Children of the Different by S. C. Flynn

FlynnChildrenOfTheDifferentWhere I Got It: Review copy

Narrator: Stephen Briggs

Publisher: The Hive (2016)

Length: 9 hours 39 minutes

Author’s Page

This post-apocalyptic tale is set in Western Australia. 19 years ago, the Great Madness killed most of the world’s population. Now when children enter their adolescence, they go into a trance-like state, entering the Changeland, and may come out of it fairly normal or a bit deranged and prone to cannibalism. Arika and her twin brother Narrah are at that age and their adventures in the Changeland will alter them, and perhaps their small society, forever.

This tale was just a bit different from anything else I have read recently. First, I loved the setting and all the Australian animals that come into play throughout the tale. There’s even stromatolites! From dense forest to dry desert to cityscape to ocean-side village – this story covers a lot of ground. Then we have the Changeland, a place that can only be entered by your spirit through a trance-like state. Everything is warped in the Changeland. Sometimes a person sees images of cities healthy and whole before the Great Madness and sometimes a persons sees things as a they are now, but far, far from where they live. For both Arika and Narrah, they each run into the Anteater, which is like our Coyote trickster of the desert southwest here in the states. His motives aren’t clear until the end of the story, but he uses both charm and threats to set things in motion.

While Arika in undergoing her Change, her brother is out of the village when he comes across Weiran, who used to be part of the village before he went a bit feral after his own Change. Narrah ends up captured by a group of city people and hauled away. Once Arika comes back to reality, she insists on going after him but she has to sneak away to do so. Turah, another childhood friend who now has strange prophetic abilities, goes with her. Both Arika and Narrah will have some harrowing experiences before they are reunited. Once they do, there is the task of taking one of the few remaining military bases in the area! The plot kept me guessing the entire time. There’s a little Mad Max action too when folks take some of the few remaining functional vehicles on the last jog of the story.

This was an exciting story. At times, it was beautiful and strange, and at other times I was biting my nails in anticipation of what would happen to our heroes. The Changeland is an eerie, unpredictable place and adds an unexpected dimension to this post-apocalyptic tale. S. C. Flynn is an author to keep an eye on and see what he comes up with next.

I received a copy of this book at no cost from the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Narration: Stephen Briggs was a great choice for this tale. I loved his Australian accent he did for all the characters (except for the 1 or 2 minor characters who weren’t Australian). He also had this great gritty voice for this character Bowman who doesn’t show up until the second half of the story. Sometimes the volume did wiggle up and down a bit, but not so much I had to turn the volume down or risk ear damage. Over all, a great performance. 

What I Liked: New-to-me settings; the Anteater!; great twist with the Changeland; stromatolites!; such a beautiful book cover; plenty of action; great to have 2 heroes to follow through the tale; great narration.

What I Disliked: Occasionally, the volume dipped a bit for a section, or rose slightly for the next section. Not a big deal, but I did have to turn up the book a handful times.

Ebook Giveaway & Interivew: Aidan Edwards, Author of Cages

EdwardsCagesEveryone, please give a warm welcome to author Aidan Edwards. We chat about landscaping, Star Wars, favorite hero duos, and plenty more! Also, don’t miss the GIVEAWAY at the end of this post – International ebook of Cages.

If you could be an extra on a Sci-Fi Thriller movie or TV show, what would it be?

If I could be an extra in a sci-fi movie it would have to be Star Wars. That would be beyond cool! Daniel Craig was actually an extra in the newest one. He had one line. See if you can spot him next time you watch it.

Conventions, book signings, blogging, etc.: what are some of your favorite aspects of self-promotion and what are some of the least favorite parts of self-promotion?

I absolutely love marketing and self-promotion. A lot of authors think it’s beneath them, but for me it’s pure fun. I guess that’s just the entrepreneur in me talking, but, to me, marketing is a lot like a chess game. It’s about anticipating where your potential followers and readers will go next, both in the physical world and online; then using that data to best position yourself and your product to ensure maximum success.

I’d say my favorite part of self-promotion is learning about the different kinds of people that are interested in my work. It’s nice to hear from them and think of them as actual people rather than just numbers on a screen. My least favorite part of marketing is definitely dealing with traditional mainstream media sources. Although they have a lot of outreach, most of them tend to be pretty archaic in the way that they do things and that can be frustrating at times.

