Scott M. Sandridge

A Work in Progress

SpecMusicMuse—Review of Altered States: A Cyberpunk Sci-Fi Anthology, Edited by Roy C. Booth and Jorge Salgado-Reyes

Altered States is a cyberpunk anthology whose stories broaden the horizon of what is usually thought of as subgenre with tight borders. The fifteen stories inside range from the well-defined tropes, to the experimental, to everything in between. Nine are reprints, and six are original to this anthology. My particular favorites were:

“Living in the Singularity” by Tom Borthwick: the plot twist was somewhat expected but fit the story well.

“Ex Machina” by Cynthia Ward: combines hacking with psychology and explores the concept of collective consciousness. I didn’t expect this plot twist at all, and it made for a great ending.

“Extra Credit” by Paul Levinson: combines cyberpunk with parallel worlds. As always, Levinson weaves a great tale from start to finish.

“Attention Whore” by Kerry G.S. Lipp: the most interesting story in the antho. I found it to be just as relatable to modern day as it is to a near-future cyberpunk setting…and the story gave me chills.

Altered States is a great anthology to add to your collection whether you prefer cyberpunk specifically or science fiction in general. I highly recommend it.

Best to read while listening to: the soundtracks to Blade Runner and Johnny Mnemonic. Also throw some Atari Teenage Riot into the mix.

 

December 6, 2014 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SpecMusicMuse Review: Mind Game

Mind Game, by R.L. Copple, is a YA science fiction novel that combines space opera with virtual reality. Jeremy and Mickey get a virtual reality video game for Christmas. Little do they, and thousands of other children, know is that the VR is no game. Their minds get transported across the vastness of space and into virtual bodies, to fight a war for an imperialistic alien race. A rip-roaring space adventure ensues, filled with humor, heroism, and tragedy.

Copple maintains a fast pace, keeping the action going, and provides unexpected but logical plot twists throughout. Even the dialogue feels real for characters of such a young age, in contrast to how some YA novels can be. You will root for the heroes, boo the main villain, and even feel bad for the other villains. He also manages to tackle very adult topics in a manner that keeps it suitable for a YA novel. Overall, Copple delivers.

While there are definitely some moralistic themes to the story, the themes are where they should be: in the background. Primarily written for entertainment, the themes become an extra topping on the pizza.

If you enjoyed Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, then you will enjoy R.L. Copple’s Mind Game.

Best to read while listening to:  the soundtracks to Star Wars and Goonies comes to mind.

September 17, 2011 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christian Cyberpunk Novelist to Speak

Award-winning Christian Cyberpunk author Frank Creed will be appearing in Second Life, Tuesday, January 20 at 7 p.m. For Second Life residents the direct link to the location is http://slurl.com/secondlife/North%20Bound%20Marina/226/25/24

This will be an informal discussion in which Creed will share about his writing, his life and the state of Christian speculative fiction. Questions will be entertained by Creed. Afterwards, plans include virtual surfing and socializing. Creed is the founder of the Lost Genre Guild, a group of writers, editors and publishers of different types of speculative fiction with a Christian worldview. 

“Christians own the copyright to demons and angels and spiritual warfare,” notes Creed. “Yet, the bookshelves of Christian bookstores are almost totally devoid of speculative fiction except for some fairly sanitized young adult fantasies. Nevertheless, there is a small, but growing, group of writers and independent publishers using modern technology to make quality Christian speculative fiction available.”

Creed is the author of Flashpoint and War of Attrition, both published by Writer’s Café Press. Set in a future where fundamentalist Christians are considered terrorists, these books follow the exploits of a group of supernaturally cyber-enhanced resistance fighters using nonlethal weapons in an attempt to protect members of the underground church from the “Neros” or agents of the government seeking to crush the resistance and “re-educate” their members. 

“I guess I created the first Christian Cyberpunk novel identified as such,” says Creed. “There was a series of books published in the 1990’s which might qualify as the first, but they were never marketed as cyberpunk.”

In addition to writing the novels, Creed also helped co-author a role playing game based on the stories.  “I’m a gamer from way back. So, it was
only natural for me to want to create an RPG where my readers could enter the world of The Underground, ” Creed explains.

Flashpoint has received critical acclaim and won several awards including: Best Science Fiction Novel of the Year (Elfwood 2006), CFRB Best Novel Toured Award (2007), finalist for the Pluto Award for the Best Science Fiction Novel Reviewed, and was nominated for the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Clive Staples award. “Jesus understood the power of the story to communicate in his world. We are creating the parables of a new generation,” says Creed.

For more information email Terri Main at
webservant2003@ yahoo.com

January 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment