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!

Advertisements

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!

Review: Lone Star Planet by H. Beam Piper and John Joseph McGuire

Well, I found another novella by Piper & McGuire that also deserves a stand-alone review blog. This one, Happy Readers, is FIVE STAR… not counting the title!

It was originally published with the title A PLANET FOR TEXANS by Ace. It was one of their Ace Doubles back in 1958.

The story itself is now in the public domain and can be found for free

Project Gutenberg or Amazon.

Here’s one blurb I managed to dig up, but I like mine better (see the review).

New Texas, the Lone Star Planet: its citizens figure that name about says it all. The Solar League ambassador to the Lone Star Planet has the unenviable task of convincing New Texans that a s’Srauff attack is imminent, and dangerous. Unfortunately it’s common knowledge that the s’Srauff are evolved from canine ancestors — and not a Texan alive is about to be scared of a talking dog! But unless he can get them to act, and fast, there won’t be a Texan alive, scared or otherwise!

Lone Star PlanetLone Star Planet by H. Beam Piper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A real gem of a story hidden in obscurity. The blurb is also misleading in that the whole alien menace is just set dressing for the real story.

Here’s my version of a blurb: Things aren’t just Big on New Texas, they’re Super, including the complications! Ambassador Stephen Silk, tasked with bringing the planet of New Texas into the Solar League fold (by hook or by crook) has to learn to do things the New Texas way in a hurry, or he just might find himself six-feet under like his predecessor. With conspiracies on all sides (including his own) he must contrive a way to stop the aliens, annex the New Texans without a destructive fight, and save his own skin!

That about sums it up. The main point of interest for me was the political system of New Texas. If a citizen felt a politician had done something to infringe on the liberty of the people by overstepping the government’s job, then they could kill them. As long as a jury could be convinced that the killing was justified because of the politicians actions, it’s not even considered murder. Talk about keeping your elected officials on a short leash!

As I’ve seen with almost every Piper novel or story I’ve read, the idea of limiting governmental power and maintaining individual liberties are strong in them. I suppose that’s one of the reasons his writing resonates with me so much. That and the fact that they are always entertaining stories with definite defined characters, or course. Even the ones with little action and much intrigue are not too boring. This one is low on action, but the all-out full-force nature of the characters more than makes up for it.

I can highly recommend this one. I give it five stars and call it a Super Read!

View all my reviews


Hey! Happy Readers! Did you know you can…

Buy My Books!?!?


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: Null-ABC by H. Beam Piper and John Joseph McGuire

Hello again, Happy Readers! I have another H. Beam Piper book to discuss with you. It’s a novella, really. I have read some of the other stories I mentioned previously, and I do plan to do a combo review of those. This one deserves its own, though.

First, let me set the stage on this one a little.

This story was originally released as a two part serial novel in Astounding Science Fiction Magazine Volume 50 No. 6 & Volume 51 No. 1 in February & March of 1953. The story itself is now in the public domain and can be found for free

Project Gutenberg or Amazon.

I had a difficult time finding a blurb for this story other than the short one found on a few of the Goodreads editions:

There’s some reaction these days that holds scientists responsible for war. Take it one step further: What happens if “book-learnin'” is held responsible…? A startling science fiction novel by H. Beam Piper (author of the classic LITTLE FUZZY) and John J. McGuire!

Digging through the original magazines, I finally found the synopsis used before part II. I share that here to give a better understanding of the world in which the novel is set.

From Astounding Science Fiction: Volume 51 No. 1

There had been the World Wars, and the cold-war interbellum periods: huge armament budgets, tax-saturation, no money to spare for public schools already clogged by a rising birth rate. There had been fantastic “progressive” education experiments. Even by the middle of the Twentieth Century, in some of the larger cities, children were leaving grade school unable to read, and in a world in which radio, television and moving picture were supplanting the printed page, there was less and less incentive or desire to learn. By the end of World War IV, illiteracy had become the rule rather than the exception, and by the beginning of the Twenty-second Century, what little reading and writing was necessary to maintain a civilized order of society was being done by members of the tightly-organized Associated Fraternities of Literates. It was only natural that these should become targets for the resentment of the Illiterate public whom they served, partly because of their monopolistic practices and extortionate fees, and partly from a general attitude of anti-intellectualism which was one of the heritages from the ears and upheavals of the Twentieth and Twenty-first Centuries.

