Thursday, December 29, 2016

Return of the Blog

Once again, health issues and personal life have prevented me from posting on this blog.  Things in general have finally settled down.  The doctor have my Raynaud's Disease under control so I plan on returning to blogging for 2017.  I am already working on some posts so I can start the year off on the right foot.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Forever Magazine #16, May 2016

If you have not checked out Neil Clarke's reprint magazine, now is the time to do it.  In the sixteenth issue (May 2016) Neil is featuring a long time favorite story of mine-"Hawksbill Station" by Robert Silverberg.  In addition to getting this classic story Silverberg contributes an article called "About Hawksbill Station".

I recommend supporting this magazine so that Clarke can continue to reprint other deserving stories.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Surprising Announcements

First off, the biggest announcement of the past week is that SF Signal is closing down.  I was disappointed because they have been my go to source for science fiction news.  Upon reading the article I can understand and sympathize with the crew.  I wish them the best in their future endeavors.  They will be missed.  

The good news is that one of the podcasts (The Three Hoarsemen) will be continuing.  If you have not been following this podcast I recommend that you give it a try.  The latest one on the fiction of C. J. Cherryh is long overdue.  Many readers do not realize the impact that her writing has had on the field.  I was glad to see that she is the latest winner of the Grandmaster award.  We should all take the time to read (and discuss) more of her works.

Adam, of the Wertzone fame, has an excellent article about blogging that was inspired by the SF Signal announcement.  Take the time to go over and read "Blogging in Age of Austerity".  Reading has given me an even greater appreciation for the efforts of the bloggers I follow.

Andrea (The Little Red Reviewer) wrote a great article about another way of looking at the SF Signal announcement.  I like her perspective of considering this a "Graduation Day".  I plan on taking this advice to heart.

Stop over and leave a note of appreciation to the SF Signal gang.  And then, let us all contribute to their legacy by stepping up our game and contributing more than ever to the SF community.  It is our turn now.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Children of Earth and Sky (Excerpt)

By Guy Gavriel Kay
The bestselling author of the groundbreaking novels Under Heaven and River of Stars, Guy Gavriel Kay is back with a new novel, Children of Earth and Sky (NAL Hardcover; May 10, 2016; $27.00), set in a world inspired by the conflicts and dramas of Renaissance Europe. Against the tumultuous backdrop the lives of men and women unfold on the borderlands – where empires and faiths collide.

From the small coastal town of Senjan, notorious for its pirates, a young woman sets out to find vengeance for her lost family. That same spring, from the wealthy city-state of Seressa, famous for its canals and lagoon, come two very different people: a young artist traveling to the dangerous east to paint the grand khalif at his request – and possibly to do more – and a fiercely intelligent, angry woman posing as a doctor’s wife but sent by Seressa as a spy.

The trading ship that carries them is commanded by the accomplished younger son of a merchant family, ambivalent about the life he’s been born to live. And farther east a boy trains to become a soldier in the elite infantry of the khalif – to win glory in the war everyone knows is coming.

As these lives entwine, their fates – and those of many others – will hang in the balance when the khalif sends out his massive army to take the great fortress that is the gateway to the western world.

Guy Gavriel Kay is the international bestselling author of twelve previous novels and a book of poetry. He has been awarded the International Goliardos Prize for his work in literature of the fantastic and won the World Fantasy Award for Ysabel in 2008. In 2014 he was named to the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honor. His work has been translated into more than twenty-five languages.

For more information, please visit and follow Guy Gavriel Kay on twitter @GuyGavrielKay

Follow the link to the next page to read an excerpt:

Monday, April 25, 2016


Author:  Andre Norton

First Publication:  1961
Edition being reviewed:  2015

Publisher:  Open Road Media

Andre Norton is a classic writer for my generation.  When I discovered science fiction and went exploring the library, it was easy to find many of her books.  She consistently delivered what was then considered juvenile books.  In today's movie language they would be rated "PG".  She was a safe author that parents did not have to worry about letting their kids read.  Norton was one of the authors who constantly delivered quality adventure stories, good characterization, interesting ideas, all rolled into an exciting story.

