If you wish to send us books for next week’s promo, please email to bookpimping at outlook dot com. If you feel a need to re-promo the same book do so no more than once every six months (unless you’re me or my relative. Deal.) One book per author per week. Amazon links only. Oh, yeah, by clicking through and buying (anything, actually) through one of the links below, you will at no cost to you be giving a portion of your purchase to support ATH through our associates number. A COMMISSION IS EARNED FROM EACH PURCHASE.
*Note that I haven’t read most of these books (my reading is eclectic and “craving led”,) and apply the usual cautions to buying. – SAH*
FROM JAKUB WISZ AND TERESA GRABS: Incitatus
A tense, character-driven sci-fi thriller full of action, corporate intrigue, and creeping-dread horror.
A young woman defies her father in search of treasure among the stars…
Shao has two choices: live and die the boring corporate life her father demands she live OR go on an adventure searching for space pirate treasure.
Shao hates her boring, corporate-driven spaceship pilot job. Living up to her father’s vision for her hasn’t been easy, but she’s been a dutiful daughter. Until she discovers a data chip leading to a pirate treasure. Suddenly faced with a new path, she convinces her crew to ditch their corporate responsibilities to go on a treasure hunt instead.
Shao has no idea she’s made a huge mistake and that her crew-including her girlfriend, Mai Wren-will wind up paying for.
With forces beyond her knowledge at play, Shao stands to lose everything she holds dear. Her decisions will be her downfall and she’ll have to make tough calls that’ll forever alter her future and the lives of her crew. Some of them might not survive, but that was a choice Shao made, and she must live with the consequences… no matter what they may be.
Set in a hard sci-fi world of Aphelion, Incitatus takes place in the near future, after humanity colonized the entire Solar System, and technology blurred the lines between humans and machines.
The book is full of action, conflicting interests, intrigue, and fear of the unknown, both in the outside world and inside the human mind. From transhumanist themes to matters of love, individuality, and personal freedom, Incitatus is an engaging, exciting thriller for adult audience.
FROM CLAYTON BARNETT: Obligations of Rank
Empress Faustina has always ruthlessly used those around her. With her three sons now young men, it is their turn.
To the imperium’s west, the Texans are increasingly unhappy with the empress, especially following her use of a fusion weapon against the city of St. Louis. A broken demi-human, Edward, is sent to patch up what affairs he can.
North, fleeing the ice and snow of a coming ice age, the Canadians and their army are on the Ohio River, threatening territory the imperium considers its own. Young human Robert, undercover as a simply legionary, joins a task force to find out what is going on.
But the prize is the terraforming of Mars, led by the Russian Empire. Crown Prince Laszlo, a friend of the Russian court, takes an experimental ship to determine what they and their Machine allies are doing on the once-red planet.
FROM LAURA MONTGOMERY: Long in the Land
He’s a man on the run. But on this harsh alien world, freedom doesn’t mean he’s safe.
Peter Dawe can’t face his mother’s relentless grief. With her anguish deepening his guilt and the colony’s governor out for revenge, he’s desperate to escape a deadly situation ready to explode. So he jumps at the chance to journey north away from danger, chasing the rare sight of a long-lost aircraft.
Buoyed by the glimpse of a machine he’s never seen before, Peter discovers the pilot desperately needs aid for his newborn son. But with sinister agents searching for them both, the remote planet may not be big enough to preserve the young fugitive from his enemy’s vengeance.
Can Peter find them refuge before they all fall to their doom?
Long in the Land is the thrilling second book in the Martha’s Sons science fiction series. If you like captivating world-building, edge-of-your-seat tension, and memorable characters, then you’ll love Laura Montgomery’s high-stakes tale.Buy Long in the Land to make a stark choice today!
And now we come to a very special book promo.
It has come to my attention some of you haven’t read the syllabus and haven’t done the required reading. This cannot be! I send no compliment to your mothers. You deserve no such–
Oh, yeah, if you have time (or a cold. I usually re-watch it when I have a cold. I sit on the sofa with a carton of sugar free rocky road and watch all six hours) you definitely should watch the A & E Pride and Prejudice. I try to sneak a line from it into every book, the least likely the better. You too can participate in the text scavenge hunt.
