Tag Archives: #scifi

The Judas Cypher, by Greg Dragon

In a war between man and machine, he must find a way to protect them all… After a devastating war forced humans to rely on synths for survival, the two have learned to coexist peacefully. Until now… When detective Dhata Mays is called in to investigate a homicide, what he uncovers threatens the serenity of this futuristic society. The gruesome murder means only one thing: someone is ready to incite another war. Now, it’s up to Dhata to ensure that the truth stays hidden—to protect both sides of the battle. But can he be unbiased in a black and white world that forces him to take sides?

I have yet to read a book by Greg Dragon that I haven’t liked. From his space opera to his futuristic world of androids and self-drive cars, you can’t go wrong with Greg Dragon. I know that The Judas Cypher, Single Wired Female and Re-Wired aren’t all part of the same universe, they sure feel like they could be. I’m not sure if the author intended to write a story that parallels today’s societal trend of divisiveness, but it’s definitely there contained within a science fiction mystery. Rich versus poor. Immigrant versus native. Synthetic versus flesh and bone. Like today’s society, people have drawn a line in the sand, based on seemingly arbitrary characteristics and fear. And that’s one of the greatest things about Science Fiction: We can tackle complex social issues and we can leave our preconceived notions away since we don’t specifically identify with the characters. No preaching. No politicking. Just good sci-fi. The Judas Cypher is easily a five-star read.

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Greg Dragon has been a creative writer for several years, and has authored on topics of relationship, finance, physical fitness and more through different sources of media. In particular, his online magazine has been a source of much pragmatic information, which has been helpful to many. As a result, his work continues to grow with a large and loyal fan base.

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Coalescence, by Zen DiPietro

coalescence

Fallon’s back, and ready to settle things with Blackout once and for all. If she and her team can’t take control, the PAC will splinter and galactic war will decimate the populace. Can one little rebellion save an empire? Avian Unit–and their friends–are sure as hell going to try.

 

 

The Good: I knew that I’d like Coalescence since I enjoyed Fragments and Translucid. Fallon’s pansexual relationships with Raptor and Wren are an interesting look into fluid sexuality. The chapters in Coalescence were a bit on the longer side, but not nearly as bad as Translucid.

The Bad: Some of the villainous acts committed by Blackout against the PAC seemed rather counter-intuitive. Parts left me scratching my head. It seemed as if the villains were the villains just to push the story along. The fall of the PAC that would incite galactic war wasn’t fully explained, and I didn’t feel as if I cared about the completion of Avian Unit’s mission other than to stop the bad guys from doing bad things. I guess I just wasn’t invested in the galaxy.

The Beautiful: Like Fragments and Translucid, there was a lot of action with enough going on that I just had to keep reading. I found some of the ancillary characters rapidly becoming my favorites, including a certain lizard doctor.

The Final Word: If you’ve read books one and two, then you will not be disappointed with this third book. If you’d a fan of Firefly, Deep Space Nine or The Expanse, you’ll totally grok this series. With the short story, The Cost of Business being free, and all three parts of the trilogy free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers, you simply cannot go wrong reading this series. Even the nine bucks is an easy sale. Get the series and read it. I look forward to more from Zen DiPietro in the future. Like the previous two stories, Coalescence is 4.5 stars.

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Zen DiPietro is a lifelong bookworm, writer, and a mom of two. Perhaps most importantly, a Browncoat Trekkie Whovian. Also red-haired, left-handed, and a vegetarian geek. Absolutely terrible at conforming. A recovering gamer, but we won’t talk about that. Particular loves include badass heroines, British accents, and the smell of Band-Aids. Being an introvert gets in her way sometimes, as she finds it hard to make idle chitchat or stay up past 9 p.m. On the other hand, it makes it easy for her to dive down the rabbit hole of her love for books, stories, movies and games.

