Review: The Coming by Joe Haldeman


Publisher: Open Road

Publishing Date: December, 2000

ISBN: 9781504039581

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 1.0/5

Publishers Description: Despite technological advancements designed to alleviate the stress of everyday life, Earth at the midpoint of the twenty-first century is plagued by environmental crisis and manmade catastrophe. Tensions among the nations of Europe bring the threat of World War III closer by the hour as their lands are also ravaged by devastating climatic upheaval, the result of centuries of unchecked ozone depletion and global warming.

Review: Sometimes I wonder where certain sayings and colloquialisms come from. Take, “Sux Ballz” for instance. We know that this is derogative in nature as implied by the usage in everyday vernacular. You wouldn’t use it when offering light opinions of descriptive happenstance, like “Suzy is skipping rope, that Sux Ballz” or ” Jimmy helped that old lady cross the street, he Sux Ballz”. Now if applied directly to an action, certain persons, myself included, might find getting our balls sucked rather enjoyable and those that are doing the ball sucking must have some level of enjoyment or are rather ambivalent about the whole ball sucking affair. I think it is strictly hetero in usage as in why would any sane male suck balls.

So where does that leave us and what has that got to do with this review?  Adam is married to Aurora Bell and likes to suck balls.  Qabil is a policeman and also likes to suck balls, specifically Adams balls. This novel sucked balls. One reviewer put it best, that there is this annoying revolving point of view that changes from chapter to chapter. Personally I think that this should have been a novel about sucking balls around cups of coffee. Every chapter is riddled with referents to coffee. Getting it, pouring it, tasting it, evaluating it, meeting around it, leaving it, picking it up, swirling it, mixing it, ordering it and describing it in infinite detail. Cafe’ con leche (espresso mixed with scalded milk) is repeatedly pandered about in smug fashion.

I really think this was a story about the author and his wife. Smart, hot professor and genius-composer-musician-war vet-ball suckler. Every chapter is this boring rendition of everyday occurrences with some weirdly inserted action that makes no sense to the storyline. The ending let’s you really know that you wasted the last few hours of your life.

A good read while getting your balls sucked.

Review: Break the Chains by Megan E. O’Keefe


Publisher: Angry Robot

Publishing Date: October 2016

ISBN: 9780857664945

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.7/5

Publishers Description: As the city that produces the most selium – that precious gas that elevates airships and powers strange magic – Hond Steading is a jewel worth stealing. To shore up the city’s defenses, Detan promises his aunt that he’ll recover Nouli, the infamous engineer who built the century gates that protect the imperial capital of Valathea. But Nouli is imprisoned on the Remnant Isles, an impervious island prison run by the empire, and it’s Detan’s fault. 

Review: Wow, that cover art is hideous.  The preface in this novel is a consortium of accolades from reviewers, both paid and not, that herald “Steal the Sky“. Which is cool but has nothing to do with “Break the Chains“. It is hard to follow up the genius rendered in Steal the Sky but O’keefe does a good job bringing beloved characters back to life for a second round.

Expectations for a follow up novel that wowed like the first, fell short. There is nothing that gathers excitement in Break as nobody goes anywhere. Detan and crew get into some scrapes and bounce around but there is no quest that generates an interest in new discoveries. The other half of this novel is about Ripka and her life in prison with minor twists and turns. Mostly Ripka flounces around from one event to another while waiting for events to culminate. The problem is you’re left waiting as well. Phrasing rears it’s ugly head with shiver, shivered and shivering used 21x.

I still really liked this novel perhaps founded on a love of the first and here is to hoping that it gets off the pot in the third.  

Review: Wrong Side of Hell By Sonya Bateman


Publisher: Sonya Bateman

Publishing Date: January 2016

ISBN: 9781523672127

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.9/5

Publishers Description: Hauling dead people around Manhattan is all in a day’s work for body mover Gideon Black. He lives in his van, talks to corpses, and occasionally helps the police solve murders. His life may not be normal, but it’s simple enough.