Now, on the serious side, some of you have been silly enough to ask me for an auto-biography. This is not likely to happen, because I’m not that interesting. Mostly I grew up in books. However, it occurs to me I haven’t shared with you some of my favorite (indeed, some formative) books, so I thought you guys should get a list. Be careful, though, there might be more in the future.
I put a line or two on why I like the books. The authors some of whom are dead are held harmless from associating with such Nekulturny as myself and my fans and friends. Well, except the first one. He brought this on himself. He has no one else to blame.
So, the first book:
This is a special case. He sent me the book for promo a month or two ago, and said something about how stupid of him it was to write silent movie mysteries. For those not aware, I love mysteries set in the early 20th century, so I told him I’d probably read it, though not maybe in a timely manner.
Well, it ain’t be timely, but yesterday I bought it and read it, and then the first book (which seems to have been published by someone else?)
And you see, it’s AMAZING. And I want him to write more. As I know personally, having a pack of derran– er…. a nice group of fans begging for more can get you to write a lot of books. So I thought I’d do my best to get Christopher a whole mob of bay– er… group of intensely interested fans, so that he’ll write more mysteries for me to read.
Look, it makes perfect sense in my head!
From Christopher DiGrazia: The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of: A Theda Bara Mystery
THE STUFF THAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF
Hollywood, 1917. Silent movie queen Theda Bara is filming her epic, Cleopatra – “the one they’ll remember me for.” But when a studio extra turns up dead in a PR stunt gone wrong, Bara finds herself the center of intrigue, from a friend from the past who isn’t at all what she seems, to an Egyptian cult that wants her dead. With stars like Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin and Erich von Stroheim along for the ride, Bara and her loyal friend, makeup artist Toby Swanson, have to find out who is telling the truth, who is lying and whether it spells the end of Cleopatra. . .or of Hollywood itself.
THE BOOKS I LIKE BECAUSE I LIKE THEM and which influenced me though some of their authors were very politically silly.
His body hosting a pair of strange alien presences, an amnesiac space traveler returns home to an unrecognizable Earth
Many centuries in the future, a two-hundred-year-old man is discovered hibernating in a space capsule orbiting a distant star. Transported back to his home planet, Andrew Blake awakens to an Earth he does not recognize—a world of flying cars and sentient floating houses—with no memory whatsoever of his history or purpose. But he has not returned alone. The last survivor of a radical experiment abandoned more than a century earlier, Blake was genetically altered to be able to adapt to extreme alien environments, and now he can sense other presences inhabiting his mind and body. One is a biological computer of astonishing power; the other is a powerful creature akin to a large wolf. And Blake is definitely not the one in control. With his sanity hanging in the balance, Blake’s only option is to set out in frantic pursuit of his past, the truth, his destiny—and quite possibly the fate of humankind.
A bravura demonstration of unparalleled imagination, intelligence, and heart, The Werewolf Principle addresses weighty issues of genetic manipulation that are as relevant today as when the novel first appeared in print. One of the all-time best and brightest in speculative fiction, Grand Master Clifford D. Simak offers a moving, stunning, witty, and thought-provoking exploration of what it means to be human.
Note: more strange political beliefs are thrown out in this book than you can shake a very large stick at. But it gives you a good snapshot of “normal” in the mid century. And you know, the characters and the book itself is the best capture of “Odd” I’ve ever seen.
FROM REX STOUT: Fer-de-Lance
As any herpetologist will tell you, the fer-de-lance is among the most dreaded snakes known to man. When someone makes a present of one to Nero Wolfe, Archie Goodwin knows he’s getting dreadully close to solving the devilishly clever murders of an immigrant and a college president. As for Wolfe, he’s playing snake charmer in a case with more twists than an anaconda — whistling a seductive tune he hopes will catch a killer who’s still got poison in his heart.
