Tag Archives: sci-fi

Hobson’s Void by Simon Jones Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

The consequences surrounding one’s choices become the central theme of a story about a young woman and her friend who find themselves questioning their place in a brutal society and the fate that will put their world in their hands in author Simon Jones’s “Hobson’s Void”.

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The Synopsis

Picking fruit on a farm one day, deciding the fate of humanity a few days later. A harrowing journey of discovery in between.

Leena is a young, small-town woman, known for her questioning nature yet destined to live out her life like the others: in servitude to the Bright One, under the guidance of the Vicar.

Suffused with holy purpose, the Vicar demands the neighboring towns be ‘cleansed’, for through him the Bright One speaks. His townspeople are faithful and will follow.

Mord, a hard, hard woman, head of the Vicar’s Blackcoats, leads the way without hesitation or mercy.

Floss, Leena’s best friend, has doubts. These doubts will run them afoul of Mord and the Vicar.

Over the next few days, Leena will be tested to the limits of her body and spirit, discover secrets unknown to humanity, and come to understand the nature of her world.

Because the world wants her to make a choice.

The Review

This was such a powerful and incredible sci-fi and YA read. The author perfectly captures the almost feverish mob mentality that small, rural religious townspeople can pitch themselves into when their everyday life and wellbeing are dependent on the words of their local religious leaders. The commentary on blind faith versus awareness and the consequences of our actions and choices that this novel makes was truly phenomenal. The balance found between the religious fervor and the scientific discovery and sci-fi tropes the author blended beautifully into the narrative was divine, pun intended. 

The character development was exceptional in this novel, especially concerning the protagonist Leena and the character Mord. Each of these women seemed to be reflections of the same coin, with Leena showing the struggles of a lifetime of faith clashing with her own moral compass and the discovery of the truth behind the blind faith she’d been told to exhibit, and then Mord, who revealed the consequences of blind faith and the dark path it can lead towards when one’s conviction in their faith ironically brings them closer to the darkness they are so sure they are combating. 

The Verdict

Entertaining, thought-provoking, and powerful, author Simon Jones’s “Hobson’s Void” is a must-read novel of 2022 for all fans of sci-fi and YA action reads! The depth of the character development elevates the sci-fi action and tropes. The incredible world-building and mythos that the author constructed perfectly captured the powerful and soulful themes of blind faith, choices, and consequences. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Simon is a writer, conversationalist, and author (not always in that order) of the new novel Hobson’s Void. 

With three decades of dreaming while on the job, Simon has amassed a multitude of science fiction and fantasy stories. Working in a hospital laundry (for example), mindful to avoid flinging around the blood of dead people while sorting through their used bedsheets, offered ample opportunity for inspiration. Some of those mental wanderings even turned into completed stories. 

Sitting at a computer, writing his next novel or, sometimes, actually working for a living, is usually where you will find him. Sometimes, bravely, Simon will venture outside with his wife, two kids, and a dog, for a play on their lifestyle property. Resolutely ignoring the lengthening grass. 

https://gibbonstales.com/

Civil War (Chronicles of Rondure Book 1) by TC Marti Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young woman trained for years to be the best warrior and Smoke Master of her people must fight her way to expose her world’s corruption within it’s political system and go rogue against the very people who trained her in author TC Marti’s “Civil War”, the first book in the Chronicles of Rondure series. 

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The Synopsis

I was Culled at age five into the Bastille Military, the World of Rondure’s superpower…

…Having lived on-base for thirteen years, military life taught me two things: Mastery of the Smoke Element and to never apologize about using it on enemies.

Now that I’m awaiting a sure life sentence for the crime of exposing Bastille’s true crimes, they’ve left me with no choice. When they try to extradite me, I will call upon my Sword of Smoke and escape this predicament, using every combat technique they taught me against them.

Then, I’ll take it upon myself to finish a mission I started years ago; to unplug the People of Bastille and let them know who the real enemy is: their home nation and its Capital City of Paramount.

As I go rogue, every authority figure with money, power, and influence in the Bastille Empire will want me dead. Thanks to them, I’m one of the most powerful Smoke Masters in the World of Rondure. And I’m ready to break the spell the people of my nation have lived under for over a century.

Calling all fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender and George Orwell, Civil War features a strong heroine, with epic fantasy tropes bending into science fiction with dystopian and thriller elements, non-stop action, and stakes so high that Mina Hirai’s success or failure will set forth the fate of Rondure forever.

The Review

This was yet another fantastic entry into this beautifully written world of the author’s creation. The first book to connect the author’s original trilogy with the next trilogy in the Elementals of Nordica Saga, Civil War takes readers on a much more intimate journey than previous iterations of this series had done. Focusing instead on a first-person narrative, the story shows one young woman’s fight to escape a deadly prison sentence after learning of her government’s betrayal, and the fight to lead an insurrection to liberate the people of the government’s negative influence. The same balance of sci-fi and dystopian settings with the fantasy elements of the characters and the mythos overall made this such an impactful story to dive headfirst into.

