Tag Archives: John Scalzi

Easy listening.

I’ve always loved audio books. When I was a kid I had cassette tapes of the Star Wars Saga and the Indiana Jones stories, but also an RSC recording of Hamlet (featuring Derek Jacobi in the title role) and an unabridged copy of “Tarka the Otter”.

Being able to experience books when occupied in other tasks is wonderful. Whether it’s ironing, or running, walking the dog or driving to work, it feels like the story fills the space that would otherwise be used for worrying. (As a parent of three kids, there’s always SOMETHING to worry about)

But of course, there’s no more money in the budget for buying new audio books every week than there is for buying regular books every week. SO we signed up for Audible a couple of years ago, paying a modest monthly sum to get a “free” book each month. Generally, it’s a good deal, with the books we choose costing more than the monthly fee, so we save money each time.

But because I listen so much, I get through more than one book a month, which means I have to revisit old favourites again and again. This last month, I’ve been falling back on the novels of John Scalzi.

FUZZY NATION

This is sometimes referred to as a reboot, since it’s Scalzi’s take on an existing novel – “Little Fuzzy” by H. Beam Piper. According to the introduction on the audio book (read by Scalzi himself), Scalzi was a fan of the original work, but felt it was rooted in the time it was written, and he felt the story could be re-written to reflect a more modern sensibility. I really like the story, finding the main character extremely unusual. He’s selfish and occasionally happy to lie and cheat to get what he wants, but exactly what it is that he wants isn’t always clear, even to the reader. Also, there’s a beautiful woman in the story but no romance for the main character.

Primarily, I think I like it because the underdog takes on the big money people and (spoiler alert!) wins. It’s a happy ending. It may not be wildly realistic, but it IS the way things ought to be.

OLD MAN’S WAR

A story I come back to again and again. Set in the far future, it tells the story of John Perry, a widower who has reached the age of seventy five and is therefore entitled to join the Colonial Defence Force. Much mystery surrounds the CDF, since no-one on Earth can explain why they would require old people as soldiers. Clearly, some form of technology exists to make the oldsters into useful fighting machines. John  makes a group of friends in the days following his recruitment, and they form “The Old Farts”, sticking together through their first weeks, then staying in touch once trained and deployed. The fates of the members of the group serve to show the ferocity of the war Mankind is engaged in, and the sometimes arbitrary nature of the Grim Reaper.

However, this book always reminds me of one of my other favourite audio books “Going Postal” by Terry Pratchett, because, like Moist Von Lipwig in that book, John Perry applies his brain and will power to his situation and improves it. He thinks, he learns and he applies those lessons, and his experience and it helps him AND the people around him.

“Old Man’s War” is the first in a series of novels about the CDF and the war between Mankind and the alien races arrayed against them. There are also rumours that a movie is grinding its way through the Hollywood machine.

REDSHIRTS

This is the book that prompted today’s post. Years ago I wrote “Strange New Worlds”, my own silly sketch about the inevitable death of the Security Guy on the alien planet. Scalzi’s take on the Redshirt is much more complex, because his guys discover that the reason the death rate for redshirts on their ship is so high is because a sub-par Sci-Fi TV show from our era is intruding on their reality. When their senior officers are seized by “The Narrative” they can make odd decisions, and unlikely events occur, almost always resulting in death for some lowly crewman. A hardy crew of friends kidnap a bridge officer (because that way, their shuttle won’t explode – main characters don’t die!) and fly through a black hole (physics gets suspended when a main character is involved) to time travel back to our time and persuade the TV show makers to stop killing off characters for dramatic effect.

It’s a more cerebral piece than I expected, but the characters are fresh and interesting, and there are three codas added to the end of the book. Though the actual story is finished, these three pieces do add to the overall tale. I found the last two (“Second Person and Third Person” ) particularly affecting. And the fact that they’re written in the first person, second person and third person is a nifty piece of writing craft in itself.

 

I would not hesitate to recommend any of the above books to you. My only caveat would be that some people find one aspect of Scalzi’s writing to be an irritant, especially in “Fuzzy Nation” – he uses “said” a lot. It may be the way Wil Wheaton reads it, or it may be the construction of the book, but it IS noticeable, particularly now I’ve mentioned it and you’ll be listening for it. Sorry.

The Books of November

I’m posting this a couple of days early, since I seem to have burnt out on books this month – the latest one is sat on my bedside table and I have no inclination to pick it up. It’ll go back to the library unread.

