Once Upon A Cloud
on Aug. 05, 2014
At once a riveting short work and an excellent introduction to the author's style and sensibility. The story is a lifecycle of an alien being on an imagined planet somewhere far away from planet Earth. Tightly written, intelligent prose that is both compelling and artfully descriptive. A well-crafted, intentional story arc that is elevated by the author's ability to describe an alien creation in an utterly believable way.
on Aug. 07, 2014
Quasar is the story of an apocalyptic space battle that pits the maniacal Quasar against…well, the entire universe. Created as a weapon of mass destruction, Quasar grows in sentience, becoming more demented and even more unstoppable.
The author crams a lot of action into the narrative giving the book a sense of frantic disorientation from the first page that carries through every battle sequence. He effectively taps into that familiar sense of loss we all know too well when everything falls down around you. But this is first and foremost a story about humanity’s survival instinct in a cosmic stand-off. No one is backing down.
on Aug. 09, 2014
Set in a spacefaring society helmed by a cast the likes of elves and dwarves, this is as far from Lord of the Rings as it is possible to get. The result is a very organically ”normal” group of the characters who just happen to be goblins, elves and dwarves oh my. It’s not that each race doesn’t have its own idiosyncrasies but that the author has somehow managed to convey those differences without making the story about those differences.
The settings, including the colorfully named Stenchstone, are fully realized locations. The world the author creates is grounded in self-described “magitech” that works because of the meticulous effort taken to describe it within a functional reality. As a result the book walks an interesting line between fantasy and science fiction. The story itself wraps around political intrigue, murder and a brewing war between races, making this fantasy world unexpectedly relatable to anyone who watches the morning news.
A Breath of Fiction
on Aug. 11, 2014
A compilation of thoughtful, articulate micro stories organized by theme. The stories with less obvious motives sparkle a little more (contrast the desperation of Pump, a borderline brilliant piece, with the unsubtle Kiss). A piece like Closed gives the reader room to wiggle with an interpretation and in these moments, the book is masterful. There is a lot of fantasy buried in the collection (Remains) and there is a lot of darkness (Gold). When it all comes together and Fox gives it full throttle, the compilation transcends.
on Sep. 01, 2014
20-something Sean is stranded when his van breaks down in a town in a remote part of South Australia (population: 7 or so depending on where you lose count). That Sean is a filmmaker looking for interesting subject matter doesn’t make his impending stay in Chittingford Dales any more appealing. Here, they are all the hyper-weird old souls you find in a middle of a nowhere town where people spend their whole lives. Like any old-fashioned ensemble comedy, the lunacy is both the point and besides the point.
Sean comes up with the idea of inviting the band Cinnamon Sweat to play at Chittingford Dales and approaches his friend Mitch to produce the concert and the ensuing disruption to the town for an online reality show. That’s all you really need to know. The book feels like a family reunion where you condense all the stuff you have missed into a few days after not talking to someone for years. The story is charming and fascinating and little bit of a car wreck too. Highly recommended.