Thursday, October 30, 2008

New free eBook from TOR for registered users

New free eBook downloadable from TOR:
Brian Francis Slattery - Spaceman Blues [Oct.30 '08]

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

New Jay Lake story from TOR

Newly-published on and free for reading is “A Water Matter” by Jay Lake.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King

Second book in the Dark Tower saga: Roland is trying to find his companions who will join him on his quest to the Dark Tower; each of these people is essential for Roland to continue his quest - they are all part of a ka-tet, defined as "one made from many" and "sharing the same destiny." Wikipedia notes

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Gunslinger by Stephen King

First book in the Dark Tower saga: Roland the gunslinger trying to catch up with the man in black. Wikipedia notes

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Review: Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton

Eaters of the Dead, written in 1976 by Michael Crichton, is based upon ambassador Ibn Fadlan's account of his journeys among the early Rus people, Northmen as they are called in the book, and the story of Beowulf. The main conflict is between Vikings and a small Neanderthal population.

In the beginning the books is pretty rough: the Northmen are not a clean people, they have customs which in the beginning make the clean Arab Ibn Fadlan cringe, the description of the "daemon"'s massacres are very graphic. This may make some readers give up on the book. As Crichton said in his own words: "I wrote Eaters on a bet that I could make an entertaining story out of 'Beowulf'. It's an unusual book. Readers either like it, or they don't,".

However, the adventures and battles are captured very well. Crichton's main accomplishment in my view is the ability to present the story in an old sort of language that is in fact very readable. Also, I admired his research work, the footnotes prove he did quite a lot of it.

I enjoyed the book and if you want to find out a little bit about our ancestors, especially Vikings, I recommend it.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Review: Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams

I recently finished reading Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams for one of the challenges I'm in. It's been quite a while since I've read a Douglas Adams book (last one was Salmon of Doubt a few years back) but I knew I'm in for a treat. And indeed, it has the same excellent humor as we are already used to from the The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

The main plot idea seems to be Gordon Way's shooting during a call to his sister Susan's answering machine and Richard MacDuff's (an employee of Gordon's working on a program to convert data into music, currently dating Susan) seemingly implication in the murder; even if Gordon Way is dead his ghost is still roaming around. Dirk Gently, Richard's former college friend, believes in the fundamental interconnectedness of everything and tries to help Richard to prove he's innocent.

However, this is just a small part of the plot, in fact a very small one: time travel, aliens and other ideas are mixed in to create another great and funny Douglas Adams book.

Towards the end I was totally lost since I had no idea what the Coleridge connection is. After some searches on the internets, I discovered that the novel cannot be fully understood without familiarity with Samuel Taylor Coleridge life and works, particularly The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan poems. I found some notes though on a website so things got clearer.

During these searches on the net I also found out that the sofa irreversibly stuck on the stairs is based on an incident that happened during Adams’ college life.

Overall, a great read, 4 out of 5 stars.

I can't wait to read the next Dirk Gently book, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul.

Friday, October 10, 2008

BAFAB week... I know, it was last week...

A little bit late, but I got to do it: I bought a friend a book!

I chose A Prisoner of Birth by Jeffrey Archer. I love Archer's storytelling art. I hope my friend will like it, too.

New Rudy Rucker story from TOR

Newly-published on and free for reading is “Jack and the Aktuals, or, Physical Applications of Transfinite Set Theory” by Rudy Rucker.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Another book from Early Reviewers program at LibraryThing

I just got word that we snagged an Early Reviewers copy of The Lost Episodes of Beatie Scareli by Ginnetta Correli from LibraryThing. Awesome! Can't wait for it to show up in the mail.
LibraryThing rocks!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

New Terry Bisson story from TOR

Newly-published on is “Catch ’Em In the Act” by Terry Bisson.

Review: The Fire by Katherine Neville

“The Fire” is an enjoyable enough reading. The historical references are interesting, the change between different eras is almost cinematic – as is the whole book, it made me think of seeing it as a movie, which probably was the thought of the author as well - but towards the end of the book I lost my interest.
The plot felt forced, too many twists and turns, too many characters not sufficiently developed and often unbelievable. Katherine Neville likes to say she was dubbed a female Umberto Eco, but with this book she doesn’t live up to his name.
Thanks to LibraryThing's Early Reviewers for this book.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Unread Authors Challenge

And another book challenge, this time my own!

Where: This is my own challenge.

What: I want to read some authors whose work I have never read before.

When: August 1, 2008 - July 31, 2009

My list is below, with the books I've already read crossed out.

