Monday, February 23, 2015

Edi's Spotlight: Alt Hist Issue 7 edited by Mark Lord

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Dear Readers,

so far I reviewed   Alt Hist Issue 4 and Alt Hist Issue 5.
Now Alt Hist Issue 7 is available and editor Mark Lord asked me if I would like to get a copy in exchange for an honest review and I agreed to do that.

For all of you who do not know  Alt Hist: Historical Fiction and Alternate History, let me repeat the explanation by editor Mark Lord.


"Alt Hist, http://althistfiction.com, is the new magazine of Historical Fiction and Alternate History. Lovers of historical fiction for too long have been denied outlets for short pieces of fiction, as the number of print and online magazines for historical short fiction is very limited compared to the popularity of fiction set in past times. Alt Hist’s mission is to provide readers with entertaining and well-written short stories with a historical setting, whether portraying actual events or events that could have happened. If you read and enjoy historical fiction, alternate history or historical fantasy then we think you will like Alt Hist." [Source]
And now without further ado my review of Alt Hist Issue 7.


Alt Hist Issue 7 (digital and print, February 2015) 
edited by Mark Lord 

You can purchase eBook and Print copies from:
And eBook copies from:

The Delivery
Alt Hist Issue 7 features seven stories by six authors and editorial by Mark Lord.

At the end of each story you get basic information about the author and a link to a website or a blog which I appreciate.
I could not detect any obvious mistakes which means the proof-reading has been done well. I mention this because it seems no matter of course when it comes to digital publishing. Also the formatting worked well on my reader.

Before I go into detail I would like to talk about the cover image. Mark Lord mentioned  the name of the painting and the name of the artist. Surrender of General Burgoyne has been painted by John Trumbull (June 6, 1756 – November 10, 1843) who was notable for his historical painting. I'm no adept which means I can't deliver an in depth review of the painting. If you would like to know more please follow the previous two links.



Editorial by Mark Lord

Mark explained that he is happy with the development of Alt Hist followed by additional information about the authors of the stories and the stories itself. He emphasized that the main purpose of Alt Hist is to provide a home for quality short fiction with a historical setting.
Anyway you get enough input to raise your nosiness.

It is always a balancing act not to give away too much of a short story. I decided to give you a short information of the content of each story based on the information you get in the editorial.


The first story of Alt Hist Issue 7 is The Vivisectionist's Daughter by Jason Kahn. He delivered an alternate view of the last days of the famous physician and anatomist Andreas Vesalius through the eyes of the construction worker Qadri.


My thoughts
What is the secret of the soul? The story give a hint and is a perfect trigger to think about the soul. well written in a prose which hooks you on soft feet.



Cold Flesh by Andrew Knighton take the reader back into Medieval England. It is a story of sow and reap. It has been a harsh life and one should not kick people who are already on the ground.
Mark Lord mentioned that this was not the first story by Andrew Knighton in Alt Hist.

My thoughts
Medieval England was not the land of milk and honey. This dark story let you think about moral and superstition.

The third story has been delivered by Pavel Nikiforovitch and the title Independence Day give the first hint what the story is about. The 4th July set in an alternate version of present day America looks really different. How patriotic must an American be?

My thoughts
I really liked the story because the end was completely different to what I expected. Patriotism can be a burden or a lighthouse in the dark. I assume that my perception of the story will differ from an American reader. 


Heff in Dearborn by Michael Fertikis set in early 20th century America. What happens when a Greek god in disguise (Hephaistos) meets the synonym for modern factory assembly lines Henry T. Ford?

My thoughts
The story give a possible explanation how  Henry T. Ford While became the the synonym for modern factory assembly lines. For me it was like reading a fable. Finding: Take care when you deal with goods.


Regularly readers of Alt Hist Issue will know Battalion 202 which is the what-if tale of British resistance to a Nazi Invasion in WW2. he following two stories belong
Author Johnathan Doering contributed two new Battalion 202 stories.

In Battalion 202: The Sheep and the Goats Jonathan Doering returns to the local policeman Harold Storey who is forced to work together with the occupying Gestapo. 


My thoughts
This is a heartbreaking story because it is about the decision on consequences for Harold Story: Should he risk his own life to aid the British resistance or not.


