Book Review of “Nemesis Games,” Fifth in The Expanse Novel Series

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Cover art for the novel “Nemesis Games.”

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James S. A. Corey is the pen name of fantasy author Daniel Abraham and writer Ty Franck, who once again return with Nemesis Games, the fifth edition in the Expanse novel series.

Actually, the first misstep in the story is the raid conducted by the belter thug Filip and his band of any man left behind gets killed on Callisto a year before the book really begins. It’s clear they’re stealing tons and tons of stealth material, stealthy, but that means it still have lots of mass. Yes, they get away with it, but stealth doesn’t mean immaterial (you still have to cover three really, really big rocks with it).

Ever since that moment, the owners act like they can’t figure out what was taken? What? It was stealthy so now that it’s gone, you can’t figure out what was there in the first place? You don’t have cargo manifests? You don’t have lot assignments? I guess it’s to keep the readers from figuring out too soon that the radical Free Navy version of the OPA run by Filip’s Daddy Marco Inaros is going to drop a bunch of rocks on Earth.

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“Time’s Abyss” Comes Out Next Month!

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Promotional image for “Time’s Abyss.”

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Last April, I announced that my novella Time’s Abyss was available for pre-order at Amazon for delivery to your Kindle device on October 15, 2021. That’s just a hair under six weeks now as I write this, and I’m really excited (you can find more links at books2read).

With a word count of over 29,000, this will be my longest published piece. Believe it or not, it can be difficult to sustain a set of characters and a common storyline past “short story” limits, at least for me, so this is a real accomplishment. Sadly, a long-time (in real life) friend of mine who was one of my biggest fans won’t be able to read it. He succumbed to ALS after many years of struggle.

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My Short Story “The Last Astronaut” to be featured in the anthology “Exploring Infinity”

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A few years back, I read Richard Paolinelli’s novel Escaping Infinity, which I subsequently reviewed. I found out that although Richard hadn’t planned on writing a sequel, the novel’s fans kept pestering him about it. So he did, or rather, he will, in the forthcoming book “Expanding Infinity.” 

However, in between this and that, he invited authors to write a series of short stories for an anthology he is calling Exploring Infinity. Technically, with a hotel blipping in and out of 5,000 years of human history, kidnapping people to repopulate a devastated Earth in the far future, there must be a lot of stories to tell. Pre-order it at Amazon.

For me, there was only one: “The Last Astronaut.” I mentioned this just a few days ago. It takes the events in Richard’s novel and does a Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead on the original material (a play first staged in 1966 which I first found out about through a Shakespeare-obsessed friend in the late 1970s).

My character Booker Robinson is the observer of the events in Richard’s novel, but by the end of the story, he becomes much more than that. In Richard’s introduction to my story, he says:

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Another Short Story About to be Published in the Anthology…

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This is one of those things I really want to talk about but I can’t give out too many details yet. The publisher hasn’t given me the green light to name names, but one of my short stories has been accepted in an anthology that should become available the weekend after Labor Day (or so).

It’s a tad unusual. The publisher wrote a novel and thus created a universe. He’s writing a sequel to that novel, but in-between the first and the second, he invited various writers to try their/our hand at crafting a short tale in that self-same universe.

So of course I did and it was accepted.

The graphic at the top is a heavily cropped image of the poster for all three books, and while it’s pretty colorful, it (hopefully) reveals nothing.

I will provide you with a bit of an excerpt just to whet your whistle, metaphorically speaking.

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Book Review of “Cibola Burn,” the Fourth in the “Expanse” Series

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Last night, I finished Cibola Burn (2015), which is the fourth book in The Expanse novel series by James S.A. Corey (Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck). As with the previous novel Abaddon’s Gate, it was a little difficult for me to get into at first, but once I was hooked, I was hooked hard.

The general plot is pretty straightforward. Now that the Ring is operational and the gateways to other parts of the galaxy are open, a group of belter refugees took their ship on an unauthorized journey through a gate and ended up in another solar system. For a year, they’ve been colonizing Ilus (called New Terra by the UN) and have set up mining facilities. However, the UN has chartered the Royal Charter Energy (RCE) corporation to both scientifically explore and materially exploit the world, seeing the settlers as “squatters.”

A small group of settlers, including Basia Metron who we briefly saw in Caliban’s War (yes, people who have appeared before come back) planning to blow up the landing pad for the RCE ship’s big shuttle as a protest don’t realize the shuttle is on final approach. In trying to abort the explosion, Basia sets it off, either killing or terribly wounding everyone on board including the UN appointed regional governor.

