The Abyss Beyond the Reflection

The Abyss Beyond The Reflection by Micah Castle is an anthology for readers that love the bizarre and love hearing about terrifying realities within our own. Within this book lies 10 tales of horror, science fiction and weird fiction. Each of these stories uses horrific imagery to bring it to life along with characters that come across as real people.

In the first story called The Abyss Beyond The Reflection, you get a look at how technology and being obsessed with celebrities can be a dangerous combination. In the future fans of celebrities can view the celebrities lives in real-time using virtual reality. Though sometimes if you get too close to the people you admire you see a reality that is too horrifying to comprehend. I loved the concept here and the idea of how even though the lead character has a pathetic life what he finds in the life of a celebrity is far worse.

Another story I enjoyed was Three White Demons. This one follows an unhappy college professor who is tipped off to a major discovery by a friend. At an archaeological site there are three white monoliths that may be the key to other dimensions. I loved the scientific explanation used to describe the discovery. I also loved how the Professor looks at this as the key to changing from his dull life to a reality that you would see in a Science Fiction novel. What he finds is not what he was hoping for, I loved the ending of this story which shows that some things are better left unknown.

The White Sea is a story that has a H.P. Lovecraft feel to it. It’s about a down on his luck author who after the death of his parents takes a trip on a schooner in hopes of inspiration. He soon discovers that the ship’s captain has an agenda and serves a mysterious God. The writing in this story is brilliant, we hear the whole story from the main character’s viewpoint and the descriptions of the sea demons and the protagonist’s reaction to everything makes this a memorable piece of fiction.

Qaeceit’s Mirror is a different kind of vampire tale. This one follows the story of a college student who has a new roommate who sleeps during the day and has some odd habits. I loved the vampire’s origin story and would love to see a longer work made from this one. I figured in the beginning that this was going to be a vampire story yet the way its told made it feel fresh and new. I guess there is always a way to put an original spin on an old idea.

Reading The Abyss Beyond the Reflection  reminded me of how much fun horror and weird fiction can be. The way everything is described brought the stories to life and every character showed amazing depth. Micah Castle’s writing demonstrates that he has a strong passion for his craft and if you love horror fiction you won’t want to pass this book up.

https://micahcastle.com/

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Wayfarer: AV494

Kerys wanted to leave everything behind. Her career wasn’t going well and she was just getting over a bad relationship with a man named Will. What better way to get a new start then to take a three-year trip to Wayfarer Outpost which is situated on another planet. Kerys new job is to spend 6 months exploring ancient alien relics. The problem is that Will is a botanist and is already on the planet working.

While Will is outside working, Kerys goes along with an expedition into  the alien ruins and discovers something deadly. Now everyone is trapped in the Wayfarer Outpost with an alien threat and no chance for escape.

Wayfarer AV494 by Matthew S. Cox is a Science Fiction novel with elements of horror. What drew me to this book was the idea of a woman trying to escape her crazy ex-boyfriend and then getting trapped with him in a life or death situation. The idea of being at the mercy of an alien threat in space has been done many times in books and movies but I figured the relationship would add an original spin to the story. Much to my surprise I thought the connection between the two characters was the worst part of the book.

My problem with Kerys was that she came across as whiny and incompetent. She complains constantly, she’s responsible for a crew mate getting injured early in the book and she is always saying how much she misses her brother when it was her choice to leave him. Will on the other hand came across as so crazy in this story that I wondered how he would have gotten chosen to do this job in the first place. Another problem I had with the story was how we get hints to some problems that Will is creating and even though Kerys has evidence of this she never tells anyone which made me think that this character isn’t to bright. Despite how I felt about these two characters there was still plenty to like about this book.

I loved all the supporting characters in this story and I loved how the science behind Wayfarer Outpost is explained. I also enjoyed how the alien ruins were described and hearing the characters discus what they thought this alien civilization was like when it had living creatures. The first part of the story is fascinating with the scientific explanations while the second half is good because the book turns into a horror novel in space.