So, now you have a better idea of the premise of the book than I did going into it. You’ll get all that lore near the beginning if you read it.

Anyway, here’s my review of the book.

Null-ABC (Illustrated)Null-ABC by H. Beam Piper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was both surprised and delighted with this novella. The premise seemed silly at first, but I thought it would be fun anyway. I soon realized that, although the idea of Illiteracy becoming a preferred state of being and Literacy becoming anathema unless you were prepared to be ostracized, the story points to a deeper trend of human nature. People are going to be people no matter what the situation. Some will always tend toward laziness, gluttony & greed. Some will always tend toward pride, envy, and wrath. Others will try to overcome these tendencies when they become so prevalent in a society that they begin to infringe too much on the liberties of others. The fact that this story, as outlandish as it might seem on the surface, shows the progression of these tendencies in its characters based on their situations is why it was still a great read. It also has good timing that brings in the intrigue to keep pulling you in further with the reward of action to keep you wanting more.

This is an excellent read, with oddly humorous views of what society might be in the future (as of 1953) that are half-right & half-wrong at the same time. In fact, here’s an interesting quote from near the beginning:

The results of last week’s election in Russia are being challenged by twelve of the fourteen parties represented on the ballot; the only parties not hurling accusations of fraud are the Democrats, who won, and the Christian Communists, who are about as influential in Russian politics as the Vegetarian-Anti-Vaccination Party is here….

Let’s hope the Vegan-Anti-Vax Party is never a thing here!

Anyway, the book is great. I highly recommend it! I give it four stars and call it a Head Shaking Read!

View all my reviews


Hey! Happy Readers! Did you know you can…

Buy My Books!?!?


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: Fuzzies and Other People by H. Beam Piper

Well, Happy Readers, if you read my review of Fuzzy Sapiens not long ago in which I lamented the need to give only two stars, I have good news. The third book is much much better. I can genuinely recommend this one, and thus the whole series.

I plan to read several more H. Beam Piper short stories, since I’m in that head-space at the moment. I will most likely combine them into a single review post… but who knows, all two of you may get multiple stuffs!

In the mean time, here’s my review of the book at hand, and a nice Michael Whelan cover for it too! Look at those little guys! Aren’t they just so stinkin’ cute!?

Goodreads Blurb:

There were still so many things Fuzzies had to learn.

…that’s the final line of H.Beam Piper’s classic Fuzzy Sapiens, where the story broke off twenty years ago [55 years now]. Following Piper’s tragic suicide in 1964, there were persistent rumors that he had written a sequel to Fuzzy Sapiens, a third Fuzzy novel; some of his friends had been told about it, a few had even read parts of it. But the manuscript itself remained lost until it was discovered in a trunk in a basement in Pennsylvania.

Now, at last, return to Piper’s Zarathrustra. It’s been twenty years for us – but only three months since Jack Holloway found and befriended a small golden-furred being…three short months that have changed both their lives…

You can buy a paperback copy here:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0441261760

And now my review…

Fuzzies and Other People (Fuzzy Sapiens #3)Fuzzies and Other People by H. Beam Piper
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The third book in the Fuzzy Sapiens series is actually better than the second, but not quite as good as the first. What makes it somewhat better is the fact that much of it takes place ‘in the wild’ were a heretofore unknown band of Fuzzies are living and surviving. You get to see things from a non-human native viewpoint that avoids the anachronistic foibles of the second book. It has a much faster pace, and is much less mired with theoretical cocktail hour discussions. Cocktails and cigarettes are still the old go-to scene filler and transition mechanism though.

The story picks up immediately after Fuzzy Sapiens ends. It resolves the fate of the major bad guy and the criminals from that book, but that is treated as more of a side plot. The major story is of the band of ‘Wild’ Fuzzies lead by Wise One in the newly established Fuzzy Sanctuary. It shows you how they survive on a daily basis. It also shows how their lives are greatly improved by their interactions and relationships with humans.

Overall, this was a good capstone to the series. I know there are other divergent series books out there. If you’ve never read the story of H. Beam Piper’s life and the history of this series, I recommend you do so. It’s quite intriguing if a bit sad. The other works by Piper are also something I highly recommend anyone who enjoys Little Fuzzy should check into. Most of them are in the public domain and can be found for free on Project Gutenberg and Amazon. I plan to find and read all of his other works that I have not read already.

