Dick Claassen has been writing and selling his books for many years. He began his journey into writing when he was seven years old. Since then he has written and had published math textbooks for Houghton-Mifflin, news and magazine articles for the Des Moines Register and Petersen's Photographic, and he co-owned and co-operated Awe-Struck E-Books from 1999 to 2009. During this ownership Dick wrote and published twelve novels as well as three method books for the Native American flute. Dick just keeps writing and writing and... You get the idea. :-) Dick's full-time career was as a math and chemistry college instructor. He's also given a gazillion guitar and banjo lessons. During the last ten years or so Dick has taken up the Native American flute with a vengeance! But he's still writing and writing and writing. Once the writing bug bites, there's no cure. And Dick is most grateful for that!
Where to find Dick Claassen online
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Smashwords book reviews by Dick Claassen
- Blue Men, A Short Memoir of 1968
on July 26, 2010
This isn’t a story about growing up; we all grow up by default, one way or the other. This is a story about coming to terms with who we really are. And what better way to explore that than to read about two characters who identify with two diverse groups, and then examine what makes the groups, and the characters within those groups, both different and the same.
Rob Shelsky begins his memoir by recalling a professor he thought he’d put one over on. Yup, he sure put one over on this guy! Or so he thought. But as we continue to read the memoir, we begin to realize the professor may have taught the storyteller far more than he realizes. Those were potent times back in the 1960s. Many young people, myself included, were trying to find their own way through the labyrinth of what we considered to be an unjust world. Shelsky gives us a very brief description of the hippie culture back then. (We don’t need a lot of detail here. We only need to know what they broadly were about.) Shelsky contrasts this with the character, “Rob”, a button-down, who I’m assuming is the story teller in this memoir, that is more than a bit irritated with his own brother who is part of the hippie culture. The philosophical schism between the brothers is the perfect way to show how two good people eventually arrive at completely different places in their lives.
For me, this story brought to mind the famous entertainer of that era, Sonny Bono of Sonny and Cher fame. Bono “appeared to be” a hippie when he and Cher were making bucks with their hippie dress and popular songs. But Bono later emerged as a conservative U.S. senator. People like me were in shock! But Shelsky’s story, “Blue Men”, isn’t about famous people. It’s not about shocking revelation of people we don’t even know. It’s about ordinary people. It’s about you-and-me people. And that is what makes this story so powerful and thought provoking. I was totally absorbed in this short memoir. It’s a very good read. I give this memoir a 5 STAR rating. ~ Dick Claassen
Dick Claassen was co-owner and co-operator of the online publishing company, Awe-Struck E-Books, from 1999 through 2009. He has edited and formatted more books than he even wants to think about. In addition to his publishing efforts, Claassen has written two math textbooks, several magazine articles, at least a dozen sci fi and paranormal romance novels, as well as three method books for playing the Native American flute. You can learn more about Dick and his latest efforts at his two websites, EbooksWeLove.com and FluteFlights.com.
- Serpent Caravan
on July 30, 2010
Serpent Caravan by Rob Shelsky is the tale of an odyssey and struggle of stranded colonists. Sent to a marginal world, one barely suited for human habitat, these people struggle to survive in a place where they hope the alien Sinaquan won’t find them. These invading creatures are intent on the extermination of all human life.
However, the exhausted world of Viejo, an earth-sized planet orbiting the gas giant Prometheus, isn’t hidden quite well enough. The Sinaquan do find the humans, even as they are looking for a new site for their colony, a more hidden one. After their attack, the few remaining survivors must find some place safe to try to make a life for themselves. This isn’t easy. Viejo swims in the radiation belt of its gas giant neighbor, making the mere fact of being out in the open just too dangerous. The planet also has migrating seas, which means the colonists can only travel between sea rise, and sea fall. The days are weeks long and hot. The nights are just as long, and so cold, even some of the air freezes. On top of all this, there are the dreaded “swarmers.” These creatures travel in hordes, and seem intent on consuming everything in their path. The colonists have no choice but to wend their dangerous way through all of this, trying to find safety and salvation at the end of their long journey in their armored Serpent Caravan.
I heartily recommend this book. It is a true odyssey done in the traditional sense, and one done under harrowing circumstances. You can’t help but sympathize with these people, feel for them, the difficulties they go through, the hardships they endure, the awful alien menaces they face. Also, the real reason they were sent to the world of Viejo turns out to be a good twist. Without giving away the details, I can still say that the moral of this is to never trust your own government, as the colonists find out the hard way.
Superbly written with beautifully done descriptions and well fleshed-out characters and plot, Serpent Caravan, by Rob Shelsky, is a jewel of story telling, a good, solid piece of science fiction. I give this tale all five stars. It’s worth it. Read Serpent Caravan. I guarantee you will enjoy it.
on July 30, 2010
This story, DreamTime, is truly different. From what I’ve been told, the tale originally appeared in Jim Baen’s Universe, alongside such notables as Jack McDevitt and other such authors. So having been accepted at such a prestigious magazine, there is no doubt this is a professional-level story, well constructed and well executed, and one that is very well told in my opinion.
DreamTime, by Rob Shelsky, is the tale of a far-future Earth, where the human race has divided into two, one group being immortal, the “Golden Ones,” and the other group deliberately choosing to remain mortal. Set in an Australia that mirrors a past where its native peoples were once alone and are now again, we meet two such inhabitants, a father and son. They don’t get along, being separated by many differences, including a generation gap, but the greatest of all problems is their contrary feelings toward the Golden Ones. Where the father understands the need for them, his son, Pangalia, does not. When the Golden Ones suddenly reappear, and demand all the children leave Earth with them, the stage is set for a very real conflict.
Can Pangalia be spared this forced separation from his father and his people? Or is their no hope of fighting the powerful Golden Ones? And what are the ultimate objectives of these immortal beings? The answers all lie in DreamTime, a beautifully crafted story of exquisite detail, one with a plot and pathos that is sure to satisfy any reader of good science fiction. Ever wonder what the consequences of being immortal might entail? DreamTime will tell you.
This book gets five stars from me. It’s an excellent read, one that will leave you filled with a sense of wonder.
- Dance Of The Butterflies
on July 30, 2010
Earth’s massive population needs worlds it can colonize, safe, habitable ones. When three explorers land on such a planet, one seemingly ideally suited for human habitation, they are ecstatic. All they have to do is a quick, preliminary survey to win their bonus and go home. And on a world where the only animal life seems to be countless, exotic butterflies, such harmless little creatures, how can this be a problem? But problems there are, as the three find out while trying to complete their tasks. For one thing, what type of ecology is this simple? It just doesn’t seem “natural” after first glance. And, when the butterflies start developing a penchant for stinging the human intruders, things start to go from bad to worse.
Dance Of The Butterflies by Rob Shelsky is a truly original tale. Again, Mr. Shelsky’s descriptions are superb, his characters very real, and at times humorous. I particularly liked the character of “Bella.” Also, Mr. Shelsky seems to have a talent for keeping the reader wondering. You know something is wrong in this scenario, but as a reader, you can only wonder, guess, and wait until the author gives you the “big reveal.” Dance Of The Butterflies is not a dark story, actually, but its ending (without giving it away) has some darker connotations. And the answer to those intrepid explorers’ questions is also an unusual surprise.
You would do well to read Dance Of The Butterflies by Rob Shelsky. It’s a good story, one with a mystery to it, and again, the answer will surprise you. I fully recommend this tale to any aficionado of science fiction. Dance Of The Butterflies gets the full five stars from me. It’s a darn good piece of story telling.