Earthcore

Scott Sigler’s audio books have been a long time feature of my podcast listening. Scott Sigler is among the first (if not the first) to publish his books as podcast audiobooks. Almost every thing he has written has been made available as podcast audio. Earthcore was the first, originally available as a promotional ebook in 2001, Scott decided to podcast the book in 2005 when the publisher withdrew the imprint and would no longer publish the novel (see the Siglerpedia for full details).

Since then he has gone on to become a New York Times best seller, founded his own business with his publishing partner A Kovacs, has written a further 15 novels and many novellas in partnership with his contemporaries.

Deep below a desolate Utah mountain lies the largest platinum deposit ever discovered. A billion-dollar find.

Wealth and fame lie under that Utah mountain, but at three miles below the surface, where the rocks are so hot they burn bare skin, something has been waiting for centuries. Waiting … and guarding. Kirkland and EarthCore are about to find out first-hand why this treasure has never been unearthed.

Excerpt from the blurb in the Siglerpedia

With the accumulated experience of the 17 years since he first completed Earthcore Scott has re-written Earthcore. The podcast feed is now on Episode 30 and the action and intensity is starting to reach a climax. There’s still time to load the Scott Sigler Audoibooks feed and catchup. Alternately the book is also available in print or on Audible.

Scott is currently working on the long promised sequel Mount Fitzroy, the first chapter of which was teased back in 2007.

Here’s some fun reviews read by the author.

Dead Men Run

It’s Saturday morning, which means that the latest chapter in the serialised podcast novel has arrived in the Decoder Ring Theatre podcast feed. Dead Men Run is a ‘Black Jack Justice’ noir detective novel. Today Chapter 15 arrived.

Black Jack Justice is was a podcast radio drama series in the style of old time radio private that ran on the Decoder Ring Theatre. Greg Taylor wrote two Black Jack Justice novels using the characters from the drama.

Dead Men Run is the second novel and is read, a chapter a week. Each chapter alternates the point of view between private eye Jack Justice and his partner Trixie Dixon, girl detective. Greg Taylor reads the part of Jack Justice and Andrea Lyons reads as Trixie Dixon.“I KNOW WHAT YOU DID” The writer of the mysterious letter could have been talking about any number of misdeeds, some large, some small, some frankly unsuitable for print. … But they will learn the hard way just how serious the sender was, and that in the end, only Dead Men Run.

One thing is for sure Jack is in trouble, more serious trouble than usual. Trixie has no idea what’s really happened to Jack, Jack himself seems little better informed, but the police are hunting for him for a murder he didn’t commit.

Since we are only half way, or less, through I can’t really do a review. However this is a follow up to the earlier ‘Black Jack Justice’ novel which is the origin story for the detective duo. If this novel turns out as well as that did it will be an enjoyable read(listen).

You can hear the novel from the start if you pick up the feed from the Decoder Ring Theatre site. Alternately both novels are available from Amazon in paper back or on Kindle, and Prime members can read them for free. However I’m going to keep listening weekly.

Cleopatra in Space

Reading comics is a different skill to reading books full of words, there is a visual grammar to the exposition of a story in a graphic novel. To get youngsters started on building this form of visual literacy, there is no better place to start than with the Cleopatra in Space books by Mike Maihack.

Zapped away as a teenager from her home era of 52 BC, Cleopatra VII found herself in the middle of a centuries’ long war in the far, far, really far, far future. Now she fights alongside P.Y.R.A.M.I.D. (Pharaoh Yasiro’s Research And Military Initiative of Defense), both human and alienkind’s only hope against the evil Xaius Octavian.

Cleopatra in space, a funny action packed graphic novel, began as a webcomic but is now a published in a series of 4 books, with a fifth being launched in March 2019. These books are great fun and have a compelling story line combined with Mike’s dynamic art style.

For those who are not sure, sample chapters are available as web comic ‘Book Previews’ on the Cleopatra in Space web site.

The books are available through Amazon by searching for Cleopatra in Space. There may still be time to get one before Christmas, or it may be a good way to spend any Christmas present Amazon gift tokens.

Ralf the destroyer

There is an amazing, family friendly, web comic by Scott Lincoln called Ralf the Destroyer. Ralf is sent in a massive planet busting spaceship to destroy the Earth, but he has doubts about the task he’s been assigned. He decides to take a quick look at earth first. As the story develops there are a number of other characters introduced including Lexi a 7 year old girl who explains that a friend would not destroy her planet. There are adventures with ‘men in black’ and an assassin who is trying to destroy Ralf.  

At the moment ralfthedestroyer.com the original online home of the comic is not working (from inspecting the page it seems to have been broken with puppet). However it can still be found here at WebToons, where it can be read from the first episode through to episode 171.

The story is also published as a number of books that can be found on Amazon 

A Logic Named Joe

“A Logic Named Joe” was published in 1946 in Astounding Science Fiction and in one short story predicts the Internet and some of the dilemmas that it poses society. Murray Leinster (the nom-de plume of William Fitzgerald Jenkins) wrote more than 1500 short stories, but this is probably the best known.

This story is available in a number of ways, the craziest is to listen to the over-the-top1950 dramatisation from NBC’s DimensionX

The dramatisation was broadcast again in a 1955 X-Minus One episode which has been cut into 3 YouTube non-videos (included here mainly for decorative purposes).

Alternately, and probably better, you can read the original story in the Baen Free Library.

When you’ve finished, ask Alexa who the first president of the United State was. Then look up how to make ‘Dart Poison’ on your favourite search engine.

It could be argued that this story predicts the ubiquity of the Internet, Alexa, Skype, Google the jeopardy to personal privacy and the ensuing concerns about the propagation of harmful information about weapons and explosives. I was going to write more about the story but then found that there is a very good write-up in The Register from 2016 accompanied by a lively debate about the prescience of science fiction in the comments.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

The Curious Incident of the romantic novel as comedy

Don 39 is somewhere on the autistic spectrum is a moderately successful geneticist, and has decided to find himself a wife using the scientific method; what he has not counted upon is Rosie who has her own emotional challenges. She completely derails the ‘wife project’ and his life. Hilarity ensues.

the-rosie-project-graeme-simsion-1

I decided to pick up something different to read for a change (I mostly read science fiction) and stumbled upon this book in a Stamford book shop.

The story moves apace, I couldn’t put the book down and read through its 330 pages in one sitting. On reflection its perhaps just as well as that didn’t give me time to notice the holes in the plot. For instance despite being capable of giving a lecture on Aspergers Syndrome he appears never to have been formally identified as being on the autistic spectrum, even with past professional help and consultations with his close personal friend Claire who is a clinical psychologist. However despite this reservation I recommend suspending your disbelief and reading this book, its not going to change your life but it is a highly enjoyable way to spend an evening. 7/10