Another thing to remember about marketing is that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Patience and persistence are key. It’s not uncommon to feel discouraged in the beginning when you’re not getting the results that you want, but keep at it because, with time and effort, it will pay off.

What has been your worst or most difficult job? How does it compare to writing?

First off, I think every job is a great job because everything can be a learning opportunity as long as you have the right mindset. For example, when I worked at a movie theater I learned a lot about customer service. That being said, I’d say my worst job was landscaping for my parents one summer. It involved a lot of heavy lifting. It was a lot of work with pickaxes and shovels and things like that. That’s when I said to myself, “From now on, I need to give everything I do 110%, because I’d rather fail doing what I love than never try and spend my days shoveling dirt and wondering what-if”.

Who are your favorite hero duos from the pages?

Calpurnia and Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. I know they may not seem like heroes, but to me they fit the definition perfectly. Heroes aren’t people in capes or deities with superpowers, but regular everyday people who do the right thing even when they encounter resistance. Atticus and Calpurnia serve as authoritative figures in Scout’s life and, through tough love and wise words, they teach her what it means to stand up for what you believe in.

What does your Writer’s Den look like? Neat and tidy or creative mess? Can you write anywhere or do you need to be holed up in your author cave?

My writing space is a complete mess. I think Albert Einstein said it best, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, what, then, is an empty desk a sign of?”

I think it’s important to be flexible when writing. If you get too superstitious it could get in the way of the work. I have my places that I prefer but, as long as I have headphones, I can write anywhere.

What were you like as a kid? Did your kid-self see you being a writer?

When I was a kid I wanted to be a mad scientist. I was completely enamored by the unknown. I wanted to learn, I wanted to explore, but mostly I just wanted to mix test tubes and blow stuff up. Then, when I learned how much math was involved, that career prospect quickly faded.

The idea of becoming a writer had never even occurred to me. Sometimes I forget that I’m a “writer” because I don’t feel like one. Then again, I’m not sure how that’s supposed to feel anyway. Hot beverages and pretentious poems? Maybe.

Actually, in a lot of ways I still think I’m a scientist. Every choice I make in life, and in my writing career, is just another experiment. Some experiments fail, and others succeed; but all have their lessons.

If you could sit down and have dinner with 5 dead authors, who would you invite to the table? What would they order?

Well I wouldn’t have dinner with the authors, but I’d love to have dinner with their characters. Here is the guest list: The Mad Hatter (a tea cup filled with red mercury), Jay Gatsby (a fine steak and a glass of champagne), Boo Radley (chicken nuggets), Billy Pilgrim (a plate of sausages), Smeagle (a whole raw fish).

The Desert Island Collection: what books make it into your trunk and why?

Any biographies. People are simply fascinating. Plus, I notice patterns when I read biographies. For instance, if you pay close attention, you will notice that the story of Marconi and the wireless long-range telegraph almost perfectly parallels the story of Steve Jobs and the iPhone.

Care to share an awkward fangirl/fanboy moment, either one where someone was gushing over your work…..or one where you were gushing over another author’s work?

Fortunately, I haven’t had any awkward fanboy/fangirl moments yet. Some people spend their whole lives trying to garner fame and attention, but I try my best to avoid it. I love my work and that is enough. Also, I enjoy my privacy.

What do you do when you are not writing?

I usually have my fingers in a lot of pies at once. Right now I’m helping my friend with a marketing campaign for his line of stylish waterproof shorts. It’s fun, it’s interesting, it’s just another experiment.

Places to Find Aidan Edwards

Website

Facebook

Goodreads

Amazon

EdwardsCagesBook Blurb for Cages: What would you do if you had a kill chip implanted in your brain and you didn’t know when it was going to go off?

The clock is ticking as Jake searches for the infamous programmer who started it all, the one man who knows how to remove the chip. The question is…how much time is left?

With his love by his side and his self-driving car to guide him, Jake traverses the AI-controlled United States to find a man many believe is dead. Along the way, he encounters mutant animals, knife-wielding jungle men, and the bots, with their flamethrowers and their black-and-white ways.

Then, everything changes when he finds something so special, so shapeless, it can’t possibly fit into the boxes at the prison-zoo— into the cages.

GIVEAWAY!

