Sunday, August 30, 2015

New cover and blurb for Pepe

I've given Pepe a new cover, as well as a new blurb, which follows:

 In a world of flying magnetic trains and floating caf├ęs, he lives in an abandoned construction site with his sister, cleaning windscreens at a busy intersection while his sister begs. He doesn't know who he really is. That fact could cost him his life – or it could be the key to the future of Cardovia. The evil general and president-for-life, a paraplegic whose mobility depends on a brain-computer interface controlling an army of robots, wants him eliminated.

The general's secrets are well-kept, except to a mysterious mystic old Japanese man who has hope, and a 13-year-old hacker who accidentally witness one of his heinous crimes. For Pepe, it's a “coming of age” as he discovers his past, and the dimmest images of his dreams begin to materialise.

Before the end, we see things falling apart as hope plummets into oblivion, while all are perusing what might be a lost cause, when suddenly a forgotten fact pulls it all into a satisfying conclusion.

"Books this good usually don't show up on my radar... Excellent nerd sci fi totally deserving your money." -- Ezekiel Carsella at Books N Tech

"Pepe was an action packed ride that I enjoyed from start to finish. Mr. Charters has a way of creating a near future in exquisite detail, and I felt like that really made the story." -- Paige Boggs at Effectively Paige 

For the Kindle edition click here after which please click on the cover icon.
For any other eBook format, click here.

Monday, August 03, 2015

The Night Land -- John C. Wright, William Hodgson, et al

This is a collection of four novellas based on the world of William Hodgson's The Night Lands. The first novella is available as a free download, which I read before buying the full version. After reading the second one in the series, I went to Gutenberg.com and downloaded William H. Hodgson's book, The Night Lands. I'd say those actions should speak for themselves as to how much I liked John Wright's work.

William Hodgson's Night Lands could be up there with Middle Earth and the Star Wars universe, except that Hodgson's narration of it is so difficult to slough through. John Wright has done a commendable job of moving it into public literary consciousness with his excellent writing -- much easier to read while still using grand literary style.

The premise: it's millions of years in the future, the sun has died, and the earth is in darkness. The thick cloud surrounding the earth also blocks out the stars. A variety of horrific monsters have taken over the landscape, some of which can, not only kill the body, but also consume the soul as well. Humanity is surviving with the help of subterranean heat. Human technology of that time has enabled them to build a 7 mile tall pyramid shaped tower, called The Last Redoubt, capable of holding millions of people -- all that's left of humanity. Each floor is a whole city. For more details of the fascinating world, read the Wikipedia entry.

I never did finish William Hodgson's book. I got more than half way through, which was enough to give me the basic idea of the story. William Hodgson was a Victorian age writer, but he intentionally wrote it in 16th century style, from the narrative point of view of a gentleman living at the time. He falls in love with a young lady named Merdath. They marry, but she dies. During his mourning, he has a dream of the far future, where a reincarnation of himself, a young man, lives in the Last Reoubt. Through highly advanced instruments and his own telepathic powers (which humanity has developed by then), he hears a voice he recognises, that of the reincarnation of Merdath. She's calling from a lesser redoubt at the opposite end of the extremely deep valley in which both redoubts were built. They were built there because the air at the old earth's surface is too thin to breath. Also, in the valley, there are scattered pot holes of lava that are good for warming oneself. The Last Redoubt, itself, is warmed and energised by a large vein of subterranean energy.

After Hodgson's hero begins hearing the voice of his ancient lover, it becomes apparent that something horrible has happened to the Lesser Redoubt. The first half of the book is the journey through a landscape every bit as full and detailed as Tolkein's Middle Earth -- the difference being that almost everything is hostile and dangerous. He finds her, and the second half covers their journey home, and, I suppose, a bit of their life back at the Greater Redoubt. As I said, I didn't make it to the end, as a lot of that was more like a 16th century romance, with very wordy and detailed descriptions of their love, which didn't appeal to me.

When John C. Wright was young, Hodgson's book existed in two out-of-print volumes. Young John had found the first volume, read it up to the part where the hero was on the verge of finding Merdath, and spent the rest of his young adulthood pining for the second volume. Gutenburg.com wasn't around then. His compendium of novellas stays faithful to the world of William Hodgson, including the reincarnation aspect. Reincarnation is a necessary part of the Night Lands universe. John C. Wright is a Roman Catholic who doesn't believe in reincarnation, but neither does he, nor I, believe in witches riding on broomsticks or small men with hairy feet who live in holes, but we still enjoy an occasional story or two that feature such things.

The first three stories in Wright's collection are set in the Night Lands as Hodgson knew them. His story of the search and rescue of Merdath, is a part of the history. The fourth is set at the end of the universe as we know it, one that has passed the "Night Lands" phase of human history, but takes a twist that only John Wright can give it, with his brilliant adaptation of the physics of time and space.

My recommendation: discover the Night Lands through John C. Wright's book, and later, if your appetite has been sufficiently whetted, download William Hodgson's book.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Limericks

The previous post was an extract from my book, Pappa Gander: the Less Better Half of Mother Goose, pictured to the right. That's basically a collection of my less serious attempts at rhyming, parody, and the retelling of well known fairy tales. There are other nursery rhyme parodies as well -- though mostly short ones -- but below, I'll paste a collection of limericks. Those of you who follow me on Facebook, may recognise some of them.


Barbarians and Samarians

Barb, a barbarian from Barbaria
And her man, lived in a wire barbed area
Sign said, 'Trespassers beware
Though I shoot first, I be fair.
If mistaken, I'll have my wife, Barb, bury ya.'

Samson and son, Sam, in Samaria
Lived in separate houses in the same area
Sign said, 'Trespassers beware.
But if you're feminine and fair,
I'll not shoot, but I'll have my son, Sam, marry ya.'

Reinventing the Wheel

when willie reinvented the wheel
we all laughed and called him a schlmiel
then it so happened
that he took out a patten
now it's his licence fees that make us reel

the first draft of a limerick:
a seemingly educated limericist named curdy
writes limericks too over exceedingly wordy
in spite of how much he tries
to sound educated and wise
one moreover wonders as to how one fringes so on the edges of absurdity

the final draft:
poet named curdy
was too wordy
being wise,
downsized
now sounds nerdy