Monday, September 24, 2012

Grimwood, Axe (2012)

Terry Grimwood, Axe. Double Dragon Press, 2012. Pp. 296. ISBN 978-1-55405-965-3. $5.99.

Reviewed by Kate Onyett

In the early years of the twentieth century, Robert Johnson went down to the crossroads and had his guitar retuned by the devil for rock music, or so they say. The deals have become a lot bloodier, and much for special-effects-laden since then. Building to a series of grisly, murderous climaxes, Axe is claiming that Hell really does still have, if not the best, then the most ear-splitting tunes.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fitzsimmons, Halcyon (2012)

Catherine Fitzsimmons, Halcyon. Brain Lag, 2012. Pp. 218. ISBN 9780986649356. $12.99/$2.99.

Reviewed by Jessica Nelson

Catherine Fitzsimmons produced the cyberpunk novel Halcyon during NaNoWriMo. This alone was enough to pique my interest in the book. Reading a self-published book is always a little daunting in the beginning, as the reader can never be sure about what they’re getting; many self-published novels are fantastic and could have easily been picked up by a big publishing house. Others… not so much. Halcyon falls somewhere between these two extremes. It has a few issues that could be tweaked here and there, but overall it’s a pleasing read, with breakneck pace throughout and cynical political undertones.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Herrera, Blue Tent (2012)

Carla R. Herrera, Blue Tent. Smashwords, 2012. Pp. 21. ISBN 9781476127002. Free.

Reviewed by Paul Wilks

Blue Tent is a short story by Carla R. Herrera and available via Smashwords. Set in a futuristic dystopian USA where the veneer of democracy has fallen to the point the country is now known as The Corporate States, protagonist Tele is in hiding from the authorities after taking part in a protest. She had no choice but to leave behind her family and live out a low-profile existence in a poverty-ridden camp. Such places are rife with danger but she manages to get by with the protection of an Inprod, a form of customised taser. She lives with hope of one day returning to her family.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Anderson, Beloved Evangeline (2012)

W.C. Anderson, Beloved Evangeline. Independent, 2012. Pp. 349. ASIN B006SB026W. $0.99.

Reviewed by Kate Onyett

The story begins in prologue. Within an institution, a girl, spurred on by a dandified figure no one else can see, is about to jump through a window. A catchy opener, more so because it is first-person told. After this subtle narrative throat-clearing, flashback to how Evangeline managed to get into this mess. To begin with, she sounds like a deeply depressed, possibly bipolar character, with high and low mood swings and a strong sense of self-loathing. What a cutie. Stick with me, it gets better, because as the story unfolds, a suspicion flowers—not so much a genuinely mentally unstable character, as a person who has consciously decided to be alone. Bad things happen to those she cares about: boyfriend suicide, maternal drama, and she has decided on a self-imposed social exile: lurking at home when not keeping a low profile in a junior statistician’s job in a non-specified office in the city. Question: is this a moody young adult or the genuinely jinxed?

Friday, September 07, 2012

Ward, Tube Riders (2012)

Chris Ward, The Tube Riders. Amazon Digital Services, 2012. Pp. 516. ISBN 978-1475116502/ASIN B007LVFSP8. $14.99 print/$3.31 Kindle.

Reviewed by Paul Wilks

The Tube Riders, written by Chris Ward and available through Amazon Digital Services, is a gritty dystopian novel set in future Britain, known as Mega Britain. Now a corrupt, deliberately isolated and socially devastated island, the government rules oppressively and the poor scavenge for food under a persistent threat of suspicion by the Department of Civil Affairs—almost like an Orwellian Thought Police outfit.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Reamer, Primary Fault (2012)

Sharon Kae Reamer, Primary Fault. Terrae Motus Books, 2012. Pp. 366. ISBN 9781475123098. $14.95.

Reviewed by Martha Hubbard

This is an remarkable first novel by a woman writer with impressive scientific credentials. Raised in Texas, Sharon Kae Reamer studied Geophysics at the University of Texas then, Ph.D in hand, moved to Germany to start a family and a career as a seismologist; after several years running her own consulting firm she returned to teaching at the University of Köln. The depth of her seismological and geographical knowledge shines through every page and adds credibility to the story details of this very readable, contemporary fantasy thriller.