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!

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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!

Review: Freelancer (#1) by Jake Lingwall

Freelancer

Freelancer by Jake Lingwall
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This review is going to sound a bit critical (“surprise, surprise” says anyone who knows me and/or my reviews), but I don’t mean it be taken as a negative review. I like this book. It is a good read and I do recommend it for anyone with an appreciation of YA fiction or just fun reads. The critical part is for the character ‘as written’–which was very consistent– and a bit of the world concept.

Now, when I first started reading this I found myself being fairly critical of the writing style. It does not start out with polish and feels a bit choppy. It seems like it could be ‘first time author’ syndrome or maybe just YA style. There were also some fairly apparent editing issues that jumped out at me while in hyper-critical mode. Fortunately, I was able to push that aside (or got used to it – shrug) and continue with the book, which turned into a fairly decent read.

The plot begins in the not-so-distant future where single-day school weeks, auto-everythings, instant stuff-printers, and ubiquitous drones make the life of a teenager almost bearable. The setting is North Carolina during a time of political unrest that is about to erupt into full-fledged civil war between the coastal states and the Middle States of the U.S. The MC is a senior in high-school who just wants to finish the mandatory indoctrination called ‘school’ and continue with her clandestine preoccupation with designing and building new and wondrous technical marvels as a Freelance hacker savant. All this is a young person’s realm. I’m sure my teen-self would have loved this book very much and found nothing amiss. My much older cynical-self just chuckles at the naivete. It’s still a decent read because the characters are realistic (if naive and a bit Mary Sue… but that’s YA in a nutshell), and the plot/pacing continues to pull the reader forward into the tale.

The high moral stance of being neutral on a pending civil war in the U.S. was an odd choice. It’s a theme throughout, but only the incompetence of the antagonist & the graciousness of the ‘enemy’ allows it to exist and succeed. I think real world exigencies would not be so gentle. Still, I have to reiterate that the book is a good read and worth continuation of the series to find out what happens next. I plan to pick it up.

I give this one three stars and call it an entertaining read.

View all my reviews

Pick up a copy of Freelancer free on Amazon through K.U.


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.

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!

Free Story Friday (11-23-18) – That Last Step

Free Story Friday – 11-23-18 (That Last Step – A Mimic War Story)

Sorry this has been so long in coming. It has been many many sleeps since I last posted a short story here. This one has been rattling around in the brain-pan for a few months, and I finally decided to get it done and put it up for free. At the last minute, I decided to tie it into an existing universe that I had created for a submission earlier in the year. It was born from a joke I made in a Facebook post involving the planet Uranus, hentai, and Space Mimics. That story is still floating in submission limbo, and if it doesn’t get some traction soon, will get yanked back and turned into a novella… because I gots idears!

Anyway, Enjoy the story! Stick around for some research stuff at the tail end of the post, and leave me some comments!


That Last Step – A Mimic War Story

© 2018 by J.D. Beckwith

The sound of his shoulder and helmet slamming into the rock face echoed eerily around the chasm walls. Valentine struggled to regain the breath that had been punched from his lungs while straining to hold his place on the belay line. He swung in a wide curving arc on the end of his rope. The narrow view of the sun-lit valley blinked past his vision in an ever slowing pattern as he spun. The adrenaline pumping through his system was the only thing keeping him from a full-on barf as the gray-brown of the rock face swirled around him. He looked down to try to get his bearings, but the height itself—jagged rocks jutting from below and along the sides of the narrow chasm—made him dizzier.

He closed his eyes and focused on drawing in a slow deep breath. The oxygen in the air at this altitude was thin enough without struggling to make his diaphragm remember how to do its job. Once it did, he forced himself to inhale as deeply as possible before letting it out. Soon he was feeling less like he was about to pass out or throw up.

