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On resolutions January 11, 2019

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newyears2019When I was younger, I wasn’t crazy about New Year’s. (Admittedly, I didn’t get invited to many parties.) These days, however, I like the spirit of renewal. A blank slate. Casting off the wearied remnants of the old year and looking toward the bright potential of the future.

Yes, it’s an arbitrary date and people shouldn’t need an excuse to improve themselves. But it’s a landmark. A reminder, when we’re so often swept up in the chaos of our daily lives, that we should constantly be trying to better ourselves.

And now, in the Information Age, it’s easier than ever to do. Free apps can teach you a new language, how to play an instrument, how to draw and meditate and all sorts of things. YouTube videos can show you how to make or do almost anything. There’s a mountain of free ebooks and online courses out there that can help you master a new skill or subject. Most of these options are even broken down into chunks that only require a few minutes a day. There’s no excuse not to attempt any pursuit one might desire.

I don’t tend to make resolutions. I made an exception with my Goodreads reading challenge for 2019, and I’ll admit I like the push it gives me. Otherwise, however, I don’t want to pressure myself. I prefer goals. Google Fit keeps trying to get me to lower my fitness goals, make them more consistently attainable for me. But I’m not out to check boxes off every day. I want to strive for those goals. I won’t beat myself up if I don’t make them, but I’ll allow myself to feel good if I do.

I don’t have a lot of goals for 2019. I already started trying to exercise regularly a few months ago, and last year I made some changes to my health that significantly improved my overall quality of life. I want to read more, of course. I do want to try to get the second Sisters of Chaos book out this year. Editing continues to be a slog, but I’m using the spirit of improvement the new year provides to try to push myself to at least continue working on it.

Of course, with all these options for personal improvement out there, it’s hard not to get swept up in the different things one can learn or do. I look at the guitar(s) in my bedroom and think about the apps I’ve looked at to try to start playing again. I watch my daughter using new art supplies and think about breaking out some of my own that I haven’t touched for years. I even downloaded one of those language learning apps on a whim last night.

Is it too much? Maybe. Do I have too little time to explore all these interests? Maybe not, at least based on the apps I’ve seen. Will I lose interest before the month’s out? Possibly. But these options are better than just sitting around playing a silly mobile game or watching cat videos on YouTube, which I tend to do more often in my free time because it’s easier than doing anything that can be judged. Maybe my true resolution should be to stop being intimidated by starting anything.

The key to a good new year is not merely hoping or wishing that it will be better. Now’s the time to start making things happen.

Here’s to a great 2019.

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The year of trying more? Oil pastels, 2.5″ x 3.5″

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Books / time: the story January 6, 2019

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I love reading (as is probably obvious). Even my 7-year-old daughter now says, “you can’t have too many books”, gets excited when we go to the bookstore, and says “booooks” hungrily when confronted with a stack of them.

But I’ll admit I’m not the most prolific reader. The main excuses for that are that I spend free time engaged with other pastimes (writing) and a silly fear of commitment over starting new books. I also don’t consider myself a very fast reader, so I don’t get through books as quickly as perhaps I could.

2017 was my best year yet for reading since I started tracking my books read on Goodreads, at 26. However, I followed that up in 2018 with a paltry 10. Well, 11 when you count one book that wasn’t on Goodreads.

Granted, that’s only the measure of the books I read for enjoyment. That doesn’t count the thirty or forty books I read as part of my freelance work, or the handful of books I read (or reread) for Brain Lag. But it does seem a little sad after such a good 2017. And considering the number of new books I picked up last year, it does make me want to read more.

I’ve started the year on the right foot, at least. Whereas last year, I had a gap through to the end of March without any books read for pleasure, I finished my first book of 2019 tonight. It was even one I’ve been meaning to read for a few years. Progress!

I managed to whittle down my TBR shelf (we’ll pretend that row of books hidden behind them aren’t there) to six or seven before I started buying more new books last year. Maybe if I keep at it, I can finally get through those books I bought and haven’t read yet. (Again, we’re not mentioning all the books behind them on the shelf, or the dozens of ebooks I have on Kindle and Google Play.) Maybe if I do that, I can get back to some series I’ve partially read, or start reading other books I’ve been wanting to check out for years, read some authors and titles I’ve heard such good things about.

Or maybe I’ll continue getting lost in whatever ebook I happen to open in a moment of boredom or picking up whatever shiny title catches my eye at the library.