With the exception of hoping that Will and Kerys would die right away, I really enjoyed this book. A lot of depth goes into explaining how everything works and hearing about the science made you feel like this could all happen in the future. Then we have the second half which becomes a gore fest where anything goes. Whether you love science fiction or horror you will find something to love about Wayfarer AV494.

 

Author Interview: Mark JG Fahey

What made you write a book about…?

I have always been fascinated with Halley’s Comet from a early age and one day this

amazing thought came into my mind. Halley Comet is really a intergalactic casino = Halley’s Casino.

After that the story just flowed out onto the page almost by itself as if it had a mind of its own.

How long have you been writing?

I have been writing all my life, poetry, lyrics, short stories but finally found the

discipline to write a whole novel. Concentration, focus, determination played a huge part.

I had been telling anyone that would listen since my teens that I would one day write a book and I have

written two and I’m now in the process of writing the third.

Do you ever get writer’s block? What helps you overcome it?

You know I do not believe in writers block as such. What I mean by that is, if one

is focused, has a plan, a clear head, it should all fall into place.

Of course who hasn’t stared at a blank page, a blank page is only blank until

you fill it.

What is your next project?

Well, Halley’s Casino is part of a trilogy the second book  Marine – Halley’s Casino is

is available alone with Halley’s Casino and the third, here is a news flash for you.

The third book of the trilogy is entitled ( drum roll please) Return Trip – Halley’s Casino III

is 50% completed.

After that I have three other books mapped out though not sci fi. ( spoilers)

What is the last great book you’ve read?

The dictionary!. Don’t leave home without it  🙂

Mark JG Fahey is not I repeat not an alien, contrary to what you may have heard, though he swears he has been to space. Mark has dabbled in many undertakings throughout his Illustrious career from on-air reporting/host/ stand-up comic Messenger for the Prime Minister of Canada to name a few. His excellent culinary skills have entertained many far and wide.

Born in Ottawa, Ontario Canada and raised in Aylmer Quebec where he presently resides and can’t seem to find the way out. Mark continues to search…

Marine is the second book in the Halley’s Casino trilogy.

Look for the next installment coming soon Return Trip – Halley’s Casino III

For up-to- date information on Mark and the Halley’s Casino Trilogy please go to…

www.markjgfahey.com

Twitter @jg_fahey

Facebook: facebook.com/pages/Halleyscasino.com

https://www.ireadbooktours.com

 

Halley’s Casino

Nebula Yorker seems like an average guy but at the age of 26 he is about to have his world turned upside down. The year is 1986 and Neb is waiting for the arrival of Halley’s comet when a strange visitor by the name of Mr. Tict appears out of a ball of light. Mr. Tict explains that Halley’s comet is really an intergalactic space station/casino which he is the Concierge of and he wants Neb to be his assistant.

Neb is then transported to the casino and finds several different types of aliens that all coexist as part of the Council of U. He also finds a staff made up of mostly androids and a very much alive John Lennon. That’s not all, Neb also finds out that time travel is possible which leads to a mystery that affects the casino and the life Neb thought he knew.

Halley’s Casino by Mark JG Fahey is a book with an awesome concept that Science Fiction fans will love. I can’t imagine how the process for planning this book must have worked because there is so much going on. While I thought the story here was a little light, I loved how the author managed to create a universe along with some complex characters. He goes into great depth describing the Casino, the history of it, the aliens that visit it and how everything works. One of my favorite scenes of the book was when some of the alien races questioned Neb on how Earth people can create a show like Star Trek yet be so violent to each other. There are also some funny scenes where a couple of popular rock bands perform for the casino customers but aren’t sure where they are.

If there was any downside to this book it came from giving the history of the casino. There was so much information given in chapters eight and nine that I felt myself not being able to keep track of it all. From there the focus then returns back to the characters on the casino and things start to pick up again. I also found myself getting a little confused when we got into the time travel part of the story, though in all honesty whenever I see the idea in stories I get a little confused..  I still enjoyed the idea of how the casino crew can change history but try not too. This leads us to an idea that you see repeated throughout the book which is: “always move forward.”

