Archive for the ‘Science Fiction’ Category

Review: Mission One of Auggie The Alien – Leah Spiegel and Megan Summers

Thursday, November 7th, 2013
Paperback: 146 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (June 6, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1490377107
ISBN-13: 978-1490377100
Order book here:

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Order E-book here:
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Characters:

Auggie – Nine Year Old Human/Alien Hybrid.
Mrs. Malumrector – Auggie’s Fourth Grade Teacher.
Left Hand Chuck – Auggie’s best friend.

Synopsis:

Auggie is trying to learn the habits of earth people. For his first mission, he set three goals: Attend a sleepover, go on a social outing, and attend a birthday party. Along the way, in trying to achieve his goals, he often runs afoul of his teacher and finds himself at the end of many incidents of miscommunication.

Review

This was an entertaining little story. There was a lot of humor that resulted from Auggie’s not understanding our language and culture. Some of the humor though, such as thinking GrandMa was from Massachusetts (Ma) and GrandPa was from Pennsylvania (Pa) seemed like it may be above the heads of the target audience.

The characters though really made me think they were kids, though at times, I think the language and thinking patterns were a little too developed for that age group. However, it’s been a very, very long time since I was nine, so they may be more sophisticated then I was at that age.

Overall though, I’d definitely recommend this book to parents and grandparents for their 9 year olds, or those around that age. There was no objectionable language, and I think it would be appropriate for almost any child, and I think it’s one they’d definitely enjoy.

We are pleased to be able to offer our readers a copy of Auggie the Alien. To enter go here and enter.

About the Authors

 Leah Spiegel, a graduate of Edinboro University, spent her first twenty years drawing imaginary worlds, and now she writes about them. She is a native of Washington, Pennsylvania but has lived in North Carolina for the last six years. Check out her upcoming books on her blog: www.leahspiegelandmegansummers.blogspot.com/

Megan Summers received her teaching degree from Edinboro University and her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction with an Emphasis in Technology from Grand Canyon University. She is a native of Washington, Pennsylvania but has been teaching in Morganton, North Carolina for the past thirteen years.
You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Teddy at Virtual Author Book Tours for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Giveaway – Mission One of Auggie the Alien

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Thanks to Teddy at Virtual Author Book Tours, I’m able to offer my readers 1 copy of this book in either print or ebook. To enter, follow these simple rules:

1) One Entry if you’re a follower [You can follow through Google Friend connect to the right, you can also sign up to follow through Twitter or Facebook].
2) An Additonal Entry if you blog about this contest.
3) An Additonal Entry if you’re a new follower.
4) One entry each for posting on facebook and/or twitter.
5) Must leave a comment letting me know how you follow me, blog link to this post, facebook/twitter link, etc.
6) Contest will continue until 11/14/2013.
7) This giveaway is open to residents of US and Canada. No PO Box addresses (street mailing only).

See our review here.

Review: Chimera – David Wellington

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013
Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (July 23, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062248774
ISBN-13: 978-0062248770
Order book here:

amazon

Order E-book here:
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Characters:

Jim Chapel – Captain – Military Intelligence
Julia Taggart – Veterinarian
Angel – Chapel’s Cyber Assistant

Synopsis:

In a secret base, four genetically altered human beings are being held prisoner. Then they escape. What secrets are being held by the CIA and the Military regarding these individuals. Jim Chapel is called in to track them down, one side wants them dead, who knows what the other side wants.

Review

This was a great blend of thriller and science fiction. The brutality of the Chimera’s set the dark tone for the story. Not only does Chapel have to be concerned with the Chimera’s, but someone is out to kill him, and Dr. Taggart. This leads to a lot of narrow escapes and great action scenes.

I’d not read Jim Chapel adventures before, but if this is any indication, I think I’ll be going back and seeing what else he’s done. If you are into novels like Jurassic Park where they blend action with science fiction, then Chimera would be right up your alley.

I’d say it’s for older teens and adults due to some violent content. But it’s one I recommend, and if you read it, be sure to drop back by and let us know what you thought.

About the Author

David Wellington was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The acclaimed author is most famous for his online serialized zombie novel, the Monster Island trilogy, later published by Thunder’s Mouth Press. In 2006, he began serializing Thirteen Bullets, a vampire novel. He lives in New York City. His previous Jim Chapel missions include Chimera and Minotaur.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Danielle at Harper Collins for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: A New Birth of Freedom: The Translator – Robert G. Pielke

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013
Paperback: 394 pages
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press (2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1611605423
ISBN-13: 978-1611605426
Order book here:

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Order E-book here:
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Characters:

Edwin Blair – History Teacher and Time Traveler from the year 2136.
Abraham Lincoln – 16th President of the United States.

