Saturday, July 30, 2011

Sunday eBook Review: Half Share

Product Details

Nathan Lowell, Half Share

 Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 486 KB
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Ridan Publishing (December 19, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004GUSA02
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  (73 customer reviews)
1. Short review:  

2. Long review:
2.1. What I liked:  Half Share was light and easy to read.  When a book is easy to read, much effort has gone into making it so.
     Roller-coaster or walk-in-the-park?  Walk-in-the-park.
     This book gives good value for your money.

2.2. What I did not like:  Typos and typesetting errors.  The editors dropped the ball again.  ( See my Sunday eBook Review of Quarter Share.)  This does not speak well for Ridan Publishing.

2.3. Who I think is the audience:  Science fiction and sailing fans.  Readers of C S Forester, Patrick O'Brian, and David Weber will feel at home reading the Solar Clipper series.

2.4. Is the book appropriate for children to read?  Yes, I think so.  No overt sex. 

2.5. On the basis of reading this book, will I buy the author's next book?  No, but on the basis of Quarter Share and Half Share together, I will buy Full Share.

2.6. Other:  The hero of the Solar Clipper series is Ishmael Horatio Wang (Ish).  In Quarter Share, he shipped aboard the Lois McKendrick, a space-going freighter.  With his crewmate Pip, he set up in-port flea market operations that profited the crew.
     In Half Share, Ish transfers from the galley to the environmental section.  The first two-thirds of the book is taken up with the transfer, the galley replacement, some flea market activities, settling into the environmental section routine, and buying a suit of clothes for Ish.
     But the final third of Half Share is taken up with Ishmael's sexual adventures.  And he is just too good at seduction.  He's 18 going on 35. 
     When Ish shipped aboard the Lois, he was eighteen.  He has been aboard 7 months.  At most, he would be nineteen.  By his own admission, he had few friends planetside; but he handles himself with women -- older women -- like a man with many years of experience.
     I will suspend disbelief for warp jumps in space.  I will not suspend disbelief when an eighteen year-old sweet talks older women like a practiced Casanova.

2.7.  Links:
Nathan Lowell @
Trader's Diary @

2.8.  Buy the book:  Half Share at

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday eBook Review: Ghost Plane and Other Disturbing Tales (again)

Product Details  

Suzanne Tyrpak, Ghost Plane and Other Disturbing Tales

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 153 KB
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Adytum; First Edition edition (June 28, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0058OX86G
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  (5 customer reviews)

1. Short review:  
2. Long review:
2.1. What I liked:  Well-written short stories.
Roller coaster or walk in the park?  Both.

2.2. What I did not like: 
1.  Using the 'Go to...' button on the Menu, I cannot select the Table of Contents.  To get to the Table of Contents, I must select Cover and page forward.  The links on the Table of Contents work fine.
2.  The history in 'Devil's Mark' is incorrect.  For example, it was impossible at that time for an enlisted man to advance into the officer ranks.
3.  'Memories conjugate like thunderheads.'  (from 'Meditation')  Conjugate?
4.  'The purist of the Puritans . . . .' (from 'Devil's Mark')  Purest, vice purist?

2.3. Who I think is the audience:  Horror fans and short story fans.

2.4. Is the book appropriate for children to read?  I think so.  No profanity.  No overt sex.  No gore.  Tyrpak writes horror the way Edgar Allen Poe did:  the horror exists in your imagination. 
Read 'Forbidden'.  If you have no problems letting your children read that story, you should have no problems with any of the other stories.

2.5. On the basis of reading this book, will I buy the next book in the series?  Does not apply.  This is a collection of short stories, not one book in a series.
Will I buy another book by Suzanne Tyrpak?  Likely not.  I do not read horror.  But I liked some of Tyrpak's stories very much.  She writes well.

2.6. Other:
I got this book for free.  The day I planned to buy it, Suzanne Tyrpak offered it for free on Facebook.  Taking the free book did not obligate me to write this review.  The Amazon price is $0.99, and the book is worth the money.
2.7.  Links:  None.

2.8.  Buy the book:  
Ghost Plane and Other Disturbing Tales at

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


[This post continues the post of 08 June 2011 titled How Jacques Pepin will change ebooks.]

Cookbooks present a profitable venue for embedded explanatory video. What other type of books present such venues?

1.  Carpentry books;
2.  Plumbing books;
3.  Electrical wiring books;
4.  Car mantenance and car repair books;
5.  Owners' manuals;
6.  Some children's books (I think there will always be a place for DTBs in children's books, but I think interactive first readers comprise a profitable venue.);
7.  Language instruction books;
8.  History books;
9.  Interactive mathematics textbooks; and
10.  Any 'How-to' books.

I can see this happening. And here's the way it'll happen:

Once upon a time, there were no automatic washing machines. And the people were sad. Then Maytag said, "Let there be automatic washing machines at affordable prices." And the people were happy. But the automatic washing machines did not clean as well as the old by-hand washing. And the people were sad. Then Procter and Gamble said, "Fret not, for the problem lies not with the machine but with the soap." And the people asked, "How shall we wash our clothes without soap?" And Procter and Gamble said, "Here, use this." And the people asked, "What is it?" And Procter and Gamble said, "We call it 'detergent'. And, lo, it worketh better in the machine than doeth soap. And its name shall be called 'Tide' because it foameth like the sea waves." And the people asked, "How much?" And Procter and Gamble named a price. And the people said, "That's pretty steep. How 'bout you throw in a manufacturer's coupon or something?" And Procter and Gamble said, "Okayeth."

