Scott Marlowe, fantasy author

Scott Marlowe

Author of the Alchemancer and Assassin Without a Name fantasy series

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

0765315645.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_

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.

books_Flash

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.

image

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 Midnight Hour by Patti O'Shea

In_the_midnight_hour

Tor's latest free e-book giveaway is In the Midnight Hour by Patti O'Shea.

Ms. O'Shea has an impressive list of books to her name with a definite slant towards the romantic.

From the author's web site:

Ryne is a magical troubleshooter, sworn to protect the innocent from being harmed by magic—and she's been chasing Anise, her former mentor, for six years.

Deke is a private investigator who knows something key to defeating Anise.  But Anise cast a dark spell over him, and even though Ryne has managed to temporarily lift the curse, Deke can't remember what it is that he knows.

Ryne has sworn to never get involved with a human, but Deke is sexy, charming, brave and irresistible—and as Ryne and Deke are pulled further into Anise's evil schemes, it's harder and harder for Ryne to resist the attraction.

But dark magic has its own attraction, and in order to defeat Anise and lift Deke's curse permanently, Ryne will have to risk following in Anise's footsteps and succumbing to the lure of the darkness...

Hmmm… sounds like romance and paranormal all wrapped into one. Not my usual thing, but what the heck. It's free.

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

n165115

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.

Free Tor E-book: Touch of Evil by C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp

touch of evil.front

Tor is giving away Touch of Evil by C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp this week. It's a "paranormal romance". Ugh. I don't like romances.

This one has vampires in it. Werewolves, too. Sounds like Underworld. But without Kate Beckinsale and her guns.

From the synopsis:

Eschewing recent trends, the vampires in this series are not sexy or funny, and this form of vampirism is spread by a parasite in saliva causing those bitten to become part of the herd, or "Thrall," a hive entity led by queens.

Now it's got me thinking of the Borg meets I Am Legend.

To be fair, I'll put aside my preconceived notions and completely misplaced dislike of romances since I've never actually read one and dig a little deeper.

Turns out 'vampires' here are not of the undead variety. Neither are werewolves. Vampires are actually host bodies taken over by a Thrall, a parasitic life-form that hatches within the host then latches onto the host's brain and takes control (think Goa'uld). That sounds kinda cool.

Alright, I'm intrigued and, given that the book is free, I have nothing to lose by reading the first fifty pages to see if I'll like it.

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