Its that time of the year when the cyber-Santas fly around the world and pop down the cyber chimneys and delivers digital delights to all the good reading girls and boys of all ages.
This year three interesting ones have dropped on the digital doorstep for some fun science fiction and fantasy readers.
So welcome for a quick digital review of Robert Oliver's "The Bravest of Souls", Stephanie Osborn's "The Case of the Displaced Detective: The Arrival", and George Sirois' "Excelsior"
"The Bravest of Souls" is the first book by a new fantasy author, Robert Oliver.
Robert has been doing technical writing for many years, so on his initial foray into fantasy so one might expect it to be techie or stilted. With that in mind, it would be easy to criticize the occasional typo or overused, favorite turn of phrase.
Before long though, the characters will draw you in. They can be impulsive and impetuous but that adds to the story. They are also intelligent and the plot is of magic and mayhem with a sprinkling of romance salted within.
A stranger comes visiting a family in the boonies of a fairy tale forest, bringing shocking truths to a young woman who is destined for greatness. For three digital dollars it is well worth the read.
Next, Stephanie Osborn is literally a rocket scientist who is well respected in the scientific community and was one of the lecturers earlier in the year at the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop in Huntsville, Alabama.
She is also a science fiction writer, a major fan of Sherlock Holmes, and the author of "The Case of the Displaced Detective: The Arrival." Not surprising, it stars a brilliant, female scientist, Dr. Skye Chadwick.
Dr. Chadwick is in charge of the secret program, Project: Tesseract, where she is able to travel to alternate worlds. On a visit in one alternate dimenion she impulsively rescues Sherlock Holmes from plunging to his death with Moriarty and brings him back to her world.
Detective Holmes arrives at just the time a trusted outsider is needed to foil a spy ring that is seeking to steal the secrets and to sabotage the Tesseract program.
During a recent literary discussion with an avid Sherlock Holmes fan who read the book, she concluded that it well written, has an interesting plot, but adamantly concluded it was fan fiction.
In picking apart her criticism of the book she admitted that it is high quality fan fiction. Further discussion came to the concession that nothing that has ever been written for book or screen that was not written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself is anything more than fan fiction.
So, if you are of this bent, this book is not for you and there won't ever be any to satisfy you. Buy a few copies anyhow and pass them on to friends who don't have your refined taste. You know they will like it.
On the other hand, if you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes and who has a fantasy crush on him and would like to read an intelligent novel where it may be possible for the girl to get her true love, Sherlock Holmes, this book is the sci fi, mystery, romance for you and certainly worth 299 cyber cents.
George Sirois is a columnist, author, and administrator. His administrative duties have included working with a Graphic Arts Production department. His young adult novel, "Excelsior" starts in a prison on an alien world where the oppressed slaves rebel and escape. Then it switches to a high school student, Matthew Peters, who is daydreaming in class where he writes the story for his web comic.
While it seems to be a "Secret Life of Walter Mitty" sort of story initially, the two story lines converge and Mr. Sirois gives an interesting twist the young Matthew "Walter Mitty" Peters life as he is found to be the stuff of the legends that were thought to be only in his mind.
Mr. Sirois novel is classified as Young Adult. Oddly enough, that means it doesn't have what is considered "Adult Language" and "Adult Content" which is often the basic fare in immature writing that doesn't have a cogent story line, Young Adult novels such as Mr. Sirois' book have to fall back on interesting characters and imaginative writing. So if you are looking for an immature story filled with adult language and content, pass on it, but if you are looking for a good read, "Excelsior" is well worth your digital dollars!
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