⚡️ How to catch a lightning bolt ⚡️
The Lampworks Lamplighter SF & Fantasy News & Reviews
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I saw a dark thunderstorm cell moving across Lake Ontario last weekend. It was an isolated patch that added drama to the sunset instead of obscuring it. That was cool enough, but I wanted to catch the lightning bolts that flickered beneath it. But I couldn’t react fast enough to press the shutter when I saw the flash. By the time I could snap, it was gone.
Here’s how I caught one on my iPhone: I used the burst photo mode to take successive bursts shots at ten frames per second. I just held down the shutter button until the burst indicator reached 200, then released it and immediately held it down again. After I repeated this about eight or ten times, I finally saw a flash. I opened the burst and scrubbed through the frames until I found the one that had the lightning bolt on it and selected that as the key frame. When I saved, Photos asked me if I wanted to save just the selected frame, and I answered yes. Then it was a simple matter to delete the bursts that hadn’t captured anything. Voila.
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Monsieur Resche is an art thief. He has crossed a bridge into a quaint town that disappeared from Switzerland four centuries ago. All the magic that our world once had has ended up there. A precisely tied knot, an exactly folded paper, or a cunningly drawn figure can unlock wonders and horrors.
Resche has a mind that lets him excel at this new craft, but that brings him to the notice of powerful mages who play a great game of geomancy with tiles the size of countries. And when he looks for the bridge back to Geneva, it is nowhere to be found.
The Fractalist priest offers aid that may not be what it appears, the Jeweler has intricate schemes, the newspaper editor has taken an interest, the Astromancer had good advice before she was murdered, and Resche’s cat just makes wisecracks.
Knots is a compelling story filled with unexpected characters, plot twists, literal location twists, mystery, and redemption.
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What We‘re Reading
Visit our archive of reviews and recommendations on the Books We Like page of our website. You‘ll find over one hundred recommendations in Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Non Fiction.
Piper Tikaani is an Inupiaq bush pilot with a secret—she can take the form of a raven or a wolf. But her day job is flying hunters and miners to remote cabins in the wilderness. When a family friend dies mysteriously at his cabin, the new owner suspects there may be hidden gold on the property and there are others who are searching for it. As Piper helps him follow the clues, the game becomes more deadly, and she begins to learn that there are more shape shifters around than she knew about. And buried gold is the least of their interests.
I enjoyed the way the author wove native american culture and myths into the story line, not just as background but as an integral part of the world-building. She also convincingly portrays the joys and hazards of being a bush pilot in this remote land. The light but sturdy planes they fly are characters in their own right, with their own limitations and foibles. It was a different take on the modern urban fantasy.
Buy on amazon
Diana Smith is about to closer her shop at the Crossroad of the Worlds when in quick succession a customer flashes a lot of gold to make a custom magical sword for him, and then an assassin tries to kill her. She dispatches the assassin, cleans up the mess, and walks across two worlds to meet her friends in Dublin for a drink. In the first ten pages, this establishes the multi-world setting, that Diana is a competent badass, that Smith is her profession as well as her name, and she has the rare ability to walk between worlds. All this reminded of Roger Zelazny’s Amber series.
Diana finds that assassins also targeted her brother and her mother, so she decides to travel to her mother’s realm to find out who sent them. Turns out she’s ninth, or seventh, or fifth in line for the throne depending on what day it is and whose funerals were recently held. And it’s less a matter of who wants her dead than finding anyone who doesn’t.
(And the cover? Forget the cover. It’s not very good. What’s inside is considerably better.)
Buy on amazon
The Road to Roswell
Francie arrives in Roswell to attend her college roommate’s wedding. Her roommate is known for not making the best choices, and Francie usually bails her out. There’s a lot of that going on: a UFO-themed wedding at the height of the annual UFO convention and enough nut jobs in town to make a squirrel think it had found heaven. If there were any squirrels in the desert. Then Francie and some other folks are kidnapped by an actual alien, who wants them to drive around the state looking for … something. Trouble is, the alien doesn’t speak their language.
The first part of the book is a crazy mashup of all the things people are capable of believing as the road trip takes them through reservations, casinos, Las Vegas, a chapel and more. They attempt to communicate using some old westerns for language lessons, with hilarious results. Around the middle of the book, it shifts from a farce to a thriller as the men in black get on their trail. Francie and friends have more sympathy for the alien than the Feds by that time.
There’s plenty of Willis’s signature humor here, especially her favorite variety of maddenly dense or self-centered people getting in the way of getting things done.
Buy on amazon
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Months after Kalindra survives her sham trial at Sil’derel, exposing the demidrake Ulfaren as a fraud, and revealing the horror of the newly born voidragons to her fellow Dracomancers, the threat Parthenis faces has become clear: beyond the growing power of Albrecht Therin and his Alliance, worse than the political strife in Tar’Derel and other gean enclaves, the Sightless Cabal is making strides in fully bringing the Blackness Beyond to the world.
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Hell is not what you think … It’s bone-chilling.
Gabe is a good guy making the best of eternity in a place not known for its hospitality — until he is recruited by Judas Iscariot (yes, that Judas) to join a sect of double agents dedicated to sabotaging the mayhem being released on Earth.
Armed with a skill set of irritating quips and zero knowledge of the modern world, Gabe must figure out how to work with his beautiful, tough-as-nails partner without botching the mission or revealing his true identity.
If this unlikely hero can’t figure it out before disaster strikes, facing the wrath of Hell will be the least of his worries …
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Footsteps into the Unfamiliar
From an age where clashing gods reshaped the land with fire, to a time when new wars threatened all of existence, these collected works explore the world of the War of the North Saga through conflicts recent and ancient. Heroes are born, villains are shaped, and the age of gods and men builds. Here, the Great War begins…
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