NOTE: I’m a fan of Rex Stout, despite suspecting our political outlooks are worlds apart. Mostly he kept his out of the books, though it got thicker the longer the series went. Anyway, I first fell into his books when I was I think 6 and hanging out in the front room, where dad kept his mysteries.
For reasons known only to the publishers’ psychiatrists, the only collection of mysteries in Portugal at the time was Vampire. For those who don’t know it, I’m a ninny when it comes to horror, and was even more so then. I was afraid to touch the book, because there was a vampire bat on the spine. But I was bored. NO. I WAS BORED. Like, soul killing boredom. So I took that book down and it sent me on a life-long mystery reading habit. Ah, well.
From Agatha Christie: The Moving Finger.
The indomitable sleuth Miss Marple is led to a small town with shameful secrets in Agatha Christie’s classic detective story, The Moving Finger.
Lymstock is a town with more than its share of scandalous secrets—a town where even a sudden outbreak of anonymous hate mail causes only a minor stir.
But all that changes when one of the recipients, Mrs. Symmington, commits suicide. Her final note says “I can’t go on,” but Miss Marple questions the coroner’s verdict of suicide. Soon nobody is sure of anyone—as secrets stop being shameful and start becoming deadly.
NOTE: This book, right here, made me aware I was not alone. I was one of a type. I was a “smart girl who was likely to become a complete idiot” (No not an exact quote) until I took myself in hand. So I did. It’s also a very good mystery.
From Giovanni Guareschi: The Little World of Don Camillo
Reading ‘The Little World of Don Camillo’ is to travel to the Valley of the River Po, Italy’s widest and most fertile plain, with its unique atmosphere, culture and natural history. And to do so in the incomparable company of a cast of fictional characters who testify to the exquisite humour and humanity of their creator.
In the Little World, eternal forces grapple with the absurd drama of everyday life, and hilarious and unearthly things can happen.
If you keep this in mind you will have no difficulty in getting to know the village priest, Don Camillo, and his adversary, Peppone, the Communist Mayor. Nor will you be surprised when a third person watches the goings-on from a big cross in the village church and not infrequently intercedes . . .
In story after story, the hot-headed Catholic priest, Don Camillo, and the equally pugnacious Communist mayor, Peppone, confront one another, sometimes in a serious and violent manner.
The clever bit is the way Guareschi engineers a resolution to the conflict and transforms the situation to the great benefit of the local community, so that the two men put their political convictions aside and, however begrudgingly, develop respect for one another.
To enable this, the author creates a third main character, his finest creation and the most surprising. Il Cristo presides over proceedings from above the altar of the town church and counsels Don Camillo, exposing and undermining the stubborn priest’s personal politics and prejudices and, with fascinating insights and gentle humour, suggests paths of action which, with the benefit of hindsight, we come to see make things right.
Guareschi claimed that the voice from above the altar was simply the voice of his own conscience, but in the stories it is a living reality which enables solutions so simple that they are beyond the reach of political minds clouded with ideology and the need to win.
Guareschi’s message is that what works at the level of the Little World can be made to work universally, the world over.
More than fifty years on, these enchanting, wise and strangely moving stories of life in the Lower Plain continue to enthral millions of readers of all ages around the world. They have been feted not only in books but in films, in series on TV, on radio and most recently on YouTube. In this newly translated volume, many are available in English for the very first time.
Note: I first read Don Camillo as I first read just about everything. It was on dad’s shelf, and I was bored. It was summer, and I want to say I was seven or eight. These are SHORT stories. A few hundred words. And yet… When I grow up, I’d like to be able to capture humanity that well. Of course, I’m almost 60, so it’s probably hopeless. But you shouldn’t deny yourself. Things are hinkie, and reading things that remind us humanity is not all dross is much needed.
There will probably be some more later, including some very strange comics.
PRIMERS FOR SUBVERSION!
These books are in a way, a way of looking at what is happening, and precisely what can be done, and what can’t. There are others. These are the ones in my head right now.
From Robert A. Heinlein: The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress.
