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eConscience Beta has been released!

eConscience Beta

Now available on Amazon!

Share with your friends! Spread the word!

3D-eConscience-BetaPeacekeeper Incorporated’s breakthrough nanotechnology could bring repeat offense crime to an end, freeing society from the need for criminal incarcerations. But first, they have to finish testing it. With funding on the line, and time to prove out the project getting short, the lead scientist must find a way speed things up. That’s unfortunate for his guinea pig, and anyone who would stand in his way.

Can the goal of ending most crime justify committing one… even a few?
And what happens when you conflate altruism with egotism?

Find out in eConscience Beta, where two lab techs and an uncouth petty criminal must outwit a brilliant but sociopathic scientist who’ll stop at nothing to establish his legacy as the man who ended crime.

For those of you wanting paperback copies, they won’t be ready until early next week. When they are ready, I’ll send out another announcement.
Don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon for me. It help the word to spread. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did writing it!
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eConscience Beta – Paperback Available + Author Updates

3D-eConscience-BetaEarlier this month, I posted that my novel: eConscience Beta was available on Amazon! in ebook format.

It being a very hectic week, I managed to botch the announcement of the paperback’s release this week on this blog. I did announce it on Facebook in two places (which will get bumped again when I post this), but I completely forgot to say it here. So, here it is…

eConscience Beta: ALSO NOW IN PAPERBACK!

Share with your friends! Spread the word! Help a fella out!

You can also follow me on Facebook @ J. D. Beckwith – Author
AUTHOR UPDATE:
I thought I would also take the opportunity to update readers on what I’m currently working on in the writing arena. Well, it’s been mostly the publishing area lately, but part of this busy week was writing one short story. After a marathon session yesterday,
I managed to complete another short story for submission (7900 words) to the next in a series of anthologies called Planetary Fiction. I got it in on time, with a whole 45 minutes to spare! That one makes 3 short stories and 1 novella (50k words) that I have written this year in what I am calling my Horizon’s Unlimited Universe.
It started with a submission to Planetary Fiction: Mercury, which I’m proud to say was accepted. Quicksilver is scheduled to be published in January. It will be my first non-self published work.
The plan is to write one (or more if the muse takes me) story for each planet in the solar system, submitting them to the anthologies planned by Superversive Press. If they are accepted, great. If not, I will use them for my own Horizons Unlimited anthology next July.
The major precept of the H.U. universe is a future where matter to energy conversion technology has been made a reality. It is controlled by the Citizen Employees of the independent society of Atlantis, home of Horizons Unlimited, patent holder. They are the good guys, but they control their tech use with an iron hand… for the good of the world.
Anyway, I began writing for the Venus anthology in the early summer, but the story I started took on a life of it’s own and refused to be short. It turned into a 50,000 word novella (some would call it a novel, but Sci-Fi book tend to run 100k~120k-ish) so was not suitable. I’ve titled that one Escaping Aurora.
To fix my mistake of being long-winded, I came up with an alternate story that I submitted at the last minute (seeing a pattern yet?). That one I called 37 Shades of Yellow. Yes, I went there. Venus, Roman goddess of love… it matched the theme, OK? It’s still a sci-fi action story on another planet, just with a bit of romance. Anyway, I heard back that it might also be accepted for the Venus Anthology. It’s not 100% official, but I have high hopes. That was a welcome bit of news during a stressful week.
So now, I face a double-deadline for the Earth & Jupiter anthologies. Both are due by Dec 15th. *gulp* I started something for the Earth one a while back, but it keeps trying to turn into a novel. *headdesk* It’s the backstory’s fault. I actually had to create a timeline covering several hundred years into the future to keep things straight in my mind for what happens in the universe of Horizons Unlimited.
Anyway, as you can see, I’ve got plans. I’ve got ideas. What I always seem to be low on is time. I think that may have something to do with procrastination, but I’ll worry about that later.
Happy Reading, and stay tuned for further updates as I continue to try to figure out this whole writing thing!
Oh, and here’s the blurb for eConscience Beta again in case you missed it.