The protagonist was definitely the driving force behind this narrative. The author’s ability to craft a more intimate and emotional narrative from the view of Mina Harai was a brilliant call, as it allowed a more personal view of the chaos and corruption Rondure was experiencing and the painful fight those who saw the corruption had to endure to reveal these dark truths. The connections she made, the horrors she was both witnessed and experienced, and the heroism she showed made her arc so engaging and the world-building and mythos as a result much more captivating.

The Verdict

Mind-blowing imagery, entertaining, and brilliantly written, author TC Marti’s “Civil War” is a must-read novel of 2022 for fans of sci-fi, dystopian, and fantasy-driven action-adventure narratives. The rich mythos that was expanded upon and explored in this narrative was amazing to read, and the personal development of one of the world’s heroes made this a stunning story to get lost in. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

TC Marti has been an avid reader/writer for over three decades. He is the author of the Elementals Universe, a shared speculative fiction universe spanning multiple series. He is also a workout fanatic and a fan of Arizona sports teams.

Book Cover Reveal: Save the World Sci-Fi Anthology from OWI Blog Tours

I am so excited to share this new book cover reveal for OWI Blog Tours for the upcoming anthology, Save the World. Enjoy today’s post!

Save the World cover

Other Worlds Ink has a new book coming out in the Writers Save the World anthology series, and we have the cover reveal: Save the World! And there’s a big giveaway.

Climate change is no longer a vague future threat. Forests are burning, currents are shifting, and massive storms dump staggering amounts of water in less than 24 hours. Sometimes it’s hard to look ahead and see a hopeful future.

We asked sci-fi writers to send us stories about ways to save the world from climate change. From the myriad of stories we received, we chose the twenty most amazing (and hopefully prescient) tales.

Dive in and find out how we might mitigate climate change via solar mirrors, carbon capture, genetic manipulation, and acts of change both large and small.

The future’s not going to fix itself.

About the Series:

“Writers Save the World” is an annual hopepunk anthology form Other Worlds Ink, featuring hopeful stories by sci-fi writers about ways to solve the world’s problems.

Universal Buy Link | Liminal Fiction | Goodreads


Giveaway

Scott is giving away 10 eBook copies and 1 paperback copy of book one in this anthology series, “Fix the World.” Enter to win:

a Rafflecopter giveawayhttps://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47232/


Excerpt

Save the World Meme

Joy stuffed the last bite of chocolate into her mouth, snapped her thermos shut and swung her work kit open again. In it were the last of the hundred and thirty 18- inch ice pitons, a battery-driven screw gun and two extra power packs. A clean handkerchief, her last two chocolate bars, and a thermos of coffee rounded out her gear. In her pocket was a water-proof case containing a notebook, a pen, a thickly rolled spliff of cannabis spiked with a few fudgy streaks of hashish, two lighters, and a box of water-proof matches. Just in case.

Bracing a boot, she set another ice stake in place and pulled the trigger, using both hands to hold the weight of the electric gun. That most satisfying sound, a high-speed whir, followed by the solid CHUNK-CLUNK made her smile as the bolt sank into the ice. The work of pinning another bit of the triple-layer cover into place energized her, and she paused for a sip of coffee. It was imperative that she keep her strength up until the end, she reminded herself, ironic though that was. She had a lot of ground to cover but she was not working alone.

Blanketing the Greenland Ice sheet in knitted cozies was no job for shrinking violets and there were none in Joy’s crew. Only wrinkled old ladies with gray hair and bad attitudes. Now the staunchest were working in suicide squads, diving to pin the final covers in place, shielding the precious ice from the merciless rays of the sun.

Even if you flew over Greenland today it would look frozen. The brown, semi-slushy mud and dirty ice squeaking under her boots told the truth: the permafrost was melting fast, and no one knew how the hell to refreeze it. Joy’s project was the next best thing.

All those Senior Strength and Fitness classes at the Y paid off, Joy reflected. All those miles on the spin cycle had been worth the sweat. She felt hale and hearty and full of life; it seemed a shame that hers would end so soon.

Her tandem mate, Esmeralda, was working in the opposite direction. Es was a retired fighter pilot, US Air Force. With six tours of duty under her belt, and over a thousand sky-dives. Joy had been training with her since January, first tandem then solo. Now it was June. Now it was for real.

At 10,000 feet on this glittering blue morning, Joy and Esmeralda had waited in the cabin of the four-seater Cessna for Marty to give the signal and then, with a grin and a grunt, sprang through the open door.

Free fall.

First stage flare.

Second stage flare.

Controlled thump-down, the muscle memory of the safe landings she had practiced a hundred times kicking in for Joy, the stretch into position for minimal impact, the tucked-shoulder roll. And then the dance of untangling from harness and canopy; an embrace ending in a bear hug. A final gaze into the sparkling eyes of her beloved friend before each had set off in opposite directions, unspooling quilt as they went, kneeling every ten feet to sink a spike. At the cliff edge, they would take a final moment to tie up ends of personal business, say goodbye to the crew via radio, and jump.

Joy and Es both had Johann Strauss’ Blue Danube waltz cued up for the moment. Instead of a spliff, Es had brought half a liter of Clase Azul Reposada tequila. Joy was going to crawl under the gigantic cover just long enough to smoke her doobie and write out a final note to her great-granddaughter Alice. Then, in a blissful haze, each would throw off her parka and dive over the sea cliff, blanket unfurling behind, the weight of their own bodies pinning it into place.

