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Kenneth Cartisano's favorite authors on Smashwords
Smashwords book reviews by Kenneth Cartisano
- Honey Hive
on June 23, 2013
It's well-written, imaginative, short (50 pages) and has a nice pop at the end. It provides an interesting and upbeat take on the future. I enjoyed it.
- Signs Over the Pacific and Other Stories
on July 24, 2013
These stories are for mature audiences only. The characters, plots and themes are very graphic, perverse at times, shockingly so. But the writing is so good, that you find yourself flitting through the stories effortlessly, accepting one outrageous thing after another. You’re eager to turn the page to find out what grotesquely captivating character the author will dream up next. I am a traditional Sci-Fi reader, but this is exceptionally imaginative, well written, and (no offense intended) deeply disturbing. The sum is even greater than the parts and delivers something that is hugely entertaining. This author, RJ Astruc, deserves high praise for his efforts. I would like to read more stuff like this. His world deserves its own novel, if there isn't one already.
on July 27, 2013
This book begins with a wonderful premise, and the author explores that premise with a vengeance. He paints a vision of a grim world, one that gets better briefly, just before it gets much worse. It is an interesting and all too plausible take on the not too distant future, sweeping the reader along with virtual non-stop action. The characters are realistic and likeable.
On the negative side, there were a lot of typographical and glaring grammatical errors. (I counted over 70, from page 37 to 133.) This ebook deserved more careful editing or proofreading; it should have had more polish. There were numerous times when a word with a slightly different spelling but a totally different meaning was used, as if the final draft was dictated to a voice recognition program. (Ex. “…they were getting seriously of tract.” Translation, they were getting seriously off track.)
All that being said, I found it entertaining enough to be disappointed that Part II is not yet available, and I was intrigued enough to download his related short story. ‘Bad Jump.’ (Which was also entertaining despite being full of errors.)
I liked the book, its’ concept and plot, but can’t give it a very high rating based on the lack of refinement; but I would not discourage the author from writing more stories.
- We Can Rebuild You
on July 30, 2013
This novelette is excellent. The writing is brilliant, intricate, devious, robust. I couldn’t put it down until I was finished. The author’s dark humor is reminiscent of J.D. Salinger or Kurt Vonnegut. For all I know, this guy is really Terry Pratchett under a fake pen name, or Douglas Adams reincarnated. I’d like this guy to write my obituary, I’m sure it would be a scream.
He paints a stark and freakish picture of our collective future, but manages to inject humor into nearly every aspect of the picture he paints. I found myself reading it just for the pleasure of his unusual prose.
In fact, the writing is so unique and enjoyable, I didn’t care how the story ended or what it meant. I just knew I had read something really special, really different.
I give 4 stars to the best books I read. No one gets 5 stars. In fact, I’m not sure the story is worth 5 stars, but this is 5 star writing, easily. I encourage other intelligent and discerning readers to sample this offering and see if they don’t agree. You have nothing to lose, since the book is free. And if you’re like me, you’ll search the intranets until you find his other book and pay actual money to acquire it.
One final note: a disclaimer. I don’t know this author. He lives in another country. I never met him. I never heard of him until I downloaded his book. And I’m not his mother either. Do your brain a favor and download this book now!
- Random Gene
on Aug. 06, 2013
This book is unusual in several ways. I hope this is not taken as an insult to the author, who, I later found out, is a jedi blackbelt in the martial arts. By page 30, I said to my girlfriend/mistress/wife, ‘this guy is Chinese.’ And she said, “What’s his name?” So I scrolled back to the front of the book and found out it was John Jarvis. What could be more Anglo-Saxon than John Jarvis? So I told her it was probably a pseudonym. The Chinese are fond of assuming American names because they know we can’t pronounce their real names. But I kept reading.
About the book. It is, for real, a very different and upbeat divergence from the usual post-apocalyptic wasteland. It describes an interesting and detailed future of global unity where nation states and religion have been replaced with a benevolent scientific autocracy, (I think.) It’s very believable, due in part to the time-frame. The story takes place in the far future. (Hundreds of years hence.)
It has a distinctly oriental flavor despite the fact that the future was devoid of Orientals, or any other specific race. Early on, the author stresses the bio-engineered mingling of racial traits. Despite the variety of skin and eye colors, this genetic management leaves the population surprisingly homogenous, albeit well above average. I was surprised at the consequences of a supposedly utopian world. The book is lightly sprinkled with keen political and philosophical insights (zingers) that some might find provocative.
The plot gets a little tricky just about halfway through, and you really have to pay attention to understand what’s going on
What made me think that the author was Chinese, (or at least Oriental) was his style of writing. It was in some ways, as if the story was written in some other language, and then translated into English. It was a way of expressing oneself. As if I were to say, ‘This book, is not what I would choose to drink between meals,’ when what was meant was, ‘this book is not my cup of tea.’ See what I mean? ‘Not my cup of tea,’ has nothing to do with beverages or meals. It is an expression that means, ‘it’s okay, but it’s not for me.’ This is not to say that the book was disappointing. Not at all. It’s intriguing, optimistic and unusual. A good book.