Book Review: The Quantum Garden by Derek Künsken

 

Publishing Date: October 2019

Publisher: Solaris

ISBN:9781781085714

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 4.8/5

Publisher’s Description: Days ago, Belisarius pulled off the most audacious con job in history. He’s rich, he’s back with the love of his life, and best of all, he has the Time Gates, arguably the most valuable things in existence. Nothing could spoil this……except the utter destruction of his people and the world they lived on. To save them, he has to make a new deal with the boss he just double-crossed, to travel back in time and work his quantum magic once again, tracking down the source of the wormholes.
If he can avoid detection, dodge paradox and stay ahead of the eerie, relentless Scarecrow, he might just get back to his own time alive.

Review: Much like the Quantum Magician, this does not disappoint. Since I loved this novel let’s pick on the points that were a bit weak. The story line was too carefully planned, almost as if every instance is predicated on a definitive outcome. There just weren’t any surprises. Perhaps I have grown used to the writing style in so much that what was once random and surprising is now a bit patterned.

This author does a fantastic job at world building while deftly weaving an intricate story line. There is a sense of optimism coupled with an an underlying unease that creates a pull for the characters to succeed. The alieness of worlds is touched upon with some explanatory infusion and brings great depth to the scenes as they develop.

SciFi is hard to come by these days what with romance writers taking a big smelly shjt in the genre, but GOOD SciFi is really hard to come by and this author nails it….every time.

 

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Book Review: Remnant by Daniel Peyton

 

Publisher: Books Go Social

Publishing Date: July 2019

ISBN:9781620209844

Genre: SciFi

Rating: DNF

Publishers Description: The year is 2522. Anna is a Remnant—a secret Christian in a world that has banned any form of religion. She is also an astro-geologist working with her Robot, named Z, for the Planetary Science Commission. The PSC has worked for 200 years to find alien life on another planet, and finally, after two centuries, a primitive lifeform has been discovered. Faced with the reality of evolved primitives on a forested moon, Anna begins to question all she has ever believed.

Review: In the author’s note, he states that Christianity is a vital part of this novel and that faith is the most profound part of the heroines journey. Did not really find the depth of faith, or even the Christian message in this work. What I found was a kind of dystopian society run by petty zealots that were not believable in any way, shape or form. Additionally, as a main character, Anna is a whiney, myopic cry baby that somehow gets her way in all things while being totally clueless.

The very idea that because someone cries on a bible and then teaches the written word to an alien cat she has sex with, IS NOT A CHRISTIAN MESSAGE.  I really don’t know if they had sex, but once the make out scene started I stopped reading.  The novel resides about 50% of the time following worldly political pursuits (are not our answers found elsewhere?) in the form of Cruella deVille (Jessie) and Dr. Evil (Richard Skye).

There is no scripture here, no deeper message of faith that makes you think about your place in the universe and all that is unseen but wholly evident in a life. To be blunt this story is about a slut that has the hots for an alien. Oh, and a tear soaked bible with a convenient robot buddy to expedite the story line. I would skip this work and read Heinlein’s, “Stranger in a Strange Land“.

Book Review: The Jumpgate by Robert Stadnik

Publisher: Author Buzz

Publishing Date: August 2019

ISBN: 9781077530942

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 1.4/5

Publishers Description: After being trapped within the solar system for nearly a century, humanity is finally free to explore the galaxy. But questions still remain about the aliens that oppressed them. Where did they come from? Why did they come to the Milky Way galaxy? The opportunity to uncover those answers finally presents itself. But is anyone brave enough to go through…the jumpgate.

Review: Not a lot of reviews out there yet, just a couple of sycophants re-iterating the novel entire. This novels main hang up was the inter play between the characters. I really doubt that officers in an inter-stellar and in-system navy, as high as the admiralty would behave like petty children.  Developing confrontations where none should logically exist is just a vehicle to create ready made drama.

The main plot just didn’t ring true with a star gate that is suddenly mastered and enabled to operate. The idea that a captain goes rogue for personal reasons is just too lame to contemplate. The aliens are never adequately described for new readers to this universe. Take for instance the Senfo. We know that they are small and tip their hats….a lot. Are they humanoid in appearance? Do they mate with their noses? Do they gather once a year to sacrifice their first born? Wtf? The other alien species are slugs and reptiles, but again we don’t know shjt about their morphology. They talk and interact much like humans do, so there goes the weirdness that takes effort to create. 

I will pass on this universe unless lazy writer starts putting in some effort. 

 

 

Book Review: Do You Dream of Terra Two? By Temi Oh

 

Publisher: Saga

Publishing Date: August 2019

ISBN: 9781534437401

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 2.2/5

Publishers Description: A century ago, an astronomer discovered an Earth-like planet orbiting a nearby star. She predicted that one day humans would travel there to build a utopia. Today, ten astronauts are leaving everything behind to find it. Four are veterans of the twentieth century’s space-race. And six are teenagers who’ve trained for this mission most of their lives. It will take the team twenty-three years to reach Terra-Two. Twenty-three years locked in close quarters. Twenty-three years with no one to rely on but each other. Twenty-three years with no rescue possible, should something go wrong.

Review: Remember how I mentioned in other reviews that the English (UK) style of writing leans towards the verbose, novels almost entirely constructed of dialogue. I think that’s where they find enjoyment…in the carefully constructed interactions of PEEEEEEEEEEEEEEOPLE. So while reading this my mind wandered a bit as self-rumination was preferable to the idiots on the page, yap-yap yapping away.

So where the creative was lacking (finite world building) and the characters were fairly one dimensional (teenagers) the writing was so elegant and perfect. The flow is wonderful and does not lack in technical construction.

