Star Wars on Kindle

Star Wars fans take note  There have been about a hundred Star Wars e-books added to the Kindle Store in the past month.  You can also find them on the Nook and other e-readers.

Best of all, there is a Star Wars 25th Anniversary edition.  It includes all three of the orignal Star Wars tales in one e-book.  It also includes bonus material from various Star Wars books from the pas 20 years. The 25th Anniversary edition is a novelization of the popular Star Wars movies.  The author is George Lucas, the creator of the trilogy.

You’ll find a number of other Star Wars themed books by other authors that extend the story to the time after the Return of the Jedi, the last in the original series.

Timothy Zahn is one of the authors in the expanded universe of Star Wars tie ins, and he wrote the Thrawn Trilogy.  This series begins five years after the end of the origiinal trilogy and includes the same characters: Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, etc.  He also introduces a new set of characters.  So, you get a new spin on the story.

The Republic is at peace, but not for long, as Admiral Thrawn, an ex warlord of the empire plots to kidnap Luke Skywalker and his twin sister Leia.

Another Star Wars expanded universe book you might consider is Star Wars: Crosscurrent by Paul S. Kemp.  He is the author of several Star Wars tie ins.  Crosscurrent’s main character is Jedi Knight Jaden Korr.  He sets off to help someone in distress after receiving a Force vision that is quite intense.  This book is action packed, fast moving and quite graphic.

Personally, I learned a lot about Star Wars after doing a little research, and this post just touches on some of the books that are available.  With all of the plot twists and new characters added here and there, it can get kind of overwhelming.  I did not realize that there were so many books written on it.  I’ve mostly heard of the movies and video games.  But, I am excited that Star Wars can be accessed on the Kindle.  You could have the whole expanded universe at your fingertips.

 

 

 

 

Kindle Book Recommendations: Science Fiction Staples

This shouldn’t come across as much of a surprise to anybody, given my admitted love of high tech reading and the tools associated with it, but I’m a fan of the SF genre.  Yeah, I know, I’m playing to a stereotype by implying you can make the assumption there, but I don’t care. Now, having made that declaration, on to the Kindle-related stuff.  That’s what we’re here for, right?  Here are a few things I’ve picked up recently on my Kindle that I can honestly suggest you also grab when you get a chance.

Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson

This one won’t come as a surprise for many people.  From what I know, it’s one of the most popular Science Fiction titles ever written.  I finally picked it up, with high hopes after having loved Cryptonomicon for years, and I was not disappointed.

Without giving too much away, it’s an adventure in a dystopic America in the near future after the collapse of the dollar, and the government with it.  You’ve got sword fights, social commentary, impressively nuts religious leaders, an intriguing early view of the potential embodied by the internet as a stage for social interaction, and much more.  Most of all, it’s one of those books that you have so much fun reading that you lose track of time.  To me, that’s the best mark of a great title.  Did I mention that it’s got a main character named “Hiro Protagonist”?

The Kindle Edition is $8.10

Dune – Frank Herbert

You’ve heard of Dune.  Ok, I can’t be 100% sure of that, but let’s face it…you’re heard of Dune.  Between the movie of the same name, the mini-series, and the countless sequels (both those made by the original Herbert and the many horrible new ones his son keeps coming up with), it would be more than a little surprising for somebody to have never at least heard the name.

How many people have read it recently, though, if they ever have at all?  This is a genuinely great SF novel that has held up perfectly.  Besides the story being genuinely interesting in its own right, it’s good food for thought.  On the one hand, I can’t really think of much I could say that isn’t right on the Amazon page without giving away details.  On the other hand, I couldn’t describe it in ten times as much space as I have to work with.  Really, if you like good serious SF reads, grab it.  Heck, even if you’ve read it before, I’ll bet it’s been a while!  Give it another go.

The Kindle Edition is $15.99

You know, I have more that I want to recommend here that I don’t have anything I can usefully say beyond “Here, check these out!”  For the most part they’re so enmeshed in the genre that there’s nothing I could add productively to the discussion anyway.

Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card Kindle Edition: $5.99

The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams Kindle Edition: $9.99

Hyperion – Dan Simmons Kindle Edition: $6.39

Really, that’s just the tip of the iceberg, of course.  I hope you all enjoy as much as I do and have.  As always, feel free to send me suggestions for future recommendations.  That’s where this idea came from and it’s always a good time.  It’s times like these, going through what I consider some of the basic components of my library that I most love having made the move to the Kindle.  Never have to worry about finding that paperback you put down ten years ago and haven’t seen since!

Happy Birthday Jules Verne!

Jules VerneJules Verne was one of the first authors to venture into the Science Fiction genre during the mid to late nineteenth century.  He wrote about underwater, space and air travel years before their time.  Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, A Journey to the Centre of the Earth, and Around the World in Eighty Days are all available for free on your Kindle or Kindle DX.