"Catseye" is one of my favorite Norton books.  She incorporated many themes that would appear in her other works.  Themes such as a young man who was a loner growing up under less than ideal conditions, animals, and mysteries that are slowly unraveled as the story progresses.  

I would recommend this to anyone looking for a good science fiction adventure book.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Short Story Quest: The Beginning of a Quest

A long standing tradition in the fantasy field is the quest story.  Often, it involves a hero or heroine who has lost something.  Either a loved one is taken from them, they are taken from their home, or their kingdom is lost to an enemy.  Many stories have been written with a variation of this theme.  One of my favorite authors, Roger Zelazny, has been known to explore these themes in many of his works.  Among my favorites are the Amber series (in which the hero looses his memory and kingdom), "Jack of Shadows", the Changling series, and too many others to list here.  This time, I will take a look at the beginning of another one of his quest stories, "Dilvish the Damned"...

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Harry Potter Read-Along

I have been a big fan of the Harry Potter movies since the first one came out.  Over the years I have lost count of how many times I have watched them.  Every year I keep thinking about reading the books but somehow never get around to them.  Then I saw that Michelle was hosting a read-along and decided now is the time.

So far, I have only read the first chapter of the book that started it all "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone".  Already, I can see why fans love them.  Some of my favorite parts of the first chapter are those with Hagrid.  The scene where he rides in on Sirius Black's motorcycle was amazing.  I can't wait to read the rest of the book. The rest of my comments will appear next week when I finish the novel.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

"Black Dog" by Neil Gaiman

"Black Dog" by Neil Gaiman

First Publication:  Trigger Warning:  Short Fictions and Disturbances

I have a confession to make.  I started reading Neil Gaiman when he did “Sandman” for DC Comics.  His work on it impressed me.  Somehow I never made the time to read much of his prose.  Since then I have started to work my way through them.  “The Graveyard Book” is one of my favorites.  I have also read “Odd and the Frost Giants”.  “American Gods” and his other novels are making their way to the top of my reading stack.

“Black Dog” is a follow up to “American Gods” that takes place a few years after the novel.  Shadow Moon is in England and meets a woman in a small-town pub.  Of course, this is just the beginning of his nightmare.  The Black Dog of the title is a local myth of a large dog that appears to people when they are about to die.  Gaiman starts the story with an uneventful easy pace that slowly builds in suspense as the American God Shadow is drawn into an adventure that could lead to his death.  Another solid effort from Gaiman.

Recommended, especially to fans of “American Gods”.

I read this as part of the Short Story Quest of Once Upon a Time X.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Trying Something Different...

I miss blogging but due to some health issues I have not been able to type much over the last few months.  Basically, I was struggling just to get through my workday.  Things finally seem to be turning the corner.  I realized how much I missed writing and reviewing when I missed 2 of my favorite challenges in December and January.    After my “sabbatical”, this is a good time to change things up.

The Little Red Reviewer published a post on February 1 explaining why she is switching to a “reading diary” type of regular posting.  I like this idea so I will be trying it.  I will be posting regular updates on my reading.  In addition I will put up reviews of the books I read and shows I watch.  The other part of the plan is to do more opinion pieces.

The other change concerns something I have changed my mind about a few times.  I am shutting down my “Comic Book Focus” blog and combining it with the “Science Fiction Times”.  This harkens back to the Jim Baen “Galaxy Science Fiction” magazine.  “Worlds of IF” was being cancelled so Baen combined it with the continuing “Galaxy Science Fiction”.  Some of the features and style of stories was incorporated into “Galaxy Science Fiction”.  In my opinion, it made for a better reading experience.  Although, to be honest, I did miss “IF”.

Tabs will be added for tracking my different types of reading.

The other advantage of the reading diary is that it will show that I tend to read many things at the same time.  Sometimes I get distracted by reviews I read.  Other times by what my friends are reading.  They start telling me about the book they are reading and I want to read it at the same time.  So you will see how this affects my reading.