Wednesday, November 20, 2013

REVIEW: The Big Dash

Title: The Big Dash
Author: Robert Hanley
Genre: SF / Space Opera
Price: $4.00 (ebook)
Publisher: Eggplant Literary Productions
ISBN: 978-1-4836-5039-5
Point of Sale: Amazon Publisher's site
Reviewed by: Chris Gerrib

At last week's Windycon, I bought The Big Dash from Eggplant Literary Productions. Eggplant is a small e-press, which until recently was focused on novellas. (They just opened to novels.) 

The Big Dash is one of their novellas, and is hard-boiled SF. It's the kind of story where a character will say something like "he tried to play some chin music in the key of Me-flat" and deliver said line with (presumably) a straight face. The story is narrated by Jaxon Test, security chief on the FTL ship Arrow. He's a standard hard-boiled "ship's dick" and is nominally on a milk run, which includes escorting the daughter of a major shareholder of the ship's company. (She and her father are both aliens, by the way.)

Of course, the milk run proves to be anything but, which is what makes the story entertaining. The science portion of the story is pretty light - FTL just works and trips between stars are a matter of days - but the entertainment value is high.

I personally found The Big Dash very enjoyable.


Monday, November 18, 2013

REVIEW: The Quiet Front

Title: The Quiet Front
Author: Tim Akers
Genre: fantasy (novella)
Price: $0.99 (ebook)
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Point of Sale: Amazon  
Reviewed by: Chris Gerrib

Tim Akers is a friend of mine, and he’s also a commercially-published author.  However, like many authors, he’s written stuff that he can’t find a home for, but which is worth reading.  One of those items is the novella The Quiet Front.  It’s set in an alternate World War Two, one in which the Royal Arcane Air Corps is working with the Soviet NKTD, the Commissariat Arcane.  They enlist Lt. Samuel Obern of the US Army Arcane to ride behind the lines in His Majesty’s Airship Sulis, there to do daring deeds.

The story is short, probably 30 pages if on paper, but very engrossing.  Tim’s specialty is “the new weird” and here he creates a world that’s both weird and oddly familiar.  Needless to say, the secret mission is dangerous, but vital to success in the war.  The characters are well-developed, and Tim brings his own vision of magic to the work.  I found it highly entertaining.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Interesting Guardian Category

I recently noticed that the UK paper has a tag for :"self-publishing showcase".  In my experience the Guardian has leaned rather negative and hostile in a lot of its coverage of self-publishing.  But this tag pulls out some of the more "glass half full" material.