Friday, September 20, 2013

Review of Warbound by Larry Correia (no spoilers)


The Grimnoir Chronicles by New York Times’ bestselling author Larry Correia is a fantastic series. I just read book three, Warbound, which concludes the story arc started with Hard Magic (Book I), and Spellbound (Book II). The world is an alternate history Earth set mostly in the 1930’s, and is a cross between X-Men and Boardwalk Empire. That’s right, superheroes and gangsters in the 1930’s fighting for the fate of the planet. It’s epic and awesome. I must mention there are airships, pirates, and ninjas—as well as a hick girl from Oklahoma who is possibly the most powerful magic-wielding person of all time. You find out why in book three.

Warbound mostly features a trio of main characters—pictured on the cover: Faye Vierra—the hick girl with the power of teleportation (she’s called a Traveler) who is likely the best assassin ever; Jake Sullivan—a World War I veteran who can manipulate gravity (he’s called a Heavy); and Tokugawa Toru, a samurai (he’s a Brute) who can change the density of matter). Toru is such a great character and he just might be the equal of Sullivan. Toru wields a nasty war club (a tetsubo) and just might end up wearing a suit of really amazing armor. (Hint: the cover artist did a wonderful job). Toru can cause things to weigh almost nothing, which is good for him, and really bad for his enemies as he can swing his tetsubo really fast.

There is so much action in this series and Warbound was off the charts with magic and mayhem. The story arc concludes in Warbound, but I’ve heard rumors there will be at least one prequel, perhaps two, set several years before Hard Magic, likely set during World War I. There will also be at least one short story set in the Grimnoir world featured in one of the many anthologies Larry Correia has on his impressive release schedule.

Spellbound: Book II

Hard Magic: Book I

Warbound delivered on the promises of the first two exceptional novels and tied up all the loose threads, while delivering a bullet-riddled and exciting ending filled with all sorts of wizardry. The characters are a lot of fun and the plot was fast-paced as it barreled toward the final confrontation. The only thing I didn’t like was that President Franklin Roosevelt was cast as a villain along with much of the U.S. government. Correia does have some justification, as it is true that Roosevelt committed a terrible crime and interned thousands of Japanese Americans during World War II—but I found some early parts of the book a little too heavy handed.

Regardless of my own bias, I found myself engaged and inside this book on many levels. The characters and the story pulled me in. I was so intrigued with how the magic unfolded as well, and all the questions brought up in books one and two were answered. The connections made by the characters and the sheer magnitude of the Enemy coming to destroy the world amped up the tension throughout.

I’m a big fan of Correia’s writing and his Grimnoir books are amazing. The audio versions of all three are also quite exceptional. Spellbound won a prestigious Audie Award in 2013 and all three books feature the same narrator, the brilliant voice actor, Bronson Pinchot. Paperbacks of the first two books are out now—as of Sept. 2013, and if you’re an audio book fan, download them now. All of Grimnoir books are available as Kindle eBooks, though you might want to collect a hard cover while they’re still available.

Check out my review of book one, Hard Magic, for more details about this series.

Warbound Book III of the Grimnoir Chronicles
5/5 Stars, Highly Recommended

Paul Genesse
Author of The Iron Dragon Series
Editor of The Crimson Pact Series

Friday, July 26, 2013


This is the awesome steampunk anthology I was asked to submit a story to by editor Joshua Palmatier--who is a great writer. His Cracked Throne novel blew my mind. Anyway, I hope this gets funded because I really want to write my story, which will be set in 1800's Australia. There's no guarantee my story will be accepted, but I have high hopes.

If you are able, please consider contributing to the Kickstarter. There are tons of great offerings at many price levels, and you can get the antho as an eBook, print book, and also get various other books as rewards.

Here's the Kickstarter video below or watch it on the official site here.

Review of Fearless: Powerful Women of History


Fearless: Powerful Women of History by Zachary Hill

This is a really fun and fascinating book that uses satire and humor to describe more than sixteen amazing women that we should all know about. Young women and girls need to understand that women shaped the course of human history, just like the men who usually get most of the attention.

