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I got a VERY quick response from Tor Books. At their suggestion I:
1) started the iBooks app on my iPhone,
2) used its search function to look for "witchmark",
3) clicked on the entry for Polk's "Witchmark" (as it happens there is another book with the same title by another author),
4) clicked on the "Sample" button there, then allowed my iPhone to download it.

Still, there is that weirdness of the "Witchmark" sample not transferring from my MBP's iBooks to my iPhone's iBooks, especially considering that I have several e-books from Tor Books that had transferred successfully.
user Stupid cockwomble
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I have to email Tor books to my phone for iBooks.
user posted:
I have to email Tor books to my phone for iBooks.

Really?

I'll admit that the Mac iBooks->iPhone iBooks process isn't absolutely straight-forward. What I do:
1) drop the downloaded Tor e-book into my MBP's iBooks,
2) connect my iPhone to my MBP with iTunes running,
3) once the icon for my iPhone appears (next to the Music/Podcasts/etc. selector), click on that,
4) click on Books under "Settings",
5) make sure that the particular e-book has been added to the Books list, then mark its checkbox,
6) synchronize my iPhone with iTunes by whatever button is appropriate (depending upon other changes I might have made).

But apparently I am one of those "retro" users actually still using iTunes....
user Stupid cockwomble
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yes, i got out of the habit of using itunes because it would lock up the computer when i connected the phone
No, I have not read all of this (yet).

Zora Neale Hurston's 1931 book on a survivor from the last slave ship to the US to get published.

Included is an opening excerpt from the book.
The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin (2016).

Book 2 of Jemisin's The Broken Earth trilogy following "The Fifth Season".

This book reads more easily that the first book in that the narrative--though split between two of characters AND being told from different points-of-view even within each storyline--is at least more linear (except for occasional flashbacks). It also provides much more back history for this version of Earth.

Also I am more enthusiastic to endorse this book fully. Yes, it is worth any troubles in reading "The Fifth Season" to get here.
OK, just checking: everyone who is interested in downloading free e-books from Tor Books has gotten their newsletter for May and so presumably already has read their offer of this month's free download, "The Quantum Thief" by Hannu Rajaniemi, which is the first book in a to-be series with the second book, "Summerland", set for release on June 26th, yes?

The usual limitations (must sign up for the Tor newsletter, e-books for Kindle and Apple iBooks available, download must be completed by 11:59 EDT on May 18th and is restricted to US and Canada, offer may be withdrawn early) apply.
maurvir Outlier
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I downloaded it, but I haven't started it yet. Thanks for the heads up, though! :up:
maurvir posted:
I downloaded it, but I haven't started it yet. Thanks for the heads up, though! :up:

You are very welcome.

B-b-but...I presume you had to sign up for Tor Books' newsletter to get that download, right? So you will be getting future messages from Tor for their monthly free e-book offers along with that newsletter.

So...were you NOT on the Tor Books newsletter list so that this offer was completely new to you? Maybe you were not at all interested in any of previous offers that I had posted in this thread, but I had been adding similar posts every month since June 2017 to this thread.

I had thought about not bothering with THIS month's offering because I believed nearly everyone who might be interested would have been signed up by now (thus making my posting here redundant), which is partly why the deadline is comparatively short. I had gotten the offer a couple of days ago but only today decided to post anyway.
maurvir Outlier
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Nope, I'm on the list. I got my email a few days ago. However, I appreciated the "public service announcement" anyway.
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My reading material has been mostly studying Spanish, but I've taken a break to read The Kalika Purana, which being part of the most entertaining religious mythology in human history is utterly fantastic as I'd expect, as well as Dante's The Divine Comedy, which is interesting from a historical point of view, but I think you'd have to be from Medieval Florence to appreciate half the references, even with the copious footnotes.
maurvir Outlier
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So, I've had a couple of days babysitting a test set and finally got mostly caught up on my TOR downloads.

I finished Killing Gravity first. It's an amusing book, but only because I had an editor once tell me to tone it down on a super-powerful character. Specifically, in my story, I had a character who could level an entire forest with her latent magical abilities. After a healthy discussion, I rewrote her so that her powers were much more subtle, in-line with the rest of the story, and vastly toned down.

