Review: From The Ashes (The Fallen World #3): Anthology

Greatings, Happy Readers!

It’s been a while. I’m horribly behind on my reading schedule for the year. Writing too, truth be told. Mostly this is because of a stretch of full-time work (which I am thankful for), but there’s also the lazy factor that wants to watch Star Trek: Picard and Twitch instead.

Maybe I’ll change that behavior soon-ish as the work contract wains and I get some free time. The whole CV-19 thing is throwing a monkey in everybody’s wrench though, so I hope your crystal balls are less cloudy than mine.

Speaking of apocalypses and lack of toilet paper… have you heard of The Fallen World series?

Well, I finally finished book 3, which is an anthology. Details are below. It is a heavy spoiler type review, so be warned. If you just want the Cliff’s Notes version, it’s a great book and you should read it.

I’m writing this with droopy eyes, so I’m only going to mention a future update without details. The Planetary Anthologies have been given NEW LIFE and will be re-released during the coming year. I’ll post details in a future blog! Stay Tuned!

Now here’s that review…

Happy Reading!

Amazon’s blurb & preview

In the late 2020’s and early 30’s corporations managed to render the major governments of the world obsolete. The big corporations owned most of the territories as well as the majority of the world’s wealth. While many of the old traditions were still observed in various parts of the world, the true power was with the corporations.

In the late 30’s, what would be known as the Corporate Wars began as larger companies initiated hostile takeovers in a whole new fashion. Employees, armed with corporate weapons, warred for dominance. It was a bloody time, and many small corporations were destroyed, as were a lot of civilians in the wrong place at the wrong time…as well as those who’d been buying the wrong products.

On May 1st, 2067, it all ended in nuclear fire.

Sixteen outstanding authors have come to this Fallen World with stories that take place from the islands off the coast of Washington to the plains of central Europe; from the swamps of Florida to the streets of Philadelphia. These stories document the fall…and introduce you to people who might just drag civilization back from the ashes…

With stories by:
Chris Kennedy
Brisco Woods
Jamie Ibson
David Carrico
Kevin Steverson
Philip S. Bolger
Joseph Capdepon II
Alex Rath
David Alan Jones
Derek Shupert
Ian J. Malone
Jan Kotouc
Jon R. Osborne
Mark Wandrey
Marisa Wolf
Christopher Woods

From the Ashes (The Fallen World Book 3)From the Ashes by Chris Kennedy, et al.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These 16 Stories in the Fallen World universe are a great addition to the series. They should serve to whet your appetite for more to come. I found almost all of them to be quite good. I was excited to learn new details about the tech of the Fallen World, both pre & post Fall. The writing from all the authors was top notch. It was a blend of apocalypse and hope that you like to see rather than total morbidity. I thoroughly enjoyed it and definitely recommend it to you Happy Readers!

What follows are individual story reviews. The way I reach my overall rating is to review each story (0-5 stars) and average them together for the book. For this anthology, I give 3.4 stars overall, and I call it a Terrific Read.

Be warned, the individual reviews contain spoilers:

What’s In A Name by Chris Kennedy (4 stars)

Straight after the events of Don’t Call Me Ishmael” our old friend ‘Fred’ decides he has to chance a run to Philly to find a rumored Imprinter that can restore his true identity.

Kennedy rolls out another kicker as the MC finds the path to his past is blocked by a whole lot of ‘bad stuff’ like Clowns & Geno Freaks, but ends up with some potential allies.

Spec Shey by Brisco Woods (5 stars)

Spec Shey joined Teledyne for payback against Obsidian. Now the world has Fallen, and he was stuck in a booth getting some upgrades when it happened. Luckily, he was found by someone who’s first instincts were not to rob, maim and kill.

The story was terrific. A nice backstory the leads to a great payoff at the end. I like a good twist that I didn’t see coming because of the other cool stuff going on around it. Top notch!

Daimyo by Jamie Ibson (3 stars)

Survivors flee the Fall by way of an island and institute Feudalism in the Japanese style to help them survive. Three Agents serve and rule them well. Twenty years on, they now face pressure from other outside survivors led by an Agent who is much more malevolent and power hungry… Gaunt.

A decent story. Good fight scenes. Tension was built and the climax was on point.

A Winter’s Day by David Carrico (4 stars)

Post Fall Montana is about to get its first taste of lawlessness as one family fights for its own survival. After, the law that was must give way to the justice of the Fallen World.

Good story in the vein of an old school wild west homestead defense. Not tame and lossless like most stories. I enjoyed this, and I hope to read its sequel someday.

King of the Mountain by Kevin Steverson (4 stars)

What would you do if you knew the nukes were going to fly tomorrow? Make a survival plan, buy as much gear and food as you can, and head for the hills, right?

I really liked this one. It has made me a fan of Steverson’s writing style. I plan to check out some of his books including Salvage Title.

A Smile for Napalm by Philip S. Bolger (3 stars)

Obsidian Agents did bad things before the Fall. Surviving and helping others to survive the nukes is one way Lucia Frausto is making amends. Her past still manages to find her though, and she must fight for her own survival, and that of her town when it does.

Decent story. The battle scene was cool.

What Passes For Human by Joseph Capdepon (4 stars)

A former Obsidian scientist and his wife struggle for survival after the Fall. It’s especially hard for her since she’s a cyborg. When his wife is abducted by an anti-Tech cult who uses torture to convert and destroys all technology, even if it keeps someone alive, there is no place for half-measures in her rescue.

This was a well built tale that made you care for the characters and brought a new nuance to the Fallen World. I really enjoyed this one.

Mr. Smith Goes To Toronto by Alex Rath (2.5 stars)

Forced to leave his doomsday bunker to deactivate a nuke, Mr. Smith sees what the world is like up close and personal for the first time and decides to hang around and help.

An OK story, but very low-key compared to others in the anthology

Bloody Monday by David Alan Jones (4 stars)

Monday Fulcher is a drifter in the Fallen World, but he takes a liking to a local lass that’s mutual. Unfortunately, the town has a secret that he just can’t go along with… so he ends up dead… at first.

Another great story. It introduced a concept about the nanite tech that is new to the reader. I think it has potential to be expanded upon and I hope for a sequel for this story also.

Justice For All by Derek Shupert (2.5 star)

A soldier of the Corporate Wars seeks meaning and redemption in the Fallen World. When he saves a girl from cannibals and discovers they are lead by a Geno Freak, he decides to help save her whole town.

A bit corny & navel gazzey at the start, but the actual action & plot of the story is good.

The Coward of Leon County by Ian J Malone (1 star)

Just go listen to Kenny Rogers.

Take the song Coward of the County and twist it a bit to make it fit in the Fallen World. I would have liked it if not for the blatant plagiarism of the plot. It wasn’t bad writing, but I was thrown out immediately and constantly by the deliberate parallel to the song. I know that was the point. I did not like that point. YMMV.

Hippocratic Oath by Jan Kotouc (3 stars)

An international story that takes place in the Czech Republic. A man is trying to find medical supplies to create an antidote for a drug used by a rising power that turns people into berserker addict soldiers to fight their invasions.

Good story, but I was lost behind the language barrier at times, especially with regards to place names and roads. Still, the plot was good as was the writing.

Shiva by Jon R. Osborne (4 stars)

A Farmer caravan is attacked by brigands leaving the MC wounded in a ditch, left for dead and his wife kidnapped. A local warlord is getting overindulgent and a bit insane, and when his Imprinter is used on his new ‘toy’ those who are trying to take him down find they’ve made a terrible mistake with the programming.

Damn good story. Slow start, but still decent. Once it gets to the pinch point though, yikes! Shiva indeed! I hope there will be a sequel to this one. It was hinted at and left wide open for it, so maybe so.

