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review 2017-09-08 00:00
2017 Young Explorer's Adventure Guide
2017 Young Explorer's Adventure Guide - ... 2017 Young Explorer's Adventure Guide - Maggie Allen The 2017 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide is a solid collection of entertaining science fiction and fantasy stories for middle graders. Actually, it’s a good one for all ages. The stories were all well-chosen. While they vary in length, none are so long that the reader’s attention will start to wonder. The overall theme really seems to be that young women can be brave, bold, crafty heroes, given how often that type of character pops up. There is also a few stories where someone who is different abled is featured. (Not as many as I’d like, but a few.) There are also a couple of stories that deal with grief from loss of a loved one, or the anxiety that comes from being afraid you are going to lose someone.

There weren’t many in the book that I rated at five stars, most of them were fours. I really loved In the Middle Gray by Valerie Hunter. It’s about a tinker team of brother and sister, and how family supports each other. It just felt special. Magical. After the Fall by Mike Baretta was a gorgeous, touching tale of a girl using science to create something to remember her mother by. My final highly rated one was Leaves, Trees, and Other Scary Things by Leandra Wallace. This was about a world where whenever there’s a certain amount of greenery, the ‘forest dwellers’ can take over and attack. It’s a side note, though, to the friendship that develops between an old mechanic and a young girl he ropes into helping.

My favorite line from the whole book – and one I think that will impact some children- is:
“But sometimes things aren’t as black and white as we’d like them to be. Maybe we just have to get used to living in the middle gray.” – In the Middle Gray by Valerie Hunter

The three stories that had different abled characters were Blaze of Glory Shoes by Brandon Crilly, Builders for the Future by Salena Casha, and The Biting Sands by Doug C. Souza. My favorite of these three were Blaze of Glory Shoes. I liked how the blind boy plays an active part in saving their lives even though even his best friend basically assumes him to be a liability most of the time.
Those with a bit of a naughty streak in them will find a few stories in here that they’ll relate to. The Robot Did It by Nancy Cress, and I Will Not by R.W.W. Greene being the primary examples. Especially I Will Not. It’s also the shortest entry in the book, I believe.

The rest of the stories were mostly entertaining, but fairly unremarkable. Though I do have to mention that Terror on Terra 5 by Maggie Allen has the best examples of a truly alien world in the book. I so wanted to know more! There were only two that I didn’t particularly care for. One because it was a re-telling of Baba Yaga that just didn’t appeal, and the other, about three cities, just felt like it was an awkward fit.

There’s a reference to animal copulation (from a dog’s point of view) that made me splutter. It wasn’t graphic and was just a one liner, but I was not expecting to find it in this book. With the dog getting laid aside, Man’s Best Friend by Bruce Golden deals with death, and is a bit sad but it’s a good read.

Overall, the 2017 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide is a good read for anyone who enjoys their sci-fi in bite-sized pieces. The anthology is well put together and flows very smoothly. Their ending story is a nearly perfect choice. I’ll definitely be looking for more editions of the Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide in the future.
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text 2014-03-20 01:46
Dance Like a Monkey for CJ Henderson



We don’t just want to do something, we want to do the very best we can. Right now CJ is laying in a hospital bed while they pump poison into his veins for four straight days…96 hours. Can you imagine that? Forget about how utterly horrible it would make you feel to have that stuff entering your body. Forget about how uncomfortable it would be to stay in the same place for all that time wondering if this time it’s actually going to work. Just think about how expensive that must be to lay in that bed for four days constantly getting medication. My husband was in the hospital for just the weekend getting saline in his veins and that was over $25,000 for just two nights of basically salt water.


CJ doesn’t have a job that gives him medical leave, or disability, or even basic health care. If CJ can’t work, CJ doesn’t get paid. Can you imagine worrying about that while lying in that hospital bed? Worrying about your wife and daughter, your mother-in-law, all who depend on you to provide their basic needs? Heck, worrying about all the convention organizers and fans you are disappointing each time you have no choice but to cancel a show…that’s what CJ’s doing. I know because CJ is my friend and I hear these things.


Let me say it again, we DON’T just want to do something, we want to do the VERY BEST we can. That doesn’t just mean meeting our campaign goal. That doesn’t mean hitting a few stretch goals. That means blowing them all out of the water. We need your help for that. We are providing our time, effort, and talent for absolutely NO compensation beyond the satisfaction that we are doing everything we can to help our friend, a man who has given so much to the fannish community in time and enjoyment and brilliant writing. In answering the hopeful author’s questions and offering guidance to those just starting out. CJ doesn’t just look out for himself, he keeps an eye out for all of us and does a good turn where he can.


We aren’t asking much, just return the favor. Chip in a few bucks to get a fantastic anthology. Post or Like or Share our updates on what we are doing and why. Maybe even dance a little…for a good cause. All it takes is a click of a button. Maybe one day of bringing your lunch to work. The sacrifice of the smallest bit of your dignity. Not much. But together think what we can accomplish with those little efforts. Everyone who pledges even just $10 gets an anthology full of high-quality stories by authors at the top of the industry. If we hit stretch goals there are a ton of perks that come with it. Free ebooks. Free music. Free audiobooks. Extra stories. We take this high enough and you get more than one anthology and CJ gets just a little bit of breathing room.


Keep those monkeys dancing and keep those nickels coming!



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