Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Penguin Kindle Ebooks Canceled?

I wouldn't normally post new-ish information, but since as of yet I can't find anything about this. When it comes to news I tend to ask my version of the 5 W's Why, Why, Why (you get the idea). I hoped in passing this along that perhaps I might see if anyone has hear any factual information about what is happening. It seems that perhaps the price tug of war between Amazon and Publishers isn't over. Several people (I being one of them) had various Penguin ebooks on order from Amazon that have suddenly been canceled and the Kindle versions removed from the store. I'm waiting to hear back from Amazon and will pass along anything I hear. I hope anyone else that might read this would do the same if they happen to hear anything.

Comments enabled

I actually did this last night, but decide to mention that I've enabled posting comments. I decided that if someone wanted to tell me off for my opinion I would actually like to hear from them about it. Not to sound masochistic as I much prefer glowing praise, but I admit to being a pessimist so I know what kind of comments I'll get. :P

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Things that I feel a review needs to let you know. Part 1 (the bad)

This is in continuation of the reviews post an not a part of the Talion post.  Also I would first like to say that in this overly sensitive day I hope that no one takes offense at this blog post.  We must understand that there is a difference between a preference and discrimination.  A preference is just the fact that an individual likes or dislikes something over another thing.  Some people like hot over cold, chocolate over vanilla, and broccoli over cheese.  In the context of preference, discrimination is treating someone different because of their preference.  I hope people understand that any comments made here are simply my preference and I hold nothing against others because of them if they are or were in any example listed here.  Other comments here I believe most will agree with me when I show my dislike for practices that are illegal in most places.  While writing about them can have some value that doesn't mean I wish to read about them.  I trust that people will be adult enough to know the difference between preference and not see it as discrimination or bigotry.  So on to information I would like to know about from a review before I read a book.

For example while I have no problem with alternative life styles and have had friends in the past that had such a relationship I personally don't want to read the details of it.  There a few books that handled this with simply an allusion to such a relationship for plot reasons rather than trying for what I assume was some type of shock value from others.  Attempting to create a situation that they could later claim was a means to show how open minded they can be.  There is a difference in a book that uses the relationship for a honest plot.  Such a book when written for people that do not live such a life style needs only to mention such a relationship.  When a book is written for people that do not live such a life style instead uses multiple quick descriptions is looking for shock value and I find that in poor taste.  If a book is written for such a life style then it is know for that and I can avoid it.

Another problem I had with one book was the use of lame plot devices simply to have multiple sex scenes within a book. If you have two protagonists that are unsure if they actually like each other or not, don't have them instead go sleep with someone else because they are unsure if they are being forced into loving someone (one book) or because the two can't confront their possible feelings for each other.  While someone might make such a decision I find it in poor taste to continue to keep writing scenes for erotica value in ignorance of the actual plot.  In a book where the plot is truly supported by such a notion it would at least treat the situation with a little class.  It still wouldn't be the type of book for me, but would be expected and easily avoided.  I think a lot of stories could suffer to understand they are not Hollywood and don't need a sex scene in every book and actually take the time to make an actually compelling story instead.  Some of the best, most widely loved books don't have a single sex scene and have relationships adult enough they don't feel they have to run out and sleep with someone else.  Now don't get me wrong I'm not a prude.  I've read several books that have had sex in them where it was used to show a deep physical and emotional relationship, which was still a rocky one, and yet did not feel the need have the character go sleep with someone else.

One more hitch on my list is books that use what I call SWS or Sadistic Writer Syndrome. I find SWS to be a common new disease among writers now days. This is where the writer feels they have to do horrible things to their characters in order "to show how horrible real life can be".  These are not biographies we are talking about but Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy types of books.  While bad things are going to happen in a book taking it to sadistic levels is too much.  Yes we are talking about people that do not exist, but at what point is needless sadism ever acceptable.  The description of pain to an individual for no other reason than that pain is sadism whether it is in your imagination or not.

Finally, while you could lump this in with sadism because it really is I still wanted to give the topic its own point.  Having your characters raped or even just continually almost raped is in poor taste.  While attempting to give the reader, who may be invested in the character, some dramatic tension could be warranted the act itself is extremely distasteful.  A plot tastefully done where this happens once as a central core to such a plot can be understandable.  To simply continue to do or almost do such a thing over and over can serve no purpose.

So these are the things that I feel should really be mentioned in a review.  While I've given my views on why, others may agree that they should be mentioned but for wholly different reasons.  Also, while I give an often extreme example of some of these events in books that isn't to say that any time they are used they are not tastefully handled and in such a way that others my prefer to have them take place in a book.  However, the point of a review is to give people information that helps them make a decision on whether it would be a book they wish to read or not.  You don't have to give your opinion of such events, but as you can see for some it can be important information in their decision and it would be helpful to at least make mention of them.  Next time I'll be a little more on the positive side of those things I would like to know about in a review.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Talion: Revenant

(Added Kindle Link)

So we interrupt our previously scheduled posts (scheduled is all a matter of perspective) in favor of some news near and dear to my book loving heart (promiscuity between many books is socially acceptable right?).  One of my favorite authors Michael A. Stackpole (one as in yes I do have many and favorite as in I don't have favorites for the moment, but favorite from the fact I've enjoyed every book of theirs I've read) is releasing his book Talion: Revenant in eformat both epub and kindle (which I'll link when it is up).  This is great for me in that I take my kindle everywhere and since I have enjoyed reading Talion: Revenant multiple times it makes it easier to do so again.  You can find some good reviews (good as in well done whether for or against the book) here on amazon.  The best news however is that if all goes well with ebook sales (epub and kindle) of this book he will finally write and release the sequel Talion: Nemesis.

(note: does contain vary vague spoilers)
Talion: Revenant at first seems quite simple it is about a man by the name of Nolan who is a Talion Justice.  The Talions are the broken into various groups according to the tasks they can perform.  One such group is the Justice, an elite group of individuals that work as a sort of cross between an elite military group (Rangers/Seals/etc) and the CIA.  It is their job to administer Justice and it is up to each individual what that Justice means.  They are answerable only to their superiors and the head of the Talions.

The book starts off at the end of his current assignment, but then quickly goes back to give us a back story of both Nolan and the Talions.  The transitions between present and past are well done so I never felt lost.  A lot is revealed of Nolan's back story and his motivations for why he does what he does.  There are many likable characters which also sets up for some tragic parts within the story.  That is one thing that did make this approach of present and past much more acceptable in this story because you are given time to know the current situation so that such tragedies are a part of this persons past and make them what they.  It gives more of a meaning to such tragedies rather than the author instead throwing them at the reader for shock value.  It gave me at least the more comfortable position of looking at old wounds so to speak.  The more current of the story his is mission to prevent the death of a king he despises due to his invasion of the country Nolan lived in as a child and the death of his family at the hands of those invaders.

I have to say over all the book is extremely well done and comes off as a solid history of the character and how he stands now.  There were many little reveals that setup well for future stories both in subtle hints as well as outright prophesies.  Which brings it back to the sequel (or maybe sequels) and how much many of us that enjoyed the book really want this to do well.  Over the long hall Talion: Revenant has done well in sales, but never enough for a publisher to pick up any additional books.  Understandably the author can't just blindly spend his time on it in the hopes it will do well as he is a full time author so all his money comes from his writing.  It is a good way to measure also how many sales such a sequel may generate.  Here is to hoping that it does well and he can write the sequel.  I know that I'll be supporting this as I can.  It isn't from the blind devotion of fandom, but the actual joy of reading more about this setting and its characters.  I hope that those of you reading this might give the first book a try I think it is well worth the while.