Some people may lament the idea of there being so many books that one cannot possibly hope to read all the ones they desire in a lifetime, but to me, I find reassurance in the knowledge that I’ll always have something to read.

I’d like 2019 to be a better year for books for me. I’ll make it a better year. I’ve never set myself reading goals on Goodreads, but maybe I’ll do that this year. I spend too much time goofing around on mobile games because of this weird anxiety over starting new books, when I’ve plenty of minutes throughout the day that I can find to get some reading in. It’s not hard to start a new book, and I know that.

It’s a new year. Time for new stories.

Ad Astra schedule April 27, 2016

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I’ll be at Ad Astra this weekend, Toronto’s original scifi/fantasy/horror literary convention. I’ll be spending most of my time at the Brain Lag table in the dealers room, and I’ll also be involved with the following events:

Saturday

11:00
Creating Art on Commission
So someone has asked you to create a piece of art for them. And they’ve even said they’ll pay. How much do you charge them? How do you sell yourself as a commission artist, and what are the pros and cons of offering to create work on commission?
Thornhill room

1:00
Selling Your Art at Conventions and Festivals
So you’ve finally finished a beautiful set of paintings. Or maybe you’ve been selling your fan art on commission and want to think bigger with prints. Maybe you want to do commissions for money, or you fancraft and have an Etsy store and want to sell in person. You’ve got wares, and you’re ready to sell them and think that a convention or festival is your best bet. How do you do this? What’s the etiquette? How do you market yourself? Should you participate in an art show or just book a table? And is what you’re selling even allowed? In this panel, learn the dos and don’ts of being an artist on the convention or festival circuit.
Thornhill room

5:00
Tabletop Games You May Never Have Heard Of
Are you bored of playing Monopoly and Risk over and over? A fan of RPGs but unsure what the best party games are? Curious about which games are best for specific numbers or types of people? This panel is a great opportunity to learn about and share recommendations for tabletop games from those in the know!
Oakridge room

6:00
Brain Lag launch party
Brain Lag invites all Ad Astra attendees to join us at our spring book launch party celebrating the release of Why I Hunt Flying Saucers And Other Fantasticals by Hugh A. D. Spencer and Tinker’s Plague by Stephen B. Pearl! The authors will be on hand to give readings and sign autographs, there will be free snacks and drinks, and we’ll be featuring an exclusive sneak peek at the cover art for the upcoming sequel to Tinker’s Plague, Tinker’s Sea!
Room 1080 (penthouse suite)

Sunday

12:00
Setting Up Shop as an Indie Publisher
So you want to be an indie publisher. How do you bring other authors on board? How do you build your reputation within the literary community? In this panel, learn from those who have done it how to be a publishing entrepreneur, and get tips on start-up costs, marketing, and what it takes to get started.
Newmarket room

3:00
Sunday Afternoon Fantasy Reading
Join authors Catherine Fitzsimmons, Rob Howell, Cameron Currie and Brandon Draga as they read a fantastical selection from their work.
Oakridge room

I hope to see you there!

A new beginning, a few weeks late February 19, 2016

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I’ve just made a small change to the design of this blog that may mean bigger things for it: the tagline, which now mentions my art, writing, and interests.

I started this blog with the intention of focusing only or at least primarily on the things I produce. But, inspired a bit by a number of book review blogs I checked out recently, I’ve decided that I will start talking here about the things I enjoy, even if they aren’t directly related to my art. Maybe nobody will care about it, but trying to write posts just for other people has resulted in skeletal updates here for the past… years.

Besides, if you’re here visiting my personal blog, you must be looking for more information about me, right?

In the spirit of book blogs, I’m going to start by sharing my reading progress so far this year. I kind of devoured books in January, surprising even myself with how many I finished – I read more published books in the first six weeks of this year than in all of 2014.

I’ve also started reviewing books again. When I started this blog, I posted reviews of the books I’d read, though when I discovered Goodreads, I moved all my reviews there. In the past couple years, my reviews were feeling too formalized and time-consuming and I pretty much stopped making written reviews and simply left star ratings. But even if just for my own reference, it’s nice to go into greater detail about what I liked and what I didn’t, and I’m taking the reviews a little less seriously this time.