3D-eConscience-BetaPeacekeeper Incorporated’s breakthrough nanotechnology could bring repeat offense crime to an end, freeing society from the need for criminal incarcerations. But first, they have to finish testing it. With funding on the line, and time to prove out the project getting short, the lead scientist must find a way speed things up. That’s unfortunate for his guinea pig, and anyone who would stand in his way.

Can the goal of ending most crime justify committing one… even a few?
And what happens when you conflate altruism with egotism?

Find out in eConscience Beta, where two lab techs and an uncouth petty criminal must outwit a brilliant but sociopathic scientist who’ll stop at nothing to establish his legacy as the man who ended crime.

 Don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon for me. It help the word to spread. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did writing it!

Review: RIME

RIME (Kindle Single)RIME by Tim Lebbon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This story is a science fiction adaptation (loose) of the poem Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1897). If you have never read that poem, or can’t remember it if you have, then I recommend you go back and re-read it before you read this story.

I recommend you read it regardless, because it is one of the best poems I know. Grab it for Free on Amazon.

Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

There is a lot to unpack in this short tale. I found it likable, but with some negatives.

The favorable attitude I have toward the story is derived from what it attempted to achieve. The unfavorable attitude comes from some of the ideas posited in the ‘universe’ where it takes place.

The writing style is decent, if slightly overly dramatic. I give that a hand wave because it was trying to bring out the emotion of the poem it was modeled after. I did find myself speed reading (which for me means skipping over ‘fluffy words’) through parts of it because of this.

The Main Character (no name given, MC for short) is a member of the crew on the generation ship, Cradle. It is controlled by an A.I. of the same name. The A.I. is directly connected to minds of its ‘crew’ from shortly after their births. It is several generations since they left a dying Earth to save humanity by escorting a few million sleeping humans to another star. The crew is generational, while the passengers are Earthborn.

The story itself is the MC telling what happened to the ship and why he is the sole survivor and responsible for their deaths. This is great tie-in to the Poem, as the Ancient Mariner was also a lone survivor of a ships crew whose deaths he was responsible for causing.

I think the author did a great job of steering a story set in space and the far future in parallel to the Poem. I admire and compliment the creativity that was used. I can definitely recommend reading this one (after re-reading TRotAM). I give this 3 stars can call it a Worthwhile Read.

Now, there are some issues I have with the overall universe, which I will detail below. They are spoiler filled, however, so do not read further until you read the story itself.

Go read the story, then come back and tell me in the comments section if you agree with my assessments below. As of today (11/24/17), it is Free with Amazon Prime

==========SPOILERS AHEAD!!! READ THE STORY FIRST===========

YOU

HAVE

BEEN

WARNED!

The problem I have with this generation ship is that several thousand individuals are required to maintain the ship, but instead of rotating the crew who volunteered for the mission, they utilized a breeding community who’s descendants are born and die on board, and are forced into the roles of crew. That they blithely accept this after several generations is a flawed assumption to me. They are basically slaves to the sleeping passengers and the A.I. I think some of them would have revolted by now.

The sudden blaming of the MC for all that transpires seems unjust. In the Poem, the Ancient Mariner commits an act of malice with no reason, which results in his being blamed for events that transpire after. In Rime, the MC commits an act that, while perhaps rash, was also a result of fear at being separated from contact with Cradle and all other crew – which had never happened in his whole life – and also had been ushered into a cannon emplacement on the ship that was designed to be used in defense. The A.I. of Cradle was really at fault for this situation more so than the MC, IMHO.

Ultimately, Rime of the Ancient Mariner is interpreted as a comment on appreciating the beauty of God’s creation and prayer. This story, was more of a cautionary tale about overreacting in a violent way that could result in a tragic misunderstanding & hostility between humanity and alien beings. While I can see the difficulty in projecting the encouragement of prayer in the context of space based sci-fi, the non-violence message (in the face of a threat) seemed a bit off-putting to me. That resulted in the loss of a star in my review.

Still, this is one of the better stories I’ve read in a while, and I do recommend it.

