Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pulp of the Week - Sliding Void by Stephen Hunt



Sliding Void
by Stephen Hunt

Sliding Void is a fun space opera tale that sets up the series of the same name. It is the story of how erstwhile Prince Calder Durk of the frozen planet Hesperus meets Captain Lana Fiveworlds of the starship Gravity Rose

Lana's ship is an independent freighter and she's looking for a cargo run to get her off of the "Planet of the Balls" (as the first chapter is called). Before she is completely desperate a courier vessel arrives. The courier passes on a message to Lana from a former crewman, Rex Matobo. The message says, "I would appreciate it if you came quickly." There were co-ordinates. As it turns out, Rex is in trouble on Hesperus.

Sliding Void is a fast-paced science fiction story that doesn't overstay its welcome and leaves you wanting more. It is classic SF space opera, and the beginning of the promise that eBooks can fill the voids left behind by mainstream publishers. There are not many straight forward science fiction adventure books getting onto store shelves these days. Kristine Rusch's Diving series is a welcome exception to that rule. 

But now, because of ebooks,  authors can write what they want to write and easily publish it themselves, regardless of what the publishers are interested in doing or what their marketing departments think will sell. I'm not even sure that the publishers are really trying to sell books anymore. I think they shoot for a hand full of blockbuster best sellers to keep themselves afloat and then sell movie rights to make a profit.

Regardless, what the big publishers do doesn't matter as much to me anymore because individuals like Stephen Hunt, KW Jeter, Mike Stackpole, Kris Rusch, and Dean Smith are writing what excites them and putting them out on their own. As with everything else, the internet has allowed niche interests to find their audience.

I will reading more about Lana Fiveworlds and her crew in the next book called, Transference Station, also an ebook original. Stephen Hunt is most famous for his steampunk novels including, The Court of the Air, Rise of the Iron Moon (Great Title!), and The Kingdom Beyond the Waves.

For this review I read the ebook of Sliding Void. I give it an 7.5 out of 10. This is solid, well written space opera. I may have to delve into Mr. Hunt's steampunk as well.



Friday, December 23, 2011

Pulp of the Week - Robin Hood: Arrow of Justice by I.A. Watson



I.A. Watson is a writer to watch. His second Robin Hood novel is as delightful as the first and I can't wait for the concluding chapter that will be released next year. This series is a real gem and a feather in Airship 27 Production's cap. Look for the printed book here and the ebook here.

The first volume, King of Sherwood, established the famous Robin Hood and the whole cast of characters, including the vicious, spiteful Sheriff of Nottingham. In Arrow of Justice, the story continues and while there are no shocking surprises, the tale is well told and the characters are vividly brought to life. If I was forced to find a fault with the book the only thing I could think of would be that on the cover of a book called Arrow of Justice, you might want to have the hero holding a bow.

For this review I read the ebook, priced at only $3. That, my friends is a steal. I am looking forward to the final book of this trilogy (although I hope the series continues past that) called Freedom's Outlaw.

Arrow of Justice is a great read that I would recommend for all readers from teens to adults. Cheers to IA Watson!

The cover painting is again by the very talented Michael Manly. I think he captures Robin and Marion's charm nicely.



Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tannhäuser Tuesday - Natalya Kaminski


The newest release in the FFG Tannhäuser universe is a Russian that stomps around in power armor carrying a seriously righteous Lightning Cannon. Natalya Kaminski is a Matriarchy Epic Hero that worked with Oksana Gusarenko on restoring and enhancing some of Tesla and Rossum's cast-offs.

The Kostjak Bronka Apparat Suit and the Volta Lightning Cannon are the main part of her arsenal. The rest of her kit boils down to support for these two items.

The KBA Suit allows Natalya to re-roll up to two dice on your shock roll. However, if the re-roll rolls a natural 1, Natalya takes an additional wound.

The Lightning Cannon is a Heavy Automatic weapon that allows you to target an additional adjacent character to the character you are attacking. You make one attack roll and each target rolls their own shock roll.

The Command Pack also includes that token MASSIVE that allows all allies adjacent to Natalya to roll an extra die on their shock rolls. Nice.

While the illustration of Natalya is one of my favorites in the Tannhäuser universe, the figure itself is one of the worst. The sculpture is chunky and limited in detail compared to the others in the line. In addition, the pose is not great and her head is too big. She is big, though. Now to test her in battle...

The Ladies of Tannhäuser

I feel U-Chronic!!!



Monday, December 5, 2011

Pulp of the Week - Goliath by Scott Westerfeld


Written by Scott Westerfeld
Illustrated by Keith Thompson

Goliath is the concluding book in the Steampunk alternate history World War I trilogy by Scott Westerfeld and Keith Thompson. Wow is this book good. It is a fantastic conclusion to a marvelous series. This is a great, globe-spanning book. It rivals and perhaps surpasses part one, Leviathan, in quality and imagination.

One of the most satisfying things about the book is how it changes and adds many things (locale, supporting players) but stays true to the heart of the series and truly wraps it us in a way few series manage. I really enjoyed the way that Westerfeld wove additional historic figures into the story. We meet Tesla, William Randolph Hearst, and a certain Mexican outlaw general. Goliath is a top notch book and if you are a reader that doesn't like to start a series until all the books are written, you can dig in now.

Goliath is one of the best books I have read in a long time. I heartily recommend it to anyone interested in  science fiction, steam punk, or adventure fiction. The novel is full of many surprises and twists and turns and some moments of terrific action and emotional resonance. 

Thompson's copious illustrations illuminate and propel the pace of the story. Westerfeld himself has remarked on how seeing the drawings led to changes in the text. This time the drawings don't just sit on one page, but cross two on occasion.

This is a strong contender for best novel in many categories, and I will be adding Goliath to my Pulp Factory, Pulp Ark, Locus, and Hugo nominations.

I hope you enjoyed that fun bit of art. It's is a joke, a gag, a laugh that appeared on Scott Westerfeld's tumblr. It is not a spoiler, but it is a fun piece of art.

If you like adventure, read the Leviathan Trilogy.



200,000 is cool

The Savage Tales blog has hit 200,000 page views.

Thanks to all the readers and lurkers and drive-bys.

I'll have a lot of cool stuff coming up in 2012. The big thing for  me will be to get a bunch of novellas up for every eReader under the sun, and to build a proper website for my publishing.

thanks again, everyone.