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review 2018-12-07 17:32
Robert Silverberg, The Reality Trip and Other Implausibilities (1972)
The Reality Trip - Robert Silverberg The Reality Trip - Robert Silverberg

From Casual Debris.

 

 

Between 1969 and about 1985, the world was subjected to the publication of a Robert Silverberg short story collection on an annual basis. Some of those years even experienced multiple collections. A prolific and fairly consistent writer, the material was plentiful, so that most stories did not need to wait long before being included in a collection; in fact, many were collected the same year they initially saw print, such as "Caliban" in this volume.

The Reality Trip and Other Implausibilities was made up primarily of a small number of new, as-yet uncollected stories, with five of the eight first appearing between 1970 and 1972. The remaining three stories include two recycled pieces from the fifties, and the first-time collected Hugo and Nebula nominated novella, "Hawksbill Station" (1967), which had already re-appeared as a novel, an expansion of the novella, in 1968.


In Entropy's Jaws     8/10     (Infinity Two, edited by Robert Hoskins, 1971)

Skein is a Communicator, a skilled telepath who can unite two minds with the purpose of effective communication. During a lucrative communication session, however, the connection damages his brain, and he no longer lives in a linear state, but experiences continuous flashbacks and flashforwards. Now Skein is searching for a purple planet that he has seen in his future which he believes can heal his damaged brain.

A riveting story, well structured and with a vividly created world for such a short piece. Skein is not very likable, a talented telepath who capitalizes commercially on his talent, yet Silverberg manages to reign in sympathy for this man, who undergoes a great transformation throughout his humbling experience. My favourite story in the collection.

Included in Terry Carr's The Best Science Fiction of the Year (1972).


The Reality Trip     7/10     (If, May/June 1970)

After eleven years in New York City, studying humans and transmitting copious data daily to Homeworld, an alien visitor must fend off the attentions and advances of a neighbor, Elizabeth Cooke. Cooke is a bohemian, a pot-smoking poet who is attracted to the alien's otherness, his loneliness and social distancing. A highly entertaining story, the first person narrative focuses both on the alien's struggle to deal with the attentions of Cooke, alongside his intense loneliness. Despite the seeming contradiction, there is never in the protagonist's mind the notion that such a relationship with such a human, or any human, can make up for his extreme isolation, and in addition, despite that loneliness, he is not interested in relocating until the situation with Cooke escalates.

Though considered to be among his best short stories, "The Reality Trip" was not included in any of the "Best of" anthologies for 1970. Terry Carr only began his run as a "Best of" editor the following year, and did include "The Reality Trip" in the relatively forgettable paperback anthology, This Side of Infinity (Ace Books, September 1972).


Black Is Beautiful     6/10     (The Year 2000. Edited by Harry Harrison. New York: Doubleday, February 1970)

In the year 2000, Manhattan has been taken over by African Americans, as whites have moved out to the suburbs. The story follows an angry senior high school student, James Lincoln, who prefers to go by James Shabaz, as he festers with anger over the centuries of oppression blacks were forced to face in the hands of the ruling whites, and the seeming apathy of those in his community. The story envisions a future racial peace in the US as a result of total segregation, with different minority groups taking over different areas across the country. Like most racial stories of the period, this one is  certainly dated, though it is surprisingly not a bad read. It is, however, interesting that with all this seeming social progress, black men still speak as though they lived in 1970, when you think language would evolve differently with a reduction in the influence of white culture.


Ozymandias     7/10     (Infinity Science Fiction, November 1958; in the UK in New Worlds Science Fiction #94, May 1960)

Exploring the rim of the galaxy is a vessel run jointly by the military and a small group of archaeologists. These two opposing groups struggle to compromise amid differing agendas, and the tension is thick, brought to a head when they reach a planet which the archaeologists wish to explore, whereas the military believes has no value.

