Scifi by Asimov and a Transgendered Search for Identify – Wait a Minute – Isaac Asimov? #scifi #sciencefiction #bookreview #genderequality

cover Robots of DawnIsaac Asimov, a giant of early 20th Century science fiction, is often criticized for awkward writing with flat characters. Could his book The Robots of Dawn, and in particular a sex scene in the story (Asimov? sex?) have helped a trans preteen find his way?

This is a great article and you should read it in its entirety. What riveted the author about Asimov’s character was:

Baileyโ€™s desires and fantasies effortlessly become reality: Without his asking for it, sex came to him exactly as he imagined it because he was a smart masculine detective guy. I wanted that pleasure and ease and wordless understanding between the object of my desire and myself…
The phrase I now have for it is gender dysphoriaโ€”I shunned any experience that sought to tie me to my female body, and in turn escaped that body by mapping my sexual fantasies onto those of cisgender, heterosexual men, in scifi, in pornography, and beyond.

Asimov’s story focuses on a case of roboticide. There are, of course, robots with positronic brainpaths (Mr. Data, here’s your creator.) But he set his story on a planet where sex is casual and monogamy nonexistent. Well, Asimov is also known for writing for adolescent boys. And his story opened up new possibilities for at least one youngster.

I’ve never read the book and headed to Amazon to find over 200 reviews and a 4.5 star rating. Readers love the robot mystery, and also note some elements that didn’t age well over the decades.

  • Fascinating take on culture clashes and assumptions made–even while it remains blind to some of the assumptions of the time period in which it was written.
  • The sex scenes were written in an odd way, I thought, showing that the character (as well as the author perhaps?) was not comfortable
  • There doesn’t seem to be any ethnic diversity
  • This book dragged on and on. I bought it for my 14 year old and found it was really inappropriate.

Even the writer who found the book transformative as a preteen says, “When I re-read The Robots of Dawn now, passages that I absorbed uncritically at the time are transformed into stumbling blocks… a fantasy world that had no place for me or anyone like me.”

I’ve found some of Asimov’s other work to be dated. I have fond memories of some of his books and have avoided re-reading them exactly because I don’t want to spoil the memories.

I’m intrigued. The book resonated for a particular person at a particular point in his young life. What do you think? Should I read Robots of Dawn? Will you read it?

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Summer Book Sale, All Kinds, Links Here, Leave Comments #books #ebook #reading #readingtweet

Colony on Mars series coversIt’s half over but still time for great deals.ย  My links are below, and click here for loads more books in all genres!

Please do me a favor. Come back here and enter a comment on a book – one sentence is enough for me to share with other readers!

Here are my Smashwords links! The discount code is on each page. Thanks for your help ๐Ÿ™‚

50% off Colony on Mars Box Set – all 5 stories, what a deal

50% off Storm on Mars – the latest Mars colonization book

50% off Venture – space station disaster leads to a fantastic journey

Science inspired poetry collections – 1st collection free, 2nd collection free, latest collection 50% off

Glitch, my predictions of the future rolled into a story, free

It’s summer! The perfect time for great deals on books. I publish through Smashwords and they run a blow-out sale every July. Now’s the time to download your summer reading and find a new favorite author.

Browse all the great Smashwords deals here.

Do it now – these deals expire 11:59pm USA Pacific time on July 31

Summer Book Sale – Yeah, there’s me, but lots more too :) #books #ebook #reading #redaingtweet

Colony on Mars series coversIt’s summer! Time for great deals on ebooks. I publish through Smashwords and they run a blow-out sale every July. Now’s the time to download your summer reading and find a new favorite author.

Browse all the great Smashwords deals here.

Below are my Smashwords links! The discount code is on each page. Please leave a review – a sentence or two is all it takes to make my day ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks for your help.

50% off Colony on Mars Box Set – all 5 stories, what a deal

50% off Storm on Mars – the latest Mars colonization book

50% off Venture – space station disaster leads to a fantastic journey

Science inspired poetry collections – 1st collection free, 2nd collection free, latest collection 50% off

Glitch, my predictions of the future rolled into a story, free.

