Third Flatiron

I’ve always been a fan of the science fiction and fantasy journal Third Flatiron. Their Spring anthology, “Monstrosities,” is now available in ebook format on Amazon 

It is available free to Kindle Unlimited members. 

The 20 satirical, fantasy, and horror stories contained in the book would be a great read while you wait for spring to finally kick winter to the curb. 

Click here for details. 

Submissions are now open for their Summer 2018 issue (“Galileo’s Theme Park”). 

Check their website at http://www.thirdflatiron.com for info and deadlines. If any of the themes inspire you, consider sending along a story for consideration. 

The Drive: To help them continue publishing great stories and paying writers well, please subscribe (it’s only $1/month) or support us on Patreon at patreon.com/thirdflatiron. 

What I’m Reading

Every so often, I list out the books I’ve managed to eke out precious time to read. The time constraints imposed by a day job and a baby means I have less time to read than ever before, so my annual totals are nothing to write home about. I have dipped from an average of 3 books a week to perhaps 1 or 2 a month.

Despite that, however, I recently read and enjoyed five rather popular and well-reviewed novels.

 

The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang

I recently joined a readers group on Facebook that has fuelled my reading like nothing else has before! This one was recommended by one of the members there who had posted the link to it as it is available online. This is an amazing science-fiction novella, though the title might scare away potential readers who might mistakenly believe it is a software engineering textbook. The story revolves around “digients” – digital pets who are trained to grow and gain intelligence, and how their human owners strive to maintain them.

 

The Circle by Dave Eggers

Here’s a book that I wanted to read before watching the movie. I had read so much about it but finally I caved in and read it. A young girl called May joins a Google-type company, and while initially she’s lost at sea, she eventually gets sucked into its vortex. Reviews online have criticized it for adding nothing new to the conversation about tech companies like Google becoming an overarching monopoly, which I agree, but I enjoyed reading it nevertheless and totally recommend it.

 

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The TV show is making waves on Hulu but I haven’t started on it yet. This is another one that I wanted to read first before watching the show, and I’m glad I did. It’s dark, foreboding, but page-turning, more quiet and literary than a thrilling adventure. For some reason it brought to my mind Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, though they have nothing in common apart from both being dystopian novels. Read it at leisure, and wait for the drama to slowly unfold.

 

Carrie by Stephen King

I have to shamefully admit here that I have NEVER read a Stephen King book other than On Writing because he writes primarily horror! I am very squeamish and even violent or gory thrillers give me sleepless nights. But I caught the movie version of Carrie and generally knew the story, enough to know that it was well-within my tolerance limits. So this became the first Stephen King novel I have read. And I, of course, loved it. I am glad to have read it and will be seeking out more of the same, non-gory stuff that he’s written. This one is not gory (in my opinion, YMMY), and recommended for all who are on the fence like me about Stephen King.

 

 

Unbroken by Nadhika Nambi

I came across this on my Juggernaut app and simply started reading without any context or background, knowing only that it was YA. A few pages in, it dawned on me that the protagonist Akriti is in a wheelchair, which is probably what fuels her acerbic chain of thoughts.

I have to say – it was an engrossing read. The author writes sensitively from the POV of the teenager, who is suffering twice the regular teen angst thanks to her situation. My only gripe with this book is that the character of the brother is a bit of a Mary Sue – almost too good to be true, but nevertheless, this is a great read for young and old alike!

 

Note: All links above are Amazon affiliate links.

 

Have you read any good books lately?

Book Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

I had read a lot about this book even before it was released. The blogosphere was abuzz with the news of a debut novel sure to scorch the bestseller lists. I also read the first chapter and was intrigued enough to want to read more.

As it happens, the book slipped out of my mind in the following months. But thankfully I have my trusty library at hand! They keep slotting the books in the shelves in such a way that the most interesting titles jump right out at me.

On that particular day, I bagged a handful of good ones – Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman, The Reader by Bernhard Schlink, and Across the Universe.

I finished reading Across the Universe last night and I have to say I was zapped. It was awesome!

The brief synopsis, from the book’s website, is this:

Amy is a cryogenically frozen passenger aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed. She expects to wake up on a new planet, 300 years in the future. But fifty years before Godspeed’s scheduled landing, Amy’s cryo chamber is unplugged, and she is nearly killed.

Now, Amy is caught inside an enclosed world where nothing makes sense. Godspeed’s passengers have forfeited all control to Eldest, a tyrannical and frightening leader, and Elder, his rebellious and brilliant teenage heir.

Amy desperately wants to trust Elder. But should she? All she knows is that she must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets before whoever woke her tries to kill again.

 

I really liked how every chapter was narrated alternately by Amy and Elder. I have used a similar device in my novel Mabel, so this book had a lot to teach me.

Amy is a nicely written character – a fiercely independent woman who questions and challenges everything that is told to her and accepted as a matter of course by the people on the ship.

I liked Elder too, though he is seemingly less fleshed out. His mental turmoil about how he will manage the ship really comes to the fore and I totally identified with the conundrums he faced.

Though the book focuses on Amy and Elder, the character of Eldest is appealing too. Eldest is the current leader of the ship, from whom Elder is slated to take over. Eldest is almost dictatorial, and not very nice to Elder or Amy, but gradually we discover the reasons for his particular brand of leadership.

The spaceship and other aspects of the book set it firmly in sci-fi territory, but it embraces the genres of dystopia, murder mystery, romance and so easily could’ve been a Twilight-type YA but mercifully it avoids that angle.

The sequel to this book, A Million Suns, is on sale now. I look forward to reading it too. This promises to be an exciting trilogy to read!

Some other reviews of this book online:

http://iamareadernotawriter.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/book-review-across-universe-by-beth.html

http://www.geeksaresexy.net/2011/01/31/book-review-across-the-universe/

http://fantasybookcritic.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/across-universe-by-beth-revis-reviewed.html

 

What new books have you read lately?