Synopsis:

Noam Chomsky argues that communication with aliens would be impossible. Stephen Hawking argues that it would be extremely unwise even to try. What if it were absolutely necessary to do so? This question arises with extreme urgency at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, in this time-travel, alternate-history trilogy, A New Birth of Freedom.

Review

This book continues at the exact point where the previous entry The Visitor ended. We find the characters in search of two “Indians” known as Big Mouth and White Hat. This search wll hopefully enable Blair and the President to communicate with the alien species. This kind of fills in one of the areas that seemed rather weak in the previous book. It was established that the aliens knew things because we wanted them to, but then I had the question, why didn’t Blair just want them to know English. To get around this, the author sets up a chain of communicators that to me really didn’t make sense or serve any purpose except to throw some historical characters in there. I still don’t understand why they couldn’t just learn English.

One thing that I did appreciate in this book, is that we see Blair, who was always disgusted with the idea of how slaves were treated as less than human, showing the same characteristics towards the alien species. In this way, they contrast the two societies and I felt like that was a nice touch and showed that any one of us is capable of carrying some kind of prejudice around.

Overall, outside of a few technical issues I found the story to be enjoyable. I look forward to Volume 3 and finding out how things ended for Mr. Blair and what exactly the Aliens were wanting. For alternate history, Civil War, and sci fi fans, check this book out and be sure to stop back by and let us know what you thought.

About the Author

Robert Pielke, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, now lives in Claremont, California.

He earned a B.A. in History at the University of Maryland, an M. Div. in Systematic Theology at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, and a Ph. D. in Social Ethics from the Claremont Graduate School.

He taught on ground and online for countless years at George Mason University in Virginia, El Camino College in California and online for the University of Phoenix. As a professor, he published a variety of articles, including an analysis of political labeling (“Political Typology: A Suggested Clarification” – in Reason Papers), a phenomenological depiction of science fiction (“Star Wars vs. 2001: A Question of Identity” – in Extrapolation and elsewhere), an ethical appraisal of humanity’s eventual encounter with extra-terrestrials (“Humans and Aliens: A Unique Relationship” in Mosaic) and an exploration of sex roles (“Are Androgyny and Sexuality Compatible” in Mary Vetterling-Braggin’s “Femininity” “Masculinity” and “Androgyny” – A Modern Philosophical Discussion – Littlefield Adams & Co.).

Now happily retired from “the job,” he is doing what he always wanted to do since he wrote his first novel at ten in elementary school. It was one paragraph, three pages long and, although he didn’t know it at the time, it was alternate history. Since then, in addition to his academic writings in ethics, logic, and popular culture, he has published short stories in Hard Copies and Phoebe, a feature articles in Cinefex, film reviews for Video Update and both fiction and non-fiction books: an analysis of rock music, You Say You Want a Revolution: Rock Music in American Culture, a boring academic treatise, Critiquing Moral Arguments, a savagely satirical novel on America and its foibles, proclivities and propensities, Hitler the Cat Goes West, and an alternate history, science fiction novel, The Mission.

Most recently, he has updated and revised his book on rock music and it is being republished by McFarland & Co. as Rock Music in American Culture: The Sounds of Revolution. Alternate Dimensions Press has published A New Birth of Freedom: The Visitor, the first book of an alternate history/time-travel/first-contact science-fiction trilogy. The second of the three, The Translator, is soon to be released.

He swims daily, skis occasionally, cooks as an avocation, watches innumerable movies, collects rock and roll concert films, is an avid devotee of Maryland crabs and maintains a rarely visited blog filled with his social and political ravings. His favorite film is the original Hairspray; his favorite song is “A Day in the Life;” his favorite pizza is from the original Ledo Restaurant in College Park, MD; and he is a firm believer in the efficacy of “sex, drugs and rock and roll.” Somehow his family and friends put up with him.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Nicole at Tribute Book Tours for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: A New Birth of Freedom: The Visitor – Robert G. Pielke

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013
Paperback: 226 pages
Publisher: Altered Dimensions Press; 2nd edition (August 15, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: ISBN-10: 1936021234
ISBN-13: 978-ISBN-13: 978-1936021239
Order book here:

amazon

Characters:

Edwin Blair – History Teacher and Time Traveler from the year 2136.
Abraham Lincoln – 16th President of the United States.

