Monday, July 27, 2009
This one isn't a book at all, but a new television series from Discovery. This is a reality series, of sorts, but without the competive gaming features. It's on the Discovery Channel, if you can remember to watch or record it, or you can just get a free season pass using Amazon Video on Demand. The first episode, Arrival and Survival, is already available to download, but be sure to get a Season Pass while it is still free.
Ten volunteers enter an experimental post-apocalyptic world to see if they can survive and rebuild after a global disaster. Cordoned off in a downtown Los Angeles warehouse, they must secure shelter, filter water, and defend their new home from thieves.
One I am looking forward to reading isn't a "bargain" in the sense of being under $5, but at $9.99 is a great deal compared to the hardback (it just came out; wait a year and the price will drop more). It's Winter Duty, by E.E. Knight, the latest in his Vampire Earth series (all but number 4, Valentine's Rising, are available for the Kindle). In this series, a vampiric species has conquered Earth, but not all of humanity has been subjugated. Technology still works, but resources are limited due to availability and difficulty of travel in a hostile environment.
Major David Valentine and his fugitive battalion are the remnants of an expeditionary force shattered in its long retreat from disaster in the Appalachians. Between a raging blizzard, bands of headhunters, and the need to recover wounded soldiers lost during the retreat, Valentine is in for the toughest winter of his life.
And Valentine is losing allies fast. Some of the clans in the region have declared themselves in favor of the Kurians, throwing Kentucky into civil war. But the Kurian overlords have determined that the region isn-t worth the effort of another conquest. Their order: extermination.
I've mentioned Keith Knapp's Moonlight ($0.99) before and it's still a bargain at 99 cents. The one dips into the horror genre as well, so you might not want to read it late at night (or at least keep all the lights on when you do).
It began with a power outage. A power outage that went beyond lights and televisions. Clocks stopped telling time. Cell phones no longer received signals. Cars became dead relics that wouldn't start.
As the world around them becomes darker, so do the inhabitants of the small town of Westmont, Illinois. A mysterious and evil presence has taken a hold over the village, making the once peaceful town a place of violence and despair.
A small group of individuals, untouched by this presence, must uncover the mystery of why they remain normal and discover what (or who) is taking control of their town, one soul at a time.
Because the Man in the Dark Coat is out there. Hunting them.
And not everyone can remain untouched forever.
Also in the Horror end of the spectrum is Gone, the Day ($0.80) by Erik Williams, a short novella that can be easily read in one sitting.
Mike wakes up to discover that darkness has consumed the world. No sun. No sky. No stars. Only blackness. Before he can question what has happened, or even his own sanity, great beasts swarm out of the void and begin a lethal assault on mankind.
No review of the genre would be complete without at least one Zombie Apocaplyse story (would that be the Zombocalyse?). The problem is, finding just one to include here. There is Braaaaaains ($0.99; novella), by Keith Blenman, The Fence Mender ($1.99), by Anghus Houvouras, The Zombie Chronicles, by Mark Clodi, Z Day Is Here ($5.99), by Rob Fox, theAs The World Dies Trilogy, by Rhiannon Frater, and World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War ($9.99) by Max Brooks. You can even subscribe to The Inevitable Zombie Apocalypse ($0.99/month) for more zombies on a regular basis.
These are but a sampling of what is out there ... if you find any other bargain titles, be sure to leave a comment, so I can check them out. One I recommend you skip, however, is Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse ($9.99), by James Wesley Rawles. That is, unless you think a book is improved by endless, detailed lists of exact weapons to stockpile for the coming collapse of society, along with what seems every military weapon that might be used by a UN force when taking over what is left. Somewhere in this book, which I have nearly finished (I picked it up on a whim when it was $6.39 one weekend), there really is a good novella; unfortunately, it is buried under the novel length minutia (and in need of an editor to polish up what would be left after this was all removed). If you do want a checklist of survivalist gear, there are many such on the web, for free. If you want to read a great tale of the aftermath of a catastrophic collapse of civilization, check out the Vampire Earth series above, or the Change Saga by S.M. Stirling, instead.
Get the album, Summer Mix 2009, HERE.