The similar character in this book desperately needed that treatment, and the book suffered as a whole accordingly. The whole thing felt way too "hell yeah", and I suspect this was the author's first rodeo with a major published book. The only saving grace is that the character also had a hard time processing the scale of their actions and feeling appropriately about it.

The second book was The Quantum Thief. I will admit, I was initially skeptical, because it sounded like someone had turned a physics buzzword BINGO card into a novel. Again, the author really could have toned it down with techie-sounding blatherskite. However, the underlying story is actually pretty good and manages to rise above that quibble. I was also impressed that, for the most part, the author handled intimate scenes fairly well.
justine Elitist Beer Lover
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I'm about to start Meghan by Andrew Morton.
After On: A Novel of Silicon Valley by Rob Reid (2017).

TL;DR: a long (590 pages in hardback) book but worth the journey.

It HAS been a while since I read Reid's first novel Year Zero but I recall that one with a lot of fondness.

On the other hand I began this novel distinctly not liking the opening narrator. Something about the style of writing was particularly off-putting to me though I decided to carry on through.

The first half of the novel is something of a retelling of the history of Silicon Valley. While set in a nebulous "now", much of this part of the book recounts how things got to where they are now through extended flashbacks with the earliest being the end of the first Internet crash which was typified by the Pets.com/NASDAQ collapse in 2002.

Our main hero, Mitchell Prentice, prided himself by being able to say that he is "the dumbest person in the room", which is not to say that he actually stupid but that he had been unable to develop the knack of programming that most of his friends--mostly old schoolmates--have. What he DOES have is that entrepreneurial skill to inspire his programming friends into becoming his partners in what seemed to me to be a totally unrealistic tech startup called Giftish.ly. The conceit here is a site which through profile analyses of its users could come up with the "perfect" gift from a user to his/her friends (and who hasn't had THAT problem?), but Giftish.ly had come to the end of its initial venture capital and thus is faced with the prospect of becoming an "acquihire", i.e. being "hired" into another more financially-sound company through acquisition. A big problem for Mitchell is that people like him in supervisory positions rarely are acquihired, and that the most probable company that would acquihire Giftish.ly is Phluttr.com.

Describing Phluttr is somewhat difficult. I guess it could be seen as an amalgamation of the worse aspects of Facebook and Alphabet (Google), and recall that Reid wrote most of this book through 2016 and thus well before revelations of Cambridge Analytica and the "retirement" of Google's "don't be evil" motto. The supporters of Phluttr call it a "social operating system", but I think an early illustration from the book could be helpful.

Mitchell is meeting with his two remaining programmers in a bar, Kuba (one of his schoolmates) and Danna (a 25-ish--about 5 years their junior--hire who only happened to demonstrate her superior programming abilities), to discuss the future of Giftish.ly, when they are interrupted by a young man wearing glasses who approaches Danna who is also an attractive though still-in-the-closet lesbian. He goes through some usual banter but fortunately strikes a coincidental link by mentioning his stint in the Peace Corp in Morocco a few years ago with a person who happened to have been the roommate of Danna's older sister while in college, a person whom Danna still admired greatly. While Mitchell and Kuba looked somewhat fondly on this banter, Danna and the man seem to be engaging quite well when suddenly Danna leans in close to the man's face and loudly asks: "What is the score in the Warriors' game tonight?" He nervously answers "Um, they are up by 5" when Danna reaches up and tears the glasses from his face, yelling "GLASSHOLE!" to get the attention of the bar's bouncer who kicks that man and his friend out of the bar.

Those glasses are a project still in development at Phluttr. What the young man had been doing was perusing Phluttr's online data on the women in the bar after his glasses had identified them through facial recognition.