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Time Siege, by Wes Chu

time-siege

Having been haunted by the past and enslaved by the present, James Griffin-Mars is taking control of the future. Earth is a toxic, sparsely inhabited wasteland–the perfect hiding place for a fugitive ex-chronman to hide from the authorities. James has allies, scientists he rescued from previous centuries: Elise Kim, who believes she can renew Earth, given time; Grace Priestly, the venerated inventor of time travel herself; Levin, James’s mentor and former pursuer, now disgraced; and the Elfreth, a population of downtrodden humans who want desperately to believe that James and his friends will heal their ailing home world. James also has enemies. They include the full military might of benighted solar system ruled by corporate greed and a desperate fear of what James will do next. At the forefront of their efforts to stop him is Kuo, the ruthless security head, who wants James’s head on a pike and will stop at nothing to obtain it.

It was nice to see how addiction and isolation affects one of the main characters. In the book, as with life, James’ relationship with those around him morphs to his new reality. Behaviors that were acceptable when he was a revered salvager and chronman now put his friends and family at risk.

The corrupt Kuo is still the maniacal villain she was in the first book, but in Time Siege, her motives are more rooted in what I’d expect from someone in her position instead of the moustache-twirling villain she was in the first book. The intricacies of the corporations and the governments are fleshed out, and we see how hope for the denizens of the solar system appears lost. The divide between the wealthy and the lowest class is further exemplified with themes of subjugation and genocide.

Both books in the series are excellent sci-fi, and I’m looking forward to reading the third book this summer.

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Unfortunately, Chu’s goals of using Hanes underwear commercials to launch a lucrative career following in Marky Mark’s footsteps came to naught. Despite phenomenal hair and manicured eyebrows, his inability to turn left led his destiny down another road. Instead of creating new realities with his skills as a thespian, Chu would dazzle audiences with his pen. Well, it’s a computer really, but the whole technology thing really sucks for metaphors. He had spirit fingers maybe? In 2015, Wesley Chu won the John W. Campbell Best New Writer Award. Chu’s debut novel from Angry Robot Books, The Lives of Tao, earned him a Young Adult Library Services Association Alex Award and a Science Fiction Goodreads Choice Award Finalist slot. His new series, Time Salvager, published by Tor Books, was released on July 7th, featuring an energy stealing time traveler with addiction issues.

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Moonrise CH36 – Awake

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[1010 words – Inspiration Monday, #3WW, Sunday Scribblings 2] Anne blinked away her scowl like she was on a long road trip, and sleep threatened to stop her for the night. On the way to the address provided by Major Globe, Anne sat in macabre silence her brain trying to figure out how to warn Massey of the impending danger. Their world was slowly crumbling beneath them.

“The report on this Andy Kitz guy that Sindi sent is fascinating. He’s the typical ‘obsessed over supers’ nerd it seems. Nothing unusual in his resume, minor jobs, part-time journalist, lame blogger. But the cherry on top is that he is weirdly enough creator of this SuperHub thingy. Do you think Joaquin was Superhubbing himself to see where’s he on the freak-o-meter of powers?”

Silas’s chuckle was dry. He apparently thought of himself as a kindred spirit. Anne held her tongue as Silas amused himself with talk that Anne didn’t register but kept her red leather gloved hands firm on the steering wheel. She refused to show weakness in front of Globe’s lackey.

When they arrived, there was no sign of Massey. She hoped he came, saw and left. The old dog was smart enough to steer clear of FBI agents, all of them Globe’s men. She was glad the presence of the taskforce cut out any sidewalk viewers. For once, they would be free of the conspiracy hounds jockeying for attention that for some reason Globe refused to keep at bay. The crime scene was all theirs to investigate.

* * *

Kristoph opened his eyes and sighed. He breathed in the smell of the Canadian forest. A low-hanging fog blanketed the serene winter landscape. Pain radiated from his wrist. He looked down but could find nothing wrong with the troublesome joint. He tried to push away from the tree, but he was unable to move. A flush rose on his cheeks. The wooded scene before him was oddly familiar. A little girl in a pink dress skipped through the woods, singing a silly song.