Synopsis:

It has taken centuries to recognize that all humans possess certain unalienable rights. There will come a time when we have to consider whether others deserve those rights as well. That time will come on July 3, 1863.

When a stranger carrying a shiny, metallic valise steps aboard a train carrying Abraham Lincoln home from a two year stint in Congress, everyone stares, wondering about the stranger’s odd clothing and strange footwear with the word Nike emblazoned on them.

When the strange man shows up in Lincoln’s office at the White house 14 years later, still wearing the same clothes, carrying the same valise and looking not a day older, the president and his staff know something is odd.

But when Edwin Blair opens his valise and projects a 3D image of the Earth on Lincoln’s wall, then proceeds to tell a fanciful tale about time traveling aliens preparing to land at Gettysburg on July 3rd, they are sure they’ve met a lunatic.

Unfortunately for them, they’re wrong.

A New Birth of Freedom: The Visitor, is the first book in a new science fiction series that follows the adventures of Edwin Blair and the aliens known as Pests as they chase each other through all the centuries of Earth’s past.

Review

I found this book to be an enjoyable adventure into America’s past, in this case The Battle of Gettysburg, this time though, there are Aliens involved. I liked Mr. Pielke’s character development and the story line kept me involved. Having been my first exposure to alternative history stories, I found it to be pretty enjoyable.

If there were one drawback, it turned out to be communication. It was determined that the aliens learned things basically through us wanting them to know it. With that in mind, I found myself wondering why the characters didn’t just want the Aliens to know English instead of other languages.

Outside of that drawback though, I think if you are a civil war buff or a fan of alternative histories, then you might want to give A New Birth of Freedom: The Vistor a shot. I’d definitely recommend it for a fun weekend read.

Excerpt
Prologue

Edwin Blair (July 6, 1863)

Edwin Blair’s headache ebbed and flowed as remnants of what-used-to-be clashed with the influx of what-now-is deep in the cavernous recesses of his mind. At least, he thought, as my memory evaporates in the passage of time, I should expect the rebellion of one against the other to do me less and less harm. Although no one was looking at him at the moment as he leaned against a shady tree, were they to do so they would perhaps have noticed a hint of bitterness on his visage as the word “time” passed through his ruminations. He had neither expected nor wanted any of the Pests to survive. For as long as he could remember, his mantra had been—and he chanted it to himself—the only good Pest is a dead Pest. With all of them dead, he reasoned, a new future would develop without the horrors these Pests would mete out. They simply wouldn’t exist in this modified future. But he soon realized this would bring about a self-defeating dilemma. They have to invade the planet where and when I come from. Otherwise, I’d never have come back to the past to stop them in the first place. He clenched his teeth at the thought and sighed. We can’t kill them all. Maybe that’s why previous attempts to change the future have failed—if there were any. It’s just not possible to exterminate them. Logic trumps everything. The surviving Pests change things. If they somehow escape and warn the all the others about what I’m doing, they could prevent me from doing anything at all, and I’d have to start all over. But I have to do something. He shuddered and looked off toward the fourteen imprisoned Pests. There’s one thing I know for sure, however. We don’t need their eggs.

With his valise safely stowed with President Lincoln’s personal belongings and guarded around the clock, he was reasonably confident the mission could be salvaged. But how? He adjusted his back against the trunk of the tree as an early morning mist became an un-refreshing drizzle, and turned the collar of his black leather jacket up around his ears. At least it’s quiet, he mouthed while scribbling into one of the notebooks he had given to John Hay. Using an unfamiliar quill pen, his words only on occasion approaching legibility, he wrote.

Everything now depends on you following through with your plan. You may have lied to the others about your intentions, but you can’t lie to me. If you are reading this, then we have been successful.

At least I think so. He looked up again, put the pen into the inkwell filled with a pale pink liquid sitting on the ground next to him and rubbed his eyes. Then again…will I even believe I wrote this to myself? He picked up the pen and tried to smile, looking this time toward several of his companions that were getting ready to consume coffee and a few hardtack biscuits, perhaps even some pudding. He nodded to them before returning to his journal.

Only the continuing threat of the Pests still lurking in the two prisms is supporting this truce. It’s more fragile than it appears. They think the danger is over, but it’s just begun.