Do it now – these deals expire 11:59pm USA Pacific time on July 31

Bowl of Heaven a bowl of rehash, doesn’t even have an ending #bookreview #review #scifi #sciencefiction

Bowl of Heaven coverIt’s not often I finish a book with the urge to throw it across the room, but that’s where Bowl of Heaven left me. I didn’t even get that satisfaction because I had a hardcover book and was afraid I’d break something.

With two popular authors, “science fiction masters” (so the blurb says) Larry Niven (best known for Ringworld) and Gregory Benford (best known for Timescape) I expected more. The story begins with grand ideas – an interstellar ship with most of the crew in hibernation and an amazing, huge ship-star, a variation on a Dyson sphere (and, therefore, a variation on Niven’s Ringworld from 1970) that is quite cool and fun to contemplate. Cool enough that the book seems to repeat descriptions and slack-jawed wonder of the contrivance (the authors like the word contrivance) from time to time throughout the book. But, okay, maybe some readers forget and appreciate the repetition. I noticed but wasn’t especially annoyed.

A landing party from the interstellar ship gets separated, one group captured by the enormous bird-like rulers, the other running and trying to learn about the vast contrivance. They’re mostly on foot so we see only a teeny tiny bit of the vast Bowl. The captured group escapes, so the story follows two groups on the run in the Bowl, plus those remaining on their ship above the contrivance. (I’m getting used to that word.)

Some scenes are told from the Bird-Folk’s point of view and therefore comment on humanity’s weaknesses, though I couldn’t shake the image of Sesame Street’s Big Bird from my mind.

The landings parties wander around the Bowl. Well, I guess wander isn’t fair – they are being chased. As the story progresses, they find more interesting technologies and species of Bowl inhabitants. Interesting, but not especially riveting.

What got me was – the book ends after 400+ pages, but the story doesn’t. There isn’t even a particular cliffhanger. It just stops – go buy the next book. The blurb on Amazon doesn’t warn you that you’re buying half a story (at $8.99 for the Kindle version.) That makes me angry. I’m used to multi-book series, but I expect each book to have an ending. Scheisse. The next book is available. They call it a sequel. Sequel my eye – it’s part 2, and I hope the story gets to a conclusion, but I don’t expect to read it.

The Bowl gets 3.1 stars on Amazon (from a hefty 291 reviews the day I checked.) I’ve never seen a distribution like this – reviews are evenly divided among all five star rating levels! As many people hate the book as love it.

“Old themes rewarmed and mixed together,” “long, rambling, resolves nothing.” I agree with those comments. “Physics is solid and the engineering is great.” I agree with that too. Maybe that’s why the book returns to descriptions of the Bowl so often.

So after six years on Amazon Kindle, how can this book still rank #644 in its scifi category? With an overall Kindle store ranking of #118,990, someone buys the book every day. Those are awesome rankings that I, as a newbie scifi author, would love to have.

Come on people. Try something new! How about my near-future Mars colony? Find Glory on Mars and the rest of the series on Amazon and other favorite stores. Or join my Readers’ Club and get a coupon for a free download of Glory on Mars. Mars isn’t as big as the Bowl, but give the story a try.

If not my story, give someone’s story a try. You can probably buy two or three ebooks from new authors for what the Bowl will cost you.

Looking for a Summer Read? Try Science Fiction – over 100 free previews and books here #sciencefiction #scifi #ebook #giveaway #

Instafreebiew GiveawaySummer is the time for reading, on the beach, sitting in the shade, or curled up in your favorite chair. Vacation or staycation, you gotta have a book.

Here’s over 100 science fiction freebies – previews and full novels. Check them out. Discover a new favorite author today.

Click YES when you download, leave your email address, and you’ll hear more from the author. Cancel anytime.