1. The Forever War by Joe Haldeman - August
2. Ringworld by Larry Niven - September
3. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole - October
4. King Solomon's Carpet by Barbara Vine - November
5. The Way Through the Woods by Colin Dexter - December
6. Neptune Crossing by Jeffrey A. Carver - January
7. Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks - February
8. Luna Benamor by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez - March
9. The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon - April
10. Of Love and Shadows by Isabel Allende - May
11. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood - June
12. I.O.U. by Nancy Pickard - July

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Review: Obscene in the Extreme: The Burning and Banning of John Steinbeck's the Grapes of Wrath… by Rick Wartzman

First of all, I'm really grateful to LibraryThing's EarlyReviewers program: if not for you guys, I would've never read this book. Even when I started reading it I kept thinking: I know this great book (Grapes of Wrath) was banned like many others before and after its time, what else is there to know.

Boy, was I wrong! There is so much more. All the historical background, the people, the politics behind this book and its banning.

I loved the way some of the main characters were presented in detail: people instrumental in banning the book like Bill Camp or Stanley Abel or opposed to it, Raymond Henderson or Gretchen Knief. I also loved some of the images created, for example the mention of the American flag in the background of the supervisors meeting when they voted to ban Grapes of Wrath. End the ending was great, ending which if doesn't justify by any means the banning if the book puts everything in a larger perspective.

I am not saying this book is perfect - I would've liked to see more details about Gretchen Knief, the librarian and more about the libraries in that time. However, there is much information that is new to me that I am very happy I've read it.

Thanks again LT guys for sending me this book!

4 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Free eBooks from TOR reinstated

TOR is restarting their offer of free eBooks, this time with two of them:

Emma Bull - War for the Oaks
Will Shetterly - Dogland

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

New Elizabeth Bear story from TOR

Newly-published on is “The Girl Who Sang Rose Madder,” an original contemporary fantasy story by Elizabeth Bear, illustrated by Brad Holland.

Friday, September 12, 2008

My Princess' book challenge

I just convinced my Princess to get into a book challenge as well so here it is:

Where: BookAwardsChallenge

What: Read 10 award winners from August 1, 2008 through June 1, 2009. The rules and the list of eligible books are here.

When: August 1, 2008 - June 1, 2009

My list is below, with the books I've already read crossed out.

Edgar Award
1. 1987 Barbara Vine, A Dark Adapted Eye
2. 1970 Dick Francis, Forfeit

Gold Dagger Award
3. 1985 Monkey Puzzle Paula Gosling
4. 1963 The Spy Who Came In From The Cold John le Carre
5. 1976 A Demon in my View Ruth Rendell

PEN/Faulkner Award
6. 1995 David Guterson, Snow Falling on Cedars

Pulitzer Prize
7. 1921 - The Age of Innocence - Edith Wharton
8. 2002 - Empire Falls - Richard Russo

Agatha Awards
9. 1991 - I.O.U. by Nancy Pickard

Man Booker Prize
10. 1989 The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

A few more books to trade

I added a few more books available for trade on my trading page. If you see something you like, please let me know: I can list the book at, or or we can trade directly.

If you are a fan of PaperbackSwap... well, I like it too but since the site works like "first listed in the system - first offered when requested", there is no guarantee that if I list a book and you request it you'll get mine so we can't use it.

Book Awards Reading Challenge

One more book challenge!

Where: BookAwardsChallenge

What: Read 10 award winners from August 1, 2008 through June 1, 2009. The rules and the list of eligible books are here.

When: August 1, 2008 - June 1, 2009

My list is below, with the books I've already read crossed out.

Hugo Award
1. 1976 The Forever War by Joe Haldeman - August
2. 1967 The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein - September

Nebula Award
3. 1977 Gateway by Frederik Pohl - October
4. 1970 Ringworld by Larry Niven - November
5. 2003 The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon - April

Carnegie Medal
6. 2001 Terry Pratchett, The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents - January

Gold Dagger Award

7. 1992 The Way Through the Woods Colin Dexter - December
8. 1979 Whip Hand Dick Francis

Arthur C. Clarke Award
9. 2005: Iron Council by China Miéville

Pulitzer Prize
10. 1940 - The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

Thursday, September 11, 2008

1% Well-Read Challenge

My very first book challenge!

Where: 1morechapter

What: The goal of this challenge is to read 10 books in 10 months from the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list.

When: May 1, 2008 - Feb. 28, 2009

I just found out about the 1% Well-Read Challenge, a bit too late since it started in May. However, looking at the list of books I found that I already read 4 books from the list so that works out perfectly. My list is below, with the books I've read crossed out.