John Hay noticed Blair’s glance from several paces away and pointed to his own steaming cup of coffee with raised eyebrows. He shouted, “Mr. Blair, can I get you some?”

“ Please.” Blair kept the volume of his own voice down, relying on an accompanying nod to be sufficient.

“ No hardtack yet, but there’s sugar. I’ll be back soon.” Hay strode off with Joseph Pierce at his side.

“ Thanks, John,” Blair muttered as he watched the two of them depart. Pierce was waving his arms with some sort of patterned repetition—no doubt trying to explain some complex Indian phraseology he thought might be useful. Washburne, Stanton and Pinkerton were nowhere to be seen. Probably already with Lincoln in his tent. He returned to his writing.

If I’ve really succeeded, then all these changes should be reflected in the historical records on the computer—the fight with the Pests and this truce—but if not then something’s gone terribly wrong.

He stopped writing for a moment and shook his head. I’ve got to get back into the computer soon. I shouldn’t have even turned it off. I don’t like logging in while people are watching. I should probably change the pass-code, but it’s based on my wife’s birth date so I’m not likely to forget it. Should I take the chance?

The only thing I know that’s changed is my memory. The historical records may not have changed at all, but I’m slowly losing my memory of them…and everything else too, it seems. My guess is that the changes I’ve made to the history I used to know so well are rapidly affecting future events—too rapidly. As a result, my memory about them is no longer referring to anything, yet it continues to try.

The sounds of hooves slogging through the rain-soaked grass and the clattering of wagons startled him but didn’t interrupt his writing.

The courier traffic is beginning to intensify, and as the circus gets larger it will become unmanageable. Maybe today Lincoln will issue the martial law decree he promised…or threatened…depending on one’s perspective.

He wasn’t planning to write much—just enough for his words to be a reminder of what he had to do. If I have to try again, I have to make sure these same people are included…did I write that list of four names to myself on a previous attempt? Was it me? If so, nothing has changed. Am I just repeating everything over and over in an infinite circularity? He paused and looked over what he wrote. How can I know? Have I written this before? I have no memory of earlier attempts…but that means nothing.

He stopped and pulled the list out of his jacket to look at it. The same as it used to be…or is it? How would I know? He drew a deep breath while rubbing his temples, his teeth gritted. I really have to find out somehow if any changes have occurred in the future. I have to get into the computer. I just may have to start over immediately. Another interruption ended his contemplation.

“ Mr. Blair! You’re in luck. There was fresh coffee…genuine coffee, to boot! I watched a soldier crush the beans with a rifle butt. And there were a few hardtack puddings, too.” John Hay trudged through the sodden grass, placed the steaming cup and plate on a rock behind Edwin Blair, and then put his hands on his hips. “’Tis good to have the Tycoon amongst us, though he’s a bit jarred by the Hellcat’s carriage accident a few days ago. But, as suspected, Mrs. Lincoln has earned her reputation. The very ground she fell upon was too terrified of her to do her any serious injury.” Then, laughing, he added while looking skyward once more, “How are you this gloomy morn? It may rain again, judging from the clouds.”

“ I’m puzzled, John.” Blair picked up the coffee then paused to shake his head.

“ As you usually are, sir…. Why this time?”

“ It’s that…” Blair took a swig of the black brew. “Yeow!” He promptly spit it out. “It’s scalding!” People nearby glanced over at him, shocked at the sound. “And it tastes terrible.”

Hay laughed and shook his head. “I never did see anyone quaff hot coffee before. Quaffing’s for cold beer. And it tastes better too.”

Blair swirled his tongue around the roof of his mouth, wincing and muttering curses under his breath. After a moment, he ventured a much smaller sip. “When I first met you in the President’s office, if you had remembered me being here before, that would have been very odd, right?”

“ It sure would have, Mr. Blair! It would have been impossible!” Hay rolled back, laughing. “No one remembers you from before. You were a real top sockdolager to us all then.”

Blair eyed Hay directly and just above a whisper said, “Someone remembers me.”

Hay scrunched his brow. “Who?”

Blair inclined his head toward the prisoners’ enclosure. “That Pest.”

About the Author

Robert Pielke, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, now lives in Claremont, California.

He earned a B.A. in History at the University of Maryland, an M. Div. in Systematic Theology at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, and a Ph. D. in Social Ethics from the Claremont Graduate School.