So, on that note, I rate this book at three stars and call it a Satisfying Read.

View all my reviews


Hey! Happy Readers! Did you know you can…

Buy My Books!?!?


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!

$0.99 Book Sale!

OK, folks, in celebration of LibertyCon 32, I have both of my titles on sale for just $0.99 through July 5th!

The con is over now, but I will have an after-action report tomorrow, hopefully. It was a blast, as usual!

In the mean time, go grab a copy of my two awesome books at Amazon! Just click the images below.

HAPPY READING!

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.
Also includes the short story Null Gravitas

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.

Review: A Price Too High – Frontiers Saga: Part 2: Rogue Casts #12

This one was a fast paced read. It’s quite good with one big annoyance that I can’t talk about without spoiling the book. See review below.

I might get one more review in before the end of this month, but I’m not sure. LibertyCon is coming up in three weeks, and I am also shoulder deep in prepping our custom D&D Campaign. Yes, I finally just bit the bullet and decided to go homebrew instead of pre-made. I just couldn’t find one with the right tone that fit the levels we want to play (5 to 10, maybe higher). So, The Sunken Tower of Leilon is currently being expounded upon in Fantasy Grounds. Our first session went very well, despite the lack of combat. And we have decided to scale back to a bi-weekly game rather than weekly to allow for sanity to be maintained by yours truly.

But you probably didn’t care about all that D&D stuff, so back to the review.

Here’s the Amazon Blurb:

Part 2: Episode 12

…An enemy in retreat

…A new world to protect

…A new potential ally on the horizon

…A new chance to go on the offensive

The Dusahn have taken a massive blow, and with the Aurora’s improved jump range, Captain Scott and the Karuzari Alliance can finally keep them at arms length.

Now, a previously unknown world may hold the key to defeating the Dusahn, and possibly even to bring peace to the entire galaxy. 

The question is…Can they be trusted?

And now the review!

A Price Too High (The Frontiers Saga: Part 2: Rogue Castes, #12)A Price Too High by Ryk Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This episode of Frontiers Saga probably deserves 5 stars. I’m not giving it five stars though, because it SPOILERED me into thinking that SPOILER was SPOILERING, and that’s just now something you should do to your readers without some foreshadowing.

It’s a really good book, though. The various story arcs are extended and some new ones are added. The characters are true to form throughout. The action is evenly mixed with intrigue to give it an exciting pace that kept me wanting to read just a little more.

The only negative is the surprise that isn’t a surprise. I can’t say any more than that without spoiling the whole book, and I want people to read my reviews and find them useful, not hate me. So, this one will be shorter than most. All I can say is that if you’ve been reading the series, keep reading. It’s been terrific so far, and I believe it will continue to be so.

I give this one 4 stars and call it a Just For That You Don’t Get Five Stars Read! Happy Reading!

View all my reviews


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: Fuzzy Sapiens by H. Beam Piper

First off, Happy Readers, let me say that the precursor of this book, Little Fuzzy, was excellent. It should be read and enjoyed by all sci-fi fans at some point. I wish that I could say the same for the sequel, but it just doesn’t equal it. It’s not bad, but it’s just not great.

I do have hopes for the third book in the series, but we shall see. I’m currently reading the next Frontier’s Saga entry, and should have that review up soon as well.

In the mean time, here’s my review of the book at hand.

Amazon’s Blurb:

The Pendarvis Decision had declared the Fuzzies to be intelligent beings—guaranteeing them protection and security. But just how much were those assurances worth?

The Fuzzies were about to find out. . . . Someone was going to make big profits by exploiting them, and there wasn’t much that could prevent the Fuzzies from becoming just another extinct species on Mankind’s conscience. . .

And now my review…

Fuzzy SapiensFuzzy Sapiens by H. Beam Piper
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book is an OK read, and being an OK read is not a terrible thing. I sincerely enjoyed Little Fuzzy when I read it a few years ago. H. Beam Piper is one of those ‘old school’ sci-fi authors that I found quite late, but have enjoyed immensely. This sequel to Little Fuzzy is only a mediocre read, however, because of its slow pace and lack of dramatic plot. It tends toward the analytical side of the developing Fuzzy situation which is boring. The only real excitement happens in the last 5% of the book.