Climbing the peaks of the Davis Mountains back home had never been this interesting. And Valentine, Texas—the source of his moniker—was nothing like rural China. Someone had to dig the last of those godforsaken shape-shifters out of the planet, though, so that’s why they were climbing this peak. Or, at least they had been, before the mountain decided to fall down on their heads. Everyone else had retreated down to the valley, but he was the Ranger Team’s Corpsman, and he had a man to save.

He opened his eyes again. He was still spinning and swinging, but he could finally focus on what was left of the ledge below him. “Aww, crap.”

The voice of his sergeant, Gil Martin, squawked in his ear. “Valentine, we have eyes-on from below. What’s your status? Do I need to turn the chopper back?”

“Negative, Sarge!” Valentine gave a grunt a he lunged for the trailing line still attached to the crumbling mountain-side above. A large-ish stone smacked the side of his helmet loudly as his efforts shook it loose from the pile that now covered the perch from where he had begun his descent. “Everything just fell in up there. There’s no place to even offload anymore. It’s too dangerous to try that updraft again anyway.” He used the second rope to stop his swinging spin.

“Copy that, Valentine. How’s Andrews looking? We can’t see him from here.”

Valentine looked down. Rubble now covered the outer portion of the ledge he was headed for. He could see the prone form of Ranger David Andrews where he lay just inward of the jutting flat spot. He had crawled away from the crumbling edge where he’d landed when the first rock slide had knocked him off the side. He had been unresponsive for the last few minutes, and Valentine could see the newest debris had landed on his legs.

“He hasn’t moved, and it looks like he took some hits from that last rock fall. I’ve got to get down there fast.”

“Roger that, Valentine, but don’t be stupid. I don’t want to lose both of you.”

“Aww, Sarge! You DO care!” Valentine hoisted himself upward on the ropes, placed his knees under him, then his feet. With a bouncing push he stood horizontally from the overhang once more. Small stones from the ledge above continued to bounce past him. He looked down to gauge his position one last time. “Hear that, Andrews!? The Sarge really does love us, man! So you can’t die until you give him a big ole hug!” There was no response.

Valentine bounced sideways a fraction then took three deep breaths. One last look down, and he sprang outward with as much force as his legs could exert, letting the rope sing through his gloves as he sailed into empty space. The freefall lasted only a split second before he judges that enough rope had played out. He gripped it hard below his crotch and applied the gripping brake to the line above him. The heat through his gloves was just noticeable as the rope stopped sliding.

The swing inward began. The ledge sprang toward him as if he had been shot toward it from a cannon. As he curved inward, he saw that he had misjudged. He was going to hit below the ledge instead of land on it. A split second’s thought of breaking a leg made him tuck up into a ball. His speed increased as he flew over the ledge into the shallow cave mouth. He let go of his grip on the rope and hit the rough surface, bouncing to the rear and colliding with the in-sloping rear wall. His helmet smacked against it, deflected him backward. Off balance, he fell backward and smacked his head against the floor as well.

Prone and panting, he took stock of himself. His bell had been rung, but other than that, he didn’t seem any worse for wear. Panting, he forced himself to roll over onto all fours and slow his breathing. The cave-like ledge was dim compared to the outside, and it took his eyes a moment to adjust. A small crack running through the ceiling above projected a jagged pattern of light from the noon sun above through to the floor of the cave. Valentine followed it toward the outer edge right up to the prone form of his fellow Ranger.

“Valentine, report!”

“I’m here, Sarge. Eight ball in the side pocket!” He moved toward Andrews to begin assessing his condition. He couldn’t stand in the tight space, so he crawled. His pack snagged on a small stalactite almost immediately, so he shrugged it off and pulled it behind him. Once he reached the other man, he quickly checked for a pulse. It was present but weak. “Sarge, I’ve got Andrews. Weak pulse. I’m unpacking the kit.”

“Copy that. We’re setting up the PUMP, now. Relay vitals when you can.” The PUMP—Pop Up Medical Post—was a rapid deploy, light-weight, hardened cloth facility with built-in instrumentation for detailed medical diagnosis and surgical needs. Each deployed Ranger Team had one with them, thanks to their alien benefactors. They could be unrolled, set up and tied down in a matter of minutes. They had seen routine use since the clean-up effort in China began. Mimics were nasty critters, and if they weren’t dealt with quickly after latching onto a victim, they were invariably deadly.

