Video Book Review – Emergence by Liberty Speidel

In today’s episode of Stories I talk about Emergence: A Superhuman Detective Story by Liberty Speidel.

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Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey – Video Book Review

In today’s episode of Stories I talk about the epic space opera Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey. This is the first book in the expanse series.

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Shadows Beneath – The Writing Excuses Anthology. Video

In today’s episode of Stories, I talk about Shadows Beneath – The Writing Excuses Anthology.

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3 Days Left on Enclave Kickstarter for Christian Sci-fi & Fantasy Books

You’ve probably heard that Enclave Publishing (formerly Marcher Lord Press) is holding a Kickstarter campaign to promote their upcoming books for their “Fall 2014″ (Northern Hemisphere) release. There are some great looking stories there and you can get all 5 titles for just twenty bucks. It’s a great way to show your support for the Christian science fiction and fantasy industry, and get some awesome stories in the process.

Here are some good reasons to support the campaign, and a few more good reasons.

Enclave Publishing Kickstarter

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Emergence by Liberty Speidel – Book Review

Emergence (Darby Shaw Chronicles, #1)Emergence by Liberty Speidel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is part Detective story, part super-hero origin story. I am often a fan of genre-blending stories, and these are two genres that are only enhanced by each other’s presence.

This book not only introduces a cast of characters, it also introduces us to a near-future world where the police force has been privitised, officers carry stun guns, cars have a hover-mode, and a genetic mutation has created a race of super-humans.

The protagonist Darby Shaw is a likable character. She plays well off her partner Mark. Her ability is fascinatingly unique among superhero stories, and opens up some big implications for the world the author has created.

As an origin story, this book focuses a lot on the discovery of Darby’s ability, and her coming to terms with the effect it will have on her life. I am looking forward to seeing Darby settling into her new job in subsequent stories.

The novella format seems ideal for this type of story, and lends itself well to a continuing series.

I thoroughly enjoyed Emergence and am eagerly looking forward to more.

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Shadows Beneath: Writing Excuses Anthology

Shadows Beneath: The Writing Excuses AnthologyShadows Beneath: The Writing Excuses Anthology by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Shadows beneath is an anthology of speculative short stories by the crew behind the Writing Excuses podcast, with a bunch of impressive special features for writers. I’ve been listening to the podcast for a couple of years now. I heard them brainstorm the ideas behind these stories. I remember thinking how much I’d like to read the final products of each. Well now we all can.

The stories themselves are creative and highly entertaining. Even if you’re not a writer, this collection is worth buying just for that.

If you’re a writer, the special features is where this book really becomes a treasure. The book includes transcripts of the brainstorming sessions, first drafts, critique transcripts, edits (showing what was removed, and added from first draft to final) and essays on the writing of the stories.

I highly recommend this collection, firstly to enjoy some awesome speculative stories, and secondly for a fascinating behind-the-scenes look into the work of some of today’s great storytellers.

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Operation Zulu Redemption: Overkill – The Beginning by Ronie Kendig

Operation Zulu Redemption: Overkill - The BeginningOperation Zulu Redemption: Overkill – The Beginning by Ronie Kendig
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This first installment does a great job of introducing us to the cast of characters. Each is done with tension and suspense. Each of the women from “Zulu” have settled into very different lives – all of them a stark contrast from the life of a soldier. I especially like the idea of a disgraced soldier trying to settle in an Amish community.

Things all start coming to a head near the end as the characters begin to converge and realise they all have a problem.

This book raises more questions than it answers – as you would expect from a pilot episode. I’m a fan of these novella-serial-reads-like-a-tv-show kind of books, and this one has a particularly interesting premise. I’ll certainly be reading this series.

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Colony Zero Volume 3 – Review

Colony Zero - Volume 3 - In The Midst of SorrowColony Zero – Volume 3 – In The Midst of Sorrow by Mark Venturini
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lines begin to be drawn amongst the stranded crew of the Valkyrie in this installment. The story follows Lieutenant Ransom who seems to be the most reasonable among the group. Some back story is revealed for his character which makes everything suddenly very personal.

As he walks the line between opposing forces, trying to decide what is right he struggles with the fear and uncertainty of his own past.

I really enjoyed this one and am eager to see where it leads in Volume 4.

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Flight of the Angels by Allan & Aaron Reini – Book Review

Flight of the AngelsFlight of the Angels by Allan Reini
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Flight of the Angels is a fast-paced science fiction action adventure. It follows the exploits of the 714th Fighter Squad – The Angels. In a futuristic dystopia where Christianity is all but outlawed they are tasked with protecting a secret colony on a world in deep space.

The book also follows a young ambitious business man on Earth who is trying to unravel a mystery that could make or break his career. As he digs deeper he uncovers a conspiracy that could spell doom for not only the Angel’s colony, but every Christian in the galaxy.

Despite this book having a large cast I never had any great trouble separate characters from one another. A big part of the fun of reading this book was getting to hang out with these people. It looks like the father and son authors are planning future installments, which is great because I’d like to continue spending time with these characters.

There are a couple of mysteries that were not fully explained in the novel, and I found myself wanting more exploration of the villain’s motivations. I assume the authors plan to further explore these ideas in the sequel.

I thoroughly enjoyed Flight of the Angels and look forward to more.

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Review – Star Trek Axanar – Prelude To Axanar

In today’s episode of Stories I talk about the Star Trek fan film Prelude To Axanar. Check it out (and don’t forget to go to the Kickstarter Page to watch the film.

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