One of the strangest quirks (It’s not necessarily a negative, but I didn’t like it) I encountered while reading this book is the anachronistic feel of it. I’ve seen this in other books, especially from authors of the 40’s, 50’s & 60’s who fail to generalize their scientific advancements enough to overcome the paradigm shift of the digital age. I usually can get past it, but this time the slow pace of things made it really stand out. I think I’ll coin a new genre term to describe it called Anachronistic Analog Punk… Ananapunk. Ananapunk is where futuristic technology is still based off of analog technology that is now obsolete, but the story is not focused on being that (as Steampunk is toward the Victorian Era steam technologies, etc.), it simply IS that by virtue of being written prior to the digital tech curve. It’s effectively Atompunk or Steelpunk, but written IN the era it depicts. I’ve seen it before. Sometimes I like it; sometimes I don’t. This time I didn’t. Thus the two star rating.

There’s also the issue of the social customs of the ‘era when written’ being carried over so far into the future, and being a focal point of the story. Cocktail hour and tobacco smoking are a highly overused personal action for almost every character. It’s the filler and transition to almost every scene. It is monotonous and cannot be avoided or ignored during the read.

But, still, the story of Fuzzies and the discovery of who and what they are, as well as human reactions to them are interesting enough to keep me reading to the end. In fact, the third book in the series looks to be more interesting than this one, so I will probably read it as well. It also has the benefit of being a ‘manuscript found in a trunk after the author’s death’ which means I’m already interested.

So, while not being exactly a superlative story, it was interesting, and I am glad to have read it, if for no other reason than continuity of the series leading to the third book. I give it two stars and call it a Semi-Descent Read.

View all my reviews


Ah, yes, the 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: Primordial Threat by M.A. Rothman

Great Science Fiction that has you rooting for the good guys and your jaw dropping for the science! I wanted to read this because it reminded me of the types of books I read as a young sci-fi fan. Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven, Exit Earth by Martin Caidin, Shiva Descending by Benford & Rotsler, and especially a little known series called America 2040 by Evan Innes (aka Hugh Zachary). Yes, some of them were total cheese, but I loved them at the time. I was not disappointed!

This one has it’s foibles, but I still enjoyed reading it very much, and intend to read more like it. I think there will be a sequel to this one which I’ll definitely pick up when it’s released.

On a personal note (which I’ve been dropping into the blog more lately), my various plans continue to fall through, so I’m sweeping the mess of my ideas into a pile and looking for a rug to cover them with while trying to come up with more. The big one, the computer upgrades I tried to get set up to run that 3D CAD program I mentioned before, were not compatible with my PC This means I would have to buy a new (expensive) computer to go along with the already expensive Solidworks package… *sigh* These expenses are not in the cards at the moment, unfortunately. Oh well, that’s life. A good excuse to get back to writing I guess… unless someone really rich wants to gift me $10k?

Anyway… I’ll just be over here holding my breath </sarcasm> while you Happy Readers check out this review!

Amazon’s Blurb:


The year is 2066 and the world is oblivious to the threat it faces.

The fate of humanity lies on the shoulders of Burt Radcliffe, the new head of NASA’s Near Earth Object program.

He’s been rushing the completion of DefenseNet, a ring of satellites that are both part of an early-warning system as well as the means to eliminate incoming threats.

Yet Burt knows that despite the world’s best efforts, nothing can be done about the alert he’s just received.

Coming out of deep space is a danger that’s been approaching since the dawn of time. A black hole. An unstoppable threat that promises death for all in its wake. 

Dave Holmes was a modern-day Einstein. As the original architect of DefenseNet, he’d had visions of this Primordial Threat before he disappeared, yet he’d left behind no details on how the problem might be solved.

Can Holmes be found, and if so, will his solution even work?

The world has less than a year to find out.

And now my take on the book…

Primordial ThreatPrimordial Threat by M.A. Rothman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This novel gave me some great flash-back moments to when I was young and reading exciting science based sci-fi that drew me into the genre. I only wish I still had the naivete of an uncritical reader so that I could ignore the little foibles I saw… Not many, but a few. The book is a winner though because I was into it from cover to cover.

A little less than 50 years from now, the Earth is in the path of a black hole and nothing can stop it. So what do you do? You science the shit out of it! And that is all the details I can tell you without spoilers.