If the fall didn’t kill them the cold would.

FZZT-TZZT. It was Hoshi and Grace, calling from the other side of the berg and the sound of their voices further served to exhilarate. It was really happening now, and there was no turning back.

“Joy! Can you hear me? We’ve reached the halfway point; what’s your progress?” In the background Hoshi called out, “Forty-two stakes! Can you beat that old woman?”

Joy heard Grace cackling into the radio, and snorted at the friendly insult.

“Forty-nine, young Chickadee! My boots walked this planet long before you arrived, so call me old at your peril. I’ve won the numbers game already and now you will never make it to your eighth decade! See you in the Great Beyond, girlfriend. Over and out!”

Dropping the little VHF radio back into the side pocket of her quilted pants and smoothing the Velcro closed, Joy trudged on.

—From “Operation Cover-Up (Kamikaze),” by Rachel Hope Crossman


Author Bio

Gustavo Bondoni is novelist and short story writer with over three hundred stories published in fifteen countries, in seven languages. He is a member of Codex and an Active Member of SFWA. His latest novel is Lost Island Rampage (2021). He has also published three other monster books: Ice Station: Death (2019), Jungle Lab Terror (2020) and Test Site Horror (2020), three science fiction novels: Incursion (2017), Outside (2017) and Siege (2016) and an ebook novella entitled Branch. His short fiction is collected in Pale Reflection (2020), Off the Beaten Path (2019) Tenth Orbit and Other Faraway Places (2010) and Virtuoso and Other Stories (2011).

J. Scott Coatsworth lives with his husband Mark in a yellow bungalow in Sacramento. He was indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine. He devoured her library, but as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were. He decided that if there weren’t queer characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends. A Rainbow Award winning author, he runs Queer Sci Fi, QueeRomance Ink, and Other Worlds Ink with Mark, sites that celebrate fiction reflecting queer reality, and is a full member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) and the head of its self-publishers committee.

Rachel Hope Crossman is an ex-fry cook, ex-substitute teacher and retired Montessori teacher. Her childhood year in Athens, Greece left indelible imprints of olive groves, pomegranates and the sparkling, turquoise blue of the Mediterranean upon her mind. She is the author of SAVING CINDERELLA: FAIRY TALES & CHILDREN IN THE 21ST CENTURY, (2014) The Apocryhile Press, which examines the world-wide Cinderella story as an archetype and explains the symbolism of rings, knives, birds, pumpkins and more. Her personal heroes are Harold (and his purple crayon), Peggy Hill and Nancy Pelosi.

Jana Denardo is Queen of the Geeks (her students voted her in) and her home and office are shrines to any number of comic book and manga heroes along with SF shows and movies too numerous to count. There is no coincidence the love of all things geeky has made its way into many of her stories. To this day, she’s still disappointed she hasn’t found a wardrobe to another realm, a superhero to take her flying among the clouds or a roguish star ship captain to run off to the stars with her.

Derek Des Anges is an emerging cross-genre author working in London, who consistently fails to stick to a single format or genre but does at least really consistently write about the queer experience (or some of them, anyway). He’s into fungi, industrial and experimental music, and trying to avoid the climate apocalypse actually flooding his flat too many times, because he has far too many books to consider moving out.

CJ Erick’s stories have appeared in anthologies from WMG Publishing, WordFire Press, and others. He won the FenCon short story competition in 2015. He writes in multiple genres, publishes novels in a space fantasy series, and dabbles in poetry. He’s an MFA student in creative writing at Lindenwood University, and an editorial assistant for the Lindenwood Review. He lives in Dallas area with his wife and their rescue superhero dog Saber-Girl, calls his sourdough bread starter “Ursula” (K. Le Guin), and cooks crazy-good Cajun food for a Midwest Yankee.

J.G. Follansbee’s short stories have appeared in several anthologies, including Others Worlds Ink’s Fix the World. Other publications include Bards and Sages Quarterly, Children, Churches and Daddies, the collection Still Life 2018, and the speculative fiction anthologies Satirica, After the Orange, Spring Into SciFi 2019, Rabbit Hole II, and Sunshine Superhighway. He is the author of the series Tales From A Warming Planet and the trilogy The Future History of the Grail. He has won several awards in the Writers of the Future contest, and he was a finalist in the inaugural Aftermath short story contest. He also has numerous non-fiction book credits. He lives in Seattle.

Geoffrey Hart: Startled by an aggressive dictionary late in her pregnancy, Geoff’s mother was delivered of a child with a precocious antipathy towards users of words. Over time, he transformed this antipathy into a more functional, if equally passive-aggressive, editorial career. After nearly 35 years, the flame burns brightly as ever, leading to an errant, semi-evangelical career ranting against the evils of words from pulpits at any editing or technical writing conference that will have him, seeking new recruits for his cause. In his spare time, he roams the globe, entertaining locals with creative and unrestrained interpretations of their linguistic conventions. He also commits occasional fictions, and has sold 46 stories.

