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Showing posts from 2011

Cinderella's Secret Diary by Ron Vitale

Title: Cinderella's Secret Diary (Book 1: Lost)
Author: Ron Vitale
Genre(s) / Subgenre(s): speculative fiction / dark fantasy/ YA
Copyright: August, 2011
Formats: ebook (Kindle Edition), Paperback

Ron Vitale's novel about Cinderella is a young adult gothic version of the well-known fairy-tale.

At the beginning of the story the main character is a typical naive young girl, to such an extent that she is also a bit irritating at times, but soon she has to learn a bit more about life. Her marriage with the prince is not a very good one, and the queen is a frightening mother-in-law. The kingdom, which turns out to be England during the Napoleonic wars, is in great danger. Cinderella has lessons to learn about people, politics and love, while dark forces are also at work. As she gradually becomes a stronger, more mature and a much more independent woman, the story is also becoming darker and darker.

This is a novel about growing up, and also about magic, adventures, witchcraft and fa…

Good Contemporary SF: Best of Lightspeed Magazine

I have recently spent some time exploring the archives of Lightspeed Magazine, which is an excellent magazine of speculative fiction and it also includes podcasted stories.
I decided to share my best of list with you. (URLs added. All of this is free content.). Check these out if you still haven't.

These short stories will give you a very nice outlook on contemporary speculative-fiction literature. The selection is completely arbitrary and only reflects my personal taste. I only selected stories that give the reader something different form the classic (hard) sci-fi themes, as I like my sci-fi new and fresh.

These are the best 15 stories that I have found at the Lightspeed website:

- Transcript of Interaction Between Astronaut Mike Scudderman and the OnStar Hands-Free A.I. Crash Advisor by Grady Hendrix
A hilarious story about the sci-fi clichés about landing on alien planets and also about the extiction of humanity. It is worth listening to the audio (12:46 minutes), the actors d…

A Free SF Ebook : Smaller Than Most by Kristine Ong Muslim

Smaller Than Most is a short collection of flash fiction, with some very bizarre and surreal sci-fi and fantasy stories by a very talented author, Kristine Ong Muslim.  You can download the ebook from the Smashwords website.

Good Sci-fi Movies: Sleep Dealer (2008)

Sleep Dealer isa fascinating sci-fi movie from Mexico by Alex Rivera.
This is a film about a young man from a tiny village, who after the death of his father, goes to a big city to look for a job, with high hopes, and gets introduced to the a high-tech hell of the city dwellers. This is a world he always wished to know more about, but it's one, where with the use of advanced technologies, man is used to the extremes, man is humiliated and his only value is in making profit for the company.
The basic idea makes you think about the movie Surrogates, but it is somehow more realisticand gives you a much better picture of what uses the technologies that are described in cyberpunk novels could really have. It is not about an insanely comfortable lifestyle which allows you to do everything virtually by connecting to some network with some bodily implants. Since this is a Mexican movie, it is focusing more on the new ways of exploitation. It is about poor Mexicans doing all the work in the …

Is It Just Me? Or Is It Nuts Out There? by Whoopi Goldberg

Hyperion Books (October, 2010)

Whoopi Goldberg had a lead role in some of the best comedies of the 80s and the early 90s, so when I came across her book IsIt Just Me? Or Is It Nuts Out There? I immediately decided to get a copy.

This is a book of observations about the lack of respect that you can witness every day, with some humor added.She basically wrote a guidebook on what is acceptable behaviourand what is not at a lot of different places. The list includes for expl. cinemas, theatres, buses, trains, airports, airplanes, hotels, restaurants and workplaces.
The book is a bit didactic, sometimes overly didactic, but at times it is also a bit like watching stand up comedy.She is talking mainly about the US, but most of the thoughtless behaviours that she mentions are a part of everyday life at other parts of the world, too.

She notices that sometimes people just simply do not think that their behaviour can be irritating to others, even though there are many who simply do not care if th…

Transformation by Rab Fulton

Title: Transformation
Author: Rab Swannock Fulton
Genre(s) / Subgenre(s): speculative fiction / a love/ghost story

Here is what I wrote when I first reviewed Rab Fulton's book, Transformation, back in 2006.

"When I started to read Transformation, I only knew that it's a ghost story. I did not know what to expect, as there are so many types of ghost stories. Later, I realized this story is very different from those I've read before. The main character is a young man called Donnacha who moves to Galway after leaving school, and starts to work as a dishwasher. Transformation by Scottish writer Rab Swannock Fulton is the story of a young man's coming of age, getting to know love and perfection then gradually realizing his life is turning into a nightmare. The story is set in today's Ireland, which is still not entirely different from the Ireland of the legends, the one with beautiful landscapes, and where one can bump into a ghost any time. The story is well-wr…

The Best SF/F Books I Read Last Year

I've been plannig to write this for quite some time, but have always forgot it somehow. (It will have to be followed by this year's best reads soon…)

So here is my best of list:  - Audrey Niffenegger: The Time Traveller’s WifeA tale of time travel which is also a romance novel, a sort of Wuthering Heights for today's reader.- Philip K. Dick: Blade Runner
One of the best sci-fi novels I have ever read. It's a shame that so many SF fans who love the movie are too lazy to read the book. I'm trying to advertise it to my friends.
- Susanna Clarke:The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories
A collection of fantasy short stories about fairies in Jane Austen's England, with some strong female characters.
- Elizabeth Moon: The Speed of Dark This is a very intriguing sci-fi novel which is asking questions about the human mind and our concept of intelligence, about tolerance, illness and the meaning of the self. (It is definitely not for those of you who would like to read abo…

Some Good Free Reads: Kazohina - A Classic Spec Fic novel From Hungary

Kazohina by Sandor Szathmari is a classic Hungarian dystopia. It is a bit similar to Huxley's Brave New World, but it was written two years earlier.
Szathmari was mixing SF with satire and the main character is Gulliver who discovers a world that is very stange, sometimes quite mad, but also stangely similar to ours.
You can read the novel online, in Englishat can also find an article about it in English in Wikipedia.)

