While I was slogging away in the nether regions of fabulous Orange County throughout February and March, two reviews of anthology Alien Contact were published in online 'zines.
The first review, published on February 21, is courtesy of Josh Vogt (@JRVogt), Speculative Fiction Editor for examiner.com. From the review:
Alien Contact is a new short story anthology taking readers through 30 years of extraterrestrial fiction. As with many short story collections, there's a little bit of everything here. From the humorous to the horrifying, the inspiring to the incomprehensible. Often, I count an anthology successful if it leaves a lasting impression with at least a couple stories--and this one hits the mark more than once.
He goes on to review a few of his favorite stories, stating: "Of them all, 'Sunday Night Yams at Minnie and Earl's,' by Adam-Troy Castro, reigned supreme." Josh concludes his review with:
The second review, from Laith Preston, appeared on The Dragon Page (@dragonpage) on March 1:Alien Contact is a strong collection of science fiction short stories, well worth a hefty slot in your reading schedule. As with any anthology, there are entries that fall a bit flat, or leave you wondering what the point of it all was--but these are few and far between here. For all those who've wondered whether we're alone in this universe (and desperately hope this isn't the case), this collection will uplift your imagination and give you access to a wider reality where anything is possible.
I'm always on the lookout for good reading and new authors to follow. Alien Contact is something of a veritable who's who of the current genre greats, with some names I'm not as familiar with in the mix as well.With twenty-six short stories telling tales of man meeting with other intelligences, Marty Halpern has pulled together an anthology filled with hours of enjoyable reading.
One of the reviewer's favorite stories in the anthology was Harry Turtledove's "The Road Not Taken" -- "An extremely well told tale of the first meeting between two races, one more advanced than the other, and the unexpected outcome of that meeting." Laith sums up his review with: "I would highly recommend this anthology to fans of good short form Science Fiction."
And now for something related, but completely different:
Ernest Hogan (@NestoHogan), one of the contributing authors to Alien Contact, has finally published his long-out-of-print novel, Cortez on Jupiter, in various eBook formats.
His story "Guerrilla Mural of a Siren's Song" -- in Alien Contact -- formed the beginning of novel Cortez on Jupiter. And if you think "Guerrilla Mural..." is/was the zaniest story you ever read, just wait until you read the full novel!
From the novel's PR material:
Cortez on Jupiter is currently available for a whopping 99-cents at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords."All cultures have some acceptable form of human sacrifice. And if you really want to cause trouble, try taking it away."Mythoteching. Splatterpainting. Zapware. A wild young Chicano artist who covers Greater Los Angeles with fantastic graffiti. A beautiful African telepath who opens the door to communications with the deadly Sirens of Jupiter.Not since Ayn Rand's Howard Roarke has there been an artist as iconoclastic, as idealistic, and as splendidly spectacular as Pablo Cortez. Combining hard science fiction with pyrotechnics worthy of the young Alfred Bester, Cortez on Jupiter, tells the story of the painter who founds the Guerrilla Muralists Of Los Angeles, goes on to make Mankind's first contact with the sentient life-forms of Jupiter, and ends as the Solar System's most revered -- and least reverent -- artist.
In July 2011, I posted on this blog the complete "Guerrilla Mural of a Siren's Song" in three parts; so if you haven't read about Pablo Cortez as yet -- that over-the-top, crazy-as-an-artist Chicano painter -- then this is your opportunity: you won't read anything else like it! Here's the link to Part 1.
Recently, on his blog, Ernesto has been sharing excerpts from a number of Cortez on Jupiter reviews from back in the day of its original publication (Tor Books, 1990), including what he has termed "the worst review" ever. If you're an author, you'll appreciate how Ernesto has tweaked a blurb from that negative review into something very positive.