Review: Freehold

Freehold
Freehold by Michael Z. Williamson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Freehold by Micheal Z. Williamson is what I would call a Libertarian postulation piece with a wide ranging set of topics covered. The major one is Bureaucratic Totalitarianism vs Minimalist Libertarianism. Others include Military training & warfare, both technical and guerilla; a comparison of sexual moors and morality in a libertarian society (an idealistic one, but I’ll get to that) vs. what is essentially the Judaeo-Christian background of Western society today. These topics and their sub-topics are woven into a tale of an Earth woman, Kendra Pacelli, who is framed for wrongdoing as a logistic officer in the United Nations Peacekeeping Force, the controlling power on Earth. Forced to flee her home planet for fear of torture and death at the hands of the Totalitarian state of the U.N., she is thrust into a culture shock situation on the planet Grainne. There she finds the polar opposite of everything she’s ever grown up knowing in her own society.

My impressions of this novel are very mixed. I almost stopped reading it at two different points. The first was due to the kooky take on sex in a liberal society. I managed to make it past all that with a head shake and some skimming. The second point was half-way through when I was almost bored to frustration. I made it through that, thankfully, by reading another review on Goodreads that said it got better after the half-way mark. 55% is where I put that point. I didn’t want to give up on the book simply because of the time I had already invested. There was also the the fact that the world was excellently put together, and I was invested in the outcome of the tale. Williamson is good with world-building and detail. He sometimes leave me bored with it though.

The later half of the book were quite good, detailing the guerilla war between the invading U.N. and the headstrong Grainnians. The main final battle sequences are great (it is not at the end), and the no-nonsense no-holds-barred solution to the problem with Earth are huge cheering point.

The wrap-up slows the pace again though, and the post-war traumas of the main characters did not grab me. I know that there are other books in this series, but I was glad to find out that they are more stand-alone, thus meaning I don’t need to read them (I’m a completionist, so I like to read all of a series, even if it stinks, just to know the end of the story.)

So, the book is OK, but not great. I can give it 3 stars without qualm. I could add another half-star to it for the skillful way the libertarian mindset was merged with a viable story. That took talent. I cannot go beyond that due to the slow pacing.

What follows below is a discussion of the book’s main topics I mentioned before, and will contain mega-spoilers. Skip this if you intend to read the book for yourself.

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SPOILERS!!!

One of the best things about this book was the focus on individualism… the do it yourself mentality. The entire structure of the Grainne society was built around that. The government was small, intentionally, and individuals did what they could, not what they were permitted, to achieve their Pursuit of Happiness. A completely free market kept competition high so that half-measures and laziness in your chosen field left you without resources, up to and including food and shelter. It forced entrepreneurial spirit and hard work to the top of the influence pyramid. Those who do not work, do not eat, and end up dying, and no one cared because they have the same opportunity as anyone else. Everyone is armed, so crime control is performed by each and every person. The rules are few, everyone knows them, and if you break them you get sued for compensation to whoever was affected by it. That’s judged by Citizens, who have risen to the top to act as judges of disputes because the people have come to trust them. They are not allowed to retain excessive wealth when they become Citizens.

The military was an idealized form that involved constant training. It is hard-core, no reduced standards, and no red tape or hoops to jump through. You have a job, you get it done. The training is so tough, that only the most dedicated with continue with it. Loyalty and dedication are a given if you have passed boot-camp. Passing the training for additional skills got you a bump in pay, thus incentivizing diverse knowledge. All military veterans are shown respect in general society, including moving to the head of the line at a restaurant. Their medical care is fully covered, no cost them, and cost is not a consideration in the treatment used. All this rolls over into the guerilla war that they are forced to fight. The end result is that a large number of highly trained veterans are able to utilize skilled civilians to harass and stymie an enemy with much greater numbers.

All of that I like, and it makes sense.

Some of the things that I don’t think make sense are the differing takes on sexuality in the society. Clothing is optional, and often not worn in the summer months. Prostitution is a legal profession, and is in fact highly paid. It is is safe because no one is allowed to enter Grainne without verifying they have no STDs first. (I find this a convenient ‘out’ taken by the author.) No one is offended by it because religion is not used a basis for social etiquette. Rape is a topic that is horrendously taboo. It is considered the vilest of crimes, and is a very rare occurrence here because… well, reasons…. I don’t buy that one myself. Once a large number of refugees from Earth are forced onto Grainne by the U.N. the problem rears it’s ugly head, only to have it quickly chopped off. The two girl, one guy love triangle of the main characters’ was something I prefer to do without in my reading. The superabundance of sex and sexual encounters in general are a turn off to me. I don’t read romance, and I’m not into porn. Unfortunately, this appears to be a topic near and dear to the author as I’ve observed it in his more recent books as well. Sigh.

The really good parts of the book for me was the anti-pussyfooting style of the characters responsible for taking action to achieve justice. Judges shooting unrepentant rapists in court. Ranking officers shit-canning suck-up deadbeat brown-nosers when the evidence is against them. Ruthless dispatch of the enemy whose evil deeds and lack of mercy are reciprocated in kind. And, of course, the ultimate solution to blow the shit out of Earth to force them to stop being assholes. You got to love that!

Now, if MZW would write one with a smidge less philosophy, a lot more action, and leave out most of the gratuitous sex, I believe it would get a five star from me. Unfortunately, I probably won’t pick one of his up for a long time because of my current impressions of his works. More’s the pity, but life’s too short to read books you don’t love.

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The Craze – Chapter One – A Visit to Scenic Mentone

Here is Chapter One of The Craze for your reading enjoyment (about 3100 words).

Again, this is not fully edited, so keep that in mind.

I need some comments/feedback if you want more!

Oh yeah, Mentone, Alabama is really a great little town with terrific scenery.

Click here first if you haven’t read the Prologue.


 

CH1-Mentone

The Craze

Chapter One

A Visit to Scenic Mentone

The cruiser pulled to an angled stop behind a large van that made a wedge, along with a late model pickup, blocking both lanes of the highway. A lookout with a set of binoculars stood on a platform atop a twenty foot tall square tower on the far right edge of the mountain roadway. It was a literal wide spot in the road with a bordered sign made from a natural rock that read: Mentone. The tower was built as far out toward the edge of the slope as possible to allow a good view farther down. The man could see a wide view of both the road where it curved back to the left, hugging the mountainside, and the whole panorama that made up the area down below the mountain; which included what was left of the community that had been known as Valley Head.  He looked down as the Sheriff climbed out of the car.

“What have we got, Dan?” the Sheriff asked.

“Looks like four of ‘em,” the man in the tower replied, “One man with a woman and two teen girls. They’re about half-way through the gauntlet.” He turned back to his observation of the group. “They’re carrying some decent sized packs, and pulling a wagon with some gear.  Looks like can goods and water in it.”

The Sheriff put his hat on to block the afternoon sun and made his way to the small gap between the vehicles. He gave the two men standing just on the other side a quick nod. “Randy, Wade.”

Up ahead, the road was lined on both sides with vehicles that curved away like two parallel mechanical snakes. The space between was so narrow and twisted that it was impossible to drive even a bicycle through it.  It could be walked though. They called it the gauntlet.

As they stood waiting for the group to come around the bend, the Sheriff took stock of the men manning the outpost. Dan kept his binoculars in play from the top of the tower, his rifle close to hand.  Another small platform, reinforced with heavy sheet-steel, was set up in the pickup where two more men with scoped rifles stood at the ready. Senior Deputy Randy Miles and Deputy Wade Smith both stood in front sporting shotguns as well as holstered revolvers.

Everyone was sweating as the summer made its last gasping presence known. The first day of fall was just around the corner, and most people were glad to see it come, especially those who had to pull roadblock duty on a regular basis. Even so, the mountain was probably fifteen or twenty degrees cooler than the valley below with the humidity as high as it was.

Another man emerged from the blue porta-john that had been set up in the shade near the edge of the scenic overlook pull-off on the outer edge of the road. He too carried a rifle. He made his way forward with the rest. The Sheriff stepped to the side to get away from the smell he had brought with him.

“Jesus, Herb! Stand down wind ‘till the stink blows off ya!” Wade chastised the newcomer as he too sidestepped. The man, Herb, just smirked at him and gave a chuckle.

After a few minutes, they could see the heads of the oncoming party as they weaved their way through the maze of vehicles.  Once the man, who was in the lead, stepped fully into view, the Sheriff spoke loudly to them.  “That’s far enough, folks! Hold where you are! No sudden moves now, and don’t be reaching for any weapons!”

The man halted and lifted his hands out to the side. “We don’t want no trouble! We do have one gun, but it’s in my pack. We only use it for defending or hunting. We could use a safe haven.”

“You got family in these parts?” the Sheriff asks.

“No sir. We’re from Georgia. We’re making our way home. We got stuck at a friend’s cabin over on Sand Mountain when the shelter-in-place order came down. We stayed there as long as our supplies held out. We got resources back home to survive with once we get there. We still have a long way to go.”

“Sorry to hear that, friend,” the Sheriff replied. “I truly am. The problem is we have a whole town that’s survived here. Zero infections and zero casualties. No Crazies and no Carriers. We intend to keep it that way. And we have one very simple way of doing that. We don’t let anybody in unless they’re family of someone here. And we don’t let Crazies or Carriers in for ‘any’ reason. But, I’m sure you saw the signs on the road at the foot of the mountain telling you all that already. I hate you wasted time and energy climbing up this far, but that was your choice to make. So, I’m going to have to ask you turn around, and find another way.”

“Look, Sheriff, I understand your caution.  Hell, I applaud it! But I swear to you, none of us is sick, or even has been! We haven’t had contact with anyone. We’ve been moving at night to make it easier to avoid the Crazies. We’ve only seen a couple since we started out, and they were way off. We’ll stick to the center of the road, all the way through. Put on masks… whatever precautions you want us to take. Hell, if you have a vehicle, we’ll ride it through with the windows sealed up. Just don’t make me take my girls back down that mountain.  There’s a gang of bikers with some Crazies on leashes down there. There’s too many for me to fight, and they’re doing some awful things to folks.”

The Sheriff looked at Randy and said, “Shit, those damned Brotherhood bastards are back again.” He thought for a moment, and then spoke with the man again.

“Look, I can’t let you come through, but I can give you directions for another way. It’s a tougher hike, and you’ll have to cross the river by finding a boat or climbing up the mountain near the falls, but after that it’s clear of Crazies ‘till it comes back onto Hwy 117. Couple of creeks to cross, but they’re not too deep right now.  I’ll draw it up on a map for you. Wait there.”

The Sheriff went back to his cruiser and dug in the glove box for an old roadmap. It was faded yellow, and looked like it had some coffee stains. It was an antique that had been stuffed away since the advent of cell towers and GPS. An antique that was now relevant again. He sketched out a thick line showing the route to take that would cross the mountain while skirting the town’s perimeter. He made sure to route them near his own checkpoints just to keep tabs on them. Once done, he took a two liter re-purposed soda bottle filled with water from his trunk. He walked them both to a point about half-way between the group and the roadblock. He sat it on the ground and spoke to the man again.

“Wait ‘till I’m all the way back, then you can come get it. Oh, and don’t try to go up that steep road on the left about half a mile down. It’s barricaded so good a billygoat would have trouble getting up it.” He returned to his men by the vehicles and then motioned for the man to come ahead.

The man retrieved the items and returned to his group, handing them the water bottle. They immediately began to share it around while he studied the map. A dark frown came across his face, and he looked up at the Sheriff. “Sheriff, this ain’t going to work. I told you we can’t go down again, even to circle around! Those men are set up right at the bottom of the mountain. They’re using an old building as a base, some kind of old grocery store or something. We had a hell of time sneaking by them on the north side and up a steep slope just to come here. We can’t get across the road to go around this way!” He waved the map in the air.

