This is the beginning of a week-long review series featuring Kindle short stories from authors from reddit’s /r/selfpublish. Check back throughout the week for more reviews.
Gil C. Schmidt’s story “The Horde Returns” is the first part of The Horde Anthology, though no other books have yet been released in the series. It follows a family preparing for a storm, which is the precursor to the arrival of the Horde. The storm brings with it the first of the creatures escaped from Hell, and the creature attacks a woman and boy, setting the stage for the story’s central struggle.
Reading is an important part of a child’s development. A good deal of essential brain development occurs in the first three years of an infant’s life, well before even learning to read. In recognition of this fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents begin reading to infants from birth: “reading, as well as talking and singing, is viewed as important in increasing the number of words that children hear in the earliest years of their lives.”
So what books should parents read to babies? For newborns, it does not seem to matter what you read to them, so long as you are reading something. They “understand the emotion in the words that are being read to them very, very early” but not the content: at this point “it starts with the parent’s enjoyment and then becomes a shared enjoyment” of reading. So, for the science-fiction and fantasy lover, start your newborn on whatever captures your imagination, whether it is A Game of Thrones or a Star Wars expanded universe novel (I understand the Thrawn trilogy is essential for the true Star Wars fan).
But after a few months, when you notice your baby’s starting to respond to the meaning of the words, you will have to make a switch from Red Wedding twists to something a bit more age appropriate. But what could possibly be age appropriate for a baby and also keep you entertained?
Here are some of the books I grew up on that helped to foster a love of fantastical things, and that I would return to again as an adult.
I’m back with another reading recommendation for all you voracious readers out there. This time it is another short story entitled “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream” by Harlan Ellison.
Published in 1967, “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream” is a classic of science-fiction horror. The story focuses on five humans who are held captive by a supercomputer, AM. The rest of the human race is gone, destroyed by AM decades ago. AM puts the five humans through various tortures as the story progresses, just as AM has tortured them continually for the last 109 years. “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream” is grotesquely dark and fascinating, portraying a living hell from which there is only one escape: death. But when one is made immortal by a supercomputer, is the escape guaranteed by death even possible?
During undergrad, my film professor said that were she trapped on a desert island, the two films she would want to have with her were Sunset Boulevard (1950) and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). The woman had impeccable tastes and inspired in me a deep love for horror and the macabre. While I am not sure about films, I have often thought about the books I would want with me on a desert island. The following, in no particular order, are some of my essential desert island books.
I discovered Hyperion late in high school when I had just started to really read book with depth, and what depth this book has! Simmons weaves the structure of The Canterbury Tales and the poetry of John Keats into a masterful scifi epic. A book one can read over and over, each new visit to Hyperion reveals nuances and references previously missed. It is a scifi epic that has something for everyone: a father worried deeply for his daughter’s health, a military man battleworn and weary, a forlorn poet in search of his muse, a detective searching for the answer to a complicated mystery.
Even though each traveler’s tale is different than the last—sometimes moving into what seems to be an entirely different genre—the shifts never feel awkward or disjointed. Simmons’ skill in storytelling shines here as each character spins a separate tale which gradually interweave and coalesce into a complete, interconnected whole.
It’s been a busy week, what with final edits on my next work before release, plus I’m writing for a competition that ends this month. When it’s busy, it’s hard to find the time to sit down and read, so I thought I’d give a reading recommendation for those moments when you want to read, but don’t have much time to dedicate.