So, here is my reading progress in 2016, with links to my reviews of each: (more…)

Indiegogo campaign a success! July 30, 2013

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Thank you so much to everyone who contributed to the fundraising campaign to create a live action trailer for Enduring Chaos. Thanks to your generous contributions, we surpassed our fundraising goal! I’m really looking forward to creating the trailer for my next book and seeing how it all comes out. I’ll be sharing progress updates here as it commences.

Also, one final reminder that I will be at the Pirate Festival in Milton, Ontario this weekend, Saturday through Monday. Look for Brain Lag in the Local Authors booth, or come out for a reading on the stage from 2:30-3:00 p.m. each day of the festival. I will be reading from Aurius on Saturday, Halcyon on Sunday, and I’ll be giving a new advance reading from Enduring Chaos on Monday. In addition, I’m very excited to say that I’ll have a sneak peek of the cover art for Enduring Chaos to share during the reading. So come out and have a look. Hope to see you there!

Final countdown July 26, 2013

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Huge thanks to everyone who has contributed to the Indiegogo campaign to create a live action trailer for my next book Enduring Chaos. We’re in the home stretch now – just two days left to fund the project. Please visit the campaign page today and help me make this dream a reality!

We’re also one week away from the Pirate Festival, where I will have a booth with other local authors. I will also be giving readings on the stage from 2:30-3:00 every day of the festival, including an advance reading from Enduring Chaos.

Other development with Enduring Chaos has forestalled updates here, and I regret to say it may be that way as we get into the final crunch time before its late November release. I will, however, be updating the Sisters of Chaos website regularly up until the release of the first book, so be sure to follow that for new material.

Also, I am pleased to report that I have made progress on the cover art for Enduring Chaos. Stay tuned! I hope to be able to reveal it soon.

Thanks for watching. This is an exciting time for me and I hope you’re as interested in the progress of Enduring Chaos as I am.

Introducing Sisters of Chaos! July 7, 2013

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The official website for my upcoming fantasy trilogy is now live! Check it out today for more information on the books and the world where they take place. I will be updating it biweekly on Fridays with new information on the world and even brand new short stories up until the release of Enduring Chaos.

Among the new material added to the site are two videos taken by fellow author Stephen B. Pearl. The first is an interview Stephen did with me at Ad Astra in April:

And the other is a recording of an advance reading I gave from Enduring Chaos at Faery Fest in Guelph two weeks ago:

Finally, please don’t forget about our Indiegogo campaign to produce a live action trailer for Enduring Chaos. We’ve made some great progress toward reaching our goal so far, but we still need your help. Contribute today for pre-release copies of the book and help spread the word!

Ad Astra schedule March 25, 2013

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I’ve received my schedule for Ad Astra, Toronto’s original scifi/fantasy literary convention, happening April 5-7. I will be sitting on a few panels for the first time, and I am proud to announce that I’ll be hosting two panels alongside New York Times bestselling author and convention guest of honor Jim Butcher! For those who will be attending the convention, I hope to see you at any of my events that weekend:

Friday, April 5

10:00 p.m., Franklin – I Love to Hate You

Ed Greenwood (m),  Jim Butcher,  Fiona Patton, Gregory A. Wilson, Catherine Fitzsimmons

In this panel, examine what is involved in creating a truly great villain.  By discussing some examples of favourite well-written villains and what makes them memorable, you will gain a better understanding of how to make your antagonist someone that everyone loves to hate.

Saturday, April 6

11:00 a.m., Berczy A – Is the Stand-Alone Novel an Endangered Format?

Julie Czerneda (m), Robert J. Sawyer, Catherine Fitzsimmons, Jim Butcher

More and more books are coming out in series format. While this may be publisher driven, it is just as likely consumer driven.  In the face of this trend, it may become impossible to successfully pitch a stand-alone work, and the temptation to force a series may become irresistible.  Is there still a place in publishing for a stand-alone book?  This panel seeks an answer.

4:30 p.m., Berczy B – Autograph session

6:30 p.m., the penthouse (room 1401) – Brain Lag launch party

Come join us for the official launch of Brain Lag, the newest fantasy/scifi publisher in the GTA. Learn what we’re all about, meet the team, get a first sneak peek at an upcoming title, and celebrate our opening for submissions with OPEN PITCHES! Bring us your novel and you could be one of the first authors under Brain Lag. Prizes, refreshments, discounts, goodies, and more!

