FSFH Book Review

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Abnett, Dan
Adams, Douglas
Aguirre-Sacasa, Roberto
Allen, Roger MacBride
Allie, Scott
Allston, Aaron
Anderson, Kevin J.
Barclay, James
Barnes, Steven
Baum, L. Frank
Bear, Greg
Bendis, Brian Michael
Bischoff, David
Bisson, Terry
Blackman, Haden
Bova, Ben
Bowen, Carl
Brooks, Terry
Canavan, Trudi
Card, Orson Scott
Chadwick, Paul
Clarke, Arthur C.
Clarke, Susanna
Clemens, James
Collins, Paul
Crichton, Michael
Crispin, A. C.
Cunningham, Elaine
Daley, Brian
David, Peter
DeMatteis, J. M.
Denning, Troy
Dick, Philip K.
Dickens, Charles
Dietz, William C.
Dixon, Chuck
Donaldson, Stephen
Eddings, David
Edginton, Ian
Elrod, P. N.
Erikson, Steven
Feist, Raymond E.
Foster, Alan Dean
Fraction, Matt
Furman, Simon
Gaiman, Neil
Gemmell, David A.
Gerber, Michael
Gibbons, Dave
Golden, Christopher
Goodkind, Terry
Goodwin, Archie
Graham, Mitchell
Grant, Alan
Green, Jonathan
Green, Laurence
Guggenheim, Marc
Hagberg, David
Hambly, Barbara
Hamilton, Laurell K.
Hand, Elizabeth
Harras, Bob
Harrison, Mick
Heinlein, Robert A.
Herbert, Frank
Herbert, James
Hine, David
Hobb, Robin
Howard, Robert E.
Jacques, Brian
James, Charlie Hamilton
Jenkins, Paul
Jeter, K. W.
Johns, Geoff
Jones, J. V.
Jordan, Robert
Jurgens, Dan
Karpyshyn, Drew
Kennedy, Mike
Kerr, Katharine
Keyes, Greg
King, Stephen
King, William
Knaak, Richard A.
Kube-McDowell, Michael P.
Lawhead, Stephen
Layman, John
Le Guin, Ursula K.
Lewis, C. S.
Lieberman, A. J.
Loeb, Jeph
Lorey, Dean
Lowder, James
Luceno, James
Lumley, Brian
Macan, Darko
Manning, Russ
Martin, George R. R.
Marz, Ron
Matheson, Richard
McCaffrey, Anne
McIntosh, Neil
McIntyre, Vonda
Michelinie, David
Millar, Mark
Miller, John Jackson
Miller, Karen
Milligan, Peter
Moench, Doug
Moesta, Rebecca
Moore, Alan
Nicholls, Stan
Nicieza, Fabian
Nylund, Eric
O'Neil, Dennis
Ostrander, John
Paolini, Christopher
Perry, S. D.
Perry, Steve
Pratchett, Terry
Pullman, Philip
Quinn, David
Reaves, Michael
Reed, A. W.
Reed, Brian
Rice, Anne
Richardson, Nancy
Roberts, Adam
Rowe, Matthew
Rowling, J. K.
Rubio, Kevin
Rusch, Kristine Kathryn
Salvatore, R.A.
Shelley, Mary
Shultz, Mark
Simone, Gail
Simonson, Louise
Simonson, Walter
Smith, L. Neil
Spurrier, Simon
Stackpole, Michael A.
Stevenson, Robert Louis
Stewart, Sean
Stoker, Bram
Stover, Matthew
Straczynski, J. Michael
Stradley, Randy
Strnad, Jan
Sutcliff, Rosemary
Tolkien, J.R.R.
Traviss, Karen
Truman, Tim
Turtledove, Harry
Tyers, Kathy
van Belkom, Edo
Veitch, Tom
Wagner, John
Watson, Jude
Whitman, John
Williams, Sean
Williams, Tad
Williams, Walter Jon
Windham, Ryder
Wolverton, Dave
Woodring, Jim
Wurts, Janny
Yeovil, Jack
Zahn, Timothy
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Reviewing Literature
The Books of Paul Collins