Twenty Thousand Leagues features a submarine called Nautilus that was built to look like a fish.  Smart idea because this way warships are fooled into thinking it is a real fish.  The top fin of the submarine was used to destroy the ships.

As modern readers, some reviewers said that Twenty Thousand Leagues was really entertaining and a surprisingly good depiction of a modern invention.

Around the World in Eighty Days is full of adventure and other crazy shenanigans.  Phileas Fogg and his companion, Passepartout, set off with limited funds to make it around the world in eighty days.  By completing the task, they would win a large wager.  Along the way, they nearly get arrested, get attacked by Indians, and nearly lose each other through missed connections to various part of the journey.  It is crazy what lengths they have to go through to make each leg of the journey.  We have it easy with cars and airplanes!

Verne uses A Journey to the Centre of the Earth to education readers on life in ancient times such as the Ice Age and when the dinosaurs roamed the Earth.  This book kind of reminds me of the show “Land of the Lost”, where a father and his two kids fall through a crack in the road, and end up in the dinosaur age.  A Journey features Professor von Hardwigg, his nephew Harry, and their guide, Hans.  The professor believe that there were tubes in volcanoes that lead to the center of the Earth.  They come across many geological artifacts and other unexpected adventures.  This book is said to be the most outdated of all of Verne’s books, but it still has some merit in terms of how it looks at the earlier times.

The Collected Works of Jules Verne consists of 36 novels and short stories written by the author, including the three that I just mentioned.  This is a great deal, and the reviews are all really good.  I like that you can have all of Verne’s works in one place.

For a little more background on Jules Verne’s life, take a look at my Kindle Screensaver Blog post.

Kindle Screensavers – What Do They Mean?

Ever wondered about the story behind the Kindle and Kindle DX screensavers?  Here are a few tidbits about them.  If you ever get a chance to go to New England, you will find the artifacts of the lives of many of these famous literary figures.

Famous Authors, Playwrights and Poets

Harriet Beecher Stowe – She is the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  Stowe was born on June 14, 1811 and was the daughter of the well known religious leader, Lyman Beecher.  Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a revolutionary anti slavery novel that set the anti slavery movement into motion.  Stowe publicly spoke out against slavery and included her views in her other writings.  She wrote 20 books total.  You can visit her house in Hartford Connecticut.  It is right beside the Mark Twain house.

Mark Twain – One of my favorite authors.  He wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  Both are hilarious, and I love the way Twain writes in the the jilted dialogue that they speak in.  His house is in Hartford, Connecticut, and is a sight to see.

John Steinbeck – Also a favorite of mine.  His most well known novel is The Grapes of Wrath, which is set during the Great Depression, and follows a family of Oklahoma sharecroppers who face economic hardship and desperation.  They somehow manage to hold on to a glimmer of hope for the future as they travel to California to find work and a better future.  Of Mice and Men is another one of his famous works and describes the tragic journey of two ranch workers, one of whom is mentally retarded.

Agatha Christie – Bestselling writer of detective novels.  She has sold 4 billion copies of her novels which is the most copies of books sold short of the Bible.  Many of her books are available on the Kindle, including the Secret Adversary, which is free.

Jane EyreCharlotte Bronte – Well known for her novel, Jane Eyre.  This is a gripping story that involves many plot twists and turns, a tragic fire and a crazy ex wife.

James Joyce – He is most well known for his book, Ulysses.  The protagonist, Leopold Bloom and the other characters of this book are modeled off of Homer’s Odyssey.  Ulysses is one of the greatest works of modern literature.

Virginia WoolfMrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse are two of her most major literary contributions. Woolf struggled mentally with sexual abuse and from nervous breakdowns following the death of her mother and father.  You will find her life experiences reflected in her works.

Alexandre Dumas – He began his career as a playwright, but later switched to novels including Count of Monte Cristo and The Three MusketeersThe Count of Monte Cristo chronicles the resurgence of Napoleon and the events of the Bonaparte family’s reign.  The novel gets its name from an island that Dumas visited where Louis Napoleon, Napoleon’s cousin was imprisoned. It also discusses the racial prejudice against his father, who was of Haitian descent and a general in the French Army.  The Three Musketeers features d’Artagnan, a guard over the musketeers.  The three musketeers are three friends who have an extremely tight bond.  They look after each other at all times.  This novel is the first of three novels in a series called the d’Artagnan Romances.

Jules Verne – One of the founders of science fiction.  Well, what was considered science fiction in the nineteenth century that is.  His novels, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, The Journey to the Centre of the Earth and Around the World in Eighty Days all explored sea and space travel before they were even invented.  Considering how mainstream those are now, it is really interesting to have historical reference to these ideas as something far fetched or futuristic.