The Sheriff thought for a moment, and then give a sidelong look at his Deputies. “OK, there is one other way, but it’s harder, and there’s risk. About a tenth of a mile or so before you get to the bottom of the mountain there’s a drive off to the left. You got a compass on you?”

“Yes, we have one,” the man answered.

“Good. You’ll see a white tank tower thing. Put it between you and the road, and then sight due west. There’s a game trail that runs up the ridge. Follow it. It’s steep and dangerous in places, but it will lead you to another blacktop road. You can see that on your map. Turn right. Do NOT go left. You do and you will not live to regret it.”

“Hmmph,” grunted Herb. “Got that shit right,” he growled in a low tone.

The Sheriff eyed him, but kept explaining “After that, follow the blacktop to the Gap and turn left. That will take you back on the route I marked. Got it?”

“Yeah, OK, that should work. Thank you.”

“Don’t thank me yet. There’s one more thing. That house down the road… the old man that lives there survived and turned Crazy. He’s real territorial, so you best be damned careful once you turn in there. He won’t come out to the road, but he’s not afraid of the dark like most of them, so don’t count on that helping you out.”

The man turned and began talking with the four women with him. One of them could be heard sobbing even from this distance. He put his arm around her as she sank to the pavement in distress.

The Sheriff spoke to the men near him, saying “Give ‘em a few minutes, but I want them on the other side of the gauntlet before anyone leaves their posts. And make tonight’s shift a three man. I don’t like it that we have those asshole bikers at our doorstep again.” He went back to his car and radioed the town to give them the all-clear. He was about to start the engine and return to town himself when he heard Deputy Smith shout.

“Hold it! Step back from that bag, right now!”

Smith had drawn his gun and aimed at the man down the road, who was leaning over his rucksack. The others at the roadblock drew also as soon as they heard the shout.

The man lifted his hands, and backed up. “I’m just getting out my pop-up tent. My wife is too hot. We need a bit of shade for her to cool down in.”

“You’ll have to do that on the other side of the cars,” the Deputy demanded. “Now close the flap… one hand only, then pick it up and be on your way.”

“Look, it’s safer here on this side,” the man pleaded. “We’ll just stay until the sun’s behind the other ridge, then we’ll go.”

“No deal, asshole! You been told to git! Now git!” said the ever-diplomatic Herb. He’d aimed his rifle at the man and was looking quite trigger-happy. His aim, however, was none too steady. It seemed that the smells from the porta-john had also contained a bit of smoke, which was now affecting his balance somewhat.

The man stopped for a moment, and carefully replied, “I’m sorry folks, but I just can’t do that. I’ve got my family’s safety to think about, and for me that trumps your fears or your inconvenience. So, I’m just going to set up this tent for a few hours,” he said as he carefully reached into the bag and began lifting out a small bundle. “…then we’ll be out of your hair and…”

BANG! The sound of Herb’s rifle echoed loudly off the side of the mountain. He had been aiming for a head shot, but, fortunately for the newcomer, was too unsteady. Instead, the bullet tore through the man’s left bicep and into the window of the car behind him, creating a crimson spattered spider web. The force of the impact spun him around and flung the bundle from his hand. As it released from its package, the small, flex-rod pop-up tent expanded in mid-air, landed sideways, and then rolled onto its top across the pavement. The man fell against the car, and yelled for the women to get back. Then he crawled after them, his now hysterical wife pulling him forward. Her ‘help’ elicited an agonized scream from him as she pulled the very shoulder that had been shot.

The Sheriff ran to the front where the other men stood. “Goddamn it Herb! You stupid son-of-a-bitch! That’s not how we agreed to handle things!”

“Sumbitch was going for his gun!” he shouted.

“That’s a bunch of horseshit, and you know it. That’s a damned tent in the road you moron! What was he going to do, pitch you death with it!? Now we have to put somebody else at risk to help them!”

“Screw helping ‘em! They probably damn Carriers anyway,” he snarled.

“You don’t get to decide that shit either!” He took his hat off and wiped his brow with his shirt sleeve, then placed it back. “Jesus, I can’t believe I let folks talk me into bringing you out here. You may be immune to the Craze, but you got a crazy mean streak in you, boy. Now take your ass back to town.”

