Posts Tagged ‘book’

thebooksmugglers.com

Summary (courtesy of Goodreads)

Welcome to Urban Monad 116. Reaching nearly two miles into the sky, the one thousand stories of this building are home to over eight hundred thousand people living in peace and harmony. In the year 2381 with a world population of over seventy-five billion souls, the massive Urbmon system is humanity’s salvation.

Life in Urbmon 116 is highly regulated, life is cherished, and the culture of procreation is seen as the highest pinnacle of god’s plan. Conflict is abhorred, and any who disturb the peace face harsh punishment—even being sent “down the chute” to be recycled as fertilizer.

Jason Quevedo, a historian, searches records of the twentieth century hoping to find the root of his discontent with the perfection of Urbmon life.

Siegmund Kluver, a young and ambitious administrator, strives to reach the top levels of the Urbmon’s government and discovers the civilization’s dark truths.

Michael Statler, a computer engineer, harbors a forbidden desire. He dreams of leaving the building—of walking in the open air and visiting the far-off sea. This is a dream he must keep secret. If anyone were to find out, he’d face the worst punishment imaginable.

The World Inside is a fascinating exploration of society and what makes us human, told by a master of speculative fiction.

Favorite Parts of the Book:

One thing I really liked about the book was how the author went about telling the story.  Each chapter focused on a major character telling his/her life in Urbmon 116.  It could have been a short story on its own, while maintaining the book’s continuity by the interweaving of characters throughout the chapters.  Silverberg took care in developing each of his characters, creating an instant connection with all of them, including the  hippie like musician Dillon Chrimes (who plays instruments I have never heard of).

The concept of the book was phenomenal!  That’s what drew me to the book in the first place.  I wanted to know how a bizzillion people could live in one building, with each floor named after a present day city, where everything down to bodily waste is recycled, and sleeping with every and anyone is not only okay, but encouraged!  Man’s sole purpose in this book to have plenty of babies, by any means necessary. Yeah, I really wanted to know how this works! (and if you want to know too, you’ll have to read it! :))

Favorite Characters:

One of my favorite characters was Michael Statler, the computer engineer who dreams of going outside.  In the book he called himself a “throwback”, which refers to humans that live like I do, free to live wherever I want rather than confined to a building.  So naturally I was able to relate to him the most.  Through his thoughts of swimming in the sea, frolicking in the sand, and having the sun tan his skin made me want to leave the confines of my two story Urbmon and take a vacay!  I’m not going to give away what happens to him in this chapter, but I will tell you that you do root for him the whole way and the ending was very surprising.

Speaking of surprise endings, my second favorite character, Siegmund Kluver, whose story doesn’t come into play until the last chapter.  Throughout the book, Siegmund is seen as the Urbmon’s golden child.  He’s young and his climb to the top of the career ladder (and the top of the building!) to be an Administrator was an ambitious one, and he is admired by all.  Throughout the whole book he is seen as the perfect Urbmon dweller, however when you finally get to his story, you see it’s quite the opposite.  Instead of a confident young man, you find a very insecure one, which was a nice, little surprise.  After all, perfect characters can be a little boring!  He finds that what he dream at the top wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be and he has a pretty hard time dealing with it.

Overall Review:

This is an awesome read and I highly recommend it!

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I’ve finally fallen back into reading for pleasure again and with all these new books I plan on reading and writing about, (such as this one I reviewed last week) I can’t forget about those books that made me fall in love with the sci-fi and fantasy genres in the first place!  When I was kid through high school, I read a lot!  I took a lot of english literature courses and had such awesome teachers who taught me how to truly appreciate the classics.  I learned from reading those books how plot structure worked and what it meant to have fully developed and relatable characters.  The stories are timeless and whenever I sit down to write, it’s always my goal to have my work be just that.

So here is an ode to my five favorite science fiction and fantasy books that always hold a special place in my heart!

*all summaries are courtesy of Goodreads.com!

 

amazon.com

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle:

Meg’s father mysteriously disappears after experimenting with the fifth dimension of time travel. Determined to rescue him, Meg and her friends must outwit the forces of evil on a heart-stopping journey through space and time. A commemorative edition with an Introduction by the author. A Newbery Medal winner.
 
I identified with Meg so much and I’ve read this book twice already.  I also have the other two book in the trilogy in an awesome box set.  Though the concept of time travel was a little hard to grasp the first time around, I appreciated the second time!  This book never gets old and I will probably pick the book back up and read it again!
 
 
 
 
 

amazon.com

Beowulf

 
Composed toward the end of the first millennium of our era, Beowulf is the elegiac narrative of the adventures of Beowulf, a Scandinavian hero who saves the Danes from the seemingly invincible monster Grendel and, later, from Grendel’s mother. He then returns to his own country and dies in old age in a vivid fight against a dragon. The poem is about encountering the monstrous, defeating it, and then having to live on in the exhausted aftermath. In the contours of this story, at once remote and uncannily familiar at the end of the twentieth century, Seamus Heaney finds a resonance that summons power to the poetry from deep beneath its surface.” “Drawn to what he has called the “four-squareness of the utterance” in Beowulf and its immense emotional credibility, Heaney gives these epic qualities new and convincing reality for the contemporary reader.
 
