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Alen B Curtiss

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Songs of the Dying Earth
Songs of the Dying Earth
Price: 4.05

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Took me back to the original stories, 21 Oct 2013
Many years ago, when I was still a moody teenager, I was browsing in a local used book store. I read a lot in those days – still do, but sadly not as much as when I was a teen, as life has a habit of interrupting like it never did when I was a kid. I enjoyed mostly horror and fantasy, with the occasional foray into science fiction. Sci-fi hadn’t caught my attention as much as the other two genres, though I did enjoy Ray Bradbury’s stories, and the Dune series.

I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, I just had nothing better to do on that particular day. Nothing had caught my fancy on any of the many shelves, so I turned my attention to the cheapest of the cheap books, piled in wooden boxes set on the floor. And there it was – Jack Vance’s The Dying Earth. At the time, I’d never heard of Jack Vance, didn’t know what he wrote, didn’t know if he was any good. But the title had caught my attention. In the midst of my depressing and negative teenage angst, the Earth dying had a certain appeal to me. I paid a few coins for the dog-eared paperback and ambled off home.

Hours later, bleary eyed and yawning, I read the final page and closed the cover. Although tired, with a slight headache from reading for too long in poor light, I was ecstatically happy and grinning like a loon. What I had just read, just experienced, was, for me, nothing short of amazing. Pure brilliance. That world, under it’s fading red sun. Those people, in their crumbling cities. The magicians, sorcerers, thaumaturges, with their spells. Spells so vast many years were needed to memorise just one. The creatures, the demons, the created beings. And the stories! Oh, what imagination, what creative genius! I fell asleep a very happy teenager. And when I awoke the next morning, I turned straight to page one and read it all again.

Songs Of The Dying Earth – an anthology of short stories by 21 notable authors, and edited by George R. R. Martin, was put together as a tribute to Jack Vance and the fabulous world he created.

Each of the stories is lovingly crafted, trying – and succeeding – to capture the essence of the original tales. Some use characters and places created by Vance, others use their own original people and cities in the style of Vance. Each one is a thoroughly enjoyable read but, in my opinion, there are two that are weaker than the others. It seemed to me that they were trying too hard to emulate Jack Vance – most notably the unique language that he uses. That’s not to say they’re not good short stories though, as they are.

Reading this anthology transported me back to my youth, to the joy, wonder and amazement I experienced when I first read Jack Vance’s work. It was almost as if I was back in the bed of my teenage years, curled up under the covers, desperately reading as fast as I could, trying to reach the final page before the dying batteries in my torch finally gave out.

If you haven’t already read The Dying Earth by Jack Vance then I implore you – buy it as soon as you can and lose yourself in it’s magnificence. And once you have done so, make sure you get your own copy of Songs Of The Dying Earth and travel back to Mr. Vance’s masterpiece.

Trust me, it’s worth every penny. Go get it. Now.

Passive Income for Life: A Time-Tested Secret Recipe for Building a $50,000 Cash Machine on Your Spare Time (Almost Free Money)
Passive Income for Life: A Time-Tested Secret Recipe for Building a $50,000 Cash Machine on Your Spare Time (Almost Free Money)
Price: 1.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 'must buy' for any buddy entrepreneur!, 24 July 2013
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This is the first book by Eric Michael that I have read, but it won't be the last. His writing style is very clear, explaining his examples in plain, easy to understand language.
Let's face it, who hasn't thought about how good it would be to be able to buy items cheap and sell them for a profit, earning themselves a nice secondary income in the process. Eric Michael's book explains how easy this can be, and why Amazon is the ideal market place.
Mr. Michael leaves you in no doubt that this is NOT a get rich quick scheme, but rather a tried and tested long term method. It takes dedication, but it in no way consumes all of your time.
Although obviously written for the American market, don't let that put you off. The easy to follow directions are easily translated to suit whichever country you may be in - the UK in my case.
Excellently written, clearly explained - a must read for any budding entrepreneur!

Mountain Justice
Mountain Justice
Price: 0.77

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Justice, mountain style!, 24 July 2013
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This review is from: Mountain Justice (Kindle Edition)
A nice, short read, ideal to keep you entertained during a break at work etc. And entertaining it is too, keeping you involved and gripped from the first paragraph. The characters are well developed, and even for such a short read, you still care about what happens to them.
It was nice to see a horse play such a big part in the outcome, rather than the usual literary 'heroic' dog. Justice prevailed, which is always a good thing.
A good story, well worth the time to read it.

Out of the Darkness
Out of the Darkness
Price: 0.77

5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly recommended!, 5 July 2013
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This is a story about two people, Livi and Shane, who have both been made fragile by differing life experiences. The story revolves around them gradually forming a relationship after their first fortuitous meeting, and Livi helping Shane with his demons. At the same time, really unknown to Livi, Shane is also helping her to come to terms with an abusive upbringing.
Shane and Livi are portrayed very well by the author, their characters are believable, and you find yourself really caring for the both of them.
The story as a whole is well written, secondary characters are brought to life well, and the text is flowing and descriptive.
I thoroughly enjoyed this short story, and will definitely read more from this author. Highly recommended and well deserving of it's five stars.

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