March 2021


My next short story is available at Amazon!

infiltrator

During the Cold War, spies from both East and West played their deadly games in Finland.

MI6 undercover agent Alex wakes up in the middle of a park, in unfamiliar clothes. During a mission he does not remember.

He must find out how and why. Before it is too late.

The Infiltrator is a pulse pounding paranormal mystery short story in the world of international spies.

The first book in the Chaos of the Covenant science fiction series.

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Publication year: 2017
Format: Audio
Running time: 9 hours 16 minutes
Narrator: Jeff Hayes

This is military SF set during a war between the Republic and the Outworlders. The Republic has a lot more resources that the other side. We get POVs from both sides of the conflict but our heroine is a Republic soldier.

Lieutenant Abigail Cage is a breaker, a hacker. She’s also a mother, looking forward to retiring and spending time with her daughter. She’s assigned to a team which is dropped to enemy territory. She does have some experience with combat so she’s more worried about the couple of less experienced soldiers. But during the mission, something goes wrong and she finds a code she can’t break. Soon after they get back, the whole team is arrested. Abby protests that whatever the others might have done, she’s not part of it. Very quickly, the whole team is sentenced to a maximum security prison called Hell. And she’s put on one of the most difficult levels on the whole prison. She must fight constantly to survive.

However, the book moved on quickly to a point where it became more interesting to me.

In addition to Abby we have several other POVs. This world has aliens but they seem to be Star Trek types rather than completely alien aliens. Abby is a capable fighter and becomes even better during the book. She’s a patriot but she mostly just wants to get back to her daughter.

This was a fast-paced story with both fierce combat scenes and a complex scheme in the background which one of the other characters is trying to solve. The Republic has recently finished building two starships, Fire and Brimstone, which are so powerful that nothing can stand against them. But they have been stolen and of course the Republic is frantic to get them back.

I have the first four books in audio and I’ll likely continue to the next one. This first book ends in a huge cliffhanger.

Collects Trinity issues 17-22.

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Writer: James Robinson
Artists: Patrick Zircher, Jack Herbert, and Tyler Kirkham
Publisher: DC
Publishing year: 2018

The collection has two storylines. The first one is No Home for You Here where the Trinity is sucked to another dimension, essentially a fantasy world. It has enough magic that Superman loses his powers and Wonder Woman is struck blind. I was prepared to really like this story because they would need to use their wits more than powers. But nope. The only difference really was that Clark’s costume was torn during fighting.

The second story continues the first one and is the titular search for Steve.

I like lost worlds. I’m not familiar with Skartaris and the warlord Travis Morgan. It’s apparently DC’s equivalent of Marvel’s Savage Land or Burroughs’ Pellucidar. However, it does look very dated with women wearing only fur bikinis. Admittedly the Warlord himself only wears a loin cloth, metal shoulder pads, and a helmet.

Diana, Bruce, and Clark must battle their way through the fantasy land to Morgan’s city so that his sorceress daughter can send them home. Very battle heavy story, even though Bruce gets to play a little of detective near then end. The framing story is that someone is interrogating the Trinity for everything they know about this fantasy land.

In the Search for Steve Trevor, fantasy comes to our heroes’ world. Bruce, Diana, and Clark track down a mysterious “security organization” and find out that Steve and many other people have been transformed to mindless fighting machines. Of course, they must investigate further and try to return him to a human.

This collection feels much grimmer to me than the first two. There aren’t many moments between our heroes, it’s mostly just mindless fighting. Too bad.

Collects Batman/Superman 1-4, Justice League 23.1: Darkseid.

Writer: Greg Pak
Artists: Jae Lee, Paulo Siqueira,Ben Oliver, Yildiray Cinar, Netho Diaz
Publisher: DC
Publishing year: 2013

The main storyline tells us the story of how Batman and Superman met for the first time in the New 52 world. Also, some kind of demonic spirit transports them to Earth 2 where they meet their older counterparts and Wonder Woman.

