Tag Archive | Sci-Fi

Mini Reviews! Sci-Fi Short Stories (by E.B. Dawson)

You guys. I recently read the most INCREDIBLE short stories by E.B. Dawson. Part of what’s incredible? Most of them are genres like dystopian or sci-fi that aren’t “my” genres and yet these kept me utterly transfixed. I ADORED THEM.

So here are mini reviews for six short stories, ranging from a Beauty and the Beast retelling to dystopian thrillers to Moby Dick in space to a beautiful tale on another planet.

Whether or not you are a sci-fi fan, you need to check these out!

  • Author: E.B. Dawson (WebsiteAmazonGoodreadsFacebookTwitterInstagram)
  • Genre: Sci-fi / short stories
  • Date read: April 8, 2019 (except for Beast in the Machine, January 28, 2019)
  • Source: I received free ebook copies of these stories either for review or free on the author’s newsletter, except for Nomad of the Emirates which I purchased on Amazon.
  • Note: Thanks to the author for free copies of some of these. I was under no obligation to write positive reviews and all opinions are my own.

Voyage of the Pequod

5 stars • Science Fiction / Retelling (Moby Dick) • AmazonGoodreads

This is Moby Dick in space. That idea is as perfect as it sounds and YOU NEED IT IN YOUR LIFE. *collapses* I’m not even as familiar with the original Moby Dick story as I could be, and sci-fi isn’t my usual genre, but I absolutely adored this short story! I suppose I knew enough to appreciate it as a retelling (though others might appreciate it more), but either way it was a brilliant story and totally captured me. I was instantly absorbed in this unique and fascinating tale. Electronic space whales! The remains of a war between man and machines (scary AI machines are soooo creepy! And the hints of backstory are absolutely fascinating). A battered space ship going out into the unknown. And the character interactions with the little crew, which I loved — there’s the new boy, and the old sailors, and of course the enigmatic captain Ahab and steady first mate Starbuck. They have a sort of buddy relationship going which is fantastic. It’s also one of my favorite things: a ship story (whether that’s nautical, piratical, space-ships, or airships. There’s just something classic about that and it was brilliant in this). It was just all so good, in such a short space! (No pun intended.) It was so intense I totally forgot to breathe! (Also I need a sequel! O_O) HELP. So, SO good! I don’t even know why but I loved it so very much I can’t put words to it! This is truly magnificent science-fiction.


Nomad of the Emirates

5 stars • Science Fiction • AmazonGoodreads

This story was so incredibly beautiful, help. What even are words? How can I describe it? It was intriguing from the start, and it’s very strange if you think about it (like sci-fi can be). But somewhere along the way, before I really knew what had happened, it stole my heart. This first-person story of a misfit girl from Earth who finds her place on another planet where she’s technically not supposed to be, and yet it’s where she’s most supposed to be of all places. The way she made a way in this foreign place and made it her home, how she’s a nomad, how she touches the strange cultures of the alien beings and makes a place there because of her openness and her heart for others and her willingness to understand those who are other, and what comes of it. That there is a place for those who haven’t found it yet — that it’s out there. I just love this story so much. It makes my heart ache and just — I don’t even know. It touched my soul. I don’t really know exactly how but it totally captivated me and I’m so glad I picked up a copy! And I laughed a couple of times, like with the hammock scene. Thinking of this story always makes me smile. I’m not sure, but I think this may be what sci-fi is supposed to be, a window to new worlds and a way to look outside to where the heart can reach — which can go even beyond things we know. Beautiful, beautiful!