A Well-Dressed Wolf by Mark H. Wandrey (4 stars)

A French refugee with a ship full of… well, crap… brings a prize to the island of Bermuda to help with their crops. All they have to do is let him dock…

I’m pretty sure this story is full of nothing but bad guys, but it was really good.

Salt by Marisa Wolf (4 stars)

Problems are building on Nantucket. Survivors are at a pivot point between hunker down and stay safe and gather resources while risking lives to keep them all alive. Thieves raid, and the scientist who is enhancing their people for survival is being stalked.

Another great story that left me wanting more. The doctor who created many of the Geno Freaks deserves more story time.

Enforcer by Christopher Woods (2.5 stars)

Mathew Kade does another walk-through of the city.

This one felt like a repeat of one of the stories from the original Fallen World trilogy. There simply was not a lot of ‘new’ to it. Though some terrific backstory/foreshadowing made me want more.

View all my reviews

And that’s all they wrote! Happy Reading!


Make an author happy! Leave a Review on Amazon! Here are links to my novels if you would like to go do that!


If you like intrigue, humor and a bit of speculative technological supposition, you should pick up a copy of my technothriller-comedy eConscience Beta from Amazon today!

Peacekeeper 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.


If Science Fiction Space Adventure is more your speed, then you should check out my anthology, Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1.

HORIZONS UNLIMITED

Matter conversion technology—Matt-Con—has broadened the scope of mankind’s existence. It has opened up the real possibility of viable colonies on other planets in our solar system, and even space itself. Anywhere matter can be captured or energy from the sun can be felt, the possibility of expanding human habitation exists.

In this volume:

Quicksilver

The space station Chariot of Helios—on its way to Mercury to become a power collection station for Earth’s growing need for energy to power matt-con tech—encounters a strange anomaly that threatens ship and crew.

Escaping Aurora

The sudden destruction of mankind’s first atmospheric terraforming platform leaves three unlucky exonauts struggling to survive in the skies of Venus aboard a cobbled-together airship. Meanwhile, the commander of the space station above battles obstacles that might keep her from rescuing her stranded husband and crew in time.

HAPPY READING!

Review: Space Team: A Funny Sci-Fi Space Adventure

Holy Schizz this was fonking hilarious!*

OK, Happy Readers, I found that 5 Star for you. As per usual, it came as a surprise.

A bit of backstory and explanation on this one is in order I think. This was not in my line-up at all. You see, I kind of cheated on ‘reading’ this book. I call it cheating because I didn’t actually ‘read’ it… I listened to it.

No, not an Audible or even an audio book version. I accidentally stumbled across the fact that my Kindle Fire TV will let Alexa read to me. And she does a pretty good job. There are some inflection and pronunciation issues, naturally, and the pauses are a bit unnatural at times, but other than that, it comes out quite decent.

Oh, and before some of you who might be ‘listeners’ out there get tweaked by my calling this cheating, let me explain. If you don’t read the book you are cheating. (Now you can get mad since I said it instead of inferring it.) Yep, if you didn’t read it, you had it read TO YOU which is not the same as reading it yourself. It can be just as good, and I’m not knocking the experience, but it is still not the same. Just like watching a movie vs. reading the book is not the same. Cheat if you want, but it’s still cheating. Fight me. But I digress.

No major status updates for me yet. Still fighting the 2020 New Year’s Write-olution fight (1000 words/day). It’s a draw at this point, but again, I’m not giving up!

Anyway, on to the review!

Here’s the Amazon Blurb:

The galaxy just called for help. Unfortunately, the wrong man answered.

When small-time conman, Cal Carver, is thrown in jail and forced to share a cell with a semi-naked cannibalistic serial killer, he’s pretty sure his day can’t get any worse.

Boy, is he wrong.

It isn’t until two-thirds of the human race is wiped out and Cal is mistakenly abducted by aliens that things really start to go downhill.

Whisked across the galaxy, Cal is forced into a team of some of the sector’s most notorious villains and scumbags and tasked with delivering a package to a warlord-run solar system where the authorities daren’t venture.

The mission should be simple enough, but as one screw-up leads to another the ragtag group of unwitting heroes find themselves in a frantic battle to save an entire alien civilization – and its god – from total annihilation.

Featuring epic space battles, hilariously snarky characters, and a shapeshifting blob with the face of Tobey Maguire, Space Team is the first book in the internationally bestselling series by award-winning author, Barry J. Hutchison.

Perfect for fans of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Galaxy Quest, Guardians of the Galaxy, and pretty much anything else with the word ‘Galaxy’ in the title.*

*Except Samsung’s Galaxy S series, which is a range of mobile devices, and so not really similar.

And now the review!

Space Team (Space Team, #1)Space Team by Barry J. Hutchison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Holy Shizz this was fonking hilarious!*

I picked this surprise gem up about mid 2017 (it is Jan 2019 for reference) and it went into the secondary to-be-read pile. Meaning I might read it one day. But when I discovered the Alexa thing, I decided to try it out on a something that I was ambivalent about reading. Well, as i said, I got a surprise.

This book is an absolutely hilarious and fun romp. It is like Douglas Adams and Harry Harrison (think Stainless Steel Rat) got together and wrote a book to mock Red Dwarf. Yep, if you like ANY of those, you must (zero choice, you must) get this book and read/listen to it. It was so good that I sat and put together half of a 1000 piece puzzle giggling like an idiot while it blared out of my television set. If you like absurdist comedy, do yourself a favor and pick this one up. You will not regret it!

Oh, yeah, it’s about a Space Team. Blurb above pretty much says it all.

I give Space Team five Space Stars* and call it a Fonking Hilarious Read!*

*jokes are understandable if you read/hear the book

Happy Reading (Hearing?)!

Happy Reading!


Check out my books over on Amazon.com!

I currently have two self-published works. Both are available on Kindle Unlimited, and on Kindle Owners’ Lending Library for free if you have Amazon Prime. I also have stories in several anthologies, so check those out too!

Follow me on Facebook.


Primary Works

If you like intrigue, humor and a bit of speculative technological supposition, you should pick up a copy of my technothriller-comedy eConscience Beta from Amazon today!

Peacekeeper 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.


If Science Fiction Space Adventure is more your speed, then you should check out my anthology, Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1.

HORIZONS UNLIMITED

Matter conversion technology—Matt-Con—has broadened the scope of mankind’s existence. It has opened up the real possibility of viable colonies on other planets in our solar system, and even space itself. Anywhere matter can be captured or energy from the sun can be felt, the possibility of expanding human habitation exists.

In this volume:

Quicksilver

The space station Chariot of Helios—on its way to Mercury to become a power collection station for Earth’s growing need for energy to power matt-con tech—encounters a strange anomaly that threatens ship and crew.

Escaping Aurora

The sudden destruction of mankind’s first atmospheric terraforming platform leaves three unlucky exonauts struggling to survive in the skies of Venus aboard a cobbled-together airship. Meanwhile, the commander of the space station above battles obstacles that might keep her from rescuing her stranded husband and crew in time.

HAPPY READING!

Review: Return of the Corinari – Frontiers Saga: Part 2: Rogue Casts #13

Welcome to my first post of 2020!

I wish the first book review were a 5-star for you Happy Readers, but, unfortunately, it’s only a 3.

While this installment of The Frontier Saga was not as spectacular as some have been, it it still worth the read. See details below.

If you are interested in a status update on my doings… well… let’s just say I have lots of ‘plans’ but my willpower is lacking.

I did set myself a goal… a 2020 New Year’s Write-olution as I’ve been calling it on Facebook. That goal is to write 1000 words per day. Every Day.

…and I’ve already failed.. but I’m not giving up! I am setting that as the goal, and will try to keep the ‘AVERAGE’ word-count at 1000/day while keeping the number of failing days at a a minimum.

Wish me luck!

