Sunday, November 24, 2019

November Book Reviews and Previews

For your consideration:
  • A collection of steampunk short-stories (Boston Metaphysical Society: Prelude);
  • Two, interconnected novellas (Daedalus: SWIC Basejump from Fred Noonan Skyport and Daedalus LEO: SWIC Drop from Low Earth Orbit) - two more are planned by the author;
  • An entertainingly bizarre, steampunk novel (The Diplomat and Desperado Stories); and
  • A self-help book (Turn Your Happiness ON).
Hope you find something for your library,

Boston Metaphysical Society: Prelude: A Seven Story Collection by Madeleine Holly-Rosing

Coming-of-Age Short Stories Set in a Well-Crafted, Steampunk Alternative History

Prelude, a short-story collection, is one of three literary paths into an alternative, steampunk world that is the Boston Metaphysical Society. The other two paths are a novel, Storm of Secrets, which I have read, and a comic book/graphic novel, which I have not. The two I've read lead to a fascinating world where steam power and gauges replace the electronics and digital readouts of our world. And it's not just technology that's different, but history and society as well. Then, add a supernatural element with mediums, ghosts, and demons, and you have a fertile setting for the imaginative tales that make up Prelude

For the complete review, see

Daedalus: SWIC Basejump from Fred Noonan Skyport by Robert G. Williscroft

A Death-Defying Feat Told with the Swagger of a Navy SEAL

Imagine, if you will, riding something like an extremely high-speed elevator 80 kilometers into the sky (that’s almost 50 miles or over 262,000 feet). And you’re doing this in preparation for jumping with nothing but a hard-shell, wingsuit with a steerable rocket while aiming for a small island 379 kilometers away. I can think of a lot of phrases that might describe people’s feelings as that elevator starts its ascent—paralyzed by fear, hearts pounding in their ears, stomachs in their throats. Now consider how the narrator of the novella Daedalus, Tiger Bailey a Navy SEAL, described it. “I felt a faint tug that rapidly increased to about the same pressure produced by a chick sitting on my chest.” 

For the complete review, see

Daedalus LEO: SWIC Drop from Low Earth Orbit (Daedalus Series Book 2) by Robert G. Williscroft.

An Interesting Blend of Science and Fiction with a Larger than Life Hero

Like the first installment of the series, the focus of Daedalus LEO is on using a wingsuit to deliver SEALs to a trouble spot, a concept that is part science and part fiction. And like all good hard-science-fiction writing, the boundary between current theory and the author’s imagination is difficult to determine. Leave the readers guessing, make them sweat. That tension, however, generally comes from trying to guess the dividing line between current, beneficial theory and the story’s disastrous side effects of the same technology. Just where in the development of technology X did it stop being the savior of mankind and become our downfall? In this book, however, there is no catastrophic side of the wingsuit and so, the distinction between fact and fantasy is interesting, if not particularly tension producing. 

For the complete review, see

The Diplomat and Desperado Stories by PanOrpheus.
I read PanOrpheus’s books with a search window open.

PanOrpheus’s books—and I’ve read a few—involve a bizarre collection of recurring figures from history and mythology, not to mention from the author’s imagination. Phoebe, the Spirit of the mythical Third Oracle of the Temple of Delphi and her consort, Mister E, the afterlife spirit of Nikola Tesla are a couple of examples. In this installment, these two assign their agents—the Diplomat and the Desperado—to travel to other times and realms to correct certain anomalies that have or are about to occur. And these two, let me assure you, have unique ways for dealing with anomalies! The Diplomat taps into his growing abilities for precognition and telekinesis. In other words, he’ll be using his head, just like all diplomats do. And the Desperado? She’s the muscle, employing all “… the weapons used in Terminator One, Two, and Three, and a few from the Matrix Two” on one mission. Sure, sometimes it seems she’s gotten out of hand, like the afternoon she destroyed the entire Forbidden City. But do you really want to quibble with the Diplomat’s summary of the mission:  “… unfortunate but within bounds collateral damage. Goals attained.” Again, his stellar diplomatic skills were on display. 

For the complete review, see

Turn Your Happiness ON: How to Light up your Days and Fill your Life with Joy by Norma Nikutowski

Consider Your Impediments to Happiness Before You Pick Up this Book

"Happiness means different things to different people." That’s just one of dozens of quotes in the book. I wanted to use it because it highlights why this book can’t be completely successful. It can’t because, in 196 pages, it cannot deal with everyone’s impediments to living a happier life. I’d guess the author has addressed a large portion of the population. But on the other hand, I’m certain the book doesn’t address everyone. Why? Because you won’t find much on issues such as the lack of self-esteem (other than the fact that it suffers when you’re unhappy), learned helplessness, bullying, most work issues such as dealing with glass ceilings or learning to delegate, fear of success, and so on. And there is certainly nothing like living with phobias, addictions, or compulsions. So, my advice to the potential reader: consider what blocks your happiness and compare it to the topics covered in the book. To help with that process, I’ll try to summarize the book’s primary points.

For the complete review, see

(I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.)

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