Kerry Nietz did it
again. He took a horror trope and turned in into a science fiction premise that
works while simultaneously talking about how people cope with change,
community, and family. I did not get the book for free, I paid full price and
feel like I got a good deal. In some ways, this is not great literature, in
that the writing is not lyrical by any means, which a five star book must
usually have for me to rate it so highly, but the story-telling is clear and
intelligent. I would have preferred more technical details of how this all
works, but Nietz wisely neglected to write a manual to please me, and chose to
tell a rollicking tale that at the end made me cry and will please everybody
who likes stories of endurance, family, and the big questions of life. I can't
look at the cover because it's so icky, but I have grown to trust the author
despite his choice of shlocky titles and the occasional unsettling art. This
book can be easily read as a stand-alone, though reading the previous Amish
Vampires from Space will surely help. There is an indication at the end that
there be a sequel to AZfS, and if there is I will buy it. I just hope I won't
take so long to get around to it, as I did this, because, you know, zombies,
yuck. If you haven't read any of his previous books, such as A Star Curiously
Singing, I would like to recommend his other books as well. Do yourself a favor
and read at least samples of his novels and see if you would like to go for his
I reached the end of the Kruliss novel on the plane flying home from Florida and the visit with grandchildren there. Yesterday I typed in what I wrote in long hand in the notebook on my lap where I sat next to a window with a view of clouds. I was beginning to feel the Yay! of finishing a book when I remembered I need to insert about ten more flashbacks. And someday I've got to come up with a title for book number nine in the Tales of Talifar series.
There have been plenty of debates between a Christian and
an atheist in fiction. But only rarely are both characters as compelling
as they are in The Tuning Station, in which we are offered what is
arguably the most original approach to this scenario. What if you could
have such a debate with a person from whom you could hide very little -
because that person is you from a parallel universe? Finding themselves
in a mysterious station which allows them to revisit scenes from their
lives, the two set about trying to figure out where their lives diverged
from one another. What follows is quite literally a journey of
self-discovery, as the two iterations discover what they share, what
distinguishes them, and what each gained and lost by following the path
they did. The story that Crawford tells is deeply moving and powerful,
and it works well not just as science fiction, but as a profound and
poignant dramatic exploration of religious questions. I highly recommend
Dr. James F. McGrath Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language & Literature Department of Philosophy and Religion, Butler University
I went to Amazon to copy my review and paste it here, but my review had disappeared. I liked the book.
Two days ago I received an email saying Shatterworld will launch on June 23. Trying to figure out how much promotion to do, and thinking I should wait until the book is physically in my hands in case something goes wrong. Finding it hard to finish up the Kruliss novel. I write a sentence, and then think about who I should contact.
Recently we were in Kirkland, WA visiting with two of our sons. We had taken them to The Red Robin restaurant for dinner, and two of us were enjoying our hamburgers on gluten-free buns, when Josh, the collaborator, leaned over and said, "Mom, you are so good at this, I can't believe you haven't done it already. You ought to write a novel from the viewpoint of a Driddion." All I could think was, "Yeah, right."
His teen-age son heard this and said, "Oh, I can see this. The dialogue goes, "Click click click click click." I laughed.
Last year, Josh said he wanted me to write a Game of Thrones type book involving the Gigantics. That seems so far outside my skill set. I don't understand politics, jockeying for position, outflanking opposition, gathering allies, and all that sort of social maneuvering. I do understand stabbing enemies with a knife. I think he's going to need to hire someone else to write that book. Still....that could be fun if I could write like that. We're going to have to work a lot harder on the Gigantic society for me to understand them well enough to write from their viewpoint.
I was thinking that when I finish the Kruliss novel (still looking for a title) of maybe telling a Mountain Man's story. Maybe Montee. I assumed he survived the Warrior Woman attack, but since he never ran across Bowmark again, I just let him go off and do his own thing. A Seafolk story would be interesting. Thinking.