Fearless: Powerful Women of History is a little like the movie Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, as many of the historical figures actually make appearances in the book, and are interviewed by the author, and his panel of hilarious historical figures. This is history made fun, and reading it is a joy. I think reading this aloud would be hilarious and fun for a family, especially if Mom, Dad, and the kids (aged 11+) took on the roles of the panelists. Some essays are a little gruesome, so read them in advance, but overall it’s fine for most people. The only distraction I had while reading were the frequent typos, but I did read an advanced reader copy, and learned that the next version will be cleaned up.

The author, Zachary Hill, a man with a history degree who is obsessed with researching history, describes in an unscholarly way a few of the famous people we probably already know something about: Joan of Arc, and Jane Austen, but the rest are more marginal figures that have not gotten the attention they deserve. Hua Mulan (Disney made a movie about her) is described in as much detail as we know, and the truth of her life is incredible.

There are also essays about: Empress Theodora of Constantinople; the Byzantine Princess and historian Anna Komnene; Queen Tamar of Georgia the Conqueror; the warrior woman Rani Lakshmibai of India; Queen Matilda of England; Roman Empress Galla Placidia; the female “samurai” Tomoe Gozen of Japan (and there’s a separate essay about other Japanese female warriors); St. Olga of Kiev (a brutal woman and her essay is probably PG-13); Caterina Sforza (who kicked butts so far they woke up in the next time zone); St. Teresa of Avila, and more.

Author Zachary Hill’s history blog, has a ton of great information as well. Go there to browse the many topics he’s covered over the years.

Making history fun and engaging can be hard to do, but Fearless: Powerful Women of History succeeds in bringing to light some amazing women who must not be forgotten.

Fearless: Powerful Women of History (110 pages, $4.99 eBook, $5.99 print book)

Paul Genesse

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The World As a Character Presentation from LDS Storymakers


(These are just a few notes, not really what's on my note cards, and I'm not posting the 50 slides).

"The World as a Character," a few notes from my presentation. Most of this is in the world building book Eighth Day Genesis edited by Sabrina Klein. The book has been nominated for a 2013 Origins Award.

*Think of some of the most iconic fantasy or science fiction settings: Frank Herbert’s Arrakis, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth, Stephen R. Donaldson’s The Land, James Cameron’s Pandora. You can imagine each of those worlds as a character with distinct personalities.

*Reactions are much more interesting than a boring description about a place. They show the character of the setting, and also the main character’s thoughts, which accomplishes the two major goals of character development at once.

*Your job is to show us which face the world takes wherever the characters go.

*Consider very carefully what kind of story, or stories, you want to explore before you craft your world. You don’t want your story to clash with the world and make what you are trying to do seem unbelievable or inconsistent. Think about the common descriptions of plot before your proceed with the world-building.

*Write a bio from the point of view of the world. Just a couple of paragraphs.

*Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch is credited with coming up with a famous list of plots I’ve often heard at writing seminars and are considered the basic type of literary plots: Man against Nature, Man against Himself, Man against God, Man against Society, Man caught in the Middle, and Man & Woman. Make sure your world and your story are compatible. Some plots seem to fit better with certain types of worlds.

*Don’t info dump about the world and expect the readers to keep reading.

*Basic Questions to answer during world creation:
• Stable agriculture?
• Navigable rivers?
• Mountains, deserts, or bodies of water that close it off from other areas?
• Plants that are easily domesticated?
• Animals that are easily domesticated?
• A mild or harsh climate?
• Deadly diseases that are endemic to the area?
• A human population that has been there a long or short period of time?
• Natural resources that benefit the local population?

These questions are huge and if you want to understand the significance of them more read anthropologist Jared Diamond’s incredible book, Guns, Germs and Steel, and also Collapse. The answers to those basic questions above will determine a lot about the people who live in the world, and your bio about certain parts of the setting will answer the rest.

Check out Eighth Day Genesis on and check out all 21 essays on world building.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Review of Allied Zombies for Peace by Craig Nybo

(Allied Zombies for Peace display at Night Flight Comics in Salt Lake City)

Review: I loved reading Allied Zombies for Peace by the hilarious author Craig Nybo. I had no idea that a riot involving zombies, WWI veterans, cops, and the vile KKK at a peace rally in 1967 could be so entertaining. It's written like a screenplay with short, punchy chapters, and told from many different point of views, and covers only 42 minutes of mayhem. If you're looking for a fun read, check out this book.