Valentine was zoning in on his patient, so he didn’t spare much brain activity for a distracted reply. “Roger that, Sarge.” He cleared away stones that had piled up around Andews’ legs and ankles, tossing them over the edge. Rocks continued to clatter down from above, so he pulled the man back into the cave, cradling his neck as much as possible. He sat up, cross-legged, and began unpacking his kit.

Frist, he slapped a velcroed wrist-band onto his left arm which began beeping and calibrating itself as it took vitals like BP, heart rate, body temperature, etc. Next, he hauled a gray two-handled device about the size of a small briefcase out of his pack and swept it over Andrews’ body from head to toe. The screen on its side lit up with a display of Andrews’ muscular system, skeletal structure and internals. It linked with the wrist band and immediately began to highlight trauma areas. It showed a skull fracture, a broken ankle, two broken fingers and a dislocated left shoulder. It also began to beep urgently that the patient had internal bleeding somewhere in the lower abdomen, but could not pinpoint it.

“Crap. Sarge, you got a copy on these vitals?”

“Roger, Valentine. Can you stabilize?”

“No clue. I’m going to go for the Gut-Leak foam. You better send the rescue UAV. There’s no way we can wait for the slow ride down via rope.” Valentine pulled out a Y-shaped syringe from his kit and two vials. He popped one vial into each side of the syringe and then pulled back Andrews’ tack vest to expose his midriff.

“Copy that. RUAV will be on its way in five.”

Taking care to get his angle just so, he pinched the upper side of his belly-button and sank the needle into his abdomen. Once in, he slowly forced the central plunger downward, injecting the contents of the two vials to mix together internally.

Valentine monitored Andrews as the skin of his stomach begin to tighten and crawl as the foam activated and expanded. It would flow around all his internal organs—intestines, liver, kidneys—then hardening into a stiff plate-like shield that would hopefully put enough pressure on the location of the bleed until surgery could be performed to fix it. Val had to get him off the mountain first though.

Satisfied with the progress of the foam, Val took out two induction plates and put them on Andrew’s temples. Once activated, they would keep him asleep. Waking up right now would be most unpleasant. He adjusted the wrist-band and synced it with the induction plates.

The next order of business was that leg. Val turned to get a splint for Andrew’s ankle pack, but before he could the mountain began to shake again. The crack that let in the narrow jag of light suddenly widened, and the ledge titled sickeningly before stopping. He swung himself over Andrews, acting as a body shield for the loose rocks that fell from the ceiling.

“Valintine! I just got word from the captain! Those damned Shifters booby-trapped the mountain! They set off three nukes under our asses, and that last one collapsed the surface. We have fall-out incoming! Repeat! Fall-out imminent!”

“Copy, Sarge! I’m afraid I forgot my lead undies this trip, so I sure would appreciate some expeditiousness on that RUAV!”

Valentine tapped out a few commands on his wrist-comp, activating the built in Geiger counter. The Squids—Hexapoids being the official designation—had really done wonders for the human tech infrastructure since they arrived. That include the Medi-Blade he had used before, and his wrist-comp. Sub-micro-miniaturization had made life much easier for the survivors of the human race to haul all the tech they needed to take the fight to the Mimics around the globe.

The tell-tale click of rising radiation levels told Val that his time was extremely short. He had to get Andrews and himself down to the PUMP and its radiation-proof walls ASAP. The rocks stopped bounding through the widened cleft above, so he shifted back to the side and continued to hunt for the splint. He hurried to get Andrews ready for the incoming ride as the sound of clicking grew more and more insistent.