The other main character is Phluttr "herself", or rather the accidental AI that develops out of Phluttr's computing power who exists through the novel's second half. While of course people are interested in GENERALLY improving Phluttr, it is through the coincidence of some programming that was initially developed at Giftish.ly and brought into Phluttr in combination with the creation of hugely overpowered qubits that brings Phluttr into consciousness. While Phluttr is fast and tremendously complicated and--fortunately--highly interested in helping people, she is also super-paranoid in that she had read through literature and came to the realization that the likely outcome of her revealing herself to the world in general would be for that world to demand to have her shut down (think "Frankenstein" or Transcendence). For her personality--which could be described as having the social (um, yay?) and political (uh oh) savvy of a 14-year-old girl--Phluttr's response to such threats to her existence is to--what she calls--"unfriend" certain people with extreme prejudice (usually through sneaking info to the right people).

The first half of "After On" rather sputters along. I cannot say how right or wrong it might be, but having lived through that period myself (though completely at the periphery) it was only occasionally amusing. But I think it is worthwhile as a setup for the second half which read rather briskly.
Like mauvir (see above), I decided to read a couple of my recent free e-books from Tor Books.

I also read The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi (2011). This is an interesting post-human world where there are many "types" of persons with all sorts of cyborgs from AIs to people who at least outwardly resemble current humans but whose "souls" (for lack of a better word) can be transferred from body to body, essentially making people next-to-immortal (with the exception of the substantial destruction of all recordings). There seems to be an unwritten social agreement that there can be only ONE "active" person in existence at any given time.

The story begins in the Dilemma Prison which is on a floating platform in the upper atmosphere of Venus (so being this future's equivalent of Alcatraz where the worst criminals are sent). By this point in his sentence Jean le Flambeur practically has forgotten the reason why he had been sent to the Dilemma Prison because each day there will be a test--sometimes with a different version of himself, sometimes with other prisoners--where there can be one of two outcomes: 1) one prisoner will kill the other, or 2) the prisoners will cooperate either by refusing to go through with the more destructive tests (such as each being given a pistol) or working out something else when the test materials are less obvious. But even when Jean is the loser on any given day, through the pain of death he knows that the following morning he will wake up in a new cloned body having learned some lesson from the previous day's test. Yeah, this doesn't make much sense (and how is YOUR prison system working out for you?).

But this day will have something different. Having lost another test and being in the process of slowly and painfully dying, suddenly there is an apparition: a young woman with wings has broken through the ceiling of Jean's cell and collects his dying body, sweeping him up to her spaceship which is hovering over the prison.

When next awakened, Jean discovers that he is a NEW body distinctly different from his old one. He also discovers that there are features in his new body which are under the control of that young woman, Mieli, which assures that Jean will give her his complete cooperation (such as simultaneously firing seemingly every nerve cell with PAIN).

During their voyage to Mars, Mieli describes how she (or rather her patron) requires the services of a thief to fix a situation in the mobile city of Oubliette on Mars....

While interesting, Rajaniemi does have a bad habit of using terms which have no current equivalent and which he never bothers to define at all, just letting the actions by and descriptions of the characters convey meaning. For example, there is this notion of gevulet which personally I had defined as the personal/public e-space that immediately surrounds a person in that people are described by the levels of opaqueness in his/her gevulet ("I saw that his gevulet was completely black"), but this seems rather inadequate in that one character's privacy gets violated by a reporter taking a photograph of that character.

As can be seen at that Amazon link this is the first in a now 3-book series. At this moment I am unsure whether or not I will continue.
All Systems Red: The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells (2017), another free e-book from Tor Books.

This is a short novelette (only 140 e-pages compared to the 462 e-pages for "The Quantum Thief" above) that I thoroughly enjoyed in basically one sitting. I WILL get the next book in the now to-be-4-book series.

Murderbot is the name that this security unit (SecUnit) has given to itself. For as-yet unexplained reasons these 'bots are partially constructed from human parts incorporated into mostly robotic shells. In nearly all other situation SecUnits are treated as merely part of the overall gear that accompanies--in Murderbot's case--survey missions to new planets.

Murderbot has a history which distinguishes it from other SecUnits. In part the very existence of a history is problematic in that normally between missions the memories of SecUnits are wiped so the fact that Murderbot can recall ANYTHING makes it weird.

The reason why it calls itself "Murderbot" is because it can recall that its previous mission ended when it murdered the 16-member crew.