Review: Boy, am I late to the party on this one. Scads of reviews out there already, that are mostly glowing. I think each reviewer nuzzled up to the authors butt in order to get some brown time. “Was that necessary?”.  Yeah, maybe…….well whenever every reviewer spans the critical chasm without discernment (jumps on band wagon) I am immediately suspect. So I sorted the reviews and found that there were 16 chicken shits that ranked it as a two, but not a one written review. What we can generally learn from reviews prior to reading the novel is a sense of what will either interest us or repel. Say, if I am perusing a Scifi novel and find that there is a gushy love tribangle (yes, triBangle) between humans with no alien element, then meh.  Add in that if it is forbidden that a Fookyarnian female in the throes of Markya avail herself of the nearest male-pole in order to relieve her tentacled naughty bits without the Rangled Foo, then I am all in.

So where does that leave us with Wrong Side of Hell? Viscerally, I liked it. Technically it was ok. Believability ….pushing it. Character development, average in its entirety. Storyline pretty good. So lets shjtpick this fooker like a real critic so every writer out there can hate me even more as I trample upon their identities.

Gideon was a well developed character, and as you move with him through the story line, the self-discovery is a tangible thing where you can almost at times be the character. Gideon more than makes up for the lack of development of the supporting cast that seemed like they were assigned roles in a play. “You, yeah the tall skinny kid. You’re gonna play the bogey man…why? Cause you’re skinny and scary looking. No need to try out for anything else.”. Initially the story line was great and moved at a good pace. Then at about 2/3 of the way through, the story line begins to become compressed and a bit rushed. Gideon’s self discovery goes from a well paced and driven novel to a random assortment of events tied to a rushed ending. A substantial portion of Gideon’s story is based on his adoptive family torturing him his entire life. This Hillbilly poacher-hunter clan regularly hunts Gideon and shoots him with real bullets for sport. They burn him and generally behave badly in his direction.  For the moment forget the ludicrous idea that he has been getting shot since he was a little child. Wouldn’t Gideon be fucked up as an adult as the result of this mistreatment? Like, serial killer type fucked up?  But what we find is a rather glib and deeply caring person that will risk his life for others he doesn’t know. Gideon now lives in a van mostly to avoid being found by the Hillbilly clan. Really? How are the Hillbilly’s going to find him let alone do anything to him, and why would they care since they wanted to drown him as an infant?

This was a solid three stars. It had upsides and downsides, mainly with story line compression and character development. As an independently published author this is amazing work and really needs a major publisher in order to take advantage of a professional editor. Or maybe she just needs an honest professional assessment of the novel entire. This work was an easy 4 stars with a cohesive story line.


Review: The Fabled Oak by Simon Clark


Publisher: Venture Press

Publishing Date: July 2016

ISBN: 9781535591713

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.4/5

Publishers Description:  Byron and his team are in Wales investigating an ancient tree that the children of a hippy commune claim harbors a wicked spirit. Too afraid to play outside, the young boys and girls of Summer Moon Camp tell Byron of a monster made from the leaves, moss and bark of their once beloved tree.  

Review: A short read that follows the serialized adventures of a modern day paranormal investigation team. This time there is an old haunted oak tree that resides in the midst of a modernized commune.

This was very entertaining and I was surprised at the depth of character development in so short a novella. The movement is constant and revolves around the inter-play between the characters and the haunting.  It helped that the haunting had a human element. There is an excerpt at the end for their next adventure that looks even more entertaining.

I identified with Kit as he hates monkeys and is paranoid that it may attack him. Plus they are dirty and carry all types of diseases. Get this, you will have fun.

Review: Rex by Rita Stradling


Publisher: Victory Editing

Publishing Date: October 2016

ISBN: 9780991082216

Genre: Fantasy


Publishers Description: Suspended from working as a tax collector in her draconic family’s protection racket, Dakota is assigned a secret mission from her grandfather. A foreign queen has offered a grave insult to Dakota’s grandfather by running a vampire dinner cruise off the coast of the Mabiian Islands, and his retribution must be swift. 