M. J. Holt lives with her husband on their 60-acre family farm with many animals on a peninsula in Puget Sound. She is horrified that the entire world isn’t working to decrease pollution of all kinds. When she was a teenager, she and her mother sat under an ancient crabapple tree and read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Her mother told her that future generations would pay the price for the sins of past generations. That price has increased and now several generations later, some not yet born, will pay the price. Lightning struck that crab tree decades ago. It grew on land her great grandfather bought in 1892. Her great grandmother farmed the land and had the current house, started in 1900, built. The farm passed to her grandfather, and then to her mother. She lives in that house amid the surviving bits of her ancestors’ lives. This generational continuity informs her fiction. Her crime thriller novels, The Devil’s Safe (2021) and its sequel Making Angels (2022) can be found on Amazon. Recent short stories have appeared in the anthologies Black-Eyed Peas on New Year’s Day: An Anthology of Hope, Low Down Dirty Vote Volume II, Alternate Theologies, and her poetry may be found in the poetry anthologies 300K, Timeless Love, and other periodicals. She earned separate undergraduate degrees in History and English Literature, and a Masters in English Literature. She is a member of SFWA, MWA, and other writing organizations.

Jennifer Irani lives and works in southern California. Her story, “Graft,” was inspired by the recent fires in California, Greta Thunberg, and generation Z. A version of this story first appeared in Writing in Place: Stories from a Pandemic. Her work has been published in the anthology Dove Tales Empathy in Art: Embracing the Other. She has published essays in Orange Coast magazine. Her essay, Regeneration, received honorable mention in the Writers Challenge 2021 on Medium.com. Her poem, “Cool Colors Warm the Soul,” was selected for the Connecting Through Color, Art and Poetry exhibit. She is a member of Barbara Demarco’s Literary Posse.

Andrew Rucker Jones was born and raised in Falls Church, Virginia. No muse heralded his birth, and he has not been writing novels since he was in diapers. He received his Bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University in mathematics with minors in computer programming and German. He has always loved reading, so when the time came to choose a new career after twenty years in IT (programmer, system administrator, manager), he decided writing looked like fun. If only it paid. He now lives in Mannheim, Germany, with his Georgian wife, who actually earns money, and their three children, the eldest of whom also earns more than he.

Micháel McCormick likes to write stories in his Batman pajamas. He and his wife also enjoy travel, hiking, Tai Chi, and perplexing cats. They split their time between Saint Paul, Minnesota and Lake Superior. Mike’s work has appeared in Arcanist, Daily SF, DreamForge, Frozen Wavelets, Grievous Angel, Metastellar, Talking Stick, and elsewhere.

Christopher R. Muscato is an adjunct history instructor and writer from Colorado, as well as the former writer-in-residence for the High Plains Library District. He has published over a dozen short stories and is thrilled to be a part of this project.

Masimba Musodza was born in Zimbabwe, and has lived most of his adult life in the United Kingdom. His short stories, mostly in the speculative fiction genre, have appeared in periodicals and anthologies around the world. He has written two novels and a novella in his first language, ChiShona. His collection of science-fiction stories, The Junkyard Rastaman & Other Stories, was published in 2020. Masimba also writes for stage and screen.

M.D. Neu: Growing up in an accepting family. internationally award-winning author M.D. Neu always wondered why there were never stories reflecting our diverse queer society. Surrounded by characters that only reflected heterosexual society, he decided to change that and began writing, wanting to tell epic stories that reflect our varied world. When not writing, M.D. Neu works for a non-profit in Silicon Valley, and travels with his husband of twenty plus years.

Jennifer R. Povey: Born in Nottingham, England, Jennifer R. Povey now lives in Northern Virginia, where she writes everything from heroic fantasy to stories for Analog. She has written a number of novels across multiple sub genres. Additionally, she is a writer, editor, and designer of tabletop RPG supplements for a number of companies. Her interests include horseback riding, Doctor Who and attempting to out-weird her various friends and professional colleagues.

NRM Roshak is an award-winning Canadian author and translator. Their stories have appeared in various anthologies and magazines, including Galaxies SF, Daily Science Fiction, and Future Science Fiction Digest, and has been translated into several languages. They live in Ontario, Canada, with a small family and a loud cat.

Holly Schofield travels through time at the rate of one second per second, oscillating between the alternate realities of city and country life. Her stories have appeared in Analog, Lightspeed, Escape Pod, and many other publications throughout the world. She hopes to save the world through science fiction and homegrown heritage tomatoes.

Lisa Short is a Texas-born, Kansas-bred writer of fantasy, science fiction and horror. She has an honorable discharge from the United States Army, a degree in chemical engineering, and twenty years’ experience as a professional engineer. Lisa currently lives in Maryland with her husband, two youngest children, father-in-law and cats. She is a member of the Horror Writers Association and a Futurescapes 2021 alumnus.

Heather Marie Spitzberg is an environmental author, scientist, and lawyer who lives in New York’s Hudson River Valley with her family. Her writing has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

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Spark by Pat Daily Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young man searching for answers finds himself searching a virtual world for gamers that harbor a dark secret beneath the surface in author Pat Daily’s “Spark”.

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The Synopsis

In his mother’s last letter, she wrote, “Find me. Save me.” And Will Kwan had heard those words before. He’d heard them in a video game.

