Reviews 4

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(Reviews by Joshua Grant and Nathan Bauman)

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Deep Space Accountant

Mjke Wood

Rating: 5 Shrimps!

Are you dissatisfied with your job?  Maybe it has long hours with little praise?  Then do what any person would do and sign up to become a Deep Space Accountant!  Mjke Wood’s Deep Space Accountant follows Elton and his friend Walther as they journey through the cosmos in search of satisfaction.

As Elton is falsely accused of being a terrorist, he and Walther must flee the police.  This is the start of a very whacky adventure, but fun is the name of the game in Deep Space Accountant.  The humor and satire are laced throughout this witty planet hopping story and kept me smiling from cover to cover.  If you’re in the mood for something akin to Hitchhiker’s Guide, then sign your corporate contract and blast off with Elton!


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Voyage of the Capek

George T. Hahn

Rating: 4 Shrimps!

George T. Hahn and James T. Kirk have something in common: they both know how to drive a compelling space drama!  Voyage of the Capek, and offshoot of Hahn’s popular Tau Ceti series, follows the colonists on the library ship Capek as they scramble to find a habitable planet to live on.

The story jumps right in from events that are witnessed during the Tau Ceti trilogy, so anyone that doesn’t like to be thrust right into the action should read that first, but I’m the other way around.  I really enjoyed trying to figure out who these people were and what happened to cause them to flee Earth’s civilization.  Their need to get away was sparked by the destruction of a ship ordered by their onboard computer Karel.  This was my favorite star of the novel (I liked main man Ron too, but you can’t beat a computer becoming self aware and the journey that unfolds).  Hahn chose the interesting tactic of switching perspectives between third person with the characters, and first person logs done by Karel.  This really kept things fresh for me and added a lot of depth as I followed the almost space refugees on their danger fraught voyage.  I’d recommend Voyage of the Capek to any Battlestar Galactica or Star Trek Voyager fans out there, and will definitely be looking to pick up the rest of Tau Ceti.


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Miles of Files

Michael Sahno

Rating: 3 Shrimps!

Miles of Files by Michael Sahno was a little hard to categorize for me.  On one hand, it’s something of a corporate thriller similar to The Firm in a way.  But on the other hand, it’s something of a romance and journey of self discovery by main character Paul.

We begin with Paul being locked in a job (and a life) he absolutely hates.  That changes pretty early on as Paul discovers some pretty untoward dealings happening in the business.  He’s forced to make some tough decisions on what to do with what he’s learned, decisions that will forever change more than just his own life.  It’s a slower burn, but worth a look if you’re searching for a more realistic corporate mystery.


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Harmony in Complete and Utter Discord

William Renken

Rating: 4 Shrimps!

I was never entirely sure what to make of Harmony in Complete and Utter Discord by William Renken, but that’s not a bad thing.  The story always kept me guessing, and it certainly never went in the direction I expected.  It was a sort of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas roller coaster ride, but with more of a heart.

Our main character and narrator is a hard working and famous reporter who has been shoe holed into writing mainstream pieces by his editors.  On one such gig, he is sent to follow the latest screening of the eccentric director Graybill.  But all is not as it seems and soon our reporter finds himself on an adventure that neither he, nor the audience, will expect.  I had a lot of fun with this story.  Really my only complaint is that a lot of the vulgarity and drug use was unnecessary in my opinion, but Renken’s writing and meaningful message made up for it and more.  I look forward to reading more from this talented author.


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The Night Before: A Dragon Tale

Annie Harmon

Rating: 5 Shrimps!

Talk about a book that throws you right into the action!  Annie Harmon’s picture book The Night Before: A Dragon Tale begins with a boy fleeing a dragon.  The dragon hunts him through the rooms of his house in a relentless game of cat and mouse.  Speaking of rhyming, I really enjoyed Harmon’s rhyme scheme.  It made the story flow and kept things interesting (not that being hunted by a dragon isn’t interesting).

The sotry crescendos into a fun twist that kids will definitely enjoy.  Coupled with the quality illustrations and well written poetic prose, this is a great tale for anyone with kiddos!


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Jump Starting the Universe

John David Buchanan

Rating: 4 Shrimps!

Every book has layers.  Likewise, the universe also has layers, multiple dimensions that float around, sometimes impacting and intersecting and occupying the same space.  What fills that space matters, especially if you’re the thing that’s filling it.  What John David Buchanan filled his universe, and his book Jump Starting the Universe, with is fun.

The book follows a young band as they get thrown out of our dimension and transported far away, but the real star if you ask me is Buchanan’s tone.  His writing is fun and fresh.  I loved the characters’ witty interaction, even if you have to suspend disbelief with them sometimes.  And I especially loved how each chapter began with a deeper scientific or philosophic principle told in a quirky and outlandish way.  Most books save the cliffhanger for the end of the chapter but it was the beginning that kept me looking forward each time!  I look forward to seeing what entertaining spool Buchanan unwinds next!


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Alvar’s Spear

Charles Freedom Long

Rating: 5 Shrimps!

What would you do if your sentient planet/god tasked you with a quest to stop a planetwide catastrophe imminently approaching within a few months?  For Silvereye scientist and freedom fighter Gar, this question is more than academic.  It’s wonderful to see how Charles Freedom Long weaves together Gar’s journey with a cast of great characters and a fascinating world in Alvar’s Spear.

Long’s writing instantly stands out to me.  He paces his description and dialogue well to make a flowing story that draws me in bit by bit.  Learning about the world and characters was fun and seamless.  Gar’s planet and people were the perfect balance of alien and familiar that makes for a good sci fi read.  From the story to the way it was delivered, to fun additions like quotes at the beginning of each chapter and a ‘welcome to Alvar’ information pamphlet, Alvar’s Spear was an entertaining journey to another part of the galaxy that I’d gladly take again.


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The Colony

RM Gilmour

Rating: 5 Shrimps!

Have you ever had a conversation with yourself as you tried to pick through some difficult emotions?  In RM Gilmour’s The Colony our main character certainly has plenty of those, but she never has to go it alone.  On one early reverie, she is suddenly joined by a mysterious voice named Jordan.  This leads to some fun conversations as Jordan innocently asks a slew of naïve questions.  It was also very interesting and touching to see how this simple daily interaction can lead to so much change in a character’s heart.

The story quickly builds to something greater than an in-head conversation, but I found the basic humanity of it all to be very intriguing.  RM Gilmour does a fantastic job putting raw human emotion to page and I can’t wait to be drawn through another one of Gilmour’s emotional suites!


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Beyond the Veil

Robert Marcus Jr.

Rating: 5 Shrimps!

Have you ever regretted something?  Or perhaps you’ve lived the perfect life hitting every milestone and achieving all you’ve set out to conquer.  Beyond the Veil by Robert Marcus Jr. examines the meaning of life in a completely unique and thoughtful way.  This short story is one part horror story and one part philosophical essay, but all parts interesting and entertaining.

We quickly learn that our main character has died.  But death is not what it seems.  Like a Youtube video, our protagonist finds himself reliving his life over and over, able to jump to different periods of it at will but unable to change anything significant.  It was a really fascinating way to say YOLO, and Marcus unpackages such a cerebral concept really well.  I look forward to having my mind bent in more ways by this original author!


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Forgotten Treasure

Ed Ireland

Rating: 5 Shrimps!

Ed Ireland has captured a lot of powerful emotions in Forgotten Treasure, his collection of short stories and poems.  I enjoyed the range of his stories and the emotions they were able to bring about in me.  It was a bit of a roller coaster at times, but one I enjoyed riding.  Forgotten Treasure is great for anyone looking for a deeper look at life.


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