1. The Time Machine H.G. Wells - May
2. Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell - June
3. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time Mark Haddon - July
4. The Once and Future King T.H. White - August
5. Confederacy of Dunces John Kennedy Toole - September
6. Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency Douglas Adams - October
7. The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide Douglas Adams - November
8. Franny and Zooey J.D. Salinger - December
9. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Philip K. Dick - January
10. Of Love and Shadows Isabel Allende

Friday, July 18, 2008

New eBook from TOR

New free eBook downloadable from TOR:
Peter David - Darkness of the Light [Jul.18 '08]

Friday, July 11, 2008

New eBook from TOR

New free eBook downloadable from TOR:
Tobsha Learner - Soul [Jul.11 '08]

Monday, July 07, 2008

New eBook from TOR

New free eBook downloadable from TOR:
L. E. Modesitt, Jr. - Flash [Jul.04 '08]

Friday, June 27, 2008

New eBook from TOR

New free eBook downloadable from TOR:
Jeffrey A. Carver - Battlestar Galactica [Jun.27 '08]

Friday, June 20, 2008

New eBook from TOR

New free eBook downloadable from TOR:
Patti O'Shea - In the Midnight Hour [Jun.20 '08]

Friday, June 13, 2008

New eBook from TOR

New free eBook downloadable from TOR:
Kage Baker - In the Garden of Iden [Jun.13 '08]

Friday, June 06, 2008

New eBook from TOR

New free eBook downloadable from TOR:
John Wright - Orphans of Chaos [Jun.06 '08]

Friday, May 30, 2008

HarperCollins' BrowseInside service

HarperCollins is offering free books for online reading using the new BrowseInside service (in beta)... Check out the books on the right hand side:
  • Paulo Coelho - The Witch of Portobello
  • Neil Gaiman - American Gods
  • Erin Hunter - Warriors #1: Into the Wild

New eBook from TOR

New free eBook downloadable from TOR:
Daniel Abraham - A Shadow in Summer [May.30 '08]

Friday, May 23, 2008

New eBook from TOR

New free eBook downloadable from TOR:
C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp - Touch of Evil [May.23 '08]

Friday, May 16, 2008

Review: The Man Who Turned Into Himself by David Ambrose

I'll start by saying that I liked this book a lot. It is my first encounter with David Ambrose but I am sure I'll pick up more books of his.

I love books that have a Science Fiction background to them but this is not all they are: Science Fiction. The Many Worlds theory and the bit of time travel ideas in this book are only a backdrop to explore ideas about mind, about unconscious versus conscious which can become (and behave) like independent entities. For me, this book is a discourse about human mind (and mostly about what we don't know about mind) and the universes it can create, that could be as real for someone as any palpable reality around.

In the end, one can't be sure if the Richard A. Hamilton is indeed time- and parallel universe-traveling or he is just getting crazy; or maybe he is just more perceptive than the rest of us, starting to see his alter-ego(s) (or maybe the little voices in his head) as real persons.

I definitely recommend this book not all to Science Fiction fans but to anyone.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

New eBook from TOR

New free eBook downloadable from TOR:
Peter Watts - Starfish [May.16 '08]

Friday, May 09, 2008

New eBook from TOR

New free eBook downloadable from TOR:
  • Kate Elliott - Spirit Gate [May.09 '08]

Free download from John Kessel and Small Beer Press

To celebrate the publication of his first new collection of short stories in ten years, The Baum Plan for Financial Independence and Other Stories, John Kessel and Small Beer Press have made it available as a free download in various completely open formats with no Digital Rights Management (DRM) strings attached, here (found via Teleread).

Free downloads and shareware eBooks

Several eBooks offered as free downloads or shareware, by authors like Jeff VanderMeer, Richard Kadrey, Charles Stross and others, featured in this Teleread post.

Vernor Vinge's Rainbows End

Vernor Vinge's "Rainbows End" as a free download here (found via Boing Boing).

Shareware books

Richard Herley, a known English author, is offering his novels as shareware: download them for free and if you like them you could send him "between $1.70 and $2.50, according to length" via PayPal. (found via Teleread).

Cory Doctorow's website

All of Cory Doctorow's book are free to download under CC license at

Thursday, May 08, 2008

New Cory Doctorow book

Cory Doctorow's new book, "Little Brother" is now available for download here under a Creative Commons license

John Scalzi freebies

If you liked Old Man's War you may want to check out the other freebies offered by John Scalzi in the The Scalzi Creative Sampler.

Free eBooks from TOR

Free eBooks downloadable from TOR. The books offered until now are:
  • Cherie Priest - Four and Twenty Blackbirds [May.02 '08]
  • Karl Schroeder - Sun of Suns [Apr.25 '08]
  • S.C. Butler - Reiffen’s Choice [Apr.18 '08]
  • Harry Turtledove - The Disunited States of America [Apr.11 '08]
  • Jane Lindskold - Through Wolf’s Eyes [Apr.04 '08]
  • David Drake - Lord of the Isles [Mar.28 '08]
  • Tobias Buckell - Crystal Rain [Mar.21 '08]
  • Jo Walton - Farthing [Mar.14 '08]
  • Mercedes Lackey & James Mallory - The Outstretched Shadow - book one of the Obsidian Trilogy [Mar.07 '08]
  • Robert Charles Wilson - Spin [Feb.29 '08]
  • John Scalzi - Old Man's War [Feb.22 '08]
  • Brandon Sanderson - Mistborn [Feb.15 '08]