Here's the awesome book trailer video--errr, I mean news cast about the riot.


Reading about zombies clawing and munching on some vile KKK jerkwads was awesome. There just can't be enough of that in the world. Nybo is a great comedic writer and a rising talent. I can't wait to read what he writes next.

Check it out on Amazon.

Paul Genesse
Author of the Iron Dragon Series
Editor of the Crimson Pact Series

Friday, March 29, 2013



AT THE MOUTH OF THE RIVER OF BEES (short story collection) by Kij Johnson

This is an incredible collection of stories by one of the best short story writers on the planet. She’s won practically every major fantasy and science fiction award and been nominated for all of them multiple times. If you want to read some amazing short fiction, this is a collection you must have. Her work is often featured in the years best collections and her skill at crafting beautiful and thought provoking stories is second to none.

I’ve been a fan of Kij Johnson since I attended one of her writing seminars at Gen Con in 1998 and have read many of these stories before, but I found a lot that I hadn’t read. Having them all in one perfectly packaged book was awesome. Small Beer Press did a great job.

It’s hard for me to describe all eighteen stories in the collection, but I’ll go over a few of my favorites.

26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss was first published in Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine in 2008 and if you haven’t read this Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy award winning short story, you’re in for a treat. The premise is crazy: a woman buys a traveling monkey show . . . because she must. It’s deep, amazing, and will get in your head for a long time. It’s still in mine years after first reading it.


Spar, originally published in Clarksworld in 2009, won the Nebula for best short story, and this one will blow your mind. It’s a science fiction nightmare about a woman who is trapped with an alien for a very long time. It’s a chilling story. I hear people talking about this one at writer gatherings all the time. It’s that good.


Fox Magic, originally published in 1993 in Asimov’s, and won the Sturgeon Award. It became the basis for the award winning novel, Fox Woman from Tor, which I fell in love with. This is the legend of kitsune, the magical fox who became a woman and seduced a Japanese samurai lord. I loved this story and especially the novel. Fox Magic is incredibly beautiful and poignant. If you love it, read the novel for sure.

Wolf Trapping first appeared in Twilight Zone magazine in 1989, and I’d never read it before. The story is about a wolf researcher who meets a strange, feral woman who is trying to become part of a pack of wolves. The ending will leave you sick and in shock.

The Empress Jingu Fishes is a great story about a woman who can see the future, and goes through the years ahead with the bitter knowledge of what’s going to happen to the people she loves. Fascinating.


The Man Who Bridged the Mist won the Hugo and Nubula award for best novella, and I found it to be beautifully crafted. It reminded me of the world I created for my Iron Dragon series a little, with the mists surrounding the land, so I loved that aspect, and was captivated all the way through.

The Evolution of Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change, won the World Fantasy Award, and I can see why. I hadn’t read it before and loved it. The story is about a woman who becomes close to a pack of dogs after “the Change.” Dogs (and all the mammals) gain the ability to speak and it throws off the whole world. Dog lovers will be very touched by this one, I think. I know I was.


Ponies, won the 2010 Nebula award for best short story, and I was fortunate enough to hear Kij read it at World Fantasy soon after it came out on This tale is an allegory about growing up, although this one is in a world where all the little girls get pretty winged, talking ponies, but if the girls want to be part of the popular crowd they have to, shall we say, make some changes to their beloved ponies. This is such an awesome story and when I read it in this collection, I heard Kij, in my mind reading it like she did back at World Fantasy, like she was reading a sweet story to kids, when in truth it’s a nightmare.

There are a lot of other great stories in this collection, and I’ve savored them, letting the beauty of the words, and the expertise of the writing wash over me. The technical brilliance is one thing, but the way some of the stories stick with me is uncanny.

The title story, At the Mouth of the River of Bees, was a new one for me as well, and I saved it for last. It was about a woman (the same one from the Trickster stories) who is on a journey across the country with her old German Shepherd dog, who is dying. They run into a roadblock, the Bee River is flooding, but it's unlike any flood you've ever heard of, and the main character is drawn to find the source of the flooding. It's a journey of the heart and the mind.

Kij Johnson has a way of getting you to believe 100% in whatever world she creates, and then slips in some fantastical concept, like a river of bees stopping traffic, and it makes perfect sense.

