Dark Matters by Michael Dow

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000037_00042]Netgalley is a great source of sci-fi novels that I wouldn’t normally come across, and it’s always a pleasure to find one that draws me in so quickly and keeps me hooked for the duration, despite some issues. Dark Matters by Michael Dow did just that, and explain a little of why  in my review over at SFFWorld.

Dark Matters (Dark Matters #1) is the debut novel by Michael Dow. Funded through Kick Starter and subsequently self-published, this is a novel that has an interesting premise and is not your typical action orientated sci-fi adventure, instead looking at events from a more corporate and scientific point of view.

The pacing and prose of Dark Matters is one of its strongest points. The chapters are relatively short and sharp, moving the story forward, even if only by small increments. However, this is a novel that uses the majority of its page count setting up events that come to fruition in the finale. Even then, it feels somewhat underwhelming, mainly due to the lack of any real explanations at its conclusion. It’s a shame that the hints that are dropped aren’t more thoroughly explored.

The Dinosaur Four by Geoff Jones

The Dinosaur Four by Geoff Jones starts as innocuously as possible in a coffee shop during morning trade. When a loud ticking sound starts up, followed by the chunk of building housing the café being transported 67 million years into the past, those unfortunate enough to be within face what few could even imagine: survival during the time of the dinosaurs. Continue reading “The Dinosaur Four by Geoff Jones”

Reading Stephen King Update #1

Since I posted the list in June of novels I’ve read by Stephen King I’ve managed to read another 4: Finders Keepers, Duma Key, Lisey’s Story, and The Bazaar of Bad Dreams. Not as much as I’d hoped, and I fell short of my challenge to read 1 SK novel per month last year. Still, it means I’ve got plenty left to work though!

Any recommendations on which one to read next? Continue reading “Reading Stephen King Update #1”

SFFWorld, Best of the Year Parts 2 & 3

I meant to get a link for these posted well before now, but as it is with time off work over Christmas, I’ve been rather lazy! Better later than never though, so please head on over to SFFWorld to see our thoughts on the best SF of the year (Part 2), and also what Film & TV we all watched, and what we though of it (Part 3).

SFFWorld, Best of the Year Part 1

Over at SFFWorld Mark Yon, Rob Bedford, Luke Brown, Dag Rambraut, Nila White, and I have highlighted our favourite Fantasy reads from this years releases. There’s an interesting a varied collection there and it serves to remind me once again that I need to up my Fantasy reading. Anyway, check it out.

Joyland by Stephen King

joyland-illustrated-editionI read Joyland when it came out in 2013, and have since re-read it twice more, most recently for the new Illustrated Edition that has been released. Not one to miss an opportunity to shout about a book I love, I’ve reviewed the novel over at SFFWorld – check it out.

Joyland by Stephen King was released in 2013 by Hard Case Crime as a paperback exclusive, yet has gone on to spawn many different editions. A brief search will turn up the original publication plus an ebook, audiobook, limited hardback, and this latest illustrated hardback edition. I’ve read Joyland three times now, and while the audiobook is an excellent narration of this story, it’s this release that is the defining version of Joyland.

Joyland is an exceptional novel. Not only does King deliver an interesting murder-mystery that will keep you guessing, but does so without it obviously being one. It’s often heartfelt and emotional, with relationships playing a large part throughout, and never is it a chore to read. Perhaps one of King’s best novels in recent memory, Joyland is a slow-burner that will not let you down.

Predator: Incursion by Tim Lebbon

predator-incursionThe Alien/Predator franchises contain some of my favourite films, and recently I’ve been making the time to read the new novel releases from Titan Books. I’ve already read their new Alien trilogy, and now I’m heading into AvP territory with Predator: Incursion. To be honest, it wasn’t what I expected, though my review at SFFWorld.com gives my reasons. Check it out.

The publisher’s synopsis does give a fair amount of the story away, particularly as most of it is learnt in the latter half of the novel. However, seen from a marketing perspective for the whole trilogy it’s easy to see why they have gone with this – touting it as a cross-franchise trilogy will certainly make for more interest. Putting that to one side and focusing on the story itself, we actually have a very interesting situation that Lebbon can explore.

I find myself looking at Predator: Incursion much as I did the Alien trilogy from last year. It’s very well written with some interesting characters; it’s entertaining and raises questions about both Yautja, Alien, and Human alike; and the story and events at its centre really do make for compulsive reading. However, it just doesn’t feel quite right. If you took both of the headline creatures out of the question, this could make a massively interesting science fiction story, but unfortunately their inclusion detracts from the final product rather than enhancing it. I’m hoping that the promise shown here carries through to the next novel in the trilogy, Alien: Invasion, because I’d certainly love to see a successful series featuring these two iconic creatures.