Review of “Mara’s Awakening”

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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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Where Are the Families in Science Fiction?

lost in spaceNot long ago, I read a blog post by Caroline Furlong called Why Science Fiction Lacks Mothers and Fathers – and Why This Trend Needs to Change. At the time, I didn’t notice it was first published in July of 2018, but that doesn’t really matter.

Caroline lamented the abysmal lack of supportive parental characters, Moms in particular, in modern works of science fiction. She narrowed down the reason for this from her perspective here:

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Book Review of “On Basilisk Station”

honor

Cover art for David Weber’s “On Basilisk Station”.

In my continued effort to review Baen Publications, I’ve just finished reading the first novel in David Weber‘s “Honor Harrington” series On Basilisk Station.

It was kind of hard to get into. Weber has a tendency to lapse into long pages of dense exposition, which tends to put the reader into one person’s head (more often than not, Honor’s) than into the action.

However, if you can power through that, you finally get to a space opera laced with political intrigue, the dynamics of provincial planetary plotting, and then the climax of classic space battle.

Weber seems to have a background in military strategy, which shows in how he depicts martial activities, both in space and on the planet. However, there were times when life aboard Honor’s ship “Fearless” felt a little like “Star Trek.”

The one thing that would have made his book better would be to cut back on each character seemingly talking too much about themselves. Also, antagonists like Lord Pavel Young and the ultra-wealthy Klaus Hauptman weren’t as prominent or as formidable as I expected them to be based on how they were initially presented.

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“Homeward” Featured in the Deep Space Vol 2 Anthology

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Promotional image for my short story “Homeward” to be featured in Deep Space volume 2

I finally got the “go ahead” to announce that my nearly 10,000 word count science fiction story “Homeward” is being featured in the Black Hare Press anthology Deep Space Volume 2.

Here’s a wee sample:

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The Gods Between and Lucifer

luci

Sphinx cat

This was the last place Jani wanted to be, in the middle of a mob outside some ancient…no, not just an ancient building, but a historical one. It used to be the Capitol of the old United States of America, but that was long ago. The nation fell like all of the other empires before it. The ideals of freedom, unity, and courage were consumed by greed, collectivism, and so-called inclusiveness.

She knew better, but only because it was in her history books.

“Come on, Lucifer. We’ve got to get out of here.”

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Spring Into SciFi 2021 Now Available for Pre-Order

2021

Cover art for the Cloaked Press anthology “Spring into SciFi 2021”

This is it! My short story “Wayback” is being published in the Cloaked Press anthology Spring Into SciFi 2021 Edition.

I’ve been honored to have my stories “The Recall” and “The Colonists” published in the 2019 and 2020 editions respectively. It’s a tremendous joy to me that the editing team over at “Cloaked” think so well of my writing.

However “Wayback” has another special significance. It’s the very first story representing a “steampunk” universe that has already seen the light of day in other anthologies. You can find the continuation of “Wayback” featured in my short stories “The Mechanical Dragon” (which also explains how steam-cold fusion technology is possible) in the Zombie Pirate Publishing anthology Clockwork Dragons and “The Deseret War” which can be found in the Immortal Works anthology A Mighty Fortress.

But before all that, there is “Wayback.”

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Review of Robert Heinlein’s “Starship Troopers”

starship

Cover art for Robert A. Heinlein’s novel “Starship Troopers”

I decided to re-read Robert Heinlein’s 1959 classic Starship Troopers (I probably last read it sometime in the late 1960s or early 70s) because science fiction writer Neal Asher‘s book Prador Moon (which I recently reviewed) was unfavorably compared to it by a few Amazon readers.

I must say Heinlein doesn’t disappoint. “Troopers” remains timeless, or nearly so, but as I understand it (I wouldn’t have picked up on this as a teenager), even in the late 1950s (and so much more now), the book was considered to have numerous controversial elements.

