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review 2018-12-17 19:30
[REVIEW] Crown Anthology, edited by Analog de Leon & Gabriel Sage
Crown Anthology - Analog De Leon

I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

"Do not reduce yourself
to anything less than
who you are meant to be,
so that your heart will not engulf people
who are not meant to survive 
within its vastness."
(pg. 105)

This anthology is definitely a mixed bag. Some of the poems resonate with me, some feel hollow, some aren’t very well written and others are a big wtf. The good thing is most of them seem short and the collection is remarkably easy to read through. The foreword by Tyler Knott Gregson was eye-roll worthy. A bit trite, to be honest. But then again I’ve never connected with his poetry. I feel as if some of the poems were trying too hard to be inspirational, while others rang truer to me. Of course, this is very personal and not everyone responds the same. I just expected to feel more and not less.

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review 2017-12-14 12:21
 Vertigo: Of Love & Letting Go - Analog De Leon

First things first: I received this book through NetGalley.


I requested this because of the cover. Let's be real about this for a second. I just love beautiful covers that much. I mean, look at it!!!!

The poetry itself was pretty good. I didn't love it but I liked it enough to keep going and finishing it. In the beginning I found so many parts that I just had to highlight and I thought this was going to be my new favorite things. It didn't.


The farther I went into the book, I didn't feel anything anymore. The words were beautiful but they just didn't speak to me and didn't move me in a way that I wanted them to. So this is once again a 'It's not you, it's me' book, cause it's beautiful (the words and the pictures!!!), it just didn't work for me, but I totally see how this would work for other people.

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review 2017-10-29 21:54
Trip down nostalgia road...
Analog Science Fiction and Fact, September-October 2017 - Tract Canfield,Eldar Zakirov,Edward M. Lerner,Jerry Oltion

It's been a while since I read an issue of Analog. In fact, I visited my old home this weekend where I store old things such as the last Analog I read. There I found that the last one was the January/February 2010 issue. Having read the latest, I now recall why I liked it, but not enough to subscribe or purchase regularly from the bookstore.


I liked the more thoughtful hard-science stories, and I didn't like the Probability Zero story (a kind of fluff story meant to be ridiculous), with the science articles not really doing much for me, as they are a midge too technical for me.


There are quite a few stories in this issue, so I'll just hit the highlights:


My favorite stories both had something to do with alternate or parallel dimensions. Edward M. Lerner's "My Fifth and Most Exotic Voyage" is a delightful piece concerning the transportation of Jonathan Swift from his England to our Chicago (or at least, the Chicago of 2025). The whole thing is written in faux-Swiftian prose, and the point of view gives opportunity not only for Lerner to satirize our society (a thing Swift himself did in Gulliver's Travels) but also to present the scientific oddities surrounding time travel and parallel universes. The other parallel-universe story, "Ghostmail" by Eric del Carlo, is a superb tale of military romance across universes -- when a man's wife is presumed dead at the front lines of a war in distant parts of space, he gets "ghostmail" messages from her. The result is a poignant reflection on loss and replacement.


Analog is famous for its hard science fiction, and the hardest of the hard comes in Craig DeLancey's "Orphans", which follows a crew of scientists investigating the mysterious demise of automated space probes on an alien planet. They discover a strange biological pattern there, which serves as the scientific mystery around which the story revolves. This is the kind of hard sci-fi I often miss when I read Best Of anthologies.


I'm not sure whether I like Tom Jolly's "The Mathematician", but at least it challenged my brain. It's hard to imagine how the aliens described in this short story look, sound, and feel, but one can only say that they really are alien. An interesting thought experiment, at least.


Three stories written in an old-fashioned style of sci-fi adventure were a joy to read, despite their lack of innovation. Innovation doesn't make a story good, it only makes it new (neither a virtue nor a vice). Jerry Oltion, an Analog regular, tosses off a libertarian dystopia in "A Tinker's Damnation"; Rich Larson takes you to the swamp in "The Old Man"; and Christopher L. Bennett romps with an alien through an X-phile's sanctum in "Abductive Reasoning". 