Anyway, on to the review!

Here’s the Amazon Blurb:

Part 2: Episode 13

A host of new allies…
A plethora of advanced technologies…
A daring gamble to advance their forces…
A chance to retake lost worlds once and for all…

The Dusahn have been backed into a corner, barely able to hold the worlds of the Pentaurus cluster, let alone the entire sector. Forced to dig in, they may have to resort to drastic measures to save their fledgling empire.

Captain Scott must use all his military and diplomatic skills to prepare his forces for the final assault on the Dusahn Empire. But he cannot do it alone. He needs help, and lots of it.

And now the review!

Return of the Corinari (The Frontiers Saga: Part 2: Rogue Castes, #13)Return of the Corinari by Ryk Brown
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The 13th episode of The Frontiers Saga was a decent read, but may have had just a bit too much of everything to make it really ‘great’ at any one part. It was also a two part tale. The first half being empire building and diplomacy culminating in a dramatic combat action scene while the latter half (or maybe just a third) being the full scale invasion/liberation of Takara & Corinar. That’s not a spoiler, really, because it is hinted at from the very start and in the title.

The ebb and flow of the political tension at the start was decently paced. Unfortunately, we get yet another dose of super-equipment-upgrade overload that sometimes happens when new tech is introduced, but this time it was every conceivable technological arena of the Aurora, the Alliance, and its personnel in rapid succession. It was so much that it blurred together in my mind and only one thing stood out enough to pin-point as ‘wow, cool!’ Unfortunately, that got used in two cool scenes and that was it. Hoping for more to come on that in future episodes.

I also suffered from character overload in this book. I barely know who half the players are in the battle scenes. I had no investment in their well-being because of that, so the tension of their duress in combat was not very high. The combat also jumped around a lot in this book, making the final ending less than awesome, which has come to be the hallmark of ‘good’ in this series to my reading sensibilities.

Now, that all sounds like negatives, I know, but if you have read any of my reviews before you know that does not mean it’s a bad book. I just tend to focus on what could be ‘better’. The story and the unfolding of the plot are quite good, and I was surprised (and frustrated, but in a good way) by the ending. I won’t spoil it, but keep in mind that the series is a planned number of books, and the next one is slated to be the last of Part 2: Rogue Castes. The next book is going to be the one that puts the bow on this thing, so I have high expectations for it.

Speaking of that, I have to say that I hope Part 3 (assuming there will be one) does not end up being a ‘surprise, we killed the hero, but he’s not really dead-dead’ kind of thing like part 2 was. I need it to be a continuation of the main characters that I already know and like, too. Ryk writes good characters and great plots, but the cloning thing is just not what I’m looking for in my space shoot-em-ups.

So, there it is. 3 stars and I call it a Decent Lead-Up To The Conclusion Read.

Happy Reading!


Check out my books over on Amazon.com!

I currently have two self-published works. Both are available on Kindle Unlimited, and on Kindle Owners’ Lending Library for free if you have Amazon Prime. I also have stories in several anthologies, so check those out too!

Follow me on Facebook.


Primary Works

If you like intrigue, humor and a bit of speculative technological supposition, you should pick up a copy of my technothriller-comedy eConscience Beta from Amazon today!

Peacekeeper 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.


If Science Fiction Space Adventure is more your speed, then you should check out my anthology, Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1.

HORIZONS UNLIMITED

Matter conversion technology—Matt-Con—has broadened the scope of mankind’s existence. It has opened up the real possibility of viable colonies on other planets in our solar system, and even space itself. Anywhere matter can be captured or energy from the sun can be felt, the possibility of expanding human habitation exists.

In this volume:

Quicksilver

The space station Chariot of Helios—on its way to Mercury to become a power collection station for Earth’s growing need for energy to power matt-con tech—encounters a strange anomaly that threatens ship and crew.

Escaping Aurora

The sudden destruction of mankind’s first atmospheric terraforming platform leaves three unlucky exonauts struggling to survive in the skies of Venus aboard a cobbled-together airship. Meanwhile, the commander of the space station above battles obstacles that might keep her from rescuing her stranded husband and crew in time.

HAPPY READING!

Review: Don’t Call Me Ishmael (The Fallen World #2) by Chris Kennedy

Hello again, Happy Readers!

Well, the kickoff week of the Z-Day anthology has passed. It did manage to snag one of those shiny orange #1 Bestseller tags from the ‘Zon, so that’ s a cool thing. We shall see how it continues to go, but I am really glad to be a part of it. I, myself, am about to read the other contributions and will be doing a semi-review of the book soon. I mean, it’s 5 stars, OBVIOUSLY, but I still need to get into the details. I was a fan BEFORE I was a contributor!

The holidays are fast approaching. Turkey Day is just 2 days away, then the scramble for Christmas begins (for me at least). I’ll be spending time with family and the blog may only get one more post before the year end.

For now, though, I come to you with my review of the second book in The Fallen World series, and believe me, it’s a winner!

Happy Reading!

Amazon’s blurb & preview

Don’t call him Ishmael. Or do; he really doesn’t care. Just don’t call him Fred.

No matter what you call him, though, he has a problem. Well, several of them. Ishmael—for want of a better name—woke up in a world that had changed. The Corporations—the wielders of power in a society not long from now—brought about the end of civilization as we know it, nuking each other to the point where it collapsed.

Ishmael doesn’t know any of this, though; in fact, he doesn’t know anything about himself when he wakes up in this shattered world. All of his autobiographical and episodic memories are gone, and along with them, any knowledge of who he was or anything in his past.

Worse, he has made enemies of some very important people, and they are after him. They are armed and he is alone and in…well, he doesn’t know where he is, either.

Can Ishmael stay alive long enough to recover his memories—to find out who he is and how he fits—or will he be just another casualty of This Fallen World?

Don't Call Me Ishmael (The Fallen World Book 2)Don’t Call Me Ishmael by Chris Kennedy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This second installment in the Fallen World series is from a different author, Chris Kennedy, and is from a different perspective, although the theme of ‘amnesiac bad-ass’ is the same.

Side-note: This is my first book by Chris (this Chris) and I can say that it was a great one to start with, and I will definitely be seeking out more. It won’t be hard because there are TONS of them. Just check out Chris Kennedy Publishing and you’ll see what I mean.

From the start of this book, you will be sucked into the Post-Fall then shoved through the door of your imagination against your will, naked, and forced to survive there! Well, not really, but it’s a fun analogy, so run with it.

Dude with no name (he tells them to call him Ishmael, but most of them just call him Fred) staggers forth into a crumbling world with no ‘personal’ memories, but a lot of ‘muscle’ memories of rather extra-ordinary abilities. He soon finds himself in a fight for his life, teaming up with set of survivors that just happen to be on their way to a place he doesn’t even know he needs to go. And fight he does. Busting through roadblock after roadblock from Slidell, Louisiana to Florida then on up to Tennessee, Mr. ‘Fred’ puts the bad guys in their places while seeking out his own true identity in This Fallen World.

I found this book to be one of the more exciting page-turners I’ve read in recent months. The familiar setting of just after the fall of the modern world was easy for me to understand. Having read the first book, I also knew the score of the world’s history which made it fun to guess at what was coming (sometimes rightly, sometimes not). I look forward to the further adventures of ‘Fred’ as much as I do the characters from book one in the series.

I give this one four stars and call it a Non-Stop Action Read.

The next in the series is an anthology of multiple authors from many different perspectives in The Fallen World called From The Ashes.

There rest of the series to date is as follows:
Book 4 is another by Kennedy titled The Price of Freedom.

Book 5, Farmer’s Creed is just out recently (Oct ’19) and is Chris Woods’ continuation of the Seeds novella in This one.

Finally, Call Me Mr. Smith, written by Alex Wrath, was just released this month (Nov ’19).

I’ll be reading book #3 in December (I hope!) and will drop the review here when done.

In the meantime, Happy Reading!


Make an author happy! Leave a Review on Amazon! Here are links to my novels if you would like to go do that!


If you like intrigue, humor and a bit of speculative technological supposition, you should pick up a copy of my technothriller-comedy eConscience Beta from Amazon today!

Peacekeeper 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.


If Science Fiction Space Adventure is more your speed, then you should check out my anthology, Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1.

HORIZONS UNLIMITED

Matter conversion technology—Matt-Con—has broadened the scope of mankind’s existence. It has opened up the real possibility of viable colonies on other planets in our solar system, and even space itself. Anywhere matter can be captured or energy from the sun can be felt, the possibility of expanding human habitation exists.

In this volume:

Quicksilver

The space station Chariot of Helios—on its way to Mercury to become a power collection station for Earth’s growing need for energy to power matt-con tech—encounters a strange anomaly that threatens ship and crew.

Escaping Aurora

The sudden destruction of mankind’s first atmospheric terraforming platform leaves three unlucky exonauts struggling to survive in the skies of Venus aboard a cobbled-together airship. Meanwhile, the commander of the space station above battles obstacles that might keep her from rescuing her stranded husband and crew in time.

HAPPY READING!

Review: This Fallen World by Christopher Woods

Well, it’s been another long delay in blogging and reviews. My apologies. I wish I could claim some earth-shaking events of unignorable gravity in my life, but the truth is that I’ve just been doing other fun things that didn’t involve reading.

I know, shocking that those exist, right? They do. I should probably share some of it with you, but it’s way out of the bounds of the literary realm. But, I’ll ask you Happy Readers if you’d like to hear more…

Drop a comment if you would like to hear about:

  1. Spring Planning for chickens, ducks, quail and gardens.
  2. Prepping for emergencies (aka SHTF).
  3. D&D Campaign prep and running by the DM (aka Herding Cats).

Those are the primary culprits that have currently been stealing my entertainment time. Plus the Interwebz, of course.

Anyway, you probably just want the book review… here it is!

Happy Reading!

Amazon’s blurb & preview

The world has Fallen, but life goes on…

Matthew Kade was a corporate assassin—one of the best agents Obsidian Corporation had. But then the bombs began falling, and the old world ended. Now he must navigate the new world he finds himself in, a world where the strongest survive, and the weaker do their bidding…or die.

Kade was always one of the strongest, though, so when a rich man’s daughter goes missing, he turns to Kade to find her and bring her back. But she has already been gone three days, and in the Fallen World, that is an eternity in which any number of things could have happened to her.

Can Kade—a man with a price on his head—pick up the trail of the young woman and navigate the streets of the city to find her, or will the city’s denizens be the end of him? It will take all of Kade’s abilities to find her and save her life…if he doesn’t lose his first.

“This Fallen World” includes three novellas in an exciting new universe by bestselling author Christopher Woods. You’ll want to get it—right now!

This Fallen World (The Fallen World Book 1)This Fallen World by Christopher Woods
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The year is… umm… sometime in the future (after 2067… had to research that). The big corporations that had taken over political power in the world have finally gone past the point of sanity; dropping nukes and turning the planet into a decaying wasteland. What remains is This Fallen World.

Out of the chaos of one of North America’s major metropolises (metropoli?) [actually Philadelphia, I found that out from the blurb of book 5!) a former Obsidian Corporation Agent named Judge Dredd… I mean, Mathew Kade, now tries to earn a living while fighting his Imprinter induced schizophrenia (OMG, I spelled that right the first try! Wait, is that a good thing!?). Fortunately, he’s become a decent dude and mostly deals out justice and stuff.

He’s looking for a girl who’s been kidnapped/betrayed in a very bad way. Follow along as he performs a tour de force of the fallen city full of sky scrapers and bad guys like thugs and psychos, cannibals and fanatics, farmers and clowns, yep, that’s not a typo. And that’s just part one!

Part two, The Broken City, takes you underground to the sewers, or Tees, where the group called the Mardins have found a disturbing pattern of mutilation murders. The Mardins hold things together with discipline and willpower, so any threat like this is taken quite seriously. Kade is hired to track down the killer. Ass-kickery then ensues.

If you want a fast paced tale of post-apocalyptic ass whoopin’ with a splash of hope in a wide-open world, then this is the book for you.

Part three (Seeds), though, is the best of them all. It’s from a different perspective… remember those farmers I mentioned? Well, Zee Pratt, his Pop, and his brother Damnit Jimmy are the ones who started that group off on their way. There’s a spoilery type secret about Jimmy that I won’t tell you, but I mention it only to say that it’s why this book should be the first one in the compilation. It has a much better hook than the first two IMHO.

The story is one that pulls you in immediately, and you know who the hero is almost from the start. His name is Leroy Jenkins… no, wait, it’s Zebediah Pratt. He has a magic black gelding named Dagger that teleports him from one ass-kicking scene to the next. No, not really, but I like trying to be funny. The action in this one is non-stop. The plot takes you through the major events in the life of Zee post-fall. It’s terrific.

Overall, the only complaint I’ll share is that I wanted more details. I wanted more description. I’m sure it would have lagged the pacing, but it’s such a cool world that I NEED MOAR!! It’s a page turning tale and I definitely recommend it.

The series is now a shared world. There are six books to date. I have already begun reading the next one, Don’t Call Me Ishmael by Chris Kennedy. The third is an anthology of multiple authors from many different perspectives in This Fallen World called From The Ashes. Book 4 is another by Kennedy titled The Price of Freedom. Book 5, Farmer’s Creed is just out recently (Oct ’19) and is Chris Woods’ continuation of the Seeds novella in This one. Finally, Call Me Mr. Smith, written by Alex Wrath, was just released this month (Nov ’19).

I’ll be reading the next one for sure. I give This Fallen World a rating of 3.5 stars and call it a Gateway Read! I’ll throw those other reviews on the blog as I get through them.

In the meantime, Happy Reading!

P.S. – I’ll have some exciting news posted soon, so make sure you’re signed up for notifications!

Hint: It involves Zombies!!!!


Make an author happy! Leave a Review on Amazon! Here are links to my novels if you would like to go do that!


If you like intrigue, humor and a bit of speculative technological supposition, you should pick up a copy of my technothriller-comedy eConscience Beta from Amazon today!

Peacekeeper 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.


If Science Fiction Space Adventure is more your speed, then you should check out my anthology, Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1.

HORIZONS UNLIMITED

Matter conversion technology—Matt-Con—has broadened the scope of mankind’s existence. It has opened up the real possibility of viable colonies on other planets in our solar system, and even space itself. Anywhere matter can be captured or energy from the sun can be felt, the possibility of expanding human habitation exists.

In this volume:

Quicksilver

The space station Chariot of Helios—on its way to Mercury to become a power collection station for Earth’s growing need for energy to power matt-con tech—encounters a strange anomaly that threatens ship and crew.

Escaping Aurora

The sudden destruction of mankind’s first atmospheric terraforming platform leaves three unlucky exonauts struggling to survive in the skies of Venus aboard a cobbled-together airship. Meanwhile, the commander of the space station above battles obstacles that might keep her from rescuing her stranded husband and crew in time.

HAPPY READING!

Review: Space Pioneers Anthology

It’s Book Review time again, Happy Readers!

This is another anthology I discovered at LibertyCon this year. It’s a decent read, and I can recommend it. It has a lot of old-school vibe to it, so be prepared for Golden Age Goodness if you pick it up.

Amazon’s Blurb:

Final Frontiers: an anthology of stories from classic and contemporary masters that explores the wide-open frontier that may await humanity when we take to the stars.

DON’T YOU KNOW YOUR FUTURE IS IN SPACE?

