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Retirement. Publishers, thank you for the many years of reading pleasure you gave me, but all good things must come to an end. Due to failing eyesight I am forced to retire this December, instead of waiting until 2016. I can no longer review your books, and any that you send will be donated to the local library, unread. Do not send any more. I can only read for a couple hours every day, and this does not allow me to finish a book in reasonable time. I will be devoting time to my own books from now on, and reading on a personal level. My eyesight has been failing the last few years, and I cannot handle review books any more. My books are still available for review. Anyone interested in reviewing any of them, they are found in the Link to Tom’s Books On Amazon. Contact me for pdf copies at fadingshadows40@gmail.com

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Town of Dudley Sixth

"In a world of eternal slumber, it is but wise to foresee the future. Where true beauty is priceless, for creativity can be so far ahead. Do our eyes not see that far ahead, does our brain make baseless theories in greed? Here we live in a world of zombies, value is only for the present, who cares about the future? Our air is cold and bitter, the sky is ever dark, and the land is barren, for the earth is in parts. Long ago, it was not when began the curse, in a time when all was but lost. Tall buildings seared through the dark clouds, but no height made visible even a ray of light. A city built in ruins and curses, never is it filled with zeal and happiness. People however, can choose to defy nature, jewels of ruby and stones of blue sapphire. All were embedded in layers of white gold, the gold that coated the mechanized bricks. Bricks of steel and skeleton design, they shifted forever each year with a chime. Sound of cogs, when metal contacted metal, made lively the mood of a silent city. Grey were the streets and white were the roads, street lamps of rose gold, enclosing bulbs of diamond pose. Diamonds that were alien used to trap small stars, forever emitting a bright white light. Fake flowers of caesium behind gates of rubidium, were held in place with emerald stems. Each building unique and everything but bleak, with engraved patterns of blue platinum nailed into walls. Gold roofs and doors with all their glory, windows of minerals and tampered glass. A beauty it was and a shame to be true, each night when the lock down began. Barriers were raised and gates were closed, doors and windows were securely locked. Curtains drawn and lights switched off, lamps were covered as the dark night dragged on.....”
I was told history repeats itself, so does that mean we are going around in circles, or are we spiraling into darkness?


Town of Dudley Sixth (SF)
By Zegham Shebaz Karim
Infinity Publishing
$9.99 Kindle
77 Pages
Rating 2-Stars

“A Study In Words.”

In the city of Lukememilldale, on the planet Kepler, we meet Sambol Sixth and his family. A wall separates the citizens from the outer barbaric tribes. Sometime in the past a giant spaceship crashed and an invasion turned their planet dark. I think. This wordy piece of work seemed little more than the author expressing his ability in vocalizing words onto paper, creating the printed word into a story of sorts. Basically, we are told what is happening, instead of being shown. A man looks like a coward, another looks brave. Someone is good with a sword – please show me, don’t just tell me. At times I thought I was reading The Hunger Games, at other times it felt more like a poet retelling some ancient saga at a campfire. Yes, the author uses pretty words, and his syntax is good, as is his storytelling. There’s just nothing to keep the reader on the edge of their seat, or more importantly, turning the pages. If you like reading pretty words, this book is for you; otherwise I can’t honestly recommend it.

Tom Johnson

Author of WORLDS OF TOMORROW

Friday, June 24, 2016

Wicked Tales of Horror

Compilation Of Short Horror Stories And Urban Legends. FIRST CONTACT: An Army Major working at the Pentagon is invited to join a secret society of the Illuminated elite. Just by fate, he finds himself right in the middle of an event that changed the course of history. WHEN YOU WISH UPON A STAR: A music engineer, wannabe Rapper. Will do anything to be like his Super Star friend. Even sell his soul. THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS:The Johnson's daughter falls ill after being exposed to an antique book. The side effects turn out to be deadly at their Christmas eve party.

Wicked Tales of Horror: First Contact Volume IV (Horror)
By Mark Rich
Kindle
$0.99
30 Pages
Rating 1-Star

“The Horror Is In The Writing.”

This short story collection has three interesting titles, and a neat cover that drew me to the book. Unfortunately, the writing was simply bad, the spelling poor, commas out of place, and the syntax so terrible I couldn’t force myself to complete the book. The author is either uneducated, or has a poor understanding of grammar and sentence structure. Thankfully, the book was free on Kindle when I picked it up or I would have demanded my money back. With this listed as Volume IV, could there really be three previous short story collections by this writer out there? I hope the author will consider taking the book down and let an editor look over the manuscript to offer advise or help before the book is actually on sale for $0.99, which will guarantee a lot of complaints. I cannot recommend this book to anyone in its current form.

Tom Johnson

Author of THESE ALIEN SKIES

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Night of The Owl

1946: World War II is over and the world is changing. While the Axis has been defeated, a new menace threatens the globe: Communism. When industrialist Owen S. Grane is brutally murdered, the Three Musketeers, America’s foremost superheroes, are called in to find the culprit, who attacks and kills like a wild animal. Was it the Soviets? A spurned lover? A cheated business rival? Or someone else? One by one, upper level executives of the S.M.A. Corporation, an American defense contractor, are attacked and killed in a savage manner, until, finally the Owl reveals himself – but only after a cat-and-mouse game with the Three Musketeers.


