Daily Deals: The Immortalists and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Looking what to read next? Use your opportunity to get The Immortalists by Kyle Mills just for $0.99.
Question: The Immortalists is the story of a billionaire’s desire to stop aging. What was your inspiration for this unique take on the age-old fountain of youth tale?
Kyle Mills: The myth of the fountain of youth is one of the oldest and most widespread in history, with writing on the subject dating back before Christ. The one thing that all those stories and elaborate quests had in common was that they were nonsense–just another example of our superstitious nature. With all the recent advances in genetics, though, the myth is quickly becoming a reality. Not many people know it, but not all animals get old. Lobsters, for instance, just seem to keep going until they get sick or something eats them. The idea that we could identify the portion of their genome that provides longevity and splice it into our own becomes less far-fetched every day.
This brings up a lot of interesting issues. Our history isn’t exactly one of equality and benevolence, and death is hard-wired into our minds and societies. Will the people who discover this therapy pass it along to everyone, or will they try to keep it for themselves? Would our population explode if life expectancy suddenly rose to 500 years or more? Would advancement grind to a halt if scientists and politicians consolidated their positions, then stagnated in them for centuries? Would our existence become less life and more a tedious, endless avoidance of death? All this is perfect fodder for a thriller because change can very easily turn into chaos, and chaos makes for great stories.
Q: What kind of research goes into writing an in-depth medical thriller?
KM: I spent a number of months on research before putting pen to paper. The main character’s daughter suffers from a rare genetic disease that causes her to age at a wildly accelerated rate. The disease, a real syndrome called progeria, generates some fascinating questions about the causes of aging and whether it can simply be “cured.” Unfortunately for my friends and family, I am now a fount of useless information about genetics and aging, but I think that extra effort gave The Immortalists its realism and the sense that it could actually be happening right now. In truth, it probably could.
Q: You recently stepped into Robert Ludlum’s Covert-One series by writing The Ares Decision. What is it like to become part of such a rich canon with a devoted readership?
KM: A bit frightening. I have to admit I almost didn’t accept the job–those are pretty big shoes to fill. But in the end, I’m glad I did. It was a really fun project, and I found that I still could learn a thing or two by studying the works of one of the genre’s masters. Even better, Ludlum’s fans have been really enthusiastic about The Ares Decision, and I think I came out of the project a stronger writer.
Q: Your father was an FBI agent. How much does that background find its way into your writing?
KM: A great deal. Spending so many years hanging around FBI and CIA agents, soldiers, and diplomats gave me an inherent sense of what makes them tick. It also gave me a long list of people I can contact when I need the final word on how that world works.
Q: What are you working on now?
KM: A new installment of Robert Ludlum’s Covert-One series. It’s a novel about a new technology that I think will be the next step in human evolution. Of course, the question becomes whether that step will save us or destroy us.
Q: Which books do you like to read over and over again?
KM: George Orwell’s 1984 for its incredibly dark take on human nature. Rian Malan’s My Traitor’s Heart, a book about Apartheid-era South Africa that has a more hopeful view of our species. And Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate, an entertaining and enlightening book about why we are who we are and how much of our destiny is already written on the day we’re born.
From Publishers Weekly
Crisp writing and plotting lift this medical thriller from bestseller Mills (Darkness Falls). Brilliant microbiologist Richard Draman has the most personal of reasons to find a cure for the rare disease progeria. The ailment, which radically accelerates the aging process, has afflicted his eight-year-old daughter, Susie. Given the extremely modest numbers of its victims, research funding is always at a premium, but Draman has managed to hold things together at his lab near Baltimore. The precariousness of the Dramans’ lives is exacerbated when Troy Chevalier, the widower of a scientific colleague, asks for help investigating his wife’s death, officially ruled a suicide. Chevalier gives Draman a thumb drive with data she was working on, but Draman’s first step to understand what’s on it leads to his arrest for industrial espionage. Things only get worse from there as the threats escalate to violence aimed at Draman and his loved ones. The plot may lack originality, but the ingenuity of the beleaguered protagonist, plus booster shots of realism, make this an enjoyable read.
Poor Rudolph! All the other reindeer make fun of his bright red nose and won’t let him play in their reindeer games. But when Christmas is almost cancelled because of a huge snowstorm, Rudolph comes to Santa’s rescue!
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the classic Christmas story made famous in a 1964 TV special, is now available as an omBook for your Android device. Like Rudolph himself, this digital book is special. It includes custom music, delightful background audio, enlarged artwork for each scene, and authentic audio clips from the timeless TV special. The app also includes special effects for Rudolph’s glowing nose and falling snow.
This deluxe, interactive omBook from Oceanhouse Media is a pleasure for kids and grownups alike. It can also help build your child’s reading skills in exciting and fun new ways.
Listen, Read, Laugh, and Learn
Choose one of three ways to enjoy the story: Read to Me, Read it Myself, or Auto Play. The Read to Me option allows your child to listen to the narrated story, highlighting the words as they are read. The Read it Myself option allows your child to read each page in the traditional form and turn each page with a swipe. Auto Play will play the story like a movie, automatically reading and turning the pages; this is the best option for very young children.
From page to page, your child can touch anywhere on the screen and learn a new word. Individual words are highlighted as the story is read, making it simple for children to follow along and recognize words. Touch the words or long-press any paragraph to have them repeated. To enhance learning by picture and word association, your child can touch any image on the screen and the word will pop up, identifying the object in bright, bold letters.
Delightful Details, Unexpected Fun
Unique background music and surprising audio elements add unexpected fun to the storytime experience. A jolly narrator tells the familiar holiday tale with gusto, and nicely-placed sound effects make each page full of sweet fun.
Audio clips from the original TV special mean that familiar voices–like those of Rudolph, Hermey, Yukon Cornelius, and many more–come to life in a new way.
Add art that enlarges to reveal delightful details (based closely on the the TV special’s original stop-motion animation scenes), and this omBook is sure to make your little one giggle!