In Battalion 202: Set Ablaze Jonathan Doering delivers back story information in form of personal records from figures like Winston Churchill. Each record contain possible answers of these person in their own words.

My thoughts
I think this is more interesting for readers who read previous Battalion 202 stories. But it can also be of interest for people with historical interest.

The Red Vortex by Priya Sharma is the final story of Alt Hist Issue 7. She contributed a number of stories to previous Alt Hist Issues. This time Priya Sharma explore the psychology of a great figure in history.

My thoughts
Unbelievable! At the end of the story you know the name of the person described in this story which gave me the creeps.


And what do I think about Alt Hist Issue 7?

I think Mark Lord delivered what he promised: To provide a home for quality short fiction with a historical setting.
Furthermore it is the biggest issue of Alt Hist so far.
It is a good mix of different stories and again a great opportunity to discover not only so well known but promising alternate history authors. It is also good opportunity for fans of Priya Sharma and  Jonathan Doering to read more from these authors.

I should not forget to mention that you can read 
The Vivisectionist's Daughter by Jason Kahn
FOR FREE!! Just click on the link.



If this is something after your taste then let me tell you that the previous four issues of Alt Hist are still available. You want to know how to get those ones? Just follow the link: How to get Alt Hist


If you want more information about the current and the previous issues of alt hist I highly recommend to visit Alt Hist: Historical Fiction and Alternate History.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Edi's Spotlight: The Immortality Game by Ted Cross

2 comments
Dear Readers,

on 8th of January I read following post over at Pat's Fantasy Hotlist:


There was a book mentioned  in the post which aroused my interest. I was impressed when I read that the author paid 2000 USD out of his own pocket for the cover art done by the well known Stephan Martiniere.
I was surprised by the cheap price for the digital copy and based on price, cover and blurb I decided to buy a copy of  The Immortality Game  (digital November 2014) [Kindle ASIN: B00PGW5YZ8] by Ted Cross.
 I had expectations and wanted to get the answer to the question:
 Does the The Immortality Game  lives up to its cover?


Book Store Information
In general my decision to read a book is mostly based on the cover and the blurb/synopsis delivered on the back cover. You do not get more information when you are in a book store. The world of books is changing which means I also will take in account blurbs and descriptions on GOODREADS and other places.
Here we go:

The Immortality Game  (digital November 2014)
[Kindle edition ASIN: B00PGW5YZ8

"Moscow, 2138. With the world only beginning to recover from the complete societal collapse of the late 21st Century, Zoya scrapes by prepping corpses for funerals and dreams of saving enough money to have a child. When her brother forces her to bring him a mysterious package, she witnesses his murder and finds herself on the run from ruthless mobsters. Frantically trying to stay alive and save her loved ones, Zoya opens the package and discovers two unusual data cards, one that allows her to fight back against the mafia and another which may hold the key to everlasting life." [Source]


The Delivery


The 278 pages are divided into 35 named chapters followed by an epilogue.

The cover serve the main purpose - to raise attention - perfectly!
It seems a futuristic big city plays a certain role which the book description confirm.

Take place and fasten seat belt in Ted Cross' virtual time machine. The date display in front of you shows 2138 and a scarcely audible voice in your head murmurs "Welcome to Moscow".
A shiver cross your body when you see a young woman working with a corpse and your nose recognise the smell of embalming fluid and decay ......

The young woman is Zoya and her job is not the average eight to five office job. The world has changed and in order to survive one can't be picky ....

A package containing two data cards and the death of her brother Georgy set the story in motion which will keep you captivated until the unexpected end which is an end and an option for a sequel.

But there is much more between the beginning and the end which deserve to be mentioned.
As you assume right, Zoya is one of the main characters. She is strong and vulnerable at the same time. She does not hide her emotions and she always believe in the good in mankind which take her quite often into trouble.

There are a lot of other people who have an impact on Zoya's live on different levels and direct and indirect. Even Ted Cross does not tend to write extended description of beings and places, he deliver in a few words characterisations which blossom based on your skill of imagination or to use other words, the more imagination the better.

