Author Archive

Containment [eBook Review]

Friday, August 12th, 2011

Simone Allyne is the Weird Things eBook reviewer focusing on readily available, affordable Science Fiction and Fantasy. If you have a book you’d like reviewed, please email WeirdThingsMail@Gmail

Have you ever read a book where you are left feeling not sure of what to think? Containment by Christian Cantrell certainly left me feeling that way.  I can’t say that I loved it, but I can’t say I hated it either.

Perhaps it was the overwhelming amount of programming dialogue or the concept of the human race consuming our planet, but the depth of the story and the complexity of the characters kept me wanting to read more.

Containment starts with the main character, Arik. He awakens from a surgery as a result of an “accident” and what follows is an account of Arik’s journey to understand the truth of the only life he’s ever known and what it means and how his understanding will ultimately affect the future of his colony.

The life that Arik knows is one of confinement to the Venus Colony referred to as V1.  He was born and raised in V1 knowing only a life of monitored consumption. Day to day activities of the colony are controlled by an all encompassing computer system. An advanced schoolwork curriculum, and a predetermined place in V1’s society are also tenets of everyday life.   However after Arik’s accident, he begins to question if what he has known his entire life is not just an illusion and begins seeking out the truth for himself.

As mentioned before, Containment’s technical details and rich programming dialogs will draw in anyone who has an interest or love of computer programming or engineering.   For others this may weigh down the book and make it hard for some readers to enjoy the rest of the story.   I felt as if my very basic knowledge of programming was simply not enough to fully encompass what was being discussed about from time to time and that some of the details of the story weren’t being absorbed by me. Maybe after multiple readings, with some supplemental help online or elsewhere, might make some of the concepts described in the book more understandable.

Other then the heavy technical language I still enjoyed Containment. The author takes care to keep the story moving and his attention to detail is commendable. My assessment is that hardcore sci-fi fans will love the story… just make sure you bring your programming books along for the ride!

[Containment is available for .99 cents on Amazon]

Torment: A Novel of Dark Terror [eBook Review]

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Simone Allyne is the Weird Things eBook reviewer focusing on readily available, affordable Science Fiction and Fantasy. If you have a book you’d like reviewed, please email WeirdThingsMail@Gmail

“Could she murder the others to save the human race? Could she live with that for the rest of her life too?”

I absolutely loved Torment: A Novel of Dark Terror by Jeremy Bishop! Torment was a fast read, a little heavy, but still very enjoyable!  I found myself wrapped up in the story from the very first chapter.   I was convinced that this was going to be a story about an alien invasion, but was pleasantly surprised to watch as it turned into a tale of human survival in a post apocalyptic world.

Small town reporter, Mia Durante, finds herself having brunch with the President of the United States on the day civilization comes to an end.  Survivors of a different sort greet those who lived. What follows leaves Durante and nine other survivors on the run and they find themselves fighting for survival in a world in which only torment remains and where death is the only escape.

What would you do to stay alive?  That is the question that Torment had me pondering.  By pondering I mean I had to ask everyone I came into contact with how far they would be willing to go to stay alive; just to make sure I wasn’t the only person who would be willing to do what Mia Durante does in hopes of surviving or at the very least being able to stay dead

The book also doesn’t explain every tiny detail of how something happened and allows the reader to think more for themselves and invites them to draw their own conclusions.  This is most evident in the question as to what caused the mutation of the human race to begin with.

Torment is a social science fiction novel; meaning it is concerned less with technology and space opera type themes and deals more with sociological speculation about human society and beliefs.  The religious undercurrent helps flesh out the characters and allows you to see their differing opinions of god, and what life really means.

Readers may find the ending unexpected and personally it wasn’t an ending I had hoped for.  That is not to say that it was a bad end to this gripping story, but I wanted so much more for Mia and wanted her to understand that she wasn’t a bad person, no matter what decisions she made.

Despite my hope for a different ending, I really enjoyed reading Torment; it was very easy to visualize what the characters where seeing and going through. And again I enjoyed being able to draw my conclusions about the mutated beings.

[$2.99 on Amazon]

Deadly Intent [eBook Review]

Friday, August 5th, 2011

Simone Allyne is the Weird Things eBook reviewer focusing on readily available, affordable Science Fiction and Fantasy. If you have a book you’d like reviewed, please email WeirdThingsMail@Gmail

“The girl laid her hand on the table, palm up.  Madame Vorchka grasped the delicate fingers.  Dark, vile images assaulted her.  Cold evil wound itself around her spine.  Blood, insatiable longing, dark laughter.  She dropped the hand, pictured it dripping with gore for a moment.”

I enjoyed Laura Eno’s Deadly Intent very much and it was really hard for me to put it down because you can so easily get caught up in the events of the town and it’s people.  You always feel that you need to know what is going to happen to them.

Deadly Intent is a story with emotionally driven characters that are very easy to relate too.  You can’t help but feel for Jonathon and sympathize with his granddaughter Abbie as they both fight for what they hold dear.

