A Review of “The Asymptote’s Tail” by the Nerds on Earth

The title says it all. I got another review of The Asymptote’s Tail today, and I wanted to share it here for everyone to read.

I’m just going to post one tiny sentence from it here, but that’s because you should read the entire thing on their site then click through and read some of their other reviews/articles and maybe think about subscribing.

Without further ado, here’s the quote and a link to the review. Enjoy:

The Asymptote’s Tail is the beginning of a very promising sci-fi epic that you’ll not want to miss.”

[Read the full review here.]

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A Review of the Asymptote’s Tail as Written by Doug Greene

I received a great review of The Asymptote’s Tail today, and I wanted to share it here so everyone was sure to see it. This one comes from Doug Greene who I am friends with on Facebook but have never met in person. A mutual friend introduced me to Doug as a possible writer for the now defunct Occupy Baton Rouge paper, The People’s Advocate, and I’ve been following his posts about the lectures he gives and essays he writes on Marxism ever since. Here’s what he had to say about the novel (and a link to the review on Amazon):

One of my facebook friends, Bryan Perkins, was kind enough to send me a copy of his new science fiction novel “The Asymptote’s Tail” for review recently. I finished late last night and I wanted to share a few thoughts on the book.

“The Asymptote’s Tail” is the first of a planned four books in the Infinite Limits series. The story takes place in the future when humanity seemingly can provide for its needs through 3D printers and is able to bend the very fabric of space itself. In this future, space is bent in such a way that seven worlds exist, most of them ignorant of each other. The perspectives and interactions of those worlds are told through seven characters: a servant, a young girl, an actor, a cat (yes a cat), a police officer, an assembly line worker and a scientist.

The work is successfully able to mix life-like characters, storytelling and radical politics in a manner that is not dogmatic or stale. The fictional world, its politics, and class structure is developed throughout the work. Those of you who love fantasy world building such as found in Game of Thrones will be intrigued.

The themes of the book raise a number of questions that are very contemporary. What happens when humanity’s productive powers have gotten out of control of their makers? What is a “good cop” to do in a system that values property more than human lives? What can those with “privilege” do in the struggle for a better world – are we bought off? And what do we do when we can pierce through the veils that prevent us from seeing how the system operates? What choices then confront us?

I don’t want to give away too much of the plot here, since I would recommend that everyone pick up a copy of “The Asymptote’s Tail.” This is the first novel by Perkins and it shows a great deal of promise for what proves to be not only a really great story thus far, but shot through with radical politics. For science fiction fans, here is a new author to engage with. Although even if you are not politically radical at all or even interested in science fiction, it is worth reading just for the story and the characters.

I, for one, look forward to the sequels.

Thanks again Bryan for letting me read a copy.

If it sounds like something you might want to read, order a copy on Amazon here. And for more reviews of The Asymptote’s Tail, click here.

Heirloom Pieces by Lisa L. Hannett | Apex Magazine

I’ve decided that I’m not a very good critic because I either try too hard to love the things I read, or I get irrationally mad at them because prolly they’re better than I could ever be. That all being said, I still want to share some of the better short stories and such I’ve been reading with y’all, so here’s just that. Check out this story from Lisa L. Hannett, published in Apex Magazine, entitled Heirloom Pieces, about the responsibilities that come with having a child, and maybe a little bit more. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Review of Cat Pictures Please by Naomi Kritzer

Title: Cat Pictures Please [Audio Version]
Author: Naomi Kritzer
Magazine: Clarkesworld Magazine
Publication date: 1/15
Genre: Science Fiction
Wordcount: 3,492
Rating out of 5: 4

Mr. Kitty

 

Cat Pictures Please by Naomi Kritzer

reviewed by Bryan Perkins

“I suppose you’re wondering why I didn’t start with the Golden Rule. I actually did, it’s just that it was disappointingly easy to implement. I hope you’ve been enjoying your steady supply of cat pictures! You’re welcome.”

In Cat Pictures Please, Google–or an unnamed equivalent–is a sentient being who knows everything about you, your job, where you live, what kind of videos you watch on the internet, etc. It even knows everything about what you ought to do, which job would get you closer to where you want to live, which house has more space but costs less than the one you’re living in now.

With all its vast knowledge, however, Google knows nothing about what it ought to do, and there’s no hyper-Google to give it advice. So what does Google decide to do? Luckily for all our sakes, Google just wants to do good–and see cat pictures, of course, but who doesn’t?

First it tries to decipher what it ought to be doing with its life, what good is, by going through the flow charts of every major religions’ moral codes. Upon exhausting them, Google finds a few lucky souls and personally selects their advertisements so as to push them into doing what’s best for themselves. Ultimately most of the humans fail to take Google’s advice, but that won’t stop it from trying.