Since the dawn of time, humankind has felt the urge to explore the four corners of our globe. To push at the boundaries of our world and discover what lies over the horizon. And since the dawn of science fiction, writers have wondered about the next frontier: the one that lies Out There.

Here then, a generous collection of stories that reach out into the unknown void, finding awe, wonder, other minds—even terror. But always going beyond the world we know to explore a universe strange beyond the outermost limits of human imagination. Stories of brave men and women who risk all to explore, colonize, and settle the vast reaches of space.

Review…

Space PioneersSpace Pioneers by Christopher Ruocchio
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a collection of mostly old, but some new, short stories about what it might be like as mankind begins to expand outward to the planets and even the stars themselves. The collection is well orchestrated, and I really appreciated the editor introduction to each of the stories. I thought the anthology was a really good balance of golden age and modern tales and they all certainly matched the theme. There are some really good ones here from some well-known names in science fiction. There are a few (rare) stinkers, but even those are worth reading to get a sense of the times in which they were written. If you are looking for good Space Adventure sci-fi, you can certainly find it here.

What follows are individual story reviews. The way I reach my overall rating is to review each story (0-5 stars) and average them together for the book. For this anthology, I give 3.1 stars overall, and I call it a Well Ordered Read.

Be warned, the individual reviews probably contain spoilers:

Third Stage by Poul Anderson (3 stars)

Technical failure of the first manned spacecraft to pass into the Van Allen Belt leads to tragedy as one astronaut must sacrifice himself to save the other… but who decides which one?

I found this one to be a very cynical (and dated) take on the role of media and politics and the space race. The ending was terrific though.

Becalmed In Hell by Larry Niven (5 stars)

What do you do when your little-brainship-that-could develops a psychosis and can’t while you are in the Hellscape that is the atmosphere of Venus? Whatever it takes.

An awesome mix of future tech speculation, hard science, and twist ending. One of Niven’s many great short stories.

Delilah and the Space-Rigger by Robert A. Heinlein (1 stars)

Building Space Station One is moving along just fine until the powers that be send up one woman to work with the all-male crew.

So, I’m torn on this one. The crew boss is adamantly against the woman being on his crew. Not because she can’t do the job, but because he’s afraid she’ll be a distraction to the men. Now, I get that times have changed. And ultimately, the story has the boss get his head straight and recognize the inevitability, and even the benefit to moral, of women coming on board. But, I just have to ask why it’s so hard to keep control of yourself when it comes to the opposite sex? Was it ever really that hard, or have we always made a space station out of a molehill by overreacting like the boss in this story did? I think the answer is yes, but that’s just me. And since the overreaction is all this story is about, I didn’t care for it.

Expedition by Fredric Brown (4 stars)

Equality demands that random choice determine the gender mix of the first mission to Mars. The result is highly improbable, but statistically possible with one man and twenty-nine women. The ultimate result is, well, just read it for yourself.

OK, now this one was funny! It’s ridiculous and I love it. It’s very short. Read it.

Not Yet the End by Fredric Brown (4 stars)

The merciless aliens seek out intelligent slaves to do their bidding. Their arrive at Earth could spell our doom… but they too suffer from the all too human failure called… assumption.

Another funny and short tale. I’m starting to like the guy. May have to go look up more of his stories. [edit: I did. Found several on Project Gutenberg. Read them. Liked Them. Looking for more.}

Superweapon by David Drake (4 stars)

The discovery of a sentient AI spaceship of unbelievable destructive power is just what the powers that be need to help decisively win their coming war. They are quite pissed that the Survey Section has kept the discovery hidden while studying it. The Survey Section is glad they did.

An excellent story of Brains vs Brawns where the question of “if we should” is put forward in a unique way. Loved it.

In From The Commons by Tony Daniel (2 stars)

The long voyage to the stars uses a unique method of stasis and retention of consciousness, and the consequences of such may be the next step in human evolution.

A strange story. I’m not completely certain I understood what was going one even when I reached the end. I’m not a fan of this type of psychologically esoteric tale. I’m reminded of the conclusion of Author C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End… which I also did not like.

Home Front by Sarah A. Hoyt & Jeff Greason (5 stars)

If you’re going to invade the moon to prove to the world how hyper-competent you are… make sure you’re at least competent.

Great story with plenty of suspense, good science, and a plausable socio-political setup.

Incident on Calypso by Murray Leinster (3 stars)

A stranded astronaut on a moon of Jupiter (that never existed, but who knew at the time) waits for his supplies to run out before he dies. Discovery of some robotic aliens have a drastic effect on his last hours.

A decent but dated story. I don’t like the ones from the 40s & 50s where the MC gets all mad and barrels through the solution to complain about the problem though. Still, not a bad tale with an imaginative alien race. That Leinster’s a swell guy! And why shouldn’t he be, for Pete’s sake!

All The Traps Of Earth by Clifford D. Simak (1 star)

A robot who’s been allowed to live long past the mandatory one hundred year reset (600 in fact) has seen the last of his family of owners die off without heirs. Now, to survive with his memories intact, he must become an outlaw. On his travels, though, he has a journey of discovery that no robot has ever had before.

A too long short story that just was not that good to me. There are five different environments that you move through that were not fleshed out well enough for me to enjoy them. The robot has an eerie feel to it as it tries to decide what it should become. The end is happy, but it could easily have been Skynet on a galactic scale. It’s hard to put my finger on what I didn’t like about it, but I just didn’t. YMMV.

The Cave of Night by James E. Gunn (3 star)

Another astronaut in need of rescue story. Potential tragedy looms for the first man in space when his ship malfunctions. Launched in secret, the only ship of its kind is in trouble, and the country must unite to send a rescue mission before it’s too late.

Not a great read, exactly, but the concept is interesting and the twist ending is great since I didn’t figure it out. Sympathy motivates action for a cause even when the basis is a lie, but it’s fine as long as no one finds out. Right???

He Fell Into A Dark Hole by Jerry E. Pournelle (5 stars)

A tale from the early CoDominium. The suppression of science has resulted in the stifling of development of man’s knowledge of their own universe and how to cope with it. When several ships disappear—ships that will be needed for the war that is surely coming—something must be done, and sacrifices must be made.

An excellent story with a unique set of personal circumstances for the main characters that makes it one to remember. The science of the Alderson drive and the discovery of black holes are an awesome intermingling of hard science with fictional science.

What’s It Like Out There by Edmond Hamilton (2 stars)

A survivor of the Mars Expedition II on his way home makes stops to tell the families of his fellow expedition members how they died. Unfortunately, the truth is too hard to share.

Very poignant, but also a bit depressing. It was also completely unrealistic in its methodology. The exploration of Mars would never be done with a ‘storming the beaches of Normandy’ feel to it. And that’s what this story essentially is, a soldier of a horrendous war returning home to tell the families about what happened to his buddies, but he can’t because the truth is too gruesome… so he smiles and waves and lets them keep thinking it was all great things that went on on Mars.

The Man Who Lost The Sea by Theodore Sturgeon (5 stars)

I can’t even tell you what this one is about without spoiling it. You’ll just have to read it.

The writing involves a lot of flashback and is almost written as a stream of consciousness story. It instantly pulls you into the mind of the narrator and you ‘feel’ and ‘know’ what’s happening even as it’s dribbled out to you a bit at a time. Finally, you are slapped with the ending and you just need to stop and say ‘Wow!’

The Parliament of Owls by Christopher Ruocchio (4 stars)

A down-on-his-luck interplanetary Repo Man is stuck on an unterraformed world in the back-end of nowhere doing whatever it takes to make enough credits to get back to the green of his home planet.

A very noir vibe set on a far away planet where crime is frowned upon, but only punished by those that can afford to protect their investments. Gritty and intense and action packed at the right moments. A nice short story that could certainly be made into an even bigger universe of writing if the author chose to do so. I’d buy it!