Kij Johnson.jpg

Learn more about this amazing writer here or find this collection on Amazon.

Paul Genesse, Author of the Iron Dragon Series and Editor of The Crimson Pact Series


Saturday, March 23, 2013



Fire Season by David Weber and Jane Lindskold

(very minor spoilers)

This is the second novel about Stephanie Harrington and her treecat companion, Lionheart, set on the fascinating treecat home world. I hadn’t read the award winning first book, A Beautiful Friendship by David Weber, and came to this novel as I’m a fan of author Jane Lindskold’s short fiction and her novels (Through Wolf’s Eyes, Thirteen Orphans). You don’t need to read the first book in this series, A Beautiful Friendship, to understand this one, as I was never lost, but I’m sure it would be good to start at the beginning.

A Beautiful Friendship on Amazon

If you’re a reader of David Weber’s Honor Harrington novels, I think you’ll enjoy this prequel novel series. Fire Season is set a few hundred years before Honor was born, and this is not a space opera with lots of the big battles Mr. Weber is famous for. It’s a coming of age novel, mostly written to appeal to teenaged readers (12 and older), about a brilliant young woman growing up on an alien planet, who just happens to be the first person to ever bond with a treecat. The telepathic, empathic, six-legged (hexapedal) catlike creatures with long tails—two of their six legs have actual hands on them—are the stars of the book.

I found the most fascinating aspect of Fire Season to be the relationship between fifteen-year-old Stephanie and the treecat who adopted her. Lionheart is what Stephanie calls him, but his true name among the People (the treecats think of themselves as The People), is Climbs Quickly.

The treecats are telepathic with each other and empathic with humans, so communicating with humans is quite difficult for them, though they can read human emotions very easily and affect them in some minor ways. The treecats think that humans make all sorts of funny mouth sounds, use hand gestures, and isn’t it sad they can’t speak to each other with their minds and have to rely on such poor communication methods?

It was hilarious and awesome when two treecats were communicating telepathically with each other and one treecat noted how well the human (Stephanie Harrington) had been trained by Climbs Quickly. The big question in this book is if the treecats are intelligent enough to be considered sentient by the human scientists.

Climbs Quickly can read Stephanie’s emotions and enjoys her “mind-glow” very much. I loved reading the chapters from Climb’s Quickly’s point of view, and it was fascinating how the human scientists are trying to determine if the treecats are a sentient race, while the treecats are trying to understand if they should avoid the humans who have come to their world, or if they should interact with them more.

The book has the feel of an un-contacted tribe of native Americans first coming into contact with a highly civilized group of Europeans. That would be Europeans who are not trying to enslave or destroy them. What a concept. There are a lot of great messages in this book that will get younger and older readers thinking.

Fire Season is naturally set during the dry season when forest fires often rage across the mostly tree-covered world. Stephanie Harrington, and her big brother friend Karl, are provisional rangers with the forestry service, and they participate in watching out for fires and sometimes fighting them, and of course rescuing animals caught in the path of the flames.

Much of the book is dedicated to Stephanie becoming an adult. She has to learn to interact with kids her own age, a very difficult thing for a genius introvert, and of course deal with her well-meaning but socially clumsy parents. I think teens will easily connect with Stephanie, as she’s a very well drawn character.

I highly recommend this book to teen animal lovers—especially young women—and to fans of the Honor Harrington series who want to see where the treecats came from. This is a good starting point for younger readers, and I think this would be a great gift to a friend or relative that you wanted to expose to science fiction. It kept my interest throughout, had a good conclusion that wrapped up nicely, and I’m excited to read the sequel, Treecat Wars.

View it on Amazon: Fire Season by David Weber and Jane Lindskold
Highly Recommended, 4.5 out of 5 Stars

Paul Genesse
Author of the Iron Dragon Series

Monday, February 4, 2013

LTUE 2013 Schedule


Life, The Universe, and Everything
Provo, Marriott Hotel Conference Center

My Schedule:

Thursday February 14

9:00 AM
Tolkien's "The Hobbit"
The Book and the Movies
Paul Genesse, Blake Casselman, David Farland, Tracy Hickman

Lunch with friends

1:00 PM
What is "Punk" Literature and Its Many Genres?
Aneeka Richins, Paul Genesse, David Butler, Steve Diamond, Larry Correia

Take my beautiful wife, Tammy to see Ballet West's "Cinderella" for Valentines Day. Fun times.