Aidan is offering up  2 ebook copies of Cages to winners who will share their reviews on social media (#MoreThanMyCages). Giveaway is open internationally! You can enter the Rafflecopter below or you can answer these questions in the comments: 1) What country do you live in? 2) Who are some of your favorite heroes from books? 3) Please leave a way to contact you if you win. Giveaways end September 25, 2016, midnight.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Anne Manx and the Empress Blair Project by Larry Weiner

WeinerAnneManxAndTheEmpressBlairProjectWhere I Got It: A review copy

Narrators: Claudia Christian, Elle Muth, Robin Atkin Downes, Tom Dheere, and you can see the complete cast list HERE.

Publisher: Radio Repertory Co. of America (2009)

Original Score: Angelo Panetta

Length: 1 hour 56 minutes

Series: Book 5 Anne Manx

Author’s Page

Note: Even though this is Book 5 in the series, it works just fine as a standalone.

Empress Blair of planet Iaranix (spelling?) just lost her father to assassination. A political group on planet Anyu is thought to be behind it, but no one is sure. Empress Blair needs a bodyguard, one that doesn’t have any preconceived ties to her enemies. Anne Manx, one of the best private investigators around, is on vacation and plans to keep it that way. Alas, Empress Blair makes her case to her and Anne agrees to the job. As she delves into the messy, back-stabbing, double-crossing politics of the situation, it becomes hard to tell friend from foe. For example, there’s Mr. Logan. Just who hired him and where his loyalties lie are a mystery.

Once again, I have dived back into the world of Anne Manx. I do so adore this series. It’s science fiction and humor with a little sexy thrown in. Anne’s humor with the young 17-year-old Empress Blair is very amusing. There’s a little adult humor between the two and one scene with a personal item that had me chuckling into my morning tea. Then Mr. Logan gets tossed into the mix and the humor goes up a notch. He’s got this special power to hypnotize almost anyone. Sometimes he gets creative and brawls break out. He and Anne hit it off by showing off their warrior skills to one another, and then trying out their sexytime skills.

As always, the plot is fast moving, the witty banter can be lightning speed, and the characters tricksy. Someone is always double crossing someone else. Anne is on the look out, having been burnt before. Yet Mr. Logan’s loyalties remain a mystery until the end. I really liked all the double and triple deals, all the scheming. Everyone seems to have a secret agenda, except for Ann herself who just wants to finish the job and get back to her vacation.

When all is said and done, when the body count has been tallied, I find this to be one of the best additions to the series. Perhaps I have said that about each story. Truly, this is one of the best sci-fi humor series out there, with a great cast and wonderful music and sound effects. Now that I have completed all the Ann Manx audiobooks to date, I hope RRCA decides to create more such works in the Anne Manx universe. You can now catch some of the Anne Manx books and other RRCA works on Audible, free, if you have a subscription via their Members Fantasy Channel.

I received a copy of this audiobook free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Narration: Once again, RRCA brought together a great group of voice actors and the Panetta studio. I really liked Elle Muth’s Empress Blair – she comes off as everyone’s best friend with gentle humor. Robin Atkin Downes had a great sexy voice for Mr. Logan –  sometimes all business and sometimes all seduction. As always, Claudia Christian makes a great Anne Manx. I love her sarcastic humor and willingness to kick butt first and ask questions later. Bob Arsena was a great drunk General Hawks. And while it was a very small part, Raini the singer was a great humorous addition! The sound effects and music never drown out the dialogue and greatly add to the story. That joke about Empress Blair’s massage device would not be nearly so funny without the sound effects. 

What I Liked: Witty banter all the way through the story; Empress Blair and her friendly save the whales attitude; drunk General Hawks; Anne Manx’s physical competition with Mr. Logan and the sparks that creates; everyone is double crossing someone; great sound effects and music; the adult humor; gorgeous cover art. 

What I Disliked: Nothing – I really enjoyed this book.

Ember’s End by Arthur Slade

SladeEmber'sEndWhere I Got It: Own it.

Illustrator: Christopher Steininger

Publisher: Arthur Slade (2014)

Length: 88 pages

Author’s Page

Note: This book is a stand-alone adventure that follows two of the characters from Slade’s The Hunchback Assignments series. It works quite well.

Modo and Tavia are trained secret agents with the British Empire and have been sent on assignment to the Wild West town of Ember’s End. Set in the mid 1800s, the story is lush with western archetypes but also with a few all-too-often left out aspects of the Wild West, such the ethnic diversity of the time and location. I was pleasantly surprised to see the story had some extras in turbans throughout the town. Also, the ladies weren’t relegated to the brothels or being ranch wives.

