Nikola Tesla: My Inventions and Other Writings
Collection assembled and Introduced by Samantha Hunt.
Let me just say that though I embedded a link to Amazon here to give you that option I purchased my copy through a vendor at MileHiCon15. Go local when you can.
This volume printed by Penguin Classics has Essays that Tesla wrote over the course of his life. These detail events in his life that contributed to his sparks of invention and innovation. The Tesla Coil, Radio, Optimizing energy transmission to the works he did for governments involved in World War I. All of the language is that of a nineteenth century scholar who was mainly self taught so the reader must bear that in mind when attempting to discern the stories conveyed here.
I must admit that the main invention I was interested in were the transmission towers that Tesla built and demonstrated capable of transmitting electricity wireless. Despite his language defending Morgan in his writings I am a firm believer that Edison and Morgan did their best to run a campaign of sabotage in Tesla’s efforts. Back to the book.
I definitely had the interest and I accomplished reading this work though at times the writing was so tediously to wade through that I would have to take mid chapter breaks. I think this is also evidence that Tesla felt besieged or at least the publisher sensed it at the time and therefore ruled out editing and writing advice.
Not my normal reading consumption these days but I still enjoyed it. It gets a three out of five from me. Enjoy.
Ley Lines Volume One
Art and Story by Robin Dempsey.
This is an awesome creation. The world building seems to be an alternate steam-punk dimension on Earth’s Far East. It starts out with the Priest Ruler of the Kingdom, Koruval, interrogating a possessed monk in training named Zhiro to find out more surrounding his Queen’s so called suicide. It continues to get more intriguing all the way to the end of volume one. The royal family in this book consists of the Father and his son and daughter. The son, Tama, has always been some kind of Gadfly time character doing as he wishes. The daughter, Mizha, has been dutiful to her house and attempting to please her parents. They both grew up with Zhiro, and orphaned ward to the Royal House.
Their Father has ruled that Tama will go to the Monastery for some discipline training while Mizha is being sent to Pwama for her safety. There is action, intrigue, mysticism and otherworldly intervention.
A common complaint that I hear regarding comics and graphic novels is that the content doesn’t measure up to the per unit cost. Not so here where the art work is top grade, the printing is made to last with the latest in durable neutral pH materials and the volume is packed with story. There is plenty of background material in the back to reinforce your Ley Lines vision. This book has gotten a five out of five from me and I hope to collect the others in the series.
Written by David Brin.
Narrated by George K. Wilson.
This is book 1 of the Uplift Trilogy and book 4 of the Uplift Saga. I read the first three books of the Uplift Saga when I was in high school uncountable unmentionables ago. It seems time makes memory fuzzy yet I’m going to state that this book has a rocky start for the reader until you are several chapters into the work. Let’s lay the basis.
Uplift – a patron species that has already achieved star travel arrives and selects advanced pre-sentient species to genetically advance so that they are capable of traveling the stars. Each patron species ranking in galactic culture is based on how many species they have uplifted and whether or not an interstellar war was the result.
During the time frame of this book there are six master patron species forming the Galactic Council. They have laid down rules on how to treat planets and where species are allowed to colonize. They have stamped their approval on seven standardized Galactic languages and created a draconian entity, The Galactic Library. Any squatter or Sooner colonies on off limits worlds are subject to immediate judgment by the Library Enforcers and the penalty is sterilization…maybe.
See, the colonies established on Jijo by six Sooner species tribes including humans are out of touch. The Humans got there by way of a massive ship called the Tabernacle three hundred years prior to this story. Their methods of keeping knowledge alive is through an order of Sages and printing technology that would make Gutenberg sigh in disgust.
A human is discovered wandering out of marshland with a gaping hole in his skull. The Sage Arianna embarks on a journey with her assistant Sarah to the cave known as Biblios where they expect to get help figuring out who this guy is. Elsewhere, a research station of “Star Humans” are employing locals to help them illicitly gather wild DNA which they will implant on other worlds and eventually hope to reap Upliftable species. In another broad stroke you have the bunch that always exists who do not like where this is going and have machinations running to subvert being: destroyed, sterilized, outed to the Galactic Council…
There is a lot to this story and I can not even hope to spoil it in the space of this review. Did I like the story? Yes. Was I ticked at the choices the author made in arranging the first several chapters? Yes. Was the narration a good fit? Yes. How was the World building? Really imaginative, diverse and overwhelming at times but then it would revert to the human mindset imposed on non-human species.
This book should be read in close succession with the first three books from the Uplift Saga. I am giving this a three out of five as a stand alone read. Enjoy.
Dragon Outcast: Age of Fire Book 3
Written by E.E. Knight.
Narrated by David Drummond.
Of the original clutch on the egg shelf in Dragon Champion, the one we always wondered about, the Copper with a maimed front leg is the subject of this installment. Oh to what levels we sink when desperate enough and then some of us find the grit to climb back up.