There are at least to more characters which must be mentioned. There is Javier Saenz who is a well known computer scientist. Unfortunately you can't meet him in person because he died years ago. But he still exist in the digital world.He is a virtual person and highly interested in the data cards. His "body" in the real world is his only son Marcus who is a former mesh addicted. He is a kind and intelligent person. In order to get the data cards  Javier Saenz send his son to Moscow where most of the action takes place.

Beside that a lot more persons and fractions each with their own agenda are involved in the action paced and emotional race to get the two data cards.

The world is not a pleasant one. It does not matter if you look at it world wide. Russia, China and America West work on different strategies to go to space in order to inhabit other planets. It is difficult because there is still no FLT drive available.

Millions of people are mesh addicted. Mesh is an all-consuming virtual reality place. There are people who live more or less constantly in the Mesh.

Russia. There is no democracy. Instead Army, Russian Mafia, Politicians and others like the group of people living in the underground fight for power. Not to forget a group of Russian scientists in the hand of the Army.


In the end more or less everything is related to the two unusual data cards which reminded me in a way of a small piece of jewelry well known as "my precious" .....
Is Zoya the female counterpart to someone with big naked feet?
Belong the Russian scientists to the fellowship of .... ?


Who will get the data cards and for what purpose they will be used?
 The title of the book is the shortest description of what you can expect.
It is The Immortality Game - a game which is more like  a war with a lot of violence and breakneck action, heartbreaking moments, thoughtful passages and a pinch of science.
Nevertheless it is the humanity in form of Zoya supported by Marcus and many more which shows that mankind is not lost as long as there are human beings like them.

Dear Ted Cross,

thank you very much for investing 2000 USD for the cover!
Without I would have missed your excellent story!

The content of  The Immortality Game  lives up to its cover and more!!

Please write more such excellent books. 
I will definitely have a look at your boosk even the covers would be totally black....



Saturday, February 21, 2015

Edi's Weekend Wave issue #1508

2 comments
Dear Readers,

to lament is not helpful. Therefore I will stop to explain to you why I was not able to this or that. Instead I will talk what I achieved despite working ten to twelve hours per day. I want and I need to be in a positive mood.


ENJOY READING ....



Edi's Guidepost

The Lighthouse
News and information straight from the horse's mouth by Lighthouse keeper ediFanoB


  1. Reading progress 
  2. First review sighted
Books
The latest report from our shelf shop net correspondent Bona
  1. New books on my shelf/reader or when one book leads to another 
Blogosphere
Messages from the depths of the blogosphere by spheronaut Bona Fide
  1. The end of an independent digital publisher
  2. Still looking for fantasy books to read in 2015?
  3. Kickstarter: I pledged 
  4. Steampunk

Movies
Remote control junkie Fide and his zapping highlights
  1. Crimson Peak

Quotes
The member of the house of quotes and a quote himself the Keeper of the minutes ( we call him Kotm) fished for you
  1. German proverbs, sayings and idiomsQuote related to body

The Lighthouse
Based on the time I could use for reading I'm totally happy with the result. I finished one book, I continued one book and I started to read a new book.



I finished

- Android Hunters (digital, November 2014) [Kindle edition ASIN: B00Q3B5NCU] by Johnathan Bergeron.
I wrote on GOODREADS:
"This is a temporary comment. A full review is in progress.

As I said in my update during reading, the beginning was a bit disjointed.
But the more I read the more I liked the story which really has several twist and turns.
I must say I have been surprised by the vehemence of emotion presented in form of violence, hate, haughtiness and team spirit.

I "hated" the end because it put me to a halt and I want to know how the story will continue.

It is a kind of military science fiction but for me it is much more the question how to cope with what happened in the past under the impact of new development."


I'm

- 208 pages in The Return of the Discontinued Man (pb, 2014) [ISBN-13: 978-1616149055] by Mark Hodder
This is the fifth book in the alluring Burton & Swinburne series. A great adventure!
And it is definitely not a book to devour. If you read too fast you will get lost. 


- 109 pages in The Eterna Files (hc, February 2015) [ISBN-13: 978-0765336743] by Leanna Renee Hieber.
I can't help doing it! I started reading even the book was not on the list of books I want to read next.
I did not regret. There is a magical charm to be inherent in the book. After reading one third of the book I now that this is one of these books which you either like or dislike.

No progress

Finally I moved the books which stayed here for month to my "to be continued later" shelf on GOODREADS.


