Tag Archives: science fiction books

New Life in Autumn by Michael G. Williams Review

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

A newly dead detective tries to find a group of missing children and solve the mysteries of the floating city of Autumn’s long-lost history in author Michael G. Williams’s “New Life in Autumn”. 

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The Synopsis

RETURN TO THE MEAN STREETS OF AUTUMN

Valerius Bakhoum is dead and buried.

Too bad he’s still flat broke and behind on the rent.

Unsure what to do with himself—and of who he is—Valerius resumes his career as a detective by taking up the oldest case in his files: where do the children go?

Throughout his own youth on the streets of Autumn, last of the Great Flying Cities, Valerius knew his fellow runaways disappeared from back alleys and other hiding places more than anyone realized. Street kids even had a myth to explain it: the Gotchas, who steal urchins away in the night.

With nothing but time on his hands, Valerius dives in head-first to settle the question once and for all and runs smack into a more pressing mystery: who killed one of Valerius’ former lovers?

And do they know Valerius is still alive?

Stalk the shadows of Autumn’s hidden places by Valerius Bakhoum’s side as he shines a light on secrets both sacred and profane, ones with shockingly personal connections to who he was—and who he might become.

New Life in Autumn is the sequel to the Manly Wade Wellman Award-winning A Fall in Autumn.

The Review

What immediately struck me about this novel was just how much the setting of this floating city called Autumn felt so alive on the page. A beautiful blend of dystopian sci-fi meets fantasy and hard-boiled detective mysteries, the author found a way to make the city itself feel like a character all its own. The intrigue and drama that the author’s narrative brought forth kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time.

The character growth of this narrative was such an engaging aspect of the story. The protagonist was so versatile and complex, both emoting the tough-as-nails attitude one expects of a seasoned detective and showing the raw emotions and shock of experiencing death and rebirth all at once. The LGBTQ-forward romance and inspired character development made this story shine brightly as well, making for a rich and diverse dystopian read.

The Verdict

Gripping, captivating, and entertaining, author Michael G. Williams’s “New Life in Autumn” is a must-read novel! The action and mystery surrounding this story feel both classic and yet futuristic all at once, and the rich character development, both the protagonist and the city, in particular, make for an emotionally engaging and mind-blowing hook that keeps us readers invested in this series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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A New Life in Autumn - Michael G. Williams

Michael G. Williams has a new gay sci-fi mystery out, Books of Autumn book 2: A New Life in Autumn. And there’s a giveaway!

THE HARDEST PART OF DYING IS DECIDING HOW TO PASS THE TIME

Valerius Bakhoum died and kept no living. Now he can walk the streets of his city with a new face and a new name and finally feel a little bit respected. Too bad he’s still flat broke and behind on the rent. Unsure what to do with himself—and perhaps even of who he is—Valerius resumes his career as a detective by taking up the oldest case in his files: where do the children go?

Throughout his own youth on the streets of Autumn, last of the Great Flying Cities, Valerius knew his fellow runaways disappear from back alleys and other hiding places more than people realize. Street kids even have a myth to explain it: the Gotchas, who steal them away in the night. With nothing but time on his hands, Valerius dives in head-first to settle the question once and for all and runs smack into a more pressing mystery:

Who killed one of Valerius’ former lovers?

And do they know he’s still alive?

Return to the mean streets of Autumn by Valerius Bakhoum’s side as he shines a light into shadowy corners and finds secrets both sacred and profane with shockingly personal connections to who he was—and who he might become.

Warnings: This book does involve mild violence, capture and impending torture by antagonists, and discussion of the murder of children.

About the Series:

What would you do if you found yourself free at last–and all alone–in the sin-drenched paradise you were told you’d never reach?

Books of Autumn is a series telling the story of Valerius Bakhoum, a down and out private eye in Autumn, last of the great flying Cities, at various points in his life.

In A Fall in Autumn (2020 Manly Wade Wellman Award), we meet Valerius as he winds down his career and his too-short life.

