ZERO GRAVITY: Adventures in Deep Space, edited by Alva J Roberts, Pill Hill Press, 266 pages, ISBN: 9781617060007, reviewed by Barry Hunter.
There is beginning to be a renewal of stories that I like to call “Space Opera”. Back in the beginning years of my reading Lester Del Rey, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein and Robert Silverberg were filling that niche along with others that filled the pages of the magazines of the 1950s and 1960s. The magazines began to dwindle in size and number and the short stories started becoming novels and trilogies. There was little to fill the small gaps of time after homework and before bedtime. You could always read a chapter or two of a novel, but not a lot to conclude quickly.
In this volume, I was able to remember the joy of instant gratification. Rosemary Jones opens the anthology with “Junkers Fancy” wherein collecting space salvage becomes a rescue mission. “Leech Run” by Scott W Baker tells of those with the ability to drain power being transported to a new life don’t always follow the rules. Paula Freeman takes a computer virus, mixes it with a bit of HAL and turns it into “A Space Romance”. Alethea Kontis has a story about a world of children wondering who will be left to lead them in “The Unicorn Tree”.
This is a pleasing collection with a talented group of writers that share a look at old fashioned space opera in a new way. Kudos go to Alva J Roberts for assembling such a winning group.
CONUNDRUM, Michael LaRocca, DoubleDragonebooks.com, 135 pages, reviewed by Barry Hunter.
This too short, highly irreverent work brings back Barry Drake who has appeared in other LaRocca works. This time he has been cryogenically preserved and is a member of the crew of the starship Valkyrie/Pegasus/Reagan, depending on which elsewhere he is in.
This is a funny irreverent, mad satire of the field of science fiction with touches of everything including the kitchen sink thrown in. If LaRocca can use something for a laugh, he does so. From Star Trek to Cheech and Chong and all points in between, there is something there to cause you to pause for a minute.
This is not one of those books to be read once and put away. It is meant to be read several times and each time something new will spring off the page.
Thanks to Michael for a very unusual book. It’s a rare writer that can turn out something like this in a world that is taking itself too seriously. If you can’t laugh at yourself, what is there left to do? CONUNDRUM is the very apt title for this story and hopefully, the reader won’t be left in one.
MAN’S WORLD, Angela Caperton, Circlet Press, $5.99, 157 pages, ISBN: 9781885865---, reviewed by Barry Hunter.
Circlet Press is well known for its various and expansive works of erotic fiction. Check out the website, www.circlet.com, to see a current listing. They have recently added a selection of erotic science fiction and this volume is a marvelous fit into the space opera slot of the genre.
Stella Blue Darter is a courtesan on the Shangri La, a galaxy hopping vessel. Stella has decided to buy out her contract and go to an out of the way planet and make a new start. It’s a good idea, but you know how things usually turn out.
She goes to the planet Moulton and arrives in the capital city, Scion, but barely gets off the ship before she is drugged, kidnapped and placed in the “Cotillion”. Moulton is ruled by a few families that allow only the first sons to have any power. Second sons either leave; if they can afford it, or live in Second City where women are only available during a “Cotillion”. Daughters either marry or are sent to the Sister City.
There are those in both cities that would like to see the status quo changed and Stella Blue ends up as a sexual pawn in the struggle to change the way Moulton is run.
Angela Caperton has created a wonderful character and a storyline full of adventure, erotic and otherwise. Put a feather in her cap and add another winner for the folks at Circlet Press. It is available at www.circlet.com and at the Kindle store on Amazon.com.