“Too cold,” he croaked, and a shiver ran down his spine.

The little girl in the distance stopped singing and skipping and stared at him. Kristoph blinked, and then the girl was kneeling in front of him. There was something about her eyes that made Kristoph shiver again.

“No chance of reign,” the girl declared.

Kristoph blinked. Her words were eerily familiar.

“Mister Puss doesn’t like the fog,” she declared. “Too many clouds against his fur.”

Kristoph cringed as the fog slowly dissipated. He knew what he’d see would still his soul.

The little girl smiled a lopsided grin and tilted her head to the side.

He saw in his mind’s eye the devastation of Seattle burned to the ground. Broken skyscrapers like missing teeth rotted from the inside out. Bodies were everywhere. He tried to lift his arm to block the torrent of sticky red rain, but like the rest of his body, his arms refused his commands. He knew the sight should scare him, but the corner of his mouth quirked up. He was disappointed when the fog lifted, and all he saw was the Canadian wilderness.
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Time Salvager, by Wes Chu

time-salvager

Convicted criminal James Griffin-Mars is no one’s hero. In his time, Earth is a toxic, abandoned world and humans have fled into the outer solar system to survive, eking out a fragile, doomed existence among the other planets and their moons. Those responsible for delaying humanity’s demise believe time travel holds the key, and they have identified James, troubled though he is, as one of a select and expendable few ideally suited for the most dangerous job in history. James is a chronman, undertaking missions into Earth’s past to recover resources and treasure without altering the timeline. The laws governing use of time travel are absolute; break any one of them and, one way or another, your life is over. Most chronmen never reach old age; the stress of each jump through time, compounded by the risk to themselves and to the future, means that many chronmen rapidly reach their breaking point, and James Griffin-Mars is nearing his. On a final mission that is to secure his retirement, James meets Elise Kim, an intriguing scientist from a previous century, who is fated to die during the destruction of an oceanic rig. Against his training and his common sense, and in violation of the chronmen’s highest law, James brings Elise back to the future with him, saving her life, but turning them both into fugitives. Remaining free means losing themselves in the wild and poisonous wastes of Earth, somehow finding allies, and perhaps discovering what hope may yet remain for humanity’s home world.

I didn’t know what to expect when I picked up Time Salvager. I think I only read the first paragraph of the synopsis before I decided to read it. Post-apocalyptic Earth… check. Time travel… check. Author has a sense of humor… check. Published by TOR… check.

This sci-fi story is pretty straightforward. The tropes have been done before. I liked the entire book. I’d like to read book two. There seemed to be a lot of hate in the reviews, but I’m not sure what all the consternation was all about. Time Salvager is fun sci-fi. The ending was a little soft for my taste. It didn’t quite wrap up the story, but that’s the latest craze in these new-fangled books.

If you like standard sci-fi, without all the cerebral time travel paradox thinking, then read this book. If you like an adventure through a toxic post-apocalyptic Earth, read this book. If you want to read an excellent storyteller, read this book. Four stars.

wes-chu

Unfortunately, Chu’s goals of using Hanes underwear commercials to launch a lucrative career following in Marky Mark’s footsteps came to naught. Despite phenomenal hair and manicured eyebrows, his inability to turn left led his destiny down another road. Instead of creating new realities with his skills as a thespian, Chu would dazzle audiences with his pen. Well, it’s a computer really, but the whole technology thing really sucks for metaphors. He had spirit fingers maybe? In 2015, Wesley Chu won the John W. Campbell Best New Writer Award. Chu’s debut novel from Angry Robot Books, The Lives of Tao, earned him a Young Adult Library Services Association Alex Award and a Science Fiction Goodreads Choice Award Finalist slot. His new series, Time Salvager, published by Tor Books, was released on July 7th, featuring an energy stealing time traveler with addiction issues.

