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.

See all My Goodread Reviews

Advertisements

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!

View all my reviews

Review: Star Realms: Rescue Run

32980868[1]Star Realms: Rescue Run by Jon Del Arroz

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Jon Del Arroz brings life and depth to two of the main factions of the world of the Star Realms deck building card game. He creates a backstory for the corporation centered Trade Federation and the militaristic Star Empire that draws you immediately into the lives of the main characters. It is not your typical shoot-em-up or space battle Military Sci-Fi, but is instead focused on intrigue and espionage. The world building is excellent, and the characters’ depths grows considerably as the story progresses.

The ‘sciencey’ stuff is cool too! Ocular implants, advance Artificial Intelligence, body mods, multi-level mega-structures extending from planet to orbit. Cool stuffs!

There is a very distinct romance arc to the story as well. Unfortunately, this is the main reasons I can’t give the fourth star on Goodreads. I don’t mind romance being a secondary arc, but this one puts it too much in the forefront for me. I also can’t abide ‘love at first sight’, ‘teen angst’, and ‘it makes me stupid’ romance either. That’s not my genre, so having to deal with it here was a bit sigh-inducing. The characters aren’t teens either, which made it worse. YMMV though, so if you like that sort of thing, you can definitely get it here.

All in all, I give this one 3.5 stars and call it just a plain old Fun Read!

 

It should also be noted that this book is now one of the 2017 Dragon Award Nominees (Best Military Science Fiction).

The voting is open to anyone. If you’ve read any of the authors here, you should go register to vote and show your appreciation. You can even grab a nominee or two and read up before the end of the month if you haven’t read anyone on the list yet.

 

 

 

View all my reviews