Cover of Dial D for Deadman by Barry J Hutchison

Dial D for Deadman is a superbly executed hybrid: part noir detective novel, part paranormal mystery, part comedy. The action takes place on a popular interstellar crossroads called Parloo, in the gritty, downtrodden surface city known to its inhabitants as Down Here.

Our hero is Dan Deadman, deceased detective at large. Between ne’er-do-wells opening portals to the Malwhere, interdimensional amnesiacs, and a missing-persons case with an exceptionally gory twist, Dan quickly finds himself up to his eyeballs in trouble.

At times like this, he’d give his left nut to be a real detective. If he still had nuts.

Continue reading “Review: Dial D for Deadman”

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Cover of Thrill Kings: The Shaftway by Rik Ty

A short story about an inter-dimensional rescue worker who gets skunked by the otherworldly creature he’s trying to rescue, Thrill Kings: The Shaftway might be best described as Lovecraftian science fiction. And as such, it brilliantly succeeds.

Protagonist Nonstop corners a small, furry, brownie-shaped creature in a ruined warehouse and sends it back to its home dimension– but not before the terrified creature gases him with something unpleasant and highly hallucinogenic. What follows is a harrowing climb out of a ruined elevator shaft while our hero struggles in the grip of an incredibly bad trip.

Author Rik Ty has a unique writing style that lends itself well to this futuristic scifi-Lovecraft blend, and his descriptions are, as Nonstop would say, ‘ace.’ Here are a couple of my favorites.

Nonstop revved and drew nearer. The Inter-D looked like a bath mat, like a bath-mat-cake, or a brownie, or a cake-loaf, or something else that was low and thick with a top coating of acorns. He guessed its sustained speed to be about seven miles an hour, which, in his opinion, was respectable for a rectangle.

The moonlight, the beautiful moonlight, showed herself in several shafts of low light haze, which streamed down from holes in the ceiling and seemed to announce: “Here: take a closer look at some old file cabinets.”

These evocative descriptions and their subtle humor are the icing on the cake of a truly excellent weird scifi short story. If you haven’t picked up a copy for yourself, what are you waiting for?

Thrill Kings: The Shaftway and Thrill Kings: The Size Of Minneapolis Upright are available on Amazon and will be free every Saturday in October 2018. Check out author Rik Ty’s website for more info about this promising series.

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Cover of Stormhaven Rising by Eric Michael Craig

In the wake of the discovery of an asteroid on a collision course with Earth, the United States government scrambles to contain the news before it can spark a panic– but some secrets are too big to keep. Soon they aren’t the only ones rushing to devise countermeasures.

Their most viable competitors are the Chinese, and a global megacorporation to end all megacorporations: Stormhaven, founded and run by uber wealthy reclusive genius Colton Taylor. (Think Elon Musk, but considerably more altruistic and an all-around decent human being.)

Set in a near future where the US Department of Defense and NASA have only become more encumbered by bureaucratic gridlock (and in NASA’s case, insufficient funding,) private sector technologies have evolved leaps and bounds beyond that of the public sector. As such, Taylor’s Stormhaven may be the only real hope Earth has. There’s just one problem: private spaceflight is strictly forbidden, not just in the US, but on a global scale. In light of the strained political climate of impending doom, the last thing the US government wants to do is grant Stormhaven permission to reach space.

The tense and at times disastrous narrative that evolves from this situation is equal parts grim and inspiring. Stormhaven Rising represents an interesting blend of genres: part political thriller, part hard scifi, and part impending disaster. Together they make for a fun and fascinating read.

Continue reading “Review: Stormhaven Rising”

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Cover of Dark by Paul L Arvidson

Paul L Arvidson’s Dark is an unexpected hybrid, part science fiction and part heroic fantasy. The residents of the place known as the Dark inhabit a labyrinth of pipes and drains surrounding a central aqueduct known as the River, and readers will quickly realize that it is a created world rather than an organic one.