Scarred King I, II, and III--Bowmark POV Human young man
Sailing From Stoneshell--Spearmark POV Human young man
Killing the Siij--Eberamend POV Garloon buck, from youth to adulthood, Risli POV Human young woman, Chanter I POV Siij, male pre-birth to adulthood
The Ungols Ride to War--Klikatak POV Ungol male youth to adulthood, short story
Finding Home--Cryout POV Human young man
A Little Magic--Dawn POV Human Little young woman
The Journey of Pledgekept--Pledgekept POV Human young man
The Kruliss novel--Atiuk POV Kruliss male youth to adulthood
Hmmm, our intended audience is young adult, so I won't apologize for the ages of the main characters, but that so many of them are young men tells me I do need to add more variety. Maybe I do need to add some dialogue in clicks.
In case you're interested, here's a little correspondence between my son and I about the series we are collaborating in:
Fri, May 8, 2015 at 1:38 PM, Lelia wrote:
think I have an idea for the ending of the Journey of Pledgekept. What’s been
bothering me is so far in Stone Grove, is he’s been watching Bowmark act. At
the ending, HE needs to be the actor, not the watcher. So, I’m thinking, when
the nobles convene to vote for the first time in their lives, Pledgekept will
address them in story or song. He can’t fight. I’ve spent an entire novel
establishing that. But he can tell a story. So I’m running through scenarios
right now, not writing, but thinking through this conversation and that. What
would be the most dramatic? Thinking, thinking.
waiting to hear from you on whether or not the slight changes I put in the
Kruliss novel pass your inspection before I go too deeply into the rest of the
From: Josh Foreman
Sent: Friday, May 08, 2015 6:35 PM To: Lelia Subject: Re: end for journey
try to read that tonight. Been a very busy week at work.
From: Josh Foreman
Sent: Sunday, May 10, 2015 7:35 PM To: Lelia
that works. The only minor thing I'd like is if there was an
indeterminate amount of days between the first and second Gigantic encounter so
I can fill it with other stuff in a movie if needed.
at 7:45 PM, Lelia wrote:
seen enough movie adaptations of books to know the movie director can put in as
many days as she likes between scenes.
Sun, May 10, 2015
From: Josh Foreman
Sent: Sunday, May 10, 2015 11:48 PM To: Lelia Subject: Re: end for journey
forgetting the ENTIRE POINT OF MY WORLD, which is that every story told in
every medium is canon and DO NOT CONFLICT. If the book says "the third day
on the river..." then a movie I make is not going to move that stuff
around. Part of the reason this isn't done in other fictional worlds is
because the material being made in one medium isn't designed to be flexible for
other mediums. But if we make sure our stories are approached from the
ground up with that flexibility then that will make the multimedia expressions
much easier to manage. What we are building is unprecedented, and so this stuff
has to be figured out as we go. But it's that ground-breaking approach
that is going to bring success!
On Mon, May 11, 2015 at 3:53 PM, Lelia
right. You have a lousy employee.
Subject: Re: end for journey
Well you have seniority so I'll never fire you.
Josh has to put up with a lot with his stable of one writer so far. From book to book, sometimes from chapter to chapter, I change what is capitalized and what isn't. I change the names of things. I change what is hyphenated and what isn't. I forget the names of cities and continents.
What I have to put up with is his occasional changing what an alien looks like. Then I have to go back through all the novels and change all my descriptions. And after I'd written about a particular alien that I had invented (and he graciously let stay in the pantheon) for five books, he GAVE THE ALIEN FOUR LEGS! Huff huff huff. It is his universe, so he gets final say. Still....go back and change. The Giants became the Gigantics and lost a pair of arms, and changed the nature of their feet, and hands, and everything else. Go back and change.
Then there was the time we were working slowly through the first long book (which later became a trilogy). The first book took years to write as we were still working through the geography, peoples, and rules for the world of Talifar. So here we were, two years in, and my son tells me, "Oh, I forgot. Bowmark needs to be chased by a Warrior Woman through the entire novel." Explosion ensues. So Bowmark (who Josh had initially named Bomar) now is chased by a Warrior Woman for the second half of the novel, or, one and a half novels, unless we change the book again.
We wrestle from time to time about the names and their spellings of the aliens. I usually win those arguments (ie. Bomar to Bowmark). When everybody in my critique group trips over a name, even though it's OBVIOUS to me how it should be pronounced, I change the spelling. And go back and change.