Part of the reason for that is that I’ve read a lot of good books this month and a lot that I didn’t enjoy at all. Well, maybe not a lot of those, but enough to leave a bad taste in my mouth.

Mrs Dim often pokes fun at me for not challenging myself more with my reading, but I’ve never seen it as something that was supposed to be a chore: Reading is entertainment, and one of the oldest entertainments at that. “Tell me a story!”. This month I’ve read stories that were well-told, certainly crafted, but were unsatisfactory, or even not worth the telling. That doesn’t mean they’re bad, of course. Some of them won awards, for Heaven’s sake! I’m sure they’re wonderful examples of the Great American Novel, or a superb tranche of the zeitgeist that permeates the literary underbelly of the modern pluralistic society. I just didn’t think they were much fun to read.

One of the issues that gets raised when people say that reviews and word of mouth are the ways to sell books these days, to tell which books are good, is the fact that every review is subjective. Some people are reviewing because they loved the book, because it touched something within them. That may not be true for the next person who reads the books. Some people review because they want to show other people how erudite and knowledgeable they are. Some people review because it’s a good way to get your name all over Amazon.

Just lately, I’ve found I’ve been leaving reviews on books I’ve read more to let the authors know I enjoyed their book, than to recommend them to others. Certainly the presence of a positive review is likely to help sales, but it’s mostly because I’ve experience the frisson of delight when a good review of my book is posted. Writers are a terribly insecure bunch of people, perpetually plagued by self-doubt. Having someone write positive things about your work on the internet is brilliantly reassuring.

Star Wars: Crucible – Troy Denning

I said last month I was going to have more fun reading this month. To start off the right way, I snagged the latest Star Wars offering as it crossed my desk at the library. With our heroes starting to show their age, this book feels a lot like a last hurrah for the original trio. After a chase across the galaxy and numerous fights, plus some deeply spiritual shenannigans at the end, there’s a speech that essentially says “Hey you kids, we’re going to take a back seat from now on, why don’t you guys go off and do the adventuring?” Since each book in the series features a timeline from the original movies and includes all the boooks along the way, you can calculate how old these characters are. If I was still flying a spaceship when I reached Han’s age in this book, I’d be well satisfied.

The 100 Year-Old man who climbed out of the window – Jonas Jonasson

There are some books with intriguing titles where the book doesn’t match the advertising. This one does. The story is brilliant, starting with the man in an Old Folks’ Home climbing out of his ground-floor window to avoid the dreadful 100th birthday party the place has organised for him. He encounters a young man at the bus stop who wants someone to mind a suitcase while he uses the toilet (which is too small to admit man and case) so the old man minds the case, but takes it with him when his bus arrives. The case is full of money.

That’s just the beginning of the fun, and that’s just the current day storyline. As the book continues, we learn about the old man’s past, and it’s as exciting and adventure filled as his modern day life dodging gangsters in pursuit of their money and police and elephants… Great fun.

Star Wars: Force Heretic 3 Reunion – Sean Williams and Shane Dix

I started reading this trilogy a while back and felt I ought to see it through to the end. The story is one of the building blocks of the end of the war with the Yuzhong Vong, as Executor Nom Anor builds a new power base against Shimra, and Luke and friends find the sentient planet Zonama Sekot. Best of all, Tahiri Veila manages to consolidate her divided mind, combining her Vong self and her human half into one personality. Which is nice.

WARP The Reluctant Assassin – Eoin Colfer

Eoin Colfer seems to be on something good. Having rounded off the Artemis Fowl series in fine style (finishing the last book with the opening lines from the first…) he churned out two adult adventures with blood, gore and mayhem in them, and now has introduced a new partnership who travel the timelines to foil villains. It’s a complex YA tale, with multiple betrayals and about turns, but features a cameo from the Battering Rams, originally mentioned in “Airman“. It’s got a great lead in teen FBI agent Chevron Savano and her new partner, Victorian thief and the Reluctant Assassin of the title, Riley.

No One noticed the cat – Anne McCaffrey

I’d never heard of this little book, despite being a fan of Anne MacCaffrey for twenty years. It’s a short tale about a Prince having to take the reins of his domain after the death of his wise and kindly Regent. The Prince is assisted by the cat his Regent left behind, a creature that doesn’t speak, or write messages, but nonetheless inspires the Prince to be better than he thinks he is, and to remember the lessons he was taught. It’s gentle but engaging.

