Monday, August 20, 2007

I'm jonesing for my Forever Drug

I walked into the used bookstore just down the street from dorm, my girlfriend clicking at my heels. We were on our way to see a movie, but we had some time, so she wanted to see what was in stock. She almost always came into stores like this, but I never saw her walk out with anything. Today, she did, but I was the most surprised when my Shadowrun fanboyness placed two novels in my hands.

The first of the novels, and the more significantly well written of the two was The Forever Drug. Lisa Smedman is a good writer, and I did enjoy this piece, but I must say, she was obviously a woman. I learned a while back that when writing a fiction piece, you can tell when a woman writes the part of a man and a man writes the part of a woman. There are certain word choices that a man would say and that a woman would say, for example "He daydreamed about touching her sumptuous rump" vs. "He thought about grabbing her ass." Which do you think is written by a woman? Okay, trick question because they were both written by me, but if you were to sit down with a female writer and see how she writes about love and sex and that sort of thing, you'll notice a distinct difference between her writing that of a man's.

Getting to the point, in Forever Drug, you can definitely tell that the story of this male is done from the point of view of a woman. There's just too many parts where he becomes a lot more emotional than I think most men would under the same duress. Besides that, they way he discribes how he feels about Jane falls back into that category that I already discussed.

Anyway, the books is a rollercoaster. At some points it's good and at others, it's highly heavy handed. It just seemed as though there was far too much information at points and then a long run of nothing. It's interesting to see what Smedman thought was important enough information to include in the story, but most of it seemed extrenuous. Meanwhile, we didn't get enough information about Rom's past to be able to piece together where he came from.

The ending to me was the probably the clencher. There were some parts near the end when I really got into it, and all the way up until Rom wakes up on the sidewalk, I was following the suspense, but then the last few pages had me very disappointed. I guess I don't like it when the obvious slaps a character in the face and they just walk by (like in romantic comedies when the girl tries to say "I love you" but the guy thinks she's going to say something else). That being the case, I wanted to rip my hair out, but I guess it was Smedman's way of making it seem like Rom ends just where he began.

So, overall it was entertaining, but not one of those books that you should really go out of your way to obtain. Plus, I don't think it won any awards, but it was definitely loads better than some of the other Shadowrun books out there (yes Nyx Smith, I'm looking at you).

Good luck and happy reading.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Breaking the Code... O Draconian Devil. Oh Lame Saint. Scrawled across the floor of the Louvre in black light alcoholic marker pen, these were the words that made up the first puzzle in the book. O Draconian Devil. Oh Lame Saint. Interestingly enough, these words when decoded actually talk about something that most people know. The secret to this puzzle lies deep within the Da Vinci library.

The Da Vinci Code is the second book by Dan Brown that stars Robert Langdon on a crash course with the Catholic Church. Though this book is titled “The Da Vinci Code,” that isn’t an apt title for the events in the book. In fact, though Da Vinci is talked about frequently, the codes are not any of his own creation, but the creation of those who have succeeded him. As I read, I wondered when we would read Leonardo Da Vinci’s code, but found myself almost completely surrounded by Jacques Saunière’s codes.

So, The Da Vinci Code is basically a book that consists of four characters on a quest to find the Holy Grail, and in that quest several things occur. At first, only Bishop Manuel Aringarosa and the hulking albino Silas know that they are on a grail quest, but not long after, Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu get caught up in the conspiracy as Jacques Saunière is murdered. Scrawling on the floor in his best watermark pen, Jacque leaves a message for Neveu, which leads her to Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Mona Lisa. Scrawled on that painting is another message, and so the story goes.

The groups go from riddle to riddle, hoping to find themselves the lost burial place of the Holy Grail. Silas is fooled into a dead end left by the grandmaster of the Priory of Scion, and has to rely on information from a mysterious figure known as “The Teacher” in order to continue his quest. But he’s captured in the process and before long finds that his faith in God seems to be the only thing consistent about the convoluted path he’s found himself upon.

Bishop Aringarosa finds himself on a much nobler quest to save his precious “Opis Dei.” He quickly finds, however, that “The Teacher,” a man who was supposed to be on his side, actually used him and Silas as pawns in a much bigger game. Unfortunately, Aringarosa finds this out far too late, and his ending is the biggest surprised within the book.

And, as for Langdon and Neveu, they meet up with an old friend Sir Leigh Teabing and make giant leaps toward solving Saunière’s riddles and finding the long lost Holy Grail. They do meet opposition and surprise, and even come face to face with “The Teacher” himself. However, most of their story is tied up in family history and mythological symbolism. Not for the faint at heart, so be warned.

Now, as I read this book, I wondered to myself why it was called The Da Vinci Code. There is very little in the book related to Da Vinci’s artistic codes, which was a surprise, but a whole lot related to a secret society of which Da Vinci was supposedly a grandmaster. Saunière is not only a giant fan of Da Vinci, but also a grandmaster himself, which leads us down the path to understanding the inner workings of a secret organization known only as the “Priory of Scion.” This is wonderful, but there was no Da Vinci code within this novel.

There was a brief moment when Langdon and Teabing discuss the art of the Renaissance with Sophie, and its potential link to Mary Magdalene, in which we discover a secret that Da Vinci apparently hid for many years. However, that is the closest we get to understanding the title of the novel. Those who read expecting to find themselves delved into a world of misdirection and deceit, understand that this is not such a novel.

For starters, the Priory of Scion was not started until 1956, which negates the idea that Da Vinci could have been a grandmaster. Secondly, the Priory of Scion never participated in any goddess worship like Langdon and Teabing suggest. Thirdly, the whole premise on the book is based around the idea that a document found by Paris’s Bibliothèque Nationale is a true document, but Pierre Plantard, the author of “Les Dossiers Secrets”, later testified under oath that he had fabricated the entire hoax and that this romantic fabrication was concocted in order to make money and nothing else – no "hidden esoteric secrets" were involved. Make money he did, and so did Dan Brown and the authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail, the only other book to reference these documents. Apparently, Plantard hoped to gain popularity for the society that he had created, and with the help of some other men, managed to convince people until the late 1970s that his priory was as the oldest society in existence.

