Book Review of “Pyre and Ice”

pyre

Cover art for the book “Pyre and Ice”

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Pyre and Ice is a science fiction novelette written by Josh Griffing. I first became aware of it when Josh mentioned the book on Facebook.

Turns out Josh and I have both written superversive tales, and we each have a short story published in the Tuscany Bay Books Planetary Anthology Sol (this is all stuff I didn’t include in my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads).

I had no idea what to expect of “Pyre” except that it was set on Saturn’s moon Titan and at least two of the characters spoke in difficult-to-decipher Scottish accents. As a comparison, the character Alex in the Expanse series is supposed to speak with a heavy Texas drawl, but the text in the book doesn’t lean heavily on that for the purpose of readability.

The main protagonists are McGregor and Stobbins, two technicians on a terraforming mission to Titan. The operation seems to be run by the military but allows for civilian contractors including in the supply chain (and thereby hangs a tale).

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“Time’s Abyss” is Here!

time

© James Pyles

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It’s here! I received a digital copy of my first science fiction novella Time’s Abyss today, which means you can too. Go to books2read to find it at all of your favorite booksellers.

So far, it’s gotten 2 five-star reviews on Goodreads, one of which also appears on Amazon.

I’m particularly excited about this one since it’s my premiere solo publication. In the fiction realm, all of my other tales are short stories to be found in anthologies. That’s not a bad thing, but there’s something about having just your name on the cover of a book.

This isn’t going to be the last time if I have my say about it. First off, a few days ago, I finished roughing out a plot for a sequel to “Time’s Abyss.” What happens to Carson Everett and his team at the end of the adventure when they meet an unknown group of people? Does Theodore Falkon return to the island and will he use the experiment in a desperate attempt to return the Earth to a single time frame?

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Review of “Mara’s Awakening”

mara

Promotional image for Leo Flynn’s novelette, “Mara’s Awakening”.

Disclosure, I was asked by the author via email to review his short novelette Mara’s Awakening. Interestingly enough, when I tried to post a review on Amazon, I received a notice that it wasn’t eligible to be reviewed. I have no idea why.

I did manage to post a review on Goodreads.

I had a tough time understanding this very short book. I imagine the author was trying to inject some mystery into who Mara is and why she’s been in prison for six years when she used to be some sort of popular fighter, but she was too “mysterious.”

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Saturn Writing Challenge?

saturn

Promotional image from Zombie Pirate Publishing

With so much going on in my life just now, I said I wouldn’t try to do this, but the theme is so compelling. I mean, I can probably write between 12,500-15,000 words in a week (starting tomorrow), but would it be any good?

Saturn. My favorite planet (outside of Earth) in the solar system just behind Mars (and I’ve written enough about Mars lately). I’ve even got a concept in mind. Am I crazy?

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Announcement: Zombie Pirate Writing Week 2020

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Image captured from Sam Phillips’ blog

I’m passing this along from Sam Phillips’ blog Big Confusing Words. He’s the co-founder of Zombie Pirate Publishing and they first held this event last year. I sent in an entry last year (it wasn’t selected). Thinking about it again this year, but my schedule is about to undergo a radical change, so I may not have the bandwidth.

If you’re a writer at whatever stage of development, this might be the challenge for you. Here’s part of the text from Sam’s blog:

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Can I Write a Novelette in Seven Days?

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Screen capture of the Zombie Pirate Publishing Facebook page.

That’s the challenge from Zombie Pirate Publishing. Actually Adam and Sam have given us less time than that since according to the JavaScript counter on their main page, I’ve got (as of this writing) just a hair over 5 days and 21 hours. So far I’ve hammered out 2,180 words, but the target word count is between 12,500 and 15,000, so I’ve got a bit of work to do, including plotting the story as I go along.

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Review of Neal Asher’s Novelette “Monitor Logan”

neal asher books

Cover images of several of Neal Asher’s novels as found on his website.

“Monitor Logan” is a novelette written by bestselling science fiction author Neal Asher for the Zombie Pirate Publishing anthology World War Four (2019). Since my short story “Joey” also appears in the anthology, I can’t review that book or any part of it on Amazon (goodreads may be another story), but I can review Asher’s tale on my blog.

This story takes place in Asher’s Polity Universe, though in terms of chronology, I don’t know where it would fall. I was first introduced to Asher’s work and the Polity via his novel Dark Intelligence which I previously reviewed.

The title “Monitor Logan” might as well be rendered “Marshall Logan,” and this wee missive could easily be an American western. Lawman rides into town after the previous lawman is gunned down. Town’s run by corrupt mining corporations that enslave an indigenous population to do their labor, while paying off a local gang of bandits. Lawman comes to punish the guilty and protect the innocent, but he’s got a secret agenda and a thirst for revenge.

As I was reading, I couldn’t help but recall the 1973 film High Plains Drifter, which is the first western Clint Eastwood starred in that he also directed. If you’ve ever seen that movie, you have a lot of the plot to “Monitor Logan.”

Asher again presents us with his affinity for sapient artificial intelligence, human/droid alliances, human/alien hybrids, high technology in low tech settings, devastating weapons of war, and what I refer to as “medical atrocities.”

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