Yes, the idea that only military veterans are allowed to be full citizens with voting rights does go against the grain. However, this novel was Heinlein’s breakout book from “Young Adults” novels. Thus, Heinlein injected (supposedly) his personal perspectives into the world he created. His reasoning relative to citizenship is only a soldier, who is willing to give up his (all ground troops are males and most Navy pilots are females) life for the many of society has the moral and ethical perspective to casts a vote in that society. It’s also why he advocates for a volunteer only Army rather than a draft or compulsory military service for everyone. A volunteer willingly enters that world and can quit at any time during training. If the volunteer makes it to soldier, goes into combat, and remains, then they’ve established themselves as that ethical/moral model.

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The Beat Goes On: Mike Glyer and File 770 Decide to Aim the Laser of Disapproval at Me (I’m such a disappointment)

Well, it’s not every day that Mike Glyer uses his File 770 fanzine to insult me, so I guess I should be honored. I’ve been criticized for being an attention hog (look who’s talking) and for not knowing the various names of SF/F authors involved in the Baen Books forum debate (oh the horror…I didn’t kiss someone’s arse or something).

Anyway, here’s the link to the relevant Pixel Scroll. Scroll down for item 6.

Now here’s the screenshot since things sometimes go “poof” on the internet  (keep on scrolling).

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On Reading Heinlein’s “Starship Troopers” and Baen Books

starship

Cover art for Robert A. Heinlein’s novel “Starship Troopers”

I suppose I should leave this alone, especially after taking quite a bit of criticism, mainly from conservative authors, when I suggested that the left side of the science fiction industry was using the “Baen’s Bar” incident, which I chronicled HERE and HERE, to paint all conservative authors and just plain all conservatives with the same unjust and extremist brush.

However, I also acknowledged that at least some of the things said (or allegedly said, since the accuracy and validity of Jason Sanford’s report has come under dispute) on the forum could foment violence, and this is where I triggered quite a number of people. At this point, the matter has become too muddied for me to make sense of, so I’m going to stop commenting on something I’m not nearly as emotionally invested in as both Baen’s supporters and critics.

Though if indeed, some undisclosed competitor of Baen’s is using up their bag of dirty tricks in an attempt to deplatform a publisher that is just as friendly to conservative science fiction writers as it is to more liberal and socialist authors, it’s a pretty low deed.

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Book Review of “All Systems Red”

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Cover art for “All Systems Red” by Martha Wells

First the “official reviews” including praise for the author’s other works:

“I love Murderbot!” ―Ann Leckie, author of Ancillary Justice

“The Murderbot series is a heart-pounding thriller that never lets up, but it’s also one of the most humane portraits of a nonhuman I’ve ever read. Come for the gunfights on other planets, but stay for the finely drawn portrait of a deadly robot whose smartass goodness will give you hope for the future of humanity.” ―Annalee Newitz, author of Autonomous

“Clever, inventive, brutal when it needs to be, and compassionate without ever being sentimental.” ―Kate Elliott, author of the Spirit Walker trilogy

“Endearing, funny, action-packed, and murderous.” ―Kameron Hurley, author of The Stars are Legion

“Not only a fun, fast-paced space-thriller, but also a sharp, sometimes moving character study that will resonate with introverts even if they’re not lethal AI machines.” ―Malka Older, author of Infomocracy

“We are all a little bit Murderbot.”―NPR

“Wells gives depth to a rousing but basically familiar action plot by turning it into the vehicle by which SecUnit engages with its own rigorously denied humanity.” ―Publishers Weekly starred review

“I already can’t wait for the next one.” ―The Verge

“Meet your favorite depressed A.I. since Marvin.” ―B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog

“A great kick-off for a continuing series.” ―Locus

“Wells imbued Murderbot with extraordinary humanity, and while this is a fun read, don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s not a profound one.”―LA Times

The Cloud Roads has wildly original world-building, diverse and engaging characters, and a thrilling adventure plot. It’s that rarest of fantasies: fresh and surprising, with a story that doesn’t go where ten thousand others have gone before. I can’t wait for my next chance to visit the Three Worlds!” ―N. K. Jemisin, author of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

And as far as author Martha Wells’ awards:

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