Now, I’m willing to suspend my disbelief for the purposes of enjoying books; I do it all the time. But outside that principle, the ideas and discussions within the book didn’t take me off-guard, and maybe that’s because of my upbringing. I have never questioned in my life the idea that Mary Magdalene and Jesus Christ were married, but that’s because I’ve heard such talk since the time I learned of the importance of Jesus Christ. This idea is not new, and those people who think that it is are sadly mistaken. And then there’s the discussion of the sacred feminine. Once again, I was not surprised to find that many religions, specifically of the Judeo-Christian variety, had different traditions to observe the idea that God would have a partner, and that too was because of my training. The universe, which includes whatever notion of God you believe, is always in balance, good and evil, light and dark, and yes, male and female. The “Sacred Feminine” ideas discussed within The Da Vinci Code were actually the worst organized points I’ve seen presented about the topic, and my sources date back before “Les Dossiers Secrets” and Dan Brown.

In fact, I must say that I wasn’t too impressed with story told within the pages. Cut out the long discussions of the acts of a secret society that never existed, strip down all the weakly expressed ideas of the “sacred feminine,” brake the story down to its barest bones, and you will find that you are looking at a plot of about 50 pages. Langdon is awaken in his Paris hotel, he gets framed for the murder of Jacques Saunière, Jacques Saunière’s granddaughter arrives to save him, they escape the louvre, the obtain a Cryptex, they meet up with Sir Leigh Teabing, get to London, get double crossed, discover the location of a knight interred by a pope, meet the teacher, get to the former burial place of the Grail, meet Sophie’s grandmother and brother, and Langdon kneels at the feet of the Holy Grail. That’s the whole story minus the dialogue, rising and falling actions, and puzzles.

In fact, all of Jacques Saunière’s riddles are based in history, not religion or secrecy, which I thought was well done at least. Brown kept all the puzzles along the same lines, something of which the characters never became aware. But, there were other things about the way the character’s behaved that caused me to shake my head. You see, there were a lot of moments when the answer was staring them right in the face, but they never noticed it. I think that I might be a terrible character to write a story about, because I would do the weirdest things in attempts to find answers. Langdon and Neveu enter that cliché that I like to call “Suspense-based Stupidity.” In order to create conflict, Brown tries to use things that would never have flown if I were in the story, building the actions between the characters. For example, Sophie and Langdon are stuck when they think that they will never figure out Jacques Saunière’s 10-digit code, but in their possession were 10 digits that Saunière wrote before dying. I would have examined those before I got stressed.

Another point of interest was “The Teacher.” I understand that Brown was trying to surprise us in the end, but it was such a surprise that the pieces just didn’t add up. Sure, once we had the bad guy explains it all, and the exposition by Brown, we can see that “The Teacher” was being secretive in his behavior, but it still didn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense. If Remy knew that “The Teacher” would know immediately if he disobeyed his orders, why did he disobey them in the Teacher’s presence? And how would the Teacher been able to get any of his information without completely relying on Remy to begin with? And how would Remy not have seen it coming? It felt as though Brown had written himself into a corner and then used a cheap cop-out to fix the situation.

I must say that I did like the book better than the movie, mostly because the movie flew through the information far too fast to make any sense. To me, the movie seemed like a watered-down version of National Treasure, complete with Holy Grail treasures hidden beneath churches. At least the book managed to be original.

Over all, I assume that you’ve already made up your mind about reading the Da Vinci code before reading this, and now you will walk into the Da Vinci code with a realization that 105 chapters can actually be a fairly short read. If you didn’t know whether you were going to read it or not, I suggest reading for the sake of cultural aesthetics, but do so when it’s convenient for you. Never feel rushed to read this novel, unless you’ve just got the newest copy of the Dresden Files, then read this book quickly.

Good luck and happy readings.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Harry Dresden--Wizard

Lost items found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.

While sitting down to watch an episode of The Dresden Files on the Scifi channel, my girlfriend turned to me and said, “The novels were really great, so I’m sure this will be a good show.” At first I wasn’t sure I heard her right, but then I let the sentence sink in. After a pause, I turned to her and said, “You mean you knew that there was a series of book in which a wizard is running around in our time and you didn’t tell be about it.” But then I realized that she had told me about the book series she read in London and suddenly I felt like a jerk.

So, I fired up Barnes and, punched in my membership number and ordered the first 5 Dresden novels. Storm Front is the first in the series by Jim Butcher, and if this book is any indication as to the rest of them, then “WOW!” we are in for a treat. And if there are those of you out there who are like me and liked the first season of the show produced by Scifi, then to you I say “BEWARE!” The books are not quite like the show, but they are great in a different way.

For fans of the show, Bob does not come out of the skull unless otherwise released. Bob has no features to look up, so that’s why he doesn’t manifest, he just is. Murphy is a blonde cheerleader gone Rambo, not a brunette. Morgan is not black. And Morgan is old. Dresden didn’t kill his uncle by smashing his heart with a ring. Dresden’s mom left a Pentacle, not a shield bracelet. Dresden never had a love affair with Bianca. And finally, Harry Dresden’s office and home are two different places.

As for Storm Front, Dresden gets a call one morning after a long stretch of silence. It’s a lady named Monica Sells. She wants to consult with Harry about her missing husband. He schedules a meeting and then gets a second phone call from Karrin Murphy. There’s been a double homicide in the Madison Hotel. Little does Harry know that this killing and this lady are actually part of the same case; a case that will push him harder and plunge him deeper into the world of chaos, drugs, lust, and greed than he’s ever wanted to go.

Dresden starts both cases and starts to find some dead ends for both. He’s investigating them as two separate cases, completely unaware that the reason Victor Sells has gone missing is because he’s busy using a rich couple’s money and emotional energy to create a drug that is overthrowing the normal drug rings, and targeting those who stand in the way. One of the victims of the double homicide is Tommy Tomm, the oversized muscle of Mob leader Johnny Marcone…while the other victim is Monica Sells’ younger sister…

Enlisting the aid of Bob, the air spirit; Toot-toot and the faeries of the Nevernever; and Bianca, the vampire who isn’t what she seems, he manages to find Sells, stop him from killing again, and show him just why Harry Dresden is the meanest cat in the whole damned town. You never mess with a wizard who’s had the best formal training a wizard could ask for…even if you managed to figure out how to tap the power of storms to do your dirty work. And Harry shows that brains always prevail over brawn.

