A fun tribute to a legend of literature with a sci-fi twist
Imagine a theme park in the near future based upon the works of Jane Austen, combine that with a science fiction edge and you get this fun blend of tribute and sci-fi. Think ‘Westworld’ meets ‘Pride and Prejudice’ with some cool references to literature.
When androids in the park start to act strange and glitchy it is up to technician ‘Jennette Clayton’ to fix them. Events take a turn for the weird as certain robot characters start wandering from their usual places and some even start crying – even if they don’t have that function built in. For a short read, Joan I. Wendland manages to tell a fun story that kept me turning pages until the end. Robots and theme parks are a great combination and with a little Austen, you can’t got wrong.
The Quantum series returns and with it the resistance grows
It has been a while since I last read a book in the Quantum series and I’m glad to see Christina Engela is on form yet again to deliver an immersive brand of sci-fi. With the usual humour and occasional stab at the forces who chose not to embrace inclusivity there’s a relevant and meaningful social commentary here. Much like most of Engela’s stories they contain heroes of all backgrounds – a positive and modern choice while also being quite enjoyable.
‘On Deanna, a seed had been planted, a sinister, malevolent seed…’
These heroes are spread around the planet of Deanna which has been taken over by a totalitarian regime who have supressed the diverse inhabitants. This story lays out their movements in creating a force for resistance and they’ll do everything they can to fight back from this suppressive regime. From dealing with local mobsters to gain equipment to even meddling with the concept of the time space continuum – time travel in this series is a focal point and a vessel that will hopefully guide Deanna to freedom. There are even vampires so all of the cool story bases are covered here.
Underground Movement is an appropriate title for a book which recaps the series so far with some returning faces like ‘Fred the Arborian’ and ‘Gary Beck the Badfeller’ plus many more while also paving a way for what is to come. Enjoyable and immersive.
A sophisticated deep-dive into the world of quantum mechanics with original concepts
Henry Cox has delivered his most sophisticated story yet and tackles the world of quantum mechanics by way of clever and original story telling. This really is a deep dive into the theory of all things quantum partnered with concepts I’ve not seen explored in fiction before.
The ‘Deceit’ series continues to grow with this latest edition that fuses history, memory, time and genetics while also retaining a thrilling spy theme as ‘Benjamin Oliver’ a retired lawyer returns to his spy roots in what becomes a rescue mission. He isn’t the only recurring character back as this series starts to become a genre in its own right with previous ‘Deceit’ stories intermingling. How the reader gets there is a journey of clever scientific theory combined with Cox’s brand of thriller that reads very much like high end fiction. We’re taken through different eras of time as ancestors and how their story relates to the present day characters unfolds with a blend of language and events delivered in a unique way.
The quantum concepts explored within have a lot of depth and theory which gives a feeling of sophistication and this is exactly what stories like this should be – clever and also thought provoking. Technology and data is out there and in certain hands can be dangerous or even wild – especially so when big business is involved. This is definitely a story that lives up to the title by having a way of playing with the reader’s mind into thinking one way but then taking you on another unexpected path.
‘From ancient times to the present, despite its pure definition, science has always been the prisoner of politics, religion, and even the created dogma of academics, in the name of science – often influenced by the purse. The theory of human evolution has become an academic theology, despite its provable inconsistences.’
A great third book by Henry Cox – I feel cleverer for reading it and that’s a feeling I haven’t had for many years and that’s exactly what this book should do.
Assassin’s linked by their minds seeking redemption through the ChaosNova Universe
The space sci-fi ChaosNova Universe is back and this time tells the tale of two ‘Reclaimers’ who are uniquely linked by their minds and find themselves on a journey.
‘Luna’ and ‘Rogue’ and two very different characters who are banded together in the universe and work as assassins but their latest mission takes them on another path – from being set up to hitching a ride to then eventually being incarcerated but given an option for redemption. Their punishment becomes a mission and their freedom is at stake. An original concept and focus in the story is how these two characters communicate telepathically and it is delivered in a unique way. They use this communication method to talk, fight, get in/out of the occasional bit of trouble and eventually succeed.
Combined with the high end space sci-fi universe already established in ChaosNova universe it makes for an action laced space story with a difference. There is some great description and sequences in this story that is perfect for anyone who enjoys space sci-fi.
‘Rogue strode along the corridor, her movements rendered staccato by the strobing light, like a series of still images strung together…’
Well-written imaginative and original space sci-fi
Alan K. Dell presents a well-written imaginative and original space sci-fi novella that follows a ship navigated by an intelligent bird-like race known as the Phori.
After this ship, known as the ‘Qesh’Kal’ intercepts a probe from an old satellite network the crew come to realise one particular satellite is self-aware and has even evolved. ‘Satellite 17’ becomes a personality on the ship and even begins to bother the crew by occasionally interfering while also exploring the concept of ‘Synthetic Evolution’. Ultimately, ‘Sev’ becomes a vital part of the ship and even helps during a potential siege from ‘Ancient Wanderers’.
With some wonderful description and plenty of new terminology for the genre (the glossary makes a fun addition) any fan of space sci-fi or action will enjoy this one and it certainly immersed me. I’d definitely be interested in reading the further books set in this universe.