The humming electrical-powered rotors told him the RUAV was getting close. There was no place to land it, so he was just going to have to slide Andrews into the unit’s maw as it hovered. To do that, he needed to spin him and get a board under him for the retraction winch to pull inside. By the time he managed to do both, the unit was floating just outside the ledge with its hatch lowering like a hungry dragonfly. The six rotors growled like a planet full of angry hornets as it wobbled back and forth in the gusty updraft.

“Sarge, keep the controls until I get him hooked up.”

“…K, but… getting a lot …ferrence from the …diation.”

“Copy choppy coms boss. That’s OK, I’m in a hurry myself.”

Val scooted sideways toward the far end of the ledge pulling the strapped down body of Andrews behind him. He grabbed a cable from the inner lip of the RUAV’s ‘jaw,’ released it, and pulled it to the small hook on the portable travois. A sudden gust blew the craft sideways, sliding Andrews outward to hang off the edge. Val grabbed the travois handle with one hand and a stalagmite with the other. “No you friggin’ don’t! You still owe me fifty creds, Andrews!” He pulled, straining harder than he ever remembered, possibly tearing something in his shoulder in the process. Still, he managed to hang on until he finally won the life-or-death tug-of-war as the craft swung back into position.

He wasted no time hoisting Andrews’ travois up onto the tracks in the vehicle’s mouth and hitting the ‘load’ button. He guided the rear until the RUAV’s engines revved even higher as they took the full load of the man’s weight.

“Alright, he’s on, Sarge! RTB is all you!”

“…gative… too much …control to you… opy? Re….t… Vehicle control…. you!”

“Crap! Copy, Sarge! RUAV control to me!” Val tapped his wrist-comp and requested linkup to the RUAV. It quickly synced, and Val sat and guided it away from the ledge. He was worried about more falling rocks. As he moved it away from him, the signal strength rapidly decreased. He instantly knew the reason as his wrist-comp began to flash a radiation warning at him. He had less than ten minutes at current levels before decontamination was going to become an issue for both himself and his patient.

“Only one thing left to do then.” He started unzipping seams along the insides of the thighs of his jumpsuit, exposing rolled up flaps of cloth which he quickly zipped together along a central seam. He repeated the procedure with seams along his outer thighs and inner arms. Next, he split his medical pack into two pieces. One he strapped onto his chest, but the other when onto his back. All this took him about three minutes, a record even for him. Finally ready, he stood at the ledge and put the RUAV to follow mode.

He placed a set of goggles on his face and took one last deep breath. “God, if you’re there, don’t let me screw this up!”

He jumped.

##########################

“Rads are still climbing, Sarge. Should go wait in the entry hall?”

Sergeant Martin watched the dust plume—originating from the venting of the underground explosion to the west—slowly grow closer to the mountain in front of them. The orange material of the PUMP with the red cross on its top and sides fluttered noisily in the rising winds. “Negative, Ranger Dawson. Hold here. When he hits ground, we’re going to have to get him and Andrews hustled inside PDQ.” He shot a quick grin at the woman at his side. “You’re not gonna lose that pretty hair of yours, don’t you worry.”

He put his binoculars up and focused on the ledge where Valentine stood just in time to see him leap away. He watched him fall a short distance before spreading his arms and legs to reveal the web-like materials of the wing-suit conversion of his tac-suit. As the updraft of the narrow cleft caught him, he shot upward and outward away from the sheer face he had been standing on moments before.

“Here he comes. Hell, he might even have a minute to spare before he can’t have kids anymore.”

The ground shook again, and everyone swayed. The entire side of the mountain shifted and began sliding downward. Gil could just see the yellow-green tint of the wing-suit webbing against the backdrop of dust and rock that roiled like thunder down the side of the shrinking mountain face. The RUAV matched the form of Valentine motion from motion as he rode the churning air. Then the dust plume overtook the craft, and eventually Valentine as well.

Gil held his breath as he waited for a glimpse of the man. The dust from the mountain slide billowed toward the encampment at a rapid pace. He wasn’t certain if the RUAV could handle that much debris through its turbines. And Valentine was still nowhere to be seen.

