Book Reviews

Aurora Nomination!

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I just downloaded the voter package for the 2017 Aurora Awards, which means I’ve got lots of reading to do before September. If you are a member of the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association (CSFFA), you should get cracking on that. If nothing else, it means a bunch of free new books that you don’t have to return to the library.

Also, and I’m excited for this, the Enigma Front: Burnt anthology, which contains one of my stories, was nominated. The Auroras are a nation-wide award. Woohoo!

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Also, for all you Calgarian readers out there, a whole bunch of local authors were nominated for their work. We hardly had any representation last year, so this is big. Even if you’re not a CSFFA member, the books are well worth reading. Check out the list.

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Review: The Man of Cloud 9

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Title: The Man of Cloud 9
Author: Adam Dreece
Genre: Science Fiction
Publication Date: September 30, 2016

Man of Cloud 9

It’s rare to find a hard science fiction novel that is so personal, so intimate. In The Man of Cloud 9, the tech is an expression of everything protagonist Niko Rafaelo is, and society expresses itself through his tech. Because of this, even those of us who are easily bored by technobabble will stay engaged and have trouble putting the book down. It’s all thematically connected. Even in scenes that could have easily been marred by dry info dumps, Dreece parcels out the necessary information through genuine character moments.

Literary elegance aside, there are some fun moments too, with nods to existing sci-fi fandoms and the occasional pun character name. The main antagonist an entertaining Darth Vader type (in more ways than one.) She is possibly the only weakness of the story, with a motivation that doesn’t entirely fit with her M.O. That said, real people are often motivated by their own damage rather than logically, and Dreece gives the reader the impression there’s more to her story than what we see on the surface.

I cried a little at the end. That doesn’t happen often. A great read.

Available for pre-order HERE and HERE

Official site HERE

Review: Everything Leads Back to Alice

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Title: Everything Leads Back to Alice
Author: Chris Marrs
Genres: Horror
Publication Date: September 24, 2014

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Everything Leads Back to Alice is a tragic psychological horror about loss, memory and the monumental difficulty of letting go. When Mike hits rock bottom he heads back to his hometown, hoping to dig ups some answers about Alice, his girlfriend from highschool who went missing and was never found.

Chris Marrs does an admirable job of showing us the humanity behind Mike’s self destruction, and doesn’t give us any easy or trite answers. The end is harrowing and will stay with you long after you close the book. Make sure to read it in a room with no dolls.
Available HERE

Review: The Wizard Killer

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Title: The Wizard Killer Season One
Author: Adam Dreece
Genres: post-apocalyptic fantasy serial

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The Wizard Killer is a popcorn adventure with gunslinging, glitchy magical tech and a hard-suffering hero in a world gone to hell.

The protagonist definitely has the sardonic edge of John McClane from Die Hard (as another reviewer pointed out) The setting is a bit closer to Mad Max and its scattered communities of survivors scrounging off each other and the old world’s leftovers. Normally I find combining magic and tech a questionable choice, but it works here because this magic is a difficult and often costly resource.

Although the book (Season One) is short and the chapters fly by, I suggest reading it in instalments, since the tone is a little uneven sometimes between chapters. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that each chapter is its own episode. In any kind of serial a tonal shift between episodes is expected. Kudos to Dreece for keeping this up week after week. I look forward to finding out what happens Season Two.

Available HERE

Official page at AdamDreece.com