The story begins in the third person, though this voice is eventually revealed to be one of the five archaeologists, which is an interesting shift not often used. Since the story is primarily about two distinct social groups, each appropriately stereotyped, the lack of individual characterization makes for a good third person tale. Though names of some of the minor players are given, we are essentially dealing with two distinct groups rather than individual characters, a detail highlighted by the fact that each group's only standout character is their leader. Though the military is responsible for the larger portion of the mission's budget, the archaeologists do have some contractual weight, and essentially force the ship down onto the dead planet for a week's worth of investigation. They quickly make an incredible discovery, and do their best to conceal it from the other party, which is not interested in extraterrestrial culture, but in practical materials, either resources or weapons technology.

By far the strongest of the earlier stories, it is elevated by its original and well structured narrative form, and pays off with a tragic ending.

 
Caliban     6/10     (Infinity Three. Edited by Robert Hoskins. Lancre Books, 1972)

A man awakens in a future where physical beauty is the norm, and people can exchange their body parts and take on any appearance they wish. A world where everyone looks exactly alike. A blatant, humourous take on extreme conformity, basic body image issues and the need to fit into one's social circle. In this world, however, the other, that ugly time traveller, is accepted rather than ostracized, and while this future society attempts to mold him into one of their theirs, his difference is instead leaving an influence on the beautiful people. Certainly not original, but entertaining, particularly in light of the protagonist/narrator's self deprecation, and that breathing underwater scene. The title refers, of course, to the half-breed Caliban of William Shakespeare's The Tempest.
 
 
The Shrines of Earth     5/10     (Astounding Science Fiction, November 1957)

Following three thousand years of peace, terrans on Earth have become passive and non-confrontational, focusing primarily on the arts. Among the colonies scattered throughout the galaxy, terrans have earned the reputation of being innocent and inconsequential. Yet when the terrans learn that a group of aliens plan a takeover of Earth as part of their conquest of the galaxy, they must find a way to defend themselves. Since they are unable to use weapons, they must rely on craft. A slight story, whose initial premise immediately reveals what is to come. The bulk of the story features somewhat repetitive scenarios that lead us to the obvious conclusion, during which one of the terrans expositorily explains the already obvious crafty plan to the reader. The weakest story of the collection.
 
 
Ringing the Changes     5/10     (Alchemy and Academe. Edited by Anne McCaffrey. New York: Doubleday, November 1970)

Humans take vacations via shunting: the act of entering another person's consciousness and thereby experiencing that person's life. When a malfunction occurs, a group of consciousnesses are separated from their bodies, and technicians must link them back together, by requiring that each person enter each separated body in turn, and for the person to raise their hand once they are re-connected with their body. However, there exists the risk that a person might deceive in order to permanently take on the identity of another.

Told through a series of experiences through a single consciousness, the story appears to be more invested in relaying diverse life experiences than in dealing with its themes of risk in this kind of technology. The focus also indicates that there is perhaps only so much to discuss with this idea. The weakest of the newer stories.
 
 
Hawksbill Station     7/10     (Galaxy Magazine, August 1967)

In the politically rife and repressive future, those with strong opposing political views, rebels, dissidents and even philosophers, are sent to Hawksbill Station, a prison set up in the distant past. The trip to prison is a one-way affair, and lies in the Precambrian era, on a bit of land that would eventually lie underwater.

We experience this extreme penal colony through the eyes of its leader, a role earned through seniority. Vivid and detailed, with many characters and a suspenseful plot, this is an excellent novella that is tightly woven into its premise. It is odd, however, that the suspicious newcomer does not develop a better back-story when navigating through Hawksbill Station, or that he takes notes rather than leave details to memory, but these are small qualms as the story is overall fascinating and well developed.

The novella was expanded into a novel, and released by Doubleday a year after its original publication. In the UK the novel was published with the title The Anvil of Time. I will likely hunt this down at some point.
Source: casualdebris.blogspot.com/2018/12/robert-silverberg-reality-trip-and.html
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review 2018-10-28 01:21
Witchmark by C.L. Polk - My Thoughts
Witchmark - C. L. Polk

I'm going to be frank.  A big reason I bought this book is because the online advertisements for it that featured the cover were so darned clever! If you haven't seen them, the two figures reflected from the bicycle wheels actually walked!  I tried to find a link, but was unsuccessful.  Anyway, that's one of the reasons.  Other reasons include recs by authors I like and an intriguing book blurb.

