Archive for brilliant ideas

THE DAYLIGHT WAR By Peter V. Brett – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 11, 2013 by stanleyriiks

I’ve been busy the past few weeks working my way through this massive book, so apologies for the delay in posting.

The third volume in The Painted Man series, I thought this would end the trilogy. In some ways I’m sad it’s not, I was looking forward to finding out what would happen, but in some ways I’m glad this epic and brilliant story continues.

For those of you who have not read the first two books in the series, this is not the place to start. The first two books are equally epic and amazing. If you like your fantasy huge, filled to the rafters with brilliant ideas, great characters, intensity, action packed, and filled with mysterious magic, demons and loads more, then you’ll absolutely love these books.

In the first book we discover this world in which every night humans must hide behind warded protection from the corlings (demons) who appear out of the earth. Arlen Bales is a young boy when we first meet him, but Arlen becomes a messenger, a dangerous but privileged position, learning the wards for protection as he must strike out across the townships taking the post with him, his life on the line ever night. Eventually Arlen meets Jardir, the leaders of a tribe in the deep south, a tribe that fights the demons every night, using mysterious new wards, while their women and children hide in an underground city. The two become firm friends until the discovery of an ancient city thought lost, and a magical warded spear.

The second book in the series gives us a full history of Jardir and how he achieved his position. Then how he brings the tribes together and launches a brutal attack on the northern cities.

Of course there more to it than that, but you really really need to read the first two books in the series.

In the third book we see history from the other side, Jardir’s powerful wife, Inevera, was behind many of his decisions and in this book we discover her history. And we see the two sides preparing for the night battle of the “waning” when the most powerful corlings come to the surface to fight. The time when the two sides, the united tribes of the south, and the northern cities, will battle draws ever closer. The characters relationships proving more and more problematic because of it. The daylight war is coming…

The books are not focused on a single character, although sometimes it does seem that way. There are several other characters, all important to the story, and too many to list. The books thus far have given us a massive history, we watch the characters grow and develop, and this is the key to drawing you in. This feels more like watching a life, rather than following a plot.

The people are waiting for The Deliverer to battle the corlings and free them from their constant nightly struggle, but is it Arlen or Jardir? Both of them are building armies, the various characters aligning with one or another of them. Friendship, politics, love and intrigue all fight for dominance.

This is a massive book, and I was conflicted. I wanted to read it quickly and get to the end to find out what happens next (probably the best cliff-hanger in the history of fantasy, giving Andy Remic’s Kell’s Legend a run for its money!), and savouring every single page of brilliance.

Brett is an artist and the page his tapestry. He has woven a tale of magnificence. I can’t wait for the next volume, I need to know what happens next.

ACK-ACK MACAQUE By Gareth L. Powell – Reviewed

Posted in Morpheus Tales Magazine, Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 11, 2013 by stanleyriiks

Published with the kind permission of Morpheus Tales.

Powell’s first collection The Last Reef (available as an ebook from Anarchy Books ( was exceptional. A book filled with intelligent SF, bristling with ideas and clever stories. I was looking forward to reading Powell’s first novel The Recollection, a clever SF story based on some of the stories in that first collection. It wasn’t as good as I was expecting. Most of the brilliant ideas in the book came from the stories in The Last Reef. I’d expected more.

I wasn’t looking forward to reading this one. It sounded a bit… well, stupid. Also, I’d just finished reading the excellent Sandman Slim, a book filled with character, with attitude, with energy. Not something I would have expected from the “quiet” fiction of Powell.

Boy was I wrong!

Powell seems to be having a great deal of fun with this book, and fortunately the reader is right there alongside him all the way.

Britain and France merged in the 1950s. Nuclear powered airships travel around the world. Britain refuses to give back Hong Kong and is on the brink of war with China. The King is recovering from an assassination attempt. Victoria returns to London to deal with the murder of her husband, only to find the policeman who escorted her to the flat dead on the foot of the stairs and his murderer looking up at her, then heading straight for him, his knife poised to kill her too…

A Macaque is battling against Nazi forces during the Second World War…

This is powerful, action-packed stuff. The tension starts to rise from very early on, and as the twisted tale of treason, conspiracy and murder is revealed the tension continues to rise. The characters are unique, their voices clearly individual, and the monkey adding a level of attitude and humour that really jumps off the page. The one-eyed, pistol carrying, cigar chomping fighter pilot macaque is brilliantly refreshing in his no nonsense attitude, and animalistic simplicity amongst the complex plotting and treachery.

The tension rises throughout the book, creating an edge of the seat expectation that could only be satisfied with a powerful climax, so how about fighting and explosions, and crashing and… (I don’t want to give away too much!) but Powel delivers by the bucketload.

Powerful, intelligent, filled with ideas, clever touches and brilliant characters.

Powell has hit his stride, and produced a steampunk SF novel that delivers. I don’t know if Powell is planning a sequel, but when you have a character this good, he deserves another book. I can’t think of a story that could possibly live up to this one, but I hope Powell can!

Monkey magic.

Ripped Genes: The Biopunk Special Issue – Reviewed

Posted in Morpheus Tales Magazine, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2012 by stanleyriiks

I really wanted to hate this issue. For completely selfish and nasty reasons, I wanted to hate this magazine. I wanted to submit to it, I had some amazing ideas. Ideas that never made the transition from brain to page. For whatever reason (that thing some people call writers’ block and I call life) got in the way of my making the deadline, although I had determined months before that I’d write something. In the end I wrote nothing, and because of that I didn’t want to like this issue.

And you know what? Now I feel even worse. Because this is not just a good special issue, this is the kind of magazine that excites me (ok, not in that way you perve!). It inspires me, it makes me want to write, it wakes up my brain!

Filled with ideas, and bursting with sparkles of brilliance, the editor Samuel Diamond has delivered a treat. This is SF as it should be!

There are far too few SF magazines out there. Morpheus Tales delivers a good share of horror, but the SF is sadly lacking. The small press for SF seems to have mostly dried up (forgive me if I’m wrong, but I’ve looked and I can’t find much).

Which is why it is magazines like Ripped Genes: The Biopunk Special issue are so important. It doesn’t just deliver, it delivers by the bucket load.

There is not a bad story in this diverse bunch, but highlights for me were “Fishing the Life in Notochords” By Matt Leyshon, a writer who never fails to amaze me; “Baby Boom” By Alan Spencer, another writer I’m familiar with who shows time and time again that he’s more than just a blood and guts horror writer (although he does it so well); “Screaming Monkeys” By Dev Jarrett, a remarkable story; and “Legacy” By Richard Farren Barber who gets better with every story.

Picking four out of the thirteen stories on offer had me tearing my hair out, it’s so difficult to pick out just a handful of these exceptional stories. The creators of these stories are all on top form.

I hate that I’m not a part of this magazine. I’m gutted. I wish I had a time machine, then I’d go back six month and sit down and write. Of course, I’d probably steal some of the brilliant ideas contained in this magazine if I did. Ripped Genes is an SF magazine that demands you read it. Check out the free preview and then go buy yourself a copy. You will not regret it.

Cutting edge SF at it’s very best! Devilishly good stuff!

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