Friday February 15

Lunch with friends

3:00 PM
Characterization that Isn’t Overwrought or Uneven
Tristi Pinkston, Paul Genesse, Clint Johnson, Deren Hansen, J. Scott Savage

8:00 PM
Mass Autograph Signing

11:00 AM
Main Address: I'm attending, not giving it.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Zero Dark Thirty Movie Review and more

Three Reviews:

Zero Dark Thirty (Movie, 2012) 5/5 Stars

No Easy Day by Mark Owen (Book, 2012) 5/5 Stars

The Finish: The Killing of Osama Bin Laden by Mark Bowden (Book, 2012) 5/5 Stars

Movie trailer for Zero Dark Thirty

I cheered when I learned Osama Bin Laden was killed by Seal Team 6 on May 1, 2011. I’ve wanted that evil man dead ever since I learned he was behind the 9/11 tragedy. Fuck Al Qaeda, and all the deluded jihadists who think terrorism is the way to change the world for the better. Terrorism is not the answer.

When I heard there was going to be a big Hollywood movie I knew I was going to watch it. I also knew I was going to read some books about the hunt for Bin Laden. I think it’s therapy for me, closure for the horror that was 9/11, one of the worst days of my life. Those of you too young to remember what happened, may not feel the same way, and I think that’s fine. I hope you aren’t traumatized like I was.


I’m not going to forget what al Qaeda did on September 11, 2001. I’m not going to forget United Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania because the passengers fought back. They saved the Capitol building in Washington D.C., or possibly the White House. The terrorists responsible deserve to die or spend the rest of their lives in a very uncomfortable prison.

I've now read two books about this topic, The Finish: The Killing of Osama Bin Laden by Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down, which is more of a historical account with high-level interviews and tons of fascinating information, and No Easy Day by Mark Owen, the Navy Seal who was there on the raid. I learned from those books, and from terrorism expert Peter Bergen's online articles that the info that led to Bin Laden was not gained from torture. I do not support torture, though I can’t say I’m unhappy about certain terrorists suffering. Still, torture is wrong.

The facts are that torture did NOT give us the info that led to the killing of Bin Laden. The movie, Zero Dark Thirty, hints that torture helped get the info, which is wrong, but it lets the audience draw their own conclusions. If you want to know the truth, read those books I’ve mentioned and the forthcoming one from terrorism expert, Peter Bergen. I might read it, as I don’t know yet if I can close this chapter of my life. I want to close it.

I personally felt that the movie makers (Kathryn Bigelow--director, and Mark Boal--the screenwriter) were indicting the use of torture, not glorifying or justifying it. They will not come out and give their opinions to the press, but I think they do not agree with torture. They just didn’t want to make their position clear in the movie. The movie is not partisan. Both the right and the left can appreciate and enjoy this movie. It's a little slow for some people, but I found it fascinating from beginning to end.

Now, I believe the people who freaked out about the torture shown in Zero Dark Thirty missed the point. The writer/director are putting the abuses by the United States government on the record. Forever.

The U.S. should not have used “enhanced interrogation techniques” because torture does not produce good intelligence, and it’s morally wrong. The FBI model of interrogation is far superior to the CIA method used in the wake of 9/11, and documented in Zero Dark Thirty. Read up on the subject if you want to learn more. Draw your own conclusions.

I personally think the movie was great. One of the best of the year for sure and worthy of the Best Picture Oscar nomination. I'm glad I read the books first though, but Zero Dark Thirty is an exceptional film and presents the spirit of what happened, if not the exact details as I’ve learned them.

It’s a thriller, combined with a CIA procedural, and Jessica Chastain, playing the CIA analyst, “Maya,” was incredible. Extreme dedication and tenacity can accomplish anything. Sometimes you piss people off along the way of getting the job done, like she did in real life. I applaud the real Maya, and all the people who worked on finding Bin Laden. The two books give a lot more information about specific details regarding her that did not make it into the movie. Read them for more.