He taught on ground and online for countless years at George Mason University in Virginia, El Camino College in California and online for the University of Phoenix. As a professor, he published a variety of articles, including an analysis of political labeling (“Political Typology: A Suggested Clarification” – in Reason Papers), a phenomenological depiction of science fiction (“Star Wars vs. 2001: A Question of Identity” – in Extrapolation and elsewhere), an ethical appraisal of humanity’s eventual encounter with extra-terrestrials (“Humans and Aliens: A Unique Relationship” in Mosaic) and an exploration of sex roles (“Are Androgyny and Sexuality Compatible” in Mary Vetterling-Braggin’s “Femininity” “Masculinity” and “Androgyny” – A Modern Philosophical Discussion – Littlefield Adams & Co.).

Now happily retired from “the job,” he is doing what he always wanted to do since he wrote his first novel at ten in elementary school. It was one paragraph, three pages long and, although he didn’t know it at the time, it was alternate history. Since then, in addition to his academic writings in ethics, logic, and popular culture, he has published short stories in Hard Copies and Phoebe, a feature articles in Cinefex, film reviews for Video Update and both fiction and non-fiction books: an analysis of rock music, You Say You Want a Revolution: Rock Music in American Culture, a boring academic treatise, Critiquing Moral Arguments, a savagely satirical novel on America and its foibles, proclivities and propensities, Hitler the Cat Goes West, and an alternate history, science fiction novel, The Mission.

Most recently, he has updated and revised his book on rock music and it is being republished by McFarland & Co. as Rock Music in American Culture: The Sounds of Revolution. Alternate Dimensions Press has published A New Birth of Freedom: The Visitor, the first book of an alternate history/time-travel/first-contact science-fiction trilogy. The second of the three, The Translator, is soon to be released.

He swims daily, skis occasionally, cooks as an avocation, watches innumerable movies, collects rock and roll concert films, is an avid devotee of Maryland crabs and maintains a rarely visited blog filled with his social and political ravings. His favorite film is the original Hairspray; his favorite song is “A Day in the Life;” his favorite pizza is from the original Ledo Restaurant in College Park, MD; and he is a firm believer in the efficacy of “sex, drugs and rock and roll.” Somehow his family and friends put up with him.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Nicole at Tribute Book Tours for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: Pandora’s Temple – Jon Land

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013
Paperback: 412 pages
Publisher: Open Road E-riginal (November 20, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: ISBN-10: 1453224653
ISBN-13: 978-ISBN-13: 978-1453224656
Order book here:

amazon

Order E-book here:
amazon

Characters:

Katie DeMarco – Environment Activist
Sebastian Roy – Energy Corporation Mogul
Shinzo Asahara – A man bent on revenge for the death of his father
Johnny Wareagle – Partner to Blaine McCracken
Blaine McCracken – DHS Agent

Synopsis:

What if Pandora’s box was real. That’s the question facing Former Special Forces commando and rogue agent Blaine McCracken who returns from a 15-year absence from the page in his tenth adventure.

McCracken has never been shy about answering the call, and this time it comes in the aftermath of deepwater oilrig disaster that claims the life of a one-time mem-ber of his commando unit. The remnants of the rig and its missing crew lead him to the inescapable conclusion that one of the most mysterious and deadly forces in the Universe is to blame—dark matter, both a limitless source of potential energy and a weapon with unimaginable destructive capabilities.

Joining forces again with his trusty sidekick Johnny Wareagle, McCracken races to stop both an all-powerful energy magnate and the leader of a Japanese dooms-day cult from finding the dark matter they seek for entirely different, yet equally dangerous, reasons. Ultimately, that race will take him not only across the world, but also across time and history to the birth of an ancient legend that may not have been a legend at all. The truth lies 4,000 years in the past and the construction of the greatest structure known to man at the time:

Pandora’s Temple, built to safeguard the most powerful weapon man would ever know.

Now, with that very weapon having resurfaced, McCracken’s only hope to save the world is to find the temple, the very existence of which is shrouded in mystery and long lost to myth. Along the way, he and Johnny Wareagle find themselves up against Mexican drug gangs, killer robots, an army of professional assassins, and a legendary sea monster before reaching a mountaintop fortress where the fi-nal battle to preserve mankind will be fought.

The hero of nine previous bestselling thrillers, McCracken is used to the odds be-ing stacked against him, but this time the stakes have never been higher.

