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Review: Dragons N Antibodies by Linh Nguyen-Ng

About the Book

What if DNA is magic?

What if you can heal yourself simply by asking your blueprint?

Ambitious and focused, scientist Nathan Wu lives by proof and logic, rejecting the realm of the esoteric. But when his daughter becomes terminally ill and none of his research or experiments can save her, he is pushed to the edge.

Hopelessness propels him to the limits of reason, allowing him to see and converse with DNA-Dragons. His logical mind refutes this unbelievable possibility, but the father in him cannot discard the invitation to enter a portal that holds the key to his daughter’s cure. What is beyond the veil?

In desperation, Nathan plunges into an inconceivable quantum world of human biology that shows him what he could never prove, where diseased monsters attack him, and where his survival depends on the willing suspension of reason.

My thoughts

First up – LOOK at that glorious cover!

Linh is one heck of an artist I think you’ll agree. And this short story is an excellent read. A mix of science and fantasy with dragons. I mean, you really can’t ask for more.

Linh has created a magical world here with microscopic lifeforms brought to vivid life. It’s a journey-to-the-center-of-the-universe style story, if the universe was a human body. Such a brilliant concept. How the body works is as alien as to us as deep underwater or deepest space. This exploration is a fascinating answer to questions of “what if?”

Nathan is an interesting character. A scientist, desperately searching for a cure for his terminally ill daughter. A man of reason and education. His search takes a wondrous and mysterious turn when his own DNA starts talking to him. Following the dragons, he discovers an incredible world beyond imagination… and during his life and death adventure Nathan comes to a mind-blowing realization. This could lead to a cure for his daughter.

Or is he simply going mad?

What I love about this story is how vibrant and colorful this mysterious world comes across in the written word. The visualizations are stunning. Linh does a marvelous job of bringing the alien-ness of blood cells and virus’s and their destructive battles to life. A terrific read. I sure hope there will be more of this world to come in the future.

And so it begins (Friday Fictioneers)

PHOTO PROMPT © Jeff Arnold

When the trolls attacked, we thought it was just nonsense. Actors in costume rehearsing a play. Until the death toll began to rise.

My great niece insisted I write down what I remember of how the Troubles started. Even got me this damned typewriter because, of course, no power. Paper is in short supply… need it for more urgent things… such as toilet paper. Still she insisted so here goes…

It was a time of great uncertainty.

A wooden door appeared in my backyard, between the hydrangeas, as it did in every yard. The brass handle didn’t turn at first…

This is a Friday Fictioneers Prompt

You can read more of the Prompt responses here

Word count: 100

© solothefirst. All Rights to the works and publications on this blog are owned and copyrighted by Solothefirst. The Owner of this site reserves all permissions for access and use of all documents on this site.

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They did what? (Friday Fictioneers)

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

“What’s that?”

“A car”

“A what?” She scratched her head.

“Land vehicle, people drove them.”

“What, on the ground? Why would they drive down there?”

He nodded, face serious. “Didn’t have flyers back then.”

“None?”

“Nope… The cars drove on the ground and spewed exhaust into the air.”

“Ewwww gross.” She shook her head. “People in the past were dumb.”

“It was all we had back then. Petrol, gas, diesel. They moved to electric eventually. I still remember the smell. The roar. The tar road. Potholes. Burning leather.”

“Sounds annoying.”

“Hmmmm loud too. Ahhhh, those were the days.” He winked.

This is a Friday Fictioneers prompt

You can read more of the prompt responses here

Word Count: 100

© solothefirst. All Rights to the works and publications on this blog are owned and copyrighted by Solothefirst. The Owner of this site reserves all permissions for access and use of all documents on this site.

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Make a wish (Friday Fictioneers)

PHOTO PROMPT © Ceayr

Looks alright, doesn’t it?

Lovely place. You can stand and watch the water flow for hours, just bubbling away, getting into people’s subconsciousness’s, convincing them they need the loo.

Once you couldn’t actually get near me.

Now, plenty of room… but no people.

Hard for a wishing well to get any coin, ya know… when there’s no people.

All died. No one left. I’ve got all these wishes to gift and no one to gift it too.