Review: This is made for the YA/Hipster crowd and/or the romance reader as the reviews are mainly in that direction (if you know what I mean). Everyone has super speshully talents and our heroine, Dakota (really?) is hot and in high school and the big Rex prince-dude wants to bang her.

While the writing is technically sound there were some issues with phrasing to expedite the scenes (actually 58x, growled 18x) and the story line lacked depth with the usual betrayals and near death experiences. The characters never fully develop because they can’t. If you’re already super hot looking with special talents the only way to go is down. So Dakota is never fully realized as a character because she is too busy shjtting daisies and getting her neck sucked on. 

There is a dumb love-triangle that will soon manifest itself as the focal point in successive novels. I will even bet the author on that. Although Dakota retains a good sense of self, she still gets chills and thrills from the two man-hunks which drives this novel into the tattered realms of YA romance novels, which are cheap and tawdry by design. Dakota had her life as an agent/operative/enforcer for her family and might have been well served by continuing with that story line- as an independent young woman without all the additive gunk.


Review: The Gate To Futures Past by Julie E. Czerneda


Publisher: DAW

Publishing Date: September 2016

ISBN: 9780756408701

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 1.7/5

Publishers Description: …I’d lived on a starship long enough to value the small sounds the Fox made: the whoosh of air through vents, the bone-deep growl of lift engines, and the reassuring almost-whine that meant not only gravity, but that we were moving through subspace under power….”

Review: “zzzzzzzz…wha? gibmoodle?” Oh, right. I am awake. Don’t cha hate it when you step into a novel and suddenly find yourself one step short in understanding a universe that was built years ago in successive novels that have nothing to do with the current story line? Good writers know how to include the new reader and can make an acceptable and seamless transition to believability. Not so much here.

Smug by definition is ” having or showing an excessive pride in oneself or one’s achievements.”. So everyone initially bought into your world and you thought “Hey, I am great and creative so I mayswell expand this universe into every novel that I write, right?”. So now you have a finite readership, or generally force new readers to buy all 1,500 of your previous novels in order to “catch up”. Well I fucking refuse. Grant the new reader to your world the courtesy to join in happy escapism without a fooking alien dictionary and relentless jabbering non-sensical backstory.

“Oh, my hair writhes about when he’s near…ooh, I can teleport here and there because my clan escaped the rangled foo in outer dipshitshalon 3,000 yarntarns past…these droolcanbies are beneath my cunsfazeers as they went against the palasharsararars in the volucmn wars and forever cloistered the faks in hand to hand combat…” Welcome to my world.

Review: Transference by R. D. Overby


Publisher: R. D. Overby

Publishing Date: May 2016

ISBN:  9781532843402

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 1.6/5

Publishers Description: Beth is dying. Her father has been funding the science meant to give her a second chance at life, but they have encountered nothing but failure. 

Review: I am not quite sure why this novel received the accolades that it did, but to be fair there are not a lot of reviews on it as of late.

To say this was well written is a given, technically. However the storyline was more boring than a bag of hammers and if given the chance, those said hammers would bludgeon you senseless. You might find yourself wandering the streets in shit stained underwear asking yourself in Byrne “How did I get here?”. The pseudo-science is hokey. They can transfer consciousness into another body but really don’t know how they do it. The mystery is dumb and makes no sense because really, why would anyone do that. And it all takes place in a boring hospital. The character development is woefully absent and while some of the characters change, the abruptness of that change does not coincide with patterns built prior. So, all of a sudden you’re a psycho when throughout the novel we were privy to your inner ruminations that hinted at none of this? Not likely. The ending leaves this vague big brother impression upon the reader where no one is safe from the diabolical MEMORY CHANGERS, MUAHAHAHA!!!! 

So the author is working on finishing the second novel in this series. Really? A series? Anywaaay, this novel or better yet, the next novel needs a big story line reset. Even a good infusion of movement tied to the characters would develop an interesting shift. Embracing different places outside the jaundiced and sterile walls of a research clinic would also elevate this series out of the mundane.