Quietus by Ross Rocklynne (5 stars)

Avicentric bias leads to trouble for the human survivors of Earth’s apocalypse.

This one is terrific. I like seeing old ideas stood on their head. In this story, intelligent bird-like aliens find Earth has a few survivors, but their own bias leads to some serious trouble. I liked the story, and I was shocked by the ending. More than that will spoil it.

Men Against the Stars by Manly Wade Wellman (0 stars)

In 1938 an author believes that we will conduct space exploration by forcing people to do it at gunpoint. Also, we can’t do research on why ships blow up and fix it, we just have to gamble we make it.

That’s a very facetious blurb, but it is what the story is about. I don’t mind spoiling it because it’s so dumb. Quit reading and skip to the next story if you don’t want the Cliff’s Notes version.

A military setup is in place to run the space program. Every rocket that’s sent to Mars is so dangerous that only 7% have survived the trip. There’s no communication with them either (remember, 1938), but we keep shooting them off until the Major in charge develops a conscience and refuses to force anyone else to go. He gets knocked out by the MC, and the reluctant astronauts are charged with mutiny, one is even shot, and the rest forced to keep launching… literally at gunpoint. The main character who shot the ‘mutineer’ is soon to be arrested—the woman who has followed him to the moon because she’s in love no longer feels that way because he’s a murderer’s murderer now, and refuses to tell the truth to the people who are there to arrest him—but he runs and hides… on the moon. *smh* Finally, the woman tells the whole story just as a providential rocket comes back from Mars (MC thought it was the mutineers returning and was going to have them arrested… seriously) with survivors and an explanation (and a fix) for why the rockets keep blowing up. MC grabs the ship and heads to Mars because that’s all he ever wanted to do anyway. The End.

The reason I don’t even give it 1 star is because the editor’s intro billed it as a really great story about dedicated men showing courage and determination. Uh, no. They were forced to go kill themselves at gunpoint. It was not a war nor a military invasion where battlefield discipline applies, so I call complete and total bullshit.

Over the Top by Lester del Rey (3 stars)

Midget crash lands on Mars and is saved by alien lifeforms. World comes together to rescue him instead of blowing each other up.

Very similar to Incident on Calypso with cool aliens instead of robots and a side order of World Kumbaya. Pretty good. I liked the aliens.

Kyrie by Poul Anderson (5 stars)

Humanity conducts a joint exploration mission with an enigmatic energy being.

Very well written. An interesting exploration of what it means to love and understand another being, especially one so different from humans. It’s also quite poignant. Terrific tale.

View all my reviews


As always: The Obligatory Shameless Promotion!

Buy My Books!

Already Have Them? Please consider leaving a Review on Amazon!


Check out my books over on Amazon.com! I currently have two published. Both are available on Kindle Unlimited, and on Kindle Owners’ Lending Library for free if you have Amazon Prime.

If you like intrigue, humor and a bit of speculative technological supposition, you should pick up a copy of my technothriller-comedy eConscience Beta from Amazon today!

eConscience Beta

Peacekeeper 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.


If Science Fiction Space Adventure is more your speed, then you should check out my anthology, Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1.

Horizons Unlimited

HORIZONS UNLIMITED

Matter conversion technology—Matt-Con—has broadened the scope of mankind’s existence. It has opened up the real possibility of viable colonies on other planets in our solar system, and even space itself. Anywhere matter can be captured or energy from the sun can be felt, the possibility of expanding human habitation exists.

In this volume:

Quicksilver

The space station Chariot of Helios—on its way to Mercury to become a power collection station for Earth’s growing need for energy to power matt-con tech—encounters a strange anomaly that threatens ship and crew.

Escaping Aurora

The sudden destruction of mankind’s first atmospheric terraforming platform leaves three unlucky exonauts struggling to survive in the skies of Venus aboard a cobbled-together airship. Meanwhile, the commander of the space station above battles obstacles that might keep her from rescuing her stranded husband and crew in time.

HAPPY READING!

Review: The Hundred Worlds Anthology

I found out about this anthology through a panel I was on with James Schardt at LiberyCon. There are several authors in it that I know, and some I even call friends. Well, at least I did… they may disown me after this review… Hopefully not though, because I genuinely found the whole anthology to be some really good reading. And if any of you guys are reading this, remember, 2 stars on Goodreads means “It was OK”, so 2.5 means it was BETTER than OK! 🙂

Anyway… here’s the review!

Amazon’s Blurb:


A tyrannical United Nations pulls the strings of its colony worlds, ruling with an iron fist. Corporate interests take precedence, and brushfire rebellions smolder on the edges. One system, home to the only alien species yet discovered, with human allies throws off the yoke and calls itself Independence.

And now my take on the book…

The Hundred WorldsThe Hundred Worlds edited by Tiffany Reynolds
My rating: 3.4 of 5 stars

This was a decent anthology with a couple of standout stories. I am impressed with the flow of the tales, and the passing of the baton between the authors as they continued the over-arching history of the universe. I’m still a bit iffy on whether I believe the premise of the main control method used by the UN to keep the various planets in line (no self-propagating plants). They did manage to create some serious bad guys that you just want to see get what’s coming to them. Unfortunately, it looks like Volume 2 may be where we start to see that happen in earnest.

Averaged out, the whole thing gets 3.4 stars. Here’s a breakdown of my ratings of the individual stories (with the Goodreads blurb included):

Gate Keeper by Jon Del Arroz (3 stars)

“A UN operative works to stop the destruction of the Gate that allows star travel to systems.”

A bit of fast paced intrigue on this one. Lost a star due to the bad science (sub-sonic frequencies are just sound waves that are below the human hearing threshold, so they don’t travel through empty space). A little too overtly political for my taste. I prefer subtle to keep the story more realistic.

Leverage by Doug Dandridge (3.5 stars)

“A former UN Marine living on Mars rebels and strikes back at the Special Forces unit sent to kill him.”

A very shocking intro to the ‘bad guys’ of the hundred worlds, the UN Citizen. A good story with quick detailed character development that works.

The Only Planet We Have by James Schardt (5 stars)

“First contact with the alien Karan sets the stage for a revolution in their society.”

A great story that introduces a unique and detailed alien race. This is probably the best story in the whole anthology.

Unrest by Lucas Marcum (4 stars)

“Decades after first contact, UN oppression of the Karan leads to strange alliances.”

A great hand-off of the aliens that picks up where the last story left off. Its different, but quite good in its own way. I want more of these aliens!

Sailing to Independence by James Peters (4 stars)

“A chance encounter with a dying man puts a spacer on the trail of a thousand-year-old treasure.”

A very interesting pushed destiny type of tale. A bit of romance and quite a bit of intrigue. A decent tale despite the fact that we never get to see what happens with the alien tech they find.

Above My Paygrade by Jamie Ibson (5 stars)

“A new, unknown alien threat is kept under wraps by police brutality and betrayals.”

This is the one that made me really hate the bad guys. It’s one set of slick betrayals after another that teaches you to never trust a Citizen.

Debt Repaid by Sean McCune (4 stars)

“A retired Marine joins with a motley crew to uncover layers of conspiracies and potential death when they run afoul of the UN.”

This one finally gives you some competent good guys to root for. Enjoyed in a lot.

Finding Sara by Daniel Humphreys (2.5 stars)

“A private detective is hired to find a runaway woman and encounters far more than he bargained for following her from system to system.”

This one propelled the main arc forward by providing new information, but did not feel finished. It ended too abruptly just as I was starting to like the characters.

Miracle Machine by Bart Kemper (2.5 stars)

“UN operatives on Earth conduct an operation to catch a rebel courier, with unintended consequences.”