This book, and The Hunchback Assignments series, are touted as steampunk. There was a touch of steampunk goodness in this book, but it was really minor. I kept waiting for that to become part of the story, whether as part of a character or simply background. The town does use pneumatic tubes to shoot messages around quickly. And much later in the story a character is revealed to be part steampunky robot. So my only little quibble is that this story could have used a bit more steampunk.

Tavia does like to dress in style but she’s also a practical woman, able to keep up with Modo in the field. Modo himself is a curious character, often keeping his face covered. He has a special ability when it comes to working in disguise. I liked the camaraderie between these two and could tell from the start they would always have each other’s backs.

Ember’s End is a strange place. The first building our heroes head to is the town saloon, which also happens to be the town library. They learn from the barkeep/librarian that there is no whiskey to serve, but they have a fine fresh milk from a Jersey cow. Also, the now-departed mad scientist who founded the town (Mr. Ember), put a field over the entire town that prevents gunpowder from working. Of course this renders firearms useless. So here we readers are, in the depths of the Wild West with no whiskey and no gun fights. Never fear! There’s still plenty of action.

Ember’s adult daughter has her secrets and is apparently at the heart of the mystery that surrounds Ember’s End. As Tavia and Modo try to untangle this mystery and set things right, they comes across a gang of worthy foes including a ninja, because every great steampunk Western should have a ninja!. With no bullets to trade at decent velocity with the bad guys and no half-aged whiskey to toss in their faces, our heroes have to get creative.

The humor is pretty good with this story as well. Tavia and Modo trade it back and forth in good natured jabs. Then there is the librarian/barkeep who has several other town jobs as well. I also enjoyed the preemptive undertaker. In fact, it felt like a nod to the the old Spaghetti Westerns. It’s a fun story for both kids and adults and I look forward to reading more Modo & Tavia adventures.

Illustration: This graphic novel is lush with color and detail. Christopher Steininger did a good job catching the rust reds that make up a good chunk of the Southwestern pallet. I liked that the point of view was often switching, showing the scene from far away and then up close, etc. Modo’s eyes are very expressive!

What I Liked: Fun story for all ages; the Wild West setting; perhaps some hidden nods to classic Western movies/TV shows; plenty of humor and action; interesting with no bullets and no whiskey; the ladies and minorities are portrayed as real people and not just shoved into stereotypical roles; great illustration.

What I Disliked: This book could have used a bit more steampunk.

The Queen of Swords by Alana Melos

MelosTheQueenOfSwordsWhere I Got It: Review copy

Narrator: Rebecca Wolfe

Publisher: Alana Melos Erotica (2015)

Length: 2 hours 37 minutes

Series: Book 1 Villainess

Author’s Page

This is a sexy supervillain story set in the fictional metropolis of Imperial City. Caprice (Capricious Whim) is very good at what she does but even she can be bested sometimes. In this tale, she will choose to trade certain favors for info and more. Will her evil plots be thwarted, or merely delayed as she dallies over an evening of pleasure?

This is one of the funnest sexy eroticas I have listened to in some time. I love the supervillain theme with all the costumes, super powers, and characters with loose morals. Caprice herself has the dual powers of telekinesis and telepathy, though each has it’s limits. Couple those powers with her swordsmanship, and you have a formidable foe. She’s not above a little murder and mayhem if it suits her needs or if someone tries to double cross her. I love her practical take on wearing Kevlar when needed and always going armed.

The main plot is pretty straight forward. She meets her ‘work’ associate Michael at a night club and they go meet Harry Sidowski together for this possible job. Michael is a unique villain in that his body has two souls – Michael’s and a vampire’s. After talking with Harry, they team up to take on the job, which they do but Caprice loses her sword and is injured. Later on, she will go on the hunt for her sword and more.

While the plot does move along pretty darn quickly, the author does let us linger over the sex scenes. Most of the scenes are energetic but pretty straight forward – one female, one male, various positions. Yet even though they are basic, they are written very well. In fact, I was surprised steam wasn’t coming off my audio player! There is one domination scene (with Caprice doing the dominating) that was OK for me. Caprice’s character wasn’t as excited about it as the other participant, so there wasn’t as much passion as with the other scenes. I really liked that the men in the story varied in height, weight, physical fitness, etc. Over all, it is a sexy, fun story that involves costumes, sexytimes, and a touch of violence.

I received a copy of this audiobook at no cost from the author (via Audiobook Boom) in exchange for an honest review.