Herb got a mean look on his face and glared at the Sheriff, who ignored it. He spoke to one of the other men in the back of the truck. “Get the damn environment suit on and take the med kit to that guy. Tell the others to back off while you do. After that, check ‘em all and if they pass, we’ll put ‘em in the Hostel on the far side of town ‘till this guy can move on again.” He nodded to Deputy Smith and said “You suit up too, you’re going with him as his guard dog.”

“Sumbitch…” the deputy grumbled, “…damn thing is hotter-n’ hell.” He glared at Herb. “Oughta make him do it… ah Hell naw, he’d probably just shoot more of ‘em. Dumbass!”

Noticing Herb again, the Sheriff said, “Why the hell are you still here, Herb. Get going. I don’t want you out here no more.”

“I’ll go when and where I damned well please ‘Sheriff’. Somebody with some friggin’ guts has to stay around and make sure you lame-brains don’t let the Crazies get to the rest of us. What’s the big idea trying to send these Carriers toward my house anyway, huh?”

The Sheriff walked up to Herb, getting right in his face. “You may think you’re a bad-ass when you beat up on your family, but you ain’t scaring me one bit, boy. I said leave. And you will. Know why? Because I’m in charge here, and you…” he emphasized with a sharp poke to Herb’s solar plexus. “Are…” He delivered a second poke, but slightly harder. “Not!” And with that he shoved against his chest with his whole hand, making him stumble back despite the one hundred pound weight and four inch height difference between them.

Herb, his face reddening with anger and embarrassment, coiled up his fist and said, “Yeah, well maybe I oughta be!” He pulled his hand back to throw a punch, but the clicking sound of the cocked revolver hammer on the gun pointing at his belly button caused him to freeze in place. He looked down at it, then at the Sheriff and ground his teeth together in frustration. The Sheriff took the rifle out of his left hand, and then the automatic pistol from his right hip holster, handing them both to his Deputy.

“You’ve been told to git. Now git!” said the Sheriff, throwing his own words back at him while waving his gun up the road.

Herb growls and backs off, talking while he walks backward.  “You know, I been thinkin’ it’s past time for some new elections, ‘Sheriff’. Some folks are getting’ a bit too uppity ‘round here. Think they got more power than they do. Come to think of it…” he said with a questioning tone and sneering smile, “I don’t think you actually got elected in the first place, now did you?” He turned and looked half-over his shoulder as he kept walking. “Oh, that’s right, I remember now!  You inherited your badge when you got the ‘real’ Sheriff killed!” He completely turned his back, and continued up the steep paved grade. “Guess we’ll have to remind folks about that at election time. See you at the polls, ‘Deputy Dawg’!”

The Sheriff waited a few seconds after Herb rounded the corner, and then holstered his weapon. He turned to his senior Deputy and said, “Randy, take the cruiser and go fetch the Doc back here. Give that asshole a ride to his turn-off and send him home.” He picked up Herb’s guns, cleared them of ammo, and set them in the back floorboard of the car. “Give him these when you let him out. If he asks for the ammo, tell him that his donation to the community fund will be recorded.”

“You know him, and his whole inbred family, are eventually going to be trouble, right?” the Deputy asked. “Maybe we ought to keep these?” he nodded at the guns.

The Sheriff nodded. “Eventually, but ‘till then we need them to keep the Crazies off that road up the mountain they live on. As for the guns, if we keep ‘em, they’ll start screaming to the Community Council that we’re illegally confiscating property. I’ve had enough of that particular fight for a while.  Now, get going, and hurry back with the Doc. Don’t know how bad that guys down there is.”

The Deputy nodded, climbed into the car and tore off back up the mountain toward town.

Sheriff John Barnes sighed with a weariness that came from deep inside. He sure hoped that those five people tested negative for the Craze. If they didn’t, then what he had to do next made him nauseous to even consider.

The Craze – Proloque

I’m still stuck on my novel’s ending, but I needed to write something, so here’s something.