Friday, July 24, 2009
, for free. The only problem with the offer is that it doesn't seem to be live, yet. Normally, when an offer like this is active, you'll see a note near the top of the listing for the first book, that tells you about the deal on getting the second book free. That is currently missing from the list for FREE: The Future of a Radical Price. My advice: If you want in on this deal, wait a day or so, then check to make sure that you see an indication of the free book being offered, before buying. Otherwise, plan on spending some time on the phone with Customer Service in order to get the second book. Of course, if you are a regular reader, you already have the first title (and in multiple formats), in which case, it's cheaper to just buy the second title if you really want it (or read it from the library, where it's free!).
The New York Times bestseller that introduced the business world to a future that-s already here-now in a new edition with a new chapter about Long Tail Marketing and a new epilogue.
Winner of the Gerald Loeb Award for Best Business Book of the Year
In the most important business book since The Tipping Point, Chris Anderson shows how the future of commerce and culture isn-t in hits, the high-volume head of a traditional demand curve, but in what used to be regarded as misses-the endlessly long tail of that same curve.
Monday, July 20, 2009
A gasoline tanker truck is “stuck” in the Midtown Tunnel. New Yorkers are panicked . . . . Is this the next big attack?
Alex, an artist, and Ruth, a former schoolteacher with an FBI file as thick as a dictionary, must get their beloved dachshund, whose back legs have suddenly become paralyzed, to the animal hospital sixty blocks north. But the streets of Manhattan are welded with traffic. Their dog, Dorothy, twelve-years-old and gray-faced, is the emotional center of Alex and Ruth's forty-five-year-long childless marriage. Using a cutting board as a stretcher, they ferry the dog uptown.
This is also the weekend that Alex and Ruth must sell their apartment. While house hunters traipse through it during their open house, husband and wife wait by the phone to hear from the animal hospital. During the course of forty-eight hours, as the missing truck driver terrorizes the city, the price of their apartment becomes a barometer for collective hope and despair, as the real estate market spikes and troughs with every breaking news story.
In shifting points of view—Alex’s, Ruth’s, and the little dog’s—man, woman, and one small tenacious beast try to make sense of the cacophony of rumors, opinions, and innuendos coming from news anchors, cable TV pundits, pollsters, bomb experts, hostages, witnesses, real estate agents, house hunters, bargain seekers, howling dogs, veterinarians, nurses, and cab drivers.
A moving, deftly told novel of ultrahigh-urban anxiety.
Download your free copy (PDF), HERE.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Can a haunted man help the dead find peace?
Markhat is a Finder, charged with the post-war task of tracking down sons and fathers gone suddenly missing when an outbreak of peace left the army abandoned where they stood. But now it's ten years on after the war, and about all he's finding is trouble.
This time, trouble comes in the form of a rich widow with a problem. Her dearly departed husband, Ebed Merlat, keeps ambling back from the grave for nocturnal visits. Markhat saw a lot of during the war, but he's never seen anyone, rich or poor, rise from the grave and go tromping around the landscape. But for the right price, he's willing to look into it.
As a storm gathers and night falls, Markhat finds darker things than even murder lurk amid the shadows of House Merlat.
Warning, this title is rife with the walking dead, sarcastic butlers, barking dogs and ghostly dances.
The Mister Trophy ($2.00)
A troll's missing head could cause Markhat to lose his own.
All the finder Markhat wanted was a beer at Eddie's. Instead he gets a case that will bring him face to fang with crazed, blood-craving halfdead, a trio of vengeful Troll warriors, and Mama Hog's backstreet magic. Plus, the possible resurgence of the Troll War.
All right in his own none-too-quiet neighborhood.
Through the town of Rannit's narrow alleys and mean streets, Markhat tries to stay one step ahead of disaster. And ignore Mama Hog's dire warnings that this time, the head that rolls could be his own.
Warning: This book contains well-dressed vampires, extremely polite Trolls, and occasional bursts of humor. Avoid reading it when landing aircraft, welding in the nude, or taunting grumpy jackals while wearing pork chop earmuffs.
