Signal Boost: FROSTBORN: THE GRAY KNIGHT — now in Audio!

The latest book in the Frostborn series is now available on audio. This series includes bestsellers across several platforms.

Audio on Amazon

If you buy the ebook for $0.99, Amazon lets you add the audiobook for $2.99:

Ebook on Amazon

From the author of DEMONSOULED and THE GHOSTS, here is a new epic fantasy of high adventure, heroism, and daring deeds.

A thousand years ago, the last grandson of Arthur Pendragon led the survivors of Britain through a magical gate to a new world, a world of magic and high elves, of orcs and kobolds and stranger, darker creatures. Now the descendants of the exiles rule a mighty kingdom, peaceful and prosperous under the rule of the High King.

But a shadow threatens to devour the kingdom.

RIDMARK ARBAN was once a Swordbearer, a knight of renown. Now he is a branded outcast, stripped of his sword, and despised as a traitor.

But he alone sees the danger to come.

CALLIANDE awakens in the darkness, her memories gone, and creatures of terrible power hunting her.

For she alone holds the secret that can save the world…or destroy it utterly.

The secret of the Frostborn.


Standing over six feet tall, Jonathan Moeller has the piercing blue eyes of a Conan of Cimmeria, the bronze-colored hair a Visigothic warrior-king, and the stern visage of a captain of men, none of which are useful in his career as a computer repairman, alas.

He has written the DEMONSOULED series of sword-and-sorcery novels, and continues to write THE GHOSTS sequence about assassin and spy Caina Amalas, the COMPUTER BEGINNER’S GUIDE series of computer books, and numerous other works.

Visit his technology blog

The Catholic Geek: Awakened Modern 05/21

The Catholic Geek: Awakened Modern 05/21 by We Built That Network | Books Podcasts:

Every Sunday at 7PM Eastern, Declan Finn hosts a podcast, The Catholic Geek Radio show.

Tonight, Authors Hal Greenberg and Walt Ciechanowski will join host Declan Finn as they discuss the anthology The Awakened Modern.

Walt Ciechanowski is an award-winning author and developer who primarily writes for the roleplaying games industry, contributing to such lines as DC Adventures, Doctor Who, Dungeons & Dragons, Mutants & Masterminds, Rotted Capes, and Victoriana. He is also a founding contributor to Gnome Stew and has co-written several books offering roleplaying advice. Outside of the roleplaying game industry, Walt has also contributed a short story to the anthology The Stories in Between. Walt lives in Springfield, Pennsylvania with his wife Helena and his three children, Leianna, Stephen, and Zoeanna. 

Hal Greenberg is an ENNIE winning art director, author, game designer, lead on anthologies, and world builder. Some of his works include the world of The Awakened®, Sisterhood of the Blade®, Bluffside: City on the Edge, Approaching Dawn: Witching Hour. Hal has worked with such industry veterans as Monte Cook, Todd Lockwood, Jeff Easley, Jim Butler and many more. He has been a guest at GenCon, Necronomicon, and Salty Bay Con. Hal is a divorced father of two, with one dog, who resides in Florida. His hobbies include collecting: books, games, movie and TV props, art (sci-fi/fantasy and animation), watches, knives, and swords. He has also recently taken up the art of Bonsai with his daughter. Hal enjoys playing RPG’s (online and in person), board and card games, and binge watching Netflix® in his spare time. You can find him on Facebook at realhalgreenberg.

Science Blast! — Quantum Liquid Crystals

Is this the breakthrough that the future of androids has been waiting for?

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

These images show light patterns generated by a rhenium-based crystal using a laser method called optical second-harmonic rotational anisotropy. At left, the pattern comes from the atomic lattice of the crystal. At right, the crystal has become a 3-D quantum liquid crystal, showing a drastic departure from the pattern due to the atomic lattice alone.
Credit: Hsieh Lab/Caltech

Physicists at the Institute for Quantum Information and Matter at Caltech have discovered the first three-dimensional quantum liquid crystal — a new state of matter that may have applications in ultrafast quantum computers of the future.

“We have detected the existence of a fundamentally new state of matter that can be regarded as a quantum analog of a liquid crystal,” says Caltech assistant professor of physics David Hsieh, principal investigator on a new study describing the findings in the April 21 issue of Science. “There are numerous classes of such quantum liquid crystals that can, in principle, exist; therefore, our finding is likely the tip of an iceberg.”