This is work in progress. I’ve decided to share it out in parts (up to a point) just to solicit feedback. I already have Chapter One waiting, so let me know if you want more. I’ve edited it some, but there are probably typos, etc. But, hey, it’s a freebie!

Let me know what you think in the comments (preferably on the blog page).

Length is 1234 words.


 

The Craze

 Prologue

 

Day 107

Dear Deadery,

See what I did there? This is my deadery, because everyone is dead. Or Crazed. And I may be slowly but surely joining them. The crazy ones I mean, not the dead ones. Although, that too, I suppose… but whatever.

I used to worry about surviving an apocalypse. My biggest survival problems were my health and security. Well, the apocalypse is here, and my health is good. I really don’t sweat security anymore either, except at night when I try to sleep. That’s mostly because of wild animals… and the occasional Crazy, of course. It’s amazing to me how people who are completely insane can manage to survive in a world with no infrastructure left. I guess it won’t last forever though. God, I hope not.

I haven’t seen or spoken to a sane soul in over six months now. The closest thing I have to a friend is Smurfy Smith. His blue paint is almost gone now, but he still rides naked on his big wheel down the road almost every day. I used to keep out of sight when he came near my place, but if I see him now, I wave. He just laughs like that’s the funniest damn thing that he has ever seen, and then he peddles like hell back to wherever he’s hiding from the dark. It’s a wonder the coyotes haven’t attacked him, with all the noise that thing makes on the asphalt. They’ve been getting bolder. I managed to trap one last night, but it chewed its way out of the trap before I could get to it. I wonder if a three legged coyote can survive in the wild?

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah, going crazy. There was a big storm yesterday. It got bad enough that I went to the shelter and camped out. As I sat there in the dark, listening to the rain pouring outside, I felt like I was going to drown in the solitude. It really sucks. I’ve been a loner most of my life, so it was fine at first. Hell, worrying about starving to death or dying of dysentery after I finally got over the Craze kept me from thinking of people. But, I’ve come to the point now where I just have to wonder… why am I still here? What’s the point of it? My family is gone. I buried them myself, the ones who were nearby. My brother might be out there, somewhere, but then again, it’s been six months. So, if I’m the only sane being left on the planet, then what am I living for? There’s no point, right? Just survival isn’t enough.

So, anyway, I was in the storm shelter, drowning in loneliness. I had always been afraid of dying. But then, I wasn’t afraid anymore. In fact, I asked God that age-old question… Why Am I Here? The preacher used to say that as long as you were still breathing, it meant God still had something for you to do. So what is it? What am I supposed to do at this point? I can’t very well witness to anyone of his loving mercy if they are stark raving, slobbering, snot blowing idiots, now can I? So what then? Anyway, I’m writing all this down so I can remember it. I did something really dumb after that. I challenged God to a game of Russian Roulette. I know, Crazy, right? That’s what I meant before.

Anyway, I was thinking about how Gideon (that’s a guy from the Bible for all you heathens out there) did all the stuff with the fleece and the dew, to make really, really, sure God wanted him to do something before he did it. So, I figured that if God still had a purpose for me, then I would ask him to really show me that he did by letting me win five rounds of Russian Roulette. Did I mention that I think I’m going crazy? OK, good. Anyway, so I played all five rounds… without spinning the cylinder. I won, obviously. Then I fired the sixth shot out the door, but nothing happened. I opened the gun and the bullet had been in the first chamber. It had a dent in the primer, but was a misfire.

So, I may be crazy, but I chose to believe that there is still a purpose for me here, so I’m just taking it day by day. I put the bullet on chain to wear around my neck as a reminder. Who knows, maybe I’m supposed to wait long enough for my brother to show up. The last time we talked, he was still secluded on the top of a mountain in Alabama after the third week of his one week vacation to a cabin in the woods. He said he would try to make it home, eventually. That was six months ago, just before the power and cell towers went out. Anyway, I guess I’ll keep gardening and hope there’s five of us to feed by winter.

Well, the sun is going down, and I don’t want to waste any more candles, so… L8R

Sincerely,

D.M.K.