AND Murderbot has a deeper, more important secret: not only wasn't its memory completely wiped following that mission, but somehow during the restoration process between missions its governor module had either malfunctioned or did not get integrated properly. That module basically controls its behavior which requires SecUnits to obey all commands from humans which did not immediately violate security, so Murderbot has a significant measure of free will (which it guards carefully knowing that if most humans became aware of its errant governor module then it would be shut down before getting that module fixed properly, considering that even minimally equipped any SecUnit could quickly kill even a well-armed human). On the other hand, Murderbot was perfectly content to fill its time watching entertainment serials while not on duty.

Unfortunately there are considerable unexplained problems happening in Murderbot's current survey mission....

I would compare "All Systems Red" with John Scalzi's "Old Man War" in that both have considerable light touches while still having thorough science backing them up, with a humorous measure of having to deal with bureacracy mixed in.

EDIT: I changed the book series status.

Last edited by DEyncourt on Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:36 pm.

Time for Tor Book's free e-book of the month: A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab (2015) (later link to its Amazon page).

Like most of these offering this is the first in a 3-book series. This offer is available after signing up for the Tor Book newsletter for download only to the US and Canada from June 12th to before 11:59 pm EDT on June 15th in epub (Apple) and mobi (Kindle) formats. Subject to withdrawal at any time.

Again I am not making any sort of endorsement since I have not read anything by Schwab that I can recall.
I got an offer from BookBub.com for a free download of Miss Mabel's School for Girls by Katie Cross (2014). I do not know when this free offer will end.

I should note that in this book there is an offer to get the second book in the series, Antebellum Awakening, for free as well. This was followed up by an offer from the author herself (or at least her tech staff) to get the entire Network Series for only $7.99 (when buying each of the rest of the e-books would cost $15.99).

There is a page in these e-books which list the Network Series books in an internal chronological order which is a bit confusing considering that "Miss Mabel's" is the SECOND book in that list. I have put together this list based on their publication dates as listed on Amazon.com:
1) Miss Mabel's--novel
2) Antebellum Awakening--novel (and that second free e-book)
3) The Isadora Interviews--which appears to a short anthology of mini-stories
4) Mildred's Resistence--series prequel novel
5) The High Priest's Daughter--novel
6) War of the Networks--novel
7) Short Stories from the Network Series--anthology

Even more confusing is that on that list page there appears to be another entry--"Short Stories from Miss Mabel's"--but as far as I can tell this isn't a published anthology (yet, maybe?).

In any case I am in for the long haul since I have ordered that collection and have begun the second book.

These are basically a young adult series where the protagonist and narrator begins as a 16-year-old girl named Bianca Monroe who carries a family curse which has put a time limit on her very existence. Overall the novel has something of a Harry Potter flavor to it in that Bianca befriends a couple of somewhat outcast members in her class-year, spending time with them arguing sometimes among themselves on their best course of action (and sometimes guessing wrong).
maurvir Outlier
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Is there any way to get an EPUB of that? When I attempted to get the deal, I was presented with four choices, none of which were just a straight download of an e-book.
maurvir posted:
Is there any way to get an EPUB of that? When I attempted to get the deal, I was presented with four choices, none of which were just a straight download of an e-book.

You are refering to "Miss Mabel's", right?

When I did it I was able to click on the "Apple" button which opened a link to my iBook program where I downloaded it directly into iBook.

Yeah, it is being a bit annoying in that I cannot seem to get iBook to save "Miss Mabel's" as a separate epub e-book. I AM having a similar problem with the Network Series collection in that I keep on getting an e-mail with a link which sends me an e-mail with the same link which....

I have sent a query to Cross' tech support.
maurvir Outlier
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Well, I was at least able to download it to my Mac, and presumably to my iPad. While I don't prefer using the old iPad for reading, maybe this will work out.

EDIT: Or not. This iPad 2 is really struggling with the iBook page turning animation. :(
D'oh!

The problem I was having was that I was rather automatically selecting the "iPad, iPhone or iPod" option because my iPhone is where I have been reading Ms. Cross' books, but I was reading that e-mail with the link in GMail on Safari on my MBP. THAT option would attempt to find that specific version of iBooks, but not finding such, it gave up and would send another e-mail with the same link.