I hope Jessica Chastain wins an Oscar for her performance, and she was nominated for Best Actress. She’s my new favorite actor. I first saw her in auteur director Terrence Malick’s movie, Tree of Life (2011) where she stars alongside Brad Pitt. It’s a bizarre and beautiful movie. Worth a watch, but in Zero Dark Thirty, Chastain provides the thread that spans the TEN YEAR hunt. See her also in director Guillermo del Toro’s horror film, Mama coming in early 2013.

The U.S. intelligence and military people kicked ass, and though it took a long time, they tracked that piece of trash Bin Laden to his hideout and killed him. The Seal Team would have captured him if he surrendered, but he did not surrender, and presented a threat to our soldiers, so they shot him. In the eye. Then in the chest a few times when he was twitching on the ground in his room with two of his wives standing over him.
Read Mark Owen's book (Amazon link here) to learn more about the raid, but the movie shows it in almost real time what the soldiers were doing. I highly recommend the Navy Seal account, but Mark Bowden’s book has some details that really complement the first hand account.


My quick review of No Easy Day by former Navy Seal, Mark Owen is simply this: it’s a great book. It should have been written. Mark Owen (not his real name of course) fought for the U.S. Constitution for over a decade, which guarantees his rights to have written the book, which does not include any classified information. To those who revealed his real name and put his life at risk: shame on you, Fox News. Mark Owen is not a fan of Barack Obama. You idiots went after a guy on your own team. Did you even read the book before you decided to out him? Morons. I guess I should not be surprised.

So, No Easy Day chronicles Mark Owen’s life as a Navy Seal. This is his autobiography, and most of the book is about his experiences leading up to his last mission. I found it all incredibly moving and a tribute to the U.S. military, as he intended. The Navy Seals, and all their support are true heroes. The chopper pilot who saved the mission is the biggest hero of all. He gets shorted in the movie, but not the books.


My review of The Finish: The Killing of Osama Bin Laden by Mark Bowden: It’s an amazing book (Amazon link here). I became a fan of Mark Bowden after reading Black Hawk Down, which describes the tragic events in Somalia where a mission went wrong in 1993. Bowden is a fabulous journalist and writer. This is a very fair account of what happened during the ten years leading up to the raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan. This book divulges a lot more information than No Easy Day, but it’s all unclassified, which amazes me. There is far more sensitive information in The Finish than No Easy Day. I wonder if I should really know what I know about our intelligence services. Let’s just say that super computers and game changing tactics wiped out al Qaeda in Iraq, and helped find Bin Laden.

The analyst, “Maya,” and a whole heck of a lot of other people helped bring Bin Laden down. As an aside, I learned that the real Maya was given an award and a monetary bonus for her incredible work, but she was refused a promotion. That is serious bullshit. Unless she’s so good at the level she’s at, and that’s why they didn’t promote her, but from what I’ve read, her bosses don’t like her attitude or whatever. I don’t know all the facts, but it seems totally wrong to me. Promote her. That woman knows how to get things done. The speech that Maya makes in Zero Dark Thirty to her boss, and is hinted at in the books, will blow you away. I want to watch the movie again just for that.

I felt a lot of closure watching Zero Dark Thirty, and reading these two books, regarding the trauma of the 9/11 attacks I still carry around in my head. Learning so many of the details helped me deal with the horrors I remember.

The movie and the books also hold up a mirror to what the U.S. and our allies have done to combat terrorism, and a lot of it is not good. Torture was the wrong way to go. The movies and books also show the true evil of al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden, a mass murderer and coward of epic proportions.

Go see Zero Dark Thirty and judge for yourself. See the movie, then read some books.

Here’s a pure movie review I agree with:
Movie Review

This is a well written and balanced article about the movie, written by Andrew O’Hehir.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Let the Right One In

Review of "Let the Right One In" (book and movie) and; "Let Me In" (movie) and; "Let the Old Dreams Die" (short story)

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist (English translator: Ebba Segerberg 2008)

I read an incredible and gripping vampire novel, one of the best books I've ever read in the genre, Let the Right One In, the international bestseller by Swedish author John Ajvide Lindquvist. Five out of five stars.
Amazon Link:

Before I read the novel, I watched both the Swedish and American versions of the movie, and then had to read the book to learn more about the fascinating characters. I was captivated and obsessed after watching the movies, both in the same night. I rented them from Blockbuster Video on Blu-ray, and they are available for purchase on Amazon as DVDs, On-Demand or Blu-ray.