But that’s not all. Morgan, the lap dog and executioner for the White Council (a group of Wizards who have established laws and rules for the world of magic), has decided now is the time to end Dresden once and for all. Of course, Murphy begins to lose her trust in Harry when he starts hiding things from her; not to keep her from the truth, but from protecting her from the White Council, evil wizards, etc. And when she gets a warrant to search his office, it turns up detrimental…

Things don’t go well for Dresden as his investigation gets one girl killed and gets his hair taken for the next storm’s ritual. Police want him, White Council wants him, and Victor Sells wants him dead. But first, he’s got to deal with Johnny Marcone…

I loved this book. It was a great read from cover to cover. I would have finished it in a week if two papers didn’t come up due at the same time, so it took me 2 weeks instead. But, I read a little everyday, that’s how much I wanted to continue reading. Dresden’s way of dealing with things is a refreshing step away from the normal “magic” genre. As an example, here’s one of my favorite excerpts:

The air still thrummed with energy as the wash of flame passed. Victor snarled when he saw me rise, lifted a hand to one side, and snarled out words of summoning. A crooked stick that looked like it might be some kind of bone soared through the air toward him, and he caught it in one hand, turning to me with the attitude of a man holding a gun.

The problem with most wizards is that they get too used to thinking in terms of one venue: Magic. I don’t think Victor expected me to rise, lurch across the trembling floor toward him, and drive my shoulder into his chest, slamming him back into the wall with a satisfying thud. I leaned back a little and drove a knee into his gut, missed, and caught his square between the legs instead. The breath went out of him in a rush, and he doubled over to the ground. By this time, I was screaming at him, senseless and incoherent. I started kicking at his head.

I heard a metallic, ratcheting sound behind me and spun my head in time to see Beckitt, naked, point an automatic weapon at me. I threw myself to one side, and heard a brief explosion of gunfire. Something hot tore at my hip, spinning me into a roll, and I kept going, into the kitchen. I heard Beckitt snarl a curse. There were a number of sharp clicking sounds. The automatic had jammed. Hell, with this much magic flying around the room, we were all lucky the thing hadn’t just exploded

As I said before, this is a great book, and far better than the TV series, which was a 7 out of 10 for me—depending on the episode. The book was an easy read with a goofy feel to it, which is what makes if “fluffy,” as my friends like to call it. Lots of cool action, lots of cool ideas, lots of cool stuff. It’s only 7.99 a book, so I suggest you get at least this one and read…

Happy reading.

Magic. It can get a guy killed.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Let's get down to the EarthCore of it...

(WARNING: Spoilers are common amongst these pages, so you better beware)

3 miles beneath the surface of the earth lives a secret 10,000 years in the making. A civilization long since forgotten dwells in perfect functionality with only minimals losses in their history. Mankind is not ready for this secret, but the Earthcore Mining Corporation is about to take the lid off this pot and show the world something from it's worst nightmares. And no matter how fast they run, the creatures can fun faster...

Earthcore is the first of the four Scott Sigler novels that are currently downloadable at I first heard this story from the downloaded podcast novel before I ever knew that it had a print format, but once I bought Ancestor, the second to be published, from AMAZON.COM (those greedy evil bastards), I managed to get a hold of my own personal copy of the novel. I recommend any version of the novel, it's certainly well done.

In the past few weeks, I've been pegged by my friends as a Scott Sigler Fanboy. I'd like to set the record straight here and now by stating that I am most certainly not a Sigler Fanboy (do those even exist??), but I am what Sigler calls
"a damn dirty junkie."
I find that once I get involved in a Sigler novel, I can't put it down. And, interestingly enough, his Podiobooks are just as interesting, if not more interesting, than the novels. Am I a fanboy for enjoying an authors work? If so, then I guess all those guys who possess the Druid of Shinara stuff are nuts...

Anyway, Earthcore is a novel that takes place in our time, but in the far off land of Utah. Now, having lived in Utah, and soon to be returning there for college, I know how uninviting those mountains can be. So when I started off with this novel and found the plot to revolve around a specific mountain, I was happy. However, I was thrown off by certain aspects of the novel:

1) YA-YA mountains. In all the time I lived in Utah, I had never heard of a place, and by the description, I found it to be located in the spot of a current mountainous area. Couldn't you have just called it whatever the mountain was currently named? We can suspend our disbelief.

2) Brigham Young students. Sigler has obviously never lived in Utah or been there for any significant period of time, because noone there calls BYU students "Brigham Young students". To do so is what I call a rookie move.

3) King Crab. Seafood in Utah SUCKS. In fact, most people in Utah don't like seafood period. I blame this on the fact that they have to import their seafood if they want something other than Trout, which is a bland fish anyway. So, there's no way, especially if someone likes to visit islands, that anyone in Utah would say that the King Crab is the most delicious thing there.

Those are my three big arguments. These things were aspects that threw me off and kept me from getting into the novel at first, and no matter how hard I tried, I just wanted to find Scott Sigler and snap his neck. But, as with all Sigler novels, it gets to the point where those little things begin to matter less and less. But, it most be noted that those small things actually do create empathy between characters and readers.

So the story takes place in Utah, where a prospector has been told of a river of Silver that is coming out of the mountains, like a spring of metal. It turns out that this river of Silver is actually platinum, the purest collection of Platinum in existence, and thus very desirable by the Earthcore Mining Corporation. Kirkland, an executive there in Earthcore, ends up heading the project and finds himself thrown into a world of problems.

As they drill deep into the ground, Earthcore realizes that the caverns under their drill bit are not as empty as they once thought, but are in fact inhabited by a civilization of Octopus-like creatures from another planet. And these Rocktapi are lead by platinum robots, remnants of a civilization long since destroyed. But the Rocktapi don't want to go down that easily, so they come after the crew with their knives drawn.

After some serious conflict (something Sigler is great at creating) the party manages to destroy the alien ship and bring down the whole race with it. To destroy the ship, they must destroy the mountain, which kills everyone inside. But two of the members do make it out alive and plan a revenge by going to the site in Mexico that was found to be similar to the Utah caverns.

It was very much the Sci-fi horror movie feel to the story. It reads like watching a drive-in horror flick, with expectable ending and everything. But I did like the fact that everyone had to fight for what little they got. This was a good way to make us empathize.

All it all, a good read, and a good Podcast Novel. I do highly recommend this novel even though there are some problems and the beginning is a little slow going. Keep it up and you'll begin the adventure when everything opens a new crevace in the face of the earth.