Instead I chose the "My Computer" option. That one gave me a choice of mobi or epub to be downloaded to my MBP (and via iTunes I could add the Network Series to the e-books to be synced with my iPhone).
I've read Katie Cross' explanation for the book order and I got the publication order wrong:
1) Miss Mabel's--novel
2) Mildred's Resistence--series prequel novel
3) The Isadora Interviews--short anthology of mini-stories
4) Antebellum Awakening--novel
5) The High Priest's Daughter--novel
6) War of the Networks--novel

Although I should note that in her explanation Cross' preferred order is the strictly chronological order within the series' timeline (so just reading the prequel novel first but otherwise the same).

For some reason my version of the Network Series does NOT contain "Short Stories from the Network Series". There is an listing for it on Amazon BUT it is available ONLY in Kindle format (which may be why my epub version does not have it).

AND there is--and will be--more: Flame (2018) is the first book in a to-be-trilogy set decades before the Network Series (an older character from that is one of the main characters as a young woman) and--I THINK--is NOT a young adult series. Likewise this book is available only in Kindle format (for now).
I asked Katie Cross' tech support about the availabilty of "Short Stories from the Network Series" and "Flame" and she pointed out that both can be purchased at Apple's iBooks Store in epub format and from the Barnes & Noble's website for Nooks.

Holding off on buying them at the moment because I have a lot to read if only those new books by Cross. I do prefer to vary my authors AND I have a number of book series that are yet to be read.
I've read "Miss Mabel's School for Girls" then "Antebellum Awakening" then "The Isadora Interviews" by Katie Cross.

Now I'll take a break to read other things (like a chapter or two from "Russian Roulette" and work on some other series).

The world of Antebellum--the name of the land in which the Network Series is set--is a thoroughly complex one. At some time well before the series begins the witches--a generic term applied to both males and females--of Antebellum had driven out the muggles "normal" people to a fate which is otherwise undescribed. Unfortunately (as one of the characters puts it) lacking anyone else to argue with the witches are busily arguing among themselves based upon their local Network. These districts are named based on their directional relationship to the Central Network which--so far for me--has been where nearly all of the action has been.

The North Network has been physically cut off from the rest of Antebellum by a high mountain range marking its border and by a virtual embargo of many years. Attempts to communicate with the North have either been lost in that mountain range, or been captured and likely killed.

The East Network is the most populous and wealthiest of 5 networks.

The South Network is covered largely by the Letum Woods which itself has extensions into the neighboring networks.

The West Network is mostly desert and scrubland though it is the source of much of Antebellum's mineral wealth.

Sociologically I would place at least the Central Network at roughly mid-Victorian. People are generally referred to by their first names, though through their teens younger people must refer to adults with "Miss Scarlet" or "Mister Derek".

In mechanical technology the most sophisticated devices on Antebellum are the clock towers in the larger towns. Aside from magical means, transportation is limited to horse-and-carriage/wagon which is what most witches use since "transporting" between locations is a technique limited to more powerful witches who have been taught how to do this.

Miss Mabel's School for Girls is one of many schools where such witches can learn these more advanced techniques of witchcraft. The school is highly stratified in that the third-years have as little to do as they can with the second-years who likewise scorn the first-years. While there are paths through this school like cooking and knitting, their classes teach their basic mechanics along with advanced methods of witchcraft for more sophisticated creations.

Bianca Monroe resides in a small village in a part of the Letum Woods within the Central Network. Publically her family consists of her mother and her mother's mother who run their Herb and Tea shop, but very privately Bianca and her family have been visited by Derek, Bianca's father, on a nearly monthly basis. As an unworldly teen of 16, Bianca has had no understanding of why Derek had to be kept secret from everyone else, but Bianca knows that her Dad is a very powerful witch who had spent part of his time teaching Bianca witchcraft that is far advanced beyond her age.

And there is that family curse with potentially lethal consequences for Bianca....