A poem of mine has appeared in the 10th Anniversary issue of Aoife's Kiss magazine

Issue 37 of Aoife's Kiss is a double issue and the absolutely awesome cover features Sandy DeLuca's "Lonely Night." 
This is a quarterly magazine of fantasy, science fiction, horror, sword & sorcery, and slipstream, which publishes short stories, poems, illustrations, articles, and reviews. Generally, some very intriguing stuff.
The list of contributors includes:
Greer Woodward: In Search Of Flight
Robert J. Sawyer: Star Light, Star Bright
Tyree Campbell: Starlet
Shelly Li: The Architect Of Apathy
J Alan Erwine: R-Complex
Tim McDaniel: A Little Green
D. Moonfire: Best Of Enemies
Kimberly Richardson: Violin
DoA Worrell: The Fermi Paradox
Ramon Rozas III: Night Of The Sevens
Edward Cox: Ideal Village
Dawn Marshallsay: Sleep-Less Highs
Susan E. Curnow: A Gift Horse
Gale Merrick: The Jeweled Necklace Of Ishtar
Keith P. Graham: Carnival Of Blood
Edward W. Robinson: In The Veins Of Arawn
Sam Kepfield: Azaleas
Barbara A. Barnett: The Deepening

Dark Highway by Dan Thomas

Some years ago, I reviewed Dark Highway, a truly entertaining zombie novel, for Novelspot.
It seems to me that zombies are more fashionable nowadays than ever, so it was just the right time for the Kindle edition to come out.
Read my review of this book here.

Publisher: Black Death Books (March 28, 2011)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services

Some Good Sci-fi Comedies: AROG and GORA

AROG is the sequel to the hilarious Turkish sci-fi comedy, GORA (2004) which achieved international success, and not quite without a reason.
The first movie includes scenes parodising a great number of Hollywood movies, and the main character is a brave Turkish carpet salesman who saves the world and the attractive princess. (After being kidnapped and taken to a prison ship by some aliens, one of whom impersonated Prince Charles...)

In AROG (2008), the villains return, and send the hero back in time in order to get rid of him, as their leader still wants to get close to the princess, and all this leads to a lot of advetures in prehistoric Earth.
Whereas GORA is a must-see, the second movie is just funny. Nevertheless, it is still recommended.

GORA (Trailer, Wiki, Imdb.)
AROG (Trailer, Wiki, Imdb.)

A poem of mine appeared in Sounds of The Night

The Febr issue of Sounds of The Night is out, with a poem of mine in it. (This is issue 8, and the poem's title is 'Enough is Better Than Too Much').
Sounds of the Night features science fiction and fantasy short stories and poetry, with a tad of romance thrown in.
Based on the list of contributors, it seems to be a nice selection. (I can hardly wait to get my contributor's copy).
Sounds of the Night is published by Samsdot Publishing. Copies of it can be ordered via the Genremall.

Some Good Free Reads: While the Waters Nearer Roll by James Dorr

James Dorr has posted a link to another short story, While the Waters Nearer Roll in his blog. It is worth reading. (This story was published in the Oct, 2007 issue of MAGUSZINE.)
He is the author of two collections by Dark Regions Press (Darker Loves; Strange Mistresses) and one novella. (The latter, The Garden, is available from Damnation Books). His stories and poetry have appeared in many magazines around the world. Visit his blog to read some more.

Some Good Free Reads: With A Rose Between Her Teeth by Valerie Collins

With A Rose Between Her Teeth is a funny short story about expats in Spain by Valerie Collins. (Click here to download it.) This story is also included in the Writers Abroad Anthology of Expat Stories.
Valerie Collins is co-author of In The Garlic, an English language guide-book to all things Spanish. Her short stories have recently appeared in two antologies and she is working on a novel.

A Poem For Horror Lovers: Trial

This has been one of my most successful poems so far.
It was voted Nr9 in The Preditors & Editors Readers Poll in 2005.


Rightful or unjust?
It's the place of claims
and pleas and lies.
Questions reverberate
on the corridors of the mind.
The hall is crowded
and all want to
get into the court room.

It's the place where I defended
rapists, crooks,
the man-eater
and the vivisector.
But who will defend me,
the most terrible monster of all?

A long row of corpses turn up,
they were all called to testify.

© Ilona Hegedus, May 2005
First Published in Whispers of
Wickedness, June 2005.

This poem also appeared in my (self-published) book of genre poetry,Uneartly Companion in 2005.(It's not on sale anymore.)

River City: A Series of Good Books For Those Who Like Police Stories

Do you like books that include loveable characters, heroism, grandeur, humor and crime?
Dead Even, the latest book in Frank Zafiro's fascinating River City series is now available from Gray Dog Press.

This time it's a short story collection, not a novel.
I reviewed the first novel, Under A Raging Moon some
years ago for Novelspot. (Those of you who do not know the series, can read my review of it here.)

New Poems

A sci-fi poem of mine will appear in Aoife's Kiss in June, and a fantasy poem will be in Sounds of the Night in Febr.

In the meantime, you can read some of my older poems here:
Clarissa,Ruler,Healer, Ghost Story,(these are from 2004 and 2005.) I will revamp the website soon, and I'll include more poems, too.