Tag Archives: sci fi

The Four Kings by Scott Spotson

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Genre: Sci-fi/Fantasy

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Pages: 513

Veteran Author: No

Availability:

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Author:

Scott Spotson is a novelist who excels in imagining scenes of intrigue and adventure within ordinary lives while daydreaming, then pulls together various plots to create a compelling story. He likes to invent “what if?” scenarios, for example, what if I could go back to my university days, and what would I do differently? What if I could switch bodies with friends I am jealous of, like the guy who sold his software for millions of dollars and does whatever he pleases? What if I had the power to create clones of myself to do my bidding? Scott then likes to mentally insert himself into these situations, then plot a way to “get out” back to reality. This is how “Life II” and “Seeking Dr. Magic” were born, within weeks of each other. He’s still working on dreaming up a situation where he gets to smash a pie in the face of his boss, with no justification whatsoever – how to get out of that one?

Description:

“Today’s world – skyscrapers, Internet cafes, and all – is in great turmoil. Economic doldrums have seized the entire world in the last several years, and powerful nations such as Pakistan and India are just about to unleash nuclear might upon each other. These troubled times have been labeled The Great Blight.

In response to the perceived failure of humanity to get its act together, powerful wizards have taken over the planet. In North America, four arrogant young wizards have set up a zone of governance for that continent. They unleash a harsh regime of “bread and circuses,” vowing to drag Earth forward “kicking and screaming” in order to advance progress by “a hundred years,” while at the same time thrilling the populace with their wizard games – the ultimate reality TV. Their appointed liaison to the humans, Amanda Fullerton, must soon decide which side of history she must support – or suffer the consequences. Compounding her woes is the fact that she has fallen in love with one of the wizards.”

My Two Cents:

Even though this tale was a bit longer than it needed to be, I was impressed. This is a great work of biting social and political commentary only masquerading as fantasy.

While there were quite a few allusions to Ayn Rand, the author doesn’t beat you over the head. If anything, I often got the impression this was a mocking sequel to Atlas Shrugged. What if the egotistical heroes did succeed in tearing down the old system and remaking the world in their image? Just like in this book, they’d have to have magic to keep things from falling apart.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t the magic that I found unbelievable, but the lack of any major resistance to these “gods” taking over the world. No stewing rebellion. I would have liked to see a lot more social strife. With the people struggling against their overlords and not just the gods fighting it out. But that’s my taste. There’s enough action here already to please just about anyone.

All in all, a lot of fun. More sci-fi than fantasy, which is a good thing. It might be 500 pages long, but Four Kings will keep you hooked the whole way.

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Misaligned by Rodney Carlson

Misaligned by Rodney Carlson

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Genre: Mystery Thriller/Sci-Fi

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Pages: 136

Veteran Author: Yes, Navy

Availability:

Kindle: YES Nook: NO Smashwords: NO Paperback: NO

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Author:

The son of a Colorado Farmer. At the age of twenty one I joined the Navy and became a Weapons Control and Information Systems Engineer onboard fast attack submarines. There I traveled all over the Pacific and Indian Ocean visiting many countries and gaining wonderful experiences. Not only did I get the chance to see different countries, but I did a lot of traveling around The U.S. It was my goal to visit every state, and in 2004 I visited my last state Florida. Since retiring from the Navy I have worked as a Computer Engineer for various companies in Virginia where I live with my best friend and wife of fourteen years. (Just so you know, best friend and wife are the same person! lol) I have always had a passion for the written word. I love to read most anything, but commonly gravitate toward science fiction and fantasy.”

Description:

“Aliens are among us. 
Illuminati are involved with their plan. 
There’s a government conspiracy to cover the truth. 
This has been hidden from the civilizations of earth. 
The truth is out. 
Over five thousand one hundred years ago the earth received creatures from another planet. Today we hardly know they still exist. They are not hiding from us, they are hiding from each other. Two alien races are struggling for dominance in a huge galactic war and earth is caught in the middle. A computer engineer discovers plans to use humanity in the battle. Can he stop it? How can one human possibly fight against an advanced civilization? With some reckless luck the planetary alignment on December 21, 2012 won’t mark the end of mankind.”

My Two Cents:

This is a massive story, and I don’t mean in word count. Mystery, apocalyptic thriller, classic Sci-Fi- they are all blended here. The author pulls this huge mix together pretty well, without being confusing and with a rapid fire pace. Although, some questions are left unanswered, especially at the end. I’m assuming because this is part of a series. Fair warning: the ending, while thrilling and surprising, is a cliff hanger.

I did enjoy how most of the story is from the aliens’ perspective. A unique twist on the end-of-the-world. There was an impressive attention to detail and realism with both the great big conspiracy and the aliens’ technology. The competing aliens were a nice twist.

My only real complaint is how human-like the aliens are. Their motivations, thought processes, organization- even rank structure. Still, that doesn’t significantly distract from the tale. It sure cuts down on excessively complicated world-building.

All in all, a lot of fun with some interesting variety on the old alien invasion plot.

As is standard practice in this industry, I received a free review copy.