Hold The Dark ($3.60) is the third in the Markhat series and is a longer novel, it appears, at 257K in size, versus the 128K and 175K of the first two.
Demons in a feeding frenzy drive the world-weary Markhat to the brink.
Quiet, hard-working seamstresses aren't the kind that normally go missing, even in a tough town like Rannit. Martha Hoobin's disappearance, though, quickly draws Markhat into a deadly struggle between a halfdead blood cult and the infamous sorcerer known only as the Corpsemaster.
A powerful magical artifact may be both his only hope of survival-and the source of his own inescapable damnation.
Markat's search leads him to the one thing that's been missing in his life. But even love's awesome power may not save him from the darkness that's been unleashed inside his own soul.
Warning: This gritty, hard-boiled fantasy detective novel contains mild romance and interludes of suggestive hand-holding.
Wistril Compleat ($0.99)
All three of Wistril's magical misadventures are included in this complete compilation of cantrips and catastrophes!
Wizard Wistril's wants are simple -- four meals a day, a steady supply of honey-gold Upland beer, and above all else, peace and quiet.
All but the latter are in plentiful supply at Castle Kauph. Despite secreting himself in the Wild, Wistril finds himself battling an army of relentless mercenaries while the entire population of the nearest village takes refuge in his home. Even Kern, Wistril's long-suffering, sharp-tongued apprentice, isn't sure whether the army or the houseguests will prove to be Wistril's undoing!
Wistril doesn't believe in lake monsters -- until they invade the lake that just happens to provide Wistril's favorite fish dinners. Faced with the choice of adjusting his menus or daring the wilderness around Lake Ovinshoon, Wistril and Kern soon have bigger problems than mere lake monsters on their hands.
Because while Wistril wishes only to study the beasts, others wish to hunt them and skin them. Will Wistril's peaceful White Chair magics prevail against a ruthless band of wyvern-hunters who have only profit on their minds?
If ever there was a determined bachelor, thought Kern, his name was surely Wistril.
So when Wistril's wife-to-be shows up with a pursuing army on her heels, life at Castle Kauph is turned upside down. And when another suitor for Lady Emmerbee's hand arrives, with a dark and menacing wizard of his own in tow, it's up to Kern and the rest of Castle Kauph to get Wistril wed without losing his head!
Saturday, July 18, 2009
The Dream has been shattered, and the majority of Silent who telepathically communicated through it have been cast out by the event known as the Despair, unable to reenter. Now the remaining Silent still capable of linking to the Dream have become a valuable commodity to those in power seeing to keep the lines of galactic communication open...
In the midst of the Despair, Father Kendi Weaver and the crew of the Poltergeist have a limited window of opportunity to find the loved ones they have lost--including Kendi's parents and siblings, who were sold into slavery more than fifteen years ago.
But just as Kendi closes in on the whereabouts of his brother and sister, they are taken by a mysterious group intent on using them for their own secret agenda..
The Cloud ($1.99) is a scifi novel by Elmore Hammes, who was featured yesterday with his fantasy novel The Holmes and Watson Mysterious Events and Objects Consortium: The Case of the Witch's Talisman ($1.99).
A story of hope, love and redemption set against the stars.
An unstoppable cloud hurtles through the cosmos, annihilating all life in its path, absorbing the energy of living creatures as it passes from system to system.
A lone survivor of an advanced civilization is rocketed from his doomed planet in an attempt to preserve a race, heading towards the solar system and the green-blue orb called Earth. A simple farm girl holds the key to stopping the approaching menace, but she must find her way to love to do so.
With a beginning inspired by Superman and pulp fiction such as Flash Gordon, the story then transitions into modern space opera.
The Cloud is a science fiction romance with action and adventure, appropriate for teenage readers and above.
A Matter of Oaths is available as a free download from the author's website, in several formats. This one was a UK release and difficult to find in the US. UK authors are still blocked from using the Kindle store (that may change by Christmas, as rumors are that the Kindle will be released there this year; or we may find that those of us in the US are the ones that get geographically excluded from the digital books in the UK store at that point).
If you missed Chris Dolley's Resonance back in March, when it was free for Read an E-Book Week, then you are in luck. It's just been added to the Baen Free Library and can now be downloaded in pretty much any format you might want.