I read this book in high school in the Middle English version.  That alone was a challenge but once I got through it, I totally loved the story.  It is a classic epic story with Grendel as the menacing monster, his mother a wicked and conniving temptress, and a hero who seeks nothing but glory.  It doesn’t get more fantasy than that!
 
 

sfgate.com

1984 by George Orwell

 
Portrays a terrifying vision of life in the future when a totalitarian government, considered a “Negative Utopia,” watches over all citizens and directs all activities, becoming more powerful as time goes by.
 
The scariest version of reality TV with Big Brother always watching and people waging a war they know nothing about.  I did my first literary analysis on this book my senior year of high school devling into the underlying concepts, meanings, and uses of symbolism, I truly appreciated this work that I would have otherwise found rather daunting to read.  I may revisit this book again.  I mean its 2010 and the concepts this book explores aren’t that far away from real life!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
 
The epic battle between man and monster reaches its greatest pitch in the famous story of Frankenstein. In trying to create life, the young student Victor Frankenstein unleashes forces beyond his control, setting into motion a long and tragic chain of events that brings Victor himself to the very brink. How he tries to destroy his creation, as it destroys everything Victor loves, is a powerful story of love, friendship …and horror.

Forget the commercialized version of Frankenstein because this one was downright scary!  I can still remember the scenes of Victor gathering dead body parts!  This story sent chills up my spine, taking me on Victor’s journey to absolute madness!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Animal Farm by George Orwell
 
A farm is taken over by its overworked, mistreated animals. With flaming idealism and stirring slogans, they set out to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality. Thus the stage is set for one of the most telling satiric fables ever penned–a razor-edged fairy tale for grown-ups that records the evolution from revolution against tyranny to a totalitarianism just as terrible.
 
Orwell makes this list again because behind this seemingly children’s story are underlying themes, ideas, and concepts that are utterly fantastic. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Your turn!  What are you favorite classic books?

Yes, I know you’re looking at me like I have two heads, especially if you’re in the draft stages or even the final stages of writing your first literary masterpiece.  I know that just being able to finish the blasted thing was work enough and making it perfect is like a full time job.  If you’re really on the ball, you’re building your social platform and actively marketing your work around.  Trust me, I feel you on all of these things, especially as an indie author striking it out on her own.  Between editing and marketing, the last thing I want to think about is a second story.

But it’s very important to do so!

Unless you’re Stephen King or JK Rowling, the chances of making it big on the very first book are very slim.  Through my many hours of research and podcast listening, I’ve learned that you really don’t make serious money until your third book.  You can compare it to stocking up your writer’s book shelf.  Having more than one story in your back pocket shows:

You’re consistent:  You didn’t just write the first book and quit.  As a matter of fact, you were so serious about being a novelist, you dove straight into the whole love/hate relationship with writing again to make that second, third, and fourth book.

You’re keeping your creative momentum going:  I found this to be true while editing my book.  I’m really excited about the new stories I want to write, not only in the Epsilon series but outside of it as well.  That excitement makes the editing process not so grueling and keeps me on task so I can finish on time and get to write those stories!

You already have the next project started: While you’re working on your first novel, you can take a break to roughly lay out that second story.  Once the novel done, you already have the framework down for the one, allowing you to jump into it , getting  it done and out on the market.

I currently have three new stories in the development stages that I’ll take some time to write down and keep in a safe place. 

I definitely don’t claim to be an expert as I’m just getting myself situated in the writing game.  So what are your thoughts on keeping 2nd (and 3rd) stories in the back of your mind while still working on your first one?

What you may have missed!

Round One of Editing: Figuring Out Our Issues

Musical Inspiration: I Remain by Alanis Morissette

Character Spotlight: Queen Gorgo from the movie 300

Photo courtesy of: http://www.ssflibrary.net

I know that the obvious answer to the question of whether an author should read in the genre that they’re righting one is Yes.  However, there’s a little more to it than that and because there is, I answer this question a little bit differently.

For me, I made the conscious decision that I wouldn’t read in my genre while I was writing the first draft of my novel.   I even went as far as not to really look at any movies within in my genre (as well as I could anyway!  I’m a movie buff!).  I did this because no matter how hard you try, you can’t help but be influenced in some kind of way from a book or movie.  I didn’t want my novel’s concept to be a conscious rip off of someone else.  It’s easy to read a scene in one book and say “Oh, I want a scene like that in mine.”  I wanted my story to grow on its own, find its own scenes and scenarios.  I wanted to get the core of my story down and be my own.  There are so many great stories and movies out there in the realms of Fantasy and  Sci Fi and I didn’t want my inspiration to become a reiteration of something else I read or saw somewhere. 

Now that I’m done with my first draft and I’m  satisfied with my core plot, I can now read books out there in the same circle that I want my book to be in.  (By the way, if you have any good recommendations on a books, please let me know!).  I can  just be inspired because I already know my story is solid and the direction of the series is crystal clear.  It’s easy now to appreciate a book for its story and what it offers – instead of constantly comparing it to mine!

What do you guys think?  If you were (or are) writing a book in a genre, would you still continue to read books similar to the one you’re writing?