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Friday, December 31, 2010

Star Trek: Next Generation - Ghosts #1

I remember reading piles of Star Trek books on family road trips many (many!) moons ago, so it's fun to see new ebook versions out for the kindle--at a great price too.

Star Trek: Next Generation--Ghosts #1 is less than $2.00.

Captain Picard and the crew of the Enterprise respond to a distress call and find a terribly wounded scientist aboard a marooned ship. While evaluating the planet below (and its two warring nations) for possible Federation membership, Picard discovers to his horror that the survivor of the disaster is foreseeing his death. Written by Eisner-nominated writer Zander Cannon (Top Ten).

Engineering the City: How Infrastructure Works

If you're one of those people who loves to know how stuff works, then you'll get a kick out of this ebook. Engineering the City: How Infrastructure Works isn't a heavy, technical read, so don't get concerned if text books aren't your cup of tea.

Gr. 6-12. Future engineers, math enthusiasts, and students seeking ideas for science projects will all be fascinated by this book, which is filled with engineering "projects and principles for beginners." Facts about dams and bridges segue into information about water transportation and irrigation, and eventually into a chapter that answers the question, "What happens when I flush the toilet?" Other sections deal with highways, railroads, electrical circuitry, and garbage disposal. Simple line drawings unobtrusively enhance descriptions in the text, and there are specific, step-by-step ideas for engineering experiments that usually require only simple household objects. Each chapter ends with a brief list of suggested further activities that encompass geography, writing, geometry, and even history. A source of both general information and activities that can be used across the curriculum.

Future engineers, math enthusiasts, and students seeking ideas for science projects will all be fascinated by this book.

At just shy of $10, it's not a bad price compared to some of the other non-fiction ebooks in the Kindle Store.

Engineering the City: How Infrastructure Works

DragonLance Dragons of Autumn Twilight: Chronicles, Volume One

If it's been so long since you read that original DragonLance trilogy that you've long since lost the books, then you may be a candidate for downloading it for the Kindle. Published a few days ago, Dragons of Autumn Twilight: Chronicles, Volume One costs less than buying it as a new paperback (as ebook prices should be!).

Think of it as A New Hope for the world of Dragonlance: Sure, maybe it's a little rough around the edges, maybe it's got one cliché too many, but this baby is pure magic. The first volume in the Dragonlance Chronicles series, this classic from Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman started it all for Krynn, eventually spawning a bestselling 90-plus book series. (And, frankly, you'd do well to stick to the Weis-Hickman titles.) All the heroes that you've likely heard of already--the creepy, hourglass-eyed Raistlin, the noble half-elf Tanis, the comic relief Tasselhoff Burrfoot, the curmudgeonly dwarf Flint Fireforge--they're all here, starting the good fight against the Dark Queen Takhisis as the War of the Lance begins. Pick up Dragons of Winter Night when you're done. --Paul Hughes

Original Blurb

Lifelong friends, they went their separate ways. Now they are together again, though each holds secrets from the others in his heart. They speak of a world shadowed with rumors of war. They speak of tales of strange monsters, creatures of myth, creatures of legend. They do not speak of their secrets. Not then. Not until a chance encounter with a beautiful, sorrowful woman, who bears a magical crystal staff, draws the companions deeper into the shadows, forever changing their lives and shaping the fate of the world.

This has nothing to do with the Kindle, but if you become a Raistlin fan, you might enjoy the Lake of Tears song Raistlin and the Rose:

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Scrabble for the Kindle: Word Geeks Rejoice!

If I didn't already have SCRABBLE on my iPod and various other electronic gadgets, I'd be rushing to grab it for my Kindle. After all, sometimes you need a break from all that reading, and a little brain exercise can't hurt.

Simple controls make it easy to play any way you want, whether you're a casual or experienced SCRABBLE player. Pass N' Play with a friend, challenge the Kindle, or play a solo game. If you need help, use the Best Word feature to create the highest scoring word possible. You can even pause the game anytime and pick it up later.

Follow your progress game by game with instant statistics tracking. As your game-play and strategy improves, you'll find more ways to rack up double and triple word scores.

Enjoy the number one name in crossword games, and sharpen your vocabulary in a fun new way.

As I write this post, Scrabble is the #2 bestseller in the Kindle store. I guess I should give up writing novels; the real money is in publishing games!

Gauntlgrym: Neverwinter, Book I by R.A. Salvatore

Whether you grew up reading R.A. Salvatore and those scads of Forgotten Realms & DragonLance books (hand raise), or you've only discovered his work recently, you'll want to check in with legendary dark-elf swordmaster Drizzt Do'Urden in his latest book: Gauntlgrym: Neverwinter, Book I.

Drizzt joins Bruenor on his quest for the fabled dwarven kingdom of Gauntlgrym: ruins said to be rich with ancient treasure and arcane lore. But before they even get close, another drow and dwarf pair stumbles across it first: Jarlaxle and Athrogate.  In their search for treasure and magic, Jarlaxle and Athrogate inadvertently set into motion a catastrophe that could spell disaster for the unsuspecting people of the city of Neverwinter—a catastrophe big enough to lure even the mercenary Jarlaxle into risking his own coin and skin to stop it. Unfortunately, the more they uncover about the secret of Gauntlgrym, the more it looks like they can’t stop it on their own. They’ll need help, and from the last people they ever thought to fight alongside again: Drizzt and Bruenor. 

If you've never picked up an R.A. Salvatore "Drizzt" book before, it'd be best to start way back at the beginning with Homeland, which is also out on the Kindle now.

Stories Inspired by the Periodic Table of Elements (Kindle)

You don't have to be a science geek to check out The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements. In fact, you may enjoy this fun approach to science even if you weren't the star of your (mandatory) chemistry class.

Science magazine reporter Kean views the periodic table as one of the great achievements of humankind, "an anthropological marvel," full of stories about our connection with the physical world. Funny, even chilling tales are associated with each element, and Kean relates many. The title refers to gallium, which melts at 84ËšF, prompting a practical joke among "chemical cognoscenti": shape gallium into spoons, "serve them with tea, and watch as your guests recoil when their Earl Grey ˜eats™ their utensils." Along with Dmitri Mendeleyev, the father of the periodic table, Kean is in his element as he presents a parade of entertaining anecdotes about scientists (mad and otherwise) while covering such topics as thallium poisoning, the invention of the silicon transistor, and how the ruthenium fountain pen point made million for the Parker company. With a constant flow of fun facts bubbling to the surface, Kean writes with wit, flair, and authority in a debut that will delight even general readers.

Though at $12 it's a pricey ebook, reviews are mostly positive, and it sounds like a fun read (or a great gift for a geek!).

The Disappearing Spoon

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ender's Game for the Kindle $5.99

Orson Scott Card fans will be happy to see Kindle versions of his work. The science fiction classic is available at a reasonably priced $5.99 as of this post.

Ender's Game

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut--young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender's skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister. Back on Earth, Peter and Valentine forge an intellectual alliance and attempt to change the course of history.

This futuristic tale involves aliens, political discourse on the Internet, sophisticated computer games, and an orbiting battle station. Yet the reason it rings true for so many is that it is first and foremost a tale of humanity; a tale of a boy struggling to grow up into someone he can respect while living in an environment stripped of choices. Ender's Game is a must-read book for science fiction lovers, and a key conversion read for their friends who "don't read science fiction."

Ender's Game