Wednesday, May 28, 2008

REVIEW: 'We, Robots' by Sue Lange

Title: We, Robots
Author: Sue Lange
Price: $9
Genre: Science Fiction
ISBN: 978-1933500119
Point of Sale: Aqueduct Press

Aqueduct Press is a new small press, specializing in feminine science fiction. My first sampling of their publications was with Sue Lange’s new book We, Robots. It was a pleasant read.

We, Robots is a novella, running to only 98 pages, and is one of Aqueduct’s Press’s “Conversation Pieces.” The novella is about an AV-1 personal robot, purchased by a lower-income family at WalMart to help take care of their baby girl Angelina. The story is told in first person by the AV-1, called by his family “Avey,” and runs from Angelina’s first birthday to her entering high school.

Science fiction has a concept called “the Singularity” which is the idea that machines will become smarter than humans – so much smarter, in fact, that humans will be no longer needed. In Lange’s world as in today, most people aren’t worried about that. A small group of transhumanists, AKA “transies” are worried. They’ve incorporated machines into their bodies to keep up, and engineer a recall to install pain sensors into the robots. The idea is to prevent the robots from completely taking over. Instead, this action leads to the “Regularity” or the opposite of Singularity, in which the robots demand machines stop becoming more intelligent.

I have to admit it was an unusual take on the classic trope of “robots take over world.” I also found Avery’s personal development interesting and touching, especially contrasted to Angelina’s. Ms. Lange is an engaging writer, and shows a deft touch with the themes of this book.

From a technical perspective, the book itself is every bit as professional as anything from a large New York press. I look forward to reading more from Ms. Lange.


chrisChris Gerrib is a resident of Villa Park, IL and Director of Technology for a Chicago-area bank. Chris is the author of the science fiction novel The Mars Run. He holds degrees from the University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University and is president-elect of the Rotary Club of Darien, IL.

Monday, May 26, 2008

So things are a little quiet in the POD clubhouse again. Just to let you know I am still alive I thought I had better post. But I just finished edits on one book and have two short stories to finish by the end of the month. Not to mention that little thing I call my career, which is actually going quite well. That means I spend more time doing it, and less time doing this. That said, the peeps have requested and are presumably reading some books. So more reviews should be coming up.

Currently, next to my chair are 1) 'Elemental Woman' by Ron Miller--I've looked through it once but will go through a few more times before I can write something sensible about it. Also 2) 'The Scientific World View' by Glen Borchart. It's a pretty dense book about a subject I already have some detailed opinions about, so that's going to take a while to read and even longer to decide how to review it. Finally 3) 'IM' by Rick Reed which is a just a bit dark for me now. I'll read that later. There are a bunch of other books on my shelf or desktop and I am putting a moratorium on getting anything new until I clear the deck a bit.

I'll try and round up what the others are working on and let you know.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"Today a class action lawsuit was filed in response to Amazon’s threat to remove the "Buy" buttons of publishers who refuse to sign up with their on-demand printing subsidiary, Booksurge. If certified, the class action will most likely include all publishers who use on demand printing to print their books for distribution." [read more at] [See the full complaint here]

Friday, May 16, 2008

REVIEW: 'An Embarrassment of Riches' by Gerald Hansen

Title: An Embarrassment of Riches
Author: Gerald Hansen
Price: $17.95
Genre: Novel
ISBN: 978-0-595-44753-6
Publisher: iUniverse
Point of Sale: Amazon

Gerald Hansen, the author, is an American, but lived for a number of years in his mother’s home town of Derry, Northern Ireland. Just noting that the author calls the town “Derry” means he’s a Catholic, as the Protestant residents of the town call it “Londonderry.”

In his new novel An Embarrassment of Riches, distinctions like this matter a lot. The story, a mixture of family saga and black comedy, focuses on two sisters, Fionnuala and Ursula. Fionnuala Flood is matriarch to a brood of seven hoodlums, the lot of which can only aspire to rise to the stature of white trash. Ursula Barnett, married to an American ex-Navy man, won the Irish lottery, and promptly blew the money. Needless to say, the Flood clan considers Ursula to be their private ATM with unlimited withdrawals. Her telling the family “no more” sets in motion a massive set of circumstances that careen around Derry with the grace of a drunken and horny bull.

I have to admit, Hansen’s book is not my cup of tea. However, if you’re into narratives of dysfunctional families or interested in modern life in Northern Ireland, you’ll find his book worth while. There is a lot of black humor, and some insights into the “Troubles” of Northern Ireland.

Hansen’s book is quite well-written and engaging. He does have a good ear for the dialect of English spoken in Derry, which requires a glossary (provided) to penetrate. Hansen uses the American Jed Barnett as his narrative hook, but frankly other then providing a glossary for non-Derryites, Jed has little to do in this book. The real action is from Ursula and Fionnuala, with secondary roles from other family members. Hansen’s POV does tend to wander, jumping between characters even within scenes, but I was able to keep up.

This is a difficult book for me to rate. As a writer, I found it well done, and clearly the work of a craftsman. As a reader, it’s just not what I would buy in a store. That’s not a knock on Hansen, but a statement of what I as a reader enjoy reading. If you’re interested in modern “literary” fiction, Hansen’s An Embarrassment of Riches is a worthwhile read.

