In first grade my teacher asked the class to vote for which book she was going to read to the class next. I voted for something I cannot remember and the entire rest of the class voted for The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.
I have been holding minority opinions and reading epic fantasy ever since.
I used to work in a cubicle farm coding databases and just recently decided I was sick and tired of working for someone else. My wife and I started a business and I decided to get to the writing I'd been thinking about for decades.
I don't know if I am ever going to write anything fantastic but I'm going to keep trying and I'd appreciate it if you came along for the ride.
Where to find Gregory Lynn online
Living With It
People living with chronic pain and chronic illnesses don't live the same lives healthier people do.
Sometimes healthy people don't understand what it's like. That bothered me so I wrote a number of blog posts to help folks understand.
This book is a collection of those posts.
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Smashwords book reviews by Gregory Lynn
- A Storm Hits Valparaiso
on Feb. 06, 2012
I have a lot of respect for David Gaughran. I read his blog daily and his non fiction work Let’s Get Digital manages to be both inspiring and of practical use so when I saw the chance to get a review copy of his first novel, A Storm Hits Valparaiso I jumped at it, not lease because I saw it as a way of repaying a little bit of what I’ve gotten from David over the past several months.
A Storm Hits Valparaiso is an epic story of love, hate, brotherhood, power, revenge, and the thirst for independence told from the points of view of a variety of people in positions both high and low. For the sake of perspective, Historical Fiction is not a genre I read a lot and I have no particular interest in South America. My home genre is Epic Fantasy though, so I am fully ready to accept a story that spans a continent where what’s at stake is the lives of every single person on the continent.
I wanted to love this book and I ended up just liking it.
Why did I like it?
Well, it has a little bit of everything it claims. There is love, of both the romantic and brotherly varieties. There is the simple struggle for survival of individuals juxtaposed against the larger struggle for the survival of a people with a regional identity. There is the desire of individual slaves to be free smacked right up next to the desire of a nation of people desiring to be free of a colonial power half a world away. In short, it has everything you would want in an epic.
Why then, didn’t I love it?
There are two things I would point to but I think they both stem from one overriding factor. The story is too big for the book. I come from a world of Epic Fantasy where doorstopper novels are, if not quite the norm, well within the normal range. A Storm Hits Valparaiso comes in at a bit less than a hundred thousand words which is fairly normal for a novel. But this isn’t a normal novel. We don’t have a main plot with a few sub plots. Gaughran is trying to tell us a real story from real history and if you haven’t noticed, real life is far more complex than your average novel.
To get into the specifics, I think A Storm Hits Valparaiso has two significant flaws.
One is characterization. It is spotty at best. There are, I think, two characters who are decently written though even there, we should have had more. In other cases, including what should have been one of the more emotional subplots there wasn’t enough characterization to make me actually care about the character. If I don’t care about them I don’t care about what happens to them and they—and the novel—lose all the dramatic tension they should have.
The other problem—and it’s related—is a showing/telling problem. There are a lot of places where Gaughran tells us something instead of showing us something and the story suffers as a result.
For example, there are two brothers, Jorge and Diego who get separated for a long time. When they get back together they find things aren’t quite like they were before and they end up growing apart. Gaughran tells us this and gives us a scene or two to illustrate. It should have been the reverse. Give us nine scenes where we can see that things are different and just a few lines where one of them recognizes the differences.
All in all, if you like historical fiction and/or have a particular affection for South America, I think you’ll really enjoy this story.
- Nightmare Fuel: Volume 1
on April 29, 2012
There are elements of fairly straightforward horror (werewolves, OMG, RUN!) and elements of a more Lovecraftian creepy atmosphere but without the excessive verbiage.
That these tales were actually used to stave off nightmares is itself a little creepy.
Horror is not my go to genre so while I enjoyed these, if you're a big horror fan, you'll probably like them even more, but if you're prone to nightmares, read 'em over breakfast.
on June 25, 2012
If Chuck Wendig and Douglas Adams ever had a bastard love child, it might write Perishables.
They didn’t, though, and the bastard love child never had a chance so Michael Williams wrote it.
It’s about a guy who mostly just wants to be left alone to live his vampiric life but can’t because he’s voted onto the executive board of his homeowner’s association. Then the zombies come and poor Withrow is the only one who can do anything about it and he does so because, well, it’s what he has to do.
It’s about a young woman looking to put her IT degree to work who ends up using her machines to zorch some zombies, thus costing herself a job and any chance she ever had at a decent night’s sleep.
It’s about the time the two meet at a Black Friday sale.
It is delightfully absurd without being trivial. It is at times scathingly satirical but never really cynical. It is funny. It is moving. It is suspenseful. The recipes are surreal.
It is well worth your time.