Sunday, April 7

10:00 a.m., Ellesmere East – Writing High Fantasy

Marie Bilodeau (m), Catherine Fitzsimmons, K.W. Ramsey, Gregory A. Wilson

Discover what makes a fantasy story epic, as well as the basic elements of high fantasy in this panel. Also, with fantasy TV going mainstream, now is the right time to focus on writing a fantasy novel, but the genre is littered with potential pitfalls and deadly clichés. Learn some should haves (and must avoids) when writing high fantasy.

2:00 p.m., floor 2 suite 2 – Author reading: Catherine Fitzsimmons

Come join me for an exclusive first look at my upcoming fantasy novel Enduring Chaos, the first book in the Sisters of Chaos trilogy, scheduled for release this fall.

Ad Astra looks to be an exciting convention for me this year. Hope to see you there!

October book reviews October 17, 2009

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One of these days, I will start reviewing books as I read them, rather than several weeks later.  In the meantime…

The Hero of Ages, Brandon Sanderson – The third installment in the Mistborn trilogy, this concludes the story of Vin the Mistborn and company in her struggles against an increasingly hostile atmosphere, the fracturing political stability in her new empire, and herself, culminating in an epic struggle between gods.

After the first two Mistborn books, I had high expectations for this conclusion.  Although I had grown to know the author’s style through the previous two books and, as a result, some aspects became a little more predictable, the surprises and tension were kept, and I was very pleased with the result.  As with the previous books, I could honestly go on for pages about everything Sanderson did right with this book.  Everything came together fantastically, tying together every aspect of the world and the previous books seamlessly.  As I had hoped, the ending was climactic and epic, the whole book was extremely difficult to put down, it was overall incredibly well written, and simply an absolute delight to read.  It was deep, it was exciting, it was emotional, and I absolutely must commend Sanderson’s ability to leave one final, amazing surprise at the very end – as indeed he did with the previous books.  And above all, it was a wonderful ending.

I’m not like a lot of people in that I love a good ending.  Series are great and all, but what really sticks with me is a strong ending.  The Hero of Ages was an incredible ending to an amazing trilogy.  It was happy and sad, concluding everything while looking forward to the future, and simply left me feeling very satisfied.  These books have immediately become some of my favourite books of all time and I cannot recommend them enough.  Read Mistborn, and then read The Well of Ascension and The Hero of Ages.  That’s all I can say.

Little Brother, Cory Doctorow – A modern-day 1984 – as described by someone who has not actually read 1984 – this tells the story of Marcus Yallow, a tech geek high school student in San Francisco who subverts the attempts at surveillance by his school until a terrorist attack puts him in the wrong place at the wrong time and the Department of Homeland Security irrationally brands him a terrorist.  As basic Constitutional freedoms are suspended and invasive surveillance on ordinary citizens increases, Marcus becomes an underground freedom fighter, using his connections and his resources to bring like-minded people together and thwart Homeland Security’s illegal surveillance measures.

I had seen a number of ads for Little Brother on e-mails from Tor.com and had been intrigued for a while, so I was looking forward to reading this one by the time I got down my list of ebooks to read to it.  I can certainly say I wasn’t disappointed, as I ended up being hooked on this book and started and finished it within one day.  The way the plot developed, coupled with character interactions and a refreshingly natural narration and dialogue simply made it hard to put down.  It was edgy, it was exciting, it was fun, and of course, it was poignant.  What I hope to be outrageous fictional situations were portrayed with disturbing believability, and reminded me why politics really make me uncomfortable sometimes.

In all, I really enjoyed this book and definitely recommend it.  You can download the book for free from Mr. Doctorow’s website.  While you’re at it, I also recommend reading all the prefaces regarding copyright and freedom of speech.  They’re good reads.

Through Wolf’s Eyes, Jane Lindskold – An expedition to discover the fate of the entourage of a wayward prince finds a sole survivor, a young woman who has been living with wolves for most of her life, and who is believed to be the heir to the kingdom.  As she’s brought back and slowly taught to integrate into civilized society, the battle for ascension between her and other contenders heightens, and becomes even more complex as the neighbouring kingdom, a longstanding rival, stakes its claim for the throne, resulting in war.