Review: In The Blackness Of Space by Robert Kuntz


Publisher: Pelican Group

Publishing Date: August 2014

ISBN: 9781611163209

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 4.4/5

Publishers Description: Severely abused as a child, Dr. Grant Chapman is a multi-phobic computer genius who believes in NASA’s mission to far space, but is too afraid to make the trip. His best friend—NASA rogue, con artist, and trouble-shooter, Billy Jepler—drugs Grant and launches him into space.  

 Review: To say Grant is too afraid to go into space is underselling the character. The dude walked 1,000 miles to go to a new job because he won’t ride in cars, trains or planes due to phobias stemming from childhood trauma. If he even thinks about doing any of those things he blacks out. And will keep on blacking out upon waking. This guy is fupped up beyond belief. So when he is shanghaied into space to replace a computer whiz that got sick, he is suddenly in the worst place he can be for his type of phobia…nothing under his feet but empty space. Or is it empty?

When Grant awakens he finds all the crew members dead and must overcome a constant urge to blackout in order to maintain life support systems. What follows is a wonderful discovery of inner-strength and spirituality that transforms a once maudlin character into a kind of hero whom finds his place amongst the stars. 

Review: Diadem From The Stars by Jo Clayton


Publisher: Open Road

Publishing Date: August 2016 (1977)

ISBN: 9781504038393

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 4.0/5

Publishers Description: Raised, but never loved, by the barbarian valley people of Jaydugar, a planet of two suns, young Aleytys has always known she did not belong. Abandoned by her space-traveling mother and barely tolerated by a superstitious primitive tribe fearful of divine reprisals, Aleytys is forced to flee for her life following the catastrophic appearance of a fireball in the sky.

Review: As usual, Jo Clayton delivers an epic scifi novel that is built around superb characterization and world building. Aleytys, the offspring from what I would call a rape, as her father the head clan leader buys her mother from a slaver for a bunch of horses. Her mother is an off world alien as are most of the residents on Jaydugar. Before her mother leaves the clan, she shows her alien powers and promises destruction if anything should befall her daughter. Fast forward 16 years and young Aleytys is considered bad luck, and as an omen shoots across the sky, the superstitious people seek to burn her at the stake prompting her to follow a map that her mother left for her.

The character development is great as it rides in consummate fashion with the movement and Aleytys grows into herself as trials rise to the fore while on her quest to find her mother. The disparate communities are thoughtfully done as are the changing landscapes and the endemic wildlife. There is some weird shjt that skirts the edges of believability but doesn’t wander too far off an ingrained story line.

A reboot from the science fiction 70’s, Jo Clayton’s Diadem still delivers decades later and her work will always remain relevant.

Review: The History Major By M.P. Cash


Publisher: Chelshire

Publishing Date: November 2015

ISBN: 9781518893797

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 1.5/5

Publishers Description: After a vicious fight with her boyfriend followed by a night of heavy partying, college freshman Amanda Greene wakes up in her dorm room to find things are not the same as they were yesterday.

Review: A short novella that follows the self-indulgent and hopelessly myopic and narcissistic life of a coed that constantly rails about her boyfriend Paaatwick.  See, she wakes up hungover after a fight with hunky Patwick and has to go to history class where she learns about Joan of Arc, Lucrezia Borgia all from a man named Totle.  Blah, blah, blah…continuum of learning…blah, life lessons and we are done.  The Assault Rifle rears its liberal head in the this novella as well. It is labeled so by liberals when in fact, AR stands for Armalite Rifle Co.

There really is no character development in this novella in spite of the ego centric world that revolves around Amanda. Additionally, the authors take on Lucrezia Borgia is antiquated and at best, false. Lucrezia was not the poisoner in her family. Her brother, Cardinal Cesare is likely the family assassin while Lucrezia was used to curry favor and power through different marriages. She was lauded by Pope Leon X for her character and pawned all her valuables during the famine of Ferrara to feed the poor and publicly washed the feet of 160 peasants. She died at age 39 with about 8 children. Sound like a poisoner?