Solar Prime Augmented Reality Park, or SPARK, is a theme park for gamers: a sprawling virtual reality complex with quests and games that appeal to all ages. But beneath the surface, SPARK harbors many a secret.

When sixteen-year-old Will has to escape the foster system, SPARK, is his destination. “Find me. Save me.” What had his mother meant? At SPARK, he runs headlong into the force of nature known as Feral Daughter, another runaway who has chosen to make SPARK her home and her life. As their friendship grows, Will beigins to walk a path that will unveil not only the secrets of SPARK, but also a whole new perception of his world.

So, when terrorists threaten his new home and new friend, Will cannot stand idly by. Can Will finally get his closure? Or will SPARK be destroyed, along with the new life he has built?

The Review

If you were to combine West World, Ready Player One and Peter Pan’s Never Land into one story, it would be author Pat Daily’s “Spark”. The expertly woven narrative does an incredible job of balancing out the themes of finding family and the hero’s journey to find one’s place in the world with the action and suspense of the narrative. The imagery and detailed deep dive into this futuristic technology and the near-future really did a great job of giving readers a clear picture of the story unfolding.

The thing that stood out to me was the depth of character development that the author was able to flesh out throughout this narrative. In such a grand and tech-heavy narrative, the balance that was struck between the action and the personal histories and emotions these characters evoke made this a wonderful story. In particular, Will’s story is so heartbreaking and engaging, and even the history of the second Korean War that the author introduces and how it impacts everyone involved felt like a much-needed call-back to the aftermath of the first Korean War around the world. 

The Verdict

Brilliant, captivating, and engaging, author Pat Daily’s “Spark” is a must-read sci-fi narrative. The heart-pounding action and shocking twists and turns in the story will keep readers on the edge of their seats, while the emotional character growth each character faces will have readers emotionally invested throughout. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Pat Daily is an engineer and former Air Force test pilot who worked at NASA’s Johnson Space Center on both the Space Shuttle and International Space Station programs. 

When not writing or trying to bring new airplane designs to life, Pat can be found gaming online. He is a fan of role-playing games—particularly, open worlds with engaging storylines where actions have consequences. 

Pat and his wife spent twenty years in Houston before moving to Central Washington. 

https://feraldaughters.wordpress.com/

Mixed Realities: 7 Stories That Will Make You Question the Universe by Naomi Augustine Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

In a reality in which reality itself is proven to be a simulation and parallel worlds coexist with one another in the “system”, author Naomi Augustine explores the most puzzling, challenging, and captivating sci-fi and true scientific theories of our time in the book “Mixed Realities: 7 Stories That Will Make You Question the Universe.” 

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The Synopsis

Get ready for a mind-bending thriller that will make you question reality as you know it. “Mixed Realities” is a collection of stories that poke at the squishy parts of our universe, human understanding, and our relationship with technology. Illustrated QR codes are embedded throughout the book to let you listen to the soundtrack on the fly.

Don’t trust your senses. Don’t even trust your measuring equipment. Reality is not what it seems.

Physicists were right. It turns out we live in a giant computer simulation and our world isn’t the only one. There are many others. In one world, climate change threatens humanity. A 10-year old refugee befriends an artificial intelligence in a city full of holograms and works together to solve the crisis. In another, an anti-social college student becomes suspicious of the existence of parallel worlds and figures out how to cross over. With the help of his new online friends, they set out to unravel the mystery behind the simulation and its mischievous architect. The perfect book for readers of science-fiction, “Mixed Realities” will challenge and entertain readers with each page.

The Review

What a powerful and moving collection of sci-fi short stories. The blend of technological marvels and themes of what it means to be human, the importance of real connections, and the definition of reality, all come together in a beautifully woven collection that spans over the course of a mind-bending narrative landscape. The characters are the perfect way of infusing humanity, hope, and emotion into the story as well, as each short story finds the right harmonious chord between the theme and the emotional connection the reader has to the people within these stories. 

The ideas and concepts that this narrative explores are not only unique but scientific theories and concepts that have fascinated me in particular for years. From the real-world impact, AR and AI technologies are already having on our modern world, to the idea behind the Multiverse and how it relates to our understanding of the universe as a whole, these themes are not only interesting but thought-provoking in their approach to the genre.

The Verdict

A beautiful and captivating road filled with hope, tragedy, and endless possibilities, author Naomi Augustine’s “Mixed Realities” is a must-read collection of short stories. The perfect balance of character development and theoretical exploration, this twisty navigation of the possibilities that exist within the confines of the sci-fi genre makes this collection just so entertaining to read. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Naomi Augustine grew up in Japan and has a bachelor’s in physics from the University of California, Berkeley. She has spent the last 15 years as a physicist, game producer, and Augmented Reality R&D Lead at companies such as Raytheon, Riot Games, and Magic Leap. There she led the research, envisioning, and design of city-scaled use cases of AR. Her work has been deployed in areas of urban planning and climate change in partnership with the United Nations Development Program. She is currently the co-founder of QXR Studios, specializing in augmented and extended reality (AR/XR) storytelling in Los Angeles.

https://www.naomiaugustine.com/mixedrealities

Kwelengsen Storm: Logan’s World, Book One by David M. Kelly Review Due

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A brutal attack on a lone settlement on an alien world leaves one man struggling for survival and fighting against a powerful enemy in author David M. Kelly’s “Kwelengsen Storm: Logan’s World, Book One”.

