Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Slider by Bud Sparhawk from Analog Magazine, May 2015


It seems some situations are universal and may never change.

A man, now in midlife, transfers his desires to his son and pushes him in directions he may not want.

I slowly realized this story was bigger than its word count.  There were some profound questions raised by it that I found myself wondering; how much have I tried to transfer to my own daughters?

Does the urge to reproduce not end with the birth of a child?  Or is the impulse a bit more sinister than that, even if it's unintentional?  Are we, as individuals, compelled to create surrogates for ourselves?  Do we implant our underachieved goals and desires into our offspring in the hopes that we can see them realized in our lifetime, even if by someone else?  Is that even fair?

A wonderful story.

Bus Sparhawk's website is here:

His personal blog is here:

Bud Sparhawk

Monday, May 25, 2015

Star Trek: Deep Space 9 - Lust's Latinum Lost (and found) by Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann - Book Report #135

I had so much fun reading this book.  It was a wonderful departure from so much of the Star Trek books that usually deal with very heavy topics and large stakes.

Here we find Quark, arguably the most "average Joe" of any character in Star Trek, searching for a rumoured sequel to a very popular holo-suite title.

Yup Quark is still trying to increase his profit at his bar on DS9.  I always found Quark to be one of the best realized characters in the show and to have an entire book devoted to him was a welcomed change of pace.  The authors nailed his voice and I found myself laughing and completely losing myself in the story.

This book is really a gift to the fans.  It is not trying to welcome new readers to the world of Star Trek but is, instead, rewarding those that are already hooked.

Buy this book.  Encourage Pocket Books to contract with these authors by making it a best-seller.

Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Zen Angel by Rajnar Vajra from Analog Magazine May 2015


I recently read a book about the Voyager missions, specifically about the messages that are attached to the space crafts.

In this story a similar device is found, this one is from another universe.  The outer message has been decoded and states that there are artifacts inside from the previous universe.  These items can be retrieved but only by species deemed worthy.

Big topic, one that would need the space only a novel can provide.

I liked the story, even though it is not my cup of tea, too many aliens, too many "magical" technologies and the premise of a competition to determine who gets to look inside the probe, well it was a bit much to swallow.  What I enjoyed most from this novella was the narrator, he was refreshingly irreverent and likable.

Even though I did not like the story itself I did enjoy how Vajra wrote.  I would like to find more of his stuff, I think he could be an author to look for.

Rajnar Vajra's website is here although it is not dedicated to his writings:

To find out a bit more about his bibliography try going here:

Rajnar Vajra

Monday, May 18, 2015

Star Trek: The Original Seires: From History's Shadow by Dayton Ward - Book Report #134

Holy throwback Thursday, Batman!

Some of my favourite episodes of any Star Trek series are when they go back to a past era of Earth.

In this book Ward takes aspects of DS9's Little Green Men plus Carbon Creek from Enterprise and made it his own by following the lives of two human investigators searching for proof of alien contact on behalf of the US government.  They work from the first days of the Majestic 12 organization and through Project Blue Book.

I'd never heard of Majestic 12 (also know as MJ-12) and that's because it lives in the world of conspiracy theorists but Project Blue Book was real.  I also remember watching a TV show called Project U.F.O that followed two Project Blue Book investigators.  I was always disappointed that swamp gas seemed to be the answer behind most of the UFO sightings.  To be fair, Blue Book debunked most sightings it investigated.  Nine-year-old me really, really wanted to meet an alien.  In any case, you gotta love an author that can seamlessly blend fact and fiction to create, well, better fiction.

The story did bounce back and forth between Kirk's Enterprise and the Earth from the 40's to the 60's and made my head swim a bit.  Time travel stories have a way of spinning out of control if the author is not careful.  I did appreciate some of Kirk's musings on how time travel gave him a headache.

All in all the book was very entertaining and I highly recommend it.  As long as you have a passing knowledge of Star Trek you'll be fine.

Dayton Ward

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Wilderness by Ray Bradbury


A charming story about two women spending their last evening on Earth before they board a rocket destined for Mars.

This story is the first entry in the Fourth Planet From The Sun collection of Mars stories from the lovely people at The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine.

Ray Bradbury

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Star Trek: S.C.E: Invincible by David Mack and Keith R.A. DeCandido


A classic of pure science fiction.  This story felt like a throwback to the days when the monthly pulp magazines ruled the genre.

The first officer of the da Vinci, Sonya Gomez, is sent alone on a mission the "strange new world" of Sarindar, to help the locals complete a massive engineering project.  The planet is crystalline in structure, the people are somewhat primitive and superstitious, the government is not entirely friendly to the Federation and the pervading culture is misogynistic.

This project, when completed, will help relations between Sarindar and the Federation.  This puts a lot of pressure to succeed on Sonya and she has much to overcome.

I really enjoyed this story.  Like I said, it has the feel of classic SF dressed up in Star Trek garb; what could be better?  I simply sat back and let David and Keith tell me a story.  It was a nice escape.

I was happy to see that the entire story, which was originally published in two parts, was collected here.

I must say: The Core of Engineers series is starting to hit its' stride and I am looking forward to e-cracking the e-spine of the next e-book collection of stories.
Keith R.A. DeCandido
David Mack

Collection #2

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Star Trek: S.C.E.: Cold Fusion by Keith R. A.De Candido


A nice tie-in with DS9 where the crew of the da Vinci, with the help of Lieutenant Nog, go on a salvage mission to the abandoned Empok Nor, the sister station to DS9.

While attempting to salvage some spare parts they discover the station has been greatly modified. It is not long before some baddies from a previous S.C.E. story show up to complicate things.

I enjoyed the pacing and the appearance of Nog was most welcome. There is some nice character development with members of the da Vinci crew. I also appreciated how the end of this story sets up the next one.

This whole serialized series is a wonderful nod to the classic publishing model.

Keith R. A. DeCandido