Gil mumbled under his breath as he continued to scan the skyline. “Come on, Valentine. Don’t you make me have to tell your wife you died out here.”

“Yeah, she’d probably kick your ass, Sarge.” Valentine’s voice sounded clear over the comms, even though it had a harried tinge to its usual smartass tone. The bright colors of the wing-suit flashed as Valentine cleared the dust cloud. He glided toward them hanging from beneath the expanded canopy of a red-white-and-blue parasail chute with a huge Texas Ranger star showing clearly in the afternoon sun. Behind it, the RUAV with Andrews burst forth as well. “Any chance you could get them to stop setting nukes off under me, boss? I’m starting to feel a bit put upon.”

Martin hid a grin, but didn’t bother replying, he just ushered the other Rangers forward toward the probable landing site. He turned his head toward the PUMP tent and yelled inside.

“Alright, folks, I’m going to need your A-game! We got incoming hot and bothered Rangers, and it looks like the sunset’s going to be just beautiful!”

~~~~ THE END ~~~~


Some of the research for this story came from…

Numerous wingsuit flight videos… and then I ended up not putting the swooosh in the story… sorry. But watch this and you’ll get an idea of what Val ends up doing.

The RUAV was originally thought of when I read about the Dubai police getting some new hoverbikes.

But looking for ‘rescue drones’ brought up a more practical design for moving a disabled person.

And then, in case you doubted it, the internal bleeding foam really does exist and is currently undergoing clinical trials in the U.S. in 2018. It is called ResQFoam.


If you like this story because new technologies mixed with adventure is your thing, you should really check out my Science Fiction Space Adventure anthology, Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1.

Oh, and if you happen to like intrigue mixed with high tech and a good bit of humor, you can also get my techno-thriller novel, eConscience Beta on Amazon.

Until next time, Happy Reading!

Review: Retaliation (The Frontiers Saga: Part 2: Rogue Castes, #10)

Hey! Look! It’s a blog post from Words from the Wampuscat! It’s been a month since that happened last!

I am so far behind on reviews and posts that it is not funny. That’s because I’ve been doing things. I need to write an update post on that, but first… a book review!

RetaliationRetaliation (The Frontiers Saga: Part 2: Rogue Castes, #10) by Ryk Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great installment to the series with plenty of fast-paced action. The plot lines are coming together nicely, and we are starting to see both a tipping point and an expansion point for the story. The only complaint I have for this book is a similar one I’ve had before… character waffling, which I’ll explain in a bit. Otherwise, I can definitely give this book four stars and call it an Action Packed Read.

Now, on to the details… don’t read further if you don’t like spoilers. Or criticisms, because I’m about to be a bit critical.

Picking up where the last the book left off, we are dropped right in the middle of a sudden scrap on the new found ally world of… uhm… that place where they went and did the thing. Casaba? Casbon? Where they did the deal for the new-new-new fighter ships. You remember? So yeah, they fight there, then we see them fighting back at the Samurai Planet. Then, more fighting to keep from having to fight more, after which they decide they should go fight more to keep from having to fight more later and also right now.

I know, it sounds complicated, right? But remember, Nathan Scott is a super genius who always know the right thing to do, especially when people who are a lot smarter than him tell him he shouldn’t. But he does it anyway, and it works, so there you go. Oh, and he also Captain Kirk’s the dangerous missions too. That’s because he’s both indispensable to the cause because no one would keep fighting if he wasn’t alive to lead it, and also because he cannot be seen as not fighting in the front lines because no one would follow him otherwise, and… yeah, that all ties right into the problem I’ve been having. Waffling logic explained away as a character flaw… in ALL the characters. It’s getting old.

I love the books. I love the action. I love the plot twists. I love the tech and the tech advances (although I still don’t understand why you have to be pointed in a certain direction to use the jump drive when it’s not based on momentum). And I love the characters too, but they are all flawed in the exact same way… Ignore logic and their own previously stated convictions if it’s in the name of saving a single individual or pursing a really cool idea/goal.