Review

Parts of this book reminded me of Jurassic Park. Not in the sense of dinosaurs run amuck, but there were a lot of similarities. There was the greedy corporate executive bent on controlling a new technology. There was the person who knew the danger that technology presented. There were those whose purpose was to discover and stop this technology from being released on the world.

This was my first time reading one of Mr. Lands novels, but it really had me hooked into the story. I love techno thrillers and this one kept a good pace throughout the story. Just when it started to slow down a bit, an event would happen and just ramp up the action even more.

If you like Crichton’s novels or like techno thrillers, then you should definitely pick up a copy of Pandora’s Temple. I’d rate it PG-13, while there doesn’t seem to be any strong language, there is a lot of shooting and other violent acts. It’s definitely recommended, and I’m almost certain I’ll go back and check out the rest of the books in Mr. Lands Blaine McCracken series. If you give it a read, stop back by and let us know what you thought. Also be sure to enter our giveaway for a copy of Omega Command.

Excerpt

The Mediterranean Sea, 2008

“It would help, sir, if I knew what we were looking for,” Captain John J. Hightower of the Aurora said to the stranger he’d picked up on the island of Crete.

The stranger remained poised by the research ship’s deck rail, gazing out into the turbulent seas beyond. His long gray hair, dangling well past his shoulders in tangles and ringlets, was damp with sea spray, left to the whims of the wind.

“Sir?” Hightower prodded again.

The stranger finally turned, chuckling. “You called me sir. That’s funny.”

“I was told you were a captain,” said Hightower

“In name only, my friend.”

“If I’m your friend,” Hightower said, “you should be able to tell me what’s so important that our current mission was scrapped to pick you up.”

Beyond them, the residue of a storm from the previous night kept the seas choppy with occasional frothy swells that rocked the Aurora even as she battled the stiff winds to keep her speed steady. Gray-black clouds swept across the sky, colored silver at the tips where the sun pushed itself forward enough to break through the thinner patches. Before long, Hightower could tell, those rays would win the battle to leave the day clear and bright with the seas growing calm. But that was hardly the case now.

“I like your name,” came the stranger’s airy response. Beneath the orange life jacket, he wore a Grateful Dead tie dye t-shirt and old leather vest that was fraying at the edges and missing all three of its buttons. So faded that the sun made it look gray in some patches and white in others. His eyes, a bit sleepy and almost drunken, had a playful glint about them. “I like anything with the word ‘high.’ You should rethink your policy about no smoking aboard the ship, if it’s for medicinal purposes only.”

“I will, if you explain what we’re looking for out here.”

“Out here” was the Mediterranean Sea where it looped around Greece’s ancient, rocky southern coastline. For four straight days now, the Aurora had been mapping the sea floor in detailed grids in search of something of unknown size, composition and origin; or, at least, known only by the man Hightower had mistakenly thought was a captain by rank. Hightower’s ship was a hydrographic survey vessel. At nearly thirty meters in length with a top speed of just under twenty-five knots, the Aurora had been commissioned just the previous year to fashion nautical charts to ensure safe navigation by military and civilian shipping, tasked with conducting seismic surveys of the seabed and underlying geology. A few times since her commission, the Aurora and her eight-person crew had been re-tasked for other forms of oceanographic research, but her high tech air cannons, capable of generating high-pressure shock waves to map the strata of the seabed, made her much more fit for more traditional assignments.

“How about I give you a hint?” the stranger said to Hightower. “It’s big.”

“How about I venture a guess?”

“Take your best shot, dude.”

“I know a military mission when I see one. I think you’re looking for a weapon.”

“Warm.”

“Something stuck in a ship or submarine. Maybe even a sunken wreck from years, even centuries ago.”

“Cold,” the man Hightower knew only as “Captain” told him. “Well, except for the centuries ago part. That’s blazing hot.”

Hightower pursed his lips, frustration getting the better of him. “So are we looking for a weapon or not?”

“Another hint, Captain High: only the most powerful ever known to man,” the stranger said with a wink. “A game changer of epic proportions for whoever finds it. Gotta make sure the bad guys don’t manage that before we do. Hey, did you know marijuana’s been approved to treat motion sickness?”

Hightower could only shake his head. “Look, I might not know exactly you’re looking for, but whatever it is, it’s not here. You’ve got us retracing our own steps, running hydrographs in areas we’ve already covered. Nothing ‘big,’ as you describe it, is down there.”

