South Florida Noir. This really does have that combo South Florida / Noir vibe to it, and if you approach it from that sense… it tends to make more sense. In the end, this is a tale of one man and his daddy issues, and while ultimately nowhere near the literary feat of The Great Gatsby, also gives off some similar vibes there too.
Note that the Amazon listing even for the Kindle book shows it dramatically shorter than what Goodreads currently shows it as – 209 pages on Amazon (which feels closer to accurate with just how quickly this book reads) vs 336 on Goodreads (which feels remarkably long for just how quickly this book reads). And yes, as I am writing this review a full week before release, that means I read an Advance Reviewer Copy and a Goodreads Librarian can update the page count on that site at any point between when I’m writing this review and when you are reading it. So if this has been corrected, ignore this part of the review. 🙂
Overall, this is a great, fun, short read perfect for a bit of escapism and perhaps a degree of catharsis. Maybe not a Dr. office read, and arguably not really a beach read either, yet perfect for one of those languid hot humid Southern summer nights. Particularly if you happen to be *in* South Florida at the time, and likely particularly with a good cigar in one hand while sipping a fine Old Fashioned. Damn, now *I* need to read this book again in that manner. 🙂 Very much recommended.
This review of Liquid Shades Of Blue by James Polkinghorn was originally written on May 9, 2023.
Excellent Collection of Darker Scifi Stories. This collection does a great job of spanning a wide range of scifi types and styles, from noir/ hard-boiled detective chasing a mysterious object to concerns about the space race/ nuclear testing to AI to haunted houses to mind-bending psychological thriller, and several others to boot. While Schwaeble uses “dark fantasy” on the cover to describe what is here, to me “fantasy” is more swords/ sorcery level, and the closest you actually get to that in this collection is some stories having a touch of the paranormal to them. Otherwise this is solid scifi/ horror, and great for those “mood”/ “seasonal” readers looking for something a bit darker/ spookier in October. Also great for fans of the Twilight Zone and Hitchcockian suspense, as these stories are right there in that vein. Very much recommended.
This review of Moonless Nocturne by Hank Schwaeble was originally written on October 8, 2022.
Fun Romp Through Star Trek: TNG In Its Heyday. This is a fictionalized loose autobiography featuring Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation – and more specifically, Brent Spiner, the human actor who portrayed him. As one of those Autistics that Spiner mentions during the course of this story as eventually being told so many of us looked up to that character, I can absolutely attest to that being true… and one of the reasons he became so legendary to me. But the story itself is pure light-noir Hollywood, with quite a bit of comedy tossed into a plot that is nominally about obsessive fans and the more serious aspects of how that can go a bit off the rails. Most of the rest of the cast of TNG comes through in various bits, with Jonathan Frakes and LeVar Burton getting the most “screen time” here but even Michael Dorf, Gates McFadden, and yes, Sir Patrick Stewart himself all getting at least one scene of direct interaction with Brent within these pages. Still, as a “fictionalized autobiography” / noir, these scenes aren’t meant as literal “this happened” so much as “this is true to who these people were in my experience, even as these exact interactions are fictionalized”. As such, it offers a great view “behind the scenes”… without *actually* going “behind the scenes”. Great use of the medium, and a quick ish read to boot- I read it in a single afternoon. Very much recommended.
This review of Fan Fiction by Brent Spiner was originally written on August 27, 2021.