Saturday, February 3, 2018

Sci-Fi Legend Ursula Le Guin is Dead at 88

Ursula Le Guin, one of my favorite authors, has passed away.

Ursula Kroeber Le Guin* worked mainly in the genres of fantasy and science fiction, but she also wrote children's books, short stories, poetry, and essays. She started in the 1960s when women sci-fi and fantasy writers were rarely published. and her work often depicted futuristic or imaginary alternative worlds in politics, the natural environment, gender, religion, sexuality, and ethnography. The New York Times described her in 2016 as "America's greatest living science fiction writer", but she said that she would be known as an "American novelist."

Sunday, January 14, 2018

"Pirate Cinema" by Cory Doctorow [Review]

Pirate CinemaPirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you read the book's description, Pirate Cinema is about the media conglomerates and their abusive approach to copyright infringement. Yet most of the novel is really about how "great" it is to be homeless.

In a near future, Trent McCauley is a teenager in a small British town obsessed with remixing existing films into new movies. When he's caught using films illegally, the punishment is to cut off the Internet in his home for a year. In a world where the Internet is used for everything from medical treatment to supporting his family's only source of income, the loss of web access is a devastating fate. Riddled with guilt, McCauley leaves for London, where he gets involved with an underground community. His frustration with an even more restrictive Internet hacking bill leads him to become an unlikely spokesperson for the movement, and his movies become a powerful form of protest. Will Trent ever reunite with his family? Can Trent stay out of prison? Will he bring freedom back to Great Britain and the world? These and more questions drive the novel, along with his love of an anarchist girl named 26.

Monday, November 20, 2017

14 Ways Reading Improves Your Mind and Body

If you're here, you probably love reading, but did you know it's good for you, too? The Expert Editor created this massive infographic that breaks down 14 different ways your brain and body are improved every time you snuggle up with your favorite book.

"My name is Timothy McGill, and I'm a time travel addict..." Time Junkie, now available in paperback and ebook formats!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

"On Basilisk Station" by David Weber [Review]

On Basilisk Station (Honor Harrington, #1)On Basilisk Station by David Weber
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

On Basilisk Station is about Honor Harrington, the new commander of a future warship called Fearless. On her first command, Honor discovers her ship has been fitted with an experimental weapon that she's forced to use in wargames which leaves her humiliated. For her failure, she's banished to a supposed backwater post called Basilisk Station where Honor and her crew uncover a conspiracy that threatens her government.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Stephen King's Advice on the Perfect Desk

This cartoon by Zen Pencils is based on an excerpt from Stephen King's memoir/writer's guide, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.

Monday, September 4, 2017

"Handbook For Mortals" Shows the Trad Publishing Industry is Corrupt, Too

One of the persistent drumbeats that traditional publishers and authors like to sneer is that only getting published makes you a "real" author. Self-published books are crap, they say. Indie authors are bad writers who attempt to manipulate the system with shoddy work and lousy covers, taking away space from the long-suffering "real" authors. After all, they say, if they were any good, authors would be published through a traditional publishing house, which ensures that only quality material reaches the shelves and success. If only that were true, then books like Fifty Shades of Grey wouldn't be out there. Or the most recent example, Handbook for Mortals.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

11 Best Post-Apocalyptic Novels

Post-apocalyptic fiction has become increasingly popular recently, especially in the horror and action genres. For some reason, the idea of civilization collapsing and people struggling to survive the aftermath appeals to us. Maybe it's our savage nature or a sense that life has become too easy, but we like to imagine the world that might come after we're gone. Here are the eleven best novels set after a potential world-ending event.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Why Content Mills Are Bad For Writers [Rant]

A while back, I talked about how I wished there was a "Uber for writers," a place for on-demand work where writers could earn quick cash by banging out short stories and novels for customers. Well, my mistake was thinking of fiction, because it turns out there are services online for writers to produce nonfiction on demand. Quite a few of them, in fact. And they all suck, at least for writers.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sample Sunday: "The Wonderful WonderWoods"

The Wonderful WonderWoods, the fifth and final part of the "TOONS" series, is now available on Amazon. Here's a sample:

At that moment, the president stepped through the curtain and onto the stage. His footsteps echoed across the raised, wooden platform, drowned out by the thunderous applause of his executive staff. The elves in trench coats remained silent.

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