Happy reading.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Ravnica: Dissension (Book III of the Ravnica Cycle)

In the chaotic aftermath of Utvara’s infestation, Crixizix, the new firemind, finds that Utvara is still under threat of the Nephilim, and those ancient creatures have grown to even larger proportions. Meanwhile, Teysa Karlov finds herself called in to handle the strangest case Ravnica has ever seen, while Sunhome comes tumbling toward Prahv. Kos is dead, but his ghost still lives on as an Azorius guardian spirit, and that means he can be called to active duty anytime the guildmaster declares it. Fonn and Jarad find trouble when their son Myc goes missing, and his disappearance leads them right back to old Rav and to the demon Rakdos. All that and more fills this last installment in the Ravnica Cycle by Cory J. Herndon.

So, the story goes that all the angels were killed by Szadek while they were visiting Agyrem, the spirit world of myths. But before they were killed, Feather managed to find her friends/family and attempted to rescue the falling tower, only to find that she’s too late. But when she returned to the world of the living in the end of the second book, she accidently opened a path that allows Sunhome to come tumbling out of the sky, and fall directing into Prahv, the city center of Ravnica.

Unfortunately for the angel, she can’t do anything about it, since she’s been placed under custody and waiting trial for various crimes that she admits to committing. I guess it’s not the best thing when you have an angel for a client. And as such Teysa is put in a predicament: how to get an angel acquitted for crimes that she admits to having commit. But there are reasons why Teysa was selected to be the Orzhov baroness, and her quick wits are just was Feather needs to not only get released for her crimes, but also to get the other guilds in motion to stop the failing Guildpact. But as Sunhome comes down, so does the Damnation of Damocles.

Meanwhile, in another part of Ravnica, Fonn investigates some murders that have been popping up all over the city. Having found a way to balance her time between the Ledev and the Wojeks, she works as a Selesnyan first and a Boros second, finding her inherited police skills not quite adequate enough to figure out why there are rats at the scene of every crime. But Jarad would have known the answer, if Fonn would have asked him when she went to pick up their son as per their divorce agreement.

But as Fonn takes Myczil Zunich, her son, out to be trained with all the other Ledev scouts, the group manages to stumble across a very bloodthirsty group of Rakdos, who fall upon the group in a cloud takes off with the trainees. Fonn comes too and begins to panic as she finds no evidence as to where the Rakdos might have taken her son. And in her panic, she calls Jarad through their cell-phone like magical communication stones.

Jarad instantly knows where the Rakdos have taken his son and leads Fonn there in less than a few minutes. Unfortunately for him, storming the Rakdos stronghold costs him his life, but being the guildmaster of the guild of necromancers has it’s perks, and Jarad finds that these tricks are fairly useful when one finds oneself dead.

Myc ends up becoming friendly with the demon-god Rakdos, but things go sour as the Rakdos blood-witch manages to gain control of the demon for her own purposes. Unfortunately for her, this happens right before Rakdos attacks the Simic Project Kraj and falls in the battle. Linked consciousness is not what it’s cracked up to be, especially when one of the consciousnesses has declared war in a chaotic manner against more than one guild. But Rakdos and his rats cause a significant amount of damage, while the Ledev scouts bring down the Nephilim and the Lurkers in the only manner they know how, with explosions.

Kos is brought back from the dead in this novel, and he and Pivlic find themselves once again taking on an enemy bent on destroying the world. But Kos has an advantage against this enemy: he’s a ghost. Armed with the ability to inhabit the bodies of anyone with a semi-harmonious astral signature, Kos moves from body to body as he gets inside the Simic safe house. Face to face with yet another delusional enemy with bodyguards and a power-trip, Kos did what Kos is known to do: he killed the idiot. And following this display, Kos makes his way back to Prahv to face the true ringleader of the chaos, and the true enemy behind the failing guildpact.

Though this book saw the return of some of my favorite characters in the series, I couldn’t help but feel robbed by many of the different loose ends that only partially got wrapped up in the end. For example, in the end of the first novel, it is clear that the necroanalyst for the Wojek Tenth Precinct has become a lurker, but even though this same character appears near the very beginning of this novel, nothing about his nature as a lurker comes forth. In fact, there is several instances where the lurker presents itself and then fades away into nothing. I was very disappointed that this lurker angle simply becomes a convenient way for Herndon to come up with another enemy for the characters to be fearful about, but never able to stop.

To be honest, I was not really impressed with this book, especially after the intrigue of the first novel and the spaghetti western feel of the second. I just expected more out of this tale, but it seems, from the very beginning, that Herndon was pressured into ending the novel within some sort of time limit, because the characters have some sort of time limit. Being that as it is, it becomes incredibly convenient that project Kraj, supposedly the only project developed by the Simic that will be able to take on the greatest beasts and demons of the world, immobilizes the demon-god Rakdos before he can rip down the Life-Tree of Vitu Ghazi.

I wish he had, and I wish that Szadek would have been working of his own accord and not under the spiritual slavery of some up-tight know-it-all Azorius. It seemed as if Herndon was going for some sort of twisted plot device that added more intrigue into the story, but to be honest, I thought it was just a pile of stupidity. Why? Because there already was a twisted plot between the Rakdos, the Golgari god-zombie Svogthir, and the Simic. And even then, Szadek was part of that plot for a moment, which would have been wickedly awesome if it had played out that way, but apparently it didn’t.

As a matter of fact, I found that to be an inconsistency in the book. First we see Szadek with the Simic and the god-zombie early on in the book, but later we find out that Szadek was completely under the command of the Azorius guildmaster Augustin IV. What? Does that mean that Augustin IV was working with the Simic and the Golgari rebels, who apparently were helping the Rakdos, in overthrowing all of Ravnica? Because it seems to me that without the Guildpact, the Azorius would fold under the pressure of the other guilds and collapse. Why would the Rakdos or the Golgari follow a supreme overlord of Ravnica? The Rakdos are far too chaotic and the Golgari don’t really care anyway.

No, I wish that he had been a true good guy until the end, and that the story would have taken a better turn somewhere else. Perhaps there could have been way to resolve the situation involving the god-zombie, who’s still not dead. I would have liked to see the god-zombie or Szadek feeding off the Azorian man’s soul while Kos tried to figure out how to stop them. It would have been a better ending I think.