And the moral of the story?

Tide was the first washing machine detergent. Nearly a hundred years later, its formula is unchanged, and it still has a 24% market share. The next most popular brand has an 18% market share. (And it's a Procter and Gamble product, too.)

The author who gets there first with a book on 'how to' do something that Mister John Q wants to do will own a dominant market share.

Don't believe me? Look at Microsoft and Amazon.

Right now Apple's iPad is the hands-down best platform for presenting embedded video. If Apple exploit this advantage timely, they will dominate the market for decades.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunday eBook Review: Falling Free

Falling Free
(cover from Shelfari:
this is the 1999 mass market paperback cover)

Published 8/1/2007

Ebook Price: $5.00 

Available from Baen Books as the first part of Miles, Mutants and Microbes(by Lois McMaster Bujold).

(For reasons known only to God and Google, this got saved as a draft and did not get posted when I wrote it last year. I post it now. My apologies, Ms Bujold.)

1. Short review:  

2. Long review:
2.1. What I liked:  Well-conceived, well-written SF by LMB. 
Roller coaster or walk in the park?  Roller coaster.

2.2. What I did not like:  Falling Free is one of LMB's early works.  At the time she wrote Falling Free, she had not yet shed the use of adverbs and saidisms; for example, "Thank you."  Leo smiled back automatically.  / "I'm head of the Cay Project now; I'll be your boss," Van Atta amplified.   ['automatically' is a null; it adds nothing.  Most adverbs add nothing.  'amplified' is a saidism.  It is redundant.  'said' works as well.  Better.  'said' is no longer a word; it is punctuation.]

2.3. Who I think is the audience:  Hard SF fans.

2.4. Is the book appropriate for children to read?  Yes.  12 and up will enjoy it.

2.5. On the basis of reading this book, will I buy the next book in the series?  Yes, but LMB wrote in an author's note that she has not written much else about the quaddies (creatures in the book).

2.6. Other:  (my highlights from the book follow)

'The human mind is the ultimate testing device.'

'You may fool men.  You will never fool the metal.'  (I've half a mind to get this one engraved on a brass plaque and mount it over my desk.)

'There was no limit to what one man might do, if he gave all, and held back nothing.'

'It's not what we do next week, it's what we do next that counts most.'

'We make our own luck.'

'I know better than to humiliate a man like this, and then leave him alive.'

'If you ever have to make a choice between learning and inspiration, boy, choose learning.  It works more of the time.'

'[W]hat is the most important leg of a three-legged stool?  The one that is missing.'

'[D]on't be afraid of troubles.... They're a sign of life.'

Falling Free ends 39% of the way through the volume Miles, Mutants and Microbes.

2.7.  Links:  Baen's Bar
To find where Lois McMaster Bujold hangs out, register at Baen's Bar (link above) and scroll down to the thread titled 'Miles to Go'.  (If you are an LMB fan, you get the joke.)  From time to time, you can find me on the Bar, too, but I don't have my own thread.

2.8.  Buy the book:  Baen's Books, Miles, Mutants and Microbes


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday eBook Review: Clarkesworld Magazine

ClarkesWorld Magazine

[No image available.  I cannot copy the ClarkesWorld Magazine thumbnail.]

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Publisher: Wyrm Publishing (June 30, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004ZF1ZH8
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  (2 customer reviews)

[The Product Details above apply to the July 2011 issue, Issue Number 58.]
Kindle Subscription:  $1.99 a month

1. Short review:   (4 out of 5 stars)
2. Long review:
2.1. What I liked:  In every issue I have seen, the pieces were well-written.  Each issue contains three articles and two SF short stories.  Gives value for the money (US$1.99). 

Roller coaster or walk in the park?  Varies from month to month.

2.2. What I did not like:  Not every short is to my taste, but so it goes with magazines.

2.3. Who I think is the audience:  SF fans.

2.4. Is the book appropriate for children to read?  Yes and no.  In ClarkesWorld Magazine, I have seen nothing vulgar, profane, or blasphemous, so parents may rest easy on that score.  But I doubt the kiddies will understand or enjoy the typical ClarkesWorld short. 

2.5. On the basis of reading this book, will I buy the next book in the series?  Yes.  I subscribe.

2.6. Other:
ClarkesWorld Magazine began offering Kindle subscriptions with its June 2011 issue, Issue Number 57.  The staff's published goal is 500 subscriptions by October 2011.
Other than ClarkesWorld Magazine, only Analog and IASFM offer subscriptions; they charge US$2.99 an issue, but their magazines contain more stories per issue.  F&SF sells single issues by Kindle (US$2.99 each) but does offer subscriptions.
(If you chase this link and scroll down to the bottom of the page, you will find a button that takes you to Amazon's ClarkesWorld Kindle subscription page.)

2.8.  Buy the book: Clarkesworld Magazine