the present so there isn’t the disconnect I sometimes feel when a character changes timelines. Her determination to follow her grandmothers wishes, to save some, drives her to risk time travel paradigms, argue with her very young grandmother, and enlist the assistance of children. Children whose lives she is trying to save in the future from a threat she doesn’t understand until she sees it personally.

Etched in Silver by Yasmine Galenorn

I loved this story. A little bit of heat mixed in with danger and magic moves this story along very quickly. This is a novella of the authors Otherworld Series. However, even those who have never read one of those books will be easily drawn into this world. I think we can all sympathize/emphathize with the annoying boss, but one who threatens your career unless you sleep with him? I wanted to slug him!  Camille gets a little assistance from Trillian, and he is yummy, dangerous, and will end up in your dreams! This novella felt like a mini-action movie to me, and now I’ll break a credit card to get the rest of the Otherworld series.

Human Nature by Eileen Wilks

FBI Special Agent Yu has to fly across the country to investigate the murder of her mates best friend. Six months since the Turn, now humans and werewolves exist openly in the same society. Not everyone is happy with that. And then someone is murdered. The death was unusual, a lupine was murdered without changing into a wolf and his blood is missing. This story fits into a series and if you have not read them, it is a great introduction to two of the characters and their touching passion for each other (panties!). I did not know who the murderer was, completely fooled the entire story until the end. I love that!

GF

Jumping the Fence

I’ve been attending science fiction conventions since the early 80s, long before I was writing seriously.  As a result, I have seen cons from a lot of different viewpoints: the wide-eyed newbie, the organizer climbing through the ranks of various concoms,  helping organize a Nebula weekend, chairing a World Horror Convention and a Potlatch, and finally jumping the fence to become a professional writer, and sit on the other side of the table.

This past weekend we (the DH and I) attended Radcon, a fabulous convention in Pasco, Washington.  We had a blast hanging out with friends from several states, talking about books and writing and agents and writing.  I can highly recommend the convention, and they really love their guests.  But there are differences between going to a con as a fan, and jumping the fence to the pro side.

Certainly cons have changed, but the difference between attending as a fan, or even a con runner, and as a pro are greater than I could have anticipated – at times almost overwhelming.

I think the biggest change for me was realizing that I am “on stage” and working at all times.  There is no longer the safety of being unknown, or being able to say or do the silliest or most outrageous things without worrying (too much) about the consequences.  Sure, I’m not going to be stalked by the paparazzi any time soon, but I still need to maintain a certain acceptable level of behavior.

You want an example?  OK, here’s my most embarrassing (anonymous) moment.  Many years ago my husband attended a World Fantasy Convention in Seattle.  We couldn’t afford two memberships, so I went with him and hung out in the lobby, reading.  At one point I ran into some fans I knew, who were running the Hospitality suite, and I offered to help.  I ended up running trays, picking up dirty dishes, and being a general dog’s-body for Hospitality – without a badge to give away my name.

At one point Ed Bryant walked by.  I had recently read his story “While She
Was Out.”  (If you haven’t read it, go track it down.  It is one of the best short stories.  Ever.)  I walked up to him, carrying my tray, and gushed all over him about how great that story was.  Ed was a bit taken aback (terrified might be a better description!) but he managed to stammer his thanks.  At that point my sanity returned and I realized how crazed I must sound.  I looked at him, smiled weakly, and said “And I’m not wearing a badge, so you don’t even know who I am,” and fled.

Of course I confessed to a friend, who knew Ed and immediately outed me, and I am sure I’ve been forever enshrined in Ed’s memory as that crazy woman from Seattle.  (I’ve moved, and considered changing my name – but I can’t afford plastic surgery. )

Would I dare to do that now?  Not on your life!  In fact, the shoe is now on the other foot.  If I ever write a story as good as “While She Was Out” (just in case you’ve forgotten the title), I may be subject to a crazy-fan attack. If so, I hope I can be as gracious – and calm – as Ed was.

But my point is that I can no longer behave that outrageously in public, without risking becoming the subject of gossip and derision.  I am no longer an anonymous fan without a badge, I am a pro with my name emblazoned across my chest, my picture in the program book, and my voice heard on panels.

I’ve been on the other side of the fence.  I know how fans and concoms talk
about pros who are obnoxious, demanding, and self-important.  I know word gets around about who drinks too much, gets grabby with other people’s spouses, or trashes hotel rooms.  I know that my behavior will be judged as an individual, not as an anonymous part of the convention attendees, and I have to act accordingly.

Still, it’s a small price to pay for the chance to meet readers and other writers, to catch up with old friends and make new ones.  And maybe, just maybe, find someone who loves your work so much they act a little crazy.