You can't create a world in seven days without cutting corners . . . and it is very dangerous to notice the flaws in the design
Graham Smith is a 33 year-old office messenger. To the outside world he's an obsessive-compulsive mute -- weird but harmless. But to Graham Smith, it's the world that's weird. And far from harmless. He sees things others can't . . . or won't. He knows that roads can change course, people disappear, office blocks migrate across town. All at night when no one's looking. The world's an unstable place, still growing, sloughing off layers of reality like dead skin. One day you drive by, and it's changed.
Annalise Mercado hears voices, all from girls calling themselves Annalise. Sometimes she thinks they're spirit guides, sometimes she thinks she's crazy. But then they start telling her about Graham Smith and the men who want to kill him. That's when they meet. So begins the story of two people whose lives are fragmented across alternate realities. And how the hold the key to the future of a billion planets. . . .
The second free title added this week to the Baen Free Library is Harald, by David Friedman. This one is actually fantasy, but I forgot to post it yesterday.
He Didn't Get the Surrender Memo!
It's the perfect storm for conquest: a dysfunctional kingdom reels under a weak monarch. A powerful order of warrior maidens turns to infighting after suddenly losing its charismatic leader. Worst of all, a disciplined and blooded imperial army stands ready to invade and dominate. If ever a moment called for grit, competence, and an utter lack of wishful thinking it is now. Enter Harald of the Vales. Family man and teller of tales. Warrior's warrior. It's time the Empire got one thing straight: the land of Kaerlia will never be its for the taking.
Free Online Reads
HOMEOSTASIS by Carlos Hernadez is a free near-future scifi short story over at Futurismic.
Homesteading, Nancy Jane Moore, takes place in a near-future, after a apocalyptic war that destroyed worldwide civilization, caused by a misunderstanding and following a series of events that reads a lot like today's news headlines.
Return to Cockaigne, by Paul Di Filippo, originally appeared in Interzone (a UK Scifi/Fantasy magazine).
If you are wondering how to easily get these stories from a web page to your Kindle - check out Instapaper.com. Once you have it installed, you highlight the text you want to read, ciick on a ReadLater icon that gets installed on your toolbar, then either have it automatically sent to your Kindle on a scheduled basis ($0.15/mb Amazon charges apply) or send them manually (or just read them online there). The only thing I don't like about the service is that they will not support your @free.kindle.com address, which is what I would prefer to use (it's the main reason I don't use it nearly as much as I used to, but it is a quick and easy method).
Last, check out the podcast of Kelly Link's The Hortlak, read by Frank (Part 1 and Part 2). This story appears in Magic For Beginners, which you can get free HERE, in various formats.
Friday, July 17, 2009
It seems that Amazon's DTP support didn't know anything about the change (they asked the authors to provide ASIN's, so they could research the issue -- but this affected every DTP ASIN in the store). The employee assigned the "dtpadmin" login on the forum (if it's one employee, it's one with a fake registration date, from 1969, so is probably a shared login by an group of employees) later posted this note, at 1:41PM (presumably PDT):
Hello,Sounds a lot like the response following the recent uproar when all LGBT titles disappeared from the Amazon search engines and sales ranks. Hopefully this was just an "error," but as of midnight tonight (EDT), no corrections have been made to the actual book listings.
We have identified an error in our system. We are fixing the problem to remove the device limit for DTP titles. We apologize for this error.
Miss Kitty, Rocky and the Immortals ($3.99), by Jay A. Stout, is something of a departure from his normal military history genre (it's hard, really, to pick just one genre to list it under). I'll admit, I bought it just because it features the Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, SC, just a hop and a skip from the island I called home for three years.
This contemporary story is set at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina. Captain Michael "Rocco" Barducci is killed in a tragic accident, yet his time on earth is far from over. Delivered back to earth as an angel in raccoon form, Rocco is befriended by Miss Kitty, another reincarnate whose service as an angel has spanned the globe since she was killed by Indians in 1764. Together, they team with Rocco's former wingman to stop a cabal of fallen angels and criminals from stealing a top secret military weapon. The transfixing culmination is unlike anything ever done. This crisp, credible and fast-running techno-thriller fantasy takes the reader on a roller-coaster ride aboard cutting edge fighter aircraft, through failures and triumphs in romance and relationships, and finally into a close and reasoned consideration of the family pet.