(not really my initials, but if you get the reference, you’re my bestest friend forever!)

P.S. – Just in case future historians (or alien archaeologists) are reading this, and don’t know what the Craze is… The Craze was an influenza plague, a pandemic, that was almost universally contagious and ninety-six percent lethal (so, as I write this, most of the world as I once knew it is dead and gone). They labeled it The Craze because it caused people to go crazy before they died from it. After they got sick, it took about two day, and then they get totally hysterical. They would have crazy-wild strength – which they tend to use to rampage and tear stuff up – for a few hours. Then they would just collapse and die as the fever fried their brain. Most of them did anyway. Only about one in twenty-five survived it, but their brains still got fried. They are what are known as Crazies. They are completely bug-nuts, bat-shit, ding-dong, zonkos. They all act different, like a grab bag from the local funny farm. Lots of them are just really confused – I feel sorry for those ones – but the majority of them are still on the violent side, so I keep my distance. I’m only one guy, after all. The only common trait they seem to share is that most of them are terrified of the dark. Don’t ask me why.

And then there are a very rare few like me. Only about one percent of those who do survive The Craze do so without permanent dementia. They are called Carriers, and I’m one of them. I’m a walking Typhoid Mary, along with all the surviving Crazies out there. There is some good news though. A very small percentage (about four in every one hundred thousand, I think was the number I heard on the news before the lights went out) are immune. That means that, if they can survive the fall of civilization, the human race could, theoretically, recover. I personally have my doubts.

 

P.P.S. – If you are an alien archaeologist, you should know that there was more information on the internet than just cat videos and pornography. Just FYI.


Edit: Click here to read more in Chapter One.

Review: Operation: Montauk

One more for the weekend.  I think I should add (in addition to the Goodreads stuff) that the writing in this book was really well done. Scenery descriptions were detailed, but not overly done. Action sequences were terrific. The pacing made it a page turner. I really do wish I could have given it a higher rating… that ending though!

Operation: Montauk
Operation: Montauk by Bryan Young
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

For you Action Adventure fans: As long as you don’t mind Crappy Endings, you will probably love this book. It is non-stop action from start to finish. It’s has time travel, Dinosaurs, Evil Nazis, spaceships, etc. It’s fun. Don’t overthink it. It was meant to be a modern take on pulp fiction action adventure, and it certainly is. The only problem, as I said, is the ending. It sucks, plain and simple. In fact, I think I’ll take a few minutes after this review to think of a better one in my head and make that what happens.

5 stars for a rip-roaring good time. -3 stars for the crappy crappy crappy ending…. 2 stars.

Still, worth the read if you can think of your own ending.

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Review: That Which Other Men Cannot Do

I’m a bit behind on my reading schedule for 2016 (mostly due to work, binge watching Netflix and some PC games), but I finally finished this one up.


 

That Which Other Men Cannot Do
That Which Other Men Cannot Do by Ryk Brown

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

This ‘episode’ of The Frontiers Saga is slow to start (due to needed buildup), but the climax is astounding.

I have some complaints that keep me from giving my usual glowing review, however…

Resolutions to certain issues of personality (needed) for Jessica are here, but those issues and traits had been hyped so much in the past that the final outcome and reactions seemed ‘off’ a bit. The side plot with Synda and Jessica seemed forced as well. (view spoiler). The tendency to focus on ship design detail is still overdone to me, but I suppose I’m hypersensitive to it because of previous overdoses in other episodes. The plot moves forward, and the Jung mentality is explored some more, but it almost comes too late to give the ‘shock ending’ a pertinent background to explain its necessity. I get it (the ending), but it is not what I’ve come to expect in this series, so I was sort of thrown out of the story at the end. It did not have the emotional effect it was intended to have for me. I suppose that was because I saw it coming a mile away.

On a positive note, there was some sneaky-sneaky going on at the end that I’m sure will come into play. There will be sequels, as this was supposedly the end of Part I of the saga. I am still hooked on this story, and I look forward to the next installment. Unfortunately, I can only give this one 2.5 stars and call it a Descent Read.

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