To say thanks, post a book reveiw wherever you hang out. A sentence or two is all that’s needed. If you want to help an author out and you have an Amazon account, post a review there. Most authors are on Amazon, so search for the book and post there. Amazon’s the Big Dog so it really helps an author find new readers. You’ll kake someone’s day ๐Ÿ™‚

Time Travel Without Wormholes, Historical Fiction from Science Fiction’s Golden Age #review #bookreview #history #fantasy #historicalfiction

Kindle cover, which is WRONG. My paperback has the 1882 picture in tinted color with black & white around it, the way the hero sees New York

Jack Finney wrote some classic science fiction. I’m most familiar with his book The Body Snatchers from 1950, a Golden Age story. But I recently found one of his later paperbacks in a used book store. It’s from 1970 but now on Amazon, Time and Again.

This is a time travel story, but there are no wormholes or flux capacitors. I’ll let you discover the method on your own. It may disappoint hard science fiction fans, but the detail put into the experiment is engaging.

The real point of this story is to contrast New York City today (remember, published in 1970) with New York in 1882. There are loads of real pictures from the era, though not all exactly from 1882. An apartment building is a key part of the story, and Finney admits in his author’s note that it wasn’t completed until three years after his story. Why didn’t he simply move his story a few years? There’s another building that figures in the story’s climax, where Finney uses a real event that was more important than the date the Dakota was completed. But the Dakota is such a magnificent structure I’ll forgive the little fudge.

The Dakota apartment building

I’ve got to show you the Dakota

The Dakota may sound familiar to you. It’s been a fancy abode for the rich and famous from its opening to today. Yoko Ono lives there now and John Lennon was murdered outside the building in 1980. So it’s infamous as well as famous.

If it seems odd to talk so much about buildings instead of the story, I think Finney would approve. Any lover of New York or the late 1800s will adore the detailed descriptions of places, people, and the way of life. Finney and his hero Si Morely love New York in 1882. The point of the book is to contrast the two times, and there are more period-correct illustrations than I bothered to count.

Si Morely is impressed at how he experiences 1882. He goes on about it quite a bit, and during his returns to today everyone wants to know how it feels. Si can’t truly put the feeling into words, but Finney tries. He’s impressed throughout the book and I thought he would have gotten a bit more used to the feel over time.

Okay, the story: Si is recruited for a secret time travel experiment, and at first his only goal is to successfully arrive in New York’s 1882. But an odd personal motive arises – a mystery. Half way through the book, it seems that his mystery is solved. He even says, my mission is over and I wish that it weren’t. At least in part, that’s because he’s falling in love with a woman as well as with 1882.

When he returns to today, a second mission arises and Si makes a decision that promises to cause trouble. It does. Towards the end, the placid tale picks up some real action. Lives are in danger and lives are lost. The original mystery turns out to have a second mystery inside, in a neat twist. Finally Si tackles the core paradox of time travel, how the past effects the present.

So if you read for action, be patient and you’ll get there. But this book is really for lovers of cities a hundred and thirty years ago. Especially New York.

What others are saying
A Kindle version came out in 2014 and has 4.2 stars from 882 reviewers on Amazon. Most readers love it, especially the vivid, brought-to-life history. “Masterpiece,” “brilliant,” and “awesome.” Of course, no book appeals to everyone. Others thought it was over-hyped, or that parts were tedious. I will admit that once I got to the action part of the story, I began skimming descriptions so I could find out what happens. The person who said “nothing ever really happened” must not have gotten all the way to the end, but if you want a fast paced story, this is the wrong book.

Short Reads in Scifi and Fantasy – Great Price UPDATE for a few more hours, Great Fun #scifi #sciencefiction #scififri #stories #shortstory

A lazy summer day is the perfect time for a short story or some flash fiction. Come to think of it, so’s a commute or a break during the day. My collection of short science fiction and fantasy stories, now available on Amazon Kindle for 99 cents. Two days only at this ridiculous price, starting June 1st 8 am PDT 4 pm BST through June 3rd 1 pm PDT 9pm BST. If you’re late, don’t despair. Discounts continue through June 5th, so check it out.

BTW – Wondering how those times were chosen? Don’t ask me. It’s an Amazon thing.

UPDATE: I put my collection on Kindle Select, which means if you use Kindle Unlimited or the Kindle Owners Lending Library (KU or KOLL) you’ve already paid for this book. So you might as well read a story now.