Read more…

#SpaceOperaWeek: Five Current Space Operas You Should Be Reading

Yesterday I posted a definitive list of all-time best space operas, but there are some current new ones that provide a fresh take on the genre as well. I’m assuming you’ve already read my Star Realms: Rescue Run, so here’s what I’m excited to be reading lately:

1. The Revelations Cycle Series by Mark Wandrey and Chris Kennedy. Mechs. Monsters. Aliens. Mercs. This series is pure space opera fun with a really well-detailed world. The first book, Cartwright’s Cavaliers deals with one of the major human merc companies going through a bankruptcy and a young man inheriting the mantle to take it over and make it great again. It’s riveting fun all the way through, and you’ll love the CASPer mech suit action the whole way through. I Haven’t read the second book yet, but it’s on my short list to read soon!

2. Excalibur by Tim Marquitz. When I opened this up I felt like I was living what I wanted out of the Babylon 5 spinoff series Crusade that they never got around to delivering me. We have a somewhat disgraced captain who has been doing special jobs for the Covenant on the side with his band of fun and supremely competent crewmen. His ship is made of stolen alien tech — and those aliens are back in force, but for some reason, the fleet is caught with their pants down. It’s up to him to save the galaxy.

3. The Maxwell Saga by Peter Grant. I just picked up Take The Star Road, the first in a currently five book series. This is a Horatio Alger in space type of story, where we have a man picking up and working on a trading vessel to get experience to go join up with a colony that promises opportunity. A fun read the whole way, and he gets caught up with a Yakuza-type crime syndicate and their ancient legends. I’ve been told we can expect a new book in the series around Christmas.

4. The Darkship Series by Sarah Hoyt. There’s a world out there of genetically modified humans that is just rumor to the denziens of earth.They’re supposed to be terrible people to be eradicated, but our hero learns to love the people of Eden, or should I say a person of Eden, as adventure unfolds and nothing is what it seems. Lots of action and romance in this one. A new installment, Darkship Revenge, just came out a couple weeks ago!

5. A Greater Duty by Yakov Merkin. I just picked this one up, as it came out a couple of days ago, but it promises a lot of cool alien species, epic battles with a Galactic Alliance, and as a member of the #PulpRevolution, I know Yakov will have great instincts for a fun, dynamic story. It’s also edited by Superversive Press’s Ben Zwycky.

A Tale of Two Reviews

Two more reviews of John C. Wright’s Hugo nominated short story “An Unimaginable Light” from “God, Robot” have emerged. Here is the consensus from the Frisky Pagan:

Personally, I classify philosophical robot stories where the main point is Artificial Intelligence and not terminators trying to eradicate humanity in the same category as Time travel —a broken concept. It seems like putting the cart before the horse to me, like speculating about the consequences whose premises we don’t even understand. You might as well call them golems and say magicians built them (and surely nobody is going to bother about the problem of Hard Conscious then.)

Now that I have already ranted, what about Wright’s story? Is it good? Yes, it is, and it might be the top finalist, and that could still apply even if the others weren’t so bad (with the notable exception of Vaught’s story.)

As I don’t want to spoil anything, I’ll just say that Unimaginable Light follows (and subverts) certain known tropes and twists in robot/human stories, but where the story excels is in its intellectual or philosophical themes. Robots are, to a considerable degree, a device, an excuse to talk about human nature, morality, religion, God, and a bit about contemporary society.

Read the full review at the link above.

Here we have a new review from Goodreads:

I made the mistake of getting this book in order to read the Hugo short story finalist “An Unimaginable Light,” by John C. Wright, in fairness, since I will be voting. The story was a twisted robot story involving a misogynistic experiment. It’s important to note Wright’s story, by virtue of its Hugo recognition, is likely the best of the anthology. Let’s just say it won’t be getting my vote. The book was returned for a refund. I ordered by mistake, thinking I could tolerate the Puppy paradigm. Not interested in trying anything else from these authors. Creamy thighs, coerced fellatio, threatened flayings and actual burnings just not being my thing.

It is bad form to respond to criticisms. Luckily, none were made. “I don’t prefer this story for vague reasons” is apparently enough to give an entire book – otherwise unread – one star, under the assumption that every other story will also not be written to the reader’s satisfaction.

