I finished reading Arthur C. Clarke's first published fiction longer than a short story, the short novel or novella Against the Fall of Night. It was heavily revised by Clarke and later published as The City and the Stars, but the odd thing is that the original has also continuously been in print alongside the revised edition.
I also finished reading one of Greg Bear's early SF novels, Strength of Stones. I've read three of his early novels lately, and while they all seemed either a little incomplete, rushed or not as straightforward as many modern readers might prefer, I still found them compelling. Strength of Stones has been the most overtly ambitious of these early novels, and it's the one that I liked most, but also the one where the denouement left me confused. Bear brings the various plot threads to a proper close, but I'm not sure if I really grok what he was aiming for at the very end. I mean, I kinda know, and am also still kinda confused. Will have to think on it a little longer. It was still a powerful little novel on man's expulsion from paradise - ironically, self-perpetuated through the misapplication of their own belief systems - and the desire to reclaim that state of being, the resentment and anger that stems from being denied, and the arrogance that comes from believing that it's even possible. Essentially, the core themes from the Judeo-Christian-Islamic traditions couched in some [what I thought were ingenious] SFnal conceits.
My next SF outing will be the final instalment of Neal Asher's Spatterjay trilogy, Orbus. I expect it to be as action-packed and fun as the previous two.
Hey guys, here is a sample from my action / adventure book below. It is currently on sale for $1.24 from my company. I have three more on the way.
“Come on,” Max said, seeing where Bradley was looking. “She’s dead.”
The woman overheard them speaking and slowly opened her eyes, coughing up small drops of blood. She felt the blood pounding in her head. Police sirens wailed through her ears into her brain. She took a deep breath and felt her chest push out against the strong material of the seat belt. “Help!” she yelled. “Help me, please!” She feebly struggled to open her door.
“felgercarb!” Bradley gasped. “Come on.”
“Bradley, no,” Mr. Knightsbridge yelled. “Come on, we have got to get out of here.”
“We can’t just leave her,” Kevin said. “What would you want in her situation?”
Mr. Knightsbridge shook his head as Bradley led Kevin, Max and Eric over to the car. Then he followed close behind. Bradley dove to the ground to get a better view of the woman. The engine was smoking.
“You okay, miss?” he asked.
Blood was running down her face and mixing with her straight white-blonde hair. “I, I, I’m okay,” the woman gasped. “Get me out, please!”
“Okay, stay calm,” Bradley said to her. He got up and ran to the other side of the door, carefully army-crawling in the broken window. He winced as glass dug into his forearms and legs, but he had to release the woman’s seatbelt if she was going to get out. The smell of gas was overpowering.
“Kevin,” Bradley yelled.
Kevin leaned down and looked into the car. “What’s up?” he asked.
Bradley took a deep breath. “Remember that smashed up fire truck? Go and get me something like the jaws of life,” Bradley ordered.
“Got it,” Kevin said and left.
“And an extinguisher!” Bradley yelled as Kevin ran across the road towards the fire truck. “Just in case.”
Kevin ran inside the truck, but called out, “Eric, watch out!”
“For what?” he replied.
Kevin rolled his eyes as he searched every compartment he could find in the truck. “I don’t know, the green things?”
“Oh, right,” Eric replied. He walked around the truck to get a better view of where the Armazoids were attacking people a few streets away.
Kevin finally found what he was looking for and hauled the jaws of life and extinguisher over to Bradley, who was now standing outside the driver’s door assessing where he should cut without harming the woman. As Kevin passed over the jaws of life, he heard Eric scream. He whirled around to see two of the Armazoids coming towards him from the fire truck.
“felgercarb!” Kevin gasped. He pulled out the tiny plastic pin and activated the extinguisher. He pulled the silver hook and blasted the Armazoids away from him. As they were blinded by the foam, Kevin delivered two beautiful head kicks, knocking them out cold.
Bradley looked at Kevin and then the extinguisher. “Not what I had in mind,” he said, “but there we go.”
Thicker smoke started to billow from the hood of the sedan, and the woman began to wail. “felgercarb!” Bradley gasped. “Kevin, spray now.”
Kevin sprayed the car engine, struggling to find the source of the smoke. Bradley started cutting through the material—it wasn’t easy. “Come on,” he started to groan.
The thick black smoke started to fill the car, the lady finding it harder and harder to breath. Finally, the last of the material was cut. Bradley pried off the door and took the woman’s outstretch hands, helping her to avoid the sharp metal edges of the car frame.
Kevin watched Bradley help the lady until he saw some flames licking the inside of the engine compartment.
“Bradley, we gotta move.” He sniffed the air, the gas smell thick in the smoke. “This car is gonna blow!” He took the woman by the other elbow, and together, they ushered her out of harms way, followed closely by Mr. Knightsbridge, Max, and Eric.
The fire slowly crept into the engine, igniting the gas and fumes. The green sedan was thrown up into the air from the explosion. Bradley fell forward as the explosion rocketed through the street blasting other car windows out. He looked up at Kevin, who was helping the woman stay standing. They all turned their heads around and looked at the burning car.
“Jesus Christ!” the woman said. “Thank you so much.”
“No problem,” Bradley said. He lay back down on the ground.
“Come on,” Mr. Knightsbridge yelled. “We have to go.”
The woman continued to look at Bradley. “Name’s Amelia,” she said.
“Hi Amelia,” Bradley said. “Nice to meet you. We must go out for a drink sometime.”
“Hello,” Amelia replied, shaken up. “I think I am a bit too old for you.”
“After today,” Bradley said, “I think people will have a lot more on their minds than a younger man and an older woman dating.”
Last thing I read was "Breathless" by Dean Koontz. It's a bit of a odd work with an ending that would be sure to cause a few arguments between those who believe in creationism versus evolution versus... other theories.
I'm reading Hardboiled Wonderland and The End of The World, by Haruki Murakami. Its not purely SF, but it draws pretty heavily from it, especially cyberpunk. Really surreal and weird, but deeply intriguing. I recommend it.
I have never read any Harry Turtledove and always meant to. This was definitely a series I was interested in, but when I do start reading him, I think I'll probably start with one of his stand-alone works rather than a series.
Motor Boating, its a how to book, I can fly an airplane, I can race a motor cycle and a dragster, hell I paint and draw pretty good to. Now its time to learn how to operate my 26 foot Chris Craft v-8 powered Scorpion. I all-ready know how to cuss like a sailor after cleaning that monster! LOL! Yeuppers a craigs list special, it looks close to this image, after cleaning 200000 tons of goodies off of it! I got it cheap also! Now time to find some marine grade lubes and oils....
I am reading "Hawks Effect - One Last Con" or better, I have read it an I am reading now Episode 2: Dire Revelations. Quite unusual for an SF Story, since it begins in a strange Environment first and then jumps to London present time, but the Protagonist, a young lady, former dancer now Con-Artist (hence my name, this was of interest for me!) Laurina is sent to something extremely wierd. The story is compelling. Never read something like it, Laurina rocks!
Last fall I read the first book in Patricia Wrede's "Enchanted Forest Chronicles," "Dealing with Dragons." I enjoyed it quite a bit, so I got the other 3 books in the series. I read through the second two last month, and today I finished #4, "Talking to Dragons." I liked it, and the series as a whole is a fun and breezy read. Now to figure out what next to read from the books I got over the holidays...