Star Wars: Jedi Academy – Jeffrey Brown

Jeffrey Brown became famous for his “Vader and Son” books, but this wonderfully illustrated story is more than just a send-up. It tells the story of Roan, who desperately wants to go to the Starfighter Pilot Academy like his Dad and older brother, but he is rejected. Lucky for him, he’s invited to the Jedi Academy instead, but it’s not what he wants, he’s older than the other kids there, and he’s not sure he’s got what it takes to be a Jedi.

This is, in fact, a story about going to a new school, and it’s done with charm, humour and compassion. And excellent drawings.

Shift – Hugh Howey

I wrote recently about how much I had enjoyed listening to “Wool“, the first in the Silo Trilogy by Hugh Howey. Although that first volume comes to an end at an appropriate point, the story is far from over, and I had no doubt that I would get hold of the next in the series. “Shift” fills in some of the back story of the Silo, as well as moving on the current plot in a significant way. It answers a lot of questions about what Juliet finds in Silo 17 and the voices Bernard speaks to on the radio in the Server Room. Mrs Dim is currently working her way through the first book, and though she finds it compelling, the grim atmosphere is not helping to lighten her daily commute. I may have erred in recommending it to her…

Zoe’s Tale – John Scalzi

I had heard that this book simply mirrored the events of “The Last Colony” by showing them from Zoe’s point of view (Zoe is a character in the other book, but she isn’t the narrator, as she is in this one). While I did find several events familiar, it was interesting to follow the course of the story from another angle, and Zoe’s adventure does depart significantly from the other characters’ at one point. Also, her first love being killed (Ooops! Spoilers, sorry!) has more impact in this book than in the other, as here we view it first hand, just like we watched their affection grow into love.

It still didn’t bring the overall story to the point talked about in “The Human Division”, which I found a little confusing. If any hardcore Scalzi fans out there who can tell me what I’m missing (When does John bring a Conclave fleet into Earth orbit? Which book?) it would be appreciated.

Dust – Hugh Howey

The trilogy continues and rounds off with Dust, but it’s not any happier or easier going than the other books. I remember reading these three books as you might remember swimming under water. There’s pressure and the terrible need to hold your breath and finally the relief as you break the surface. The last book is a flat out race to the finish and I was glad it ended satisfactorily. I’m not going to say more than that. It’s worth reading, just not pretty.

Gone Tomorrow – Lee Child

I wanted to give Jack Reacher another shot, since I found the last book gripping but alarming. He’s not much better in this one – a good detective, grim soldier and one man killing machine. In this book he ends up wading through gore to murder two people responsible for…well, other murders. So that’s all right then….

Many Bloody Return – Charlaine Harris et Al

A nice collection of short Urban Fantasy stories, all linked by a birthday theme. As ever, some worked better than others, and some struggled to qualify on the birthday theme or story theme. Some, I suspect, were simply adverts for longer series. I’m still not inspired to dive back into Urban Fantasy, though I did make an exception, as you’ll see in my next choice….

Bad Blood – Chuck Wendig

Bad Blood is the sequel to “Double Dead“, the first Chuck Wendig book I ever bought. Mixing up zombies and vampires still feels novel to me, and the fact that the vampire in the book is responsible for the zombie outbreak (or rather, some irresponsible humans who took his blood and experimented with it…) is even better. In this book our anti-hero is continuing his quest to find a lab with a cure, but instead encounters another vampire and some human children survivors. It’s a lot of blood, howling and fighting, but it’s Chuck Wendig, so it’s done with style.

The Sisters Brothers – Patrick deWitt

This is an award-winning novel. Many, many people liked it. I was not one of them. It’s like the film “Dead Man” without the crowd pleasing comedy. It’s a funeral without the laughs. It’s less enjoyable than stabbing yourself in the leg with a fork.

Well, maybe that’s not fair. Like I said, all reviews are subjective, but I was annoyed by this book. It shows the life of a gunfighter who’s basically been browbeaten into the job by his older brother. They’re on a job that will turn out to be their last. I think I was annoyed by the passive nature of the narrator, his inability to act in any portion of the book, and , ultimately, the downbeat nature of the whole thing. I hope you enjoy it more than I did.