First review sighted
Less than seven weeks to go until you can get your copy of Dragon of the Stars (7th April 2015) [ISBN-13: 978-1939844067] by Alex J. Cavanaugh.


Yesterday I sighted the first review over at Beauty in Ruins

Sci-Fi Review: Dragon of the Stars by Alex J. Cavanaugh

My review will be available on 1rst of March 2015.  It will be interesting to read different reviews.




 Enjoy your weekend ....



Books


Dear readers, I'm the one to tell you about books - only books? What about novellas and other stuff? My name is Bona. I scour shelves, shops and the net for books. If you call me a book whore I would not gainsay you. But be aware I have my own, sometimes elusive taste.

New books on my shelf/reader or when one book leads to another

The last week I received copies of two digital books authors, downloaded one digital copy for free and bought  copies of two digital books. Furthermore I received a copy of a real book.
I tear up when I look at all the books I received last week. The more books I get the less time for I reading I get. January 2015 has been an exception when it comes to reading.

 Let me start with the real book.
 First of all I send a big thank you over the pond to Tor/Forge.com. They have been so kind to send me a copy of Karen Memory (hc, February 2015) [ISBN-13: 978-0765375247] by Elizabeth Bear.
Of course I read about the book before but I must say the price for the digital copy (13 Euro) did not fit in my book budget for February and March. The more I'm happy that I received the hardcover copy. I love steampunk and I look forward how Elizabeth Bear present steampunk set in the wild wild West.
"“You ain’t gonna like what I have to tell you, but I'm gonna tell you anyway. See, my name is Karen Memery, like memory only spelt with an e, and I'm one of the girls what works in the Hôtel Mon Cherie on Amity Street. Hôtel has a little hat over the o like that. It's French, so Beatrice tells me.”

Set in the late 19th century—when the city we now call Seattle Underground was the whole town (and still on the surface), when airships plied the trade routes, would-be gold miners were heading to the gold fields of Alaska, and steam-powered mechanicals stalked the waterfront, Karen is a young woman on her own, is making the best of her orphaned state by working in Madame Damnable’s high-quality bordello. Through Karen’s eyes we get to know the other girls in the house—a resourceful group—and the poor and the powerful of the town. Trouble erupts one night when a badly injured girl arrives at their door, begging sanctuary, followed by the man who holds her indenture, and who has a machine that can take over anyone’s mind and control their actions. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the next night brings a body dumped in their rubbish heap—a streetwalker who has been brutally murdered.

Bear brings alive this Jack-the-Ripper yarn of the old west with a light touch in Karen’s own memorable voice, and a mesmerizing evocation of classic steam-powered science." [Source]


Italian author Luca Rossi has been so kind as to send me a digital copy of The Branches of Time (digital, ) [Kindle edition ASIN: B00L3PI7AG].
"A shower of splinters exterminates the people of the island of Turios. Only Bashinoir, badly wounded, his wife Lil and the Priestess Miril survive. They would like to give a worthy burial to their loved ones, but the corpses have disappeared. Their only hope of salvation lies in the magical protection of the Temple. But they must cope with dark threats. A shadow haunts their hearts, threatening to divide and destroy them; their bodies seem to be less consistent. The closeness between the two women contrasts with the isolation of Bashinoir.

In the realm of Isk, wizards and advisors must submit to the insatiable greed of sex and war as well as the power of King Beanor. The last of his young wives, however, does not want to surrender to the loss of love and freedom. Will games and tricks under the sheets be the key turning point of a millenarian war." [Source]

I must say that parts of the description sound interesting But especially the second part does not intrigue me. With less than 200 pages it is a short book. Nevertheless I don't have any clue when I will read it.

I downloaded the digital copy of the next book for free. The description aroused my interest. I talk about Caught in Time (digital, March 2014) [Kindle edition ASIN: B00452V8GY] by Sheron Wood McCartha.

