Book Review: The Resisters by Eric Nylund

January 11, 2012 § 1 Comment

In the spirit of full disclosure, I went into The Resisters really wanting to like it. In high school I read and enjoyed Eric Nylund’s Halo novels and I wasn’t the only one. After writing those books, he received a steady stream of letters, emails, etc. from readers (mostly boys who hadn’t done much reading) asking where they could find other books like them. He pointed them to Ender’s Game and Robert Heinlein, but in the end decided that there just wasn’t enough good fiction for boys. So he set about writing The Resisters in an attempt to appeal to a generation of boys more likely to be playing video games and watching movies than reading books. In my opinion, The Resisters landed right on the mark.

Twelve-year-old Ethan Blackwood has always known exactly what he wanted—to win the state soccer championship, get into the best high school, and become an astronaut. Then he meets Madison and Felix, who tell him something . . . insane. They claim that 50 years ago, aliens took over the earth, and everyone past puberty is under their mind control. Ethan doesn’t believe it. But then he sees for himself the aliens’ monster bug robots and the incredible way that Madison and Felix have learned to fight them. So Ethan Blackwood has a choice: he can go back to his normal, suburban, protected lie of a life—or he can become a Resister.

I talked about it a little in my post on lessons I learned from what I read in 2011, but « Read the rest of this entry »

Short stories: a love letter

October 27, 2011 § 4 Comments

I have an embarrassing admission to make. Several actually.  The first is that until recently I generally thought short stories were dull and only good for English textbooks.  I didn’t even realize that short story markets existed outside textbooks and if you’d asked me if I’d ever read an anthology I would have had to find a dictionary. The second embarrassing thing is that the only reason I started reading short stories is because I wanted to write short stories, and the only reason I wanted to write short stories was to get the practice was to publish a novel.  I have since learned the error of my ways.

Why I love to read them:

A good short story is like lightning in a bottle.  It packs a punch with a clear theme, a lot of character, and no wasted words.  I love that when my life feels too busy to tackle a novel, I can pick up one of my anthologies and read a short story before bed with no obligation to read the next day. Often these short stories leave a bigger impact on my than most novels. « Read the rest of this entry »

Attacking that Pipe Dream Mario Style (with a little help from Robert Heinlein)

October 9, 2011 § 2 Comments

For a long time I didn’t tell anybody that I wanted to be an author.  Even now, I’ll mention to people that one of my short stories is being published in November, and they will say “Whaaaaa? I didn’t know you write.”  The big reason it took so long to tell people I wanted to be an author is that it feels like everybody wants to be an author.  I can think of a half-dozen people off the top of my head that have, at one time or another, mentioned that they have a book idea, partially completed manuscript, etc.  The fact that so many people say they want to be authors (preferably of the published variety) and so few ever get to that point makes writing feel like a pipe dream.  I hesitated to tell people about wanting to be a writer because A) half the time I felt like I didn’t stand a chance of my writing ever going anywhere, and B) I didn’t think people would take my aspirations seriously, which made me even more self-conscious. « Read the rest of this entry »

Book Review: Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

September 16, 2011 § 2 Comments

I also read this book on vacation, in the two days after the two days I spent reading The Warded Man (what can I say, reading is relaxing to me). It follows 75-year-old John Perry as he starts a new life in the army, defending humanity and it’s colonies from hostile aliens, in exchange for a rejuvenation that leaves him in a suped-up 25-year-old version of his body.  Basically the exact opposite premise of Enders Game.

I’ve always been a big fan of Heinlein in general, and Starship Troopers specifically (the book, not the movie), and Old Man’s War takes all the best parts of that and trims the long chapters that feel like lectures (or at least hides them better).  A great read that’s well-written with a fascinating plot and some interesting twists for good measure, I loved it and would recommend it to anyone interested in science fiction.

As an interesting aside, he originally published it as a free serial on his web site, though he doesn’t recommend you try the same.  In an even more interesting aside, Cherie Priest, author of Boneshaker, was discovered the same way.

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