I’ve been into computers for decades, and for the past eight years, really into e-Book publishing. For all that, I’d not encountered an interactive, or hyper-, novel until I received a copy of Linton Robinson’s Properties of Light. I wasn’t sure what to expect; I mean, a novel that allows you to select different paths is never the same in successive readings, now is it.
Linton calls Properties a ‘hypernovel’ because it’s not read linearly according to a plot or time line. It’s a story told by an unnamed photographer; short chapters that describe photographs or scenes relating to photographs. Links at the end of chapters, or links on words within chapters allow you to jump around – following a color ‘route’ or some other scheme as you desire.
The chapters are short, pithy, and in some cases quite humorous. A ‘novel’ concept for a novel, this is not your usual read. It’s also not traditional literary fiction. So, I suppose we’ll have to invent a new genre label for it. What it is, though, is funny and entertaining. Linton wrote this book 20 years ago, but has only recently worked out the technology to make the hyperlinks work. We’re a ways away from being able to do this with a print book, but with minds out there like Lin’s working on it, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it in my lifetime.
Properties of Light is set for launch soon, but is already available for your Kindle. If you want to see what cutting edge writing is all about, get yours now.
Imagine waking up one day and learning that you’re becoming allergic to everything around you. Foods you formerly ate can now make you deathly ill, and your work environment is not just uncomfortable, but potentially fatal.
This is the situation that Kathryn Chastain Treat found herself in, and about which she has written in Allergic to Life. A journal of her battle with a debilitating condition that threatened to break her family apart, and caused her to have to physically separate herself from the things that she had grown up with, it is also a story of courage and persistence. Treat’s battles with an uncomprehending and often uncaring bureaucracy, dealings with doctors who didn’t understand her condition, and with her own frustrations and anxieties, are related almost matter-of-factly. She takes us almost day-by-day through her ordeal, in amazing detail.
What really shines through in this book, though, is the power of human will; the ability to keep going when there is nothing left but the will to ‘go on.’
There are a lot of medical terms, but Treat provides a glossary at the end that explains them. A highly recommended read for those who feel that all hope is gone. Treat shows us well that, as long as there is hope there is life.
I give this book three and a half stars. It’s not a literary masterpiece; but it is well-written, and worth the effort to read.
Hour of the Wolf by Andrius B. Tapinas is a tale of intrigue and not a small amount of horror, set in Russia, spanning a period from 1870 to x.
A financially strapped Imperial Russia, suffering corruption and the excessive consumption of its ruling class, is approached by the Rothschild Corporation with a deal; give them several cities with which they can form an Alliance in which they can carry out scientific research, practice alchemy and other pursuits, and in return, they would write off the Empire’s debts and guarantee no interest on credits for 30 years.
To the advisors to Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolajevich, many of whom with their fingers in the till, it seemed like a grand deal. But then, deals with the devil often are.
Anti-Semitic and intensely nationalistic, the Russians quickly begin to look for a way to get out of the deal. But, deals with those who can summon magic – or higher technology – are not so easily broken.
A fanciful tale, rich in local color, culture, and history, Hour of the Wolf will delight fans of mystery, international intrigue, and fantasy alike. It is alternate history that reads like it could have come from the headlines – albeit a counterculture media outlet. It’s not without a touch of humor here and there either. It is a bit heavy with Russian names, but this merely adds to its authenticity. One word of criticism: some of the names are quite complicated, and a little judicious editing is in order to make sure they are consistent throughout the text. Grand duke Konstantin, for instance, is Nikolayovitch in one paragraph and Nikolajevich in a following paragraph on the same page. A minor glitch in what is otherwise an outstanding first novel.
I received a free copy of this book for review, but would have been quite happy to purchase it. I give Hour of the Wolf a solid four stars.
Now that we’ve covered a number of fundamentals in photography, from composition and light to focus and POV, let’s now think about elements out in the world that we can use to create more visually interesting images: shapes, lines, textures, and patterns. Today, we’re excited for photographer Evan Zelermyer, the blogger at Urban Mosaic, to share his ideas and illustrate shape, line, texture, and pattern through his urban, architectural, and abstract photography.
Urban Mosaic is the result of many years spent exploring New York City’s five boroughs, searching for interesting sights and finding lesser-known nooks and crannies. New York is a large and varied place, and serves as an endless source of visual inspiration. The goal on my blog is to provide a fresh perspective on familiar urban sights (streets, subways, architecture, etc.), and also to reveal hidden beauty in the marginal, little-noticed details of everyday city life.
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It has been an interesting summer; cool days alternating with sweltering days, and the occasional rain. But, autumn is soon upon us, and sitting on my deck gazing into the forest behind my house, I’ve seen the first signs of its approach. Nestled among the dark green leaves of the hardwoods at the edge of the forest, I can see the first signs of red and gold as the leaves begin to turn.