Emily Dickinson – Most of her fame came after her death when most of her poems were Emily Dickinsondiscovered.  She lived in the Dickinson family homestead in Amherst, Massachusetts her whole life with the exception of her brief stint at Mt. Holyoke Seminary.  Death of loved ones throughout her life resulted in a great struggle with depression.  I visited her grave not too long ago, and got a glimpse of her house.  The Complete Poems by Emily Dickinson is available on the Kindle

Jane Austen – For more information about Jane Austen and her novels, check out the Pride and Prejudice Kindle Blog Post or the Jane Austen Kindle Blog post.  She does a great job of capturing the social atmosphere of the early nineteenth century.

Durer – An important figure in the Northern Renaissance and one of the first European landscape artists.

Authors Formerly Used as Screensavers

Edgar Allan Poe – He is known for introducing the detective-fiction genre and also was a contributed to the science fiction genre. His poem, “The Raven” was a huge success.  Poe completed one semester at the University of Virginia, but left due to lack of money.  He also tried and failed as an officer’s cadet.  So, you can probably see how his life struggles influenced the tone of his writings.

Oscar Wilde – An Irish writer, playwright and poet, his most well known works are The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being EarnestEarnest is a play that puts a humorous spin on the Victorian social scene.

John Milton
– He served under Oliver Cromwell during a time of religious and political upheaval in England.  His most famous work is Paradise Lost, an epic poem about Adam and Eve, their fall from grace and the consequences that follow.  This poem does a great job of exploring the major issues of the time.

Lewis Carroll – Author of the famous Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.  His tales are unique and great for the imagination.

Symbols and Paintings

Sibylla Samia – depiction of the ancient Greek priestess who prophesied Jesus’s birth in the stable.

“Albertus” page – glyphic, serif font named after the thirteenth century German philosopher Albertus Magnus

Hercules Constellation – Fifth largest constellation and is named after the Greek mythological hero Heracles.  The constellation was named by the ancient astronomer Ptolemy.

Man at table with lion in foreground

17th century astronomer & his wife w/ giant sextant

the Audubon finches-in-a-tree

Fish

Illuminated page with Iohannis aquila in upper right corner

Cathedral floorplan

Woman with Book

Kindle 3

Kindle Themed Screensavers

Kindle definition – formerly one with falling letters, now it is the definition with a tree in the background.

Kindle feedback request w/ some sort of coding machine – On the Kindle DX, the feedback email is [email protected]

These are all of the ones I’ve found so far, if you know of any others that I may have missed, let us know!

Tor.com goes live, get 24 free sci-fi and fantasy e-books

Tor.com logo beta

Back in May we got wind of a new social fanzine site especially for science-fiction and fantasy readers, Tor.com was due for launch we were told imminently, but as with these things the launch actually didn’t happen for a couple of month – over the weekend Tor.com was launched.

If you read the earlier post you know that had you signed up for the newsletter, Tor was giving away a free e-book every week in their weekly newsletter. Now that the site has launched, Tor will make available all 24 titles that were given away in the newsletter–only till the 27th of July, so head on over to the site and download them–in their Freebies Bonanza, there is a selection of artwork for download as-well, some would make an excellent desktop wallpaper.

Here is the list of all the available e-books;

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
PDF || HTMLnew! || HTML zipnew! || Mobinew!
Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Spin by Robert Charles Wilson
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Farthing by Jo Walton
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
The Outstretched Shadow by Mercedies Lackey & James Mallory
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Crystal Rain by Tobias Buckell
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Lord of the Isles by David Drake
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Through Wolf’s Eyes by Jane Lindskold
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
The Disunited States of America by Harry Turtledove
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Reiffen’s Choice by S.C. Butler
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Sun of Suns by Karl Schroeder
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Four and Twenty Blackbirds by Cherie Priest
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Spirit Gate by Kate Elliot
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Starfish by Peter Watts
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Touch of Evil by C.T. Adams & Cathy Clamp
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Orphans of Chaos by John Wright
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
In the Garden of Iden by Kage Baker
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
In the Midnight Hour by Patti O’Shea
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Battlestar Galactica by Jeffrey A. Carver
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Flash by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Soul by Tobsha Learner
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Darkness of the Light by Peter David
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Three Shadows by Cyril Pedrosanew!
PDF || ePub

If your a fan of science-fiction and fantasy  books then you might want to bookmark Tor.com, and sign up for access to more advanced community features, whilst the site is still in officially in beta there is a lot there for you to look at and read. There are already some lively discussions going on in the community forum with Tor and Macmillan employees and the blog on the front page is filled with interesting news and stories.