‘A nervous anticipation hung in the hallway, the only sounds being the occasional cough or shuffle of clothing. An oppressive darkness replaced the corridor’s usual warmth…’
Unique, descriptive and original
When new recruit ‘Ford’ arrives on a desolate planet to report for duty at ‘Woestynn’ prison, it appears he may have bitten off more than he can chew and this short but unique story follows his journey.
E.M. McConnell presents this original tale with some cool concepts and wonderful description that kept me reading and I completed this experience in just a few late night sittings. The idea of a prison that requires inmates to earn their rehabilitation is an interesting concept that could easily be explored in further tales or even expanded and the same goes for the main character’s journey from intimidated newbie to someone with an applied mind to make better of everyone’s situation. The descriptive vibes in this book are its true strength and McConnell’s writing style is very much on display here in this sci-fi/dystopian story set in an original universe.
‘…the desert sand and winds took the brightness off everything. We all became matte, dusty…’
A quick-to-read and fun post-apocalyptic action adventure...
When ‘Raven’ wakes up with no memories his path is quickly revealed in the post-apocalyptic setting he must navigate to find answers. On that journey he befriends a robot, gets attacked by wild animals and finds difficulty in trusting anyone as slowly pieces together what happened to the world he now resides in.
With no recollection of the apocalyptic events that unfolded some years previous our hero travels this new but familiar world littered with reminders of those events. Abandoned places, vehicles and those left behind to fend for themselves. There were some fun moments throughout this short but action laced story where one man must try to find answers – from befriending a robot to joining a band of renegade soldiers who may or may not help the cause. John Prescott gives every character a fun level of charm that could easily be seen in a popular action film or video game but who is ‘Raven’? There are answers and even some interesting flashback moments or echoes, all enough to entice me to continue this journey for the next book soon.
‘The most disturbing wrecks were the ones still containing human remains. Drivers leaned halfway out of their stalled vehicles. The unforgiving desert mummified them, forcing their dried mouths into unrelenting screams that echoed ten years on…’
A space sci-fi tale of one salvager and his thoughts which are uniquely alive…
After a journey through the depths of space ‘Salvor Gupta’ returns to homestead for his day to get a lot longer and he isn’t alone with his thoughts. Through plenty of description and atmosphere we are introduced to a world beyond our own planet and much like Earth there are those who cannot be trusted while others are trying to make an honest buck.
From the very start we are introduced to ‘Merv’; an AI implant providing heads up display, navigation and personality beside Gupta’s thoughts giving this space sci-fi tale a unique spin. From what could have been quite a solitary one dimensional affair is instead the complete opposite. With shades of ‘2001: Space Odyssey’ this computer for the most part means well but also has a conflicting history that is discovered providing an interesting dynamic for the main character and his AI counterpart who also feels much like a real person. He can sometimes be funny and literal while also being a saving grace in the long run.
After a brief stay on homestead, revelation and then discovery take us on the path of deception, the unexpected and a kind of race against time – throughout Matthew Villeneuve brings his world to life through practical explanation and first person narration which is the strength of this story.
Eileen’s Promise is a fun, original space romp of one salvager and the ever so alive voice in his head as they work together in hunting down a lost resource that may be vital to those in need. If placed in the wrong hands the implications would certainly be disastrous and so the moral dilemma of responsibility sits at the heart of everything. From what has been introduced here could easily make for a wider universe I’d love to see more from.
4 Stars – This Review First Premiered via Reedsy Discovery
In The Caverns an ancient evil lurks…
In the small rural town of Linston an ancient evil lurks and suddenly awakens with a whole bunch of mystery. When The Caverns; a tourist hotspot and only real economic attraction of the place begins to swallow people it soon becomes both a problem and a media circus.
What is the evil? Although deadly it has no real physical manifestation and gets into the heads of everyone in town including a group of friends who just happen to be there for a curious visit to the Linston Caverns on a road trip of sorts. There’s a good mix of cliché fun and conflict here as the town drunk lays down fair warning whilst the money driven people in charge of the attraction push to keep it open no matter how many lives are taken. Locals don’t appreciate anyone from the outside with a prying nature that may damage the towns reputation and combined with the harrowing events a perfect storm ensues. There’s a wide group of characters, some a just bit-part throwaways subjected to the evils of what lies below and others that carry the story.
For those who enjoy mystery horror with a hint of humour and the unexpected, you’ll definitely find it here.
An exploration themed sci-fi novella not of this world…
Leon Stevens combines a unique mix of adventure, exploration and sci-fi in this intriguing novella that see’s a pair of hikers find their way into another world. At the heart of the story is a problem-solving theme that runs alongside adventure.
From figuring out how high a cliff is to deciphering alien language and maps, this world they explore becomes more intriguing as the story unfolds. The premise is original and full of mystery throughout where most chapters finish with a moment where readers will want to keep reading. A seemingly deserted place creates intrigue and even a sense of eerie atmosphere that kept me interested throughout. I would have liked to have seen a little more from both characters in terms of character depth but their chemistry together works well to tell their tale of exploration and fun.
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