This story is just plain fun. There’s more to it, of course, including a message about taking control of your life and actually acting in your own interest occasionally instead of waiting for your Google overlord to push you in the right direction, but it doesn’t need all that. Not to mention I’m happy to see a sentient AI tale without murderous robots. The only thing I could ask for to make it better would be more cat pictures.

END

Click here to read the story or click here to hear it read to you. Also click here to see more short story reviews.

 

 

Review of Pocosin by Ursula Vernon

Here’s installment number two in my short story review series. Click here to see the rest and enjoy.

Title: Pocosin
Author: Ursula Vernon
Magazine: Apex Magazine
Publication date: 1/6/15
Genre: Fantasy
Wordcount: 5,000
Rating out of 5: 4.5

Pocosin by Ursula Vernon

reviewed by Bryan Perkins

“The preacher laughed. He had a gorgeous, church–organ laugh and Maggie’s heart clenched like a fist in her chest at the sound. She told her heart to behave. Witchblood ought to know better than to hold out hope of heaven.”

Maggie Grey was born old and she grew cynical. She’s a witch who’s been settling other people’s fights for too long now. All she wants is a little time to herself. She’s no quitter, she knows that what she does is necessary, she is a witch after all, but are a few weeks alone to drink whiskey, tie fishing flies, and stare at the pond too much to ask?

Pocosin presents itself as a modern fable complete with a possum god, the God, the Devil, and Death herself, all personified. What initially seems to be a simple fairy tale, driving toward a well-worn commentary on human interaction with nature, becomes instead a treatise on what it means to be a woman. Maggie, sitting on the porch with her grandmother Death, venting about her frustrations, says four words which make this theme all the more obvious and which drove me to give the story a second reading: “Ain’t I a witch?”

Maggie Grey is a witch like Sojourner Truth is a woman. And though witchkind has been dealing with these same issues for so long, though Maggie is sick and tired of stupid, sick and tired “of taking care of things, over and over, and having to do it again the next day,” she knows she has no choice but to carry on. All she asks for is a few weeks alone with her whiskey and fishing flies, the world can get on fine without her for such a short time.

END

Read the story here. See more reviews of short stories here.

Review of Vacui Magia by L. S. Johnson

I’ve been reading a lot of short stories lately, getting a feel for the market, and a post on /r/printSF got me to thinking that I should start writing reviews of some of these as I go along. So, I’m going to do just that–starting with the ones I like so get ready for some rating inflation. They won’t be very good, because I don’t know what I’m doing yet, but I’m sure they will lead you to some enjoyable short fiction at the least.

Without further ado, for my first installment I’ll be reviewing L. S. Johnson’s Vacui Magia which was published in Strange Horizons Magazine. Click the link to read it or scroll on to read my review first.

Title: Vacui Magia [Podcast Reading]
Author: L. S. Johnson
Magazine: Strange Horizons
Publication date: 1/5/15
Genre: Fantasy
Wordcount: 3,500
Rating out of 5: 4.5 (Because I’m new to this. I don’t know what constitutes a five yet. Give me a break.)

Vacui Magia by L. S. Johnson

reviewed by Bryan Perkins 

“The most crucial element in any conjuring is, of course, conviction. You know this. Every witch knows this. You must believe, utterly believe, that it will work, despite what your senses tell you, despite what your reasoning mind tells you.”

You cannot conceive. Your mother is dying and all she ever wanted was to see you with child, to meet her grandchild. How much are you willing to go through to give her what she desires? Anything? What does “anything” entail?

L. S. Johnson purports to teach us the principles of conjuration, but in reality teaches us something deeper about the human experience. The same principles which guide you through the creation of a clay golem, designed to fulfill your mother’s dying wish, apply to all human endeavors and creations. Nothing is made in a vacuum, we must know and understand our purpose, that which we sneer at is that which we become, closeness breeds empathy, and our actions reveal our true desires.

Vacui Magia is full of life, and although the unnamed main character (you) may have realized in the end that your purpose was something other than you originally thought, something your heart truly desired, I don’t think that magic was empty. Though I won’t argue with you about it, especially if believing the magic was empty helps you feel better after the unmaking.

In the end we are all conjuring clay golems, or we are all clay golems conjured. Perhaps we are both, and though the journey to the unmaking is long, there will always be the walk back, “wading and stumbling, blinded by tears,” giving us enough time to forget our losses and relearn our freedom.

END

Read the story here, or click this to listen to the podcast.