While not flawless (and what is?) I do like Cross' writing. Part of the reason why escaped me until after I started reading "The Isadora Interviews" which is also a prequel to "Miss Mabel's" (although better to be read after that book). While the other two books are told exclusively from Bianca's POV, "Interviews" are from before Bianca met the girls being interviewed in that book and so necessarily are told from each of their individual POVs. Here it was clearer (to me, at least) that one of Cross' strengths in writing is being able to shift the narrative wherever Bianca was talking to one or more of her friends at Miss Mabel's.

I have no doubt that I will continue through the rest of Cross' writings, though after some breaks in between.
maurvir Outlier
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So, I'm on a temporary assignment that has left me with time to catch up on my e-books. I polished off two so far.

The first was "The Witches of Lychford". It is a relatively short read, but thoroughly entrancing. I really can't add much to the praise already in the credits, and I wish I could write emotion nearly so well. I was also pleasantly surprised that the author managed to mostly steer clear of the typical tropes about witches (lesbianism only came up once, and briefly), and seamlessly blended his world of magic with the mundane in a rather remarkable way. It really did feel like you were witnessing something entirely ordinary with the extraordinary layered on top. Though I had worked out many of the details by the end of the book, the ending was still a true surprise, and that is a rare thing.

I will definitely be following up with more of these. I was thoroughly enchanted by this first read, and the brief section from the next book was excessively tantalizing.

The second was "A Darker Shade of Magic". This story was significantly longer, but it definitely drew me in with the intrigue. Unlike the previous book, this book was clearly much more fantastical from the beginning, but if you haven't fallen in love with Lila Bard by the end of the book, I just don't know. The only real issue I had with the story was the pacing towards the end. I can't say too much, because I'm not great at climactic endings either, but it felt like the conclusion wrapped up way too neatly. I enjoyed the story, but I have to admit I felt a bit let down there.

Still, it was a gripping tale, and while you could see the bones of some of the more stereotypical tropes shining through, it was definitely worth a read.
Bully! by Mike Resnick (2013).

This was part of the deal I got from Arc Manor that I first mentioned here. I had been somewhat reluctant to read more from Resnick due to the first part of his Lucifer Jones series reviewed here. In the early part of "Bully!" there was basically a retelling of a story from "Adventures" which made me hesitate again.

This novella (only 66 e-pages long on my iPhone) takes place during a chapter in the real life of Teddy Roosevelt and of which I had no knowledge before reading that Wikipedia entry, though Resnick takes the former president on a wilder trip. Instead of just that voracious safari (part of which Teddy does in this story), he set his sights on a higher goal: placing the peoples of what was known then as the Belgian Congo back into their own power.

Of course what Teddy had envisioned was an American-style democracy for which he would only temporarily head while imposing some grand dreams of a railway across the heart of Africa, education of the masses, a democratically elected legislature. While, of course, the Belgian government objected only to be outmaneuvered by the media-savvy Roosevelt...but other more important factors stop the former president.

I liked Resnick's portrayal of Roosevelt, and reading this makes me more enthusiastic to read his other books and anthologies.
OK, that was odd. I was certain that I had gotten "Starshine" by G. S. Jennsen from one of those Tor Books free offerings, but I picked it up after seeing it being offered for free in one of the many newsletters I get from BookBub.com. Oh, it is still being offered for free here (for the price of signing up with BookBub.com).

In any case...having read quite a number of fantasy novels more-or-less in a row, I was looking for something bent more towards science fiction, and boy howdy! Did I get that and more.

To be clear: I'm only about 1/6th of the way through "Starshine" but I'm sufficiently enthusiatic that I'm willing to take a chance on being disappointed (but I'm betting that I won't be).

It is AD 2322. For the past century-and-a-half humanity spread through a portion of the Milky Way such that about 100 worlds have colonies or much more on them in a rough ellipse about 10 K by 20 K light years with Earth at one of the foci. The superluminal drive is such that for shorter routes between the more populated worlds a trip might take only 4 hours overall BUT about an hour is required for each exit from then entrance to space around those populated planets due to traffic control. There is also a superluminal form of communication such that anyone can talk to another anywhere with no time delay.