Truthfully, I think that after all the great things that have come from Cory J. Herndon, I can’t say that he is a terrible author, because he’s not, but I feel that he did drop the ball on this story, trying to figure out cool ways to end situations that could have very easily been solved with some small and simple means. Small and simple means, Cory, not bangpops. That’s what I was expecting and still hoping that my fanfiction actually becomes something worth a darn.

All-in-all this was an entertaining read, but it wasn’t of the same caliber of the previous novels, which was disappointing. However, if you have about a week of free time, and you’ve already read the other two, you might as well pick up this book and finally get the complete story of the characters you come love. If you do that, then you will not be disappointed, but you will be disappointed if you read the story for its plot and intrigue. Happy reading.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Pocket and the Pendant


When you were a kid, did you ever wonder what would happen if time were to just stop? Well, one day, Max and Casey found out. And the answer wasn’t good at all…

Okay, time for the plot rundown and then to my thoughts on the matter. Max is a very extraordinary boy, more extraordinary than he even knows. Max thinks that he’s years old, but as the story goes on, we find out that he’s much older than that. But Max doesn’t remember, and the only people who do are grown ups…so grown up in fact, that one is in a retirement community, one is criminal with a family, and one faded away long ago, leaving a copied image behind. But Max doesn’t remember these people, though he wishes he did, because if he did, then he might be able to understand what’s going on when time completely stops.

Casey was a normal little girl growing up in the same small community as Max. She lived a normal life with divorced parents, never seeing her father, but living with her mother, until the day that her mother stood still. And not just her mother, her neighbors and her friends were also “stuck” in time. After some manipulation, Casey began to realize that she could unstuck things stuck in time, but it was all too terrifying. Plus, she stumbles across another power that only she seems to possess. And when she traps herself with this power, only Max can hear her pleas for help.

The two characters are then launched on a world wide search for others like them, others unstuck from “the Pocket” as Casey deems the time-stopped world. But their search takes them for miles and into civilizations that didn’t exist before “the Pocket” began; civilizations formed by kids like them, unstuck from the world. That’s when they meet Ian, who has some tools and some theories that help the three of them realize that they are not alone. And when the begin to search deeper, they find out that those “aliens” Ian noticed are after something, something important, something Max became involved in so very long ago.

But in order to unlock his memory, Max must talk to an ancient being known only as Mister E, or Enki as some call him. Many times Enki has freed Max’s memory so that he might remember what’s going on, but each time Max wishes that he hadn’t remembered, and each time Enki erases the memories. This time, Max wants to try to fix things without having his memory freed, which gives the enemies a leg-up, but also means that Max might be able to change everything once and for good this time. Too bad that means he’ll have to deal with his family without remembering why he dislikes them in the first place.

This novel by Mark Jeffrey is an interesting read. From start to finish, the simplicity of the diction and the juvenile word use gives us the feeling that we are going along with Max and Casey, traveling with them as they experience “The Pocket”. And to be honest, I felt myself cheering for them right away. I felt myself sympathizing with their plight, laughing when they succeeded and crying when they faced adversity. And unlike other time-related books I’ve read, this book did not disappoint in some aspects that most others do.

In most of the novels related to time that I’ve read, the characters suddenly became very concerned about time issues (i.e. they would not be able to get to a certain point with enough time to stop the bad guy, or something very important somewhere else happens and they miss their opportunity to do it, etc.), but this novel didn’t present these issues. When you have all the time in the world to accomplish the most important tasks, in my opinion, you probably wouldn’t rush yourself. And Max, Ian, and Casey illustrated that when, at one point in the novel, they take 5 days planning and practicing everything they would need to do to rescue Sasha who had slipped out of the SuperPocket.

And then there’s the issue of action. You see, this is definitely a family story, the kind of tale that you would read with your kids before they fall asleep, the kind of story that you share with your grandkids when they come to visit your house. And most adults tend to steer away from these kinds of stories because they think that it wouldn’t appeal to their more adult understanding of the world. However, I would like to state that you should not mistake innocence for ignorance. In my generation, we had Power Rangers and Ninja Turtles…kids certainly understand violence, but to a lesser form of painful understandings. Jeffrey responds to this by having action, but showing it in the same form that you would see in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, namely the good guys beat up the bad guys and then the bad guys stumble away. No killing, but threats of it; no blood, but spilled pride. I found it quite refreshing from some of the other novels that I have been reading recently.

As I said, this is the kind of story you would read to your children before they fall asleep. In truth, when I have children, I will read this novel to them as they fall asleep. I can guarantee that the diction is simple enough for children 7+ to understand and will tickle their creative. I felt as though it was easy to follow along, without complicated plot twists that would fly over the heads of any preadolescent trying to understand. And, I’m certain that any boy would imagine himself as Max or Ian, and any girl would imagine herself as Casey. If you read this to them, don’t be surprised if your children as you to play Enki.
Have fun with this great read. Happy reading.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Ravnica: Guildpact (Book II of the Cycle)


When a man retires, the last thing he wants to become is the sheriff of some backwater town on the outskirts of the biggest city in the world. But when an old mining town suddenly becomes the site of a new wave of destruction, Kos has no choice but to shine his badge, strap on his pendrik and get to dishing out justice, frontier style.

This is the second installment of the Ravnica Cycle, written by Cory J. Herndon and published by Wizards of the Coast. Like it’s predessor, Ravnica: City of Guilds, this novel stars Argus Kos and his business partner/friend Pivlic, as well as several new characters, in an rousing adventure full of intrigue and mayhem. With their new friend Teysa Karlov, baroness of the frontier zone named Utvara, the two begin to unravel an Izzet secret that delves deeper than many of them wanted to ever go, all the while searching for the missing messenger of the Zomaj Hauc, Izzet Guild upper manager and lead engineer of the Cauldron, a powerplant supplying energy to all of the Utvara region.

Crix the goblin finds herself in the hands of the indigenous peoples of Utvara while Baroness Teysa and her minions attempt to gain control of the region that has now become her’s to own. But Crix finds that the plains around Utvara are mysterious, full of bizarre creatures that trace back to the ancient days of Ravnica, as well as a race of people who wear fungus on their backs to protect themselves from a spore that got thrown up into the air after the Izzet Guild attempted to “reclaim” the Utvaran region for the previous owner, Teysa’s uncle and prodigal father. But as Crix stays out in the spores, strange occurrences with the natives lead her to believe that something against the natural order is occurring, and that the answer can only be found within her master, Zomaj Hauc himself.