Government Man

5 stars • Dystopian / Science Fiction • AmazonGoodreads

That was SO INTENSE. Oh my goodness! So, I’m not a big fan of dystopian type stories, but this one was super fascinating and kept me very intrigued the whole time. ACK. It was so well-written and fascinating (I know I keep using that word for this author’s stories, but I can’t help it because it’s true). I loved Caleb, our point of view undercover character. It’s set in a dystopian society with some of the usual things, but somehow unique too, and I loved some of the new spins on it. Especially Caleb’s personal story and what he does about it after . . . things happen. He’s absolutely the most epic person. 😀 Sometimes it felt like a cozy contemporary, like the bits in the coffee shop with Sarah, and other times like a mystery thriller, and then a dash of sci-fi with certain . . . er . . . developments (spoilers!), and all in a vaguely dystopian society. I just — I really loved it! Even though it was scary and super intense. I couldn’t stop reading, and loved it, and I was so happy to discover there was a sequel short story, which I promptly devoured too. It’s such a delightful mix of genres that I can’t quite pinpoint it, but whatever it is, it’s an excellent short story which I really enjoyed and couldn’t put down!

Note: You can currently read a free copy of Government Man and three other cool short stories if you sign up for the Phoenix Fiction Writers newsletter. PFW is an epic group of speculative fiction authors and you can check it out HERE.


Shadow Figure

5 stars • Dystopian / Science Fiction • AmazonGoodreads

This is a direct sequel to Government Man (I love that idea! Sequel short stories!) and I can’t talk too much about it because of spoilers for the first one, but it was another fascinating story. It delves further into the dystopian world introduced in the first, but from a new perspective, a certain heroine this time. It was intense too and I especially loved the “Shadow Figure” and all the things related to it. It’s heartwrenching in a sense, but full of possibility too (that I’m really excited about), and I somehow loved it. I definitely want to read more about these characters!


Gifted

4 stars • Urban Fantasy / Superpowers / Sci-Fi • AmazonGoodreads

What a fascinating story! I wasn’t always sure what was going on, but I knew I was hooked and couldn’t stop reading. This story had layers and it was so interesting to find each one behind the other. It’s some sort of Urban Fantasy mixed with superpowers and fist fighting in a ring, but it’s much more than that, somehow. I was so intrigued by Spencer and his story, and these other interesting people he meets. It was very vivid and I never wanted to stop reading, even if I didn’t necessarily “get” everything. It went in an unexpected direction, and definitely left me curious to know more.


Beast in the Machine

5 stars • Science Fiction / Retelling (Beauty and the Beast) • Goodreads • (This is part of a collection called Once Upon a Future Time, so if you’re interested in it, go check out the Kickstarter project, through June 22!)

Beauty and the Beast is my second-favorite fairytale, so the idea of a sci-fi version fascinated me, and I wasn’t sure what to expect going in. What I found was an enchanting blend of an old-world-feeling setting, in a charming sea-village where I could almost taste the salty breeze, with just a dash of futuristic technology to spice it up. I absolutely loved the writing and the feel of this one! Isabelle was a great heroine and brought such a strong personality to the story, drawing the reader into the story. Throw in a mysterious and occasionally unhinged young man named Sebastian Prince with a dark past, a mansion with a lab and a library, dream experiments gone wrong, and an adorable little robot named Cog (I loved Cog!) and you have the perfect recipe for a fresh take on a classic tale as old as time. I absolutely adored this retelling! It was my first E.B. Dawson story and from the very first page, I knew I had to read more from this author. It felt so COZY, though with a dash of peril and excitement, of course. Even if you’re not a sci-fi person, the sci-fi flavors are subtle in this, and any fans of Beauty and the Beast will find it as enchanting as I did!


So, I binge-read five sci-fi-ish short stories from this author and my overall impression was one of complete awesomeness. If I don’t watch out, E.B. Dawson is going to make me addicted to sci-fi! 😉

Are you a short story or a sci-fi person, or like me do you rarely dip your toes into those waters? I’m definitely planning on trying this genre more often — I used to a bit more when I was younger, and I clearly need to revisit it.

Do these stories intrigue you? Let me know in the comments — or if you have a top sci-fi book to recommend to me!

Advertisements

Book Ishness + Hiatus (May 2019)

Happy May Day! Which always makes me think of Howl’s Moving Castle. 😀

I have a few bookish things to share with you, including what I’ve been reading, and I’m also announcing a bit of a blogging/social media hiatus for May. So let’s get to it!