I must say that I admire the depth of the political balance in this book – not just that I can, but that I do – but I found the writing itself a bit lacking.  It took a couple chapters to get into it at all, which nearly lost me right at the beginning, and the rest of it I found rather simplistic.  Character thoughts, reactions, and particularly interactions felt more like a young adult novel than one as complex as it was trying to be.  Further, the characters had the feel of being dictated, rather than developed.  It was smooth enough so that none of the characters did things that seemed out of character, but they just felt more like actors, like they were filling necessary roles, than that they were real people.  In all, it wasn’t bad, and I don’t regret reading it like other books I’ve read, but it’s not at the top of my list.

The Disunited States of America, Harry Turtledove – In a future in which travel between alternate realities is possible – in which changes in historical events make a very different present – two travelers become stranded in an America where the Constitution was never ratified, resulting in fractured city-states and a Georgia where politically mandated racism is alive and well.

I thought this was an interesting idea, though again, the writing failed to impress.  It tried a little too hard at times to be clever and tongue-in-cheek, and some character reactions seemed awkward or understated.  In the case of the latter, when war breaks out between Georgia and neighbouring Ohio and the lead character ends up marching on the front lines, I thought his reactions to a confrontation which he doesn’t agree with and the things he sees and does as a result to be quite glossed over, as though he was a common rookie soldier, rather than a pacifist civilian dragged into the atrocities of war.  In the case of the former, the same character’s disdainful reference to “grown-ups” irked me.  Teenagers don’t call people “grown-ups;” teenagers want to be or believe they are adults.  Ignoring that showed a clear disconnect between the author and the type of characters he was writing.

Again, this wasn’t a bad book, but it was really nothing special, and nothing I would particularly recommend.

Casino Royale, Ian Fleming – The first James Bond novel, this tells of the secret agent’s baccarat game against a Soviet spy desperate to turn around his failing fortunes.

There’s not much more to this novel, and there certainly wasn’t as much action as most Bond movies would have you believe.  The writing I found a little awkward at times – places described in second person before switching abruptly back into Bond’s POV – though it was good enough to keep my interest.  The story was really quite slow and not much happened, though I was surprised at how sexist it was.  Not just Bond’s attitude towards women – that of course could be accepted as a character flaw – but the way the lead female was portrayed enforced the stereotype.  While I found some enjoyable tension in the baccarat game itself, the climax of the story came early, and the “surprise” ending was predictable and trite.  Perhaps Fleming’s writing improved in subsequent novels; I probably wouldn’t have been interested in a movie adaptation if I’d read this before seeing any Bond movies.

Book review backlog January 29, 2009

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I’ve been putting off my latest book reviews because I’m afraid they won’t sound very professional.  But, this is my blog and I never made any claims that my reviews are professional or enlightened, it’s just my opinions of the books I read.  Hopefully, further book reviews will be more positive than they have been, because as of this year, I’m not going to continue reading books that utterly fail to captivate me when I have so many more to read as it is.

That said, I’ve read a few since I last shared any.

Soul, Tobsha Learner – Still working my way through the backlog of free ebooks from Tor.com before the website opened.  This is a dual story about a geneticist struggling through a new study and coming to grips with her husband suddenly leaving her, and her great-grandmother’s rise in Victorian England from rural Ireland to fashionable London as she catches the fancy of an ex-soldier turned scientist.

To start with, for anyone who might be tempted to pick up this book, I would like to point out that this was published by the wrong company.  There is nothing fantasy about this book.  It is a modern-day and historical fiction, and further, it reads more like literary fiction than nearly all of the genre books I’ve read – never mind the reading guide at the end.

Aside from that, the story/stories in this novel are interesting.  The characters are well portrayed, and I did find myself wondering what was going to happen next.  However, the recurring theme of loneliness was something of a detriment to the book’s enjoyment.  Every major character went through some period of loneliness through the book, in a way that was well written, but depressing to the point of annoying, and it honestly put me in a bad mood at times while I was reading it.  Kudos to the author for making me feel along with the characters, for really making me appreciate the injustice of it all as I got each character’s different perspective, but it was frustrating to read.  It wasn’t a bad book, but it’s not one I would recommend.

A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens – I’d never read this classic before and decided the season was right a little over a month ago.  This is the story of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge on the night before Christmas, when he’s visited by the ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Yet to Come and is convinced to change his ways.

It’s a classic story, of course, and it reads like classic British literature, and not necessarily in a good way.  The writing is very dry – there was an obnoxious passage on the first page about the author’s opinion of the phrase “dead as a doornail” – and I found Scrooge’s change a little too willing for the way he was set up in the beginning.  As a classic, of course, I can appreciate it, but that’s about all I can say for it.