Widely acknowledged as one of Robert A. Heinlein’s greatest works, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress rose from the golden age of science fiction to become an undisputed classic—and a touchstone for the philosophy of personal responsibility and political freedom. A revolution on a lunar penal colony—aided by a self-aware supercomputer—provides the framework for a story of a diverse group of men and women grappling with the ever-changing definitions of humanity, technology, and free will—themes that resonate just as strongly today as they did when the novel was first published.
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress gives readers an extraordinary, thought-provoking glimpse into the mind of Robert A. Heinlein, who, even now, “shows us where the future is” (Tom Clancy).
NOTE: As you know I’m “the woman who loves Heinlein” so I’d tell you to read all of his work, even the one where he kills the cat. (Yes, I’m still smarting. Why?)
But my favorite is probably The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress. It was the primary influence on A Few Good Men, for instance. (Not linking, because I haven’t reissued, but no, not the movie. My book.)
FROM LLOYD BIGGLE JR: The Still, Small Voice of Trumpets
The IPR Bureau (whose motto is “Democracy imposed from without is the severest form of tyranny”) works to bring newly discovered planets up to the point where they have a planetary democratic government and then induct them into the galactic federation. Unfortunately, the planet Furnil offers problems. The continent of Kurr has a well-entrenched monarchy, and the citizens seem little inclined to change. In fact, they immerse themselves in art rather than politics…and have been doing so for more than 400 years! So what’s a poor IPR agent to do…? Classic science fiction!
Note: This is one of my favorite books. Interestingly it gave me a way to visualize what happened with traditional publishing. The idea that they published all worthy books could only continue so long as they could banish the authors who displeased them for whatever reason and make sure they were never seen again. Now, of course that’s broken, and we’re out, playing our trumpets….
I think it’s much like that on the political side. They only win if they can make us invisible. Be as visible as you can afford to be. They can’t silence all the trumpets.
From Giovanni Guareschi: Comrade Don Camillo
‘Those who read The Little World of Don Camillo will need no more than the news of this new volume to send them quickly to their bookshops so lovely, so humorous, and so wise.’ Harpers & Queen
In the Little World of Don Camillo, an Italian village in the Emilia-Romagna, the beauty of life lies in the connectedness of things. But, as at national level, relations between its people – normally pleasant, hospitable, generous, and with a high sense of humour – have become polarised by politics.
Since the end of the war, Stalin has been working to absorb Eastern Europe into the Soviet orbit, with every expectation of Italy being annexed to the Soviet Socialist Republic. Russia and America are like two scorpions in a bottle, each capable of killing the other but only at the risk of his own life. There is the constant fear that one side will press the nuclear button and the whole world be reduced to wasteland.
Meanwhile, in Don Camillo’s Little World, where there were indeed more communists per capita than anywhere in Italy, the global struggle is reflected in hilarious relief in the conflict between its hot-headed Catholic priest and Peppone, its Communist mayor.
But now, in this 4th book in Guareschi’s series, it is 1959; Khrushchev has come to power. There is talk of détente, and Peppone has decided to take a group of Italian communists on a trip to Mother Russia. Determined not to miss a God-sent opportunity to throw a spanner in the works, Don Camillo skilfully inveigles himself into the group, and to Peppone’s dismay he becomes life and soul of the Party.
In a riot of shrewd manipulation, Don Camillo picks off his totalitarian comrades one-by-one, trapping them into demonstrating the repressive nature of the politically correct virtual world they occupy. But then ‘fate’ intervenes, and to everyone’s surprise the group discover a common denominator more radical than any political ideology…
As ever, Guareschi’s fictional characters testify to the exquisite humour and humanity of their creator, while the message of his satire, which applies to all times and all places, remains that what works in the microcosm of the Little World can be made to work universally, the world over.
NOTE: Before Allinski there was Comrade Don Camillo. Some of the tactics are startlingly similar like “Make them live up to their stated rules.”
But Guareschi was a decent human being, so most of his tactics are both more principled and aimed at redemption rather than destruction. Also, it’s funny, of course.
Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike.
So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.
We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts, don’t jump up and down too hard on typos and grammar.
If you have questions, feel free to ask.
Your writing prompt this week is: Rural