Review: A Furious Sky

I have a thing for learning about natural disasters. It’s something that I’ve discovered about myself over the years–there is something about the whole man versus nature and the events surrounding these experiences that is fascinating to me. As a result of this interest, I picked up A Furious Sky: The Five-Hundred Year History of America’s Hurricanes on Audible during one of their two-for-one sales and gave it a listen.

I got through the book in only a few stretches of time and probably could have listened to the whole thing in a day if I’d had the 10+ hours where I didn’t need to engage with other people beyond the perfunctory. On the audio end of it, it was well-produced and the narrator was very good with the material that he was presenting.

The actual content of the book, for me, was largely familiar territory, though there were some segments of the book that were new material for me. For those who have read or seen documentaries about the Galveston Hurricane, the Labor Day Hurricane, or the Long Island Express, these sections of the book will be very familiar and tell stories that you’ve heard before with very little variation from previous works. If you don’t know much–or anything at all–about these events, though, they offer a striking window into what the experiences of these storms were like. Information about some of the earliest recorded storms was very interesting, and the storms discussed in the mid- to late-twentieth century and beyond offered glimpses into these storms that went beyond the headlines and weather reports.

One of the most interesting aspects of the book was the coverage of how the science of hurricane prediction and the technology involved has evolved over time and continues to evolve. If anything, the book was a worthwhile listen for this information alone. The author, Eric Jay Dolin, is a scholar himself and has synthesized a lot of information into a (relatively) short piece on the subject.

All in all, a worthwhile listen. Definitely recommended to anyone with even a passing interest in the weather–and looking for a slightly heavier but still completely accessible beach read.

Awakenings and Epsilon: Broken Stars update

[progpress title=”Epsilon: Broken Stars” goal=”70000″ current=”47107″]

[progpress title=”Awakenings WebSeWriMo” goal=”35″ current=”10″]


As you can see, I’ve posted updated goals for Epsilon: Broken Stars and Awakenings.  I’m goaling Broken Stars at 70k because I think that’s probably a bit more acceptable as a piece of prose than the shorter 60K original goal, and it looks like I’ll be adding at least two to three chapters to the piece (and, by extension, more background).  It also looks like we’ll be going with Cover #2.  Most of the people who’ve had a look at it like the darker text on that version, and I think I do as well.  The only thing that may change is that I may remove “Book 1” from the page and just have the title page read “Epsilon Broken Stars.”

The rationale for this is that I don’t know exactly how many books there will be or what order I will decide people should read them in (release date, as we all know, sometimes doesn’t determine these things).

I’ve been working on a new Chapter 5 for Broken Stars, which expands on Aaron’s first run off-world with Mac and Sam.  Here’s an excerpt:


            I left the cockpit and headed for my cabin, confident that Desantis could handle the Scarlet.  He’d done well enough at that when we’d run into a sticky spot at Alanis, where we’d almost gotten crushed between a heavy cruiser and a luxury passenger transport thanks to some damn sloppy traffic control on the part of Alanis System Operations.  We’d come out of that close call mostly intact, though we’d have to make some repairs to our secondary communications system.  We’d sheared off one of the antennas.  I had to grudgingly admit that he certainly wasas good a pilot as Caren, if not better.  Thinking that maybe he was better than her hurt something inside of me—maybe it was my pride.  I wasn’t sure.Inside my cabin, I sank down on the bunk and thought about my mother, something I hadn’t done since Caren and I had been prepping for Carmiline.My mother, Madeline Terrel, been a filmmaker—documentaries, mostly—and had met my father out here in the Borderworlds, on Cantrell.  He’d been working at the university, some sort of post-graduate work there.  She was from Epsilon, out to make a film, and met him, fell in love with him, and when they talked about a life together, it was always back on her homeworld.  She’d been proud to tell me growing up that her family had been on Epsilon for over a hundred years by the time I was born.  That had been a point of pride for her, and it was her deep connection to the Alliance capital that made she and my father go there, for him to start over and her to pick up where life left off.
            She’d loved Daniel Taylor and kept loving him until the day he died, despite everything.  Despite him leaving when I was eight.  Despite him joining the Imperium military, getting assigned to Special Projects with the father he’d always told me he hated, and then continuing to work for the Imperium with Special Projects even after Adonis Taylor was dead.  If it was some kind of fear of his father that had driven him to Special Projects, I could’ve understood that while he was still alive.  But not after he stayed with the division after Adonis was dead.  Something about that scanned wrong to me.
Then again, a lot of things about my father had scanned wrong to me in the years he’d been gone.  That had never mattered to Mom.
            Nothing I’d ever said, no evidence I could ever martial, could shake her faith in or love for the man who’d abandoned and betrayed us both.  I just couldn’t understand it.  She’d accepted that lack of understanding on my part, but I knew it hurt her.  She never stopped reminded me that in her estimation and viewpoint, he’d never stopped loving either of us.  I still couldn’t understand how she could believe that and probably never would.  It’s hard to believe someone shooting at you to kill actually still loves you.
            I rubbed the scar tissue on my left side, dead center between my lowest rib and my hipbone.  Daniel Taylor had been the cause of that a little more than six months ago, before Carmiline and before this assignment.  The medics had told me it was almost a miracle that I’d survived.  The way this year was shaping up, I was trading in lives faster than an accident-prone cat.
            No.  Daniel Taylor didn’t love me.  I was the enemy, and that made me a target.

 Copyright 2011, Erin M. Klitzke.  All rights reserved.


As for Awakenings, I’m not doing so hot at WebSeWriMo, but at least Chapter 9’s finished now, with the last post of the chapter set to debut on Labor Day.  I’m also going to be featured on Episode 6(?) of Webfiction World, which is supposed to record (and livecast? I’ve never actually been home at the right time to listen to any livecasts!) on August 28.  Pretty awesome stuff if you ask me!

For better or worse, Awakenings suffered a lack of attention because I made decisions about Epsilon.  At the same time, Epsilon is going to end up suffering a bit due to my need to create an Awakenings buffer.  And the E-557 trilogy, still without an overarching name for the set, suffers from my inattention due to a need to work on both!

There is, of course, the fact that I’m reading again, which doesn’t help matters (beyond helping me decompress and allowing me to be in touch with the craft as a consumer rather than a writer).  I’m eagerly awaiting the release of the latest Black London book by Caitlin Kittredge, Devil’s Business.  T-minus eight days and counting!  I just finished Storm Front by Jim Butcher, the first book of the Dresden Files.  It was not quite long enough to get me through until the release of Devil’s Business.  I may read some non-fiction until it comes out.  No decisions yet.


Today, more writing, then work at the store.  Joy.  Oh well…at least it pays the bills.

At least until I start releasing ebooks, it does.