So, I’m going to get past my ‘complaint’ phase first to get it out of my way. I like this book, and I’m giving it 4 stars because I WANT to give it 4 stars. I refuse to let my nit-picky side bring it down lower, but I at least have to acknowledge what those nits are, so here goes. There are a lot of convenient pre-emergency events that had to have happened for there to be a chance at survival in this situation (for values of ‘survive’). There are at least TWO different Deus Ex Machina moments that had me shaking my head. There are plot points that are contrived to engender those. The ‘villian’ (not the black hole) is also a contrivance to keep the difficulty level set to high. Also, the ‘As you know, Bob’s’ are an absolute plague at the start. These are the ‘critical reader’ points that I wish I could be less attentive to like when I was younger. I would never have even noticed this 25-30 years ago.

Oh, and no spoilers, but the last chapter should have been left off. It’s a cliffhanger setup for a sequel revealed at the last minute. It should have been used as the prologue of the the next book instead. I believe I would have had that opinion even as a youngster.

The character development is great, and I was truly invested in the welfare of the top six. The plot is decent. There are a few hurry-up-and-get-to-the-point moments of ‘as-you-know-Bob’ type exposition at inconvenient moments that affected the pacing, but that is offset by the next challenge being hot on its heels. The science used is backed up fairly well, and the afterword of the book even gives a summary of the main ideas as they exist in reality today. The pace of the story is good and kept me wanting to read the whole thing. The writing style and descriptiveness is on par with any comparable sci-fi book you might find out there.

The best part of the book is the ‘big concept’ science that goes into the survival plans, and how they are pursued for implementation. You just gotta love … well, again, no spoilers … but trust me, if you’re a sci-fi fan, you’ll love it!

I give this one four stars and call it a Big Think Nostalgic Read!

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: A Rock and a Hard Place – Frontiers Saga: Part 2: Rogue Casts #11

Finally, I have completed this book. The lag this time I blame on the new season of The Tick on Amazon, HBO’s Westworld (Season 1 & 2), a sudden urge to work on three 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles, and I’m sure there was some Twitch GTA5 RP watching in there too. Also, there was the pre-writing research & obligatory ‘day dreaming’ about a new story I’m plotting in my head. It’s amazing how much time you spend just staring into space as you try to herd your mental cats into a story.

Anyway, this one is a good read. Lots of buildup time, but none of it dull. It all pays off in the end as the final battle is awesome. I can recommend it to you Happy Readers without any qualms. I’ll probably be picking up that 3rd book in the Abolethic Sovereignty Forgotten Realms series next, but we shall see.

The short story(ies?) and the D&D campaign will be taking priority for the next week or three, so the blog will go quiescent again….

Oh, except for one tinsy little thing that’s coming real soon…

Planetary Anthology Jupiter Bookcover

PLANETARY: JUPITER will be out soon from Superversive Press with my story “Be Careful Where You Poke Your Gungnir” included in the mix. It’s a Horizons Unlimited story set a bit farther down the timeline than most of the ones so far. I’ll do a full blog on release day!

For now, back to the main topic… Book Reviews!

Here’s the Amazon Blurb:

Part 2: Episode 11

Two worlds preparing their defenses…
A ship struggling to get back in the fight…
An enemy continuing its relentless attack…
A former enemy that could hold the answer…

With the fate of billions in his hands, Captain Scott is offered a way to save them all and end the bloodshed, but if it backfires, he could lose everything.

Sometimes, there is no good choice. 

And now the review!

A Rock and a Hard PlaceA Rock and a Hard Place by Ryk Brown
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another stellar addition to an already epic series!

Ryk Brown has added another 5 star to my list of books. This episode of The Frontiers Saga: Rogue Casts is a steady build of tension culminating in the epic final battle scenarios that avid readers have come to know and love.

A bit of intrigue and a smorgasbord of problems starts off the plot of this one with the crew of the Aurora and the peoples of the Karuzara Alliance once more on their back foot trying to catch up. The title is definitely apt, and the whole time you read you are wondering how they will manage to pull it off this time. There’s even a bit of a scare when talk of another ‘self sacrifice’ situation is presented to Nathan. It doesn’t take long for events to come to a head as the typical race against the clock to keep ahead of the enemy ensues. Luckily, Nathan Scott is still the best strategist and motivator in two sectors. But you’ll have to read it for yourself if you want to know HOW he manages to squeeze them all out from between A Rock and a Hard Place! (<– You see what I did there?)

View all my reviews


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!