I like having the opportunity to occasionally showcase my meager photographic talents here on my blog in response to the daily and weekly prompts. My pictures can also be seen at Flickr.com or my other blog http://charlesaray.blogspot.com. I recently found, though, a site that beats them all when it comes to being a venue to show off your talent behind the lens. Viewbug.com is a site for amateur and professional photographers alike, as you can see from my wall, that not only allows you to display your work, but offer it for sale (provided you own all rights) and there are a ton of contests to enter for some amazing prizes.
If you have tons of photos burning holes in your digital files, go on over to Viewbug.com and sign up. You could start being noticed today.
I’m a bit late with this prompt on Imagine People, but I’m recovering from a hip operation, so I haven’t been operating on all cylinders of late. Heck, let’s face it, I’m way late on this one, but what the hey! Here’s my photographic take on imagine. Imagine what this couple is talking about as they sit on a hill overlooking the Cameroonian capital city, Yaoundé. The future? Their plans for the evening? The sky’s the limit.
Here’s my take on the Sea.
While Sherry Soule’s Beautifully Broken is narrated by a teenage girl, it is not your usual young adult coming-of-age novel. Fifteen-year-old Shiloh Trudell has the ability to see spirits. Not the bottled kind, and not the benevolent kind; the evil, dark, suck out your life essence kind. At first, she’s able to keep them off with sunlight, but when the Shadow Man, the Eater of Souls, makes an appearance, things begin to change for the worse. Shiloh finds herself at the center of the dark secrets of the town of Fallen Oaks, and in danger of losing not only her soul, but her life.
A spooky, paranormal, horror story that will keep you awake at night, and have you looking under the bed before going to sleep, and jumping at every sound. Sherry Soule has written a story that is the standard by which others in this genre will be measured. If you think your nerves can take it, this is a must read book.
I received a free review copy of this book, but would have been more than happy to pay for it.
Today is the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous I Have a Dream speech, delivered August 28, 1963 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. I’d planned to do a special blog about the significance of that event, but ‘the best laid plans of mice and men,’ and all that interfered. This is, in fact, the first day in a couple of weeks that I’ve been able to sit comfortably at my keyboard long enough to write more than a paragraph or delete a few dozen emails. Since the day is here, and I’ve not had time to think about what I wanted to write, I will refer readers to my reminiscence of that day on Yahoo! Voices, ‘Living King’s Dream in a Most Unlikely Place.’ Instead of my planned blog, I will regale you with my adventures over the past two months, and maybe show how it relates.
On July 4, I fell prey to a situation that is all too common to people of my age, a fall. And, yes, I broke something – a very critical bone in my hip. Unfortunately, the fracture was small and didn’t show up on the x-rays in the ER when I went for treatment. It was only in August, when it still hurt more than the bruise we suspected it to be should hurt, that they did an MRI (on Aug. 14) and found the break. My primary doctor referred me to an orthopedist – that took a few days – who immediately scheduled me for surgery.
I checked into the hospital on Aug. 22 and the following day they put three screws in my hip to close the fracture and hold the bones in place until they heal. There followed three more days in the hospital; being awakened every three hours to take my pulse and blood pressure, or give me pain medication, changing dressings, checking the catheter, etc. The day after surgery, physical therapy started. How to walk with crutches or a walker, how to stand, how to sit, exercises to keep the leg muscles from becoming flaccid and prevent blood clots, and all the other things I need to do over the next two to three months to be fully healed.
A trip to the hospital is, I’m sure, a traumatic experience for everyone. For me, it was compounded by the fact that I’d reached my 68th year without ever spending a night in a hospital since being born in one, so I didn’t know what to expect. I think I was just learning hospital protocol when my doctor decided it was safe to send me home and had me discharged. I’ve never been happier getting kicked out of a place.
So, on this day, as we look back 50 years at Dr. King’s historic speech, how does my stay in the hospital relate? To start with, had this happened in 1963, the delays in getting treatment in the little East Texas town from whence I come wouldn’t have been administrative or technical – I might have actually been denied admission to some of the local medical establishments in my area. And, with all due respect to the Hippocratic Oath, the treatment I would have received from the country doctors in that era would have, in most cases, been limited to only what was legally necessary.
We still have a long way to go in this country before we’ve fully realized King’s ‘Dream,’ but we’ve also come a long way. I’ll spend this day thinking about the progress that has been made, and what I can do to help make more.
When Anne Brady, a high school English teacher in a rural South Georgia town, answers the door to a strange woman who presents her with a framed copy of the Ten Commandments, which she wants Anne to post in her classroom, her life changes forever. Soon, Anne begins to receive anonymous, threatening letters accusing her of corrupting her students and afterwards, she is pressured to stop teaching Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn in her English class.
A Majority of One by Robert Lamb is a gripping tale of prejudice and insanity on a mass scale, and a condemnation of single-minded bigotry in all of its pernicious forms. In a narrative that is both compelling and instructive, he shows how zealots who are willing to go to any extreme to force their views on others can destroy a society.
Lamb paints a picture that is not pretty, because, even though this is a work of fiction, it could very well have been ripped from today’s headlines. This is a book that religious zealots would prefer you not read, the very reason it should be recommended reading for any rational person.
This is a definite five-star work!