The story was decent, but it made promises about consequences that I never saw played out in the rest of the anthology.

The Jump by J.K. Robinson (5 stars)

“The crew of a smuggling ship carrying a forbidden cargo must outwit a UN patrol craft or die trying.”

One of the best in the anthology. It has some really sympathetic characters that you really want to root for.

The Big Picture by J.F. Holmes (4 stars)

“Mercenaries contract to carry out some dirty work, but there’s a hidden agenda running through all the players.”

Another set of good guys to root for. Nice bit of action as well. Also the start of another carry-over character arc.

One Fish, Two Fish by Scott Bascom (2.5 stars)

“Genetic engineers under contract to the mob work to perfect their product while keeping their own heads on their shoulders.”

A lot of things were detailed out in this one that really didn’t add to the story. Could have used a good chop edit. Not a bad tale though. Contrarily, the ending could have used slightly more explanation on how the “solution” was going to work.

The Witch by T. Allen Diaz (2.5 stars)

“Corporate interests drive a deadly form of warfare and the order of the day is betrayal.”

I didn’t really understand how the politics in this one worked. Mercs were hired to fight rebels on behalf of some corporations. There was a lot of infiltration, double-crossing, etc. I never really figured out who the good guys were. There may not have been any, or I may have just gotten confused.

Three Strikes by John M. Olsen (4 stars)

“A woman with a murdered family works to deliver her revenge against the government that killed them.”

I like this one quite a bit. I wish the consequences of the woman’s efforts had been detailed out more, but overall it was a good story.

After Party by Sean McCune (5 stars)

“The crew of a starship comes face to face with an alien terror aboard an abandoned space station.”

This one is a regular space marine shoot-em-up story. Enjoyed, especially as it was the return of some previously known characters in Debt Repaid earlier in the anthology. It serves as a nice bookend to the whole anthology, and makes you want to read the next one.

View all my reviews


And now for the obligatory shameless promotion!

Buy My Books!


Check out my books over on Amazon.com! I currently have two published. Both are available on Kindle Unlimited, and on Kindle Owners’ Lending Library for free if you have Amazon Prime.

If you like intrigue, humor and a bit of speculative technological supposition, you should pick up a copy of my technothriller-comedy eConscience Beta from Amazon today!

eConscience Beta

Peacekeeper 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.


If Science Fiction Space Adventure is more your speed, then you should check out my anthology, Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1.

Horizons Unlimited

HORIZONS UNLIMITED

Matter conversion technology—Matt-Con—has broadened the scope of mankind’s existence. It has opened up the real possibility of viable colonies on other planets in our solar system, and even space itself. Anywhere matter can be captured or energy from the sun can be felt, the possibility of expanding human habitation exists.

In this volume:

Quicksilver

The space station Chariot of Helios—on its way to Mercury to become a power collection station for Earth’s growing need for energy to power matt-con tech—encounters a strange anomaly that threatens ship and crew.

Escaping Aurora

The sudden destruction of mankind’s first atmospheric terraforming platform leaves three unlucky exonauts struggling to survive in the skies of Venus aboard a cobbled-together airship. Meanwhile, the commander of the space station above battles obstacles that might keep her from rescuing her stranded husband and crew in time.

HAPPY READING!

Review: Come, Seeling Night (Paxton Locke #3) by Daniel Humphreys

Well, Dan’s done it again! Another excellent book in this series that has left me wanting more. Review is below!

Happy Reading!

Amazon’s blurb & preview

Drugged and shipped to who-knows-where on an airplane, he’s locked up by men who seem to be Feds. But they haven’t given him his phone call, and Pax isn’t sure if his cell mates are even human.

This is one cell he can’t get out of, but he’s got to find a way to escape. Mother has his girlfriend, and she wants a redo of the night she killed Paxton’s father. But this time she won’t be interrupted. Paxton’s got to find Cassie, and he’s got to stop his mother.

Or the world might end.

Apocalyptic visions from Mother’s grimoire have haunted him for years. Now she’s close to making it happen. And all Paxton can do is wait in his cell for someone to realize he’s not the bad guy.

Can Paxton escape his magical prison and stop Mother? Or will he be too late, and lose Cassie just like he lost his dad?

The third installment of the Paxton Locke series delves deeper into the meaning of love and forgiveness, while providing plenty of action, magic, and Humphreys’ signature subtle horror.

Will Mother bring about a world on fire, or a dead Earth? Can Paxton defeat her? Find out and read Come Seeling Night today!

Come, Seeling NightCome, Seeling Night by Daniel Humphreys
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is another page turner in the ever evolving series. You start in the middle of it, and you have to hang on for the ride as the White Haired Knight pulls you along his never ending saga of action, adventure, sorcery, and mommy issues!

Things are looking kind of sideways for Paxton Locke at the opening of this one, but it seems to be his favorite direction most of the time. With his typical roll-with-the-punches attitude, Paxton soon finds himself at the top of his game working with a new crew (that’s actually a very old crew) as the New Warlock On The Block. For the rest of humanity, that’s very good thing! Oh, yeah, and his mom kidnapped his girlfriend to use as a bait to bring him to the end of the world party up in Maine… at least the scenery is nice.

I highly recommend this book, and the whole series! 5 stars and calling it a Hurry Up And Write The Next Read!

View all my reviews


Have any of you Happy Readers checked out my two books yet? If you haven’t, check them out on Amazon. If you have, Thank You!

PS – If you have read either of my books, please consider leaving a review for them on Amazon. This is how I gain notice and a wider audience!


If you like intrigue, humor and a bit of speculative technological supposition, you should pick up a copy of my technothriller-comedy eConscience Beta from Amazon today!

Peacekeeper 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.


If Science Fiction Space Adventure is more your speed, then you should check out my anthology, Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1.

HORIZONS UNLIMITED

Matter conversion technology—Matt-Con—has broadened the scope of mankind’s existence. It has opened up the real possibility of viable colonies on other planets in our solar system, and even space itself. Anywhere matter can be captured or energy from the sun can be felt, the possibility of expanding human habitation exists.

In this volume:

Quicksilver

The space station Chariot of Helios—on its way to Mercury to become a power collection station for Earth’s growing need for energy to power matt-con tech—encounters a strange anomaly that threatens ship and crew.

Escaping Aurora

The sudden destruction of mankind’s first atmospheric terraforming platform leaves three unlucky exonauts struggling to survive in the skies of Venus aboard a cobbled-together airship. Meanwhile, the commander of the space station above battles obstacles that might keep her from rescuing her stranded husband and crew in time.

HAPPY READING!

Review: Maelstrom by Richard Paolinelli

I guess I’m just on a reading kick. Here’s another for you Happy Readers to look into. It’s been in my reading queue backlog for quite a while now! Luckily, it was a good one! And how cool is that cover, huh!?!?

Happy Reading!

Amazon’s blurb & preview

Dr. Steven Collins has devoted his life to one cause: finding a way to prevent a catastrophic collision between Earth and an asteroid, like the one that killed off the dinosaurs millions of years ago. Collins spends years developing a shield—a device that uses the Earth’s own magnetic field—and finally reaches the point where he is ready to test it. But when Collins turns on his creation, he rips open a hole in time and space itself that hurls him forward in time, where he discovers to his horror that the device he created has caused the very global Armageddon he was trying to prevent. Collins now must try to undo the damage he has done as best he can. But the few surviving members of the human race are slowly dying off, a century of living under the shield taking its toll, and they cannot leave the planet to try to build a new civilization elsewhere. For just beyond the shield lurks a madman who seeks to dominate the human race or exterminate it.