MAY RELEASES

Either I’ve been terribly remiss about keeping track of upcoming releases (not unlikely, given how crazy April was with Camp NaNo etc.), or people haven’t yet announced some of the things coming out in May, or there’s just nothing coming out in May. XD

But these two lovelies at least are releasing!

  • Voyage of the Pequod is a short tale from E.B. Dawson, featuring Moby Dick in space. GUYS. THIS STORY IS INCREDIBLE. I got to read an advance copy of it and I was absolutely floored and breathless! It’s so brilliant! I totally recommend checking it out, even if (like me) you only have a vague grasp of Moby Dick and don’t read much sci-fi. XD
  • If you live under a rock you might not know about Nadine Brandes’ Romanov releasing this month but otherwise I’m pretty sure everyone knows. XD Historical fantasy Anastasia sounds fascinating! I may not have been the hugest fan of Fawkes (sorry! unpopular opinion!) but I’m still intrigued by this one!

OTHER NEWS

The Fairy Tale Central’s fairytale theme for May is Rapunzel! Check out what’s coming soon from them! 😀

Jill Williamson Audiobook Kickstarter

If you haven’t heard, Jill Williamson’s kickstarter was fully funded, which means that there will be audiobooks of all three books in this series! I’m SO excited! 😀 (If you were interested in supporting it for the chance at getting the audiobooks for a low price, or for the limited-edition hardcovers of the series, the kickstarter is open just a couple more days until May 3, I believe.)

And… yeah, I’m drawing a blank.

Not a lot of news I can think of offhand, but I did do my last Book Ishness News fairly recently, and I could just be in the clouds from finishing Camp NaNo and my novel. XD


MY READING NEWS

This was April’s nightstand:

And I finished all of them in April except Cress! *does little happy dance*

My currently-reading “stack” looks like this:

  • An ebook of Flower of the Underworld (an urban fantasy Hades & Persephone retelling which I shared about last week and is so much fun so far! XD)
  • And of course my ongoing audiobook listen of Cress. (Speaking of Rapunzel. XD) I put it on hold while I listened to The Electrical Menagerie last month, but I’m hoping to get back to it this month!

After that, I don’t have specific plans and I’m not setting up a “nightstand” for this month.

I’ll be on hiatus, and other than catching up on some review books (hopefully), I’m not making plans for my reading.

I’ll just wing it and see what happens!

April Reads

  • 2 nonfictions (who am I? At least they were short? XD)
  • 3 re-reads (Howl’s Moving Castle, Second Son, and The Electrical Menagerie — all much beloved! <3)
  • 1 beta-read novella (the coverless one, which is called Spindle Dreams by Kirsten Fichter, sequel to The Rose and the Balloon which I LOVED. This one is a Sleeping Beauty retelling and it should be coming out fairly soon. It’s loads of fun! <3)
  • 5 short scifi-ish stories by E.B. Dawson which I binge-read and ADORED. I totally recommend all of them and will review them at some point, but AWK. SO GOOD. (I’m not a sci-fi person. But these were AMAZING.) I 100% recommend!
  • 1 book-club read, Spindle by W.R. Gingell, with the Fellowship of Fantasy bookclub (my favorite bookcluuub!), which was a BLAST. XD I adore this series and need to read the rest! ❤
  • 1 audiobook, namely The Electrical Menagerie, which I just reviewed!

Kind of a mish-mash of reading fare, but all really good! And I was happy to (mostly) finish off what I was in the middle of reading so I can more-or-less start fresh.

May Hiatus

A couple of days from now after I wrap some stuff up, I’m going to take a blogging/social media break this month, but I’ll be back after May!

I’m just really tired and need to take a step back after an exhausting (but good!) April and catch up on some stuff. Thanks for understanding!

Drop me an email or contact me if you need to get in touch. 🙂 Love you all! ❤

What are you reading right now? Let me know in a comment! I hope you have a splendid month!