Paul Collins was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  He began freelancing in the film business in 1994 and had his first book, 'Prescience Rendezvous', published in 2003.  Mr. Collins was kind enough to contact me directly in regards to this website.
Average Review Score: 1.5 out of 5

King Without An Empire
The author generously sent me a free review copy of this book all the way across the Atlantic.  I'm therefore saddened and feel a little guilty to say that I absolutely hated it.  There seems to be three or four separate stories going on simultaneously in this book, with the author switching between them seemingly at random, although they all feature the media mogul Michael Bassett.  In one Bassett, troubled by the death of his girlfriend, decides to fund an expedition to Alpha Centauri.  In another a mysterious race of callous but physcially perfect beings run a totalitarian regime which is disrupted by Nazi scientists fleeing the loss of WWII.  Yet another has Bassett exploring strange planes of consciousness using hallucinagenic drugs and a device called the Star Chamber.  There is also another in which a liquid-based alien attempts to make telepathic contact with Bassett.  Individually these stories may well have made for fascinating reads, but together they become confused and confusing, giving the book a fractured story structure.  As someone who enjoys a strong narrative flow, I found this very difficult.  I really liked some of the ideas Collins introduces, particularly the concept of the liquid alien who is actually an autonomous organ of a life-form that covers an entire ocean planet.  However, just when an idea would get me intrigued, Collins takes the book off in a completely unrelated tangent.  A couple of other things that I found irritating were the constant repetition, the self-contradiction (for example, at one point Bassett's girlfriend is described as 'good-looking' and then in the next paragraph; 'She was no beauty, but was average looking') and the way in which the author gives a page-long biography of each character introduced, as soon as they're introduced.  This latter means that of the important characters there is little to be discovered later on and of the unimportant characters there is far more information than is needed to move the story along.  All these factors combined to make this one of the least enjoyable books I've ever read.  However, whilst reading it I looked at other online reviews and they were largely quite positive, so I wonder if there was just something I was missing that these other reviewers saw.
1 out of 5
'"Kitsch sells!" Brad exclaimed.'
Mystery Of Everyman's Way
Once again, the author was kind enough to send me a review copy of his book, for which I am very grateful.  This book revolves around Gregory Henry Case an American physicist working at Oxford University.  Straight away we see a maturation of the author's skills since 'King Without An Empire' as Case's character is slowly built up in the first few chapters, creating a strong and believable protagonist.  A man too introverted to maintain a connection to other people, Case's world is turned upside down when he discovers his own aged body from the future.  He soon finds himself in Everyman's Way, a sort of psuedo-fantastical interstellar community, and becomes involved in the royal politics therein.  As I say, this book is a clear step up from the previous one, but once again, I just didn't enjoy it much.  I believe the fact I didn't enjoy it stems from the dual facts that mend-bending explorations of other planes of consciousness aren't really my thing and the fact that at times I simply didn't have a bloody clue what was going on.  Whilst the prose is far more structured than 'King Without An Empire', the author still has a tendency to make confusing leaps in both plotline and logic.  The book also isn't the easiest flowing one either, seeing as how it took me an entire month to read it's 218 pages.
2 out of 5
'The clouds opened up over London hours ago.'
 - - - Author's Comments - - -
I must thank you so much for reviewing my book 'King without an Empire.'  You did such a great job on reviewing it. You were straight forward, honest, and professional. I know my editor did a terrible job, but to get such honest feedback for my work is a great reward. I don't know any great editors and don't have the money to pay them, but I do know how to write a paperback, which is an irony. Please tell the reviewer, I am presently rewriting a revision of another manuscript and am working with a small press that I found on www.ralan.com .  I have learned from my mistakes and these editors are now helping me in better crafting another manuscript.  If it ever does make it to print, I am plan on sending it to you first and foremost.  I really am so grateful and honored that you allowed my work to be critiqued on your site. Thanks so much! 
Paul Collins
author of
King without an Empire 

If you liked Collins:
Then Philip K. Dick also, famously, played with the concepts of reality, drugs and science fiction.

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