Halley’s Casino is an ambitious novel.This book works on a lot of different levels, it’s a  Science Fiction novel but can also be considered  comedy, satire, alternative history and even human drama. I love the concept of a casino in space but what really kept me interested in the book was the characters. Even the villains in the story are more shades of grey then black and white. To me the story in Halley’s Casino was secondary  to the concept of how different life forms would interact in a universe where anything is possible. There are some similarities to Star Trek but in the universe of Halley’s Casino the humans are not as advanced and are considered dangerous. Check this book out if you are looking for a fresh spin on the Science Fiction genre.

http://www.markjgfahey.com/

Want a chance to win a copy of Halley’s Casino? Click on the link for your chance:

https://goo.gl/6gfsG7

 

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Beautiful Lies, Painful Truths

“Life asked Death, ‘Why do people love me, but hate you?’
Death responded, ‘Because you are a beautiful lie, and I am a painful truth.’ ”
~Anonymous

Beautiful Lies, Painful Truths is an anthology edited by Karen T. Newman that’s all about death. Even though that’s the subject matter the mood isn’t always dark. This anthology spans several genres including Science fiction, horror, mystery and even some humor. Well written and well-edited, this book may be long but it’s hard to put down.There aren’t any bad stories here but to keep this review from being to long, I decided to just talk about a few stories:

Family Ties by Cara Fox deals with a daughter whose father just happens to be the grim reaper. The daughter’s name is Zoe and where the reaper’s job is to take souls, Zoe has the ability to save them but there is a price to saving souls. I loved how this story gets into the balance between life and death and the idea that in some situations a long life can be a curse.

Where I would look at Family Ties as being horror ,With Infinite Complacency
by Steve Cameron is a science fiction tale. This story follows astronauts in a space station as they witness the end of civilization due to nuclear war.  They can’t return to earth due to contamination and are stuck alone in space. I love the concept in this story and the twist at the end. I also loved the idea how would you feel if you were alone in the universe?

Proving that this anthology has a wide range of stories another great tale is Death and the Horse by Terri Bruce. This is a fantasy story about Death needing a horse in able to do his job a little faster. This story throws in a lot of different mythological characters and has a good sense of humor to it, showing that stories about death can be funny.

The Fall by Paul K. Metheney is another one with a comedic edge to it that focuses on a man who is about to jump off a cliff. Before he does, God shows up and says he will fix his life if the man can ask 20 good questions about the meaning of life. This is such a good simple story and I love how it touches on the philosophy of life and it makes a good point about accepting the bad with the good.

Pondering Eternity Over Waffles at Last Call by JCC Downing is another one that gets into the philosophy of life quite a bit. This one deals with a young woman and an older man who manages to become friends but the man has a big secret. Once again this is a simple tale with some deep meaning to it and the idea that you can’t have good without the bad is center stage.

Another good one that is very different from every other tale in this book is Selfie Warfare
by Shaun Avery. The story looks at the concept of how social media effects two people. While pleasing a virtual audience is shown as a bad thing for both characters, they both react in different ways to the problem. I think a good question raised here is what are you missing out on if you live your life online?

I think the thing I enjoyed most about this anthology is that even though it’s about death, it isn’t a sad book. Most of the stories include themes on how precious life is and how the choices we make effect us. There are several genres included in this book and they all look at the philosophy of life a little differently.  This book has a little bit of everything and no matter what form of literature you like there will be something in Beautiful Lies, Painful Truths that you will enjoy.

 

 

Frozen Sky: Blindsided (the Europa Series Book 3)

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Frozen Sky: Blindsided by Jeff Carlson is book 3 in the Europa series and it continues to look at what happens when the governments of Earth find life on Europa. The main character is a biologist named Vonnie who learns to communicate with the sunfish at the risk of her own safety. She also has to deal with the governments on Earth and the threat of war for the resources that Europa has to offer.

What makes the Frozen Sky series interesting to me is the science involved. There were news stories not to long ago saying that it’s possible there could be life on Europa. Even more recently we heard the news that the space probe Juno had made it to Jupiter. Frozen Sky takes place in the distant future but a lot of the politics and science in the story ties into the present. In reading this series you get the impression that Jeff Carlson did a lot of research on current events and here he presents his vision of what could happen in our future.

