Review: Red Tide

Red Tide
Red Tide by Larry Niven
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Red Tide is an anthology with a novella (Red Tide – 94 pages) & a short story (Dial At Random – 21 pages) by Niven, a short story by Brad Torgersen (Sparky the Dog – 21 pages), and a novella (Displacement Activity – 47 pages) by Matthew J. Harrington. All revolve around the concept of teleportation as originally laid out in Niven’s short story ‘Flash Crowd (1973)’ which Red Tide is an expansion of. There are several other stories by Niven on this topic, the most memorable to me being ‘The Last Days of the Permanent Floating Riot Club’ which can be found in

‘A Hole In Space’

  • one of Niven’s collected works books – along with several others. In fact it has the same character, Barry Jerome Jansen, who appears in many of them.

Red Tide
– the novella – was a bit wonky to start. There seemed to be some anachronistic bits in there… some mentions of old tech and then new. I’m sure this comes from ‘revising’ a 40 year old story. For instance, the backstory of Jansen’s rise to becoming a ‘newstaper’ seemed strange to me. Its like a news-hound concept, a roving reporter who wanders around trying to find ongoing news stories. That concept is somewhat dated in general, but it was ‘updated’ in this story to tie it in with previous ones. It worked ‘ok’, so I gave it the benefit of the doubt and moved on, but there is a ‘wonkiness’ to it that still feels odd. That aside, the story is well written, with Niven’s usual pin-point character development. The story itself is woven around the technology of the teleporter booth; its origin, its good and bad repercussions, and an ongoing issue that Jerryberry is caught up in. All in all, it was a great sci-fi piece to read.

Dial At Random
was a story written to showcase the wonders of the rapid mobility that teleportation provides, while also revealing details about the development of the long-distance version of the teleportation booths, and its use for space travel. It’s a decent story, quick and exciting, but nothing spectacular.

Sparky The Dog
is an interlude story involving the same main characters from Red Tide, but this time it’s the inventor of teleportation on his death-bed revealing an untold secret from the beginning of the program. It’s an interesting story, but again nothing spectacular.

Displacement Activity
is well named. It accurately describes what happened to my brain when reading this novella. It takes you from the start of the expanded space program to a far future. It jumps… sometimes randomly… all over the place. And yet, it was still a very good story. The reason is that all the scenes it jumped to were very interesting… only you don’t get to stay in any one long enough to fully grasp its import before you are whisked away to another – also interesting – place, event or concept. Due to this, the characters were very thin as well. There was a lot of humor in the tale, which I very much appreciated. This is one I would like to see expanded upon someday. Unfortunately, if you jumped in and just picked this one up without having read the others, it would fall flat and probably be hard to understand. It is not a stand-alone story.

So, for me this book was a win. I give it 3 stars and call it an engaging read.

You should check it out, and also find and read the other stories Niven wrote in this ‘flash crowd universe’.

They are:

The Last Days of the Permanent Floating Riot Club

The Alibi Machine

All The Bridges Rusting

and can all be found in the ‘A Hole In Space’ anthology.

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Review: The Amber Monolith

The Amber Monolith
The Amber Monolith by Monte Cook

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This short story supplies an introduction to the world of Numenera, the setting of the RPG game. The story is quite good and has really piqued my interest in this game. It’s worth taking the time to read, and it is free.

The Amber Monolith – free story (appx. 4200 words/18 pgs.)

Happy Reading!

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Review: Resurrection

Resurrection by Ryk Brown

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Do you know how hard it is to read when you can’t sit still because a book is sooooo good?!?! This is the most exciting book in Part 2 of the Frontiers Saga, and probably since the last major conflict with the Jung in Part 1. I actually shed a few tears of joy at the end!

I refuse to spoil this for anyone, so I won’t say much about the plot. But the ACTION! Oh Man, does this book got some ACTION! I cannot wait until the next one comes out! This series has morphed in many directions since it first started, and I was worried that it was in decline somewhat toward the end of Part 1. However, Part 2 has steadily improved to the point of awesome!

This one gets 5 stars and I call it a Kick Ass Read!

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2016 Year In Books

2016 has been a slower reading year for me. I also didn’t find as many gems in the coal this time. I only found 3 I considered to be 5-star books, and none of them were in my typical Science-y/Space-y Sci-Fi category. Two were Fantasy and one was a Comedy/Satire audiobook. There were several above-average ones though, which I’ll link to below. Here’s the breakdown for my reads & reviews this year.

Total books read for the year: 45

Total pages read for the year: 10,841

Book ratings: 3 – 5 stars, 14 – 4 stars, 15 – 3 stars, 9 – 2 stars, 4 – 1 star

I would love to hear from any readers in the comments.

How many books did you read in 2016? What were your favs?


Here’s wishing you all a Happy New Year & Happy Reading for 2017!

Showcase of some of my favorites from 2016 are below…

Five Star Books

Off Leash (Freelance Familiars #1) by Daniel Potter
My Review
Domino by Kia Heavey

My Review

The Adventures of Tom Stranger, Interdimensional Insurance Agent by Larry Correia

My Review

Four Star Books

Monster Hunter International (Monster Hunter International #1) by Larry Correia

My Review

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

My Review

Marking Territory (Freelance Familiars #2) by Daniel Potter

My Review

The Scarlet Plague by Jack London

My Review

One Second After (John Matherson #1) by William R. Forstchen

My Review

Spinward Fringe Broadcast 0: Origins (First Light Chronicles #1-3) by Randolph Lalonde

My Review (4 stars) of Freeground (Book 1)

My Review (3 stars) of Limbo (Book 2)

My Review (4 stars) of Starfree Port (Book 3)

A Long Time Until Now by Michael Z. Williamson

My Review

Beacon 23: The Complete Novel by Hugh Howey

My Review

Escalation (The Frontiers Saga: Part 2: Rogue Castes #1) by Ryk Brown

My Review

Bastion Saturn by C. Chase Harwood

My Review

Days of Future Past – Part 1: Past Tense by John Van Stry

My Review