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The Synopsis

You can turn your back on war, but sometimes it refuses to let you go.

When Logan Twofeathers takes on the job of head of engineering on Kwelengsen, the first habitable planet discovered by Earth, he thinks he’s leaving conflict far behind. But when he investigates the loss of a deep-space communications relay, his ship is attacked and crash-lands back on the planet.

With his new home destroyed by the invaders, Logan is stranded deep in the frozen mountains with an injured sergeant who hates him almost as much as the enemy. Against the ever-present threat of capture, he must battle his way through icy surroundings in a treacherous attempt to find his wife.

And when he’s forced to ally himself with a disparate group of soldiers and their uncompromising captain, Logan must face the reality that he may have lost everything—and everyone—he loves. Will he choose to fight? And what will it cost him?

Kwelengsen Storm is the first in a gripping, new sci-fi thriller series from the author of the Joe Ballen novels.

The Review

This gritty and captivating sci-fi read was so engaging from the outset. The balance of sci-fi action with emotional storytelling was perfect to read. When an invasion story takes place, the sci-fi narrative focuses on Earth as the invaded world, but it was so refreshing to see this alien world become the home that was being fought over, and the “invaders” were a lot more similar to the people of the settlement than most invasion narratives. 

The author really did an excellent job of crafting a narrative that felt vibrant and alive while developing such a rich protagonist that readers could root for while feeling the emotional depth of their plight. Logan Twofeathers is a fantastic character that helps explore some of the novel’s deeper themes, from the impact of violence on a person’s mind, the need for hope in desperate situations, and the harm that comes from those who cannot look beyond the things that keep people divided. 

The Verdict

An incredibly well-written, entertaining, and brilliant piece of deep sci-fi reading, author David M. Kelly’s “Kwelengsen Storm” is a must-read novel. The perfect start to Logan’s World Series, the novel pushes the protagonist to his limits and highlights the weight that survival can bring to a person. The action and suspense surrounding the reason behind this invasion will have readers on the edge of their seats, and by the book’s final pages, the cliffhanger ending will leave readers desperate for more. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

David M. Kelly writes fast-paced, near-future sci-fi thrillers with engaging characters, cynical humor, and (mostly!) plausible science. He is the author of the Joe Ballen series (Mathematics of Eternity, Perimeter, Transformation Protocol, and Intersection), the Logan’s World series, and the Hyperia Jones sci-fi humor series.

David’s interest in science and technology began early. At the age of six his parents allowed him to stay up late into the night to watch the television broadcast of Neil Armstrong stepping on to the surface of the moon. From that day he was hooked on everything related to science and space.

An avid reader, he worked his way through the contents of the mobile library that visited his street, progressing through YA titles (or ‘juveniles’ as they were known back then) on to the classics of Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and Harry Harrison.

David worked for many years in project management and software development. Along the way his interests have included IPSC combat (target) pistol shooting, crew chief on a drag racing team, and several years as bass player/vocalist in a heavy rock band. He also managed to fit in some real work in manual jobs from digging ditches and work on production lines to loading trucks in a haulage company.

Originally from the wild and woolly region of Yorkshire, England, David emigrated to Canada in 2005 and settled in Northern Ontario with his patient and supportive wife, Hilary. Foot surgery in 2014 temporarily curtailed many of his favourite activities – hiking, camping, piloting his own personal starfighter (otherwise known as a Corvette ZR-1). But on the plus side, it meant a transition from the world of IT into life as a full-time writer—an opportunity he grasped enthusiastically.

David is passionate about science, especially astronomy and physics, and is a rabid science news follower. Never short of an opinion, David writes about science and technology on his blog davidmkelly.net. He has supported various charity projects such as the Smithsonian’s Reboot The Suit and the Lowell Observatory Pluto Telescope Restoration. He also contributes to citizen science projects such as SETI@home.

After Io by Elliot Wink Review

A routine mining expedition turns deadly and the fight for survival turns friends into foes in author Elliot Wink’s sci-fi novel, “After Io”, the first in the Far Light series!

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The Synopsis

Bryn Michaels is a pilot on the spaceship Persika and she has just killed her captain.

The crew of the Persika was hired to mine platinum ore on Io, but the simple job becomes complicated when their drill malfunctions. Although the crew agrees to head back to the space station with the job unfinished, they don’t make it far before something greater threatens the safety of the ship and its crew.

Bryn is determined to survive, but as she takes steps to ensure her rescue, she begins to wonder if the cost of survival is too great.

After Io is the first book in The Far Light Series by Elliott Wink.

The Review

The suspense and intrigue are felt immediately with the author’s very first sentence. The tension and haunting quality of the character development are prevalent as the opening chapter sets the stage for the direction the novel is going. The character growth was crucial to this novel’s narrative, as the closeness and emotional bond the captain has for her crew elevates the danger and sadness of the ship’s situation, while the fear and chilling nature of isolation in space and the need to survive make Bryn a tragic figure. 