In New Life in Autumn, Valerius navigates a surprising second chance and questions of who he is–and who he might become.

Walk the mean streets of Autumn by Valerius’ side in this award-winning study of the kindness and compassion found in the places where humanity’s lowest ambitions lurk!

Universal Buy Link


Giveaway

Michael is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour:

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

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47243/?


Excerpt

New Life in Autumn meme

Across three quarters of the City of Autumn, street kids are an unthinkable paradox. For the most part, the Pluses and the PlusPlus and all the other manifold forms of intentional humankinds only ever run into the sorts of kids someone wanted badly enough to design. There are already a billion people in the world between the Empire, the Eastern Expanse, and the less-organized places nobody’s fought over quite yet. Having kids willy-nilly wouldn’t add up, not with so many people already in line for the breakfast bar. That’s one of the many objections the Spiralists put forward to continued cultivation of Artisanal Humans like me—well, like I was.

That’s going to take some getting used to.

Anyway, widespread cultural insistence on bespoke offspring leaves a lot of kids out in the cold, literally. The ones I described before, orphaned by chance or abandoned for turning out imperfect or who got tired of their old life and decided to chase a new one are, in the remaining fourth-to-fifth of the City, as common as cobblestones and just as underfoot. There are plenty of them, and the supply continually refreshes, and I went to distinctly other streets than theirs. It isn’t that I wanted to avoid them, but talking would have taken money or some sort of barter and I was too short by half on either. I suspected it would have generated too much information rather than too little. A street kid asked to tell a story for a steam bun or a little reliably spendable scrip will gin up all the story you want and then some. I didn’t need urban legends. I needed facts, and that meant a much more gruesome start than some urchin milking my wallet with tall tales of what goes bump in the night.

I mentioned to Clodia one time that I had a friend who worked the Cisterns. The City of Autumn is like any town: its people have to piss like anybody else and its gutters often swell with rain. Autumn routinely flies into weather systems to gather up fresh water, and there’s a vast infrastructure to purify it for use by humankinds. I could spend ten pages telling you about the ponds in Down Preserves where rainwater burbles and bubbles under pressure, mixing in fresh air. The whole City sleeps atop a bed stuffed with pumps and gravity lines, charcoal and scrub algae, grates and artificial reefs and purpose-built shrimp—but I won’t.

Instead, I’ll simply say this: by the time water gets to us, the only thing left is the scent of the air where it first fell as rain. I don’t understand how the process works. I don’t care, either. The important thing, the thing none of us think about too much in case it, too, is another pretty lie in the quilt of them we make over our lives, is it happens. Sip from Lotta’s to remember the dead, cup your hands in the fountains of Domino, turn on a tap in the average Autumn kitchen, and you’ll enjoy the aroma of a field somewhere in Afrique, or a mutant blossom somewhere on a nameless plain in the vast Recovery Zone between Big River and the Salt Flat.

But on the other end of the system? Once all that delicious water has run its course through bodies and beer kegs and ice machines and steam plants?

That’s called Cistern Intake. I knew a gal who worked that part of the system. You could smell it on her from ten meters away. I always felt sorry for her, because it was so baked into her skin, ground down into her pores, she didn’t even smell it anymore herself.

On the plus side, she always had plenty of room in a bar. Nobody crowded her for long.

Frankie was a Mannie. Generally speaking, no variety of Plus—nice, “normal” people with designer genes—would even be considered for her job. Even applying for it might result in getting a replication error assessment. Odds are good you’ve already heard the story from a few years ago about the PlusPlus whose big ideas on “lived egalitarianism” got her carted off for genotoxicity screening. What most folks don’t know, however, is it was a stunt on both sides. Sure, she only wanted to make a point by suing the City for the right to join a scrubber team, not actually take the job if they offered it. But the City went out of its way to make the counterpoint in response, escorting her kicking and screaming away from the workhouse where they keep the little gliders they use to clean the Fore Barrier’s external face.

