Great Review of Pay Me, Bug! at The Review Hart

Submitted by C B Wright on

The Review Hart is an indie book review blog. I'd submitted Pay Me, Bug! for a review a while back, and I've been a bit nervous about it ever since: The Review Hart, you see, is a site that doesn't pull punches. It's not a mean-spirited site by any means, but if the reviewers (Shen Hart and Michael Keenan) don't like what they're reading they'll tell you exactly what they don't like and why they don't like it.

Today The Review Hart reviewed Pay Me, Bug!:

This is a book for people who enjoy light-hearted sci-fi where classic characters are given a fresh twist. The range of characters is familiar, yet the author brought them to life and made them entirely his own. The races that were represented within the finely woven world were clearly given a lot of thought and are different to the stock that has come to be expected. The plot is well-paced, and the author makes the most of the world and characters to bring about interesting twists and multiple facets that lead to a very enjoyable read. All in all, this is a book that many sci-fi fans will love.

(There's more to the review here.)

I'll take two, thanks!

The Immerse or Die Report

Submitted by C B Wright on

Jefferson Smith is an Indie author and blogger who has hit upon what I think is an amazingly great conceit for a book review series: he's started exercising, and he uses a treadmill. Each time he exercises, he starts reading a book. Will the book keep him interested through the entire 40-minute workout? If it does, he explains why. If it doesn't, he explains why not. He calls this the Immerse or Die Report, and I think it's brilliant.

(Full disclosure time: yesterday he featured Pay Me, Bug! on this report, and it went the full 40 minutes. So, let's be completely honest here, I might just be a little biased.)

Review: Space Eldtritch

Submitted by C B Wright on

This review also appears on Goodreads.

This is a long article. If you’re not interested in long articles, the short version is that I like Space Eldritch very much, and I recommend you buy it immediately so that you too can like it very much. The long version follows.

One of the great allures of H.P. Lovecraft’s writing was that it didn’t so much cross genres as it did appropriate from them to make something uniquely his own. There was a strong element of fantasy in his work: dark fantasy, certainly, but his world was filled with history, ancient civilizations, magic, monsters, prophecies, secret societies, and mysteries that defied the rational mind. There was an equally strong element of science fiction: the Elder Gods were wholly alien to us, they possessed intimate knowledge of the way the universe worked, and many of their servitors were actually aliens from other planets, and used unknown technologies to pursue their goals. Even the magic in his stories was a hybrid of science, with mathematical calculations included in profane incantations.

But behind it all, Lovecraft’s mythos was horror: in his stories, the world we know is a veneer at best, and often simply a feeble lie told in the face of unimaginable horrors. Mankind, secure in its belief that it knew everything important about the universe, was unaware that most of what it knew was wrong and the rest was simply inadequate. There was a book that would tell you the truth about everything, but reading it would drive you insane. And there were things out there that could very easily destroy humanity—wipe us off the face of the earth, without a trace that we were ever here—and the only reason they hadn’t was they hadn’t noticed us yet.

It is a grim, bleak world, but the immensity and monstrosity of that bleakness brings with it a sense of wonder. It’s that wonder that ultimately dooms the characters in his stories, and will ultimately doom humanity, because humanity is enthusiastic about “piercing the veil,” but wholly incapable of handling what it finds on the other side.

It is in this kind of world that the stories in Space Eldritch exist.

Fake Review #3: Curveball by Milton Horace Dante Longfellow III

Submitted by C B Wright on

Milton Horace Dante Longfellow III wanted to take another crack at writing a review. Having already been burned once by the gentleman, I was dubious. I asked him what he planned to review, and suggested The Points Between, since it seemed a little more in line with his aesthetic than Pay Me, Bug! did. He said “No, I thought I’d review Curveball.” I said “No thanks, I’ll pass.” He said “No really, it’ll be fine.” I said “You must think I’m some sort of idiot.” He said “That aside, I still want to write this review.” So... what the hell.

To be human--to be frail in the face of the brutality of life, finite in the vast scope of time, merely mortal in a world that existed long before you were born and shall exist long, long after you return to dust--is to embrace the power of myth. What is myth, other than the telling of stories of those who, in some way, have risen above the frailty, finite mortality that defines us, have transcended the irrelevant and mundane world and become like the gods themselves? Heracles, Perseus, Odysseus, Achilles, Aeneas, Beowulf, Gilgamesh--these are names that we recognize even if we don’t truly remember the stories that surround them. And in each age we invent our own myths, add our own heroes to our own pantheons, each tailored to fit the world they represent. And so in a different era we have Charlemagne and his Paladins, and the story of Roland and Oliver. And in a different era we have Arthur, and his Knights of the Round Table. And in another we have Robin Hood and his Merry Men.

But as we come closer and closer to the modern era, heroes become significantly less grand. One can appreciate that Elliot Ness and the Untouchables were incorruptible, but they are still seen as mere men. Mortals, to be remembered with respect, but they will not have their name writ large in history. There is little, if any, mythology about them. And so in the modern age it becomes necessary to introduce a mythology born from the fires of children’s entertainment: a mythology that started, as most do, in bold, simple colors, a mythology that grows deeper and more complex as time causes the color to fade.