Book Review: In Her Name – Empire

In Her Name, Empire, Michael HicksThis is a review of the eBook version of “In Her Name: Empire”; the first book of the In Her Name series written by Michael R. Hicks.

On a five-star scale, I’m giving this one four stars.  It probably deserves five stars, but I’m snatching one back simply because there were parts of it that made me, personally, uncomfortable.  If this were a literary review I would not do that, but this is me telling you how *I* felt about this book.

***No Spoilers***

This is an exciting, well-crafted read. It embraces a number of genres as the story goes along, but I’d classify it primarily as Sci-Fi.  The initial chapters are definitely Sci-fi as remnants of a defeated human population try desperately to fend off an alien invasion of their planet.  Our protagonist is a boy caught in the devastation.  The second scene is an orphanage planet established for youths like our protagonist who lost their families in the war.  It is a harsh environment, an alien place run by petty bureaucrats who think nothing of exploiting the children in their care.   Continue reading “Book Review: In Her Name – Empire”

Saturday Fun Stuff – Farewell to Cyborg Wars

At this point, the “story” falls back into a set of notes.  This section is fairly coherent, so I will post it as the final offering.  Beyond this point, the file is just a collection of events and ideas, so with this I will wave farewell to this project. If you’ve just stumbled in, you might want to Start at the Beginning

The alarm went out across the quadrant and every ship carrying any type of weapon was sent out to fire upon any Cyborg ship it found. Borga was sterilized, enhancing the stun effect on the remaining Cyborg. In their dormant state, the Cyborg ships were fairly easily destroyed. And many were. But no one knows how many regained sentience and escaped to hide among the stars.  Continue reading “Saturday Fun Stuff – Farewell to Cyborg Wars”

Saturday Fun Stuff: Chapter 5 of Cyborg Wars

If you want to Start at the Beginning

My shuttle touches down just as the landing craft are lifting off to return our men to the ship. Those who survived.  High General Gohn is already there, standing at the hatchway as I step out of the shuttle.

“Admiral Mann,” he says with a small, stiff bow.  “It is a pleasure to fight beside you again.  And it was a glorious battle, was it not?”

We lost 43% of our Troopers, and 60% of our ships.  I don’t see anything glorious about that, but Stormers consider dying in battle the height of glory.  “Mmm… Glorious.”

General Gohn laughs and steps aside to let me exit.  Then growls and reaches for his weapon when he sees my guest.

I held out my hand, with out touching him – never try to restrain a Stormer Warrior or you’ll end up dead too.  “Allow me to present,” I say in as cordial a voice as I can manage at the moment, “Wing Commander Ulan.”  The General stands with weapon at ready, lip curled, but stays where he is.  I continued, “Who is grateful…” and I emphasize that last word, much to Ulan’s chagrin, who tries not to, but looks indignant just the same, “for our assistance in this matter.”  Continue reading “Saturday Fun Stuff: Chapter 5 of Cyborg Wars”

Review: Space Prison

The science fiction novel by author Tom Godwin was first published in 1958 under the title The Survivors. It was later published in 1960 under the title Space Prison. The novel is an expansion of Godwin’s story “Too Soon to Die” which first appeared in the magazine Venture.

A ship heading from Earth to Athena, a planet 500 light years away, is suddenly attacked by the Gerns, an alien empire in its expansion phase. People aboard are divided by the invaders into Acceptables and Rejects. The Acceptables would become slave labor for the Gerns on Athena, and the Rejects are forced ashore on the nearest ‘Earth-like’ planet, called Ragnarok. The Gerns say they will return for the Rejects, but the Rejects quickly realize that that isn’t going to happen.  But rather than dying horrible deaths, the rejects find ways to survive on the very inhospitable planet… and turn the tables on their captors.  Continue reading “Review: Space Prison”

Saturday Fun Stuff: Chapter 4 of Cyborg Wars

Continuing the Saturday Funnies, here is part four of my on-going Sci-fi tale.  Remember: this is offered just for a bit of fun.  If public opinion is that it holds any promise, I’d be happy to rework it and try it as a short eBook.  If it stinks… well, why waste the time?  If you want to start at the beginning [just click here]

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Troopers Kim, Barklay and Rodrigues work quickly as they double check each others gear: body armor strapped on, photon grenades clipped to waist band and on safety, phaser rifles loaded and on safety, extra clips secure, Comm set on and working.   The ship is still at red alert yet the call went out for all ground assault troopers to suit up.   Barklay, the squad leader, notices Kim fidgeting.   It’s Kim’s first active G.A. mission.   Since Kim joined the squad, fresh out of the academy, they had participated in one boarding party against a Birdman ship, and called to stand ready in three other skirmishes, but saw no action in those.

“So, Kim, are you ready for your first taste of true G.A. action?”

Kim grabs his rifle and brandishes it threateningly, “You bet!”

