Monthly Archive: September 2015

One Thousand Years

One Thousand Years by Randolph Beck is the book I have been reading exclusively on my phone for a few months. Let me explain. Before I got an actual Kindle, when there was a sale I couldn’t refuse, I used the Kindle app on my phone. This worked well, despite the screen size. The Kindle seemed so large as to be unwieldy at first, though it took all of a day to adapt. Once I had the Kindle, I continued to use the reader on the phone while in waiting room situations. Beats stale magazines and drug company propaganda, or just staring around the place. Selecting one book that was exclusive to the phone made it especially compelling. It turned out to be an excellent choice.

I bought it at 99¢, but it’s a bargain at the current price of $2.99. At least, it is if you like science fiction that has military and historical elements. It’s the story of a Tuskegee airman, rescued from a crash off Italy by future Nazis. You learn their history as he learns it. It’s not the history you know or as he expects it to unfold. But why?

In the end, it got almost too compelling to read only while waiting. I took advantage last night of my Kindle having an inexplicably dead battery. I was almost done with the latest Spinward Fringe, naturally extra gripping in the last several percent. When that was done, I finished this one, also in its last several percent. Unfortunately, between the adrenaline of the charging problem and reading the climax of two excellent books, I had trouble getting to sleep. Not good, when the alarm goes off before 2 AM. I started a book that explores an EMP scenario as faced by fictional preppers, but that was too interesting, so I switched to a fantasy book where the setup would render me sleepy faster. That and I switched back to the Kindle, which had enough charge by then. Which was good, since the phone was down to 5% and needed to go on the charger as it normally does while I sleep. But I digress.

I am looking forward to more in the world of One Thousand Years. I went looking today, thinking there might be a sequel. I haven’t read it yet, but there is a 99¢ , 55 page story that follows up the main one to some degree. I bought it, and will probably make The Time Bridge At Orion my next “read on the phone” book. Assuming I don’t get impatient, because the end of One Thousand Years left a terribly intriguing mystery. If that doesn’t resolve things, I hope there’s more soon!

Great Series

While you’re waiting for me to get around to reviewing them properly, ideally even book by book, I thought I’d throw out a list of some series that fall in the range of enjoyed to can’t get enough of them. In keeping with the general focus of this place, these are all low cost eBooks. Thus I won’t bother listing something like The Wheel of Time. Oh wait, I sort of just did.

Spinward Fringe by Randolph Lalonde is a fantastic, distant future SF saga that not only makes you think Firefly writ large, but contains unabashed references or homages to same, and to other bits of culture you may recognize. The first, prequel-like volume, linked, is free to get you started.

Timeline 10/27/62 by James Philip it a Brit-centric alternate history in which the point of departure is the Cuban Missile Crisis turning hot. This is the first series in which I have ever preordered the next book before it was released. I feel like I have shared the lives of Peter, Marijah and others, and cannot wait to see more. The abbreviated first volume, linked, will get you hooked for a mere 99¢. All are bargains. A secondary, USA-centric concurrent series is due to start releasing, appropriately, on October 27, even as the original continues.

Portals of Infinity by John Van Stry is a catchy fantasy series that I thought might be cheesy at first, but in fact is clever, distinctive, and hard to put down. The first is not introductory priced the way some first books in a series are, but it’s well worth $2.99.

Ark Royal by Christopher Nuttall is another Brit-centric SF series, which has become six books since I read and loved the first three, which frankly I thought tied things up neatly, but I guess I’ll see when I get around to the rest. Humanity’s first encounter with non-humans becomes interesting. The author is prolific and these are not his only books I have read and enjoyed, but the others so far have been standalones.

The Beast of Maug Maurai by Roberto Calas is one solid story in three parts, not quite like other fantasy that I’ve read, with seemingly hopeless odds, some deeper mysteries, and food for thought about duty. Seemingly contrary to how great the set was, the entire first volume in some ways read like a fleshed out version of gathering your band of characters for a D&D quest. Yet it felt real and memorable. I would love to revisit this world, the consequences and future developments. Then again, sometimes it’s fun to feed these things to our imaginations. I couldn’t put these down. I tend to read myself to sleep. Didn’t work with these. Lucky for me I found them after the series was complete

There are others I could probably name, but this covers most of the highlights of a couple years of reading primarily low cost Kindle books and making discoveries such as these.

The Threads of Jericho

Again, not quite my usual fare, though it does fall under fantasy. It’s different, though, reminding me of comics. The Threads of Jericho by Michael A. Scheller , illustrated by Petterson Oliviera, is a mere $1.00, but is less of a bargain than it would be at longer than 104 pages.

When I say it reminds me of comics, let me add some background. I once collected comics, centering largely around titles like Swamp Thing and others in the DC/Vertigo universe. I bought almost the entire run of Swamp Thing, the entire run of Sandman, most of the run of Hellblazer, and the entire run of Preacher. Those last three I bought from the first issue.

The Threads of Jericho is a fantasy centering on characters like Death, his son, and other family in the realm of gods or mythological/supernatural beings. Solcom Jericho, son of Death, does not want to be what he is expected, wishing to do some good in the world. This does not go smoothly or without an unexpected antagonist.

It kept me engaged and entertained, and was not predictable. I wouldn’t mind seeing more along similar lines. Worth reading, if not as big a bargain for your reading budget as a several hundred page novel for $3-4 would be.