Dreamings and Muses (by Daley Downing)

 

Title: Dreamings and Muses
Author: Daley Downing

  • Date read: December 5, 2017
  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Genre: Short Stories / Contemporary / Fantasy / Sci-Fi
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 76 (ebook)
  • Fave character: Desmond
  • Source: I received a free ecopy of this book from the author (many thanks!) for purposes of writing an honest review; these opinions are my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsBarnes & NobleAuthor’s Blog

This is a small collection with unique, interesting, well-written stories. Not the sort of thing I read often, but they were definitely gripping! 🙂 Contains a short story, a novelette, and two pieces of flash fiction—one is sci-fi, two are contemporary with connections to fantasy, and one is… hard to define, but I suppose it’s contemporary fantasy.

The first one, “Just Pretend”, might be my favorite—I quite enjoyed the feel and setting, following a writer named Siobhan (love the name!) as she’s visiting England, semi-researching her book on the history of folklore, and gets dragged into a family party. I really liked Desmond too. He was great! And they were cute. 😉 I can’t really say much else because spoilers, but the connection to fairytales (sort of) was neat, and I really liked the writing too. 🙂 Haven’t quite decided how I feel about how it ended, and I definitely wanted there to be MORE, because I didn’t want it to end, but on the whole it was enjoyable, and I loved the details. It also felt British which was delightful. ^_^ 4 stars.

The second one, “Me and You”, was… interesting. I don’t really know what I think about it? It kept me reading and felt very real and vivid, especially the characters! I just don’t click well with some of the elements—which is just me. Contemporary isn’t my favorite for some reason, and a lot of the issues the heroine deals with just… weren’t my favorite. Entirely me, though! She’s going through an almost-breakup with her husband (which was well-resolved though!) and there’s backstory about a tragic car accident, and a character who might be her imagination… (Or a ghost… or an angel…) The main character’s a writer too, and it was in first-person-present-tense. It was very well written, which I really have to give it points for, and I liked parts of it, just not entirely my thing. 🙂 I’d call this one a novelette, as it was a longer short story. 3.5 stars.

Primitive” was more like flash-fiction, a very brief one-off sort of thing, sci-fi, mostly looking back at a previous backstory. It was interesting, I just don’t really care for sci-fi much. XD Which, again, is entirely me! It felt a little like a single scene, a window looking into a larger story, if that makes sense; it wasn’t quite a complete story, but intriguing. 3 stars.

Tad Fallows and the Quarter Pints” is another favorite, which I found intriguing and fun! I really need to re-read Masters and Beginners to remember what the entire links were, but it was neat, and I loved the humorous sort of style it started out with. 🙂 Again, very vivid, and great writing. And anything with a bookshop is bound to be fun. 😉 It was also more like flash-fiction, quite short, which made it more impressive to me that all the characters had such distinct personalities and everything! Loved the feel. 🙂 4 stars.

Overall, a couple of these weren’t really my thing, although one of those WAS extremely well written, and I enjoyed the whole collection in its way. 🙂 Recommend for those who enjoy mostly-contemporary with a dash of fantasy or sci-fi to their short stories, and just well-written, vivid tales with very real characters and the occasional dash of humor. I really like this author’s style, and so much of it was beautiful and imaginative, even in mostly-contemporary settings, and on the whole I had a good time immersing myself in these short stories for something different! 🙂

Favorite Quote

If we believe faeries are real, it brings a sense of magic to our very boring, difficult, everyday lives. It gives us a glimpse into a world of adventure, heroism, true love, and happy endings. It inspires us to pull a little magic out of ourselves, and bestow it on others.

(from Just Pretend in Dreamings and Muses by Daley Downing)

~ ~ ~

Do you like contemporary fantasy? And do you read short stories much? I don’t, but it can be fun at times! Lemme know in the comments — and isn’t the cover by Alea Harper so cute/pretty? 🙂 *has a thing for blue covers and stars*

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Top 12 Books Recently Added to My TBR

TTT

The Broke and the Bookish‘s Top Ten Tuesday prompt of the week: Top Ten Books I’ve Recently Added To My TBR (inspired by Jamie’s New To The Queue posts).