Shapers of Worlds volume II is a short story collection with a very impressive lineup: ”original fiction by Kelley Armstrong, Marie Brennan, Helen Dale, Candas Jane Dorsey, Lisa Foiles, Susan Forest, James Alan Gardner, Matthew Hughes, Heli Kennedy, Lisa Kessler, Adria Laycraft, Ira Nayman, Garth Nix, Tim Pratt, Edward Savio, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Jeremy Szal, and Edward Willett, plus reprints by Jeffrey A. Carver, Barbara Hambly, Nancy Kress, David D. Levine, S.M. Stirling, and Carrie Vaughn.”

The pledges have book bundles from some of the authors.
15 more days to go and it’s 60% funded.

The Return of the Fey is fun project from Kristine Kathryn Rusch. She continues her epic fantasy Fey series.

It’s already funded and reached the sixth strech goal! Which means that backers will get six more fantasy books and there are quite a few very interesting epic fantasy goodies for writers, too.

8 more days to go.

The first book in a science fantasy trilogy but can be read as a stand-alone.

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Publication year: 1926
Format: print
Page count: 175
Publisher: Tandem

To my surprise, I found an unread Burroughs book from my shelves. It has quite an elaborate backstory, especially for such a slim book.

As is usual for ERB, the story starts with the writer as the narrator and he meets the main character of the main story. This time Burroughs gives us future history which alone would have been enough for most SF writers. The book is set in 1960s when a terrible decades-long war has finally ended. Humanity turns to the stars. They receive a radio transmission from Mars, from Barsoom. Humanity sends spaceships to Mars in order to meet with the people of Helium. Also, the main narrator of the story, Julian, knows the future because he’s already lived it. He can remember his descendants’ future history because he’s reborn to the future.

Julian is the captain of the second spaceship. However, his bitter rival Orthis is also aboard. Orthis sabotages the ship and it goes to the Moon instead. But Julian and the others find that the Moon isn’t a barren place. Instead, beneath the Moon’s crust is a world with not just atmosphere but people. After our heroes explore this world a little, savage, centaur-like people capture Julian and Orthis.

As usual for ERB, this story has lots of adventure with strange creatures and alien landscapes. It’s quite enjoyable if you can ignore the blatant classism. (The descendants of nobility are good and heroic, the descendants of lower classes are the bad guys without a shred of decency.)

Structurally, the Moon Maid is very similar to the Princess of Mars. Julian is unexpectedly thrust to an alien and savage world, he explores the exotic places and people, and he falls in love with the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. Like John Carter, Julian is a heroic fighting man; even though he prefers firearms, he’s also a good swordsman.

The Moon races are strange. The centaur-like people (No-Vads) are nomads yet they live in villages which are never described. They’re carnivores but they can’t eat the few animals, so they hunt and eat other tribes and also the one other intelligent race, which looks like humans. The “humans” on this world are remnants of a great civilization. They have two cities which are at war with each other.

The book has surprisingly little description. I would have liked quite a bit more. I was also rather uncomfortable with intelligent races eating each other.

Otherwise this was quite an enjoyable old science fantasy book.

Collects Batwoman issues 7-11.

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Writer: Marguerite Bennett, K. Perkins
Artists: Fernando Blanco, Scott Godlewiski, Marc Lamin

Kate Kane continues her battle against the terrorist organization the Many Arms of Death. She and Julie have tracked down the operative called the Needle to Sahara Desert. Her plane is shot down and she must fight Colony soldiers who have been poisoned. After trekking in the desert for almost a day, she hallucinates about her lost year in the island Coryana and about her former lover Safiyah. The Needle’s operative captures Kate and takes her to an underground secret lab. It turns out that the Needle is actually the Scarecrow.

Most of the story is full of hallucinations while Kate battles her scars and father issues. The Scarecrow has also imprisoned Colony Prime who thinks of Kate’s dad as his dad. They bicker while trying to save themselves.

The final issue is a more stand-alone story. Kate’s right hand woman Julia is missing and her apartment shows signs of fighting. Kate tracks her while berating herself for not noticing quicker that Julia is missing. This one has a new villain to me, at least. I didn’t really care for him.

This was a pretty good exploration of Kate’s inner demons and the art complemented the hallucinations. Kate is a very wounded character and her father’s betrayal has also cut deep. She starts to question if her actions are doing any good at all, especially after the collection’s final issue. The story doesn’t end in a cliffhanger but Kate is going to confront her sister so it’s not neatly tied up, either.