The Prisoner of Heaven – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Mrs Dim and I have been to Barcelona. It’s lovely, and well worth visiting. This book is set there, but ranges in time from the late fifties to the late thirties, and references politics in Spain during that time, something I’m not familiar with. However, the adventures are gripping, tense and ULTIMATELY REDEEMING. Did you hear that, deWitt? ULTIMATELY REDEEMING! I liked it.

Nothing O ‘Clock – Neil Gaiman

Can’t go wrong with Neil Gaiman writing Doctor Who. I read this the same week I went to see the 50th anniversary show. Seemed appropriate that this one featured Amy when the Ponds naturally couldn’t appear in the 50th (Because they’re time-locked back in 1940′s Manhattan, duh….)

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend – Matthew Dicks

I was interested to see this book, having read “Imaginary Menot so long ago. This book, too, is written from the point of view of an imaginary friend, but this one is partner to a boy who is “on the spectrum”. Max has lots of difficulty with school, because of the noise, the physical contact and other things, but nothing prepares his friend Budo for the day when Max goes missing from school. Budo thinks he knows what happened to Max, but he can’t tell anyone, because no one but Max can hear him.

It’s a great story, carefully told, and turns out to be about more than just a kidnapping. It talks about life and death and sacrifice, as well as growing up and what that means. It was quite a book.

Finally, the other book I’ve been reading and editing isEddie and the Kingdom“. There’s no link to that yet, because it isn’t going to be published for another week or so. If you’d like a sneak peek, you can find the first draft of the first couple of chapters inTroubled Souls“, still on sale for the bargain price of $1.99. If you’ve already readTroubled Souls“, why not put up your own review on Amazon.com? If you do, ask me for an advance copy ofEddie and the Kingdomfor FREE!

Meeting your heroes

One of my literary heroes that I HAVE met - Terry Pratchett, at a book signing in Winchester, 2006

One of my literary heroes that I HAVE met – Terry Pratchett, at a book signing in Winchester, 2006

When I first began to really read, I devoured the books of two authors in particular – Douglas Adams and Harry Harrison. I loved their books, read them until the paperbacks fell to pieces and could’ve won trivia contests on obscure plot points.

I didn’t know a thing about the authors themselves. Much later, I got to read articles about, and interviews with, Douglas Adams. I have a copy of “The Salmon of Doubt”, a book put together after his tragically early death, with interviews, articles and unfinished stories. That fills out a little more of the man that I didn’t know.

But this is the 21st Century. This week, I have had the works of John Scalzi almost exclusively playing on my audio books playlist – he’s releasing his new book “The Human Division” chapter by chapter, and I’m buying the audio versions through Audible.com. I stumbled across his blog/website “Whatever” when googling something else, and as a result of becoming a reader of his posts, I bought one of his books. Then several more. This is proof that blogging can lead to book sales. But as well as learning I liked his work, I learned a lot about Mr Scalzi too (though, having not met him, it seems rude to call him “John”). I know the names of his immediate family and have seen pictures of them (that he released in specific circumstances, not because I’ve broken into his house with a flashlight and a stocking mask…) I know about his lawn-mowing habits and ukulele playing desires. I’ve even seen him fall on his ass while singing the theme tune to one of his novels.

The point of all this is that authors have now really got the option of stepping out of the shadow of their books. One of the things I have always loved about Stephen King’s short story collections is his habit of explaining a little something of them either before or afterwards. He talks about the genesis of the idea, or how the story was changed, or where a character came from. Now he has a website, there’s the chance that a direct query might be answered in person, that those things you might otherwise have wondered about til your dying day could be sorted out in an email.

Much as I liked the image of a Salinger-like hermit, locked away from the world, dropping pearls of books to adoring but distant readers, this idea of accessible authors is much more exciting. I’m sure they’re occasionally ticked off with the number of wannabes who press them for the secret of their success, or where they get their ideas from, but they also get the positive feedback, the letters and emails that say how much their work is admired. Today, anyone can write a book and get it published. You can have your own work available for sale through Amazon, the most popular method of book purchasing in the modern world. This being the case, publishing your work isn’t the prize it once was. What’s more important to a lot of writers (and I know this is true of myself) is hearing that other people have been affected by the stories, that they have been touched by the tale in the same way the author was. That they’re glad it was written down and sent out into the world.

Writers write because they have to, because the stories demand to be told. But we publish because we want to share those stories.*

So take advantage of this amazing new world we live in. Reach out and meet the authors you admire. And not in a “Here’s my underwear, please sign it and send me some of yours” kind of way. Read their blogs, add your review of their books to Amazon and Goodreads and other review sites. Link to their blogs from yours so other people can find them too.

