Category: science fiction (Page 1 of 19)

A Time and a Place Podcast Update

I just posted Chapter Four: Friends Like These of the podcast version of my novel A Time and Place up on Podbean. The entire podcast (so far) is available via the big purple link below. Check it out by following the link at the bottom of this post, or at various places throughout.

A while back I promised to explain why I’m posting it as a podcast.

A few reasons.

Number one, I’m about to launch another podcast with my friend and fellow writer Mark Rayner, author of such fine fare as The Fatness and Alpha Max. (More about that podcast later, in another post.) Investigating how best to launch a podcast, I came across Podbean as a potential hosting service but wanted to try it out first. How though?

It just so happened I have all the audio files for A Time and a Place right here on my hard drive, originally created for the audiobook version. So I thought what the heck, I’ll put it up as a podcast, see how that goes.

And I have to say that it went pretty smoothly, in terms of the mechanics of turning it into a podcast. Podbean is pretty user friendly.

But why turn a book currently for sale into a free podcast?

For a few reasons.

Number one, I first published A Time and a Place in 2017. It has sold fairly consistently since then, but sales have definitely dwindled in all its various forms, mainly because of next to zero visibility. I don’t do any paid advertising for it because it’s not worth it for just one book (ideally you want to have a series in place. I’m working on that.)

So it’s not like I would lose any money by podcasting ATAAP for free. Sure Podbean costs a bit of money, but I’ll be paying for it anyway, for the other podcast Mark and I will be doing. If anything, podcasting A Time and a Place could conceivably make me money by increasing visibility for the book. For instance, if someone listens to a few episodes and decides they don’t want to wait around for the next chapters (which drop once per week). Or someone who listens and just wants to show their support by purchasing a copy in some form.

It’s also potentially monetized because I’ve placed a sort of “tip” jar on the podcast home page. (It ain’t easy to find, but it’s there at the bottom. Just look for the word “Donate.”) If you do opt to donate, thanks! (You will, very likely, be the first to do so.)

It’s not like I need the money. But creators like me do need to be careful about giving our art away for free. It potentially devalues not only our art but all art, no matter the medium. Ideally, when we do give it away for free, we do so strategically, to generate further interest in our product(s). To quote author Cory Doctorow, my problem isn’t poverty, it’s obscurity. (It’s less of a problem now for him than it is for me).

So how’s the ATAAP podcast going so far? From the beginning of my writing journey I resolved to be honest and transparent about the whole process. Same holds true for this podcasting venture. Four chapters in there have been a total of 78 downloads. 41 for chapter one, 21 for chapter two, 11 for chapter three, and 4 for chapter four. It’s been downloaded from Canada, the United States, Australia, France, England, and Russia. 70.0% from Google Chrome, 10.0% from Podbean, 10.0% from Podcast Addict, and 10.0% from Spotify.

If you’re one of those listening, I hope you’re enjoying it.

Jacques the Necronian

Jacques the Necronian enjoys hawking books when not conquering planets.

This is hideous slime monster Jacques the Necronian telling the insignificant fragments of Earth where to find my novel A Time and a Place. Jacques is terrible at marketing. I would say that he means well but he really does not.

Yes, you can find A Time and a Place in libraries, as Jacques suggests. You can also find it here.

Video clips courtesy of pexels.com. Also thanks to Daniel Narinian and New Zealand for the use of their video clips.

Review of Alpha Max by Mark A. Rayner

Available on Amazon and other online retailers


Great cover design by Xavier Comas

As I sat down to write the initial version of this review on Amazon, it prompted me by asking, “What did you like or dislike? What did you use this product for?”

I’ll answer the last question first. Oddly enough, I used this product for reading. I believe that’s what it’s best suited for. That can’t be said for all books; happily it’s the case with this one. Alpha Max is a book for people who like to read funny, thoughtful novels written in an engaging style.

Alpha Max is about a man, Max Tundra, who is recruited to help save the multiverse. Doing so he visits many different versions of Earth and meets many (sometimes unusual) iterations of himself. The story moves at a brisk pace with not a single dull passage toward an engaging conclusion as Max gradually figures out what’s really going on.

Mark Rayner has many strengths as a writer, among them charm, humour, and inventiveness, all of which serve a higher purpose, to explore ideas in a fun way. It’s all on display in Alpha Max as Rayner fires on all cylinders with perhaps his finest work to date.

What did I like? I liked it all, including the softcover copy, which looks and feels good. I love the cover design and the interior layout was a pleasure to read.