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Code Name Atlas by Tony Evans

Code Name Atlas by Tony Evans

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Genre: Post-Apocalyptic Thriller/Sci-Fi

Rating: **** Four Stars

Pages: 310

Veteran Author: Yes, Army

Availability:

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Author:

Tony Evans is an American writer of science fiction. He is a military veteran who completed a tour in Iraq conducting more than 50 combat operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom where he recieved the Army Commendation Medal. He has a bachelors degree in Computer Science. His debut novel is Code Name Atlas.”

Description:

“Atlas is a war hero caught between his wife’s love or saving the survivors of earth. Earth has been destroyed by unknown forces leaving it in ruins. The closest thing to organized leadership is the packs of scavengers that take what they want. To keep his wife safe he builds an army. To give her the life she wants he fights. To win back their home he must go to war. But, she doesn’t believe that his sacrifice is for her and his selflessness is driving them apart. As he struggles for his wife’s devotion he is caught in a war with a tyrannical dictator. To win the war and his wife safety he must give her up and fight a war where defeat is expected. To fight a dictator he must become a warlord.

Hovering over everything is the threat of an alien invasion which Atlas slowly pieces together through unreliable stories told by the survivors. He soon learns that his fight is only a small part in a war that has been raging for hundreds of years and reaches throughout the galaxy.

A gritty and realistic feel blends with minimal use of science fiction elements to create a rich, believable contemporary story of one soldier’s heart-wrenching post-apocalyptic journey to keep his family alive.”

My Two Cents:

A breath of fresh air during the end of the world.

Definitely a new twist on the post-apocalyptic thriller genre. I mean, the hero’s girl isn’t supposed to resent him for being a hero and the good guys always win, right? From the big to small twists, this tale bucks every rule of action adventure. The bad guys are sympathetic and the good guys have a dark side.

This is no prepper tale of survival, but a military veteran’s take on rebuilding the world. As such, it stresses discipline, organization and teamwork over heroics. All with several mysteries hanging over the survivors… and did I mention the aliens?

My only real complaint is that these huge questions, there’s a lot of them, don’t get wrapped up until the end. Some of the most interesting tidbits come only in the final chapter. Sure, the best is saved for last, but I wonder why?

Still, a fun and different book that’s well worth the read.

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Review of 3 YEARS AFTER… by G. R. Mountjoy

3 Years After… (A Military and Zombie Apocalypse Series) by G. R. Mountjoy

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Genre: Sci-Fi

Rating: *** Three stars  

Estimated word count: 44,000 words

Availability    

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Author:

 “G.R. Mountjoy was born in Indianapolis, IN in 1974. He went to the Franklin Central High School and Graduated in 1993. Upon graduation he enlisted in the United States Army, and was stationed at Fort Bragg N.C. as a member of the Scout Platoon in 1/504 PIR. He spent 14 years in the Army with various assignments that included the Infantry, Aviation, and Recruiting. He has been stationed in Georgia, New York, North Carolina, South Korea, and on the island of Great Exhuma Bahamas. He medically retired from a simple kidney stone surgery gone bad. His interests include science fiction reading, movies, golf, and sports. He is an avid sports fan, loves the Chicago Cubs, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Indiana Hoosiers, Indianapolis Colts, and Alabama Crimson Tide. He is married to his wife and has a daughter with another child on the way.”

Description:

“3 Years After” is a story about a Special Forces team put together to help our nation in a most fragile time. The post 9/11 world has forced the United States government to develop new ways to fight and counter terrorism. During the initial testing of the latest technological breakthrough, Time Travel, a catastrophic failure occurs. This strands the test team three years into the future. They are greeted by a new world which has been decimated by war and infested by zombies.

Will the team and humanity survive?

Do they figure out what happened in time?

This is the new version that has been edited.”

My Two Cents:

Mr. Mountjoy really tries to give the reader everything at once: zombies, time travel, a commando story and post-apocalyptic world rebuilding. He comes agonizingly close to pulling it all off. With a bit more detail- the book is too short- this might have been an instant cult classic.

A mixed team of different high speed operators are assembled for a “secret project” that lands them 3 years into the future… just after the zombie apocalypse. They spend surprisingly little time worrying about that, shrug their shoulders and set off on a mission across the country to link up with the remnants of the US Government. Along the way they slaughter zombies by z-bucket full, of course. Where it gets really interesting is how they unite various bandit and survivor groups and inspire hope in the pockets of the scattered human resistance. A fun improvement to the simple survival tale.

What’s disappointing is that you never feel the warriors are in real danger. They’re armed to the teeth, are always conveniently given excellent intel ahead of trouble and are just way too lucky.

Now, the action is incredibly fast paced and does flow quite naturally, but when that speed is combined with the lack of real stress for the heroes I just couldn’t get really excited or emotionally invested. That said, the author’s character dialogue is spectacular. Earthy and real, without being over-the-top macho. I bet they’ll remind you closely of people you know.

All in all, an entertaining read. The flaws are not deal breakers; this book is worth the time. This book is one heck of a teaser for the rest of the series. I’ll most definitely read the next one.

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