In the cold darkness of after-hours KEL Port, something isn’t right. Hooligans search for off-worlders to torment. A supervisor tries to hide the evidence of his misdeeds. And down at the loading docks, something strange and dark has found its way into the habitat.

A Shadow of a Presence follows Bradley Radco, a not-so-ordinary cargo handler,  and shows a less Baron Cargo-centric (and less human-centric) side of KEL Port. It is the third installment of the Shadow sub-series, following A Shadow Among Shadows and A Shadow of a Rumor.

In his dimly lit booth at the back of Mog’s cantina, Radco fidgeted in his seat. The obtrusive thoughts were back, and stranger than ever. He blinked. Black liquid pooled on a gangway floor, slowly expanding. Ripples marred its surface.

He blinked again and the tunnel-like gangway was gone. He was still seated in his booth in the cantina, hands gripping the table on either side of his empty meal tray. Glass shattered as two patrons at the bar started a noisily unproductive wrestling match. Shouts rose as their compatriots cheered them on.

He really should head back to his living unit. It was late, and the cantina crowd would only get rowdier and more dangerous as the night wore on. Yet something seemed to hold him fixed in his seat– something dark and dreadful and unfinished. It whispered to him with a voice like the scales of some great serpent sliding between the insulated walls of the flier port. 

It’s just the heating system, Radco told himself. KEL Port seemed colder than usual tonight, and even the usually-warm cantina felt drafty. Perhaps the distant rushing sound was heat transfer fluid pushing additional warmth through the walls of the aging habitat.

Between blinks he saw the dark liquid again; it had found the joints of the gangway. Seeping into the structure, it oozed toward the loading dock. As the dock and its adjoining warehouse were more elevated than the supply pod parking structure, the liquid had to flow uphill. Liquids weren’t supposed to do that in an environment under the affect of gravity.

Radco lifted his hands off the table, mildly surprised by the twin circles of dampness left by his palms. Over by the bar, the Mog and his bouncers were separating the combatants and ejecting everyone involved. The maddening whispering continued, just a few decibels too low to make out the words.

Continue reading “A Shadow Of A Presence”
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

The whispers in the docks, fairways, and corridors of KEL Port were darker tonight. Up near general intake, where new arrivals to KEL26 were processed, Port Security officers were clustered in small groups muttering amongst themselves. In the cozy noodle shop on Sub-Level B, the little family of Tau-Ceti immigrants weren’t greeting customers with their usual cheer. And down in the Mog’s cantina, where most of KEL Port went to eat and drink, kindly, straightlaced Loadmaster Teller sat in corner, plastered out of his mind, having an angry argument with an empty chair.

Something was surely amiss, Radco thought, but puzzling out exactly what was proving to be a difficult task. Calamity was like a disease to humans; it might not have struck anywhere near them, but it deeply affected them nonetheless. To remain unaffected by the general air of unease would mark him as an outsider, unnatural and automatically suspect.

Radco shivered at the thought. Humans were notoriously cruel to outsiders.

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

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.

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

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”

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

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”

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •