Scott Marlowe, fantasy author

Scott Marlowe

Author of the Alchemancer and Assassin Without a Name fantasy series

Why You Should Read ARC's

Dark RainEOS Books has a call out for advanced readers for Tony Richards' Dark Rain.

I'm not in on this one only because I need the time to work on my current WIP. Participating as an advanced reader is a great experience, but it’s one of those things you have to sometimes temper your enthusiasm over. Personally, I love being one of the first people to see an author’s finished work. Also, it’s free stuff, and who doesn’t like that?

Ultimately, though, participating in these endeavors (along with a great many other things) can become a distraction. There’s typically a deadline associated with the ARC and its publication date. So you have to commit to a reading schedule. Then, you have to write a review. I like to put some thought into mine, and possibly do a little research about the author in the process. For me, it becomes a more fulfilling process that way. In any case, what this boils down to is time. Time away from other things, like writing.

One way to help deal with this is to limit the number of ARC’s you sign up for. Do one every two or three months, or every six months if that works better. But don’t not participate. ARC’s are a great way to get exposure to authors you might not otherwise read. I, for one, think it is of the utmost importance that a writer read outside of his or her field. It’s a sort of research, both into other content as well as writing style.

As for Dark Rain, here’s what EOS has to say about it:

Raine's Landing, Massachusetts, can't be located on any map. On the surface it appears an ordinary New England small town, but anyone who stumbles in wants to leave immediately . . . and once gone, they forget they were ever there. Real magic pervades this village of shadows, practiced by powerful adepts descended from the original Salem witches. But a curse has made it impossible for any resident to step beyond the town line. Those born here must die here as well.

That sounds awesome.

If you’ve got the time in your schedule, go check it out.

Free eBooks from Jeffrey A. Carver

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SF Signal reports that Jeffrey Carver is giving away not one but two of his Chaos Chronicles books, Strange Attractors and Neptune Crossing.

Carver reports on his site:

All the novels of the The Chaos Chronicles are here or coming soon—free!—as well as some short stories. This is a great way to rejoin the story before reading the soon-to-be-published Sunborn. Also planned—a podcast audiobook of Sunborn.

Carver is no stranger to giveaways: Tor gave away his Battlestar Galactica pilot episode adaptation back in July. I didn't download it, only because I'd already seen the pilot episode on TV at least twice and didn't really need to read it.

However, as far as these two giveaways go… I already downloaded them and can't wait to jump in.

You should, too. Go get'em.

NOTE: As of 9/22/08, Jeffrey has made all three books in The Chaos Chronicles series available as free downloads.

Tor Free E-books: BSG by Jeffrey Carver and Flash by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

I'm combining this week and last's Tor Free E-book Giveaway cause I was fairly underwhelmed with last week's offering and never got to posting about it.

In any case, let's get to it.

Battlestar Galactica, by Jeffrey Carver

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Tor gave us Battlestar Galactica by Jeffrey Carver last week. Ordinarily, I might have been excited about this, but the book is an adaptation of the show's pilot which I'd seen at least twice already. Once we get past the initial "human gets greeted by the cylons and blown up" sequence, we're shown Starbuck running through Galactica's corridors shouting "Make a hole!" to ordinary citizens come to tour the battlestar before it's decommissioned.

Huh, how's that for deja vu? Just like the pilot episode.

I can only assume the book continues to follow the storyline as dictated by the pilot (it is an adaptation, after all). Sorry, that just doesn't do it for me. Book closed, didn't even bother saving this one.

As an aside, I've developed quite a love/hate relationship with the show. Sometimes, it's the best sci-fi I've ever seen. Other times (usually when they're dealing exclusively with Gaius Baltar), I'm bored to tears and my wife gets to listen to me swear off the show again and again. But I'm always back the next week hoping to see the show's true potential. Sometimes, I'm rewarded, and that's what keeps me coming back for more. Right now, I'm swearing off the show again cause they're making us wait until 2009 for the remainder of the episodes. I'm sure I'll change my tune by then.