Of course, the main action is in the TV-show so Kate can’t have much character development here.

The third book in the Whispering Pines cozy mystery series.

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Publication year: 2018
Format: ebook
Page count at GoodReads: 490

After returning to the small village of Whispering Pines for the first time in over a decade, Janye O’Shaye has finally started to feel like she fits in. She’s the Sheriff and she and her friend Tripp are busily renovating her grandmother’s huge house to start a B&B. She knows that Tripp wants to be more than friends. Even though she wants it, too another part is afraid that she’ll be hurt again. Her little West Highland White Terrier Meeka is happy, though.

Jayne decides to kayak to work and good thing that she does: a tourist is near drowning and she rescues him. She tries to make him go to the local healing center but he refuses. Feeling a bit frustrated, she continues to work. But by afternoon, that tourist is dead. It looks like an accident but Jayne wants to be sure. She also finds her Grandmother’s old diaries. Officially, her Gran drowned in her own bathtub but Jayne feels that something more sinister happened. She thinks that the diaries could give her a clue.

She’s tired because she still hasn’t got a deputy and she needs to run the station by herself at the height of the tourist season. Also, the renovation isn’t going as quickly as she thought.

This was a good continuation to the series. It’s as much quirky fun as the previous ones.

Most of the characters are familiar but we don’t see much of the carnival folks from the second book. Although we do get a couple of new eccentric characters. When Jayne finds the diaries their story about the founding of the town and the lives of the original inhabitants draw her. She ends up reading the diaries during her working hours, too. I enjoyed finding out more about her Gran and the town.

This book ties up the continuing mystery of her Gran’s death.

Collects Fantastic Four (2018) issues 14-19.

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Writer: Dan Slott
Artists: Paco Medina, Bob Quinn, Sean Izaakse, Luciano Vecchio, Carlos Magno, Francesco Manna

National Air and Space Museum newest exhibit is Marvel-II the rocket ship where the FF did their first flight and got their powers. The FF are there, as well. Reed has the idea that the FF should redo their first, failed space flight. They should finally go to the planet where they were trying to go. Johnny and Sue agree but Ben think they’re all nuts.

But in the end all four members launch in the redone rocket ship. However, the FF don’t know that the planet is inhabited. The people of Spyre knew that the FF were coming to invade them all those years ago… and they’ve had time to prepare. Now they have their own superheroes, the Unparallered. But their near-perfect society has a darker side, too.

This was a fascinating concept and I enjoyed most of it. The people of Spyre have a very clear and insular culture. They don’t have any contact with any other cultures and so their view of the FF is quite different from what I’m used to. However, this is a pretty standard superhero story with a couple of twists. One of them concerned Johnny and I’m curious to see how it will turn out.

On the other hand, I’m not sure if we really needed an FF origin retcon. We already know that Reed isn’t a perfect person or scientist. Also, the storyline has several artists which hurt the comic a bit. Their styles weren’t completely incompatible but noticeably different.

Collects Firefly  issues 9-12.

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Writer: Greg Pak
Artists: Dan McDaid
Publisher: Boom! Studios

This collection wraps up the Unification War storyline but once again ends with a cliffhanger.

Serenity’s crew is scattered. Unificator Boss Moon has arrested Mal but they’ve reached a grudging respect for each other… which is good because they face enemies together. Zoe has gone after Mal with a lot of Browncoats who think they can reverse the end of the war. They’re using Mal as just an excuse to continue fighting. Inara has gone to one of her clients, the local Governor, and is pleading on behalf of Mal and Zoe. The rest of the crew are also in trouble.

This was mostly a good ending, tying up most plotlines but it also started new ones.

Unfortunately, while the crew is this scattered, some of their charm is lost when they don’t play against each other. We have new side characters, such as Boss Moon and the bandit whom Kaylee is having a fling with but personally I wanted to see more Firefly characters. Of course, not all of the crew have much to do. Mal and Zoe get the lion’s share of attention. And we get to see Mal’s mom. I have mixed feelings about her.

Overall I enjoyed this story but I missed the crew interaction. I still don’t care for the art.

This collection has a lot of covers and several pages for the Firefly: the Sting minseries.

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