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Review: For the Triumph of Evil

For the Triumph of Evil (The Frontiers Saga - Part 2: Rogue Castes, #6)For the Triumph of Evil by Ryk Brown
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Despite the low rating, I still like this series. The problem with all long running series is that you always end up with some episodes that are not at the top. This is one of them for the Frontiers Saga.

The story, although well told in Ryk Brown’s usual fashion, was completely predictable. The action only happens at the last moment, and it has been all but telegraphed, with the expected outcome, since the start of the book.

The continuation of the overall story arc is only minimal, with brief appearances by the various bit characters just to let you know that they are up to something that will pay off eventually.

The main issue I had with this one was the fact that Nathan, et al, committed so much energy, and risk to achieve a very minimal goal. It was hyped as significant, but I just don’t buy it. Perhaps my disbelieve was not sufficiently suspended, but that’s how I felt reading the book.

Overall, the book is worth reading to keep up with the series, but it was sub-par for the series as a whole. I look forward to the next episode in hopes that it will be more in line with the high quality I’ve come to expect with this series.

Overall, I can only give this book 2 stars and call it a Passable Read.

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Review: A Place Called Hope

A Place Called Hope (Z-Day, #2)A Place Called Hope by Daniel Humphreys

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Apocalypse starts today! Z-Day is OCTOBER 18th, 2017.

The 2nd installment of Daniel Humphreys’ Z-Day series, A Place Called Hope, is even better than than book 1! Why stop when you’re on a roll, right?

I had the privilege of being a Beta Reader for this novel (yes, that means I got it for free, but I wold have bought it anyway, even if I hadn’t). Now you can read it too!

In fact, as of right now (10/18/17), you can grab Book 1: A Place Outside the Wild, and Book 2: A Place Called Hope, on Amazon for only $0.99 each! Go get them!

The pacing of this book is amazing. It starts with the obligatory opening ass-kicking scene, of course. Next, you get the beginning of a flashback tale that begins about six months after Z-Day from the perspective of a different survivor, Sandy. He has a very unique tale, and his journey is one of metamorphosis. It is much closer to a Walking Dead, in-the-thick-of-it survival tale. It is interspersed with the main story line which is now revolving around Pete Matthews, and his friend Charley (whose special nature makes him indispensable) who tags along as they join up with the remnants of the military forces of the U.S. that are trying to reclaim America for humanity.

The new characters you get to meet in this book, mostly military personnel, are ones you will find it hard to forget. Their heroic actions and their front-line humor will also stick in your mind.

A Place Called Hope is still a zombie apocalypse novel, but it is also a military science fiction novel. In fact, it is blended so well, that I found it un-put-downable. There is also the main underlying mystery of how the plague started, and what’s going on with the zombies NOW, that make it part intrigue as well. It’s a great book, and it will leave you wanting more!

I give it 4 stars and call it a Give Me More Read!

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Review: A Place Outside The Wild

A Place Outside The WildA Place Outside The Wild by Daniel Humphreys

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Place Outside The Wild is not a typical dystopian novel despite its setting – eight years post zombie apocalypse – which I think makes it a unique read in the genre. The characters are fully fleshed (no pun intended), as is the world. There are twists to the plot that grabbed me by the collar and shook the crap out of me. The biggest flaw was the slow build up to said twists. It was never boring (good suspense), but it is very light on action (after the opening grab) up to almost the 70% mark. I like the work very much, and plan to read the next in the series.

The story is centered on a small enclave of survivors who have managed to ‘wait out’ the zombie life-spans (or so they believe) and scratch out a steadily improving life post Z-day. They have their internal struggles: politics, psychological and social issues, that are all consequences of the apocalypse. The society described in this book is totally believable and will suck you into itself.

The overall plot arc of the zombies and their origins is also a major deviation from most of the stories I’ve seen. You are given hints throughout, some of which I admit I questioned as odd at first, until the final shoe drops. When it does, it’s a Bozo the Clown sized sum-bitch that will leave you gaping at the ramifications!