I assume she hoped to drum up publicity for her so-called perverse beliefs. I think she expected the City would do something to make an example of her, sure, but something more symbolic. You know, a big fine she could never pay, or maybe a few nights in the Palace of Imperial Justice. Something Imperial media could print without making anybody lose their lunch.

Instead, they dragged her —did I mention the kicking and screaming?—straight to the Hive. No trial. No judge. No pretenses. The Hive is right there at the front of the City, and the tiny portion of it sticking out above street level is visible if you climb high enough in Down Preserves and look to the Fore. The joke goes, they put the City’s worst criminals out there so we’ll hear them screaming if we crash into anything. This lady’s worst crime, though, was trying to prove we’re not all equal, not in the lives we’re allowed to lead or the risks we’re expected to take in the course of them. It sounds like heroism to you or me, but to the powers that be, the Sinceres, the Spiralists, and all the other people who don’t care if the Empire is a heap of shit as long as they’re near enough the top to catch a breeze, she’d committed the worst kind of social treason: she’d violated the spoken and unspoken rules propping up the class system on which they relied.


Author Bio

New Life in Autumn - Michael G. Williams

Michael G. Williams writes queer-themed science fiction, urban fantasy, and horror celebrating monsters, macabre humor, and subverted expectations. He’s the author of three series for Falstaff Books: the award-winning vampire/urban fantasy series The Withrow Chronicles; the thrilling urban fantasy series SERVANT/SOVEREIGN featuring real estate, time travel, and San Francisco’s greatest historical figures; the science fiction noir A Fall in Autumn, winner of the 2020 Manly Wade Wellman Award; and a bunch of short stories. He strives to present the humor and humanity at the heart of horror and mystery with stories of outcasts and loners finding their people.

Michael will be the Guest of Honor at Ret-Con in 2023, co-hosts Arcane Carolinas, studies Appalachian history and folklore at Appalachian State University, and is a brother in St. Anthony Hall. He lives in Durham, NC, with his husband, a variety of animals, and more and better friends than he probably deserves.

Author Website: https://michaelgwilliamsbooks.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/mcmanlypants

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/MichaelGWilliamsAuthor

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

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

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6429992.Michael_G_Williams

Author Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/michael-g-williams/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Michael-G-Williams/e/B001KIYBBU/

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Doctor Jekyll: Alien Hunter by Bruce Olav Solheim 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 following in her father’s footsteps as an investigator of extraterrestrial life finds herself delving into the realities of life and death in author Bruce Olav Solheim’s “Doctor Jekyll: Alien Hunter.” 

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The Synopsis

Dr. Jekyll Alien Hunter chronicles the adventures of Henna Jekyll, a professor who is following in her father’s footsteps in researching extraterrestrials. Her research takes her around the world where she discovers the hazy boundaries between life and death, and reality and dream.

The Review

This was a fun and fascinating read! The author did an incredible job of crafting a narrative that brought the intrigue of the study of the paranormal and UFO-related activity in our world with the emotional and impactful study of relationships and how we connect with one another. As a paranormal investigator and enthusiast myself, I was floored by how much the author delved into the interconnectivity that seems to exist between various fields of study (cryptozoology, paranormal, Ufology, spirituality, etc), and how much detail the author was able to incorporate into the narrative in a very natural way.

Yet it was the characters that made the heart of this graphic novel shine so brightly. The emotional connection made between Henna’s search for answers and her late father and mother was something so many people will be able to connect with. The emotional concept that this mystery and intrigue that exists when talking about the paranormal makes this story so engaging, as it allows readers to recognize it isn’t always about proving the truth to others, but instead knowing your own truth and understanding every answer we find, more and more questions will arise, and that’s ok. 

The Verdict

Heartfelt, entertaining, and gripping, author Bruce Olav Solheim’s “Doctor Jekyll: Alien Hunter” is a must-read sci-fi meets paranormal graphic novel! The beautiful artwork from illustrator Julia Kazanowska and the amount of depth that was achieved narratively in such a short span of time made for a compelling and riveting read that cannot be missed. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Bruce Olav Solheim was born on September 3, 1958, in Seattle, Washington, to hard-working Norwegian immigrant parents, Asbjørn and Olaug Solheim. Bruce was the first person in his family to go to college. He served for six years in the US Army as a jail guard and later as a helicopter pilot. He earned his PhD in history from Bowling Green State University in 1993.