Night of The Owl (Comic Book Prose Fiction)
By Jeff Deischer
Westerntainment Books
Price $14.00
152 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

After the end of WWII, the mighty Golden Age heroes came home to end their career saving the world from Nazi aggression. Although, three of the heroes still gathering at the Round Table, and calling themselves The Three Musketeers, are Hunter, Blitzkrieg, Compatriot and his sidekick, Buddy. They work with F.B.I. agent Billy Troy, who keeps them informed on what is happening. The rest of the super heroes and super villains are either dead or retired now.  Agent Troy brings news of the murder of the head of S.M.A. Corporation, who was ripped to shreds, and probably tortured. Plus, there was a weird flying creature spotted nearby.  The Three Musketeers are asked to investigate.

This was a fun story, almost reading like a pulp story, but with comic book super heroes and a new villain, The Owl. The author, an expert on Golden Age and Silver Age comic book history, brings characters together in his Argentverse. And whether you read this as fan fiction, or new genre, what you get is old versus new in a brand new package that will resonate with not only comic book fans, but fans of well written action yarns with good plot devices. Although I grew up reading Golden Age comics as a child, and Silver Age comics as a teen, I am not versed in their history, nor did I read them all, so the author was speaking to a mere initiate not a master of the subject, yet he was able to spin a fine tale of light mystery in this comic book prose. There is an explanation about the Argentverse in the read of the book for new readers like myself. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson

Author of CRIMES LAST STAND

Friday, June 17, 2016

Otto Binder

Otto Binder: The Life and Work of a Comic Book and Science Fiction Visionary chronicles the career of Otto Binder, from pulp magazine author to writer of Supergirl, Captain Marvel, and Superman comics. As the originator of the first sentient robot in literature ("I, Robot," published in Amazing Stories in 1939 and predating Isaac Asimov's collection of the same name), Binder's effect on science fiction was profound. Within the world of comic books, he created or co-created much of the Superman universe, including Smallville; Krypto, Superboy's dog; Supergirl; and the villain Braniac. Binder is also credited with writing many of the first "Bizarro" storylines for DC Comics, as well as for being the main writer for the Captain Marvel comics. In later years, Binder expanded from comic books into pure science writing, publishing dozens of books and articles on the subject of satellites and space travel as well as UFOs and extraterrestrial life. Comic book historian Bill Schelly tells the tale of Otto Binder through comic panels, personal letters, and interviews with Binder's own family and friends. Schelly weaves together Binder's professional successes and personal tragedies, including the death of Binder's only daughter and his wife's struggle with mental illness. A touching and human story, Otto Binder: The Life and Work of a Comic Book and Science Fiction Visionary is a biography that is both meticulously researched and beautifully told, keeping alive Binder's spirit of scientific curiosity and whimsy.

Otto Binder (Biography)
“The Life And Work of A Comic Book And Science Fiction Visionary”
By Bill Schelly
North Atlantic Books
ISBN #978-1623170370
Price $15.58
352 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

“An Interesting Look At One of The Giants of the Comic Book Industry.”

Growing up during the so-called Golden Age of the comic books, I never thought about the men and women behind the comic books I was reading. I discovered Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman when my parents moved to the big city when I was seven years old; these and others became my escape from reality. My real discovery, however, was Captain Marvel and later, The Marvel Family. As a kid, it was enough that they entertained me, and became a huge part of my reading. I read comic books off and on until 1980 (age 40), when I no longer felt any interest in them. But looking back on my youth, and a media that was so important at the time, I couldn’t pass up this book.

Bill Schelly gathers letters and interviews from many of those in the comic book industry who knew Otto Binder, one of the main writers for Captain Marvel and The Marvel Family, and put this biography together. I believe it is an updated reprint of a previous edition, with added material. Whatever the case, the author gives us a behind the scenes look at the man and his craft, the good times and the bad, and not only what the industry did to him, but what decision he made that proved disastrous, as well. Otto Binder entertained millions of kids for over thirty years. Beginning his writing career in science fiction pulp magazines, where little was published of literary quality, it sparked his ambition to become a writer. Not many of his pulp stories rose above the rest of the early junk being published, but his Adam Link stories certainly fascinated the readers and other media of the day. Going into comic book writing was better pay for less work, and his output became a herculean affair. But tragedy and finances took their toll eventually, leaving him in hard straights. He never forgot his fans, even if he tried to forget the comic book industry. It’s a bittersweet story of triumph and heartbreak, but one I’m glad I finally read.

The book itself is well produced, and the writing is excellent, and the story easily followed. If I had one compliant, it would be the light print of the text. With all ready failing eyesight, the light print was difficult to read for long periods. I can’t say that I am a comic book fan, but I can highly recommend this to those fans, as well as to old folks like me who grew up during the Golden Age.

Tom Johnson

Author of GUNS OF THE BLACK GHOST

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Superfall

Superfall (Humorous Spy/Thriller)
By John Hegenberger
196 Pages
Not Released Yet
Rating 4-Stars

“Well Written Humorous Thriller”

L.A. private detective Sam Wade is working for a disguised George Reeves, whose recent death was staged so he could be placed in the Witness Protection Plan after identifying key mob figures. With Reeves is a female FBI agent who is also working on a commie plot; the communist are infiltrating the mob for their own purposes. Wade and George Reeves, who the Reds believe is Steve Allen now, attend one of their meetings, and are recruited into their organization. The local leader tells Sam that a Russian cell is passing counterfeit money all over L.A., and it interferes with his bigger plan, and he wants Wade to discover how the money is being brought in.

This appears to be a prequel to SPYFALL, and was well written, with a good plot. The name dropping throughout the story is fun, but I’m still not comfortable with the author using real people as characters in the novels. Lloyd Bridges also has a recurring part, and Walt Disney is a behind the scenes as a local FBI boss who uses Wade as his agent in cases like this one. There is lots of humor along with the action, and spy lovers with enjoy this light-hearted, fast-paced, easy read. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson

Author of COLD WAR HEROES