""Caught In Time" is a time travel adventure. Rowyna Grae always thought that she was human until the day Arwoyn Telluria reveals that she was created secretly in his medical lab using parts of his DNA...specifically the gene for time travel. He confides that she came to him long ago when he was a boy telling him that she was from the far future. So, the older Arwoyn creates her to return to fulfill her destiny. But things go awry. Arwoyn dies, the new regime want to turn her into a stealth assassin, the young timelab assistant, Richard Steele, sends her to the wrong place and loses her. She lands with dangerously packed bags a thousand years into the past at the king's hunting lodge with an agenda to kill the king who is the original mutant of a dangerous line of "talents". Within a mere day, she manages to kill six men defending herself against robbers and rapists. Of course she falls in love with the very man she is supposed to kill, not knowing who he really is. The gun, science book, and alien crystal found in her bags create havoc as she changes the past and reorders Richard Steele's reality up the time stream. The charming medieval past isn't so charming when there's no running water, no central heat, court intrigue, and war on the horizon. Will she be forever "caught in time" or will she be "caught in time" for a final rescue? What's a resourceful replicant to do? The answer is...quite a lot, and therein lies a fun romping read." [Source]

I must say that the GOODREADS average rating for the following book does not look good (2.73 of 5 stars). But that will not hinder me to give the book a try. The description is interesting and the copy was not that expensive.
Something Coming Through (digital, February 2015) [Kindle edition ASIN: B00MNGZXHE] by Paul J McAuley.
"One of our finest SF writers moves closer to home. London is devastated. New worlds are being explored. And the aliens have arrived...

The aliens are here. And they want to help. The extraordinary new project from one of the country's most acclaimed and consistently brilliantly SF novelists of the last 30 years.

The Jackaroo have given humanity 15 worlds and the means to reach them. They're a chance to start over, but they're also littered with ruins and artifacts left by the Jackaroo's previous clients.

Miracles that could reverse the damage caused by war, climate change, and rising sea levels. Nightmares that could for ever alter humanity - or even destroy it.

Chloe Millar works in London, mapping changes caused by imported scraps of alien technology. When she stumbles across a pair of orphaned kids possessed by an ancient ghost, she must decide whether to help them or to hand them over to the authorities. Authorities who believe that their visions point towards a new kind of danger.

And on one of the Jackaroo's gift-worlds, the murder of a man who has just arrived from Earth leads policeman Vic Gayle to a war between rival gangs over possession of a remote excavation site.

Something is coming through. Something linked to the visions of Chloe's orphans, and Vic Gayle's murder investigation. Something that will challenge the limits of the Jackaroo's benevolence..." [Source]

After enjoying The Britannia Conspiracy (digital 2014) [Kindle ASIN: B00JQOQIPM] by Peter C. Middleton it was no question for me that I want to continue with the Britannia Chronicles series. A few days ago I bought a digital copy of The Britannia Contagion (digital 2015) [Kindle ASIN: B00TE3PJ0K] by Peter C. Middleton.
"In the second book of The Britannia Chronicles, the Bubonic Plague has returned to London, this time with devastating ferocity. It kills within eight hours and for the first few hours after infection victims have an unquenchable thirst for human blood.

The capital is in turmoil. The infected are feeding on anyone they can find and the virus is spreading at a phenomenal rate. To make matters worse, existing anti-biotics are completely ineffective and those responsible for engineering this deadly variant, have kidnapped and infected the Prime Minister's daughter. With her own child and her entire nation facing extinction, Karen Shaw must call on the help of the Alexander Ackerman and the Guardians. They have just hours to find those responsible, discover their motives and obtain a cure. To obtain the answers they must delve into the darkest annals of London's history, but while they hunt for clues they are being hunted themselves by the deadliest creatures ever to inhabit our plane." [Source]

The last and final book for today is something special for me because the publishing date will be 30th of March 2015! Author Timothy S. Johnston has been so kind to send me a review copy in exchange for an honest review. My review will be available on publishing day.
I talk about the third book in the science fiction murder mystery series The Tanner Sequence.
So far I reviewed The Furnace (digital 2013) [Kindle edition ASIN: B00F942TT2] which is a finalist in EPIC'S 2015 eBooks Competition in the category science fiction!
Furthermore I read and enjoyed The Freezer (digital 2014) [Kindle edition ASIN: B00KPJNL3E].

The Void (digital, 30th March 2015) [Kindle edition ASIN: B00N0MYHBI] is the title of the third book in the series.
"2403 AD

It would be easier to kill him than to trust him.

