Category Archives: space opera

Announcing Rocket’s Red Glare

I got permission a few minutes ago to announce I’m going to be in another anthology from Rough Edges Press.  This one is a space opera anthology entitled Rocket’s Red Glare.  James Reasoner is the editor.  The release date hasn’t been set yet, but it will be out sometime later this year.  I don’t have a cover image to post yet; as soon as I do, I’ll post it here.  I’ve seen a couple of different preliminary covers, and they all looked awesome.

Rough Edges Press is the publisher of Weird Menace Volumes 1 and 2 and Tales From the Otherverse.  If you’ve read them, you know James puts together some good anthologies.

I don’t know anything about the other stories.  My story kept growing, and James said he thought I should write more in this universe.  I’m going to be working out a future history.  My story has two segments that take place over a century apart.  There are a lot of events before, between, and after that I can fill in.  This could be a lot of fun.

2013: An Assessment – Individual Authors and Titles

This is the second part of my assessment of 2013.  The first looked at publishers.  Here I’ll feature some authors and/or individual titles that I thought were standouts.  Links for books will be to my reviews (the reviews will have links to buy if you’re interested.)  Since I’ve been doing a weekly post at Amazing Stories, with only one week missed, I’ll be including some of the titles I reviewed there in this list.

As with the publishers, these are in alphabetical order.  I’m probably overlooking someone or a particular book.  I apologize in advance.  This list consists of titles and authors I read in 2013 and isn’t intended to be inclusive.  Feel free to share your suggestions in the comments.  Again, I’m including mystery, crime, and science fiction as well as fantasy. Continue reading

Long Looks at Short Fiction: Blackskull’s Captive by Tom Doolan

Blackskull’s Captive
Tom Doolan
Kindle ebook format, 0.99

If this short story, the first publication by Tom Doolan, is any indication of what we can expect from him, then he’s someone you will want to add to your list of must-read authors.

“Blackskull’s Captive” is a delightful and thoroughly entertaining blend of fantasy, space opera, and old fashioned pirate adventure.  Written in part as an homage to Treasure Island, it’s the story of Jack Munro, an orphan who is captured by Orcs and forced into being the cabin boy of the dreaded Captain Blackskull. 

Now Orcs in space (or Orccss innn Spaaacce! – sorry, I couldn’t resist) may sound at first glance like it won’t work, but I assure you it does.  Part of the reason is the voice.  The story has the tone of a novel or journal from the 1700s or 1800s.  The only difference is that this one is readable, quite readable.  I’m sure being a history major helped as far as the style is concerned, but Doolan has crafted a character who is both courageous and resourceful, yet not without flaws, which makes him all the more engaging.  Young Jack Munro learns from his mistakes and grows, turning from frightened victim to hero.  Doolan manages to stuff more character development into a few pages than some epic fantasies do in five times the number of pages.

The thing I found intriguing, and my geek is showing here, is that the universe is a blend of the 17th century and the 21st.  The costuming, for lack of a better word, is out of Treasure Island, while the science (with the exception of one mention of the aether) is out of Stephen Hawking.  Artificial gravity and plasma guns alongside cutlasses and sailing ships in outer space.  I want to know more about how this universe works.  Aether and super science?  Definitely cool.

Fortunately I’ll get the chance.  Doolan said on his blog when he announced the story that he’s completed one sequel and is working on a second.  I had a blast reading this story.  Doolan’s prose pulled me into the story, and the unique setting and well realized characters made me want to stay.

As is my custom when reviewing indie published works, a few words on the production values.  The cover art is a perfect fit for the story.  There were no typos or formatting problems.  This was what an ebook should be like.  Why can’t New York figure that out?

This little ebook is a great buy.  Check it out.