The Narration: Rebecca Wolfe had the perfect voice for Caprice – certain, determined, sexy. She did a good job with the various male voices as well, keeping them distinct. She never faltered during the sexytimes scenes, sounding enthusiastic and natural. 

What I Liked: Beautiful cover art!; Caprice is a fun, naughty character; costumes and sexytimes – what could be better?

What I Disliked: Nothing – it was a lot of fun.

Women Destroy Science Fiction!: Lightspeed Magazine Special Issue edited by Christie Yant

YantWomenDestroyScienceFictionLightspeedMagazineWhere I Got It: Review copy

Narrators: Cassandra Campbell, Gabrielle de Cuir, Harlan Ellison, Grover Gardner, Jamye Grant, Susan Hanfield, Jonathan L. Howard, John Allen Nelson, Bahni Turpin, Stefan Rudnicki, Molly Underwood, and Judy Young

Publisher: Skyboat Media Inc. (2015)

Length: 15 hours 11 minutes

Editor’s Page   Lightspeed Magazine’s Page

Over the past few years, there has been a series of ‘XXXXX Destroy Science Fiction’ anthologies, but this is the first one I have read. While the title may smack of too much ‘I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar’, the anthology was quite balanced with characters of all genders, action and contemplation, mystery and exploration, happy endings and not-so happy endings. Most of the stories had some real meat on them, including several of the flash fiction tales, giving me something to chat about over tea. Some were humorous and some required some thoughtful contemplation afterwards. Over all, it’s an excellent science fiction anthology.

Contained in this audiobook are 11 original short stories, 4 short story reprints, 1 novella, and 15 flash fiction tales. If you pick up the text version, you also get 7 non-fiction pieces, 28 personal essays, and 15 author spotlights. Authors for stories in this audiobook include Charlie Jane Anders, Eleanor Arnason, Elizabeth Porter Birdsall, Heather Clitheroe, Tina Connolly, Katherine Crighton, Ellen Denham. Tananarive Due, Rhonda Eikamp, Amal El-Mohtar, Emily Fox, Maria Dahvana Headley, Cathy Humble, N. K. Jemisin, Marina J. Lostetter, Seanan McGuire Maureen F. McHugh, Kris Millering, Maria Romasco Moore, Samantha Murray, K. C. Norton, Anaid Perez, Sarah Pinsker, Rhiannon Rasmussen, Holly Schofield, Effie Seiberg, Gabriella Stalker, James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Sheldon), Vanessa Torline, Carrie Vaughn, and Kim Winternheimer.

Below are the 11 original stories.

Each to Each by Seanan McGuire

The Navy has modified whole submarine corps of women into ‘mermaids’ to explore and claim the ocean floor for bubble cities and resources. The main character finds something in the deep that she didn’t expect. The narrator did a great job with the elongated vowels and such (sounding like in between ocean animal and human) and keeping each female character distinct. This was my favorite story of the whole book and a great way to start the anthology off. 6/5

A Word Shaped Like Bones by Kris Millering

Maurine is an angry artist in space. Her only ‘companion’ is a dead man in the corner. Rather eerie but interesting. Good narration – kept the eerie quality to it. 4/5

Cuts Both Ways by Heather Clitheroe

Spencer is a memory recall specialist. He floats through his memories, sometimes on purpose, sometimes not. Held in high regard for the work he does but it messes with his personal life. Was OK. Didn’t hold my attention like the first 2. Narration good. 3/5

Walking Awake by N.K. Jemisin

Sadie is a caretaker, helping raise the kids until they are old enough for the Masters to inhabit. Henri, one of her young charges, has been chosen. Abrupt ending. Don’t know if Sadie was successful or just nuts. Narration good tho Sadie sounded a lot younger than 40 years old. 4/5

The Case of the Passionless Bees by Rhonda Eikamp

A Gearlock Holmes & Watson story. There is murder at Gearlock’s mansion and the robotic amalgam Mrs. Hudson is in custody for the murder. Fun piece. Steampunky. Good stiff upper lip narration. 5/5

In the Image of Man by Gabriella Stalker

Set in Houston, TX, Wendell & his parents live in a mall. Big Box stores, and their advertising, dominate Wendell’s life, including church and living quarters. Teen loans are the norm. Very interesting piece on materialism and debt. Narration very good with a light Western twang. 5/5