Mistborn, Brandon Sanderson – Another one from the Tor.com library, this was the first book I picked up when I got tired of the book I had been reading.  It’s a little difficult to summarize, as it’s a complex story and even more detailed world, and it’s hard to know what to say without giving away too much from the book.  This is the story of a group of Allomancers, mages who use the power of various metals to give them enhanced abilities, in their attempts to overthrow the unbeatable Final Empire and take down its immortal Lord Ruler.

For the incredibly rich setting the author has portrayed, the world is overly exaggerated to a point that would be childish if it had not been handled so delicately.  The Final Empire consists of two kinds of people, the lower-class skaa that have no more privileges than slaves – perhaps fewer, for how poorly they are treated – and that infinitesimal fraction of the population that is lucky enough to be nobles, who treat the skaa badly even as property.  The skaa have been so downtrodden for so long that for 90% of them, escape or rebellion isn’t even a possibility.  The author treads a thin line in a world consisting only of the utterly hopeless and the utterly complacent, but he does so as expertly as a tightrope walker by focusing on the only characters who are truly likable in this world.

They are the driving force of the story, the force that really sweeps the reader into this rich, yet bleak world.  The dialogue is excellent, the characters are delightfully engaging, and some very troubled characters are portrayed very believably.  The plot to overthrow the Final Empire is complex and well thought out and, without giving anything away, the author shapes events and brings things together in the only possible way the climax of the story could have worked.  Mysteries are presented and solved clear through to the end of the story, the action is engaging, surprises and twists constantly kept me on my toes, and the way everything came together was nothing short of brilliant.

In a word, this book is phenomenal.  Even this early in, I can say with confidence that this book will undoubtedly make my top five books I read this year – unless, of course, it’s surpassed by the next two books in the trilogy.  I am really looking forward to reading the second book in the trilogy, and this first book is one of my highest recommended reads of all time.  Read this book.  I’m serious.

Fool Moon, Jim Butcher – In this second book in the Dresden Files, Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional practicing wizard – and one of few others, if any, in the entire U.S. – is called upon by the Chicago police department to investigate a grisly series of murders with a lupine connection, and the twists unfold as the mystery deepens.

This book is written much the same way as Storm Front, the first book of the Dresden Files, a book I thoroughly enjoyed – with one difference.  The beginning of Fool Moon, at least, is a lot more serious than Storm Front.  The drama and darkness of the story was always there, but what made Storm Front so endearing and so entertaining was the humor woven throughout.  That humor is a little more absent in Fool Moon, and it makes the book tip a little too far into angst territory, and makes it a little more standard fantasy, an affliction Storm Front successfully avoided.  There was also a lot more death in this book, which kind of desensitized me to it, something I didn’t think was necessary or helpful to the story.

That said, it was still an entertaining read, and there were still the lines that made me crack up to read, and the danger and action and story were, for the most part, well portrayed.  It wasn’t as good as the first book, but it was a satisfactory continuation to the series, and I’m looking forward to reading more.  As the book I’m currently reading is the third in the Dresden Files, that review could come soon.

Old Man’s War, John Scalzi – The latest of my free ebooks from Tor – but an early one in the promotion, if memory serves me right – the title of this story is more literal than one would think, as it follows the journey of a seventy-five-year-old man as he signs up for the interstellar military, one that recruits exclusively from his age group to protect a cut off planet Earth from hostile alien races it has not yet seen.

It’s a bizarre tale and more than a little unpleasant at times, but it drew me in immediately.  The banter between characters is easily the prime highlight of this novel, clever, amusing – sometimes downright hilarious – and simply a delight to read.  The pacing of the story fits with the action very well, too; in the first part of the novel, the writing/narration really gives a sense that the narrator, and other characters, are elderly people, making the book a nice, easy read to start.  In the second part of the novel, when they are made fit for combat again, the pacing picks up with it, in a very natural way, and the depiction of characters who had lived long, full lives in which they had little else to expect but death suddenly given a chance to be at their prime again was, although graphic at times, believable and very well handled.

At just about 300 pages, it’s a short and fast-paced read all told, something that, after the hefty 650 pages of Mistborn, was a refreshing escape.  It was certainly an enjoyable read and comes with my recommendation.