It’s usually top ten, but for myself I’m going just a liiiittle over.

I glanced at my latest books added to my To Be Read list on Goodreads, and there are quite a few intriguing morsels I’ve added lately!

They also have almost all been from recommendations or books people mentioned in blogs and such. This is the time of year when everyone’s posting their lists of favorite books of the year before, etc., so I’ve been gathering a lot more books on my forever growing TBR pile…

ttt3

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

I’ve been wanting to perhaps read some of this famous mystery author, but I never know where to start, so I had once asked someone who mentioned she liked this author which was her favorite. She just got back to me and I promptly added this to my TBR. It sounds like an awesome mystery.

The Floating Admiral by Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, G. K. Chesterton, etc.

Blogger and author Kelsey Bryant mentioned this to me recently: a mystery novel where each chapter is written by a different famous mystery author! How cool is that? Now THIS I have to see.

Blood Ties by Hazel B. West

When the author mentioned on Goodreads that she’s having a blogtour for this soon and I read the description, I couldn’t resist adding this to my list. The description starts with: “In an Ireland that mixes high kings, faeries, and modern warriors who drive fast cars, Ciran, a descendant from the famous warrior Fionn Mac Cool…” and that’s all I need to know. SIGN ME UP.

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

I noticed this in a summary of 2015 books post by Deborah Dunlevy, and it sounds like so much fun. Definitely want to try it out.

Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett is another author who I hear good things about and never know where to START. So I asked Sarah and she recommended this one and the following one. They sound humorous. Count me in. I love humor and slightly crazy-sounding whimsical fantasy stories. Yes please.

Going Postal by Terry Pratchett

Same story on how I came to add it as above.

ssongbirdThe Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson

BECAUSE MELANIE DICKERSON! And this one is coming out this November and will be the final Hagenheim book, and is a Little Mermaid retelling set between The Merchant’s Daughter and The Princess Spy. I saw on Goodreads Shantelle add this and went AAAHH IT’S ON GOODREADS! And instantly clicked “want to read”. Yes. (Because Melanie Dickerson.)

The Map Across Time by C. S. Lakin

Again, Kelsey Bryant listed this on her top reads of last year on her blog. It sounds like a delightful fantasy which I’m itching to get my hands on…

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Cait has been after me (and everyone) forever to read some Maggie Stiefvater… So when I finally saw a review by Lisa Pickle in which she mentioned it has Welsh-ish stuff (and then I read the summary on Goodreads)… yep, had to add it.

Black Spring by Alison Croggon

Jenifer Freitag mentioned this in her list of books she read last year, saying it was recommended her by Mirriam Neal and that it’s like Wuthering Heights but better and with fantasy. I NEED THIS IN MY LIFE. (No, I haven’t actually read Wuthering Heights yet. Shush. I just need it on principal because I like the sound of the “feel”. So. Just pretend I make sense.)

Playing With Fire (Skulduggery Pleasant, #2) by Derek Landy

Because I recently read Scepter of the Ancients, the first Skulduggery Pleasant book, and I’m dying to read more. I need more of that humorous witty banter in my life. (Now I just need to FIND more of these books… Why don’t you have them, library mine??)

The Icarus Hunt by Timothy Zahn

Jenelle Schmidt mentioned this in her list of books she’d want on a deserted island. I’ve only read a few of Zahn’s books (Star Wars ones) and loved them… I promptly looked this up on Goodreads, and as soon as I’d read the summary I added it to my TBR so fast I think I got whiplash. It sounds like a Firefly-esque book, by Timothy Zahn, and basically I just need it right now, okay?

What have you recently added to your TBR? And is it as ever-growing as mine? (I fear it’s a booklover thing…)

Dream away in those pages…!