Now for the ‘critical’ part of my review, which I almost hate to give because I know the difficulties in writing… but I started these reviews to remind myself about my feeling on the books I read, so… here it is. I have two things that keep me from giving the book the fifth star on Goodreads. They are related to pacing and conflict resolution.

Firstly, the drawback to having many small side arcs in the novel is that while they do help build tension and give the overall world more detail, they are also a bit dull to hold onto all the way to the end. All the side arcs fed the climax. If they had been a bit more self-contained I think they would have helped the pacing, giving it more of an ebb-and-flow of action and resolution.

Secondly, the resolutions in the end felt a bit dues-ex-machina in nature. The climax of the overall plot was exciting, but the side arc resolutions were a bit of a let-down, especially when I had already felt them to be a bit slow in the first place.

I can’t explain this well without spoilers, so let me smooth out the criticisms here for anyone reading this review… these are only slight negatives. The book is still getting FOUR STARS!

If you like being immersed in a world and surprised by new concepts to an already expansive genre, then this book is one you need to read. It puts a twist to the zombie origin story that has so much potential it will stagger you. It also doesn’t drag you to the depths of despair, but shows the resiliency of the human spirit in the face of unimaginable odds. Read the book. I give it four stars and call it a Great Read!

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Review: Vox Machina: Origins #1

Critical Role – Vox Machina: Origins #1Critical Role – Vox Machina: Origins #1

by Matthew Colville (Writer)Matthew Mercer (Writer)Olivia Samson (Artist)Chris Northrop (Colorist)Travis Ames (Colorist)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The first installment of the Vox Machina Origins Arc comic is a spot-on rendering of the characters of Vax, Vex & Keyleth in both art, dialogue, and action. The only negative is that the story is so short! I want more!!!!!!!!

Get your copy from Comixology.

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Review: The Frontier Saga: Fall of the Core: Netcast: 02

Resurrection
The Frontiers Saga: Fall of the Core: Netcast 02 by Ryk Brown

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

This is a short/novella length read, so the blog review will be short as well.

The third installment of the Netcast shorts (which are a prequel series of The Frontiers Saga by Ryk Brown) still pulls you right back into the tale. Intrigue abounds as reporter Hanna Bohl goes back to the field to bring you all the news of the end of the world as she knows it!

The conclusion will leave you wanting more… As usual!

I give it 4 stars and call it a Gimme More! Read.

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Review: Astounding Frontiers #1


Astounding Frontiers #1

edited by Jason Rennie, David HallquistBen Zwycky

My rating: 3.4 of 5 stars

 

Astounding Frontiers is a new science fiction magazine that consists of short stories and serialized novels in the pulp fiction vein. Although I only give it 3.4 stars overall, the potential for some great stories is there in the editing choices. The serials seem to be of high caliber; it just remains to be seen if they will be worth the expense of the format.

A review of each short story & serial in this issue is below.

Average is 3.4 stars, although if it were weighted by word count, it would be higher.

Short Stories

  • The Death Ride of SUNS Joyeuse (1 star)
    by Patrick S. Baker

    This story drops you in the middle of a battle in a universe you know nothing about and then describes all the guns, ammo and battle tactics. Not enough story and not enough characterization.

  • Riders of the Red Shift (2.5 stars)
    by Lou Antonelli

    The fate of old nukes of Earth and the politics of a now old failed rebellion are revealed. It’s an interesting backstory, maybe even a good prologue to a novel, but not a very good story in and of itself. Also slightly repetitive in places.

  • According to Culture (5 stars)
    by Declan Finn

    A greedy slaver grabs the wrong girl, the daughter of a Space Ranger, who proceeds to ‘correct’ the culture of the Caplud Empire. Very entertaining, fast paced, action packed. This is a great short story that’s full ass kicking and bubblegum chewing. I’d say the flavor is a little John Ringo with a little H. Beam Piper and a dash of Laumer’s Retief.

  • Stopover on Monta Colony – (3 stars)
    by Erin Lale

    A pit-stop at a far flung colony means the discovery of a new sentience. A bit confusing at first, but it gets better. It reminded me of an H. Beam Piper stories called Naudsonce.