For a running list of all of Tor's free e-books, go here.

 

Flash, by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

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Next up, and this week's giveaway, is Flash, by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

Cool cover, and you have to love a book that throws you into the action from the very first sentence:

Cracckk!
“Down!” Down! At the sound of the ancient slug-thrower,
I dropped flat onto the squashed soyl plants at the edge of
the field.

Similar to Tobias Buckell's Sly Mongoose, where the opening begins with the lead character hurtling through the atmosphere on a collision course with a floating city, this sort of opening promises a lot of fast-paced plotting, kick-butt action, and some general edge of your seat escapades.

Let's see what Amazon readers thought.

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Not bad. 4 1/2 stars out of 5. As one would expect with a rating that high, most reviews are favorable, though one reviewer who gave it 4 stars notes that the book "ultimately falls short as the world doesn't quite support the plot".

Guess I'll have to read the book to see for myself.

Modesitt has an extensive list of books to his name, so if you like this one you've got plenty of others to keep going with.

For a running list of all of Tor's free e-books, go here.

Tor Free E-book: In the Garden of Iden by Kage Baker

baker-garden_of_iden Tor throws another one at us—this time their free e-book giveaway is In the Garden of Iden by Kage Baker.

Ms. Baker has had a varied list of careers: graphic artist, mural painter, “several lower clerical positions”, playwright, bit player, director, teacher of Elizabethan English for the stage, and, of course, author.

“In the Garden of Iden” is the author’s debut novel, though her web site lists a fair number of accomplishments since. In the author’s own words, “20 years of total immersion research in Elizabethan as well as other historical periods has paid off handsomely in a working knowledge of period speech and details”.

This book is as much a period piece as it is science fiction—time travel, immortal cyborgs, 16th century England. The basic premise is that 24th century members of a group called Dr. Zeus Inc. “rescue” orphans or people who are otherwise on the verge of dying from all over time and, with the promise of everlasting life, change them into cyborgs who then are transported back to key moments in history in order to preserve significant artifacts and species. The catch is that there is more to Dr. Zeus Inc. than they let on, and the greatest mystery of all seems that no one knows what happens after the year 2355. It is known simply as the Silence; time travel or any form of communication with people beyond 2355 is not possible.

Sounds intriguing. I’ve got my copy. Go get yours.

For a running list of all of Tor's free e-books, go here.

Tor Free E-book: A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham

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I flipped through A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham, which just so happens to be this week's Tor Free E-book Giveaway, and was immediately taken with the author's dedication:

To Fred Saberhagen,
the first of my many teachers

The name Fred Saberhagen sure brings back some memories. I absolutely devoured his Swords books when I was younger. The fact that Mr. Abraham so notes his own appreciation of Saberhagen has me stoked to see what A Shadow in Summer is all about.

I snagged this synopsis fragment from Bookmarks Magazine:

Debut novelist Daniel Abraham bolts out of the gate with an enthusiastic recommendation from SF guru George R. R. Martin. The critics agree with Martin's appraisal, and reviewers welcome Abraham's rich characterization, deft plotting, and the particularly ambitious central conceit that ideas can be made flesh—and controlled by poets, no less.

This, too:

The Empire hangs on, literally, by a thread; the cloth industry depends on the ability of andat Seedless to magically remove seeds from cotton plants to keep commerce flowing and the barbarians in check.

Sounds intriguing. Anytime you find a real economic system put into a fantasy setting you have some great potential for realism and world-building.

I did a little digging on the author: Mr. Abraham's web site is sorely outdated, the last bits of news having been posted in May of 2007. He does, however, have a blog which at least shows some activity as recently as last month. He has an impressive list of short fiction and a handful of novels, A Shadow in Summer being his first. It is, in fact, the first book of the "Long Price Quartet", so if you like this first installment you have some more of his writing to experience in the same world.

I also noticed as I was searching around that you can view the entire book on Google Book Search. Or, of course, sign up for Tor.com's newsletter and get it as a free download.

For a running list of all of Tor's free e-books, go here.