Transporting a serial killer might seem like a simple job for CCF Homicide Investigator Kyle Tanner. After spending years apprehending murderers, he’s ready to hang up his pistol. Babysitting a prisoner will bring him to Alpha Centauri, where he can search for a way to escape the CCF forever.

If he makes it.

When his ship breaks down in deep space and a CCF research vessel comes to his aid, Tanner realizes he’s in terrible danger: the scientists on board have blocked his distress call. And when Tanner’s prisoner escapes, he begins to suspect that the proximity of the research vessel had nothing to do with luck and everything to do with the CCF’s relentless reach.

Facing near-certain death by his own organization, Tanner must unravel a tangled skein of vengeance, duplicity and murder in deep space. But he’s being held at the will of master puppeteers, and if he can’t cut the strings, he’ll dance straight to a gruesome, excruciating death…" [Source]

The Void from Timothy S. Johnston and Carina Press is available for PRE-ORDER now!



No more today, see you next week ......



Blogosphere

Hey, I'm Bona Fide. I just came back from my last foray through the blogosphere. What can you expect from me? I tell you: Everything from Art to Fart as long as there is any faint connection to books. And here is some honey from the beehive blogosphere...



The end of an independent digital publisher
 The independent digital publisher MusaPublishing has been founded in 2011.
Yesterday (Friday, 20th February 2015) following announcement has been posted on the Musa Publishing blog:

Musa Publishing Announcement

Dear Readers,

The rising costs of doing business and reduced sales have hit us extremely hard in spite of our fantastic books and enthusiastic efforts of staff and authors alike. We deeply regret that Musa Publishing will be closing its virtual doors on February 28, 2015.

Until then, our books will be deeply discounted.  Feel free to stock up while our store remains open.

Our authors will all be released from their contracts with us.  It is our hope that you will seek out books by authors you love, and will support them on social media and in their future publishing endeavors.

From the hearts of all at Musa, we thank you for your loyalty.
Musa Publishing

That means one platform less for unpublished authors and also one platform less for readers.
But there are some days left where you can discover authors unknown to you.
Till February 28, 2015 you can buy all books deeply discounted. 
 The books are available in following formats: PDF, ePub and Mobi(Kindle).
Maybe you will find something interesting for you when you visit
till February 28.





Still looking for books to read in 2015?
Nowadays you can get so many recommendations. But what do publisher recommend?
If you have some time and you are looking for fantasy books then I recommend to have a look at following post over at Fantasy Faction:

Most Anticipated Fantasy Novels of 2015: Publishers’ Choice




Kickstarter: I pledged
I assume most of you know Kickstarter. Nowadays it is no more longer unusual to raise money for the publishing of a book. Yesterday I pledged for a book project. I don't do that often. But let me start at the beginning. Yesterday I read following post over at ONLY THE BEST Science Fiction & Fantasy:


I read and liked The Whitefire Crossing (pb, 2011) [ISBN-13: 978-1597802833] by Courtney Schafer a lot. I got a copy of the second book in her The Shattered Sigil series, The Tainted City (pb, October, 2012) [ISBN-13: 978-1597802833]. But I lost track and with reading the post mentioned above it popped up in my mind. Of course I would like to know how the story will end. Therefore I pledged.
I do not want to repeat all the details which you can read in the post mentioned above. Read the post in case you are interested in.


Steampunk
If you would like to know more about the joy of Steampunk then you should read following post over at Airship Ambassador:



That's it for today. Come back next week for more ......


Movies


Hey, it's me Fide. I'm a remote control professional. I'm that fast that I can watch two movies at the same time.

I'm not a big fan of horror movies but the following one aroused my interest:

Crimson Peak
"In the aftermath of a family tragedy, an aspiring author is torn between love for her childhood friend and the temptation of a mysterious outsider. Trying to escape the ghosts of her past, she is swept away to a house that breathes, bleeds...and remembers." [Source]
Have a look at the first teaser trailer


That's all for today. See you next time....


Quotes

I 'm the Keeper of the minutes. But I don't mind when you call me Kotm. No, no. I don't explain to you how to pronounce.

Sometimes I run out of words. Fortunately we have a body we can use to express ourselves. But body language is not always unambiguous ...............


"The body says what words cannot.

Martha Graham, US choreographer and dancer, 1894 - 1991
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