  • Watson’s Demons (3 stars)
    by Sarah Salviander

    Hubris can affect both low and high intelligence. A practical joke by a super being on a scientist results in a lesson learned for both. It’s a neat tale, but slightly esoteric.

Serials

  • Nowither (5 stars)
    by John C. Wright

    This is a serialized sequel to Somewither. The prologue is a summary of that rather large tome (590 pages?). I wish I had realized that so that I could faster my mental seatbelt before reading it. My medulla oblongata had whiplash by the time I was done, but that was offset by my pleasure centers being over-stimulated by the rest of the story. This alone is enough to hook me on the Astounding Frontiers magazine. My only problem is that I have not read the first book, so I am a bit behind in my understanding. I think I will go read that before I continue this one. *sigh* More items in the T.B.R. pile.
    Oh, the story is about the escape from the forces of the Darkest Tower. It’s awesome.

  • In the Seraglio of the Sheik of Mars (4 stars)
    by Ben Wheeler

    Even though it takes place in the solar system, the settings and culture of this story is Middle Eastern/Arabic. There is a major back-story to it that is not fully revealed up front, and the main story is actually a tale being told by an old man of his youth. It’s quite good, but you have to like the Scheherazade/Aladdin/Ali Baba style tales. It may prove to be an enticing serial, but my personal take is wait and see. I’ll probably be picking up the next issue, so maybe I’ll know then.

  • Galactic Outlaws (4 stars)
    by Nick Cole & Jason Anspach

    It what feels like an homage to Star Wars, we find the young Prisma Maydoon arriving on the frontier world of Ackabar looking for a bounty hunter just as the big bad evil empire arrives to take charge. It’s good, campy, and I like it. I need more.

Overall, I give this one 3.4 stars and call it an Enticing Read.

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Review: Escaping Infinity

Escaping Infinity by Richard Paolinelli

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I picked this one up a while back, but only decided to move it up in the queue when it hit the Dragon Award Nominees for 2017. Wow, am I glad I did. What an an amazing ride!

You can get a copy for $0.99 at Amazon through the 31st of Aug (2017) by clicking here.

Even if you don’t make the sale, trust me, it’s worth the price.

 

 

For those of you who don’t want to read a whole book, let me summarized it for you (highlight below to read spoilers):

<…>Once upon a time aliens blew up the Earth by accident, then a bunch of people hung out at the Infinity Hotel for forever until it wasn’t anymore, and that’s when they met Jesus Jr. and went off to explore the universe.<…>

What’s that, now? You really do want to read it? Well, alright then. Let me give you my review.

When I started reading it, it went something like this:

First, the Earth blew up. It was done in the most AMAZING way… by accident! Then I found myself lost on Route 66 with two architectural engineers, and I was going ‘WTF just happened’? That’s when I saw the Infinity Hotel out in the middle of nowhere and realized this was going to be one of those ‘try to keep up’ books.

Challenge Accepted!

Then I was<highlight for spoilers><…> trying to help the M.C. get out of the Twilight Zone Hotel, when suddenly an electric blue bear almost ate me, but I got away and found out I was invincible and also fell in love with a beautiful woman from before the Civil War!<…>

No, wait, that wasn’t me.. that was the Main Character!

OMG this is why it’s called Escaping Infinity… you can’t put it down!

The plot… OMG the plot!… is non-stop whiplash where the hell is this thing going and why is it so good! (Yes, that run-on sentence is meant to be read that way!)

The characters… well, there are really only three important ones, but trust me, you will know all about them before it’s over with. And you will like them!

I’m not going to spoil any more of it. Just go buy it!

I really can’t say enough good things about how fun this book was to read. It was genuinely refreshing, and it was a mix of so many genres in one! Some of them are not even my typical reading fare, but they were written so well, so engrossingly, that I could not put it down.

5 HUGE stars for this book, and much appreciation to Mr. Paolinelli for writing it!

I call it an INFINITELY AWESOME READ!

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