Don’t pull the Wool over your eyes


The Wool Omnibus is a collection of self published short stories by Hugh Howey.  Even though there are five stories in the book they all follow the same story line, so it really is one book but split up so he could make more money on the Amazon self publishing store.  Don’t hold that against him though it is a great book.  I was tipped off about this book by Daniel Robison, and since he and I usually have the same taste I decided to give it a shot, and at $5.99 for the Kindle edition why not.

The book is about a group of people living in a silo, and the world outside is destroyed, so they are doing their best to survive in this giant tin can.  As you can guess people start wonder why they are in a silo and what is really outside, which is expressly forbidden.

Hugh Howey does a great job with this story.  It is fast paced and well written, though since it is self published there are some awkward sentences and misspellings, but still good work.  He has a talent for writing believable characters, and he has built a cool universe to play in.  He has written a prequel series “Wool Legacy” which judging by the reviews I will need to read soon as well.

If you haven’t guessed by now I think you should read this book, and if you don’t want to pay the $5.99, the first “book” in the series is free, and then you can decide to buy the rest later, which I am sure you will.

First Run in Shadowrun!


A few of my buddies, Andy, Shawn, Daniel, and I, got together to play the table-top RPG Shadowrun.  For those that don’t know what a table-top RPG is, think D&D or geeks; actually both.  So pretty much it is a bunch guys getting together, rolling dice, checking off spreadsheets, and following/creating a story with characters that they have created for this game.  If your thinking that sounds awesome, it was.  If your thinking, wow nerd overload, then this probably isn’t for you.

Shadowrun takes place in the near future, but the twist is that at the end of the Mayan calender that magic as released in to the world, so now it is full of, Elves, Dwarves, and what-have-you.  Also the future is now run by Mega Corporations that use governments as their pawns (so that part is pretty spot on), and ‘Runners’ are their mercenaries that carry out missions for them. So we as the players take the roles of these runners.

Shadowrun was a little daunting at first, due to the sheer amount of customization you can do with your character.  Every gun, item of clothing, in game knowledge, skills, and pretty much everything else can be tweaked, but once I got the basic stats down it became a little easier.  We also took awhile just to figure out how to play the game, like hit an opponent, and how much damage you do and or take, and since the rule book is 348 pages long, you can see why it took awhile to get it all down. To be fair to the book, there are a lot of examples and short stories in it, so it is not all rules.

But once it got going it was a lot of fun, and like most of these games the reason for that is mostly due to the company you are with.  Having a good time will pizza and pop, and little trash talking.  I hope we get to play again soon.

Judge Dredd is on the Case! #1


I just finished up with, Judge Dredd the Complete Case Files 01, and it was very fun read.  Unlike a lot of big trade paper backs, which follow a major story of some kind, this book just contains all the comics from the first two years of Judge Dredd’s publication, so there are a lot of one off stories.  In looking up Judge Dredd on the old internet, I found that the reason for the one offs was that 2000AD, the comic publisher behind Dredd, didn’t really think he would last, and the Judge himself would be a one off character. Obviously a little search on Amazon, and looking at the sheer amount of Dredd comics to be had, they were wrong.  Now all that being said there are some multi-issue stories in this book.  There are the Robot Wars started by the human slaying robot “Call Me Kenneth”, learning about Dredd’s brother and thus Dredd’s past and origin story,  Dredd working on the Moon City, Luna 1, and to end up a story about an insane car.  But even these stories are short by modern comic book standards.

There is a lot of world building in this first book.  At first it describes Mega City 1, Dredd’s jurisdiction, as kind of a post atomic war paradise.  Where these Judges that can hand out sentences on site keep everyone safe and mostly happy, but that soon changes and Mega City 1 is described as a place were crime is out of control and the Judges are the only way to deal with it.  The book starts out with a sillier tone, but gradually gets more serious. Also in start of the book we find out that the death penalty has been outlawed, but in the last Dredd story we find that it is allowed; if not encouraged.

The book also has some running comic relief with Walter the robot.  He is Dredd’s biggest fan and probably closest thing to a friend, and he waits on Dredd hand and foot when the Judge allows it.  He must have had his own mini comic in the back of Dredd’s books because at the end of this anthology they include a bunch of mini stories about this very loyal and bumbling robot.

So for Dredd fans I think this is must read.  If not then probably skip it.  If you are looking to get in to Dredd some of the later books where Dredd is more established and developed is probably a better place to start.

What is a Diaspora?

John Gone missing_signalscompany_men

I recently read The Diaspora Trilogy.  It is a series of books about a young man who finds a watch, and the watch starts to teleport him to random places.

I got started with this series because the first book, John Gone, was attractively priced at one dollar, and I didn’t have anything I wanted to read on my Kindle.  This was a great marketing ploy because the series then had me hooked, and I had to pay about five dollars each for the next two books: Missing Signals, and Company Men.

In the first book a sixteen year old named John finds a watch that attaches itself to his wrist and will not come off, and it then starts to take him to random places on the planet.  He also then finds out that the watch allows him to talk to a Dr. Kala that tells him if he keeps jumping that he will die.

It is a pretty good setup, and finding out what John will do after every jump is exciting.  The only problem with the book, and the second book for that matter, is that they do not have real endings.  They just leave off for the next book, so you really don’t get a full story with just one, but I guess that is how you make money off of a one dollar book. Which is also why I am not going to provide basic plots for the next two books since they would just be spoilers for the previous ones, but it safe to say that the rabbit hole starts to get much deeper.

I don’t think the author, Michael Kayatta, will win any awards for these books.  They have some spelling and grammar errors, (Much like this review) and the books don’t have any deeper meaning other then an exiting adventure, but they are good fast read, and he knows not to let up on the action.

I noticed that the first book has gone back up in price, so more people must have fallen in to the one dollar trap, but I think they are still fun and worth a read at their new slightly elevated price, but if they drop back down to a dollar then they have my fullest recommendation.  You can find books on Amazon here.