The Unfathomable Sisterhood of Ick by Charlie Jane Anders

Roger and Mary broke up. Mary’s friend Stacia convinces her to ask for Roger’s memories of the beginning of their relationship when things were on a high note. Interesting piece. Good  narration. 4/5

Dim Sun by Maria Dahvana Headley

Set in a far future where the Moon is colonized, Bert, a restaurant critic, has told the secret of the dim sun restaurant. Now it’s crowded. Rodney and Bert are having a lunch there when Harriet, Bert’s ex-wife and a powerful politician, joins them. It was a very fun piece – creative dishes. Great narration. 5/5

The Lonely Sea in the Sky by Amal El-Mohtar

Laila is encouraged to talk to the psychologist. She’s an interplanetary geoscientist. She has an ism – addicted to diamonds or the idea of diamonds. This tale explores various stories about diamonds as part of Laila’s fascination. Interesting piece but kind of broken up, not clear in places. Narrated by several people. At least 1 line repeated. The volumes varies, but mostly much quieter than the rest of the book. Main narrator does great with emotions. 3/5

A Burglary, Addressed By a Young Lady by Elizabeth Porter Birdsall

Genevieve’s a thief. She makes her debut burglary and runs into another thief, Catherine. They bond over the difficulties of breaking into the Marquis’s place. Some cool tech. Love the proper British accent and social niceties. 4/5

Canth by K.C. Norton

The Canth is an underwater vessel, part animal, powered by a perpetual motion machine. Capt. Pierce has lost the Canth but pursues her in a ship, the Jeronimo, captained by Rios. Portugues flavor to the story. Cod in every meal. Very interesting story. Narration was good, especially with the Portuguese  words. 5/5

Below are the reprinted stories, including the 1 novella. 

Like Daughter by Tananarive Due

Paige looks after Denise (Neecy) as much a s she can. She often reflects on their childhood and how things were different between them. Now Denise needs her to take her 6 year old daughter. Heavy story. Well done. Good narration. 5/5.

The Great Loneliness by Maria Romasco Moore

A slow apocalypse happened. Now clones of one flavor or another live out their lives in the few pockets of habitable space on Earth. Various groups have sent probes and manned space missions over the years into space searching for another habitable planet. I really like the imagery that was every where in this story- the underwater museum, the main character’s plant-like daughter Verdant, the human’s Eyes, Brain, etc. walking around independently. The narration was great, even a little song. 5/5

Love is the Plan the Plan is Death by James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Sheldon)

Mogadit has discovered a little one, Lililu, and his teen hormones all at once. Strange, enthralling. Sometimes felt like I was watching animals mating. Stefan Rudnicki narrates and he does it excellently. 4/5

Knapsack Poems by Eleanor Arnason

Strange story. Main character seems to have more than 1 entity and this is the norm. The main character has a scout and a poet and such. It finds a child of some sorts and carries it along falling in love with it. The entities can be more than one gender, but not necessarily so. I don’t get all of it. Rudnicki narrates, doing a good job. 3/5

The Cost to Be Wise by Maureen F. McHugh (novella)

Scarline is a colony on a little populated world. Not much tech. Dogs as sheep – for food. An outworlder, Veranique, comes to visit along with her Professor Ian. Janna, who is an unwed teen of the colony, is fascinated with plastic. Scaffalos is a great clan that visits Scarline for trade, though sometimes they just take what they want. Travesty befalls the colony. Interesting story. A thoughtful, perhaps harsh, ending. Well narrated. 5/5

Below are the 15 original flash fiction stories. 

Salvage by Carrie Vaughn

A spooky ghost ship story with a happy ending.

A Guide to Grief by Emily Fox

Sad story.

See DANGEROUS EARTH-POSSIBLES! by Tina Connolly

Narrator sounds drunk, which isn’t necessarily bad for this story.

A Debt Repaid by Marina J. Lostetter

The 2-headed monster has dual addiction – gambling & drink.

The Sewell Home for the Temporally Displaced by Sarah Pinsker

Those that suffer from accidental time travel can hang out in an asylum. There’s jello.

#TrainFightTuesday by Vanessa Torline

Fun tail told through tweets. Super heroes/villains. Cute noises to denote switching between tweeters.

The Hymn of Ordeal, No. 23 by Rhiannon Rasmussen

A beautiful story of interstellar kamikazes come home. This was my favorite on the Flash Fiction.

Emoticon by Anaid Perez

:-$

The Mouths by Ellen Denham

Cracker obsessed aliens with only 1 orifice.