Sigh. Oh well, nothing is perfect. I just needed to vent that, I guess. Besides, writing is hard. I choose to give the benefit of the doubt and suspend disbelief for the sake of an enjoyable story, which this series most certainly is.

Happy Reading!

Buy it on Amazon.

View all my reviews on Goodreads.

LibertyCon 31 – My First Con as a Pro!

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LibertyCon 31 ended Sunday. Now I haz a sad. When you anticipate something for a year, then go do it for three whirlwind days (I swear there is a time-warp that speeds stuff up around this Con), you can experience a euphoric crash after you get home. It doesn’t last forever, but I do seem to have it happen every year. I just want more! It’s a drug, man!

The trip up to the ‘Noog was picture perfect. I didn’t even have to argue with the Google Maps app about wanting me to go the wrong way to I75. The hotel app let me do a pre-check-in the day before, so when I got there, they handed me my card and said enjoy your stay in about 2 minutes. The attendant schlepped my luggage upstairs (including my too many boxes of books) while I went an parked the truck. I took a photo of my slot so I would remember where I parked (not that it helped b/c slot 509 is on floor 6… ). Then off too the room… a very nice room. The Marriott is the best hotel I’ve stayed in in Chattanooga thus far.

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The view from floor 12 was pretty awesome.

I got to observe one session before my own schedule kicked in. I was highly entertained by the Black Tide Rising panel featuring John Ringo and friends. The tales of how the stories in the anthology came about were quite entertaining. The announcement that volume 2 is coming out in 2019 was also well received.

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Black Tide Rising Panel – (l to r) Sarah Hoyt, Eric Flint, Jason Cordova, Jody Lynn Nye, Kelly Lockhart (aka Gary Poole), John Ringo, Mike Massa, Griffin Barber, Kacey Ezell, Chris L. Smith, Robert Hampson/Tedd Roberts

After that, it became super busy time! The reason is that I was attending as a PRO. Yep, I’m officially listed in a convention handout as a professional writer. Who’da thunk it!?

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I got to try to sell books. ‘Try’ being the key word here. I had my spirit animal, Grumpy Cat, with me for good luck. It was awful. Didn’t sell a single book that time, but I think it was the fact that it was so early and people were still checking in and such. It did a bit better on Saturday & Sunday. I am not a salesperson. I hate marketing. This must change. Goals, I have ‘em.

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Author’s Alley – Day 1

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Author’s Alley – Day 2 (photo by Anita Moore)

Right after that I was on a Panel for the Superversive Planetary Anthology with a vast array of writing stars.

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Planetary Anthology Roundtable – (l to r) Hans Schantz, Mona Lisa Foster, Julie Frost, Arlan Andrews, Jagi Lamplighter Wright, A.M. Freeman, Jody Lynn Nye, J.D. Beckwith, Jon Del Arroz, John C. Wright, Lou Antonelli (picture by Robert Dean)

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Yes, that’s correct; I was sitting next to Jody Lynn Nye. I watched her crochet something under the table while still remaining completely engaged in the conversation. It was all I could do to keep my elbows off the table (which was not always a successful endeavor). I have  discovered I’m a leaner (see above). Need to fix that. More goals.

Also, the ever-chipper April Freeman (left side of the above picture) and I finally realized that we both reside in the same county… AFTER we talked on Facebook a day after the convention closed. Folks, the world is small and full of tricks and shenanigans.

By the way, if you want to read some really amazing stories written by these folks, you need to grab a copy of the Planetary Anthologies. There are four out now, Mercury, Venus, Mars, and also the just released Earth. I have stories in Mercury, Venus & Earth.

After that, the official Opening Ceremonies commenced. We were highly entertained by an adaptation of ‘Brandy’ by the talented Gray Rinehart, followed by this year’s MC, Chuck Gannon who shared with us some rather curious theories of the ‘real reason for LibertyCon’.

Here’s Gray’s Intro Song!

 

Immediately after, I went on a book buying binge. I got autographs, some oldies from the Huckster’s room and then some generous soul dropped a load of free books on the table outside! I was like a really excited euphemistic analogy (think about that for a minute)! And then I took the heavy bag of books to the room and took a picture in really bad lighting! See!