Alpha & Omega ($2.39) is a novella that precedes/inspired the Cry Wolf series, set in the world of Mercy Thompson, a series that I have been grabbing up as each one was released. The other two below are not in the same series, but I'll be adding both of them to my TBR mountain.
See how it all began...Anna Latham never knew werewolves existed, until the night she survived a violent attack... and became one herself. After three years at the bottom of the Chicago pack, she's learned to keep her head down and never, ever trust dominant males. But when she discovers wrongdoing in her pack, she has to go above her Alpha's head to ask for help.Charles Cornick is the son -- and enforcer -- of the leader of the North American werewolves. Now his father has sent him to Chicago to clean up a problem there. Charles never expected to find Anna, a rare Omega wolf -- and he certainly never expected to recognize her as his mate...
Steal the Dragon ($3.99)
Slave. Swordwielder. Spy. Some girls have all the luck. When Rialla was young, slave traders from Darran ambushed her clan, killing all the men and enslaving the women and children. For years, Rialla lived in bondage, serving her master while waiting for a chance to escape. When that chance came, she made the best of it--and fled to the mercenary nation of Sianim . . . Now she can strike back at her former masters. A lord in Darran seeks to outlaw slavery--but there are plots to kill him before he can. Rialla is chosen by the spymaster of Sianim to prevent the murder--and is plunged into a world of deadly magic, where gods walk in human form. Where her most trusted companions are not what they claim. And where Rialla could be enslaved again . . . As a spy, Rialla realizes the danger of her mission. As a former slave, she realizes she has no choice.
When Demons Walk ($4.79)
Sorceress. Lady. Mistress. Thief. Just call her an overachiever . . . Sham had spent most of her young life as sorceress and thief, stealing from Southwood's nobility to survive. Now Sham must face the greatest test of her skills . . . A killer has struck Southwood, claiming the lives of nobles. Lord Kerim, Reeve of Southwood, turns to Sham for help. Posing as his mistress, she delves behind castle walls to find the killer. But this murderer is no mortal--and Sham must use all of her magical wisdom to send the demon away. Because the city of Southwood has nowhere to hide--and no time to run . . .
Celtic Evil: Roarke ($1.00), by Sierra Rose, is Book 1 in a 5 part paranormal/romantic suspense series, the Fitzgerald Brothers.
Once world famous young singers, the Fitzgerald brothers had it all until an evil Warlock killed parents & tore them apart. Now, 15 years later, the evil has returned to finish the job by either killing them or turning just one to his side and breaking the Circle they have been destined to form for centuries. This book is Roarke's tale. The fourth born son has been running from his past since the day he witnessed his parents deaths. Now, he's forced to return home to Ireland to reunite with his brothers & face the pain, guilt & shame that he's been running from before his chance for happiness, love & family is destroyed forever. However, it's unclear if the brothers combined magical powers will be enough to stop the Warlock before his evil takes another life or if the danger much closer to home will do his job for him. Roarke finds that he must learn to trust not only his brothers again but also himself if he hopes to fight and survive the battle that started 15 years prior. Only this fight may also claim the life of the woman he loves and the family he needs.
The Lost Secret of Fairies ($1.24), by Tiffany Turner, is the start of a new series, The Crystal Keeper Chronicles, aimed at children/teens.
Wanda had always read about adventure. Now she was in the middle of one. The World of Fairies is real, and she is their new Crystal Keeper, human caretaker to the World of Fairies. But the Fairy World is in trouble. The fairies are falling ill from the pollution that ravages the world above. Wanda has to find the key to their cure, before it is too late.
But like in all adventures, there are a few unanswered questions to solve. What has happened to the old Keeper? What are Germites? And can Wanda get used to her cat giving her backtalk while trying not to get grounded for helping the fairies? Join Wanda on her adventure, while she finds out that sometimes the best solution to a problem is the one you find within yourself.