Crix manages to manipulate the natives into helping her get to the cauldron, partially to deliver the message she had been sent to deliver and partially to get to the bottom of this deadly mystery. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the courier, Argus Kos and Pivlic have also become aware of the strange behaviors of the natives and begin an expedition to rescue the intrepid Izzet. However, as they work forward toward their goal, both the human and the imp find that it is not as easy of a task as it originally appeared, especially not when the Nephilim, those ancient creatures Crix encounters, become more rampant in this area of the frontier. Since Kidnapping is a crime, Kos is propelled forward, but unfortunately for him, his path leads straight to the gates of the Cauldron, and on the eve of yet another attempt at ruining Ravnica.

Back in Utvara, things seem to be simple and reclaiming the once lost territory is becoming a task that Teysa Karlov has turned into a lucrative business venture. But as business is getting better, Teysa begins to discover a mystery and a magic that has been plaguing her for most of her life. And the lies and deceptions strike directly into the heart of the woman who is beginning to get too old be able to deal with it. Be that as it may, the Guildmaster, the first Baroness of the Orzhov guild, meets her enemies face to face and proves that royal blood does make a difference.

I did enjoy this novel, mostly because it was a new take on the Ravnica series. In the first book, we got a gritty look into the world of municipal policing in a metropolis that sprawls over most of the world, but this book takes us to a western frontier town with little to no crime and little to no police to take care of it. This being the case, it was like reading a western Magic: the Gathering style. In this novel, Kos became the epidemy of the old sheriff we read about in westerns and Pivlic the owner of the Saloon. And like saloon scenes, Kos gets too drunk and throws another too drunk man out the door and into the dust outside. Sobering up, bar-fight-style.

I didn’t really find this book lacking anything. The intrigue was just as twisted as it was in the previous novel, and it didn’t really leave any loose ends to worry about. It was a self-contained novel that, surprisingly enough, any casual reader could enjoy, whether or not they’ve read the previous novel. Interestingly, Cory J. Herndon has a way of reminding the readers about things that they may have forgotten, or informing the readers of things they may never have known. Being that way, a lack of any previous knowledge is overcome, an aspect I think Herndon was aiming for.

But the action was great and I spent most of my time pondering the turn of events in the end, but I could not actually guess what was growing in the Cauldron, so I was surprised when the secret came out. I also could not guess how the situation was going to be resolved, but I had a feeling that something bad was going to happen. The back of the third novel in the series had me waiting to find out how a certain character died, which was a good thing, but I don’t recommend that anyone purchase them and read their synopsis before they actually read the book.

My only complaint with this story was the grammatical mistakes that appeared every so often, just often enough to get annoying. Clearly, the team that edited this particular novel had a lot on their plate, or just spaced it when they were reading, but I felt inclined at some points to reorganize the syntax until the misplaced modifier was no longer misplaced. Cory J. Herndon, pay attention to how you modifier certain ideas, my friend.

All in all, I found this a very entertaining and easy read. I nearly swallowed it in a week, which is a relatively impressive task for me. I just found that once I started the novel, I couldn’t put it down until I had finished it, which made it interesting when I started cooking my curry. If you read quickly, which I don’t, then you’ll probably have this done in a few days, but if you are like me, you’ll find that no matter how slow you read, you’ll find time to read this novel from cover to cover. Happy reading.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

The Life and Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe of York, Mariner

---------------------RETRO POST----------------------------

Written in 1719, Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe has been considered a classic amongst academics for years. I was not all too familiar with it, so decided to go ahead and read the book, which is titled thus The Life and Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe of York, Mariner: who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an uninhabited Island on the coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver'd by Pirates. Written by Himself, and discover for myself why it is called a classic. And my discovery may just get me annexed from the annuls of academia.

The majority of people out there have some vague understand of the story when I say the word, “Robinson Crusoe”. Maybe it’s because they’ve made movies of it, or maybe it’s because they’ve made movies and shows based loosely upon the premise, or maybe still it’s because the book is old and considered a classic. Whatever the reason, an image or idea springs to mind simply upon hearing the words: “Robinson Crusoe”.

But do you know the story as well as you think? I thought I did, in fact, I thought I knew the premise well enough that there was going to be nothing to surprise me. How did Robinson Crusoe become a slave to a Moor? Where did Robinson establish his estate? Do you know who Friday is? What about Poll? Can you tell me how many mutineers were in the boat with Bowson’s mate? If can answer successfully these questions, and do not need the help of Wikipedia or any other outside source, then you have read Robinson Crusoe. Apparently, the book went through 4 editions within the first year of its printing, and hundreds of spin off novels and adaptations have been written. Being that as it is, sometimes people think they have read Robinson Crusoe, and it turns out that they haven’t actually read the complete story, but a spin-off and/or abridged version. Do not let yourself fall into this trap.

But what was my discovery that might get me expelled from academia? The discovery that the story of Robinson Crusoe is not the story of a man stranded on a desert isle, which is usually the way we describe the novel, and neither is it a story about a man who goes mad without human connections, as others have called it, nor is it a tale of culture shock as some have been known to say it is. No, it is none of these things, for it is simply a tale of a man who builds his own nation upon an Island on which he is stranded for 25 years, and the adventures he goes through to defend the said nation.

Robinson Crusoe, despite popular belief, never had to forage for his food or learn how to survive. The first night upon the beach, he builds himself a fire and upon the rising of the sun, he floats a raft back to the grounded boat and spends the next week removing provisions for his own survival, which includes Bread, Corn, Rice, Salt, and enough gun powder and shot to last him the whole 25 years. He never seems to be in real want because he only finds grapes when he goes out to discover the whole of the island. He hunts the wild goats and pigeons and turtles that he finds upon the island, and even has a dog and two cats that he rescued from the boat. After four years, he discovers that he can plant and harvest more than enough Corn and Rice to supply himself with a constant supply of those vegetables for 21 more years, and even enough seed to leave for the Spaniard and Mutineers who inherit the island after his departure from it.

