Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Starred Review from BlueInk Reviews!

We just received this starred review from BlueInk Review:
“Set in a future where the inhabitants of Earth are attempting to become members of an interstellar alliance, this ambitious science fiction thriller—about a jihadist whose mission is to destroy two space stations and a thriving city on the moon—is visionary as well as topical.
Fahd Abdul al-Sharfa’s entire life has been about becoming a shahid, a “martyr for truth.” Indoctrinated as a child and educated for one purpose—to push a button and kill thousands of “Satan’s minions”—Fahd has been working as an aerospace engineer in Luna City, patiently planning and waiting for the day when he receives the message to annihilate himself and everyone else in the city.
But he begins questioning his own beliefs when he meets and falls in love with a coworker:  a cat-like, bipedal alien named Quenby. She is an Antal; seven-feet tall, white haired, white skinned, and “intoxicatingly sensual.”  Their physical chemistry is undeniable—as is their spiritual connection—and Fahd realizes that he must choose between his mission or love. The complex political situation surrounding Luna and the space stations complicates matters, as does the existence of “peebs”: those passed-beyond who, although dead, are still actively participating in society.
Although Charles Freedom Long has created a complex foundation to set his story, it’s explained clearly and concisely and has a sense of authenticity to it. The interaction of various sentient alien races gives the narrative a C.J. Cherryh vibe, and the care with which the author describes the aliens—physically and sociologically—is impressive; the sex scene between Fahd and Quenby is nothing short of spectacular. His concepts surrounding the dead are fascinating (although some readers might wish for more examination of the afterlife), and the themes that he explores—what is truth, the power of love, etc.—are profoundly moving.
This is a unique, fast-paced, and utterly readable book. It is highly recommended.”
 blueink review-starred review

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Monday, November 16, 2015

THE CORYLLIM: Not Just a Pretty Face

The first time one encounters a living, breathing Coryllim can be unnerving. Terrans are just not used to mobile sentient beings with what appears to be tree bark for skin. The four arms and four legs don’t help much either in the reassuring category. But I think it’s the one big green eye and the long, moving ears that really do it. 
I have become fast friends with Ardine, the highly intelligent Corporeal Assets Director for Lumina Corporation. This powerful woman-in-command is a witty conversationalist, and can be completely charming. She’s considered exceptionally beautiful because of her remarkably long ears and dainty black hooves.
She usually greets newcomers to Luna in abyt, the language of her people, then switches into any one of several languages. Aware that the first face-to-face meeting can be unsettling, she usually stands patiently for a few moments that can seem like an eternity, raising and lowering the two long drooping auricles on the side of her bark-covered, pecan-shaped head, tolerantly scanning the room in her single oblong green eye, fixing faces with names in her mind. Then, pivoting her stiff, pear-shaped body slightly from side to side, she will slowly lift one stemmy chestnut brown leg, plant the first of four black hooves firmly down and clip-clop elegantly to the podium. She usually reaches out with two half-webbed, six-fingered hands to grasp the shiny black plastalloy podium sides, and opens her two other arms wide in greeting. Her ears and snout turn rosy brown as she gives the newcomers her most fetching smile, small pink lips pulled back from beaming white incisors just below her reddish brown snout. When her concise welcoming speech is concluded, she turns, folds all four arms against her trunk, and walks slowly toward the door from which she had entered. There’s usually a hushed gasp at this point from a few Terrans who are noted by Ardine’s other elongated green eye, the one in the back of her bark-covered head.
Intelligent, dexterous, clever and personable, the Coryllim are the entrepreneurs of the Anthelion Galaxy. Small and large business owners proliferate in Luna City and the two Terran space stations. Le Club AĆ©robleu on Luna is noted for its fine cuisine. And in the legendary Star Lounge in the high orbit station, which features delicacies from each of the Seven Worlds, you will often find little Coryllim saplini, slightly over three feet tall, prancing about making themselves useful and learning the business. You can tell from their reedy greenish brown color and size they are not fully mature. As the saplini begin to show signs of adulthood, creamy cashew colored streaks run vertically along their elongated bodies and their ears and snout turn light brown.
It’s a little-known fact that Coryllim are absolutely entranced by pumpkin pie. In fact, it’s addictive to them. I always bring a fresh pie with me for my several Coryllim friends in the fall when I visit Luna, even though the cost to transfer that kind of weight into orbit and the care to keep it safe from the g-forces of the journey, make it a demanding task. Of course, when Ardine comes to Terra for a visit, I make it a feature of our evening meal.
I’m sure you too will find the Coryllim to be interesting friends and guests once you let them "get under your bark” as they say.