The Holmes and Watson Mysterious Events and Objects Consortium: The Case of the Witch's Talisman ($1.99), by Elmore Hammes, is another young adult/children's title.
Kevin and Ginny are best friends. They enjoy spending their summer vacations exploring Sharper's Woods, coming up with neat experiments, pretending to be Sherlock Holmes and Mister Watson, and sometimes just sitting in the clubhouse of The Holmes and Watson Mysterious Events and Objects Consortium. They are the only members of the club, but that doesn't stop them from having fun.
Sometimes their exploring gets them into trouble, either for going somewhere they shouldn't have or by finding something that was better left unfound. In this case, it is a strange metal object, a talisman, which calls forth, unbeknownst to Kevin and Ginny, a powerful witch. The kids do know that weird events have been happening in their small town. Animals have been found dead, and then they disappear. The metal object they found has a strange effect on Ginny when she touches it. It will take all their detective skills and courage to solve the mystery, and to defeat the witch once they realize who they are up against.
The July issue of Bards and Sages Quarterly is out and I like how they list their magazine as a "book" rather than in the Kindle Magazines section. This means you get access to the magazine on multiple Kindle devices, plus your back issues are yours forever (not just one machine and a few back issues, as with the subscriptions options). This is Volume 3 of this magazine (Volume 1 and Volume 2 are also available), all currently on sale for $3.19 each. Each issue promises to feature original fantasy, horror, and science fiction From the lighthearted to the heartbreaking, from the humorous to the horrific, fans of speculative fiction will find talented new voices in the genre within the pages of each issue.
This issue features an in depth interview with author David Lawrence, as well as his award-winning sci-fi story Blood of the World. Also in this issue:
Detective Matthews may be in for more than he bargained for when he reaches out to two scholars of ancient Egyptian lore and history for help investigating a bizarre murder as we continue with Alphonso Warden's Vita Nova Ex Stellis Veniet.
The Dubh Sithe looks to tighten the noose around Gwynne, who will need to call in few favors (and get the cooperation of a fickle mirror) just to stay alive in part three of William Meikle's Hair and Graces.
Author Eugie Foster gives readers a glimpse at how Chiya and Hikari discovered the truth of each other's unique abilities in part II of Gifts Not Asked For.
Plus plenty more original short fiction!Gaming
I'm not sure when (or if) we'll see the Dungeons and Dragons rule books books on Kindle, if only because of the lack of support for color pictures and quick flipping of pages. However, that hasn't stopped at least a few entries for those playing role-fantasy games from starting to show up on Kindle. One is System Reference Document Spell List ($1.00). It won't help you learn the game and is short on description, but it is a thorough (and long) listing of spells for Wizards of the Coast.
This is the complete list of spells made available in the System Reference Document (SRD) and released under the original Open Game License (OGL) published by Wizards of the Coast (WoTC). This product is released under the OGL, and third-party publishers can use it as a reference for designing 3.5/OGL material. This is not an official WoTC product. It is published under the Open Game License.
Wayfinder is a new fanzine from Paizo publishing.
Created by the fans for the fans, the first issue of the Wayfinder fanzine includes more than thirty articles designed to expand upon the world of Golarion. Inside you will find original fiction, new prestige classes, sorcerer bloodlines, magic items, and traits—and this is just a small portion of what awaits you.
Originally released in print for attendees of PAIZOCON 2009, this PDF is your chance to enjoy what your fellow Paizonians have created for the community—for FREE! The PDF release of Wayfinder #1 is in full color and includes a special challenge by Tim "Timitius" Nightengale, organizer of the first PAIZOCON.
You'll need a free account to get the free PDF, HERE. Dig around their site a bit and you'll find bargains on (paper) back issues of Dungeon and Dragon, as well. Once you create your account, you should find all of these automatically added to your downloads page (all PDF), as well:
- The Pathfinder Character Traits Web Enhancement
- The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Beta Playtest Edition Magic Items
- The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Beta Playtest Edition Prestige Classes
- Pathfinder: Curse of the Crimson Throne Player's Guide
- Pathfinder: Rise of the Runelords Player's Guide (OGL)