A Year in Books – 2014

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Goodreads claims I read 84 books last year – including 3 of my own. I read 44 in 2013 so that’s pretty good. Lots of short stories in there, which accounts for the dramatic increase in the total number of books. There are also a lot more indie books. That wasn’t a conscious decision but I’ve been avoiding long books and indie books tend to be shorter than their traditional counterparts. One thing I did avoid as much as I could, was indie books that were blatantly part of a series. Not that I don’t like a good series, provided it’s executed well (the Lexy Cooper books are a good example of a well handled series). But I’ve seen too many indie authors sacrificing basic story telling in order to create a cliffhanger ending in the hope they can entice readers to buy the next book. I hit that at least once this year, and it was extremely unsatisfying. It’s a big part of the reason I’m skipping the rest of that particular series. I’ll probably take the plunge on a series or two this year but once bitten, twice shy. I also listened to a few audiobooks. I haven’t separated them out this year but I’m still enjoying Jim … Read More

Tales from Pennsylvania Out Today

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The first anthology of stories set in the world of Michael Bunker’s Pennsylvania – Tales from Pennsylvania – is now available. Here’s the blurb from Amazon. Pennsylvania. The groundbreaking dystopian vision Hugh Howey called “a brilliant tale of extra-planetary colonization.” Now you can revisit USA Today Bestselling Author Michael Bunker’s unique world in this anthology of original short stories—authored by ten of his fellow master storytellers and including a new Pennsylvania story by the creator of the Pennsylvania World himself. In Tales from Pennsylvania, Transport’s ever-growing desire for complete control forges new heroes as imagined by today’s leading voices in speculative fiction. You’ll meet an Amish family torn between their commitment to pacifism and impossible choices to preserve their way of life. A hacker named Gordian, who’s far too good at what she does for the Authority’s taste. A former stripper and her club-owner husband, who must learn to fit into Plain society or lose their lives. A young girl, lost in the winter cold and at the mercy of the Wild Ones. A scavenger on the Great Shelf, who befriends a woman he’d only intended to rob. A young Native American girl forced to undertake a journey in time. These adventures and … Read More

Gettysburg by Chris Pourteau

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I’ve mentioned Michael Bunker’s Amish science fiction novel, Pennsylvania, here before and it’s been doing very well. Most recently, it cracked the top 100 on Amazon and hit number one in the cyberpunk category. Not too shabby. Now, Pennsylvania fan fiction is beginning to hit the shelves. First up is Gettysburg: A Tale of the Second War for Pennsylvanian Independence by Chris Pourteau. Here’s the blurb. In Michael Bunker’s Pennsylvania, Jedidiah Troyer becomes the hero of TRACE’s fight against the Transport Authority. But even before Jed’s adventure begins, the Second War for Pennsylvanian Independence has raged for a generation. Gettysburg is one tale of that long and bitter struggle. When we join them in their fight, the forces of TRACE are running out of time. Severely outmanned and outgunned, they know that if they can’t find a way to level the playing field with Transport—and soon—defeat is inevitable. Fate presents them a chance to turn the tide of war. A large supply of Transport’s okcillium—the all-important material powering laser weapons and other military technology—sits largely unguarded in a small town between the AZ and the City. That town’s name is Gettysburg. But fortune rarely allows history to be made so easily. Tactics, heroics, and … Read More

Pennsylvania Book Bomb

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Today is Pennsylvania book bomb day. That’s nice. What’s a book bomb? Well, it’s a concerted effort to sell as many copies of a book as possible in a single day – usually launch day. The goal, apart from selling those copies, is to get as much visibility for the book as possible. The more sales a book gets the higher it climbs in the rankings on Amazon and other places and the more people will see it. That kind of visibility is the lifeblood of indie authors that don’t have the marketing muscle of the big publishers behind them. Okay, so what’s Pennsylvania? I’m glad you asked. Pennsylvania is Michael Bunker’s Amish science fiction novel and the book that taught me how to spell Pennsylvania. Originally published as a series of five individual books, he’s now put together an omnibus edition and today is launch day. Which is where the book bomb comes in – Michael is looking to sell 500 copies across both paperback and ebook in one day. I read the individual volumes earlier this year and really enjoyed them so I’ll be doing my part by picking up the print copy of the book. I’m looking forward to seeing it. As I mentioned in a previous … Read More

Michael Bunker on Indie Book Quality

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I’m a bit late getting to this but Michael Bunker, author of (among other things) the Amish science fiction novel Pennsylvania has an interesting post up about the quality of Indie Books and included a video showing just how good some indie books are. I generally don’t buy physical books any more, I just don’t have the space, so I was surprised at the effort that has gone into these books. The results are a lot better than many of the traditionally published books that are out there. Even if you’re not an author, it’s well worth a look. Incidentally, Michael has the omnibus edition of Pennsylvania coming out on 29th April and is planning a book bomb to get it off to a good start. I’m about halfway through the book and enjoying it so far. Check out his blog for more details. [Michael Bunker on Indie Book Quality by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 9th April 2014]