Barklay smiles, “Good man.   Just remember; don’t get close enough they can touch you.    If they inject you, holler for one of us and we’ll off you.   If they get one of us, you do the same for us.”   A look of doubt crossed Kim’s face.  Barklay pressed the point, “Have you ever seen anyone get assimilated? Believe me, it isn’t pretty.   You would be doing me or Rodriguez a favor.”  Continue reading “Saturday Fun Stuff: Chapter 4 of Cyborg Wars”

Book Review: The Second Ship

The second ship The Second Ship (The Rho Agenda) by Richard Phillips was a slam-dunk 5 star book.

Technically excellent, characters that draw you in and cause you to care about them – even the bad guys are compelling.  Dialogue is perfectly natural and flows effortlessly.  The story includes a lot of advanced communications and physics concepts and Mr. Phillips does an excellent job of keeping them understandable and believable.

There were several nights I was kept up late because I did not want to put the book down yet. The entire concept of the story is a clever new twist on the “alien spacecraft recovered at Roswell” theme.  The ongoing juxtaposition of good elements versus bad elements also keeps things interesting.  This is not a farmers versus the government story.  Some elements of the government are good, some bad, some you’re not real sure about.  One ship is good, one bad; but which is which?  Even among the story’s main characters, some are good, some bad, some change sides.  It never got boring, it was never trite.

This is the first book in a trilogy, so the story ends in an open-ended manner, but THIS story does conclude with most of the major factors resolved.  It does not end in such a cliff-hanger that you feel cheated.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys science fiction, and especially if you have a fascination with alien conspiracy theory.  I am looking forward to reading the second book in the series.

** My Simple Formula for Book Reviews was used to review this book. **

Saturday Fun Stuff: Chapter 3 of Cyborg Wars

Want to Start at the beginning?

cyborg invasion,Our operative’s report included coordinates: coordinates which had been transmitted to the entire Birdman fleet as a rendezvous point.   Something big was about to happen.

There had been quite a debate over whether this report could be trusted.   It could be bait set out by the Birdmen to trap our best ships far from help, but discussion quickly dimmed the luminance of that possibility.

Hastily we pieced together an assault fleet and ordered them to proceed to the coordinates given.   The Executioner, a Dreadnought class battleship, was patrolling in my vicinity and I took command of her as my flag ship.   My fleet was scattered all around the quadrant, a well coordinated, cohesive assault would be nearly impossible, but we would do the best we could.   Continue reading “Saturday Fun Stuff: Chapter 3 of Cyborg Wars”

Saturday Fun Stuff: Chapter 2 of Cyborg Wars

Start at the Beginning?

Romulan Warbird, Star Trek, Paramount
via Paramount Studios

Wing Commander Ulan broods in her command chair, listening to the sounds of the war bird around her.   They are the usual unobtrusive sounds of a star ship in flight; the soft whoosh of life support, the small chirps and beeps of computer equipment as it tracks and monitors a billion circuits throughout the ship, hushed voices as her crewmen confer on this matter or that.   And under it all the deep, barely perceptible thrumming of her ship’s engines as they propelled her though space with unimaginable speed.   She has sat, listening, a hundred times before.   It’s a habit she developed when on important missions; listening for any small sign that there was a problem.   It’s silly she knows, the computers would alert her crew of any malfunction.   But still, she liked to feel in control, even while waiting for events to play out.

This mission was especially important.   The wing she now commands consists of every last war bird the Empire could muster.   Cloaked, and traveling at top speed toward a date with destiny.   Continue reading “Saturday Fun Stuff: Chapter 2 of Cyborg Wars”

Saturday Fun Stuff: Chapter 1 of Cyborg Wars

Long, long ago in a galaxy far away I used to play a game called VGA Planets.  It was a mult-player, on-line, roll-playing game of space conquest where each player had to build their race’s home planet’s economy and industry then develop space ships, then go and explore and, generally, kick butt to keep other races from over-running them.  If you were good, or lucky, or a little of both you could expand your empire.

I wasn’t especially good at it, but I enjoyed it so much I kept playing.  At one point, I decided to chronicle a game and create a story from it, posting the story for other players to read as the game progressed.

Earlier this morning on Twitter some of us were discussing the way as kids we used to look forward to Saturday morning and cartoons.  That conversation gave me the idea of posting part of that VGA Planets chronicle here each Saturday morning as a bit of fun.

Understand, that this was never slated for publication, it is not polished. It does contain references to and take-offs from most every Sci-Fi series ever made.  All characters are fictitious, so if the Romulan commander reminds you of your Aunt Mable, don’t go trying to sue me.  I never even met your Aunt Mable.  The images used are the artwork of various people I knew at the time and could not possibly remember now.  If anyone wants to complain, I’ll delete them.

Ready?  Here’s part one:  Continue reading “Saturday Fun Stuff: Chapter 1 of Cyborg Wars”