Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Rainforest Reviews #9 - SCIFI: The BACKWORLDS

They're Out There, on the Edge. . . waiting

The Backworlds
Book 1

M.Pax's latest, The Backworlds (prop.MPax)

This story is about a young Verkinn, Craze, who gets booted from his comfortable home and easy life.  He's given no choice, his fate already decided by others.  Duped by his own father and the town council, he's pronounced an outcast and forcibly harassed until he boards a starship leaving the planet Siegna.   He's determined to prove his fellow Verkinn wrong.  His adventure begins.

Craze has observed his father's business skills in the family tavern and knows how to negotiate.  On his way to his first stop, he meets two fellow travelers who become friends, then crew-partners of a 'revived' spaceship that takes them to the Backworlds.  Through his innate cunning and his ability to recognize an opportunity, Craze begins to collect some new friends.  A deal is made, one that could change his future if he stays alive.  It could also write his epitaph, if he makes a mistake.

As he runs from one close encounter to another, Craze learns the value of trust and how to circumvent trouble.  He also learns something his father never taught him, that one's friends sometimes have to be repaid for their kindness and loyalty.  Money and fear are two important tools used for trade and coercion in the Backworlds.  A last minute passenger who joins the crew is adept at using these tools.

MPax has subtle touches of tech mixed in the narrative, just enough to round out the setting details and enhance the world building.  A personal observation: I'm reminded of R. Silverberg's Majipoor series, with it's variety of otherworld beings.

A nice surprise :  The excerpt from Stopover at Backworlds' Edge, Book 2 in this series, was enticing and the wait won't be long.  It's coming July 23rd; details on this book and other works at M. Pax's blog, Wistful Nebulae

MPax, Author bio:

"Science fiction writer. Ebooks, short stories and more. Amateur astronomer giving star tours at Pine Mountain Observatory. I'm also obsessed with Jane Austen."

Drop by her site and see what's new in the Pacific Northwest region.


Do you follow MPax's blog? If not, check it out at the links below.  Have you read The Backworlds or any other titles by M.Pax?  If not, what SciFi/Fantasy author do you remember?  Please share in the comments.


References: The Backworlds Series and other books.  Profile for MPax  Wistful Nebulae Wikipedia Info on R. Silverberg


Friday, June 15, 2012

Rainforest Book Reviews # 8 - SCIFI Spotlight

In the spotlight:  Alex J. Cavanaugh's two books, CassaStar and CassaFire.  This is the story of Byron, an ace pilot with a lonely background and troubled past.  


Alex J. Cavanaugh, Science Fiction
Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C., 2010

Arriving on the planet Guaard for training, Byron knows this may be his last chance to reach his goal of being a fighter pilot. His current navigator is the only one left who can tolerate him. Senior Officer Bassa notices Byron's piloting skills and learns of his secret ability, a skill only found in a few Cassans. He investigates the young man's background and sees a troubled past that reminds him of his own mistakes.

Through battles with an encroaching enemy and a personal crisis, Byron is forced to step outside himself and worry about others.  When all seems lost, he is determined to right a few wrongs and makes a heroic effort. 

As an introduction to this universe and to the character of Byron, this book succeeds in showing us the growth of the individual.  Alex takes us through the learning curve that Byron must traverse to reach his full potential.  I enjoyed this book, and it provides the background for Alex's second book in this series, released early in 2012.  See below.  Alex's Blog



Alex J. Cavanaugh, Science Fiction
Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C., 2012

In CassaFire, Byron has matured in age and feels his glory days are behind him.  He doesn't want to be reminded of his past misdeeds or accomplishments.   When alien ruins and writings are discovered on the planet Tgren, an exploration ship is dispatched to assist the Tgrens and try to break the alien code.  Initially a little cool to the Cassans, the Tgrens must learn to trust them.

Learning shortly after his arrival that he will be training another pilot, a female with potential for mental powers, Byron is annoyed.  He doesn't easily acknowledge her proficiency.  She wants to get to know him.  He resists.

There's plenty of action and pyrotechnics (primary colours, loud noises, and bright explosions) in the battle scenes.  If you like science fiction and discovering new authors, check out these two books.  See Alex's blog.  He's full of information about film, current books and ninjas.  Alex's Blog


Have you read Alex's books?  Do you follow his blog?
Please share any comments you have, and if you don't know Alex, drop by his page to find out more about him.  It's also a nice place to meet other writers and readers.

DG's Note:  After Blogger wiped out two previous attempts at this post and refused to upload images, I was unable to show the separate covers for the two books.  Now, in the right sidebar, I've uploaded a photo showing both covers.   


Friday, June 1, 2012

PARIS - Rooflines and Details

A unique view. . . of the upper levels

Paris-Inner Courtyard Roofline by DG Hudson

The roofline above reminds me of one of the last scenes in Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens.

Look up -  what's above you?

Most of us don't look up at what looms above us, you need a little observation time for that.  In some instances, we see more of the detail when we examine the photos of a location.   All photos in this post were taken in Paris.

Paris Rooflines - 18th Cent. Courtyard, by DG Hudson

One floor up was a picturesque roofline . . . I kept wondering what the view would be like from those upper windows, or what the rooms look like within.  We were on the fourth floor, looking across the street.  Note the interesting nautical design of an upper window on the left. The circular window tilts to let in air.

Paris, Window variations by DG Hudson

One note of caution, looking upwards while continuing to move forward can have unforeseen consequences, so stop before you look up.  It's the same feeling as being on a bridge and looking down at water flowing beneath in a different direction than you are walking. Disorienting. 

Paris Signage, Retro-style Train by DG Hudson

The metal train shown above was attached to the building of a shop, reminiscent of old signage shown in the Carnavalet Museum.  Even those who were unable to read could see the type of business by the merchant's sign.

Red Chimney Pot Roofline in the Marais, by DG Hudson

This residential building shown above could be seen from our apartment window, in the Marais area.  Note the detail around the ledge and molding around the upper level windows.

The best detail is in the Gothic rooflines, like the one below, taken from a side view of Notre Dame.

Notre Dame Side View Roofline, by DG Hudson


Have you seen any interesting rooflines?  They look different from above (the aerial view) as compared to looking up from below (the ant's eye view) 

Could your Main Character run across the rooftops shown in this post?   One author I've read had the MC do just that in an old town in France.  Please share your thoughts about rooflines in the comments.