I know, from what other people have said, that meeting Douglas Adams could be a joyous thing, and I’m sorry I never had the chance. But I have had reply tweets and emails from Neil Gaiman, from James Moran, and John Scalzi, and Chuck Wendig. People whose words have moved me, have changed the way I see the world. People who, ten years ago, would have been as distant to me as the stars they write about.

Which authors have you contacted and heard back from? Which blogs do you recommend? Which author (living or dead) would you most like to converse with? Bearing in mind the dead ones won’t be much for conversation…..

 

 

* receiving a large sum of money in return is often looked upon as a bonus, however.

10 reasons why being a writer ROCKS!

Forget the Hemingway image of the writer, bearded, drunk and slumped over a typewriter filled with cigarette butts. Being a writer need not equate to misery, alcohol abuse and blinding headaches. Being a writer ROCKS, and here’s why:

  1. You can do it all the time. Don’t tell me that the happiest Chartered Accountant or Quantity Surveyor can do their job when they’re not at work. That accountant needs his spreadsheets and accounts, and that Quantity Surveyor needs…er…quantities of stuff to survey. But writers are writing ALL THE TIME. We walk around and our characters tell their stories in our heads. Walking the dog, we are striding the worlds we create. The part of the job that is done at the keyboard is only the culmination of the process. How cool is that?
  2. Your job, your rules. Yes, there are guidelines about plot, and character development, and first person viewpoints and on and on. But the truth is, those rules only apply until they don’t. You can use them to tell your story, but if they aren’t getting the job done, you can cast them aside and try something different. That doesn’t go so well, for example, in a Pharmacy…”Ah, Mrs Williams? Still getting those headaches? Try this, I just sort of bunged a load of stuff together in a pot….”
  3. Reading. You don’t HAVE to love reading to be a writer, but let’s face it, you probably do. To write, you have to love words, and reading is a ready source. But look, it’s not like you have to fill your mental fuel tank with a fresh supply of words in order to create your own sparkling prose…Really, you don’t. But reading stretches your imagination, reading good books gives you hints and tips subconsciously that you will use later. It’s not plagiarism, it’s style.
  4. It’s the best time to do it. Thanks to the wonder of the internet, being a writer is not the solitary depressing experience it once was. There are hundreds of online communities out there. Through social networks like G+ you can meet and talk with other writers of all levels. You may not get face time with JK Rowling or Tom Clancy, but with patience, manners and sensible commenting, you can get in touch with published authors (like John Scalzi, or Chuck Wendig).
  5. The gates are open. Now, this may be a good thing or a bad thing, but the fact is, right now you can be published only minutes after finishing your draft. The new ebook publishing programs mean that you don’t need an agent or a lucky meeting to guarantee your book is published, but beware: Just because you can publish instantly doesn’t mean you should. Check your draft, get it read, give it a break and read it again yourself. Get a good artist to design your cover. Unless you’re just in it for the cachet of dropping “I published my book the other day” into conversations…..
  6. You are part of an immense heritage. Storytelling may not be the Oldest Profession, but it goes back millennia. Watch how young children crave stories, how adults rush to buy the latest recommendations. Stories speak to all of us, fill a need that everyone feels from time to time. YOU can fill that need, and be one with Plato, Homer (not the cartoon, get a grip) Shakespeare, Faulkner, Dickens. And yes, Tom Clancy, ok.
  7.  (Via Jenn Thorson, after an appeal for help) “I love how transporting it can be when the writing is going well and everything around me disappears; the story and I are alone as the scene unfolds. It’s what Stephen King, I believe, has called “falling through the page.” It feels like the perfect balance of work and amusement, and time loses meaning. It’s a great feeling to be that at-one with creativity.”
  8. (Via Amy Knepper) “Writing rocks because I can play with my imaginary friends, and kill them if they make me angry.”
  9. (Via Laurie Laliberte) “Chicks dig writers
  10. The big one. Because everyone, at some time in their life, wants to be a writer. Everyone dreams of holding a book in their hands and saying “This is mine, these words are mine. I wrote this.” People may dream of it for the success that comes to writers like JK Rowling, or the fame that clings to Salinger despite comparatively little output, or just to see something they made in a shop window. But everyone has dreamed of being a writer, and if you write, then you ARE a writer. And that rocks.

What’s on your e-reader?