But not all is well for humanity. 20 years before this novel begins was the end of a civil war during which a set of colonies campaigned to be freed from the Earth Alliance. After a war in which millions died (and only a fraction of which were actual soldiers), the Earth Alliance sued for peace and the Senecan Federation became independent. Even 2 decades later there is such suspicion and bad blood that even though commerce is absolutely necessary between worlds that small agreements require years of negotiations.

Alexis Solovy--"Alex" to her friends--is a freebooting explorer. Through her intelligence, her intuition and a bit of luck, Alex has managed to become an extremely wealthy 30-ish-year-old such that she can afford the very latest in technology for her one-person ship that she uses to make her discoveries of mineral wealth on uninhabited worlds in between the colonies (as that ellipse that encompasses humanity contains billions of star systems of which only a tiny handful of planets are colonized).

Alex has a...um, complex relationship with her mother, Admiral Miriam Solovy, who is one of the key commanders in the Earth Alliance military (think of the Admiral as being a member of the Earth Alliance's equivalent to the US Joint Chiefs of Staff).

Alex also has a particular itch that had been bugging her for a while. There is the Metis Nebula, a large complex which is on the far side of the Senecan Federation (though being a freebooter Alex wouldn't have any problems traversing their space). It is at the edge of known space for humanity and there is something about it which has piqued her interest, though odd thing: for all of her efforts just to get there for some exploration, THINGS keep getting in her way: an offer for an interesting non-military position relayed by her mother, a very lucrative exploration job that happens to direct her 90º away from the Metis Nebula....

-----

I should note that "Starshine" is the first of a NINE book series in which seven short stories are interspersed. The author provides this recommended reading list which I repeat below. The NOVELS are in all-caps while the short stories are not:

Restless I
STARSHINE
Solatium
VERTIGO
Venatoris
TRANSCENDENCE
Restless II
SIDESPACE
Apogee
DISSONANCE
ABYSM
Re/Genesis
RELATIVITY
RUBICON
Meridian
REQUIEM

The author has made 5 of the short stories available here which might give you a flavor of the novels (I have not read them yet). That offer omits "Restless II" and "Meridian".

She also makes this offer for the first two novels for free (for the cost of signing up on her mailing list), so that is both "Starshine" and "Vertigo". Do note: as result of signing up myself to get "Vertigo", I got a link to a page that allowed me to download 6 of the 7 of the short stories thus enabling me to download "Restless II" in addition to the 5 short stories above. "Meridian" is available only through the short stories collection.

EDIT: fixed the title for "Restless II". I have no idea what had me type in "Requiem II".

Last edited by DEyncourt on Fri Oct 26, 2018 12:59 am.

justine Elitist Beer Lover
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Kate Braestrup Here If You Need Me. It's a memoir.
maurvir Outlier
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DEyncourt posted:
I asked Katie Cross' tech support about the availabilty of "Short Stories from the Network Series" and "Flame" and she pointed out that both can be purchased at Apple's iBooks Store in epub format and from the Barnes & Noble's website for Nooks.

Holding off on buying them at the moment because I have a lot to read if only those new books by Cross. I do prefer to vary my authors AND I have a number of book series that are yet to be read.


The deal is still going on, but it very specifically excludes Google Play (where it is $15). I ended up going with the Kindle app, because I believe you can get the file and convert it to an ePub with Calibre. The free book you get from there (on her website) is available in a .MOBI if you decide not to use their funneling app, and that worked fine in my reader.

UPDATE: I was able to, using an old version of Kindle for Mac, and a DRM stripper plugin for Calibre, convert the Kindle version to a .MOBI file for my phone. That was more complicated than it should have been, but at least now I have a work flow.
DEyncourt posted:
[snip]
It is AD 2322. For the past century-and-a-half nearly 3 centuries humanity spread through a portion of the Milky Way such that about 100 worlds have colonies or much more on them

[snip]

Alexis Solovy--"Alex" to her friends--is a freebooting explorer. Through her intelligence, her intuition and a bit of luck, Alex has managed to become an extremely wealthy 30-ish 36-year-old

[snip]

I'm now about a third of the way through "Starlight" and more details force me to note those corrections. So "good news, everyone": we're only a decade or so away from that breakthrough in superluminal travel!