Rating: 8/10

chrisChris Gerrib is a resident of Villa Park, IL and Director of Technology for a Chicago-area bank. Chris is the author of the science fiction novel The Mars Run. He holds degrees from the University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University and is president-elect of the Rotary Club of Darien, IL.

Borders Stretches the Truth?

"...and sell in your local Borders store"

" more than 1,200 Borders locations and other retail locations around the world"

"...retail stores around the world..."

How would you interpret these line from the Borders online video?

But the FAQs say: "Will Borders carry my book in the store?: Currently, Borders does not have a program for in-store placement of books published through Borders Personal Publishing. However, in-store services are being developed and are scheduled to launch in 2008. To be eligible for these future in-store programs, an Editorial Evaluation must be performed and the book must also have an ISBN assigned to it. Additional requirements to qualify for in-store programs will be outlined when each new in-store service is announced."

Surprise, surprise "editorial evaluation" means a cost of at least $299 and note, they are not even specifying what the additional qualifying requirements for this program that may eventually exist will be. Meanwhile people are being actively encouraged to give these programs as gifts, no doubt diverting young writers into a priced up version of Lulu with little more than a wink and a promise.

I feel this marketing approach is a disgrace. If shelving is not available now, and the terms under which it might one day be made available are not known, do not let people believe it is on offer. In fact given that people will start off assuming a Borders deal will involve Borders shelving they should be going out of their way to make sure that misunderstanding is not perpetuated. I am not impressed with either Borders or Lulu over this kind of promotional material appearing online and on Borders receipts.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Self-Publishing 6th Sense

I was reading a blog I like, Dark Roasted Blend, and saw an ad for a book. I could tell it was self-published as soon as I saw the ad. Is this because...

a) Emily is psychic
b) The not-so-good cover art is a tell
c) The not-so-comprehensible ad copy is a tell (see below)
d) Duh, it was advertised on a blog

"More than an ordinary tale about an elf! Chessie -who's got a really cute dog- straddles two worlds: the human and the undiscovered world of elves. Read how Chessie discovers her magical powers, deals with dangers and triumphs."

Edited to add: Due to some trolling, that I guess I may have asked for, comments are temporarily being moderated.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

REVIEW: 'Beauty and the Beast' by Tygati

Title: Beauty and the Beast
Author: Tygati
Price: $10 (ebook $3)
Genre: fantasy
ISBN: --
Publisher: Lulu
Point of Sale: Lulu

Beauty and the Beast is an amusing fast moving gay fantasy romance. The plot line riffs on fairy tale cliches, thrusting together a young man who has been cursed to be a beast and a young, powerful enchanter that everyone keeps mistaking for a girl. The first half of the story gets these two together and solves the problem of the beastly curse. The next quarter of the book is a kind of prequel dealing with the former-beast's father's equally gay romance. From there the story line devolves into various vignettes and outtakes from the previous stories.

For a reader comfortable with yaoi/slash style romance this story is very appealing, witty and romantic. For other readers some of the character conventions and non-linear structure may be a little confusing. On the whole I very much enjoyed Beauty and the Beast as a quick, entertaining comfort read well worth the cover price.

8/10 if you like this sort of thing, which I do :)

Emily Veinglory is a writer of m/m erotic romance and fantasy with a dark or paranormal twist. Featured ebook: The Sculptor's Muse.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Anatomy of a SPAM--veinglory

Ivitation to veinglory Hope You will come!

Holy Random Capitalization, batman.

Hi veinglory,

Um, Hi

We are excited about inviting you to take a look at our website
"" A new website for the creative community.

I am not so excited.

What we are all about website:

All your website are belong to you.

Thank you for your time. I am really hoping you join us! Want to try us out for 30 days? Click the "Trial Pay" button, on the websie. We will never contact you
again. We are not spammers.

I think I shall restrain myself from "Trail Paying" you websie. Oh, it may take heroic effort, but I shall. p.s. this message is spam as I did not solicit it.


Joe McQuade

In accordance with the Federal CAN SPAM Act of 2003, ImagesAndWriters is required to disclose that this email may contain an advertisement or solicitation.

You are also required to "include your valid physical postal address." "Each violation of the above provisions is subject to fines of up to $11,000."

For your protection, we remind you that this is an unsecured email service, which is not intended for sending confidential or sensitive information. To discontinue receiving all emails containing solicitation materials from ImagesAndWriters, please send an email to the Webmaster above, with your name and email address.

[blank look]

Note from Joe:
The above paragraph is a required legal format. Rest assured, we will never contact you again, unless you contact us.

I'll hold you to that. Thanks.


Self-published novel by Terry Fallis wins Leacock award

"A self-published novel that skewers federal politics has won the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. The Best Laid Plans, by Terry Fallis, was named as the winner at a luncheon on the grounds of the Stephen Leacock Memorial Museum in Orillia, Ont., on Wednesday."

White Wolf Adds Four New Titles to Print On Demand Line

"White Wolf's partnership with Lulu began last August, with the publishing of the softcover edition of Mind's Eye Theatre: The Awakening, and has continued to grow as our Alternative Publishing branch becomes a more integral part in our effort to continually provide our fans with high-quality books."