Free Books, now until April 16th!

April 11, 2017 in General Topics, Other Stuff

http://sffbookbonanza.com/freebooks/

This month’s Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Bonanza promo features more than one hundred science fiction and fantasy titles. It’s a terrific opportunity to discover new books and authors, and more than a few of these folks are bestsellers posting lead-ins to well-regarded series. Just click the link below to grab those books:

http://sffbookbonanza.com/freebooks/

I’ve chosen to highlight Parts I and II of the Beacon Saga Serial, available as a single download in the format of your choice. It’s a great way to start the Saga.

Enjoy, with our thanks!

Kindle Unlimited Books in the Spotlight!

April 3, 2017 in General Topics

Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program is really one of the better deals available to readers. For just $9.99 a month, you can read as much as you wish from a huge number of Kindle-exclusive titles. There’s even a thirty day free trial.

Which brings us to the latest cross-promotion I’ve engaged in. This time we’re highlighting KU-only books. There’s a bevy of solid science fiction and fantasy titles available right here for your Kindle or Kindle app. I’ve chosen to highlight The Complete Beacon Saga, which is the omnibus of all installments of the well-rated Beacon Saga Serial. This and the other books listed are guaranteed to be exclusive to Kindle for April. Just click the image below to get started.

But no matter what you choose, enjoy, with my thanks and that of the other authors present.

Free Books and Bargain Books, Now through the 19th of March!

March 15, 2017 in General Topics

I’ve got more deals for you today, folks. For March, some fellow authors and myself are running two shared promotions designed to get yet more of our fiction into the hands of readers everywhere.

Through the 19th of March, we have the following offers available for your perusal:

Free Books — this is an Instafreebie-exclusive promotion. But don’t worry; making an Instafreebie account is quick, easy, and free! I am listing “The Outlaw Contractions” as free during this promotion, but only on Instafreebie.

$.99 Books — all the titles here are only $.99! I’ve chosen to list Sojourns Through Troubled Worlds, a collection of my science short stories (many of which have been published in magazines and the like). To be fair, it’s often $.99 anyway, but it never hurts to get the word out. It’s a great read for the price of a cup of coffee (readers tell me), and includes many award nominees.
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#DS91sttime: Season 4, Episode 25, “Body Parts”

March 13, 2017 in #DS91sttime, General Topics

There are some episodes that are basically forgettable, but sometimes these serve to solve a show-runner’s behind-the-scenes quandary or produce nice moments for specific characters. “Body Parts” manages to do both those functions. It’s not bad or anything, but I can’t see anyone ever sitting around a table and fondly recalling this episode the way they might with “The Visitor” or “Duet”. “Body Parts” isn’t terrible, it just vanishes into the rest of Deep Space Nine’s fourth season.

So the first mission is solving an off-camera issue. Nana Visitor (Kira Nerys) became pregnant at some point, with co-star Alexander Siddig’s child. It’s all very sweet, but I imagine this kind of thing can cause chaos for character development, so the producers and writers came up with a solution. They’d write in an accident in which Keiko O’Brien is injured, and her unborn child would be transferred to Kira, to serve as the surrogate mother.

And that happens in this episode, and there’s explanations and such.

If it sounds like I’m not terribly interested, it’s because I’m not. I like Miles O’Brien, and I like the fact that Deep Space Nine gives screen time to your classic nuclear family (of sorts), but when it comes to the nuts and bolts of the O’Brien’s on-screen family…I couldn’t care less. I’m sorry, I just don’t watch a show featuring aliens, Machiavellian maneuvering and interstellar phenomena for tertiary items like that. Ditto with the Siskos. A little of this stuff goes a long way. Since the whole B plot is about the O’Brien’s baby, I just sort of tune it out.

The A plot is a little more interesting, if only for the bind it sees Quark put in. Convinced he’s dying of a terrible and rare Ferengi-specific ailment, Quark puts his entire body up for auction. The high bidder ends up being Brunt, Quark’s nemesis. Brunt hates Quark for being everything a Ferengi isn’t supposed to be.

Quark chooses his life over the contract on his own flesh, which represents a breached contract and the end of his Ferengi merchant’s certificate. Or something like that. I don’t know.

What’s more important is that Quark is ruined, but then finds out in the episode’s best moment that he really isn’t. It’s the only part in this “Body” that really sticks. Again, not a terrible episode, but it says something that I’m struggling to remember more.

Rating: 2.5/5

See the rest of the review series here.


"Beacon" Part IA young couple’s miracle at the last star left in the Universe will lead to a specter from the past returning to confront mankind…and the end will become the beginning. Try Part I of the Beacon Saga Serial, for your choice of ebook platforms.

#DS91sttime: Season 4, Episode 24, “The Quickening”

February 28, 2017 in #DS91sttime, General Topics

Accidental allusions to sword-wielding immortals aside, “The Quickening” is a welcome episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. In a series that has seemed at times too content to flesh out its key adversarial faction, the Dominion, from a distance, here one of our protagonists is thrust headlong into a civilization living with the consequences of defying the Founders’ overtures.

Kira and Dax are on a survey mission in the Gamma Quadrant along with forever-friendzoned Dr. Bashir. After following up on a distress signal (I guess distress signals are universal across species? Who knew?) they find a devastated planet and its people, who live within spitting distance of the Dominion itself. Seems these folks once told the Dominion they’d remain independent and free. In response, the Dominion attacked their world and infected the entire population with a 100%-communicable disease that strikes from birth and eventually claims its sufferer’s life, though on a completely random timetable.

The “Blight”, as it is called, is bad news, clearly, and Bashir volunteers to stay behind and do what he can. Kira is going to go hang out in a conveniently-located Nebula for a while. This is one of those aspects of Star Trek that annoys me: Why would anyone send a bunch of senior officers just dripping with valuable information into the backyard of a known threat, and arm them only with a Runabout? Egads.

Things are so bad on the planet that the “hospital” is actually more like a hotel for last hurrahs, but Bashir is optimistic about his chances of solving the Blight, and his determination is something I found very sympathetic. But I was worried that the Typical Trek Formula would thus follow, in which Bashir encounters skeptical locals and races against time, but ultimately succeeds, even saving the life of the pregnant Ekoria (Ellen Wheeler, in an excellent guest role) in the process.

Luckily, that’s not quite the case. And though I don’t want to spoil the ending here, let me just say it’s much less triumphant than expected. It gives us one of those that moments where DS9 is at its absolute best, when it allows its characters to stumble. Bashir, who’s always been keen to see the bright side in every situation, gets taken down a peg, and has to deal with the fact that he’s not going to be a miracle worker. How he will have to settle for less than perfect results, and carry on in the face of near-crippling disappointment makes this episode a pleasant surprise. This is deep, deep stuff. “The Quickening” is a credit to the series.

Damaged goods are good, I always say.

———-

I should point out that, by this episode, my darling wife had announced her disinterest in continuing the show, so they’ll be no more of her take from this point onward.

Rating: 4/5

See the rest of the review series here.


"Beacon" Part IA young couple’s miracle at the last star left in the Universe will lead to a specter from the past returning to confront mankind…and the end will become the beginning. Try Part I of the Beacon Saga Serial, for your choice of ebook platforms.