Cover of Fulcrum of Odysseus by Eric Michael Craig

The discoveries made by the crew of the Jakob Waltz in the cold darkness of the outer solar system have set off a catastrophic chain of events, fatally destabilizing the fragile balance of power among the factions of the Human Union. Worse, they’ve inadvertently activated a doomsday failsafe created to protect humanity in the event of contact with an extrasolar entity.

Former FleetCartel Chancellor Katryna Roja and her allies are on the run, the crew of the Waltz is struggling to make the best of an increasingly ugly situation, and it’s beginning to look like humanity will be far worse off under the control of the omnipotent and all-encompassing AI known as Odysseus than they were under the Human Union. More calculating than the greatest chess master, able to infiltrate and manipulate virtually any system, Odysseus swiftly proves itself to be a cold, calculating, and ultimately ominous entity.

The artefact encountered by the intrepid crew of the Jakob Waltz isn’t without its own mysteries and perils either. Just as Odysseus at first seemed benignly helpful, the Tacra Un proves to be at times disturbingly unconcerned with the well-being and ongoing survival of its unwilling inhabitants.

If you enjoyed the hard science, intrigue, and interstellar action of Star Trek and felt that Skynet wasn’t far-reaching or threatening enough, then Fulcrum of Odysseus is definitely for you! It’s a riveting read and I greatly enjoyed it. Honorable mentions are also in order for the slang spoken by the residents of Tsiolkovskiy Freeport East (very nicely done!) and the introduction of genetically modified and upgraded humans. This is one of those rare series where the second book is even better than the first.

Sound interesting? Fulcrum of Odysseus is available in paperback, ebook, and Kindle Unlimited on Amazon. New to the series? Start with Legacy of Pandora, and check out my review here.

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Cover of Soul Jacker by Michael John Grist

Michael John Grist’s Soul Jacker is easily one of the most unusual and thought-provoking cyberpunk novels out there. This book is up there with the classics of the genre in terms of style, narrative voice, and introduction of new concepts.

Grist has built a world that is strange and fascinating both inside and out: memories are injectable, mind bombs can disrupt and destroy thousands of minds without leaving a physical trace, and we’ve honed hacking the human mind down to a fine (if dangerous) art.

Ritry Goligh is one such hacker, or Soul Jacker, a former marine left adrift by the end of the war he was created for. He’s a hard individual who’s made a lot of sacrifices in order to survive, but he isn’t a bad guy. Despite picking up the pieces of a psyche shattered by trauma multiple times throughout his life, he never quite succumbs to the darkness. I found myself really liking that about him. He’s a hero, if nothing else than because he refused to become a monster like those that surrounded him. In an ugly world, refusing to give in to cruelty is an act of rebellion.

Grist gives the reader plenty of demons to hate, though, (or cheer for, if that’s your thing.) This is a narrative that pulls no punches, and gory is an understatement for much of the action. We plumb the depths of a world ravaged by fuel wars and rising sea levels, as well as the depths of Ritry’s oft-broken-and-rehealed mind– a labyrinthine maze of hidden memories and missing pieces, hidden behind steel walls of protective scar tissue and stalked by monsters. And then of course there are the traps laid by the enigmatic character known as Mr. Ruin.

Soul Jacker is a wilder ride than I ever expected when I picked it up, full of dizzying highs and sickening lows that I found oddly satisfying. This is a novel that will thrill you, horrify you, and make you think about where we’re going. I loved it, and I think you will too.

Sound interesting? Soul Jacker is available on Amazon in ebook and paperback. I highly recommend it!

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Cover of Blood Crystal by Jeanette O'Hagan

In the aptly-named Blood Crystal, twins Delvina and Retza face the aftermath of the banishment of the evil Overseer Uzza. The Glimmer Heart that powers their people’s subterranean world is failing, and time is running out for the Darane to find a solution.

Continue reading “Review: Blood Crystal”

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Cover of Heart of the Mountain by Jeanette O'Hagan

A while back I reviewed Ruhanna’s Flight & Other Stories, a superb collection of short tales by author Jeanette O’Hagan. One of the stories that resonated with me the most was Heart of the Mountain, so I was pleased to learn it has its own series.

Continue reading “Review: Heart of the Mountain”

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Cover of Legacy of Pandora: Shan Takhu Legacy: Book One by Eric Michael Craig

Set in a future where Earth has become all but uninhabitable and human colonization has extended throughout the inner Solar System, Legacy of Pandora follows two separate storylines. Out in the cold dark of the Neptune L-4 Trojan Cluster, the ice harvesting research vessel Jakob Waltz is about to run into serious trouble. Back home in the governing Council of the Human Union, FleetCartel Chancellor Katryna Roja is just beginning to uncover a twisted web of corruption, resource theft, and murder.

Continue reading “Review: Legacy of Pandora”

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Thrill Kings: The Gray Walls by Rik Ty cover

In The Grey Walls, our heroes battle an interdimensional intruder like nothing they’ve ever seen before. Having taken over an office tower, the creature seems to be slowly absorbing its hapless victims– which include Nonstop, Krork, and all of the office workers, as well as a multitude of nightmarish creatures from other dimensions.

The result is an office tower filled with a maze of constantly-shifting gray walls– walls which bear still-living impressions of the creature’s meals.

Continue reading “Review of Thrill Kings: The Gray Walls”

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I discovered a ton of new favorite authors this year!

Those who know me know that I enjoy a wide range of genres. I’m intrigued by writing that’s unique: new concepts, subversions of expectations, genre blending. Interestingly enough, most of the books that fit my preferences this year came from independent authors.

This list covers a range of genres. Comparing most of these books to each other would be impossible, so they’re organized alphabetically by title instead of numerically. If you’d like to read more, each heading links to my review of that book.

Without further ado, here are my favorite reads of 2018.

Continue reading “Favorite Reads of 2018”

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Tales from Alternative Earths 2 cover

The haunting and all-too-believable tale of the first woman cosmonaut to reach space. A Handmaid’s Tale-esque account of a present day where witch trials never went out of style. An alternate past where Hitler was diverted from the course that eventually saw him rise to power and orchestrate the largest genocide in recorded history. An alternate history where an Andalusian polymath invented the glider and gave birth to a future utterly unlike that which we know today.

Continue reading “Review: Tales from Alternate Earths 2”

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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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