The translator (Ebba Segerberg) did a fantastic job and I highly recommend this to Stephen King fans and vampire fans. Overall, the book is in the same vein as the Anne Rice vampire novels, but with a great new spin that I shall not spoil here. Lindqvist has a fresh take on the vampire mythos, but gives many nods to the traditions of the modern genre. It's a horror novel, and it is quite gory and scary at times, but in reality. There is also a fair amount about pedophilia, and murder. Few of the characters are at all likable, but they are fascinating. Lindqvist is a master at characterization, and this book truly about finding great love. Yes, it's romantic. I swear!

Let The Right One In (Swedish movie 2008)

The story is set in Sweden in 1981, and is about a 12 year old boy, Oskar, who is bullied and has some serious psychological issues. Oskar has a tough life and often fantasizes about killing his tormentors. He's going down a dark life path when a strange girl moves in next door. Her name is Eli. She does not go to school and appears to live with her father, and has absolutely no problem wearing a t-shirt and no shoes in the bitterly cold winter night. Makes you wonder what sort of person is immune to cold. Is she a little girl at all, or something more sinister?

Swedish movie trailer (English subtitles). Five Stars

Let the Right One In (Swedish movie 2008) here.
Eli and Oskar become friends and the story goes from there. The novel has a lot more than the movies, as it has several other story threads from many different characters. It's really a milieu story, showing a lot about the world and the people who live in the Stockholm suburb of Blackberg. There are some really dark and depressing characters, especially Hakan, who appears to be Eli's father. He's a very sick man.

I blasted through the novel and read it in only a few days. It scared the crap out of me a couple of times and Let the Right One in is an instant classic. It's easy to understand why they made two films (Swedish and an English version) from this novel.

The ending of the book was good, but the movies did it even better. I'm glad I had seen the movies first and I think seeing the movies first is the better idea, as the book is always better, so you won't be disappointed in the movies, as they do leave out a bunch.

The ending was not my favorite, because I think Lindqvist wasn't sure what to do. The fantastic news is that he wrote an epilogue to the epilogue! He put out a short story collection with the epilogue to Let the Right One In, called Let the Old Dreams Die. That is the title of the story about what happens to the characters in the novel. It's a brilliant short story and fills in the gaps and explains what happened. I loved it. The short story gave me chills and I've been thinking about it for days. If you do read the book and enjoy it, you must, must, MUST, read the short story: Let the Old Dreams Die. It was a little slow, but masterfully done and you will love the ending. The most important questions are answered.

Let The Old Dreams Die by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Amazon Link for the book: here
I give the short story four and half out of five stars.

let me inPoster.jpg

The American movie is also great, though I liked the Swedish one better, Both were awesome, don't get me wrong. Both should be viewed. The Swedish one is slower, more contemplative, and the characters more likable, I think, especially Oskar. Consider watching the Swedish one first, as it's more pure and closer to the source material. The screenplay for the American version is terrific, though, and the actors top notch. The American version is faster, scarier, has more Hollywood effects, and you can tell you're watching a Hollywood horror movie.


Chloe Moretz in Let Me In (2010)

The American version, Let Me In (2010) stars Chloe Moretz (she was in Kick Ass) and Kodi Smit-McPhee. These young actors deliver astonishing performances. View it on IMDB:

Here's the movie trailer for the American version. Four and half out of five stars.

Saturday, January 5, 2013



Okay everyone, here's the introduction to the SAMURAI SERIAL NOVEL I'm co-writing: "THE DROWNING EMPIRE" with my fellow "Writer Nerd Game Night" friends (we play once a month). It's basically Legend of the Five Rings fan fiction based on a samurai role-playing campaign I'm playing in with Larry Correia, our New York Times Bestselling author and Incredible Game Master. This is such a great story and Larry is sharing it free every Friday on his blog.

Legend of the Five Rings is an incredible role-playing game. Check it out. Please.

The details . . .

The players/co-authors:

Patrick Tracy--playing Moto Subotai of the Unicorn Clan, swordsman, archer, horseman, and poet--Subo is the best friend of my character Akodo Toranaka, and official hostage of the Akodo family--watched over of course by Toranaka.

