Book Review: The Last Cruise Ship by R Max Tillsley

 

Publisher: Black Sky Books

Publishing Date: October 2017

ISBN: 9780648135012

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 4.2/5

Publishers Description: Matt the loser. Matt the slacker. Matt the nobody. Matt Kander is a small cog in the Commonwealth bureaucracy until the chance discovery of a customs error leaves him jobless and destitute. When an unexpected offer takes him off-world, he is thrust into an escalating conflict with the neighbouring empire. Running from bombs, plasma guns and missiles, he escapes in a luxury cruise ship only for his real troubles to begin. Hailed as a traitor, a terrorist and a hero, Matt must live long enough to decide who he is.

Review: Ah the space operatic. If you like those venues as do I, then you will take to this novel like pigs in space.

Besides rooting for a consummate loser, there are space battles galore, a burgeoning AI and Matt gets laid.  Fall downs?Sure.  A skimpy story line that resides in the patterned and basic and an engineer that echos a familiar Scotty.

If the author can keep this interesting in the next installment then I am a fan.

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Book Review: Zero Limit by Jeremy K. Brown

Publisher: 47 North

Publishing Date: March 2018

ISBN: 9781503946651

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 1.4/5

Publishers Description: Twelve billion metric tons of asteroid. One woman who can save Earth. Zero margin for error. For war hero Caitlin Taggart, mining work on the Moon is dirty, low pay, and high risk. But no risk seems too extreme if it helps her return to Earth and the daughter she loves more than life itself. Offered a dangerous, long-shot chance to realize that dream, Caitlin will gamble with more than just her life. By leading a ragtag crew of miners on a perilous assignment to harvest an asteroid, Caitlin could earn a small fortune. More importantly, it would give her clearance to return to Earth.

Review: So if you haven’t already read the publisher’s description take a minute and read it now. Sound familiar? As you move through this novel it will become apparent that it is a blend of a few movies/ideas already capitalized on. Gravity, Deep Impact and especially Armageddon are a few that come to mind. Why the ripoff? I dunno, maybe some good writers just do not have a creative bone in their heads or like a lot of writers out there, are hoping to strike a movie deal.

Besides the creative er….license taken, this novel had some problems more endemic to the story line and characterization. The story line was patterned to the point where you lost interest. The characters interacted like a script was being read. For instance the “crew” – a functioning blend of overt personalities that love each other like family, throwing ribald and insulting comments while going about serious biz….<sigh>. This was an attempt, through brevity, to get the reader to like everyone. Not possible when the dialogue consists of patterned exchanges. The main character was a let down what with her reluctant war hero persona leading the charge from a diminished perspective with a lovable scamp back on earth and a bad daddy.

The altruistic behavior at the end runs a bit too long and caps an interminable slide downhill.

Book Review: The Frequency of Aliens by Gene Doucette

Publisher: Doucette

Publishing Date: December 2017

ISBN:9781981274871

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 4.2/5

Publishers Description: Annie Collins is back! Becoming an overnight celebrity at age sixteen should have been a lot more fun. Yes, there were times when it was extremely cool, but when the newness of it all wore off, Annie Collins was left with a permanent security detail and the kind of constant scrutiny that makes the college experience especially awkward. Not helping matters: she’s the only kid in school with her own pet spaceship.

Review: This is the sequel to The Spaceship Next Door, which I reviewed Here .

The first 30% of this novel on the Kindle reading app was veerrrrry slooooooow. Meaning not much happens other than this seemingly endless build up.  There is literally gallons of explanatory prose coupled with the wit and social commentary relevant to Doucette’s style of writing.

Once the action picks up, you can’t put this down. All the characters I liked in the first novel are back and better than before and the movement transports you into a fun story line. While the writer keeps things light with his witticisms, what still comes through in spades is this malevolent alien force that frankly would have scared the shjt out of me if written in a serious context.

Get this, you will enjoy the escape.

Book Review: The Chaos Chronicles by Steven Moore

Publisher: Carrick

Publishing Date: Nov 2017

ISBN:9781772420777

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 3.3/5

Publishers Description: This new sci-fi bundle takes the reader from an Earth dominated by multinationals and policed by their mercenaries to colonizing another planet and the first encounter with ETs. And beyond, far into a future with space battles, ESP, AI, and more. This three-novel bundle provides hours of sci-fi entertainment in just one ebook.

Review: Wow, what is going on with that cover art? I am a bit lost on that one.

This was an ambitious attempt at building a galactic survival space opera for the human species. While aliens abound and sex is a consistent theme, the author renders the alien interactions in a simplistic manner. The bear like alien Tali seemed to me, heavily borrowed from Larry Niven’s Man Kzin Wars novel(s). Much of the same war like culture, mannerisms and fur (orange).

The writing was really good yet some of the considered creative elements fell a bit short. Like how FTL travel and high level technology are developed so quickly from aliens living primitively along with disaffected humans riding inter-steller seed ships. The tech scales at a logarithmic pace as the story line moves through 500? years. There was also quite a bit of back story attached to almost every chapter but the writer does a good job making it interesting.

There are some real boring sections coupled with really good ones yet generally I looked forward to reading this every night as the story line pulled me in along with the expansive world building.

Book Review: We Are Such Stuff by R.M. Dorn

 

Publisher: Endeavor Press

Publishing Date: September 2017

ISBN: 9781549776229

Genre: SciFi?

Rating: 1.5/5

Publishers Description: Is this the real life…? Just at the point that Daisy is starting to feel the inertia of her life, she receives an extraordinary job offer: creating scenes for virtual reality games… by dreaming them.

Review: How do you say “extremely boring” in English?  Daisy would be a good guess or the entire plot of this novel. See, Daisy has the hots for Rider? Ranger?…..well one of these hunky rich guys only their parents are evil-ish and Ranger? goes psycho and then there are chapters of dialogue to wade through. The End. Oh, they save the day by dreaming a new reality. Did I ruin the ending? Tough shjt, I saved you a wasted 2 days. Kudos though, to Endeavor Publishing for taking this on.

Book Review: The Switch by A.W. Hill

Publisher: Curiosity Quills

Publishing Date: August 2017

ISBN:9781974278220

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 4.1/5

Publishers Description: Five travelers lost in a parallel reality—If they get home, will it be the same place they left behind?

Review: A real interesting take on alternate or parallel worlds to our own that develop different realities.

For the first few chapters I wanted to discontinue reading due to Jacobus’ constant whining about his current state. The movement kind of pools at your feet and drips from your bleeding eyes. BUT, and it is not a real big butt, the pace quickly escalates into a world hopping adventure with plenty of strange interactions to motivate your interest. The characters are well built but lack a bit of depth due to stunted development i.e. what you see is what you get.

The world building is a bit crazy and at times not descriptively apt. If you are not a SciFi buff it may be confusing rather than riveting as attested to in a few reviews. I thought it was a great novel that demands a series.

Book Review: The Continuum By Wendy Nikel

 

Publisher: World Weaver Press

Publishing Date: January 2018

ISBN: 9780998702223

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 3.3/5

Publishers Description: For years, Elise has been donning corsets, sneaking into castles, and lying through her teeth to enforce the Place in Time Travel Agency’s ten essential rules of time travel. Someone has to ensure that travel to the past isn’t abused, and most days she welcomes the challenge of tracking down and retrieving clients who have run into trouble on their historical vacations.

Review: This was really good writing compacted into a fast moving novella. This story line begs for expansion but the ending dictates a different outcome. Too bad really that this was not a full length novel. As it is a novella it can only score a max of 3 stars due to the truncated nature of the work.