Books »Fane

by David M. Alexander (1981)

There’s not a ton of information about the fun imaginative sci-fi novel, Fane but that David M. Alexander is, like me, a huge fan of Jack Vance would be apparent even if he didn’t state his admiration in his dedication to the author.

The tale begins with a lazy, selfish young man sent by his powerful wizard Uncle on a seemingly simple errand, which he promptly messes up. This leads to quite an adventure on the planet Fane, which is ruled not by known rules of science but bizarre magical powers. Can our unwilling hero harness these powers to not only save his own hide but those of his alien companions and the planet races as a whole?

Man, I better hope that Van grows up with the same love of goofy, fun science fiction, or else I am going to have a whole lot of out of print paper backs to find a home for.

While this particular out of print paperback is a little hard to find, I’ve learned that it’s been re-released under the name The Accidental Magician and now sports some insane cover art that unlike the original, doesn’t really have much to do with the storyline.

PS, this forgotten little book is not to be confused with the Fane werewolf romance series by Susan Krinard.

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Posted on June 24, 2011

Books »Petals on the Wind (Worst Book)

I got into serious trouble once back in elementary school for bringing this V.C. Andrews book, Petals on the Wind, to school and now, years later, I understand why and completely agree with the verdict. I was expecting some melodramatic YA fiction but what I got was queasy grossness by way of glamorized incestuous pedophelia. As a fairly reasonable adult I can not believe that this was marketed so successfully to pre-teen girls for decades. It's an outrage

Picking off where the teen lit (even abbreviated as 'lit' and paired with 'teen', the reference to legitimate literature is misleading) phenomenon Flowers in the Attic left off, the Dollanganger clan is out of the attic and off to follow their dreams of becoming ballerinas and doctors. They meet a seemingly kindly old man who takes them in and… Well, really I can't even tell you what ends of happening, I felt so off-put by the whole thing I actually put the book the book back in my purse and?defiantly rode the rest of the way home with nothing to occupy my time. Worst of all: my copy didn't even have the cut-out cover art!

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Posted on November 9, 2009

Books »Chocky

john wyndham chockyJohn Wyndham, perhaps most well known for The Day of the Triffids, has left an indelible mark on the world of science fiction. His books always place the unreal and supernatural in very real and identifiable settings, with reasonable characters trying to deal with wild events. His slender novel, Chocky, is a kinder, gentler science fiction tale of a child possessed by an alien… really.

Matthew is a normal boy until one day he creates an imaginary friend named Chocky who empowers the boy with sudden abilities he didn't have before. Doing math problems in binary, drawing with the skill of an accomplished artiste, and learning to swim within minutes – it's strange and disturbing to his parents, but no one can figure out how or why.

While the story is not the most earth shattering, it's nice to read a more optimistic viewpoint of invaders from other planets and I'm sure this was a welcome relief to children afraid of space invaders prepared to suck their brains.

The book led to a popular British television series that envisioned sequels to the book.

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Posted on May 11, 2009