M1A by Kim Winternheimer

M1A is her clone there to give her parts as she needs. They grow up as sisters, but she is always sick while her clone is healthy. Poignant story.

Standard Deviant by Holly Schofield

A punkass homeless lass is given the opportunity to become an intergalactic ambassador. Fun story.

Getting on in Years by Cathy Humble

Immortal 800 year old man tired of hiding it. Interesting. Ending up to interpretation.

Ro-Sham-Bot by Effie Seiberg

Robot wants to play Rock-Paper-Scissors.

Everything That Has Already Been Said by Samantha Murray

An odd duck of a story.

The Lies We Tell Our Children by Katherine Crighton

She tells her daughters about space and what that means. They become sad. Very nice sadly sweet story.

I received a copy of this audiobook at no cost from the publisher (via Audiobook Jukebox) in exchange for an honest review.

The Narration: Nearly all of the narration was well done for this anthology. There was one story with more than 1 narrator and it definitely sounded like the narrators were in different studios, not recorded at the same time. However, the  majority of the narration was excellent. I especially like seeing Stefan Rudnicki’s abilities tested in the James Tiptree story.  

What I Liked: Such a variety of SF – horror, steampunk, time travel, romance, exploration, etc.; it was great to have so many narrators for this anthology, which helped keep each story distinct;  beautiful  cover art.

What I Disliked: The title does make me chuckle a little.

What Others Think:

NPR

Tangent

Adventures in SciFi Publishing

Dust by Arthur Slade

SladeDustWhere I Got It: Gifted a copy

Narrator: Arthur Slade

Publisher: Arthur Slade (2016)

Length: 4 hours 13 minutes

Author’s Page

Set in a dry, dusty  Canadian town during the Depression Era, young Robert Steelgate is missing his young brother Matthew. Yet the disturbing thing is that he seems to be the only person missing him. A stranger comes to town promising rain and that is the same time kids start disappearing. Coincidence, or not?

This book was like a really good episode of The Twilight Zone. Things start off so plain, so dried out, so matter-of-fact. Then young Matthew, who insisted he be allowed to walk to town that day (instead of riding in the cart with his mom), meets a pale stranger (Abram Harisch) on the road. Meanwhile, Robert is left at home to read his science fiction story (The Warlock of Mars) that his uncle lent him. Reluctantly, Robert sets his book aside to see to the chickens like he promised only to find some scared chickens and some nasty blood eggs. Yuck! That’s when Sargent Ramson and Officer Davies show up to take Robert to town to be with his family as they begin the search for Matthew.

With a blend of historical fiction, mystery, and science fiction, the author spins a tale of a town hoping too hard for good rains, of good people willing to let their memories of lost children slip from them, and of how one boy with a strong, questioning imagination may be the only one to save them. Quite frankly, it was those scared chickens and their blood eggs that sucked me into the story. It was spooky and yet the biologist in me wanted an egg to examine. But I couldn’t have one of those eggs, but I could examine this story. From there, I wasn’t disappointed.

Abram with the odd eyes (I think he’s an albino) sets up a movie screen and the town gathers to see the attraction. Once the stranger has gained some small amount of trust with the town, he starts setting in his motion his bigger plan: promise the rains & happiness, take their wealth & memories, keep his end of the bargain with an unknown entity (which means more children disappear). At one point, Abram confides a bit in Robert because Robert has this innate ability to see through Abram’s charms. That was an eerie scene!

The ending reveals the master plan of Abram while also keeping some things up to the reader to decide. I liked that there was a little mystery left over at the end. We have everything resolved that counts, but the exact how and why of it may never be fully understood. Also, there is some wonderful imagery involving butterflies and moths. It’s a recurring small touch that kept me hooked. I was quite pleased with the ending. Not everything ended in rainbows but enough did for me to say it was a happy ending for our main character, Robert.

I received a copy of this book at no cost from the author with no strings attached.

Narration: Arthur Slade was pretty good as a narrator for this story. He had distinct voices for each person and decent female voices. I especially liked his voice for Robert’s uncle who was always giving him SFF books that his mom might not approve of.

What I Liked: Depression-Era small town Canada; the promise of rain; the mystery of the stranger;  the imagery of the butterflies and moths;  SFF keeps your mind on alert to trickery – that’s the moral of the story; good solid ending that left me feeling good – evil  was thwarted once again!; great cover!

What I Disliked: Nothing – an interesting story.

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