The Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide Volume 5 edited by Corie Weaver and Sean Weaver

Disclaimer: as y’all know, I’m one of the 24 authors. So let me tell you a little about the other 23 stories, because damn this is a good book.

First of all, many science fiction subgenres are represented here. There’s steampunk (and wild west steampunk), battles, space ships, hard sci-fi (Main Character against their environment mostly), soft sci-fi (learning to learn, learning to trust, etc.), space dragons, LOTS of robots, and terraforming, just to name a few.

There’s a story based on Oliver Twist in here, people. Middle-grades sci-fi Oliver Twist.

Lest you think it’s all light fun and games, know that while these stories are written for middle-grade readers and up, the collection tackles some universal topics. There are stories that will make you think about long-term effects of racism or ableism. There are stories that will make you think about loneliness, about death of a family member, about working together in the depth of tragedy.

And there’s also a story of a mechanical monkey stealing a valise, so it’s also not a book I’d call gloomy or too heavy.

In fact, one of the things I love about this book is that pretty much every story ends on an up note. There are plenty of things to think about, yes, but our heroes and heroines succeed. (Well maybe not Pluto.) (It’s not a spoiler when the planet was demoted in 2006!)

As always I am honored to be included around such wonderful stories, but believe you me I’d be reading this thing even if I wasn’t published in it. The Young Explorers Adventure Guides are so good a friend’s non-sci-fi kid devours them every year. I took a copy into work and it disappeared off the swap shelf immediately. This is a good book.

Day 336: Tree trimming

Day 336:

Finally a sunny day, except if you’re under this giant mess of trees. I’ve cut down two huge trees so far, being shot at by skeletons pretty much the whole time.

I don’t really enjoy that part.

I have to admit it’s nice to be out in the sun. I’m definitely the kind of person who can be perfectly happy in a cave for days on end, but there’s something to be said for sunlight and warmth and vitamin D.

Reviews / Impressions of stuff I’ve read in 2018

A quick note – I’m moving some of my reviews from Goodreads / Amazon of the things I’ve read this year over to this site, so while the actual site will thread these into the right date order because I’m adjusting the dates to match, y’all may be seeing more than the usual volume of tweets / facebook updates. Happy vacation!

Day 335: more rain

Day 335:

Another rainy miserable day outside but I was determined to get the ceiling/roof up in the chamber that I’m planning to cover with dirt.

It leaked like a sieve.

My current technique is to cut the stones such that they lock together pretty solidly, but that doesn’t do much to keep water out. I’m pretty sure that once I have dirt on top it won’t leak as badly, but I really could use some tar or something to keep the leaks out a bit better.

No idea how to make that though so it’s not a today project.

Day 334: trying a roof

Day 334:

I’m not doing a very good job of thinning the trees but I am doing a pretty good job of taking the bottom of the cave (or rather, the first level of the cave, the bottom is way way way further down) and putting down a proper floor and some walls so at least they can’t sneak up on me from one of the side-chambers of the cave.

The good part of this is that it’s easier and safer to move around in the chamber. The not-good part of this is that monsters can still fall in and kill me constantly because there are too many trees.

It’s mostly because I got into fixing up this chamber while it was raining like crazy and then the sun came out and I was like hmm, maybe I should get back to work on those trees, but it was cool and nice in the cave and kind of hot topside so I just stuck where I was.

But also, the chamber that I dug into the cave from is the exact best level to put a roof on it, cover it with dirt, and nobody will know there’s an entrance there. So putting a roof on this chamber and then covering it over and adding some stairs is actually a pretty good idea.

Tomorrow if the weather’s nice, I’ll go back to thinning the trees. That way I can work on putting stairs in without getting killed. Because once I put stairs in, the monsters will use the stairs instead of breaking their legs falling into the pit.