Bruce is currently a distinguished professor of history at Citrus College in Glendora, California. He also served as a Fulbright professor in 2003 at the University of Tromsø in northern Norway.

Bruce founded the Veterans Program at Citrus College and cofounded, with Manuel Martinez and Ginger De Villa-Rose, the Boots to Books transition course—the first college course in the United States designed specifically for recently returned veterans. He has published five books and has written seven plays, two of which have been produced.

Bruce is married to Ginger, the girl of his dreams, who is a professional helicopter pilot and certified flight instructor. He has been blessed with four wonderful children: Bjørn, Byron, Caitlin, and Leif. He also has a precious grandson, Liam. Bruce, his brother, and his two nephews still own the family home in Åse, Norway, two hundred miles above the Arctic Circle.

https://www.bruceolavsolheim.com/

Duatero by Brad C. Anderson Review

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

A soldier and his team must take a final stand to protect Earth’s abandoned colony of Duatero from a deadly ecosystem that poisons crops and turns humans into mindless monsters in author Brad C. Anderson’s “Duatero”.

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The Synopsis

Majstro Falchilo Kredo has devoted his life to protecting the abandoned earth colony of Duatero from Malamiko, the indigenous ecosystem that makes their crops fail and whose contamination turns humans into mindless monsters. But Malimiko is changing, becoming more dangerous, more aware, even as the ancient technology they use to combat fails piece by precious piece. Kredo and his fellow soldiers must risk everything or see all they hold precious wiped away and forgotten. Kredo is prepared to sacrifice himself—and anyone around him—to do his duty. But what if the price demanded is even higher?

The Review

The author did such a great job of crafting a vivid and unique world. The story of Duatero was mesmerizing, bringing the study of society and how it evolves (or doesn’t evolve) over time in response to the natural dangers of a world to life. The natural character growth and dialogue let both familiar yet unique to the narrative, as the speech and dialogue of the characters felt unique to the characters and their world, and yet the camaraderie and the personal issues they face also felt realistic and something that people could relate to if they were in a similar situation, making these characters very relatable. 

The world-building and mythos of this world were what really stole the show here. The way the author was able to create a threat and danger that dwelled not in the minds and hearts of mankind solely, but in the natural ecosystem of an entire planet, was a great way to explore the biology of the sci-fi genre and the language and terminology that the characters used highlighted the rich mythos that was developed for this science fiction meets dystopian adventure. 

The Verdict

Haunting, action-packed, and entertaining, author Brad C. Anderson’s “Duatero” is a must-read sci-fi dystopian read of 2022. A unique and creative tale, the rich characters that are both flawed yet highly emotional in their delivery and the impact this harsh world has on those surviving in this lost colony create an engaging story that will have readers drawn into the narrative wholeheartedly. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Brad C. Anderson lives with his wife and puppy in Vancouver, Canada. He teaches undergraduate business courses at a local university and researches organizational wisdom in blithe defiance of the fact most people do not think you can put those two words in the same sentence without irony. Previously, he worked in the biotech sector where he made drugs for a living (legally!).

His stories have appeared in a variety of publications. His short story, Naïve Gods, was longlisted for a 2017 Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic. It was published in the anthology Lazarus Risen, which was itself nominated for an Aurora Award.

TimeLab Episode 1: San Francisco by Jackiem Joyner Review

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

Two men ridiculed and persecuted for their scientific pursuits yet separated by time find themselves forced to work together to stop a brutal invasion in a forgotten time in author Jackiem Joyner’s “TimeLab Episode 1: San Francisco”. 

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The Synopsis

Two Scientists. One from long ago. The other from modern day 2018.

Both on the precipice of greatness.