Dun, a budding shaman, and his boisterous friend Padj, along with a clever alchemist named Tali and their mysterious guide, Myrch, are tasked with following the River to its source and finding out what has become of their clan’s upstream neighbors.

Continue reading “Review: Paul L Arvidson’s Dark”

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Cover of Grounded: A Dragon's Tale by Gloria Piper

Grounded: A Dragon’s Tale follows a young dragon named Manycolors who has been burdened with the care of a flightless sibling. The narrative takes short breaks to focus on a human youth named Hote, who battles a mysterious illness as he works with the Watchers studying the dragons’ planet.

With its themes of misfit youngsters, youthful rebellion, and the looming threat of greedy poachers, I quickly formed suspicions regarding how the story might turn out. I’m thrilled to report that the author broke out of those tropes to create something unique, intriguing and unusual.

Continue reading “Grounded: A Dragon’s Tale Review”

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Ruhanna's Flight and other stories book cover

Within the pages of Ruhanna’s Flight and Other Stories, author Jeanette O’Hagan spins tales of shapeshifters and seafaring peoples, youthful struggles, first loves, enduring loss, and incredible courage. All but a few of the stories are set in the world of Nardva, and some of the characters will be familiar to readers of O’Hagan’s Akrad’s Children.

Continue reading “Review: Ruhanna’s Flight & Other Stories”

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Cover of Curses of Scale by S.D. Reeves

Today on the author blog, Leland Lydecker reviews the first novel by author S.D. Reeves.

Curses of Scale is an unusually somber tale of love, fey magic, and cursed dragons. It follows Calem, a druid who made a bargain with the fey Oberon in an attempt to break the curse on his wife; Niena, an aspiring bard with a head full of dreams; and Marny, an old soldier and grandfather to Niena.

Continue reading “Curses of Scale Review”

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Cover of Save Our Souls by Leighton Dean

Today on the author blog, Leland Lydecker reviews the second novel by author Leighton Dean.

The aptly-named Save Our Souls follows pilot and Captain’s son, Ford, and his family, the crew of the freighter Jian Seng, as they fight to survive in the face of an unholy trinity of catastrophes. The seemingly lifeless ship that barreled into their craft is only the first salvo of a universe that seems intent on eliminating the crew of the Jian Seng in the most unpleasant ways possible.

Continue reading “Review: Save Our Souls”

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 Welcome to the Madhouse: a Medical Space Station Thriller by S.E. Sasaki

Welcome to the Madhouse chronicles the adventures of Dr. Grace Lord as she begins her residency aboard the medical space station Nelson Mandela. Plenty of challenges are in store, from eccentric surgeons to a dangerously manipulative psychiatrist to an alien super-virus, but Dr. Lord is not entirely on her own: she soon finds an unlikely ally in Bud, an android gifted with artificial intelligence.

In fact, Bud is more than just sentient: he feels human emotion. And from the moment he lays optical sensors on the extremely talented, smart, and beautiful Dr. Grace Lord, he falls madly in love with her.

Continue reading “Review: Welcome to the Madhouse”

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 Cover of Darrell B. Nelson's The Genocide Game.

This week on the author blog, Leland Lydecker reviews The Genocide Game. A megalomaniac billionaire with an automation fetish plots to wipe out ninety-eight percent of the world’s population, and it falls to Stan– pick-up artist guru and self-proclaimed word-nerd– to save the world.

To be more accurate, Stan bumps into Raven, a scientist on the run from her job in the billionaire’s R&D lab, and offers to help her. Pretty soon they’re both on the run from Ferguson’s comically inept goons, racing to reveal the existence of a genetically engineered super-virus before Ferguson can unleash it on the world.

Although it sounds like a cool premise, The Genocide Game has some unfortunately fatal flaws. Let’s start with Stan.

Continue reading “Darrell B. Nelson’s The Genocide Game”

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