Robinson Crusoe very seldomly relies on the island for any part of his survival. Even the planks of wood that he uses to build his fortress and his summer home are pieces of debris from the wreck of his ship. Only the reeds he uses as camouflage and as thatching for his roof could be considered as living off the land. In true English fashion, he adapts his environment to meet his needs and not the other way around, redesigning the cave to make it a more level storehouse for his goods, hammering nails into the rock so that he can hang shelves for his journals, tilling the ground before he even ventures out to discover what resources the island has to offer. In short, I wouldn’t call Robinson Crusoe a survivalist more than I would call him a colonist.

I didn’t feel like I could sympathize with him, because it never seemed to me as though he were in dire straights. Hint for those of you who are amateur writers: if your character doesn’t have to struggle, you’re going to have a harder time convincing your readers that they’re worth caring about. Not to say you need have an elaborate affliction, but it becomes easier to get readers to care if the character finds themselves experiencing pain. And with Robinson Crusoe, I didn’t feel that pain. With his religious practices, both weekly and yearly, his peaceful resignation to the providence of God, it seemed to me that he was content there upon the island and could ask for nothing more than some soft clean clothes and a cap. Water was in supply, food was in supply, and books were in supply. He was not lacking in tools either, because he found some on the boat.

To be honest, the only time when I really began to feel like I cared about Robinson Crusoe was near the end of the novel when he and the other English travelers are going through France on their way to England and find themselves surrounded by wolves. Friday is the more impressive fighter in the book, and Robinson is well off because he saved the boy’s life. With Friday’s skill and Robinson’s expertise with gun powder, they get away from the Wolves, but only after their guide is maimed.

All in all, I think Robinson Crusoe is more the story of a man who establishes a one man nation and then discovers that his nation is in the middle of cannibal territory. After building his army, he finds his way and from there begins to live the life that had been waiting for him since he left for the Africa’s to open slave trading ports—which he did in the original Defoe version. He grew his nation to the size and quality sufficient of his subjects, and as they grew, so did he prepare and organize and grow his nation to house them. In the end, he had an English Captain and crew, a savage boy name Friday, Friday’s father, and a Spaniard as his merry subjects and more immigrants on the way.

As far as being a quaint Victorian adventure story, it was okay, but I did not like it overall. I thought it too long winded and not really about the superficial things that many people mistakenly think the story is about. I do recommend that you spend some time with the novel, mostly because it is considered a classic, and because it will give you a better understanding and appreciation of the English language.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Ravnica: The City of Guilds

The evening was empty and as cold as the bumbat juice in the half filled bottle on my desk. Nothing happened these days, not since the Rakdos cultist uprising a decade ago. My shift was over and I was drowning the boredom that had slipped into my soul over these past few years. But nothing prepared me for the Decimillennium, when we’d all meet the fabled 10th guildmaster.

This is the caliber of story we get from Ravnica: the City of Guilds, the first installment of the trilogy written by Cory J. Herndon and published by Wizards of the Coast. Imagine a world of magic, intrigue and crime in a city so big that it fills 90% of the globe. That’s the city of Ravnica and the world within which this story takes place. Apparently the same place of all the other novels produced by Magic: the Gathering—books that I have avoided until now—but with a slight difference: this book follows Argus Kos, a weathered cop with a past so mysterious, it takes the entire novel to get the whole tale. His history is full of half truths and partial memories, but his past comes back to haunt him, in a literal way.

Kos is one of a cast of 6 major players: Kos, Jarad, Fonn, Feather, Pivlic, and Savra. Each one of these characters has another part to play in the big storyline, but the main story is split between Kos and Feather, followed by Jarad and Fonn. As Pivlic is introduced to the story, all four characters come together in one place and everything breaks loose. From that point, Savra’s plan to take over her guild and resurrect the guildmaster Szadek, a vampire, begins and the five characters are thrown into a war that only ends when a titan crumbles, an angel fights, a guild is nearly destroyed, and Kos arrests makes the greatest collar in 10,000 years.

Our story takes place in the city of Ravnica, the city of guilds. 10,000 years prior to the story, 10 guilds assembled and signed a contract know as the guildpact, and that guildpact has held the city together since. Thanks to policing from the Boros Legion, a guild run by angels from above, the upper tiers of the city have been peaceful for much of the time, but the underworld is dark and desolate, devoid of sun. That’s where the Devkarins, members of the Golgari guild, come in: dark elves that run the darker parts of Ravnica with Necromancy and pure hunting skill. Jarad is one such Devkarin.

However, they stay close to old Rav’s underworld, leaving the roads free, and so the Selsnyan Conclave use Ledev’s, a group of paramilitary soldiers that protect the rights of free passage on the road. Within these elite Ledev, we find Fonn, eager to guard her friend, a priest, into Ravnica for his part in the Decimillenial celebrations. However, they meet with some heartache as an explosion tears through the city and kills the priest, flinging Fonn into Jarad’s arms and causing far too much trouble for Kos to handle.

With a partner dead and a contract he never signed keeping the ghost bound to his presence, Kos embarks on the investigation that takes him under Ravnica, throw the skies and into the streets plunged deep with innocent blood. Unfortunately for him, that means crossing the doorsteps of some of the most powerful guilds in the plane. But only the corrupt ones and only the ones whose intentions do not honor the guildpact. Armed with his pendrek and his angel friend, he sets out to discover that the conspiracies of the present are invariably tied directly to the past; his past and Ravnica’s past.

I thought this was a good book, with intrigue and wheels within wheels. There was so many different points of subterfuge than I was capable of understanding until it all reached its apex. As the tale came to a close, I walked away with a feeling of completion and contentment, even though the last bit of the book clearly states that it wasn’t as clean cut as we all thought. I was so excited about this story that I went and bought the other two books in the trilogy so that I could have the complete collection. A noir-esc detective story told in a fantasy world where magic is not only common, but life without magic seems unrealistic, is an excellent read when you give it a chance.

Be warned, however, there are some grammatical mistakes and spelling errors throughout the novel, which made me wonder what kind of editing process it went through. I’m sure a team of professionals looked at it, but somehow the mistake managed to make it through. Most of the mistakes were easily remedied, but other syntax errors had me so confused that I could not decipher what Herndon was trying to say—which isn’t very easy when my hobby is Asian languages. However, it does make for an easy read, especially on a day when you’ve got nothing to do and it’s raining outside. Poor weather will help you get to the point in the story when you won’t want to separate from its pages.

