Category Archives: Books

Scorpio Transit

Transit to Scorpio
(Dray Prescot #1)
by Alan Burt Akers

 

Kenneth Bulmer is the pseudonym of Alan Burt Akers, and this is  book one of the 52 volume saga.

Dray Prescot is transported by magical elements to a fabulous world where people speak English. He embarks on adventures, well part ones as I never finished this book.

Written in the 1970’s the prose can get a bit purple. So while competently written, it fails to draw you in as a modern writer would.

But in the end it was the rather poor plot that finished my reading. It just feels like a string of episodes linked together for no apparent reason. Anyway, with 51 more in the series there are a lot more better books out there.

 

 

Victory Costs

The Cost of Victory
(Crimson Worlds #2)
by Jay Allan (2012)

The Third Frontier War is raging, and all across human-occupied space worlds are burning. Massive fleets struggle for dominance and kilometer-long war ships exchange thermonuclear barrages.

Battered in the early years of the war, the Western Alliance is resurgent. The brilliant Admiral Augustus Garret leads the Alliance fleet from victory to victory, taking the war to the very heart of the enemy empires. And on the ground, Colonel Erik Cain, hero of the Marine Corps, leads his crack troops again into combat, seeking the final battle.


In the second book, the narrative switches from first person to third person. Unfortunately this doesn’t help. Now there are multiple threads, and none explain the war.

This allow the author to introduce the ‘evil’ guys. And they are of the moustache twirling variety. Any shades of grey have gone, everyone is either good or bad.

Now the story becomes less interesting. Combined with the war stories that feel more like documentary reporting, I lost interest. Ended at 48%.

Marines

Marines
(Crimson Worlds #1)
by Jay Allan (2012)

Erik Cain joined the marines to get off death row. The deal was simple; enlist to fight in space and he would be pardoned for all his crimes.

In the 23rd Century, assault troops go to war wearing AI-assisted, nuclear-powered armor, but it is still men and blood that win battles. From one brutal campaign to the next, Erik and his comrades fight an increasingly desperate war over the resource rich colony worlds that have become vital to the economies of Earth’s exhausted and despotic Superpowers.


Fast paced and interesting Military Science Fiction. The first person narrative helps confine the story to single engagements and focus on the fighting and life of a soldier. It’s not until the later stages of the story the the overall picture of a splintered earth and multiple colonies on other worlds becomes apparent.

The appendices, while detailed help little in explaining the motivations of each group.

What’s lacking (and hopefully will be explained later) is why the human groups are at war.

 

 

Hedy Lamarr

Hedy’s Folly
by Richard Rhodes (2011)

 

The story of how film star Hedy Lamarr and an avant-garde composer George Antheil invented spread-spectrum radio, the technology that made wireless phones, GPS systems, and many other devices possible.


You would think this was an interesting book. However it soon becomes apparent that Hedy and George are in well-off families with little to worry about. Antheil gets grants to peruse his musical creations.

After just too much time explaining Antheil’s social life it just becomes boring (not enough Hedy) and I gave up.

 

 

Call to Arms

Call to Arms
(Black Fleet Trilogy #2)
by Joshua Dalzelle (Goodreads Author)

Captain Jackson Wolfe survived the initial incursion of a vicious alien species into human space … barely.

He had assumed the juggernaut that had devastated three Terran systems was the herald for a full invasion, but for the last few years it has been eerily quiet along the Frontier.


This one starts OK, but soon the plot meanders into politics and just lost all momentum.

After 60% I gave up.

Warship

Warship
(Black Fleet Trilogy #1)
by Joshua Dalzelle (2015)

In the 25th century humans have conquered space. The advent of faster-than-light travel has opened up hundreds of habitable planets for colonization, and humans have exploited the virtually limitless space and resources for hundreds of years with impunity.

So complacent have they become with the overabundance that armed conflict is a thing of the past, and their machines of war are obsolete and decrepit. What would happen if they were suddenly threatened by a terrifying new enemy?

Would humanity fold and surrender, or would they return to their evolutionary roots and meet force with force? One ship—and one captain—will soon be faced with this very choice.


This is more like it for Military Science Fiction. There is more science, and the physics is explained well. The pacing is a little slow, it reminds me of Kristine Kathryn Rusch or David Weber. And it ramps up to a decent conflict and resolution at the end.

Hoplite

Hoplite
(Alien War #1)
by Isaac Hooke (2016)

Rade Galaal and his elite team are dispatched to the farthest reaches of known space to investigate the disappearance of a classified new supercarrier.

Equipped with Hoplites, powerful battle suits laden with enough firepower to raze a small city, Rade and his team explore the barren world where the starship issued its final transmission.

But shortly after they land, things start to go very wrong.


This is an author firmly in the genre of modern Military Science Fiction. The plot revolves around an Army battalion using mechanized exo-skeletons. It’s a bit like Timothy Zahn’s Cobra series and B. V. Larson’s military sci-fi work.

While there is lots of action, it never has much in the way of weight or consequences. And while competently written, it never really takes off and drives the intensity and  adventure.

The Bobiverse Series by Dennis E. Taylor is a better recent read, and nothing really compares to the John Scalzi ‘Old Man’s War’ series.

So in the end, this is just ‘meh’ and after getting half-way through I gave up.

 

Frontier

Frontier
(The Secret War Book 2)
by Simon Haynes (2019)

Sam Willet has just been assigned to fighter training, achieving a lifelong goal. Now, at last, she can help to win a decades-long interstellar war that’s ripping two inhabited systems apart.

Unfortunately, she’s in for a shock. Facilities on the frontier planet are second-rate, her tutors are tired and jaded, and the training is as basic as it gets.

 


This book fails to take flight. Strangely, despite starting with a space battle, no excitement or intensity is generated. It’s probably because we lack the context of the previous book.

Things happen, but without knowing the motivations of the characters, nothing has any peril or consequence. Bit of a misfire here, maybe Haynes is better suited to his comedy genre.

 

Hibernal Dark City

The Dark of the City
by Hibernal (2017)

A cop undertakes a relentless search for the creature that killed her partner.

The forth and final musical/audiobook. This time the protagonist is a female cop, and again it’s very moody music. As usual there is a nice twist at the end.

 

Kaiju Inferno

Kaiju Inferno
(Kaiju Winter #3)
by Jake Bible (2015)

North America has been decimated.
The rest of the world is not far behind as volcano after volcano erupts, spewing not just magma and hot ash, but monsters of impossible size out onto the battered and broken surface. These monsters are hellbent on getting to North America to do battle with the behemoth that has broken free of the Yellowstone supervolcano. A battle that could tear the Earth apart.


Third and final in the series (or so I thought). Turns out it was planned as a four book series and the forth was never done.

Apparently the author’s publisher is not going to put out the last book because of low sales.

Not surprising, things just lose steam. There are too many plot threads and too much sitting around explaining the plot and friction between the human characters. Then, near the end is a big monster battle that sounds more like the commentary of a WWF bout.

Then a final plot twist and it all ends.