And speaking of old, Norman Spinrad has a new story: "The Sword of Damocles", a far-future speculation on the place of mankind in the universe. I'm a sucker for the sense of wonder evoked by stories told on a Stapledonian scale... and this one comes close to that kind of scale.


The rest of the issue had a few good stories ("Climbing Olympus" by Simon Kewin; "I Know My Own and My Own Know Me" by Tracy Canfield; and "Invaders" by Stanley Schmidt), but I didn't care for the rest. The novella ("Heaven's Covenant" by Bud Sparhawk) had a great opening paragraph but quickly lost me with a plot that seemed to go a lot of places but lack direction. It was the only story I actually gave up on.


All in all, a number of the stories were satisfying, but in terms of page count, I was satisfied with about 50% of the issue. Not bad, I guess, but not good enough to make me come back on a regular basis.


NEXT: I'll finish Strahan's Best of anthology, then probably try the November/December 2017 Asimov's Science Fiction if it's available at my local bookstores.

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review 2016-12-01 13:57
ARC Review: Analog To Digital by Posy Roberts
Analog to Digital (2016 Advent Calendar - Bah Humbug) - Posy Roberts

Cute and sweet short about an established couple, Toby and Ethan, who are keeping secrets from each other. Which, as we all know, is never a good thing in a relationship, amirite?


Ethan's secret is that despite his assertions of the opposite, after many years in love with Toby, he wants to marry the man. Toby, however, has said many, many, many times that he has no desire to get married. At all. Ever.


Ethan's sister got married in a whirlwind ceremony, and now wants to renew her vows with a lavish wedding ceremony. This makes Ethan sad and upset - his sister will have two weddings in less than a year, while he won't have any, because the man he loves doesn't want to marry him at all.


While they're in Minnesota with Ethan's family for Christmas, Ethan starts to have doubts as he watches Toby spend time with his sister and his mother, and basically feels ignored. He promised not to work so much while they're on holiday, but with Toby gone from the house, Ethan doesn't feel like he has much else to do.


There are plenty of hints between the lines as to what Toby might be up to, and this reader figured it out early on, but Ethan is oblivious.


I liked their relationship, and it was clear that they truly loved each other. The author drew her characters very nicely, and while this short was but a glimpse, we got sufficient backstory woven seamlessly into the plot to understand where both of these men were coming from.


Ethan's family was well done too, and they enhanced this story quite a bit.


I'm sure you're wondering what Toby's secret is, right? Well, I'm not telling, so you should hop on over to the Dreamspinner site to buy this little book so you can find out.


It's worth it.



** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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review 2016-07-18 21:17
"Strictly Analog" by Richard Levesque - original SF Noir detective story in a future California after the breakup of the USA
Strictly Analog - Richard Levesque

"Strictly Analog" is a twisty noir detective story, set in a cyberpunk California of the future, that works as both a detective story and as character-driven cyberpunk. 


Ted Lomax, a veteran of the Border Wars between California and Nevada, lives in a digital world where everyone is on-line all the time through the IYZ (eyewear computers) that he can't use because he has only one eye. Making a virtue of necessity, he earns his living by investigating "off the grid", selling his services as, "Strictly Analog".


Science Fictions fans will enjoy how well this future world, where California has become a Corporate entity and won its independence from the rest of the US, is built. The techie toys are plausible, well explained and salted with humour (I loved the idea of the drivers of the almost silent electric cars of the future choosing a "drive tone" for their vehicle.)


Detective story fans will enjoy Ted Lomax's sarcasm and his determination and his (literally) crippling  back-story as well as the strongly noir tone of the story and the well thought through plot.


I listened to the audiobook version where Steven J Cohen's narration added an edgy twist to the text that matched the mood of the book perfectly.


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