The way the author leaned so heavily into the sci-fi genre was not only entertaining but was well-balanced with characters that were relatable and themes of survival that readers could become invested in. Forgoing any alien themes or more heavy AI-style sci-fi for well-developed characters and a narrative that could fit in any genre actually made the setting and tone of the sci-fi-themed story feel more vibrant and engaging to the reader.

The Verdict

Emotional, haunting, and captivating, author Elliot Wink’s “After Io” is a must-read sci-fi novel! The twists and turns in the novel that bring Bryn to the breaking point of killing her captain will have readers entranced, while the heartfelt bond the captain had with the crew will keep readers invested as the final pages play out. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

I’m a science fiction and fantasy writer with a day job. I’ve been teaching English for nearly a decade, so I spend my days analyzing writing with my students and my nights putting my own pen to paper.

I have a master’s in psychology and I find people fascinating, so I usually spend a lot of time in my characters’ heads. Whether that character is drifting through outer space, navigating through a dystopian future, or in another universe entirely, they are unlikely to escape the nature of the human condition when it comes to my stories. We are human, even when we are forging through the unknown.

I live with my very supportive husband and tri-color collie-pit mix in Northern California. When I’m not writing or watching movies, you might find me on the golf course or cooking elaborate, celiac-friendly meals.

https://www.elliottwink.com/

Blog Tour: Flotsam by RJ Theodore

Hey guys! So happy to share this blog tour post about author RJ Theodore’s “Flotsam”. My review for this incredible book went up a few weeks ago, so be sure to check that out by clicking here! Otherwise, I hope you enjoy this amazing information and hope you’ll grab your own copy of this wonderful book today!


Flotsam - R J Theodore

R J Theodore has a new Science Fantasy Steampunk book out: Flotsam. And there’s a giveaway!

Captain Talis just wants to keep her airship crew from starving, and maybe scrape up enough cash for some badly needed repairs. When an anonymous client offers a small fortune to root through a pile of atmospheric wreckage, it seems like an easy payday. The job yields an ancient ring, a forbidden secret, and a host of deadly enemies.

Now on the run from cultists with powerful allies, Talis needs to unload the ring as quickly as possible. Her desperate search for a buyer and the fallout from her discovery leads to a planetary battle between a secret society, alien forces, and even the gods themselves.

Talis and her crew have just one desperate chance to make things right before their potential big score destroys them all.

Warnings: genocide plots, bigotry, racism, classism, obsessive ex-lover, violence, gore, grief and loss, religious dogma, law breaking, manipulation, hostage situations, claustrophobia, anxiety, frustration, guilt, lies and deception, betrayal

Publisher | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks| Author Site | Goodreads

About the Series:

On a planet cracked open by ancient magic, outlaws and pirates are the only ones with what it takes to save Peridot from its next apocalyptic threat.


Giveaway

R J is giving away a $20 gift card to Bookshop.org with this tour:

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47223/?


Excerpt

Flotsam Banner

Talis descended toward the sparkling layer of trash below her feet. Generations of detritus, coated in frost, shifted slowly and caught the light. She hung in open skies, a tiny dark figure on an impossibly thin thread. Her airship, Wind Sabre, lurked in the shadow of a small island above her like the hoarbeasts that lurked in the garbage below. Around her, the shrapnel of Peridot’s tectonic crust peppered the skies, tiny islands not big enough to park a chair on.

She might have said the chance to do something reckless like this was half the reason she was in her line of work. But there was no one to bluff except her crew on the other end of the comm—Dug, Tisker, and Sophie—and she owed them more than words. She owed them a job that didn’t end up costing more than it paid. She owed them a ship that wasn’t in constant want of repairs. She owed them a ship worthy of being called a home.

A soft click sounded in the comm of her helmet, and Dug’s voice cut through the quiet sounds of her rapid heartbeat and quick breaths. The voice tube transmission made him sound small and far away. “Progressing well, captain. How much farther do you need?”

Talis unclenched her jaw to answer. “I’d guess I’m just about halfway down. Can’t make out any details yet.”

“Understood. There is plenty of length on the winch.” Her first mate’s voice was low and even, though his syllables were tight as a guitar string. Dug was worried.

The bulky descent suit didn’t make it any easier to see the view below her. It was a one-size-fits-all antique, big enough to wear over her clothes. Big enough that Dug, who towered above her and was thick with muscle—could have worn it, if he was so worried. It was designed to keep her body heat in, and it was most definitely doing that. The musty wool lining felt moist after the short time she’d had it on. Her breath fogged the glass dome that protected her from the thin air, even though she wore a scarf over her mouth. Yet her fingers were still getting stiff with the cold. She could have worn thicker gloves if she was just going down to strap up a large object to tow out. But this time her quarry was smaller than that, and thinner gloves provided better dexterity.

From this distance, the garbage below her looked deceptively beautiful. A lazy flow of icy shapes caught the green light from Nexus, and their reflected light sparkled through the fogging on her helmet. It wasn’t hard to imagine why there were so many stories about treasure down below.