The water is cleaner than its been in centuries. Air too. It’s nice. Bit lonely. Birds though, yeah? Wonder what they’ll wish for?

This is a Friday Fictioneers prompt

It’s been a really tough week for me this week. My beloved Poppa passed away on Tuesday and everything hurts.

You can read more of the FF prompt responses here

Word Count: 100

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© solothefirst. All Rights to the works and publications on this blog are owned and copyrighted by Solothefirst. The Owner of this site reserves all permissions for access and use of all documents on this site.

A sad farewell – my Poppa

It’s been a really tough week for me this week. My beloved Poppa passed away on Tuesday and everything hurts.

He and my Nana taught me to love reading.

It is a simple sentence but it is full of magic.

He was the reason why I got into writing fantasy and science fiction. He was the one who read to little tiny me about witches and giant worms and ghosts and elves and magic, and told me stories about the Hob Yahs that will come and steal you away in the night if you don’t stay in bed! (Or get you when you take the bins out!) Imagine that! A man of his generation reading to me – a girl – about heroes and monsters and powerful women witches and elves and troll mothers and sword fights and the beheading of the above said giant worm, magic potions and silly witches making mistakes and having to fix them!

And I know I always tell this story but it clearly stays with me. He would read to me and change the ending of familiar stories which apparently little me would tell him off for doing. “Read it right, Poppa!”

Both he and my Nana carried mountains of books home from the library every week. Took ME to the library whenever I wanted. Sat around reading in the evenings when I had “sleep overs” at Nana and Poppa’s house and never complained if all I wanted to do was read too. (Along with a cut up, peeled apple to eat before bedtime). Their home is still full of books (and now mine is too – which is hardly surprising really.)

My every thought now is of my Nana missing her best friend, husband and companion of over 70 years of married life. And of my Dad and Auntie missing their dad – it seemed like he would live forever. Poppa’s birthday was a couple of weeks ago. He was 95. He saw so much of life. Imagine the changes he had witnessed happening to the world over the past 95 years?

He and my Nana were at my book launch two years ago. I am so glad he got to hold my book in his hands with my name on the cover.

What not many people outside of the family know is that he was a hell of an artist. He taught himself how to paint – oils – and my god he had a bloody good eye for detail. Australian landscapes were his specialty. He was a tiler, a plasterer, made outdoor knickknacks (painted bloody magpies!), loved clocks, survived World War II and was so incredibly talented. A generous soul who had a wickedly fabulous sense of humor. It is his laugh that stays with me.

Nine great-grandchilden, five grandchildren, two children and a LOT of memories.

I have so many stories – like climbing the “magic faraway tree” in their backyard. Raking up the fallen leaves in their backyard in Autumn and then scattering them everywhere, chasing my brother and sister around the yard with a makeshift bow and arrows he made (yeah that was probably a disaster waiting to happen!) The pom pom tree that we would get into trouble for tugging the pom poms off and scattering the petals everywhere. Sitting beside him as he gave me painting lessons (never could manage the magic he could – not patient enough to wait for the paint to dry!) The chocy tin that was NEVER empty. Snowballs (marshmallow, chocolate and coconut), him teaching me and my sister to play cricket with playing cards… jigsaw puzzle races, the stories go on. And more will come to me as I think about them.

He was a one of a kind… and I got two – one in my Poppa and one in my Nana. I’m so lucky.

He is so very missed.

Who wants to know (Friday Fictioneers)

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

It’s how we pass messages back and forth. To keep hidden, to keep safe, you didn’t advertise who you were or where you were at. I heard there used to be systems online (whatever that was) where you could broadcast your whereabouts and your opinions to anyone anywhere in the world.

If that’s true, it sure was a different time.

A more innocent time.

Now, you don’t tell nothing you don’t have to. And you don’t hang about. In and out, quick as lightning. Don’t linger, don’t talk.

Someone wants to find you, you take a risk.

Check the board.

This is a Friday Fictioneers Prompt

You can read more of the FF prompt pieces here

Word Count: 100

© solothefirst. All Rights to the works and publications on this blog are owned and copyrighted by Solothefirst. The Owner of this site reserves all permissions for access and use of all documents on this site.