The Copper, unnamed by his parents due to being outcast, survives the treachery he caused in the Lair to go deep, deep under the Earth. His diet became a collection of unmentionables, he kept the company of disgusting bats, he hid under the prows of Dwarven river boats and escaped into a land ruled by his own kind…The Lava Dome.
The Tyre adopts him and names him after a well regarded ancestor. He gains title, respect after a fashion and even finds love while overcoming life’s…disabilities. Then he is ambushed by treachery again and must become a leader.
If I’ve managed to spoil anything for you in these three paragraphs then you should really stop reading reviews. I’m giving this a four out of five. I may be impatient but I’m ready for the surviving siblings to meet as adults. This series is fun, action packed and the story is vividly told with descriptive language leaving you reaching to wipe at imaginary Dragon droppings. Enjoy!
The First Key of Kalijor
Written by Paul Lell
Katrina and Rianna Thorindal are sisters who live in the massive city of Rathalon in the land of Kalijor. They set out on a quest driven at their mother’s request, one of them anyway, to find an old friend who has turned evil and turned their other mother into a Gollum. It seems like Riana is having increasing trouble keeping her blood from spilling out of her nose and flying off in uncontrollable rages. I’ve known some women like that.
Ree and Willhelmina work as couriers for a gnome like man named Xavier. He has them trained in advanced combat tactics and outfitted like seals to run important errands for Solidarity Online, a solar system spanning online interactive gaming company. Industrial espionage is literally war.
The girls-women are in and out of the game so much that real versus virtual become a blur. Exotic characters in the game could be NPCs or they could represent players from the outside wheeling and dealing on the inside.
The action is fairly consistent and the characters stay true to themselves as things develop leading to a lot of entertainment. In Kalijor many type of people are involved ranging from Elves, Dwarves and Trolls to half-breed dragons and satyrs. Outside many people in society have chosen to physically alter themselves including many gene level mods leading to almost the same level of variety.
This is the first of a series and I’m giving it a four out of five. You can also check out his website for all you would need to embark on a table top RPG of Kalijor. Great work Paul Lell!
The Nelson Touch, Ark Royal Book 2
Written by Christopher G. Nutall.
Narrated by Ralph Lister.
Ark Royal to date is the only carrier capable of standing up to the alien’s weapons due to its antiquated thick armor. The other carrier commanders in Earth’s armed services found themselves incapable of commanding her because all of their training in newer ships systems left them unable to function effectively when confronted with Ark Royal. That left a drunkard Commander Ted Smith to have his career salvaged and promoted to Admiral by this book as he was the only successful leader against the Aliens.
Now the Space Lord has placed him in command of a multinational space force tasked with seeking out systems deep in enemy territory and causing massive damage. The idea is to cripple their ability to make war. Hmmm, why wouldn’t they have a similar idea? Makes you wonder.
Kurt Schneider, the last acting CAG from Ark Royal has spent three months at the academy rush training five hundred new star fighter pilots including a Royal. His marriage is a disaster and the prize money he had won as part of Ark Royals crew is about spent due to his wife…being not a very good wife while he was claiming war stress to not be a very good husband.
The Royal, Prince Henry, has assumed another identity and is now a Star Fighter pilot on Ark Royal. He certainly gets his head bitten off enough as a Royal, oh wait, he’s in disguise. He finds solace in the arms of someone who doesn’t know who he is.
There are at least three more story lines embedded in this novel or series and the aliens are just getting interesting. I will say that I find the Stuffed Chair Club voice of the narrator kind of irritating but the story has me coming back for more. Three out of five points for this and that is because of deliver. Who knows, you might like it.
Written by James S. A. Corey.
Narrated by Jefferson Mays.
Now we’re talking. This was book five in the series and the narrator was in top form for this one. Good thing too because this installment was awesome.
Jim Holden is finally learning to keep his trap shut at appropriate times to…at least reduce conflict. The crew of the Rosenante have some down time while their ship gets pieced back together. Well down time is a bit misleading. Alex (the pilot) returns to Mars to reunite with the ex-wife and when that turns out as stupid as it sounds he gets to helping Bobbi (big Samoan Amazon goddess Martian Marine) go chasing down missing Martian Navy ships.
Amos Burton (Ship’s Engineer) returns to Earth to put closure onto his past and finds himself in a struggle for survival. It’s not the kind of struggle you would imagine of an ex-street thug/gangster. The Earth will never be the same.
Naomi (XO) also goes back to her past to try and right things that have been left askew. That goes about as good as anyone else’s plans. She finds that she has to use the inner strength she has acquired over the years to protect her new family, the crew of the Rosenante, from her old family. A bunch of Belter terrorists.
Back to Holden, who is also drawn into a missing ship conspiracy. These are Colony ships going missing past Medina Station and the system linking rings. Not to worry because the proto-molecule does get some story time here.
This does have a lot of potential and I hope the SyFy network doesn’t screw it up or half-ass the TV version due to release in January 2016. The story and narration here win 4 out of 5 starships from me. Good job!