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Book Review of “Abaddon’s Gate,” the Third in the “Expanse” Series

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“Abaddon’s Gate” by James S.A. Corey

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Finished reading Abaddon’s Gate by James S.A. Corey (Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) which is the third in the Expanse series. It was a little harder for me to get into at first, unlike Leviathan Wakes or Caliban’s War. Starting things off with Jim Holden and the crew of the Rocinante drinking and gambling in the casinos of Ceres didn’t set the right tone for me, at least not in the beginning.

Also, there was the plethora of new characters to absorb. True, each of these novels introduces characters unique to a particular book, but this one seemed to have a ton, including Anna, Bull, Tilly, Cortez, and Clarissa/Melba, and that’s just the short list.

Since each chapter is told from a specific person’s point of view, I had to keep reminding myself who that person was in the earlier portions of the novel. It was a tad “offputting.”

Oh, and Joe Miller makes a comeback but not as you might imagine, thanks to he, Julie Mao, the asteroid Eros, and the protomolecule all being thrown into the atmosphere of Venus, “cooking” for a while, and then having “something” emerge.

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Rejection and Feedback

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Found at typinglounge.com – No image credit given

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Random stuff.

I haven’t been writing much lately. Okay, I haven’t been writing anything new at all. I do technical writing for my day job of course, and I just finished yet another freelance job updating/refreshing test questions at the back a technology book (it’s actually more interesting than it sounds, pays pretty well, and has a quick turnaround).

What I have  been doing is submitting previously rejected short stories to different publishers, actually trying for more “mainstream” periodicals.

This is where the rejection part comes in. One story is basically urban fantasy/crime story (I’ve just submitted it yet again, so we’ll see) and the other is a sort of “pirates in space” tale, complete with oppressive colonizers, revenge, and swashbuckling. I even included a fictionalized version of a famous author.

The vast, vast majority of time when you get those rejection emails, they’re pretty standard fare and offer no feedback good, bad, or indifferent. This last one did:

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Review of “Doom Patrol” Season Two

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Promotional image for the second season of Doom Patrol

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I finished watching season 2 of the Doom Patrol TV show last night. As I mentioned in my review of season 1, the show is available as a set of DVDs at my local public library.

The show remains heavily based on many of the later issues of the comic book, which means it’s even more bizarre than when I was reading it as a kid in the 1960s and 70s.

Season 2 picks up where season 1 left off with the “Patrol” including Cyborg/Vic (Joivan Wade) and the Chief’s/Niles Caulder’s (Timothy Dalton) daughter Dorothy (Abigail Shapiro) shrunk down to “Ant-Man” size after their escape from Mr. Nobody (Alan Tudyk) in the “White Space.” They end up living on Robotman’s/Cliff’s (Brendan Fraser) large model race car track which includes tents and various other structures.

The team is still shaken by the revelation that the horrible accidents that left each one of them disfigured, ruining their former lives, were directly engineered by the Chief in his attempt to uncover the secret of immortality. They are all just failed experiments.

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Review of “Doom Patrol” Season One

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Promotional image for season 1 of “Doom Patrol”

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Okay, so I just finished watching Season 1 of the Doom Patrol television show. I noticed that seasons 1 and 2 of the show were available as DVDs at my local public library and I thought, “what the heck?”

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My Greatest Adventure issue 80.

Actually, as a kid, I really enjoyed the old Doom Patrol comic book. First featured in “My Greatest Adventure” comic title issue 80 (June 1963), it chronicled the saga of three misfits forged into a superhero team by scientist/genius Niles Caulder, also called “The Chief.” The original team was made up of Robotman (Cliff Steele), a race car driver who was in an accident so horrific that only his brain survived. The Chief put that brain in a robot body. Elasti-Girl was originally actress Rita Farr who, filming on location, was exposed to a volcanic gas enabling her to grow to giant size or to shrink into a tiny form. Negative Man was test pilot Larry Trainor who flew his rocket plane into a radiation belt. The plane crashed, and Larry discovered that not only was he permanently radioactive, but for sixty seconds, he could project a negative image of himself that could travel at the speed of light and had amazing abilities. The only trick is that N-Man has to get back inside Larry’s body before the minute is up or Larry dies and N-Man disintegrates.

In looking up the full history of the comic book (see above link), I saw that it had gotten a whole lot stranger than it first started out.

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