That the reader prefers a different *type* of story is hardly a fair judgment of the story as written. That’s like reading “King Lear” and giving it one star on the grounds that you don’t like sad endings.

The book was not in any way, shape, or form a puppy book. It is true that many of the authors are associated with the superversive and Castalia crowd. This is because I had connections with some already and was a fan of others.The only authors in the anthology are ones I had already read and loved; puppy or not puppy had nothing to do with it.

The one semi-exception is Steve Rzasa; I asked him to join on because I read his short story “Turncoat” from “Riding the Red Horse” and enjoyed it immensely, and I wouldn’t have read it were it not a puppy nominee. This, of course, is totally irrelevant – I asked Steve to join because I thought his writing was *good*, not because he was a puppy. nominee. As for John’s story, I literally had no idea what it would be about in advance beyond the intentionally broad general theme of the anthology.

The review already has three likes; my suspicion is that other anti-puppy folks were looking for an excuse to bash a puppy work, and found one in a reader who supposedly read it and disliked it. I highly doubt it’s the quality of the “review”…if you can even call it that.

Ordinary, Everyday Life: Good For Dramas, Not For Epics

Friend and good-natured troll Jon Del Arroz recently wrote about his experience with Tor’s blog, and it was on something that was bothering me for a while. Here was the paragraph that struck me.

Unfortunately, the promise that Tordotcom made in #SpaceOperaWeek turned out to be nothing but thin air.  The launch page really didn’t talk about space opera at all, just having some big logo announcing their initiative. The next post wasn’t about space opera or the joys of its fiction — but presenting a false narrative that women are somehow oppressed and erased in the genre (rebutted by the Hugo-nominated Castalia House who’s been active talking about the great women of space opera for years), a post about ponies in space,a post about the “underrated importance of ordinary, everyday life” in storytelling, and then shilling for a couple of Tor authors. Nothing else. No real space opera discussion at all.

It was the part about the ‘underrated importance of ordinary, everyday life‘ that struck me. I am not opposed to people writing about ‘ordinary, everyday life,’ as I am not opposed to people writing. Anything to get people more creative. I’m just not going to read it, and a lot of people aren’t either.

You think that’s an exaggeration? Surely, I’m projecting my own tastes onto the faceless masses. Well, not really. A little digging at a site called The-Numbers, which tracks movie sales and business, will show my theory in action. I took three ‘ordinary, everyday life’ films (Moonlight, La La Land, and Manchester by the Sea) and compared them with three heroic/speculative movies (Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy, and American Sniper). The results

For those of you who didn’t click the link, American Sniper is up top (war movie, with a side of patriotism), followed by Guardians of the Galaxy (space opera with a star-studded (pardon the pun) cast), both exceeding $300 million dollars. Doctor Strange (superhero fantasy with a martial arts twist) was lower, but still earning over $200 million.

Now, next we have La La Land (drama about a woman going off to Hollywood- not ‘ordinary, everyday life,’ but without any exotic elements like aliens or magic, or any heroic acts of valor, as one might find in a war movie). That grossed approximately $150 million. Manchester by the Sea (depressed man has to take care of his brother’s son, ‘ordinary, everyday life’ ensues) grossed just under $50 million, and Moonlight (Gay black guy goes through life in a rough neighborhood) made barely over $21 million.

My theory is that fiction in general, speculative fiction and heroic fiction in particular, is the incarnation of mythology for the modern age, though without the religious connotations. Think about the classical myths. They featured gods, sorceresses, heroes, monsters, magic, and all sorts of non-mundane artifacts. ‘Ordinary, everyday life’ has a place here, and it’s where the hero starts before he is torn into a realm of ‘extraordinary life,’ full of monsters and gods and demons and witches. Either that, or he is called to conflict greater than himself, and thus ‘ordinary, everyday life’ must be forsaken for something greater, usually war (The Iliad, for example).

Space Opera is an epic myth, with psionics instead of sorcerers, and spaceships instead of chariots, with planets in place of strongholds. The urge to focus on the mundane and the ordinary, when the very heavens are calling to you, is a failure of the spirit of space opera. It is beginning at the launchpad, and staying there. To focus on the ‘ordinary, everyday life’ is fine for drama. But for space opera, it is failure to launch.

Corey McCleery is a columnist and frequently top-100 listed fantasy author on the website Wattpad. His book, called Fever Blood, about a dragon-man who saves a woman and the adventures they have together, can be found here.