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Double Review: The Terminal Move and Project Hydra (Fox and Raven Publishing)

Double-Review time again! And since this’ll be the last review-post for 2013, let’s get to it, shall we? πŸ™‚

F&R

The Terminal Move by Dilman Dila

Back when this tale was announced, Dilman was interviewed and after reading that interview I was very interested to read what he had written; while AfroSF had proved that the continent of Africa has great SF-storytellers, it also went a long way to showing how these storytellers flavoured their tales with cultural and mythological aspects unique to Africa – and I expected the same thing from Dilman.

The tale follows a tribe during their long search for a new home; they lost a conflict with a rival tribe and had to give up their home, which forced them into a long journey, taxing not only their bodies but also testing the tribe’s resolve. Eventually, they find an idyllic place, but this is when their troubles really begin, setting up not only a conflict that could ultimately destroy the tribe but also drive deep wedges between its people.

The tale is told in a style that most readers will find strange, or at the very least, different, to what they’ve encountered before.It has the flavour of a fable, or a story passed down through the generations with practically no alterations made to its rhythms and structure, so it isn’t told in a style that readers may consider ‘modern’, but I didn’t have any problems with it. In fact, if this tale had been written in any other style it would probably have come across as contrived, and the tale would have suffered for it.

As such, the characters’ foundation-roles as archetypes rings a bit stronger than anything else I’ve read, which made it difficult for me to connect with them on a level needed to create that sense of empathy which all storytellers strive to achieve with their characters. This kind of characterization suited the tone and timbre of the tale, though, so I guess it worked. πŸ™‚

In terms of world-building the reader is shown glimpses of the tribe’s culture and beliefs – there’s enough to keep it interesting, though a particular type of creature in the tale might strike the reader as being out of place, or at the very least something that that Dilman used to try and bridge the gap between the cultures he grew up investigating and those of readers on continents other than Africa.

‘The Terminal Move’ is definitely the mostΒ different tale that Fox and Raven has brought us so far – it is utterly unique and deserving of the spot it has claimed in Fox and Raven’s first anthology, but there is a chance that it may be a little tooΒ different to appeal to a wider readership. I’ll be reading Dilman’s work further, though, precisely because it’s so different. πŸ™‚

7 / 10

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To order you Kindle-copies of ‘The Terminal Move’, click here for Amazon US and here for Amazon UK, and check out ‘Son of Suns’, the story’s awesome accompanying soundtrack, over on SoundCloud.

Project Hydra by Anton Sim

‘Project Hydra’ is definitely one of the most original and disturbing tales I’ve read in a long time.

In this tale, the reader is introduced to a group of co-workers who have to deal with a new and mysterious project initiated by their superiors – the ‘project’ of the title. How each individual worker deals with the questions raised by this new workplace phenomenon, and how they react when it is revealed, is what this tale is all about – and it’s an awesome play on the term, ‘Hydra’.

Everything works wonderfully (and exceedingly creepily) in this tale – the characters are well-rounded and unique, each with their own mannerisms and character-arcs; the prose is flowing and uncluttered; the descriptions short yet vivid. The tension and horror of the tale builds steadily as its premise unfolds, and I’m sure plenty of readers will be keeping an eye on those office memos, just in case… πŸ˜‰

It’s a memorable and chilling tale, and I’m definitely looking forward to more from Anton Sim.

9 / 10

PH-website

To order your Kindle-copies of ‘Project Hydra’, click here for Amazon US, here for Amazon UK, and head over to Fox and Raven’s SoundCloud stream to give the awesome soundtrack, Cutthroat, a listen. πŸ™‚

And remember to check out Fox and Raven Publishing – big things coming in 2014! πŸ™‚

That’s it for me for reviews for 2013, folks. Wishing you all an immensely epic festive season / holiday / whatever-you-call-it, and I hope you all get some truly awesome books as presents! πŸ™‚

Until next time,

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2013 in Fox and Raven Publishing, Reviews

 

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Review: The Dead City Blues by Yelena Calavera (short story / novelette)

Hey everyone, I’m back with another review of the short fiction that Fox and Raven has published – this time I look at a Dystopian tale set in a Jo’burg that has been devastated and largely emptied of life. Here’s the blurb for ‘The Dead City Blues‘:

What do you do when your own dreams hunt you? You hunt them back.

Johannesburg has been destroyed. It is a dead city – torn asunder by the horrors, the nightmares, of its inhabitants. And the nightmares are roaming free. Shelby Maddox and her sister Lara are the only survivors, fighting for their lives, scavenging the ruins of this goldmine metropolis for scraps of food.

With the appearance of Luke, a Dreamer with mind-bending powers, everything changes. Shelby embarks on a journey to save her sister, to save herself – and to conquer her demons.

What first dragged my attention to this tale was the awesome cover art – it put me in mind of a Rorschach ink-blot test gone haywire and psychotic, and I was immediately interested (check out the cover at the end of the post).

The story centres on Shelby, a girl living in the shattered remains of the African metropolis, with her younger sister. Life is beyond difficult – just leaving the relative safety of their refuge could lead to serious injury or even death. Yelena does a great job of describing the ruins of the city – the streets are empty, the buildings are desolate and sad, and wild animals roam are slowly taking back the concrete-and-glass spaces. Shelby is a great character, given to philosophical musings and deep insights, but she’s also capable and dangerous – she has learned the hard way what to do to survive, and has also had to take the role of guardian for her sister.

But things change when Shelby save a very personal nightmare from another human, Luke – what is further revealed about the world in which these remnants of humanity live, through as Shelby and Luke’s fate unfold, shows Yelena’s skill at building a world with layers of menace and beauty.

The nightmare creatures that roam the city are well-imagined and memorable, and the tale flows easily and liquidly in the imagination; couple this with Yelena’s imaginative creations and you’ve got a tale you’ll read, remember, and talk about. πŸ™‚

Looking forward to more from this talented writer!

And as you read it, make sure you’re listening to the incredibly awesome soundtrack created specifically for the story: it’s a Ravensong, and it’s called, ‘I Don’t Need a Savior’. It was composed by Adolf De Beer, and he’s creating amazing sounds to go along with these stories! πŸ™‚

9 / 10

The Dead City Blues

 

For more info about Yelena visit her blog here; to order your e-copies of ‘The Dead City Blues‘ click here for Amazon US and here for Amazon UK.

And don’t forget to check out Fox and Raven Publishing for more news on awesome publications! πŸ™‚

Until tomorrow,

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2013 in Fox and Raven Publishing, Reviews

 

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