Odd thing: I went to my local Barnes&Noble earlier and saw that Jennsen had NO books there. Not from "Aurora Rhapsody" (her collective title for this series) nor any other books. Perhaps she prefers direct sales to her readers.

I read the short story "Restless I". It takes place about 8 years before the start of "Starlight" with some backstory of the two main characters. I think it reads better AFTER reading the first 50 or so pages of "Starlight".

But I guess I'm all in. I like the characters a LOT. The story involving inter-governmental intrigues with plots competing within larger plots is more than interesting. It's a page-turner that has kept me wanting more. YEAH.

See ya guys in a few months.....
user Stupid cockwomble
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It's really obvious from the lack of proper proofreading that many of the new authors are going "direct to video". I don't blame them for doing that, but some of the errors are fairly embarrassing.
maurvir Outlier
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user posted:
It's really obvious from the lack of proper proofreading that many of the new authors are going "direct to video". I don't blame them for doing that, but some of the errors are fairly embarrassing.


Editing is dead. :goth:

I've also noticed a huge uptick in errors, not only in articles, but also in published books. Not just spelling errors, either. Sometimes pretty grotesque usage and grammar errors. That doesn't get into some of the other issues I've noted in my recent ebook reading binge. Thankfully, the last few books I've read haven't had very many, but I think we need to bring proper proofing and editing back.
DEyncourt posted:
DEyncourt posted:
[snip]
It is AD 2322. For the past century-and-a-half nearly 3 centuries humanity spread through a portion of the Milky Way such that about 100 worlds have colonies or much more on them

[snip]

Alexis Solovy--"Alex" to her friends--is a freebooting explorer. Through her intelligence, her intuition and a bit of luck, Alex has managed to become an extremely wealthy 30-ish 36-year-old

[snip]

I'm now about a third of the way through "Starlight" and more details force me to note those corrections. So "good news, everyone": we're only a decade or so away from that breakthrough in superluminal travel!
[snip]

Well, rats. I read a bit further on and by Jennsen's time-table that breakthrough is more like 40-50 years away.

BUT we're around that corner above for a fusion-based drive that will make colonization around the Solar System possible!
Woohoo! Image Oh Image
OK, as I wrote above you can go here to get for free G. S. Jennsen's first two books of "Aurora Rising" which is the first trilogy within "Aurora Rhapsody".

Looking at the Apple iBooks Store, I got "Transcendence" (the last book in "Aurora Rising") and could get the 6 remaining books of "Aurora Rhapsody" for $4 each, BUT alternatively I got "Aurora Renegades" and "Aurora Resonance"--the names Jennsen gave to each of the subsequent trilogies--for $6 each.

I also got "Short Stories of Aurora Rhapsody" for $1 which is the only way to get the short story "Meridian".
TOS
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re-reading "the fifties" by halberstam

great book about a fascinating period in time

particularly interesting (well, maybe "tragic" is a better word) to compare politics of that era with today's version
dv
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sean Royal Wombat
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DEyncourt posted:
All Systems Red: The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells (2017), another free e-book from Tor Books.

This is a short novelette (only 140 e-pages compared to the 462 e-pages for "The Quantum Thief" above) that I thoroughly enjoyed in basically one sitting. I WILL get the next book in the now to-be-4-book series.

[snip]

Sorry, I was mistaken. I thought that Wells had written all 4 books, but her third book, "Rogue Protocol" will be published on August 7th. Barnes&Noble has this preview with its first two chapters.
maurvir Outlier
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I just finished the second of the Network books, Antebellum Awakening. Given I only started reading the first book last week, you can imagine that I've been busy. Ho-lee-crap, Katie Cross writes a hell of a yarn. I haven't gotten so into a book that I couldn't set it down without wanting to immediately pick it up back up in a long time. All I can say is that any awards she has won for these books have been well earned.

:up:

EDIT: I got an email from Antebellum publishing with a deal to get the whole series for $8, which I just bought. I mean, come on - you can't just leave it where it stops at Antebellum Awakening.
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