Me, Paul Genesse, playing Akodo Toranaka--top graduate of the Golden Plains Dojo, a man dedicated to all tenets of Bushido, a swordsman and tactician, destined to be a great Lion Clan general and follow in his father's footsteps someday . . . unless the Fortunes are cruel and his Secret Enemy (not in the group mind you, takes their revenge).

Steve Diamond--playing Ikoma Uso of the Lion Clan . . . "Nothing to see here, I'm only a bard," Uso says (yeah right!) as he kicks everyone's ass with his giant sword, a "no-dachi." Uso has the help of one of his twisted ancestors, who haunts more than his dreams. Read Uso's intro to the campaign on the link below.

Yoritomo Oki of the Mantis Clan, who is a lecherous and greedy drunken sailor with a gambling problem who is also the best archer of his generation, played with gusto by Tony Battaglino.

The lumbering oaf of a warrior, Suzume Shintaro of the lowly Sparrow clan who is the most honorable and gullible samurai (with a huge bladed spear!) and wannabe historian you'll ever meet, played by with quiet panache by Zachary Hill,

Lastly, Tamori Isao of the Dragon Clan, a half-mad shugenja (wizard-priest) who speaks with the spirits far too often, and is haunted by the death of his mother, killed by a terrible tsunami. Isao is played by Brad Torgersen, whose fiction in this serial novel will blow you away.

All of the player/authors, and especially the game master, are excellent writers, and this is going to be a fun ride, as the samurai heroes try to save the Emerald Empire from certain destruction.

Larry Correia has created an epic storyline and we've already written over 100,000 words in what we're calling, THE DROWNING EMPIRE. "Fear the water . . ."

Read the introduction here on Larry's blog.

Ten Questions

I was tagged by awesome author, Bryan Young, who sent me these ten questions.

1) What is the working title of your next book?

Medusa’s Daughter, Book 1 in the Medusa’s Curse trilogy.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

I’ve always been fascinated in the Medusa myth, in which the god Poseidon is supposed to have raped Medusa, and then the goddess Athena curses vain Medusa (her own priestess!) with the power of the gorgon. I decided to spin the story in my own way, taking a more realistic approach, similar to what author Mary Renault did. Renault is the J.R.R. Tolkien of historical fantasies set in ancient Greece and I’m a huge fan. Medusa’s Daughter is quite a bit different though, as I didn’t write in the first person like Renault, nor did I take out all the supernatural magic. A Medusa story has to have magic.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

Mainstream or fantasy, depending on how it’s marketed.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Medusa: Angelina Jolie or Kate Beckinsale

Nerissa (Medusa’s Daughter): Jessica Alba or Alexis Bledel

Nikandros (Nerissa’s love interest): Jake Gyllenhaal or Liam Hemsworth


5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Medusa’s daughter has inherited her mother’s terrible curse and longs to escape her lonely life on the shattered island where her mother and aunts have been exiled, but when a mysterious sailor washes ashore she falls in love, then discovers there might be a way for the curse to be broken, she must look into the eyes of her true love, but if he’s not, she will kill the only man she ever loved.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It will be represented by an agency if all goes according to plan.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

One year, but I shelved the first draft to work on other projects, and dabbled with it off and on for six years, not touching it for years at a time. Finally, it’s almost ready as of January 2013. I’ve got about 60 pages left to rewrite at this time. During those six years I worked full-time as a cardiac nurse at a big hospital, wrote and published three novels in my Iron Dragon series, wrote a dozen short stories, and served as the editor of the first four volumes in the Crimson Pact anthology series, which is made up of eighty-something stories, and clocks in at over half a million words. Medusa’s Daughter is finally my main focus again.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

New York Times’ bestseller, The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (2012), which is set partially during the Trojan War, and is told in the point of view of Patroclus, the companion of Achilles.


9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Medusa, the evil gorgon who haunts my dreams.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?

I visited Greece in 2006 to do some research, and have read a lot on the subject over the past years, fiction and non-fiction. I’ve tried my best to imagine what it was actually like to live in ancient Greece, and create realistic characters and a compelling story. The main reason is to read about Prince Nikandros, and of course Nerissa, who has one of the most diabolical mothers of all time.

Read the opening chapter of the current draft of Medusa’s Daughter here,  or view the first novel in his Iron Dragon series here, here.