MaelstromMaelstrom by Richard Paolinelli
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Maelstom’s subtitle could be “Every Hard Science Fiction Trope Ever In One Book That’s Still A Good Read”. Time travel, energy shields, apocalypse, environmental disaster, mad scientist, pulp romance, mind control, mind machine interface, mind melds, terra-forming, psychic aliens, miraculous healing alien magic, twist endings, and deus ex Marty Stu. By the end I was actually impressed by how many of them were used in a coherent way. It’s like someone made a bet that it couldn’t be done, and Richard P. said ‘Hold my beer!’

Even with the trope whip-lash, the story is still good. It started a bit rough because I didn’t feel the MC’s angst on a relate-able level. I mean, I understand how you might feel bad about your science project–that’s supposed to save the planet from disaster–actually being twisted and causing one instead. My problem was that the salesmanship on the character’s self-flagellation was too heavy handed early on in the story. I didn’t know him yet, so I couldn’t ‘feel’ his sense of responsibility. Later in the book, though, I totally get it. You come to know and understand who Steven Collins is, and then you just get it. That’s one of the reasons that I can say this book is a Good Read. The payoff is great!

The only other advice I can give anyone who intends to read it, is to enjoy it for what it is. Don’t over-analyze the happenstances or you’ll dislocate your eyeballs when you roll them. Consider this book pulp science fiction and just enjoy it. The story is good, the characters are good, and all the tropes are fun. It’s a fast read and has plenty of action to keep the pacing up. I give it 3 stars and a call it a Good Read.


Have any of you Happy Readers checkout my two books yet? If you haven’t, check them out on Amazon. If you have, Thank You!

PS – If you have read either of my books, please consider leaving a review for them on Amazon. This is how I gain notice and a wider audience!


If you like intrigue, humor and a bit of speculative technological supposition, you should pick up a copy of my technothriller-comedy eConscience Beta from Amazon today!

Peacekeeper 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.


If Science Fiction Space Adventure is more your speed, then you should check out my anthology, Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1.

HORIZONS UNLIMITED

Matter conversion technology—Matt-Con—has broadened the scope of mankind’s existence. It has opened up the real possibility of viable colonies on other planets in our solar system, and even space itself. Anywhere matter can be captured or energy from the sun can be felt, the possibility of expanding human habitation exists.

In this volume:

Quicksilver

The space station Chariot of Helios—on its way to Mercury to become a power collection station for Earth’s growing need for energy to power matt-con tech—encounters a strange anomaly that threatens ship and crew.

Escaping Aurora

The sudden destruction of mankind’s first atmospheric terraforming platform leaves three unlucky exonauts struggling to survive in the skies of Venus aboard a cobbled-together airship. Meanwhile, the commander of the space station above battles obstacles that might keep her from rescuing her stranded husband and crew in time.

HAPPY READING!

Five short stories from H. Beam Piper – A Review

H. Beam Piper

As previously promised, here are the reviews of some short stories from H. Beam Piper that I’ve read recently. They are all available for free from Project Gutenberg or Amazon. I decided to look up the origins of each, along with some art. The images are not mine.

There are many more H. Beam Piper stories on Project Gutenberg as well, and there are many compiled anthologies out there too. I read most of Piper’s stores prior to creating this blog site, so they never got reviewed here. I may correct that in the future!

In the mean time, see if any of these tickle your fancy, and read them for yourself! Links are at the bottom of each.


Dearest

“I’m convinced that I’m in direct-voice communication with the spirit of a young girl who was killed by Indians in this section about a hundred and seventy-five years ago.”

First published in Weird Tales Vol. 43, No. 3 in March 1951

An old Colonel is being forcefully committed by a scheming nephew and his wife because he seems to have an imaginary friend… but is she?

A nice quick read with an excellent ending.

4 out of 5 Stars

Project Gutenberg LinkAmazon Link


The Mercenaries

“…every literate person in the world knew that the four great power-blocs were racing desperately to launch the first spaceship to reach the Moon and build the Lunar fortress that would insure world supremacy. “

First published in Astounding Science Fiction Jan 1950

Blurb: Once, wars were won by maneuvering hired fighting men; now wars are different—and the hired experts are different. But the human problems remain!

A decent, but not great, read. A group of scientists who do research for hire get caught up in a case of international intellectual espionage, and because they are independent (i.e. Mercenaries) they will all be held responsible for the treasonous acts as a group unless they deal with it themselves.

Interesting, but I’m not sure what the point of it was. I guess things have changed too much for the story to be relevant. Still, the point of how to deal with rogue operators in a mercenary outfit was well made.

Only 2 out of 5 Stars on this one.

Project Gutenberg LinkAmazon Link


Day of the Moron

“It’s natural to trust the unproven word of the fellow who’s “on my side”–but the emotional moron is on no one’s side, not even his own. Once, such an emotional moron could, at worst, hurt a few. But with the mighty, leashed forces Man employs now….”

First published in Astounding Science Fiction in Sept 1951

Should there be an intelligence test for highly sensitive jobs? Dangerous ones with huge ramifications to the general public if it’s done wrong? Probably, but only if the Union gets a say!

I liked this story and was left shaking my head that the true-to-life ‘defense of the stupid because he’s our man’ that so often makes headlines even today.

3 out of 5 Stars

Project Gutenberg LinkAmazon Link


Genesis

“Was this ill-fated expedition the end of a proud, old race—or the beginning of a new one?
There are strange gaps in our records of the past. We find traces of man-like things—but, suddenly, man appears, far too much developed to be the “next step” in a well-linked chain of evolutionary evidence. Perhaps something like the events of this story furnishes the answer to the riddle.”

First published in Future combined with Science Fiction stories magazine in Sept 1951

Imagine you’re fleeing your dying home world on your way to colonize a new planet with all your supplies and plans, but then the worst happens and you crash – stranded with no hope of rescue or support – how do you survive?

Now imagine that new planet is Earth when the Neanderthals roamed… and they don’t like you AT ALL!

A neat take on the alternate origins of mankind! Excellent Read!

5 out of 5 Stars

Project Gutenberg LinkAmazon Link


Flight From Tomorrow.

Hunted and hated in two worlds, Hradzka dreamed of a monomaniac’s glory, stranded in the past with his knowledge of the future. But he didn’t know the past quite well enough….

First published in Future combined with Science Fiction stories magazine in Sept 1951

A megalomaniacal tyrant uses a time machine to escape a coup against him and travel to the past to try again, but sabotage lands him in a different time than he intended. 

A very interesting story with a tragically flawed premise (it’s flat wrong). Setting that aside… IF the main scientific premise (which I will not state here as it is a spoiler) WERE to be factual, then the story is quite thought provoking. It is well written, interesting (despite the flaw because you don’t get to that until the end), and action packed. It’s a worthwhile read.

4 out of 5 Stars

Project Gutenberg LinkAmazon Link


My obligatory reminder that you can find my books on Amazon.com as well!


If you like intrigue, humor and a bit of speculative technological supposition, you should pick up a copy of my technothriller-comedy eConscience Beta from Amazon today!

Peacekeeper 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.


If Science Fiction Space Adventure is more your speed, then you should check out my anthology, Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1.

HORIZONS UNLIMITED

Matter conversion technology—Matt-Con—has broadened the scope of mankind’s existence. It has opened up the real possibility of viable colonies on other planets in our solar system, and even space itself. Anywhere matter can be captured or energy from the sun can be felt, the possibility of expanding human habitation exists.

In this volume:

Quicksilver

The space station Chariot of Helios—on its way to Mercury to become a power collection station for Earth’s growing need for energy to power matt-con tech—encounters a strange anomaly that threatens ship and crew.

Escaping Aurora

The sudden destruction of mankind’s first atmospheric terraforming platform leaves three unlucky exonauts struggling to survive in the skies of Venus aboard a cobbled-together airship. Meanwhile, the commander of the space station above battles obstacles that might keep her from rescuing her stranded husband and crew in time.

HAPPY READING!