So what we have is a good technical writer that lacks some experience in the creative, mainly movement to build characters while enhancing the story line. The story needed to move out of the mouths and heads of adolescents and embrace this new universe and all it’s impossibilities. Attempts were made along the way in the form of a major disaster yet quickly morphed back into the old dialogue toad it was before. Additionally a good portion of the novel should have resided on Terra-Two….just sayin’.

I really think (and who cares, right?) that Temi is going to be a really good novelist once the creative gaps are bridged.

Book Review: The Return of the Incredible Exploding Man by D. Hutchinson

 

Publishing Date: September 2019

Publisher: Solaris

ISBN: 9781781085844

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 2.1/5

Publisher’s Description: When journalist Alex Dolan is hired by multibillionaire Stanislaw Clayton to write a book about the Sioux Crossing Supercollider, the world’s first privately funded high-energy physics facility, this is a dream job. Then something goes wrong at the site. Very wrong. After the accident, Dolan finds himself changed, and the only one who can stop the disaster from destroying us all.

Review: What draws you into this novel is Dolan’s- sometimes rhetorical- but often acerbic perspective on his current circumstances and interactions. This drives the novel, along with the eccentric writer and his farting dog.

I can’t say why (spoilers and all that) but the story line descends into a disappointing melange of time scripted events that leaves the once bold characters behind. What could have been a somewhat whimsical and endearing story that brings a bit of fullness to the characters (i.e. Still Life with Woodpecker), ends rather abruptly and without regard.  So a star for each character and a bit for the dog.

Fu book.

Book Review: Shaker by C.C. Prestel

 

Publishing Date:  January 2019

Publisher: Books Go Social

ISBN: 9781733666305

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 2.5/5

Publisher’s Description: Michael Taylor is an ordinary man with an ordinary life. One day, he wakes up to find himself a prisoner on a mysterious ship with more than forty strangers, and none of them have any recollection of how they got there. Those who survive the voyage soon learn that their lives will be forever changed. Taylor struggles to endure against lethal enemies and his own internal conflicts in a distant, alien world that has been ravaged by decades of warfare. This story chronicles the odyssey that transforms an unassuming English teacher into the legendary warrior known as SHAKER.

Review: The beginning is completely compelling due to the movement that is wrapped around an abduction and tucked inside an alien intervention. What quickly becomes apparent is that the first person narrative is never going to go away like a bad case of monkey butt.

I had a hard time swallowing this story line as the plot is fairly weak in construction. Why would technically advanced aliens go, presumably, across the galaxy to gather other aliens to fight against each other in a genocidal war on their home planet? Well I am glad you asked because it seems that they ran out of their own kind and decided alien slaves in another part of the galaxy (universe?) would be better at fighting their planetary bid for complete control. Really not buying the whole idea, especially a species that may have FTL travel wasting their time and resources on stupid shjt.

So what else is amiss in all this war like splendor? The home planet as built by the writer is not supportable. You really can’t have a moon orbiting a gas giant that has a breathable atmosphere, oceans and a complex ecosystem without an in depth explanation as to HOW. One of the big issues not discussed or developed is the issue of tidal locking. This would have been a real believable novel if the author had embraced a plausible world built on tidal locking with regard to gas giant satellites and the life they may harbor. Additionally a tidally locked satellite or moon in this case would have no day/night cycle.

I thought the writing was pretty good but the story line languished in trenchant narrative as did life as an alien conscripted slave warrior. Michael comes off as a know-it-all douche bag and suddenly becomes this legend known as “Shaker”. Riiiight. I really thought the Shaker was going to be someone that overcomes his oppressors and unites an alien habitable moon. Nope. This just spent too much time in the daily life of one abductee never embracing the alien-ess that was apparent.

Towards the end of the novel I was waiting to give a shjt what happened to any character and found that Malcom and Swag were the only ones worth the emotion. I think the narrative put a great deal of distance between the reader and the main character that could never be bridged with any tribulation.

Book Review: Rose of the Alchemist by L.E. Frost

 

Publishing Date: December 2017

Publisher:

ISBN: 9781981492800

Genre: Fantasy/YA

Rating: 2.7/5

Publisher’s Description: Orphaned as a child and raised by a brooding grandfather who can’t stand the sight of him, Xavier feels like a freak. Gifted, or cursed, with the visions and powers of his Jardi mother, and isolated on his grandfather’s estate, he thinks he’ll go mad.

***Some minor spoilers ahead****

Review: This was an entertaining read, however simplistic the story line.

Our reluctant hero, Xavier, is thrust into an adventure that quickly culminates into something he thinks is beyond his capabilities. There is a typical Kalifornian’s message not well hidden throughout the novel that drags the ol’ “Race” horse out for a trot as well as the homosexual aspects of the author’s personal belief system. Not a bad thing, as it was integral to the character development which was sorely lacking.

You kind of want to root for Xavier but his story is brief and never builds a bridge to the readers heart. His stay at University would have been a great way to develop a deeper aspect to his personality yet the usual tropes are in evidence like: bully-racists, a shallow debutante, a spoiled womanizer and Xavier’s gifts showcased in accelerated fashion, to name a few.

Xavier constantly has a wizard boner for anything with tits and a pony tail and finds himself sexually confused when he wrestles with a boy whom he has teamed up with.  Instances like this litter the pages and really does nothing but provide some instant justifications for his ongoing stupidity.

The novel is entertaining as it is a very creative world imbued with all manner of fantastical entities. It is also grounded in the mundane which balances out the story line. The sense of urgency falls a little flat due to Meri’s abduction and halts what was once entertaining movement.

Still, I had a good time and may continue on with the series.