And there was treasure down there. Or, reckless or not, she wouldn’t be dropping into it. The flotsam layer was where the dead went to be forgotten. Dead people. Dead ships. Dead technologies. Gravity trapped it all there. Kept it from dropping out of Peridot’s atmosphere on the bottom side and drifting off into the stars. Silus Cutter created the hoarbeasts centuries ago to prowl the frozen wreckage and clean things up a bit with their vicious, crunching jaws and fang-lined throats. Did her god intend for those beasts to prefer the frozen flesh of bodies to the wrecks? She wouldn’t ask if she got the chance; she was here for the latter and glad to have the chance.

If things went wrong, Talis would be on the menu, too. But the contract for this salvage made it worth the risk. She could make a lot of overdue repairs on Wind Sabre with the payoff. Her crew had been enthusiastic about the operation when she proposed it, knowing what kind of money a salvage might bring in. Better than the transport jobs she’d scrounged up of late. Not one of the trio had volunteered to make the descent, though.

“You’re the reckless one, Cap,” Tisker told her at the time. The cheeky helmsman got away with the comment. He always did. His crooked, infectious grin and sparkling, deceptively innocent eyes transformed every gibe into a morale boost.

Details emerged, just a couple lengths below Talis. Large shapes at first. Broken hulls of ships tangled in their own lift canvasses. A roof, a wagon. An old tree trunk. Anything organic or burnable should have been composted or used for fuel, not pitched over island edge. But those hadn’t always been the rules. Seventy-something generations back to the Cataclysm that fractured Peridot and the Re-Creation that made it what it was now. Seventy-something generations of garbage and waste swirled in the gravity trap. And down here, nothing ever decayed.

Soon she got close enough to see movement: the hoarbeasts pulling themselves across the wrecks, their undersides a chaos of tentacles. Their bodies flashing gray and silver in an imitation of the flotsam. They moved above and below the gravity line, scanning the field of garbage with cavernous eyes and probing the jetsam with sensitive, bobbing whiskers. Always in search of fresh additions to the flotsam layer. In search of food. In search of the dead.

And they would find them.

Mostly Cutter folk. Some Vein. Even a Rakkar or two. The Bone fed their dead to the ravens and kept the bones, but still ended up in flotsam. Usually lost with their ships. No Breakers, of course. Their population was finite and, as far as the ages since Re-Creation had proven out, didn’t die of natural causes.

If they couldn’t find dead flesh, they’d be perfectly happy to accept the living.

Continuing to descend, Talis was far too aware of such things. Her brother had tormented her with stories of the hoarbeasts when she was a child, and she grew up convinced they clung to the bottom of her bed the way they latched onto the hulls of airships that flew too low, too close to flotsam. Convinced that their tentacles and their long, sharp teeth would find her in the dark.

In her forties now, and captain of a smuggling ship that had taken on many a perilous contract, she still didn’t sleep with her feet hanging off her mattress.


Author Bio

R J Theodore

R J Theodore is an author, graphic designer, podcaster, and all-around collector of creative endeavors and hobbies. She enjoys writing about magic-infused technologies, first contact events, and bioluminescing landscapes.

Her love of SFF storytelling developed through grabbing for anything-and-everything “unicorn” as a child, but she was subverted by tales of distant solar systems when her brother introduced her to Star Trek: The Next Generation at age seven. A few years later, Sailor Moon taught her stories can have both.

She lives in New England, haunted by her childhood cat. Find more information at rjtheodore.com.

Author Website: https://rjtheodore.com/

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://facebook.com/RJTheodore

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/bittybittyzap

Author Instagram: https://instagram.com/bittybittyzap

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17166271.R_J_Theodore

Author Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/r-j-theodore/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B073ZLVGMM

Other Worlds Ink logo

Terminus by Proto Dagg Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

In a not too distant future, a young man living in a divided city discovers a powerful new street drug and a growing movement, leading him to become the center of a battle for the soul of the city in author Proto Dagg’s “Terminus”.

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The Synopsis

Following a period of violent unrest, the city of Terminus is divided into color-coded zones – each block outside of the green zone brings citizens deeper into unguarded chaos. At an exclusive green-zone club, Matt hears about a new street drug called Peace. Receiving a cryptic invitation, he attends a series of ceremonies that uses the entheogen to bring about transformative experiences. As the movement grows across the zones, Peace threatens the powers who control Terminus, and Matt finds himself at the center of a struggle for the soul of the city.

The Review

The author did such a fantastic job of creating a narrative that was both entertaining and thought-provoking. The themes and genres that were meshed so well together all kept their identities while still creating something new and unique. From the futuristic, cyberpunk style setting to the tone and background of a Wolf of Wall Street style cast of characters to begin the narrative and a spiritual awakening and rebellious bio-punk storyline, this novel truly created something unique that readers will be eager to devour in one sitting.

The unique thing about this novel was how the narrative become the heart of this book. Typically the cast of characters will become the focal point of this kind of storyline, but the story itself was just so unique and the writing style was so thoughtful, that readers will just feel themselves getting drawn further and further into the rabbit hole that is this plot. The world-building and mythos of this futuristic world and the society the author built within this city were brilliantly written as well.

The Verdict

Gripping, breathtaking, and thought-provoking all at once, author Proto Dagg’s “Terminus” is a must-read novel of 2022 for all fans of cyberpunk and bio-punk. The twists and turns this narrative takes and the exploration that the narrative takes the characters on through some spiritual awakening moments will have readers enthralled with this story. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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