Both met with disdain, and in one case, branded a witch.

Sir Bernard, a seasoned and trusted scientist, living in the time of King Caesar, is lauded by many… until his invention sparks rage and fear among the people. When they brand him as a witch, practicing dark magic, he makes a daring escape via his time machine.

He finds himself in San Francisco, 2000 years in the future. There, he befriends Kyle, a young, talented physics student, whose brilliance also sparks distrust, and in some cases, maltreatment.

Together, the two scientists are a formidable force, but there are barriers that prevent them from making good use of their scientific theories.

Sir Bernard’s homeland is on the brink of war. To save his people, he must go back in time, but first he’ll need a new, more powerful time machine.

Kyle has struggles of his own. His brain puts him ahead of the class, but he has trepidation about his mother’s legacy. He wants to clear her name and prove that she didn’t intentionally detonate a scientific lab, killing everyone, including herself.

Two scientists from vastly different worlds fight to erase the past. Can they prove their theories are real and can they save lives and reputations, including their own?

Find out in Episode 1 of this adrenaline-rushing science fiction novel, featuring time-traveling scientists! Scroll and click Buy-with-1-click today!

The Review

This was such a fun and fast-paced sci-fi thriller! The story does a fantastic job of packing a punch and hitting readers with a large sense of world-building in such a short amount of time. The imagery and mythos that the author layers into the narrative are both unique and fascinating to behold, giving readers just enough of a hook to keep them invested while also ending the story on a cliffhanger to keep the reader captivated.

The character building was great to read. While Kyle and his tragic backstory are alluded to, it is Bernard’s story that really propels the mythology to the story’s stratosphere, infusing both sci-fi and fantasy elements into the narrative and keeping readers entertained. The episodic format of the story is also quite unique, making the story feel like a television show that keeps the reader hanging off of the author’s every word and eager to binge the next book in the series.

The Verdict

Thoughtful, fast-paced, and engaging, author Jackiem Joyner’s “TimeLab Episode 1: San Francisco” is a must-read sci-fi story! The brilliant world-building and mythology the author integrated into these two relatable and passionate protagonists and the cliffhanger of an ending will have readers eager to devour more of the author’s work. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Jackiem Joyner has loved Science Fiction ever since he was a child, fascinated by all the stories and imaginations of futuristic worlds. But it wasn’t until later in his life, after experiencing huge success in the recording business, that he decided to put pen to paper – the result of which is his debut novel, Zarya.

Gathering from his experiences traveling the world as a recording artist, he developed a knack for good science fiction stories after reading several books a month. Having used and operated many devices from the future, he incorporated exciting equipment and imaginary scientific ideas into dramatic thrillers that are sure to keep readers on edge.

Jackiem was born in Norfolk, Virginia and spent most of his young adult life in Syracuse New York before moving to Los Angeles, California where he currently resides. In addition to writing fun stories, Jackiem Joyner has experienced huge success as a recording artist, with multiple songs peaking at number 1 on the billboard charts and 5 international records released.

https://joynerbookclub.com/

The Cell (The World of Morphea) by Ralph Srouji Review

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

An advanced society that long ago shed the needs of the physical form finds its society on the verge of collapse in author Ralph Srouji’s “The Cell”.

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The Synopsis

After the climate catastrophe known as the Burn, the last surviving humans moved underground into old mines converted into subcities.

Cut off from one another, the subterranean societies collapsed and chaos nearly ruled supreme. Only the civilization of Rockys was spared that fate. Its tenacious people, led by wise and visionary Administrators, started rebuilding a new stable and prosperous society.

In due time, Rockys’ drills pierced through the Earth’s crust and reconnected all the known subcities under one civilization.

During this golden age of advancement and progress, Casper Vandee built the first Morphea, a realistic metaverse that would go on to change the course of the whole species.

Gradually liberated from their physical needs thanks to Morphea, humans went on exploring the extent of their creativity and freedom.