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Bathed in Light, by David Kristoph

bathed-in-light

The prophet of a dead religion. The luminary of an obsolete insurgency. A mother yet again severed from her impetus of survival. Praetar, the yellow planet in the Sarian system, leeches away hope the way sand drinks water. But the Melisao Empire has been cast aside, and a new power–an old power–reigns again. How will the remnants of the past find their niche in this new world… or will they even try?
 

I received Bathed in Light on Christmas, probably because the gifter knew I like good sci-fi, and David Kristoph specifically. I now have all six books for my Kindle, and paperbacks to adorn my shelves.

I tore through Bathed in Light in about four hours. Each of the three parts makes for a comfortable place to stop reading for the night if you wanted to stretch it out to three reading sessions. Bathed in Light gives more depth and insight into events that have happened in the previous five books, with an emphasis on the events from Born of Sand.

The tension is the highest in this latest edition of the TOADS series, and I just don’t know if David Kristoph can top this one. His writing has improved with each iteration, and I’m glad I took a chance on this indie author when I saw his first book on NetGalley so long ago.

Bathed in Light is a five-star read, and you’d be crazy not to read all six books in this series, especially since you can get all six for less than twenty bucks on Amazon.

David Kristoph

David Kristoph lives with his wonderful wife and two not-quite German Shepherds. He’s a fantastic reader, great videogamer, good chess player, average cyclist, and mediocre runner. He writes mostly Science Fiction and Fantasy. Check out his work if you want to help pay for his beer.

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Moonrise CH33 – Paper Window

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This night felt like the longest one Globe had ever experienced. In his brain resided a constant storm and no drink quenched his thirst. He needed answers, not alcohol. The waiting was impossible, his eyes glued to the phone, to the cameras. Why was Joaquin so impossible to find? In a world photographed and videotaped every second, how did he remain gone? The failed experiment with Kristoff and Peter was stabilized but recovering the lost data would take weeks. Globe desperately needed Joaquin. He sat cross-legged in front of Bree and helped her braid a doll’s hair, but he was clumsy having never had a daughter to practice on. He was lost in thought.

“You’re doing it wrong.” Bree flashed him a stare that told him to take away his numb fingers from the doll’s blond hair.

“Bree, can I ask you something?” His breath stank of whiskey, but Bree seemed unimpressed by that and awarded him with silence. Globe took his chance in the settling quiet.

“Do you think you can find Joaquin? Remember him, the boy with the impervious skin? The one from the cabin in the forest?”

The little purple comb wedged into a particularly messy snarl, and Bree paused. She tilted one way, then the other, and continued to work out the faulty braid so she could start a new one. Globe was about to give up and leave when she finally spoke.

“People sometimes don’t want to be found. They get lost on purpose to try and find something they think they’ve really lost. It’s their destiny to be there, and it’s their destiny to come back when they are ready.”

Bree’s words ricocheted in Globe’s head. “All I want to do is give this world back to who it belongs to. People like you, Bree. I want to awaken humanity from the lethargy it has been comfortably sitting in for centuries, reinvigorate it. But to do that I need to remove all that is left of the old. I need to strengthen the DNA, rewrite what made humans so special all these eons ago. I want to bring us all into a new century of supers. Nature culls the weak and rewards the strong.” Globe had heard that phrase somewhere, but he couldn’t recall where. He furrowed his brows suddenly aware that he was speaking honestly to Bree and not understanding why he did it. Bree remained inactive in their conversation turned monolog. Globe backed out of the room rubbing sweaty hands on his pants. If Joaquin wanted to stay hidden because of some destiny, there was no rule saying that his resurface couldn’t be forced. He rode the elevator to another floor of the underground compound and walked the circular white corridor to a locked door. He put his eye against the scanner and allowed the blue beam to scan his retina. He blinked away the gathered tear and went through the door delving into the cold darkness of the room, stepping over cables without incident. He had gotten used to their pattern, solid red, black and yellow snakes crawling down the walls and pooling on the floor.

“You reached out to me. Have you found Joaquin?”
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