Christina F York

Review: Dopplegangster by Laura Resnick

I love a good fantasy romp. Especially when the characters are witty, snarky, and the story is fun.  In order to review this book I got a hold of book one in the series, “Disappearing Nightly”, and this review will cover both books.

“Disappearing Nightly” is the first book in the Esther Diamond series by Laura Resnick. This is a fun and funny, as in actually LOL’ing, book. The main character’s voice was easy to hear and her sarcasm was stinging without being grating. The cast of characters that join our Heroine were colorful, fun, and so well described that I could picture their body language during conversations very easily.

The introductions of the “posse” (my term not the authors) working to solve the disappearances was fun. Brief detailed descriptions of hot, sexy, drag queens, a cowboy condom king (seriously great lines here), the pop star with “hooker hair” (heh!), and the snotty wizard were wonderful. Working together to get their friends back still left time for humor and back stories while not letting up on the urgency to find people who may be dying somewhere. I liked that her cop-boyfriend Lopez has a nagging mother. I almost cringed along with him every time she called. It made him very likable and sympathetic. It also made her life a little messy.

This was a fun introduction to a cast of characters I want to know more about. The only thing that took me out of the story for a short while was the speed with which the heroine went from damsel-in-distress to in-charge-of-investigation. Her partner in solving the disappearances, Max, is 350 years old with much more experience, and yet seems almost lost without her from the instant they meet. I would have liked some transition from throwing-up-in-fear to taking-charge-of-posse. I got over it soon enough and was along for the ride quickly.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. The story kept me reading straight through to the end in one sitting.

Now, on to “Dopplegangster.” It takes Esther into the world of the mob and Max and the yummy Lopez are along for the ride. I liked the introduction of a familiar in dog-form. The possibilities are wonderful for getting her in almost anywhere without arousing suspicion. I also liked that Esther is emotionally distraught when she witnesses a murder. It should be distressing.

It took me a couple of rereads to get the mob families straight, but once I did the intricate relationships were easy to follow and understand. I love the way Ms. Resnick wrote the dialogue. At times, devoid of description, jumping from one speaker to the next conveyed easily the speed and urgency of these conversations. The complicated world of mob families and the need to adhere to their rules during the investigation was entertaining. Like the main character, I too forgot occasionally that their mob help, Lucky, was a murderer.

I very much liked the way she worked the relationship between Esther and her cop-boyfriend Lopez. I do not know how she would have continued that unless he became part of the investigative group and walked away from the career he loves. I’m hoping to see him again in the next book to find out if his power has grown.

Like the first book, I wanted to know who was guilty from the very beginning and read through the entire book in one sitting just to find out. This book is fun, light, and you will laugh out loud in places. Esther, Max, Nelli (familiar), and Lopez are friends I look forward to meeting again.

GF

“I’m a Geek Girl, world! Deal with it!”

big bang theory new season

Image by Heavybm via Flickr

Watching this week’s episode of ” The Big Bang Theory,” I was reminded that it takes all kinds of people to make a well-rounded society.  Think about it for a minute.  If there weren’t so-called normal people, how would we recognize
our fellow geeks?  Or would EVERYONE be a geek?

No, I want those other people, the mundanes, the normals.  Not just because they make us stand out, but because they make us examine who and what we are.  They make geekdom a choice.  I can choose to get my geek on, but only because I have something to compare it to.

Let’s go back to the example of “Big Bang Theory.”  Penny is the character who actually makes that show work.  Face it, would we watch the show if it was only Raj, Sheldon, Leonard, and Wolowitz sitting around making geek-talk?  Not forever, though I have to admit the tabletop battle with ketchup-bottle orcs and superheroes had me in hysterics – mostly because I’ve had those conversations.  But the real comedy comes from them bumping up against the mundane world – frequently in the person of Penny – and proudly flying their geek flag, even in the face of adversity and scorn.  They are geeks, they know it, and they don’t apologize.

In many ways this is the same battle we women “of a certain age” waged for
decades.  We faced discrimination and scorn, we were paid less because
men “needed” higher wages, we were marginalized in the workplace; to
paraphrase Rodney Dangerfield, we couldn’t get no respect.  Yet some of us
learned to hold our heads high, to make ourselves seen and heard, and to stop apologizing.

I still bump up against the “normal” crowd, and I am glad they are there, but
I hope I have learned to live the way Sheldon, Leonard, Raj, and Wolowitz do: true to my inner geek, proudly standing my ground and proclaiming “I’m a Geek Girl, world!  Deal with it!”

How about you?

Christina York

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