So, as Deborah Ross stated in her review on Goodreads, "The setting, very much like England in the throes of national PTSD following the First World War, a magic-yielding aristocracy, a conflicted hero and so forth, are familiar enough to be recognisable, yet integrated into a freshly imagine world."  I think that explains it perfectly.  :)

Just about everything works. There were a few places that I thought could use a bit more editing to make things a bit clearer, and maybe a tweak or two for the pacing, but they're mostly quibbles. The character of Miles is terrific and sympathetic and you can' help but like him. The secondary players - it's written in the 1st person POV so everyone else is a secondary for me - are interesting and possess more than one dimension.  The mysteries of the plot are intriguing and kept me guessing in many cases, and when they didn't, when I guessed what was happening, I kind of felt that maybe I was supposed to.

My one caveat is the whole romance angle.  The book is marketed as a fantasy romance, but it seems to me to be more a fantasy novel, set in an AU of WWI England with an important romantic subplot.  The romance is really far from the main element of this story.  So much so that the light-heartedness that permeated the last pages seemed almost out of place for the rest of the novel.  So beware, if you're looking for a romance-heavy story, I don't think this is it. 

That being said, I cannot WAIT for the next book to come out.  It's coming out in February of 2020 according to both Kobo and Amazon.  On Goodreads, the author has responded to the question by saying summer of 2019.  God only knows.  And not only that, the images for Book Two have as its title Greystar while the text shows it as Stormsong.  Again, your guess is a good as mine.  All I know is that I will be there to read it. :) 

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text 2018-10-04 06:50
Virtual Reality Device Analysis, Growth Drivers, Trends, and Forecast To 2025

 

24 Market Reports has recently announced the addition of a new report on the Virtual Reality Device, 2018 Market Research Report. The study is aimed at presenting in-depth insights into the factors encouraging and inhibiting the market’s growth between 2013 and 2018. The report is titled “ Global Virtual Reality Device Market Insights, Forecast to 2025” and is available for sale on the company website.

 

 

The Virtual Reality Device market was valued at Million US$ in 2017 and is projected to reach Million US$ by 2025, at a CAGR of during the forecast period. In this study, 2017 has been considered as the base year and 2018 to 2025 as the forecast period to estimate the market size for Virtual Reality Device. This report presents the worldwide Virtual Reality Device market size (value, production and consumption), splits the breakdown (data status 2013-2018 and forecast to 2025), by manufacturers, region, type and application.

This study also analyzes the market status, market share, growth rate, future trends, market drivers, opportunities and challenges, risks and entry barriers, sales channels, distributors and Porter's Five Forces Analysis.

The following manufacturers are covered in this report:

  • Andoer(Germany)
  • Damark(Denmark)
  • Generic(United Kingdom)
  • Skinit(Germany)
  • Sony(Japan)
  • Gigabyte(Japan)
  • Green-L(Japan)
  • Hyperkin(France)
  • Asus(China)
  • CellBellLTD(United States)
  • 360Heros(United States)
  • Abcsell(United States)
  • Computer Upgrade King(United States)
  • IQIYI(China)
  • HTC(China)
  • BOFENG(China)
  • Alienware(United States)
  • SHINECON(China)
  • SAMSUNG(South Korea)
  • PiMAX(United States)
  • Google(United States)
  • Fujitsu(China)
  • ROYOLE(China)
  • DJI(China)
  • Iblue(Japan)
  • IPartsBuy(Germany)
  • Lenovo(China)
  • Lookatool(United States)
  • Oculus(United)
  • RITECH(China)

Virtual Reality Device Breakdown Data by Type

  • Windows
  • Andriod
  • IOS
  • Mac
  • Other

Virtual Reality Device Breakdown Data by Application

  • Education
  • Entertainment
  • Research

Virtual Reality Device Production by Region

  • United States
  • Europe
  • China
  • Japan
  • Other Regions

Virtual Reality Device Consumption by Region

  • North America
  • United States
  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • Asia-Pacific