It's soooooo pretty. My precious.....

Everyone knows that the revolution has begun. E-readers have broken through and they’re here to stay. Every day I see promos on G+ and Facebook, telling me to download a free e-book. It’s a new idea in the publishing world, giving away the whole product free for a limited time in the hopes of generating future sales. But does it work?

I got my Kindle Fire for Christmas, and despite some initial hiccups, I love it. Wouldn’t be parted from it. It came with nothing loaded except the user manual, and that was NOT going to hold my attention for long.

I had already installed the Kindle app on my PC and phone, so I had a couple of books to transfer. One was a Social Media Marketing  guide, which hasn’t been worth the paper it wasn’t printed on.* The other was Blake Snyder’s  “Save the Cat!” about which I have raved elsewhere.

“Save the Cat!” is great, but it’s not something I want to curl up with at night. I wanted to read “The Hunger Games” to see what all the fuss was about, and my wife wanted to read it too. I bought a paperback and downloaded the e-book. The fun part was reading on my kindle and then continuing to read the book on my phone on breaks at work, or waiting for the weasels after school. The kindle and the kindle app make notes of how far you’ve read, so if all works out well, you should be reading seamlessly no matter the platform.

The first free e-book was a big disappointment. It was from a reputable source, but the writing was cliched and hackneyed, it has spelling and grammatical errors and the storyline was slow, unbelievable and unengaging. I still have not reached the end of the book, and will probably delete it.

I bought “Ender’s Game” having picked up one of the sequels from the library. The library couldn’t get hold of the original for a while, and the ebook was cheap. Plus it wouldn’t be taking up any space on my bookshelves, so I clicked the button. I was delighted to hear they’re making a movie, because that should being the book back to the forefront of the public consciousness for a while. I highly recommend it, and the shadow series that go with it. I didn’t get on with the direct sequels, “Xenocide” and “Children of the Mind” because of their more philosophical nature, but “Ender’s Game”, “Ender’s Shadow”, “Shadow of the Giant” and the other shadow novels were excellent.

So, up to this point, the only free promotion had been a negative experience. I was downloading e-boook versions of books I may have found elsewhere, or bought in physical form at a later date. The same was true of my purchase of the excellent “Old Man’s War” by John Scalzi, but there is something worth noting here. I had not read a review of “Old Man’s War”, nor seen a promotion, or word-of-mouth recommendation. I knew about it only through reading Scalzi’s blog, which I found through an arcane search-engine string. Once I found it, I became a regular visitor, and added Scalzi to my circles on G+ (which, naturally, lead me back to his blog more frequently.) I really, really enjoyed “Old Man’s War”, which directly lead to my purchase of the sequel , “Ghost Brigades“. Here’s the internet phenomenon in action – a personal connection to the author via his blog has prompted book sales.

The same is true of Chuck Wendig. He’s been flagged up to me by various encounters in comments sections, and I found him on G+ too. I follow his blog, and took a fly on his book “Double Dead“. It’s grim but good (Vampire and zombie apocalypse…what are you expecting here?) and as a bonus, he gave away copies of his novella “Shotgun Gravy”. I enjoyed that one so much that I’ll be buying the three follow-up stories. A free giveaway that has prompted sales. Ok, so maybe that’s just the intention to buy, but I did also buy his book “500 ways to be a better writer” in order to capitalise on his offer of a free copy of “”250 things you should know about writing.” Wendig now has a healthy chunk of my Kindle real estate.

Two successes, one failure. The last free ebook deal I went for was another disappointment. I didn’t read up about it, just clicked the link and knew within two pages that this was not a novel for me. It might have been well-written and excellently plotted, but…Well, imagine you think rabbits are stupid and pointless (ie, you have a good grasp on reality. Rabbits are a waste of grass….). Now someone hands you “Watership Down” and says “Hey, here’s a book about rabbits…” Are you going to be interested? Not very likely. So it was with this book. Not about rabbits, true, but not interesting to me.

I’m going to be more cautious about free downloads from here on. What matters is the book, not the price, and building a link with the author helps me know in advance how likely it is their book will be a good fit. I’ll be downloading “Redshirts” from Mr Scalzi, as well as the next adventure of Atlanta Burns from Mr Wendig. What are YOU e-reading?

*My policy here is to praise and name the e-books that have impressed me, but not to name specifically the authors or books that were a disappointment. Sometimes these things are so subjective, it’s not fair to damn someone on one opinion.