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Old 05 February 2018, 05:25 PM
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Crius of CoH Crius of CoH is offline
Join Date: 13 February 2006
Location: Paragon City (Cranston), RI
Posts: 1,954

I got a Kindle for Christmas, and I've had an Amazon Prime membership for a few years, so I've been reading a bunch of free books, mostly series, on the Kindle. And, for the most part, one can see why they aren't print books.... to be honest, some of these writers need a whole bunch of editing to make their stuff salable. And a couple of items turned out to be niche porn. So...

Stuff that is as good as or better than most print books I've read:

Expeditionary Force (series) by Craig Alanson. Humorous military SF told in first person by an Army grunt shanghaied, along with a bunch of other humans, into an alien race's space war. 4 novels and 1 novella to date. Pretty good stuff.

The Tome of Bill (series) by Rick Gualtieri. Humorous horror told in first person by a nerd/geek turned into a vampire, to whom the supernatural reality of the world is subsequently revealed. 8 novels and 3 novellas, plus one spin-off (I have not finished book 8 or read any of the novellas or the spin-off). I have no interest in vampire stuff, but a friend told me this would not trigger my revulsion; she was right. Also pretty good stuff.

Frontlines (series) by Marko Kloos. Serious military SF about a crapsack Earth and the unexpected attacks on human extrasolar colonies, told in first person by a kid who escapes the ghettoes of Earth by managing to qualify for military service. 6 novels (I have only read the first two, as a break from the Tome of Bill series; I will be returning to this when I finish ToB book 8). Not quite up to par with the above books, in terms of quality of writing and editing, but still very good.

The Divine Dungeon (series) by Dakota Krout. Somewhat humorous fantasy series, drawing very strongly from both pen-and-paper and computer RPG traditions, about how the dungeons from FRPGs are made, how they work if said FRPGs were "real". Told in both first and second person by the titular dungeon of the series, and by a main dungeon explorer - an "adventurer", if you will. The dungeon is the first person narrator. This one still places above the line for me, as it is well-written enough, and has a sufficiently interesting conceit, to overcome the editing issues and the inherent clumsiness of rationalizing FRPG tropes.

The Bobiverse (series) by Dennis E. Taylor. Humorous sort-of hard SF series about a guy who, through a short chain of unlikely but reasonable events, becomes a disembodied AI for a future crapsack America; it is no spoiler to reveal that he learns to create duplicates of himself and spends 3 novels trying to save the world (the first book is titled We Are Legion (We Are Bob)). Very good read.

Super Sales on Super Heroes (series) by William D. Arand. 2 books. I thought it was just superheroes fiction, but... it turns out it's sort-of "harem porn", as well. It is a superheroes series, told in the first person by a guy with an apparently near-useless super power, who discovers how to properly apply it and suddenly becomes a major super-person. Neither a true hero nor a villain, he tries to do right to those close to him, but constantly skirts a lot of moral grey and black issues to do so. This series is very fannish, with lots of obvious borrowings from anime as well as superhero tropes. The main character's power conveniently manifests to him as a kind of computer screen only he can see, but which makes the brass tacks of it's operation easy for the reader to follow. On the plus side, for me at least, it's a fairly decent superheroes story, the core conceit is interesting if a bit clumsily executed, and the "harem porn" aspect isn't terribly apparent and there is no actual porn - the one sex scene is only alluded to. On the minus side, it needs editing, and Mr. Arand's writing skills could use some tightening up.

Now we drop below the line:

Tamer (series) by Michael-Scott Earle. SF harem fantasy. Neither know nor care how many books in the series, at least 2. Read the first book, about a guy who gets kidnapped by aliens and transported to a planet of dinosaurs; turns out the aliens are doing this all across the galaxy and people from all kinds of humanoid races are being dropped there as well, to survive or die as they will. Everyone has a skill; the hero can tame dinosaurs. Skills level up! Started off OK, but when all the other male characters died and the sex-fantasy female harem was quickly introduced, I was done. The writing was not great and it needed plenty of editing. For me, only the introductory conceit was worth the while... OK, I am also a fan of dinosaurs, but they weren't enough to salvage this for me.

Montague & Strong Case Files (series) by Orlando Sanchez. 6 books, I think. Urban fantasy series about a hardboiled detective who is also supernatural in some way, with a partner who might be a vampire, I think. I can't remember. Only read the first book. Quick read, because it was basically the skeleton of a decent urban fantasy novel, without any of the flesh, and painted with a thin coating of Mary Sue. A friend recommended this to me as the best thing since sliced bread, so I guess YMMV, because I cannot muster up the energy to swipe the screen of my Kindle to check on the facts, let alone try and read book 2. Maybe it gets better, but I probably will never know.
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