My only complaint about this book is that there was almost too much going on. Later in the story when the action picks up and war breaks out, I found myself thinking “this is good but I want to get back to how the sunfish evolved and hear about how they’re smarter than we think.”  What I liked most about Blindsided was the relationship between Vonnie, her crew, the sunfish who inhabit Europa and the history behind how they got to where they are.

One of my favorite scenes was when the Sunfish turned their back on Vonnie because they see how she doesn’t trust the robot(called mecha in the story) that is trying to save her crew mate. At this point you think the sunfish aren’t very intelligent but little by little we learn that the sunfish are as smart as the earthlings but haven’t advanced as much due to the harsh living conditions of Europa. The sunfish have a history that gets more interesting as the story unfolds.

Another part I really liked is how it shows Earth in the future. There is still tabloid tv and people still give their opinions on news shows even when they don’t have all the facts. There is a scene when Vonnie is checking to see what the media is saying about her and her boyfriend Ben points out how politicians and the media all have their own agenda and everyone is trying to feed their own ego. He goes on to say that things are always bad for humankind, we have the technology to make paradise on Earth but we choose to lie, steal, point fingers, cheat and kill for land or for god. I love this revelation because we see it in the news every day and I guess in the future nothing really changes.

Blindsided is a book that works on several different levels. I’m not a big Science Fiction fan but I still loved the story, the science behind it and all of the characters. Also the ending of this book left a big smile on my face. I was happy to hear that we will be learning more about the Sunfish of Europa because book 4 is on its way. It will be interesting to see how much deeper Jeff Carlson can go into developing the Sunfish’s world and the politics of future Earth.

http://www.jverse.com/

Jubilee Year: A Novel (Erelong Book 1)

26894846Storm was 18 years old and not clear on what he wanted to do with his life . When they were kids Storm and his younger sister Summer were adopted by Pete and Stella. Sadly they fell on hard times and the family broke apart. Now Storm is thinking of joining the armed forces which the family isn’t happy about including his girlfriend Penny.

Storm’s problems get thrown on the back burner though as Pete and Penny’s astronomer father discover that a Star is entering Earth’s solar system which will wipe out 70% of all life on Earth.  To make matters worse, there is a secret organization within the government that wants to make sure that there will be as few survivors as possible. Storm and his family will have to escape assassination squads and find shelter if they are going to survive the biggest disaster of all time.

Jubilee Year by Gerard O’Neill sucks you in by letting you get to know an average normal family and once you like them you get to see how this family survives the apocalypse. What really makes this story interesting is how it’s told. There are a lot of apocalypse books out there that are full of action but this one takes a different approach by introducing likable characters and then getting into a conspiracy theory followed by a catastrophe. The story starts simple but gets more complex as it goes along.

When I first got this book I was apprehensive because I read reviews saying that nothing interesting happens in the first half of the story. As you are reading though you realize that the author knew what he was doing by not having a lot of action early on. Gerald O’Neill makes you care about Storm’s family because you can relate to the problems that they have. Such as Pete being an alcoholic, Storm not knowing what to do with himself as he moves into adulthood and Penny’s father finding out that something horrible is about to happen but thinking no one will believe him.

I was invested right there and would have liked just a story about these characters but then we get into what is going on with the government cover-up. The book introduces a shadowy organization that controls the government and media and keeps our attention off of what is really going on. I loved the concept of the media keeping the attention off of the changes in the atmosphere since I’ve read theories online before about are planet changing and the media covering it up. I also loved how the science of what is happening is explained. With a lot of Science Fiction books, the scientific explanations go over my head but in this book I had no problem understanding and believing in what is happening.

I loved that this story was a slow build and then you are left to wonder who Storm can and can’t trust. My favorite part of this book was the idea that even with civilization as we know it coming to an end, you still have a group of people trying to control the masses. I like this because I think if something like this was really going to happen there would still be people who wanted to have power over others.  Jubilee Year is the first in a three book series and definitely worth your time.