More than forty thousand years later, Cosmic Morphea, the giant planet housing quadrillions of humans, sits in space, bathing peacefully and discreetly around Sagittarius A*, the black hole at the center of the Milky Way.

As the last mysteries of the universe unravel, and the species reaches the highest levels of civilization, one where they are able to spawn new universes, the last unanswered question, what’s next, still eludes the Morpheans.

Gradually and inconspicuously, the longest human society starts to crack and fissure, hassled by various crisis that end up threatening Morphea and the future of the species…

The Review

The author did such an amazing job of balancing the sci-fi elements of the narrative with larger-than-life world-building and mythos development. The unique nature of the metaverse and humanity’s dependence on the unique world of Morphea was truly fascinating to read, as was the deep history of the planet Earth that fueled history and our own world’s events perfectly to make this narrative feel alive and realistic at times.

The themes explored in this novel were quite powerful. The exploration of humanity’s impact on the world, how technology and both augmented and virtual reality impact us, and the cost of evolution and advancements in technology and physiology all played out spectacularly in this novel. The author’s ability to pair these important themes with entertaining narratives and well-developed characters made this novel shine brightly.

The Verdict

Engaging, thought-provoking, and fast-paced, author Ralph Srouji’s “The Cell” is a must-read sci-fi epic. The rich and layered world-building blended with the brilliant mythos the author develops will have readers instantly glued to the pages of this novel, and the exciting and thoughtful conclusion to this story will leave readers eager for more of the author’s unique vision and writing style. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Ralph Srouji was born in Beirut in 1977 during the civil war. Books, especially fictional books, provided him with the escape he needed during that uncertain time. Through the refuge of books, he discovered that we live in two realities; one where bombs can fall from the sky, and another where the mind can travel further than the borders of the universe.

He plans to continue the story of The Cell through the World of Morphea, a universe of various works that delves into the secrets of the metaverse. Discover more at www.morphea.world.

Kwelengsen Dawn: Logan’s World Book Two by David M. Kelly Review

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

After losing his world, one man must fight his way off of Earth and venture forth into the unknown to save those left behind in author David M. Kelly’s “Kwelengsen Dawn”, the second book in the Logan’s World Series.

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The Synopsis

When you lose everything you love, the whole world becomes the enemy.

After his planet was invaded by ruthless Corporate forces, engineer Logan Twofeathers is trapped on Earth by the authorities, who are more afraid of starting a war than helping their people. He may be safe, but many others are still missing.

When security tries to arrest him on trumped-up charges, he must find his own way to return to Kwelengsen. His only option is to seek out someone from his past–a borderline psychotic, who might just be crazy enough to help.

Now, he must draw on all his strength and resilience as he undertakes a precarious and violent journey into the unknown, with enemies lurking in every shadow. The outlook is bleak, and all he has is his grit and sense of honor. Will that be enough?

The battle is over. But the war is about to begin.

The Review

This was such a brilliant spectacle and action-packed sci-fi story. The gritty nature of the world the author has built and the brutality for which the action takes the cast of characters made this story so visceral and really highlighted the author’s use of imagery in his writing. With the shocking betrayal of Earth’s security and the settings that Earth’s streets take the reader felt alive on the page.

The development of the mythos and characters in this book were the heart of the narrative. The desperation and heartbreak that the protagonist exudes as he seeks to find his love and the fight he takes to make it a reality is something that speaks to the humanity of the protagonist, and is something readers will identify with immediately. Exploring Earth and the hierarchy of the security forces was also interesting, exploring how this world’s version of Earth has evolved over time.

The Verdict

Thoughtful, exhilarating, and adrenaline-fueled, author David M. Kelly’s “Kwelengsen Dawn” is the upcoming must-read sci-fi novel of 2022 and the perfect next book in the Logan’s World Series. The brilliant storytelling the author utilizes here and engaging world-building will draw readers in, and the shocking twist on the final pages of this novel will have readers anxious to learn more about a must-have third book in this series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to preorder your copy today or grab your copy on June 7th, 2022!

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.

https://davidmkelly.net/

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/

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:

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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/