 

Download FREE Sample of this Report @ https://www.24marketreports.com/report-sample/global-virtual-reality-device-2025-700

 

The study objectives are:

  • To analyze and research the global Virtual Reality Device status and future forecast?involving, production, revenue, consumption, historical and forecast.
  • To present the key Virtual Reality Device manufacturers, production, revenue, market share, and recent development.
  • To split the breakdown data by regions, type, manufacturers and applications.
  • To analyze the global and key regions market potential and advantage, opportunity and challenge, restraints and risks.
  • To identify significant trends, drivers, influence factors in global and regions.
  • To analyze competitive developments such as expansions, agreements, new product launches, and acquisitions in the market.

In this study, the years considered to estimate the market size of Virtual Reality Device :

  • History Year: 2013 - 2017
  • Base Year: 2017
  • Estimated Year: 2018
  • Forecast Year: 2018 - 2025

This report includes the estimation of market size for value (million USD) and volume (K Units). Both top-down and bottom-up approaches have been used to estimate and validate the market size of Virtual Reality Device market, to estimate the size of various other dependent submarkets in the overall market. Key players in the market have been identified through secondary research, and their market shares have been determined through primary and secondary research. All percentage shares, splits, and breakdowns have been determined using secondary sources and verified primary sources.

For the data information by region, company, type and application, 2017 is considered as the base year. Whenever data information was unavailable for the base year, the prior year has been considered.

 

 

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Email: help@24marketreports.com

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Source: www.24marketreports.com
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review 2018-09-14 11:13
not for me
Escaping Reality - Lisa Renee Jones

There was  a plain white envelope with her name on it . taped to the mirror. It hadn’t been there at the ladies room at Manhattan’s Museum of Art when she got there. Amy’s real name had been Lara but it had been changed  This was an charity event . It had been years since Amy had a flashback and she tried to fight it. But Amy is already there. The scent of smoke burns her nose. The sounds of blistering screams shreds Amy’s nerves. All the pain and heartache, the loss of all she had and will never have again threatens to overwhelm Amy. Amy shooves the wrenching memories away. She can’t let this happen in a public place. Not when Amy is certain danger is knocking at her door. Amy hears voices and grabs the envelope and quickly goes into a bathroom stall. The envelope said “ I found you and so can they. Go directly to JFK Airport and do not linger. Locker 111 will have everything you need,” Amy heart thunders as she takes in the signature - a triangle with something written inside. The same symbol on the arm of the stranger who saved Amy’s life and helped her start a new life and who made sure Amy understand that seeing the symbol means Amy was in danger and she had to run. Once again Amy will lose everything. After six years Amy dared to believe she was safe. Deep down Amy knew that wasn’t true. She had ;left her job  two months ago as a research assistant at the central library to work at the museum. Chloe- the only person Amy has allowed to be a friend- asked Amy where she had been. Then Amy remembers everyone near her could also be in danger. She slips out a door and gets a cab and goes to JFK Airport She finds the locker and it has a carry on roller suitcase and a small brown leather tote bag with a large yellow envelope sticking out of it. Then she finds the note there was money in the bank account and more will be put into the account as she needs it until she was fully settled. There was a new social security license, a new license, and passport. There was a complete history to remember and a resume and job history that will check out if looked into. Then the note told her to throw away her cell phone. The new one was registered under her new name and address. There was a plane ticket and the keys to an apartment . Toss all identification and don’t use her bank account or credit cards. Stay away from museums and her first name wouldn’t change and her last name would now be Reynolds. She was going to Denver. She thought she would get as much of ehr money as she could tomorrow out of her account so she has some of her own money.  Then she saw him, he was in a seat facing her. He -Liam-was one hundred percent focused on her. Lara/Amy house burnt to the ground and killed her whole family, the fire was not an accident and her father was the target. But whoever killed her father wanted her dead too. Amy had met Liam at the airport. Liam is a billionaire but he is also an architect. Liam is a man who is used to getting what he wants and he wants Amy. Amy knows this is just what she is suppose to avoid. But the more time Amy spends with Liam the more she wants to stay with Liam.