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Art imitates life or life imitates art? (Friday Fictioneers)

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players…*

The show must go on…

If you’ve ever set foot on a stage, you know how true the sayings are.

I’ve often likened theatre to life. Rehearsal and the lack there of, forgetting one’s lines, music that plays you off, your last performance is the one remembered, even a silent player is still be seen, so act as though the audience is watching.

The scariest moment in my life was performing before a live audience.

Theatre ghosts are real. Applause is fleeting and the spotlight is captivating.

*William Shakespeare

This is a Friday Fictioneers Prompt

You can read more FF Prompt responses here

Word Count: 100

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© solothefirst. All Rights to the works and publications on this blog are owned and copyrighted by Solothefirst. The Owner of this site reserves all permissions for access and use of all documents on this site.

Stories of Hope… Its out!

The rain may have fallen, but Aussie communities are still reeling from the impact of the latest bushfires. Stories of Hope is a collection of short stories that will be released in a few days and you can pre-order your copy now! Link: www.books2read.com/storiesofhope

My story “Together we can fix it” is inside and you can read it soon! It’s out on the 26th Feb.

It is also on Goodreads. Add it to your ‘want to read’ list – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51278555-stories-of-hope

Thanks for your support! Let’s see how much we can raise for WWF’s Australian Bushfire Relief Fund and Red Cross.

Do you remember? (Friday Fictioneers)

PHOTO PROMPT © Dawn Miller

Memory is a funny thing.

Do you recall events that have occurred in their entirety or only in passing as a vague feeling or a mood that dances on the tip of your tongue?

Would you know if your memory is wrong? A word heard was not what was said?

If your memory was fading… would you know? How can you fight to preserve something as ephemeral as lightning sparks inside an organ made of liquid, fat and grey and white matter that loops and swirls inside your skull?

What is experience? Emotion? Thought?

What is existence?

Are we alone?

This is a Friday Fictioneers Prompt

You can read more of the FF prompt responses here

Word Count: 100

© solothefirst. All Rights to the works and publications on this blog are owned and copyrighted by Solothefirst. The Owner of this site reserves all permissions for access and use of all documents on this site.

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Review: The Trials of Solomon Parker by Eric Scott Fischl

About the Book:

1916, Butte, Montana: City of the Copper Kings. Solomon Parker is old, broken and in debt to very bad people. He’s always managed to stay one step ahead of his last bad decision, but more than anything, he wishes life had turned out differently. Little does he know that for him and his young protégé, Billy Morgan, that wish is about to come true. The Above Ones, the gods of the People, are bored. Their servant, Marked Face is coming, and he’s bringing his dice…

My thoughts:

WOW.

This book was a total surprise to me. The blurb doesn’t quite give this story justice. It is deeper, darker, and more twisty than I expected and I loved every second of it. From the first mad run through the mine (and oh my gosh this stayed with me – best action scene I have read in a while) to the myths and magic that keep Sol and Billy returning to their past in the foolish hope they can rewrite history, this story is gripping and tragic and sad and hopeless and hopeful and full of emotional heartache. It’s the best of science fiction in a historic setting.

What would YOU do if you could change the past… and would you do it? What if it made things worse?

There is so much in this story. The native mythology lends a depth to the heartache that is just painful to read. The time period is fully engrossing, dark, dingy and death seems to wait through every doorway. The mine scenes are beautifully written, as are the gangster scenes and the hospital scenes. This is a book of tragedy and leaves you thinking long after you finish reading.

And one wonders if the magic really happened to Sol and Billy? Is it madness, only in their heads, made strangely real, or did they really go back into their own timelines? Does the magic punish Sol and Billy for the hurts caused by ancestors long long past – yet fully alive in the present – even as they fight to make things better in the future? It’s a bitter truth to learn. Nothing is as it seems and choices do make a difference, don’t they? That is the beauty of this story.

Its also a time travel story. One of the best I’ve read. The story resets are easy to follow and I found the timeline did not trip me up or become confusing. It is several stories but they same one, with the one message throughout. Does a choice, a wish, a chance to fix what has broken in ones life, really make a difference? I really enjoyed this book. It was well written and deeply thought provoking.

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