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I did some posting and slide-show editing for my next Author’s Alley stint, then went down and tried to play some Call of Cthulhu, but was force to my bed by a headache before it got too interesting. Such is life.

Saturday was a blur. I went to several panels for Indie Authors. I got some good advice from others in the field on how to do things right, or at least how to avoid doing some things wrong. Then had another sales stint. Sold a few, but still not many. I’m not too worried about that though, because it all counts as experience. I’ll do better in the future.

Afterward, I made a trip to the Urban Stack, a local restaurant that serves some of the best food around, with a D&D buddy. We had an awesome meal together, and caught some interesting scenery on the way. Only at a Sci-Fi Convention will you find a tricked-out Zombie Response Vehicle with programmable Gatling gun outside your hotel door.

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Zombie Response Vehicle

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Zombie Response Vehicle – complete with bumper mounted Gatling gun

Late Saturday was the Mad Scientist Roundtable. I was invited to be a panelist, but I really felt out of place. The people on that stage are seriously in the realm of super-geniuses! As happens every time I attend one of the Mad Scientist events, I got smarter just by being in the room with these people.

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Mad Scientists’ Roundtable (photo by Arlan Andrews)

 

Sunday was the Kaffeeklatch, where I got to meet and talk to some other authors, as well as some fans. I had a great run-down of the Taylor Hoch D&D session (which I didn’t get to go to b/c they were both during my sales times..arrrgh!) from one of the kiddos who got to play.  Right after was my 3rd and last Author’s Alley stint. It was my best sales day, but also a rush because I had to deal with check-out right after.

And now, I am seeing all the posts and pics on Facebook, realizing that even with the fun I had, there was still so much more going on that I missed! I’ll have to seriously consider if I want to try bookselling again next year or not.

Well, that’s about all I’ve got on this years LC adventures. It was a blast as usual!

Tickets for LC32 go on sale at 8AM July 4th. Get ’em while they’re available, because they will not last long! The location is going to be The Read House hotel next year, and rooms in the discount block will be available starting September 1st.

Launch Day! Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1 – A Space Adventure Anthology

We have LIFTOFF!


Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1
A Space Adventure Anthology

$1.99 through July 1st!

eConscience Beta

 My awesome technothriller / comedy
is ALSO on sale for just 99¢ through July 1st!

If you’ve been waiting, or you just happened along today, you can get BOTH of my ebooks for just under $3!

HELP MY LAUNCH REACH ORBIT!

PLEASE SPREAD THE NEWS FAR AND WIDE!


HU_V1_FRONT-COVER_1726x2625
Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1 – A Space Adventure Anthology

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.In preparation for this, I have spent a lot of time learning to use Gimp 2 to design my own cover, bookmarks and other sundry media/ad items. There has been a steep curve to the software, but I’m getting there. It’s a great free resource that’s well worth taking the time to learn.


eConscience Beta8
eConscience Beta

ECONSCIECE 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.

Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1 – Launch Day is 1 Week Away!

The day is fast approaching! 7 Days until I ‘officially’ launch

Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1
A Space Adventure Anthology

June 28th, 2018

And here’s the really cool part. It’s going to $1.99 on Launch Day through July 1st!

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That’s right, I’m setting the start price just a bit higher than the cost of 20 oz. soft-drink!

Do yourself a favor and pick up three really awesome space adventure stories in one anthology for less than 2 bucks! Then do me the favor and share the love to as many people as you can!

Want some more cool news?

eConscience Beta, my awesome technothriller comedy will ALSO be on sale for 99¢ on Launch Day through July 1st!

Yep, you can get BOTH of my ebooks for just under $3!

If you need a reminder on the day, go ahead and Follow the Facebook page, maybe even add yourself to the Book Launch Event, Sign up for my mailing list either on the FB page or this blog. I will be sending out reminders.