I couldn’t get into this book. Amy isn't supposed to get close to anyone especially someone that was scoping her out at the airport and wouldn’t take his eyes off her. Why run if she is willing to get so caught up with a stranger? SHe has managed to stay alive by doing what the guardians she has. Just makes no sense to me why not tell Chloe who she really is she let her become a friend. She had given up her whole life twice now all a sudden some strange guy and she is willing to let go of the way she has survived since the fire. Just made no sense to me so no longer enjoyed the book. I am sure others will enjoy this just wasn’t for me.

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text 2018-09-07 10:35
Cover Reveal #1 - Kristian Clark and the Agency Trap

Cover Reveal - Kristian Clark and the Agency Trap

(Books 1-3)

 

Synopsis':
 
 
Kristian Clark and the Agency Trap, Book One: The Bachelor Missions
 
The good-guys, the bad-guys, and the wild card- it's the ultimate game of cloak and dagger... 
 
Kristian Clark, private eye, thought his days as a special agent were behind him, but when he's drafted into action, he finds himself reunited with his old team- and painful memories of why they broke up in the first place. But as he plunges into mission after mission- from a 'holy heist' to babysitting a young hacker to going undercover in a cult- Kristian find that everything he tried to leave behind is coming back to haunt him with a vengeance, and then some. First there's the mysterious woman who knows more about Kristian- and his past- than makes sense while using science fiction weapons that don't make sense period. Then there are the shady powers-that-be who are responsible for drafting him back into this world to satisfy their own nefarious agendas. It's all Kristian can do to keep from being pulled into their games as he tries to figure out who to trust and what to fight for, even as the trap put in place to destroy him is set with a ticking clock. 
 
When did espionage get so complicated?  
 
 
~~~
 
 
 
Kristian Clark and the Agency Trap, Book Two: In the Rogue
 
The classic game of cat and mouse- but who's the cat and who's the mouse?
 
 Kristian Clark is still reeling from his accidental marriage to his rookie, Susan Deanna, when NEO anarchists attack their agency and they have to go on the run with his- their?- two adopted children. But the NEOs aren't the only ones who are after them- the strange agency that seems straight from the pages of a science fiction novel is hot on their tails. But are they going after Kristian? Or Susan? Or both? But as they work to stay one step ahead of their pursers, secrets begin to come to light about their enemies, their friends, and even each other. Things are in play that are beyond any of their understanding or attempts to control. Even if all reality seems to be a fabrication, will Kristian be able to face his calling? 
 
What if everything you knew was a lie? 
 
 
~~~
 
 
Kristian Clark and the Agency Trap, Book Two point Five: Ruptured Reality
 
I'd tell you I love you... But then you'd make me change the baby's diaper. 

Kristian Clark can go undercover for months on end, combat multiple enemies at once, and even teleport through dimensions. He should be ready for everything. But having a newborn child... is a little outside his skill set. 

And the universe isn't ready for little Shannon either. The tentative layers of the universe begins to peel apart and his adopted son gets pulled through a portal in the hospital. 

Along with an angry wife and reunited best friend, Kristian travels the dimensions to find his son and somehow find a way to save reality without giving up his little girl.

Also includes seven other stories and illustrations.

All profit goes to charity. 
 
 
 
~~~
 
 
~~~
 
 
Artist credit:
 
Cover art designed by Victoria Cooper. https://www.facebook.com/VictoriaCooperArt
 
 
 
About the Author:
 
Jes Drew is the author of the Ninja and Hunter trilogy, the Howling Twenty trilogy, the Kristian Clark saga, and the Castaways trilogy. She lives with her mom, dad, younger sister, four younger brothers, and two dogs, obsessing about her true love, Captain Steve Rogers. There is a possibility that she may or may not be a superhuman, but she hasn't discovered her powers. Yet. Also, she might be a spy, but that's classified.
 
 
 
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