Overall, I would recommend this book, even to people who don’t normally peruse the Wizards of the Coast library. This was my second attempt at a Magic: the Gathering book, my first being Anthologies back in the beginning of the company, and I must say that though I don’t like these books, Herndon’s method of spinning the tale is definitely worth experiencing. Any lover of fiction, especially fantasy, will enjoy this read.

Good luck and happy reading.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Save our Libraries?

Recently, the library in the town where I go to school has been closed because of budget cuts. It was a sad moment for me as I realized that there would be less of an excitement amongst children to read; there would be no place for them to borrow books from the city's collection. As I stood outside the building, a wave of emotion hit me in one of the most profound ways it has ever done before. And I have not been the same since.

But all around the building were picket signs and chalk writtings, all clearly done by my fellow college students. These signs and posts said "Save Our Library" and clearly proclaimed that the library should be the last to go. As I agreed with them, I thought nothing more of it at first, but then the realization of something deeper and much more sinister crept into my soul. The dark acceptance of general illiteracy. And I do not just mean in terms of inability to read, but also those people who choose to go through the many days of their lives without truly embracing literature.

In all fairness, the illiteracy rate in the United States is lower than it was in 1970, a fair 6.9% of Americans are illiterate. However, it has become an all too often occurrance that people in my family or close-friends network might say something like, "The last time I read a book was when ________ made me." More often than not, Mr./Ms. _________ was a teacher or parent, someone in an authoritative role who forced said person to read. A horrifying amount of Americans watch television, listen to music, and chat online or text through phones rather than sit down and join the adventures of Huck Finn and his friends. More often than not, if a book is never made a movie, Americans know nothing of it.

And sadly, this assessment extends to college students. Granted those still in school have a tendenancy to read more often than others who are in the working fields, but I still know of a large portion of the college student populace who are still not using Libraries to their fullest advantage. I, myself, have built up a fairly large personal library and thus have no need to visit Public Libraries, but when I was a kid, my most cherished possession was my library card. And I went often, and read until there was nothing in the library that seemed to catch my interest.

With this decrease in literacy, I have noticed a decline in vocabulary and grammar. The other day, I was walking behind two girls who were discussing their lives. I have heard that I have a personality that silently enters and exits from situations that it is not inherently a part of, and so I managed to observe, unnoticed, these two as we walked in the same direction. They were having a conversation about the vicissitudes of life, but a certain f-based swear word replaced many a descriptor. This f-based word was used in places that any suitable adjective might be used, but apparently these girls could not find a word that would be sufficient in their explanation. This saddened, because the only real understanding I got of their mood was that everything was effed. Unfortunately, that could mean a whole lot of things.

So back to my point about the library. The signs said "Save Our Library" and I thought, "Sure. But are you going to use it?" If I were a more emotional person, I would have shed a tear at the thought that came to me next: the reason the library was closing down as apposed to someother bulding in Ashland was because there wasn't a sufficient number of patrons to elicit extra funding. That meant that even if we managed to find a way to save the library, it would probably enter the same precarious state relatively soon afterward. If no one goes, it can't stay open. Not even for the potential that there is a child who treasures his library card over his gameboy. I liked my gameboy, but I liked my choose your own adeventures better.

I blame those amongst the American population who choose not to read very often. I know that there are some people who would love to read, but find that they actually ACTUALLY have no time to do so. Soldiers, doctors, paramedics, pilots, and hardworking men and women with families who constantly need their attention. To them, I have empathy. But to the many others, both young and old, who do not read, I say to you, pick up a book and understand the depths of your own imagination. Stop relying on MTV or ABC or FOX to tell you how to imagine. You determine the depths of your creative mind, and no Pokemon game is going to show you how. I do believe that Anime, Games, Movies, TV, Comics and so on do help your imagination flow, and I would be a hypocrite if I said otherwise, but I also truly believe that you MUST balance it with a visit to your local library or personal library on a at least a semi-regular basis. You'd be surprise at what's out there.

I simply say, we should save our libraries, but not in the way that everyone is thinking. I simply say, read a book once a month, and then you will really understand how you can save the library. I simply say, if you want me to save the local library, you must promise to use it. Save our libraries, save our world. Ignorance is the most dangerous weapon in the human arsonal. Go on, see what your mind creates, and have fun living in the world of dreams.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Free Podcast Novels

Ever thought about writing a novel only to find that you have no audience to show your work to? What if you had something written, but you couldn't get it published because you can't prove that anyone's going to like it? Well, there's a whole world out there for this caliber of novel, called the podcast novel. And here's the best part about podcast novels: they're free.

Recently, I can back from Japan and started up my iTunes account. I love iTunes, for it's a wonderful program. Anyway, as I begin searching through the titles that the iTunes store has to offer, I come across this "Podcast" called 7th Son: Descent by J.C. Hutchins. I download all the available chapters of this novel and upon listening to the opening, I hear this phrase "You are listening to a presentation." I thought to myself, "Podiobooks?! What are they talking about?" So, curiousity got to me and I typed the address in my web browser. is a wonderful website that opens you to a world of books recently in print or yet to be published. These "podio books" are read by the authors and usually put together in chapters, like a novel would be. This provides a great opportunity for an author to get their work out there and known, creating an audio portfolio for the publishing companies to see. And it also gives listeners a free opportunity to experience literature. For people like me, free opportunities to experience literature is heaven.

Recently, the publishing company Dragonmoon Press has been taking alot of these podiobook works and publishing them, giving rise to a whole new medium of publishing. Like the eBook, this new podcast novel seems to be the new literary magazine. Anyone with a microphone and a good sound mixing program can make a podcast novel, so there is hope for you aspiring writers. And never underestimate the power of the podiobooks, since some writers have recently shown that a fanbase can be created.

An example of the power of a podcast novel comes in Scott Sigler's recent victory over Sigler has written 4 podcast novels and with the publishing of his novel Ancestor Scott Sigler reached 7th in the charts the first day of print. Dragonmoon press sold 3800 copies of Ancestor that day, and watched as Sigler's other novel Earthcore reached forth in the Sci-Fi genre. This is the power of the podcast novel fanbase.

Be that as it may, you may or may not want to jump on this podcast novel bandwagon; that's entirely up to you. But if you do feel like you might want to join me and my associates, you can download podcast novels through iTunes, iPodderX, podcastready, and Juice, or you can visit such sites as,, and Or you could simply search for Podcast Novels through Yahoo! or Google. Good luck and happy listening.