My Latest Toy -- the eBookwise 1150
If you're a fan of ebooks (or e-books, I use both spellings depending on my mood), you may remember the Rocket ebook reader. Or the later devices, such as the RCA Gemstar 1150. A lot of people still love their Rockets. They sounded like great devices, with a much larger screen than any Palm. However, the device looked like a thing of the past after RCA Gemstar dropped it. (How RCA Gemstar handled the device to begin with is controversial, to say the least.)
Well one of my favorite ebook sites, Fictionwise.com, has started up a site called eBookwise.com
. On that site, they're selling rebranded GEB 1150 devices. If you want to see more, go to this page
. The best part? They're under one hundred dollars! The GEB devices started around $200, maybe more. (I think the 1150s were closer to $300!)
It didn't take me long to decide to buy one, and I'm glad I did. It took some getting used to at first, but still, I got it up and running on the first night I owned it. I even managed to load unencrypted ebooks on it -- something not all GEB units enabled.
The site is fairly new, so there are still some glitches. However, most of them are being worked out. Every time I go to the site, they've added something to the FAQ. They are really working their tails off on this thingie.
And sometimes the users are the ones with glitches. Heh heh. I didn't figure out how to increase the font size until I had been using the unit for a day or so. Then I had the bright idea of checking the electronic manual that was bundled onto the unit (along with The Fall of the House of Usher
and a couple of other titles). Sure enough, the manual explained the "secret" clearly. I also figured out how to assign the "change font" command (actually called "change view" or something like that) to a shortcut button on the unit.
Some people who owned Rockets or other GEB devices (such as the 1100) are having a few more problems, I think in part because some parts of the software and hardware are so different from unit to unit. I can understand that. I remember the first time I picked up a Pocket PC. Because I was so used to the Palm interface, it took me a couple of tries to do simple things like open a program.
There is one thing I miss that I can do on the Palm. On the eBookwise, I can't stop in the middle of a book and play "Bike or Die" or Igzo the Dolphin or Dopewars or anything like that. But maybe that's for the best as it keeps me reading. Since getting the unit, I have read several romantica ebooks and am in the middle of "One Wild Weekend" by Jodi Lynn Copeland, an Ellora's Cave title. (It's an erotic romance about a hero who disguises himself as a woman to get to know women better. Who can resist a premise like that?!) I also read The Color of Twilight [Lords of Magic Book 1]
by Celeste Anwar, which I probably would have enjoyed better if the whole plot hadn't based on a big misunderstanding that could have been solved if the characters had talked, and Wulfgar
by Goldie McBride, which I enjoyed more. So far, the romantica highlight of my eBookwise experience has been Perfumed Heat
by Judy Mays, which made me want a werewolf for Christmas.
So far, my non-romantica reading has involved starting several books, but I've gotten quite far into several titles. I got some of these from Blackmask.com, including the Kalevala (in English, not Finnish!); Beowulf; Egyptian Tales (collected by W. M. Flinders Petrie); and the Poetic Edda. Also, I've gotten into several Baen Books titles, most notably The Adventures of Myhr
by P. N. Elrod; Tinker
by Wen Spencer; and best of all so far, The Incompleat Nifft
by Michael Shea. Notably, the Shea title was heavily recommended in the ghost fiction newsgroup (the aptly titled alt.books.ghost-fiction).
However, the title that I'm enjoying the most was one I bought from Fictionwise some time ago and kept meaning to read -- The Throne of Bones
by Brian McNaughton. This one was probably even more heavily recommended in the ghost fiction newsgroup, as well as in groups such as Horrabin Hall
. I haven't even finished the first story yet, but I already checked Fictionwise to see what other titles they had by McNaughton. (Through Wildside Press, they have several.) The Throne of Bones
won the World Fantasy Award when it originally came out, and I'm glad Wildside (not to mention Fictionwise) made it available to a wider audience. I have to warn you that these stories are certainly not everybody's cup of tea. If McNaughton had put unicorns in his fantasy stories, they would probably dine on virgins or maybe even something ... worse. And yet for all that, the writing is poetic. (It's fitting that McNaughton has been compared to Clark Ashton Smith, as well as Tolkien.) It's a pity he's not better known in the horror and fantasy worlds. It's an even bigger pity that he died this year and won't get to read this. (By the way, he died in the same month as Anthony Ainley, who played the second version of the Master on "Doctor Who" -- not counting the couple of brave guys who played the master as a dried husk of a man or deformed creature.)