It's that wonderful time of year again when millions of Americans wash their hands, put on their masks, and sit down at their computers to shop during work hours. And while there are many deals to take advantage of today, none are as earth-shattering, bang-for-your-buck, undeniable ROI, shatter your worldview, or mutually beneficial as a purchase of one or many of the Vinestead Anthology books, which are on sale for just 99 meager American cents.
It has been a month since I finished reading Providence by Max Barry, and I still can't stop thinking about it. On the surface, it's a relatively simple story that will take you back to the good ol' days of Ender's Game and Starship Troopers, but it also throws in so many modern writing tricks that it feels like something completely new. The story moves fast, skipping past the extraneous to get to what people really want to see: big ships firing big guns.
I mentioned in a previous Thursday Roundup that I had started reading We Are Legion (We Are Bob) by Dennis E. Taylor but that after encountering the line the butthurt is strong with this one had completely given up. That's still true. Cringe is one of those things that's hard for me to get past, but after talking it over with a few friends, I was encouraged to give it another shot. I'm happy to report no further cringe incidents, and in fact, it's a pretty damn good book. Well, two books.
In the midst of one of the most nightmarish years in my lifetime, I am releasing a new book. If I were a patient man, I would have waited, maybe a year or two (or four, depending), before interrupting stories of disease, racism, and autocracies with silly ads for a sillier book. But I'm not a patient man. And no matter how bad it gets out there, I will still be here, at my desk, writing stories. Today, I give you Brigham Plaza.
I was doom-scrolling Twitter the other day and like a sudden ray of light through a storm, I saw an ad for Sara Gran's Come Closer. Normally, I don't pay attention to book ads on Twitter, but this one came with a quote from Bret Easton Ellis, who I don't understand as a person or an artist but whose opinions on books I'll listen to occasionally. Regarding Come Closer, Easton writes "What begins as a sly fable about frustrated desire evolves into a genuinely scary novel about possession and...
Everyone's got a side hustle, and mine is writing dystopian cyber-thrillers loosely based on my experiences as a teenage hacker trying to take down a global conglomerate with my knowledge of LOGO and a 28.8bps modem. My books won't make you healthier, stronger, or more attractive. They aren't unique pieces of art you can hang on your wall. But they will take you to an alternate reality where Trump isn't president, there's no global pandemic, and Terminators 3-5 were never made.
A couple months ago, I set a goal to line up 50 advance reviewers for my newest book, Brigham Plaza. So far, I've only been able to secure 30, which means I've got some spots open for anyone who loves cyberpunk and science fiction and wants to get a free advance review copy of the book (plus some swag*).
With the exception of the opening scene, Doctor Sleep is not quite the scare fest I was expecting. As the author notes in his afterword, a different King wrote The Shining, and a different you is reading Doctor Sleep. Maybe that was why none of it seemed very terrifying. In fact, it read more like a thriller than anything else, a classic will the hero figure it out in time type of book. That said, it's a damn good book written by a damn good author. A+ Recommended.
Although not on the same prestige level as The Shining or The Stand, The Institute is a damn good book that is simultaneously deliberate and effortless. The story of a young, brilliant boy who is abducted by a mysterious organization and subjected to tests and abuse is one that should resonate with anyone who has ever been a child, and especially for those who have young children.