What didn’t I like? Struggling to come up with something here. Maybe the ISBN number could have been better. A few more 7s would have been nice. But hey, nothing’s perfect, at least not in this version of the universe.

Five out of Five for Alpha Max by Mark A. Rayner.

“Frankenreview” (Part Two)

Here’s a slightly more positive “frankenreview” (hey, fair’s fair…)

Photo by Dad Grass from Pexels

Once again, this “frankenreview” is comprised of direct quotes from existing reviews found on Goodreads, Amazon, Librarything and elsewhere. I did not change a single word, though I did omit some words (as indicated by ellipsis) and added others (indicated by parentheses) in the interest of readability.

I encourage you to visit any of the sites mentioned above and post your own reviews. Not just for my book(s), but for any you’ve read. Whether the reviews you leave are positive or negative (or somewhere in between) you’ll be doing your favourite writer(s) a huge favour.

Et voila… A Time and a Place “Frankenreview” Part Two:

(Click here for Frankenreview Part One)

What a story! Unlike any other sci-fi you’ve ever read. Non-stop action. It… had me hooked from the beginning. I really enjoyed this novel and recommend it for those who like their science fiction stories to be quirky, human and compelling. I loved this book!

Mahoney relates a pretty rollicking Fantasy-Science Fiction adventure story with a lively, imaginative degree of world building. There is a veritable smorgasbord of funky ideas at play in the novel and passages of sneaky thoughtfulness cheek by jowl with subversive goofiness. With wry, tongue-in-cheek similes and metaphors at his disposal, Mahoney seems to be both winking at the tropes of the genres he is engaged in while encouraging us as readers to give them another look with a fresh set of eyes.

This book was both comic and tragic, sad and funny, with a hero who tries to do the right thing but always seems to stumble. The protagonist is an endearing sad sack. I… found the characters to be sympathetic and memorable. Mahoney… deserves credit for taking a passel of relatively archetypical supporting characters and either spinning them off in unexpected ways or giving them much more nuance and depth than expected. Beings of all stripes enter the field of battle, the most charming being Jacques, a one-eyed tentacled Necronian who will engulf you unless you have something he wants. I greatly enjoyed the chapters in which our time and dimension travelling hero finds himself in the body of an alien, purple-furred cat with opposable thumbs and then a seagull. The T’Klee were my favorite bit. I love the idea of large cats with opposable thumbs, their own language & culture, and having to fight the technologically advanced Necronians.

The magic of A TIME AND A PLACE resides in its rich description of places we’ll never see—not even in dreams. The author has a great imagination. His ability to evoke imaginative worlds and alien creatures is what makes reading this book such a pleasure. The vivid descriptions and wit kept me hooked from beginning to end. A Sci-Fi Fantasy with literary notes, there is so much to love about this book. 

The writing is so polished that if it were my hardwood floor, I would be able to see my face in it. Quintessentially Canadian, beautifully written, displaying the dry humour that made Stephen Leacock a national treasure. By turns droll and exuberant, this novel reels you into its strange world with as much pull as the portal that sends Barnabus through time and space. This book sprawls, wildly (I didn’t mention the shapeshifting demon Iugurtha or the sentient artificial intelligence Sebastian or the warrior cats), yet it all fits together. Through its unflinching depiction of conflict, this book packs a surprising emotional punch. But – mark my words – this doesn’t disqualify Joe Mahoney from being the next Terry Pratchett… the author has a decided knack for humorous word play which brings some levity to otherwise serious situations. Mahoney writes with a practised wit. In A Time and a Place, the humour sneaks up on you and results in under-your-breath chuckles. This all interweaves into Joe’s style, which is actually quite pronounced for a first novel.

This is the first time—in this lifetime—I’ve read anything by Joe Mahoney, and it won’t be the last. I enjoyed the book tremendously and appreciated how the background story unfolded in stages. (It) was so well written and intriguing, I did not want to put it down. A page turner. I stayed glued to it until late into the night. With questionable allies hiding in every closet, layered characters and a plot that kept the pages turning, you won’t regret adding A Time and a Place to your shelf. By the time you reach the end, you’ll be sad to leave this crazy universe behind.

Joe Mahoney was also a fine narrator. I have to say with a voice like that I would listen to anything he narrated. I loved this mesmerising audiobook with its non-stop action and adventure. Can’t wait for Mr. Mahoney’s next book.

CULLED FROM VARIOUS SOURCES SUCH AS GOODREADS, LIBRARYTHING, AND AMAZON

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