Here are the covers and blurbs for both books! Happy Reading!


HU_V1_FRONT-COVER_1726x2625
Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1 – A Space Adventure Anthology

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.In preparation for this, I have spent a lot of time learning to use Gimp 2 to design my own cover, bookmarks and other sundry media/ad items. There has been a steep curve to the software, but I’m getting there. It’s a great free resource that’s well worth taking the time to learn.


eConscience Beta8
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.


I would greatly appreciate your help spreading the word to others who might like these types of stories.

If you just can’t wait, though, you can snag a copy on Amazon right now. Just click on the book images below!

HU_V1_FRONT-COVER_1726x2625

 eConscience Beta8

 

 

Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1

eConscience Beta

Review: Sanctuary (Frontiers Saga:Rogue Castes #8)

Sanctuary (The Frontiers Saga: Part 2: Rogue Castes, #8)Sanctuary by Ryk Brown

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Episode #8 of The Frontiers Saga: Part 2: Rogue Castes is a decent read in the series. It is a side-quest heavy episode, but the main plot line does advance a bit. The tragic events of the previous episode are heavily on the mind of Captain Nathan Scott, thus it keeps him on a personal errand for most of the book. That errand is action packed, of course. Meanwhile, the fleet, Cameron & Telles are left to deal with a conniving Rakuen politician on their own.

To be honest, the ‘You are the only one who can lead us, Nathan Scott!’ mantra is a bit over-played in this book, and I also find it not to be true. Between the Aurora’s Commander, the Ghatazak Commander and Deliza Ta’Akar, the Rebellion is in more than capable hands. They can run it by themselves… and kind of do. Nathan Scott has not done much yet, other than gather some silly race-car spaceships (Gunyoki) and a reluctant ally in the Rakuen. The ending scene was a bit over the top and cringy, but the outcome is a turn in the right direction for the main character, so I hope things get back to normal. And by normal, I mean more space captain fighting creative space battles and less space pirates doing space pirate stuff.

The side-quest in this book does introduce some interesting new tech possibilities that will no doubt lead to the Rebellion keeping the upper hand against the Dushan (and some really cool fight scenes!). There are also some mysterious revelations that I think I know the backstory of, but I’m not sure, so I won’t guess here. All in all the book is a fun read and makes me eager for the high stakes fight that is brewing.

I give this one three stars and call it a Decent Read.

View all my reviews

Book Launch Countdown: 15 Days to Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1

The blog has been silent for a while because… well, I’ve been busy. I have not had time to read a lot or write a review lately because…

Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1 – A Space Adventure Anthology will officially launch on June 28th, 2018. Mark your eCalendars, set your Apple Watch, Go Follow the Facebook page, maybe even add yourself to the Book Launch Event.

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.

In preparation for this, I have spent a lot of time learning to use Gimp 2 to design my own cover, bookmarks and other sundry media/ad items. There has been a steep curve to the software, but I’m getting there. It’s a great free resource that’s well worth taking the time to learn.

Here’s the Facebook Cover Photo I came up with.

Facebook Cover Photo

Here are my bookmarks, which will be available for LibertyCon during my launch window.

Bookmark Front

Bookmark Back

And last, but not least (first, actually), the book cover itself.

The new book will be officially released in ebook format on June 28th, and I’m trying generate interest in advance so that everyone who wants a copy can help boost me up in Amazon rank by buying it on the same day.

I would greatly appreciate your help spreading the word to others who might like these types of stories.

If you just can’t wait, though, you can snag a copy of the paperback version on Amazon right now. amazon-buy-button

As for the blog, I do have  a book review coming up for the latest in the Frontiers Saga, but I don’t think I’ll get to it tonight.

In the mean time, enjoy this picture of my duck, Harley and her new hatchling!

Happy Reading!

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Harley (mama duck) & baby