Category Archives: Books

Con Wrath

The Wrath of Cons
(Rex Nihilo #3)
by Robert Kroese (2018)

Interstellar con man Rex Nihilo and his long-suffering robot sidekick Sasha are back, and they’re neck-deep in their most outrageous scam yet: selling black market planets!

Terraforming uninhabitable planets and selling them to criminals right under the nose of the repressive interstellar Malarchy is good work if you can get it, but there’s a price: as the pair’s profits soar, they find themselves on the run from… well, pretty much everybody.


This one really pushes the boat out with more plot that can be absorbed. Yet again, Star Trek and Star Wars are plundered to comedic effect. Is nothing sacred ?

 

Aye Robot

Aye, Robot
(Rex Nihilo #2)
by Robert Kroese (2017)

After interstellar con man Rex Nihilo hijacks a cargo freighter on a whim, he decides that he and his long-suffering robot sidekick Sasha have found their calling as space pirates.

But when the ship’s cargo turns out to be a cryogenically frozen religious fanatic who holds the secret to a vast galactic conspiracy, Rex and Sasha find themselves on the run from real pirates–as well as agents of the oppressive Malarchy, crazy space cultists and the Ursa Minor mafia.


More crazy stuff pinched from just about every Science Fiction franchise.

Starship Grifters

Starship Grifters
(Rex Nihilo #1)
by Robert Kroese (2014)

The only way for Rex to escape a lifetime of torture on the prison world Gulagatraz is to score a big payday by pulling off his biggest scam. But getting mixed up in the struggle between the tyrannical Malarchian Empire and the plucky rebels of the Revolting Front – and trying to double-cross them both – may be his biggest mistake.

Luckily for Rex, his frustrated but faithful robot sidekick has the cyber-smarts to deal with bounty hunters, pudgy princesses, overbearing overlords, and interstellar evangelists.


Another excellent episode in the series.

Soylent Planet

Out of the Soylent Planet
(Rex Nihilo)
by Robert Kroese (2017)

Interstellar con man Rex Nihilo has a price tag on his head. Railroaded into smuggling a shipment of contraband corn to a planet short on food, Rex finds himself on the run from an insidious corporation named Ubiqorp, which reaps obscene profits by keeping planets dependent on shipments of synthetic rations.

When Rex and his long-suffering robot companion Sasha are sentenced to work as slave labor on a massive Ubiqorp plantation, they learn the terrible secret behind the corporation’s products.


Robert Kroese is a Star Wars fan. This is apparent immediately as he rips off scenes from the original film series.

 

Half Time

Half Upon a Time
(Half Upon a Time #1)
by James Riley (2010)

Life’s no fairy tale for Jack. After all, his father’s been missing ever since that incident with the beanstalk and the giant, and his grandfather keeps pushing him to get out and find a princess to rescue. Who’d want to rescue a snobby, entitled princess anyway?


Another example of mixed up magic, fractured fairy tales and a modern re-interpretation of the classics.

This story throws just about everyone from fairy-tale land into the mix. At first it works, with the focus on Jack, there is humour and a sense of fun adventure. Unfortunately the author wants to throw more characters at the story.

So by the middle things are getting complicated and the fun tone becomes serious. In the end not a bad read, just something that could have been improved if someone pruned that beanstalk of a plot back a bit.

 

Astrid’s Bike

Astrid Maxxim and her Amazing Hoverbike
by Wesley Allison (2011)

From the 180,000 acre campus of Maxxim Industries, fourteen year old girl genius and inventor Astrid Maxxim works alongside her father, Dr. Roger Maxxim, on projects to make the world a better place. Her latest invention is a flying scooter—the hoverbike. Is it the target of an international spy ring, or are they after secret Project RG-7.

After humorous fantasy and the previous Sci-Fi book, this looked to be a bit different. It’s definitely aimed at the teen market. The protagonist is a young girl, she mainly interacts with her friends. Adults are brought in to advance the plot and provide some tension.

At only 37,000 words it’s a short read and while up to Allison’s usual standards, not a series I would continue with.

Fatal Exchange

Fatal Exchange
(Fatal #1)
by Russell Blake (2011)

 

Tess Gideon, a female Manhattan bike messenger with an appetite for the wild side, becomes embroiled in a rogue nation’s Byzantine scheme to destabilize the U.S. financial system.

One of Blake’s earlier works and shows his skills with plot and characters. Just as good as his Jet Series, although a bit more gore.

The thing I like about the story most is that the main protagonist is not expected to be an invincible hero (like Jet). Instead, it’s a team of Police, FBI and CIA that solve the crimes and bring in the bad guys.

Recommended for thriller fans.

 

Last Iota

The Last Iota
(The Big Sheep #2)
by Robert Kroese (2017)

Navigating the boundaries between the Disincorporated Zone and LA proper is a tricky task, and there’s no one better suited than eccentric private investigator Erasmus Keane. So when movie mogul Selah Fiore decides she needs to get her hands on a rare coin lost somewhere in the city, she knows Keane is the man for the job.


This follows immediately from ‘The Big Sheep’ and is just as good.
Looking for the coin (a physical artifact of a new online encrypted currency) the story turn out to be a meditation on the meaning money.

What is it ?

Does it really exists and if nobody believes in it, will it disappear ?

And it’s also a sci-fi crime story with plenty of action.

Women Power

Women of Power
by Wesley Allison (2011)

The life of a superhero is tough. All American Girl fights super-villains, alien invaders, and terrorists as she tries to get product endorsements and a magazine deal. That’s nothing compared to her private life though. She’s only just broken up with her super boyfriend Perihelion when he’s scooped up by Omega Woman, and now rival Skygirl has moved into her territory.


Probably one of the least successful of Allison’s books. This is due to the inherent nature of the superheroes. They are almost indestructible, so there is no sense of jeopardy.

Also it’s a short book at 36,000 words. So there is little space for character development. He even throws in an alien invasion for good measure. Feels like this would make a better comic.

Tesla’s Stepdaughters

Tesla’s Stepdaughters
by Wesley Allison (2010)

 

In a world where men are almost extinct, someone is trying to kill history’s greatest rock & roll band. Science Police Agent John Andrews must negotiate a complicated relationship with Ep!phanee, the band’s lead singer; drummer Ruth De Molay, bassist Steffie Sin, and the redheaded clone lead guitarist Penny Dreadful, as he protects them and tries to discover who wants to kill the Ladybugs.


Set in a steampunk alternative world this is kind of a detective story, although the detective-ing  only enters the story at the end.

The Ladybugs are obviously a female version of the Beatles, with a longer lifespan and more output.

Short but entertaining, the last quarter of the book is a list of all the songs and albums the musicians released.