Pirates of the Crimson Sand—Review

Pirates of the Crimson Sand is a great little story about pirates, air ships and technical wonders. It sweeps you away to a sandy desert place that is best described by the book’s own words (and I love this bit): “Rocks and cacti littered the ground like a demon’s garden.” A hot, wicked place, where only tough people survive, and a sick child is protected by his pirate sister. What struck me most is the atmosphere of the story. It’s thick with the language of the people; a fun filled pirate slang fest. I was filled immediately with the need to bellow out an “Arrg!” Yes, pirates as in “Arrg!” I loved these brutish characters and found myself cheering for them. A wonderful read. My only complaint was that the story ended. Much fun.

The Automatic Detective — A. Lee Martinez: Book Review

The Automatic Detective is exactly the kind of book I’ve been looking for.  A real fun mix of Scifi and Sam Spade.  Martinez has just the right amount of gritty detective banter and Scifi gadgetry to keep me hanging on every word.  What a great ride through the future world that Mack Megaton lives in.  A world where Bots and Autos live alongside of human beings, and by law, even apply to become citizens.

Mack becomes involved in a mystery that he just won’t let go of when his neighbors are attacked by a thug, and then suddenly disappear.  And, following Mack’s cybernetic psychologist’s advice to increase his level of interaction with humans, he goes on a rampage to find and save his friends.

Martinez keeps you laughing with the wry humor of Mack, and how he perceives the people and other Bots around him.  The characters he creates are natural, and the dialog is great.  Some of the names that he’s come up with for things in his world are a bit campy, but it just adds to the whole theme.  Also, some of the descriptions are a bit repetitive.  Those were minor issues that I hardly even noticed, because I was on a romping fun roller coaster called Mack, and he never let up.

I would highly recommend this book for anyone who loves robots, gruff tough detectives, and Scifi.  I couldn’t stop reading.

Blank Pages are Sucky

I’ve decided to give up on putting blank pages between chapters. It’s just too much of a pain with Word, and I haven’t anything that will do a better job of it. If you haven’t been following along with my war against Microsoft Word and page numbering, then this is the gist of it.

MS Word requires you to break your document up into sections if you decide for some quirky reason to write a book which contains pages that you don’t want numbered. It’s fairly obnoxious to set up different sections. My experience is that when you print the book to pdf it breaks it into separate files for each section. Very lame. Anyway, if you write a book, you want to have a title page at the beginning and a few other pages like copyright, dedication, etc. That can be done with a bit of hair pulling, but heaven help you if you wanted to put a blank page between chapters. I just couldn’t get it done. I’ve seen books that don’t do it, so I’m just going to do it that way from now on. If you break the book into sections between chapters, what happens is that it starts your gutter formatting from scratch, which screws up the gutter, and you end up having the the gutter on the wrong side of the pages. However, your page numbers look excellent!

Go MS. You suck. So I’m just giving up on that style of book formatting. Yep, I know, I’m not showing the steadfast determination that typesetting requires, but at least I won’t have to kill something.

-K