In the small idyllic town of Wood Park, California a mysterious virus is causing the ordinarily law abiding citizens to act out their most primal desires.   Add to that an amnesiac stranger with a nasty criminal past and you have Deadly Intent by Laura Eno.

The trouble in Wood Park begins with a torrential down pour accompanied by a lightening storm that wreaks havoc on the town and continues to do so even after the CDC arrives to “help” the town folk of Wood Park.

Jonathon Brier, sheriff of Wood Park, is pushed to his breaking point while trying to figure out what is happening to friends and family.  As you read, you can really feel Jonathon’s stress, sadness, and confusion while he tries to fix the problems in his town.

The only contention I had was that Deadly Intent flipped between perspectives a lot and at times and it wasn’t always clear who’s point of view I was reading from.   But other then that, Deadly Intent is a great read filled with all the trimmings that make Sci-fi such a wonderful genre to read!

[Deadly Intent is available for $2.99 on Amazon]

Freakshow [eBook Review]

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Simone Allyne is the Weird Things eBook reviewer focusing on readily available, affordable Science Fiction and Fantasy. If you have a book you’d like reviewed, please email WeirdThingsMail@Gmail

Ever wonder what it is like to be a girl genius running the Interdisciplinary Departmental Investigation Of Technomagic? Freakshow, a short story by Richard E.D. Jones, takes you inside the Interdisciplinary Departmental Investigation Of Technomagic or as it’s more fondly called “The Freakshow.”

The description of the Freakshow lab reminds me of the survival horror game Nocturne in which the main character works for a government organization called Spookhouse that operated like the FBI for all things supernatural.

Freakshow gives you a glimpse into the life of Natalie Harper, girl genius, who runs the Interdisciplinary Departmental Investigation Of Technomagic.  While working insider her lab, we get to see a typical day for Natalie, if it can be called typical when she is asked questions like “Where should I put the head, Dr. Harper?”  But after all she does have a hand for an assistant!

Jones creates a world of horrible wonder with Frankenstein heads in boxes, mysterious eggs, and an otherworldly beautiful man that is hell bent on tempting Natalie to join him and his nefarious ends.

I found Freakshow to be very refreshing because of the strong female lead character, but also found her assistant Vincent was an unexpected and enjoyable twist. Natalie herself is beyond smart, personable and easy to relate too.  This, along with the fantastic world she portrays, makes this short story a good read for the female Sci-fi enthusiasts but is not exclusive to women… so don’t be afraid boys!

One downside to Freakshow is that it had the makings of a full-length novel and could have easily been expanded to a full series, diving into more of Natalie’s adventures while working at Freakshow.  And that is my only point of contention with this story.

If you’re looking for a fast, and I do mean very fast, read and something that is on the lighter side of Science Fiction, but still an amazing story that you should definitely read!

[Freakshow is available on Amazon for .99 cents]


Alpha Rising [eBook Review]

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Simone Allyne is the Weird Things eBook reviewer focusing on readily available, affordable Science Fiction and Fantasy. If you have a book you’d like reviewed, please email WeirdThingsMail@Gmail

Alpha Rising is a well-written story using very familiar science fiction themes that is worth your time if you’re a compulsive reader thanks to it’s can’t miss price of free.

“May 25th, 2020. Kennedy Space Center.  The countdown clock’s bright yellow numerals flashed to T minus 4 hours and counting.  AT 5:00 a.m., two astronauts aboard an experimental craft would lift off on the most critical and dangerous space mission ever undertaken.”

These three first sentences are incredibly telling of what is to come in Alpha Rising by G.L. Douglass.

I agree with other reviews of this book that it is well written and that the story line is very good.  But if you are a hard-core Science Fiction fan you will find some of the themes very familiar.  At times I found this a little frustrating, mainly because I was hoping for something new.  As I was reading I recognized elements from 2001: A Space Odyssey, Mission to Mars, and Star Trek.   There was also a strong biblical undercurrent that pushed the story along.

The author brings good character development, so well in fact that I found one character particularly frustrating given her position at NASA.   I did not like that one of the two female astronauts immediately broke down and turned into a sobbing blubbering mess.  Given all the psychological testing, physical and mental training that astronauts under go, I found this to be highly unlikely behavior so soon into the story.  I immediately wanted to shake her and tell her to pull herself together.

One other point of contention is with the very improbable time line this book is given.   Alpha Rising was published in 2006 and the book takes place in 2020, making the space travel talked about improbable in the time frame of this book.  But if you can get past that you will find the varying ideas of space travel discussed in Alpha Rising very intriguing.

Despite my issues with Alpha Rising I really enjoyed reading this book.  The fast pace, good writing, believable characters, and underlying message made for a very quick enjoyable read.  Just right for a summer vacation or a day at the pool.

[Alpha Rising is available for free on Amazon]