“I beg to differ, el Capitan.”

“Our depth sounders have picked up nothing, the underwater cameras we launched have picked up nothing, the ROVS have picked up nothing.”

“It’s there,” the stranger said with strange assurance, holding his thumb and index finger together against his lips as if smoking an imaginary joint.

“Where?”

“We’re missing something, el Capitan. When I figure out what it is, I’ll let you know.”

Before Hightower could respond, the seas shook violently. On deck it felt as if something had tried to suck the ship underwater, only to spit it up again. Then a rumbling continued, thrashing the Aurora from side to side like a toy boat in a bathtub. Hightower finally recovered his breath just as the rumbling ceased, leaving an eerie calm over the sea suddenly devoid of waves and wind for the first time that morning.

“This can’t be good,” said the stranger, tightening the straps on his life vest.

* * *

The ship’s pilot, a young, thick-haired Greek named Papadopoulos, looked up from the nest of LED readouts and computer-operated controls on the panel before him, as Hightower entered the bridge.

“Captain,” he said wide-eyed, his voice high and almost screeching, “seismic centers in Ankara, Cairo and Athens are all reporting a sub-sea earthquake measuring just over six on the scale.”

“What’s the epi?”

“Forty miles northeast of Crete and thirty from our current position,” Papadopoulos said anxiously, a patch of hair dropping over his forehead.

“Jesus Christ,” muttered Hightower.

“Tsunami warning is high,” Papadopoulos continued, even as Hightower formed the thought himself.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, we are in for the ride of our lives!” blared the stranger, pulling on the tabs that inflated his life vest with a soft popping sound. “If I sound excited it’s ‘cause I’m terrified, dudes!”

“Bring us about,” the captain ordered. “Hard back to the Port of Piraeus at all the speed you can muster.”

“Yes, sir!”

Suddenly the bank of screens depicting the seafloor in a quarter mile radius directly beneath them sprang to life. Readings flew across accompanying monitors, orientations and graphic depictions of whatever the Aurora’s hydrographic equipment and underwater cameras had located appearing in real time before Hightower’s already wide eyes.

“What the hell is—“

“Found it!” said the stranger before the ship’s captain could finish.

“Found what?” followed Hightower immediately. “This is impossible. We’ve already been over this area. There was nothing down there.”

“Earthquake must’ve changed that in a big way, el Capitan. I hope you’re recording all this.”

“There’s nothing to record. It’s a blip, an echo, a mistake.”

“Or exactly what I came out here to find. Big as life to prove all the doubters wrong.”

“Doubters?”

“Of the impossible.”

“That’s what you brought us out here for, a fool’s errand?”

“Not anymore.”

The stranger watched as a central screen mounted beneath the others continued to form a shape massive in scale, an animated depiction extrapolated from all the data being processed in real time.

“Wait a minute, is that a . . . It looks like— My God, it’s some kind of structure!“

“You bet!”

“Intact at that depth? Impossible! No, this is all wrong.”

“Hardly, el Capitan.”

“Check the readouts, sir. According to the depth gauge, your structure’s located five hundred feet beneath the seafloor. Where I come from, they call that impos—“

Hightower’s thought ended when the Aurora seemed to buckle, as if it had hit a roller coaster-like dip in the sea. The sensation was eerily akin to floating, the entire ship in the midst of an out-of-body experience, leaving Hightower feeling weightless and light-headed.

“Better fasten your seatbelts, dudes,” said the stranger, eyes fastened through the bridge windows at something that looked like a waterfall pluming on the ship’s aft side.

Hightower had been at sea often and long enough to know this to be a gentle illusion belying something much more vast and terrible: in this case, a giant wave of froth that gained height as it crystallized in shape. It was accompanied by a thrashing sound that shook the Aurora as it built in volume and pitch, felt by the bridge’s occupants at their very cores like needles digging into their spines.

“Hard about!” Hightower ordered Papadopoulos. “Steer us into it!”

It was, he knew, the ship’s only chance for survival, or would have been, had the next moments not shown the great wave turning the world dark as it reared up before them. The Aurora suddenly seemed to lift into the air, climbing halfway up the height of the monster wave from a calm sea that had begun to churn mercilessly in an instant. A vast black shadow enveloped the ship in the same moment intense pressure pinned the occupants of the bridge to their chairs or left them feeling as if their feet were glued to the floor. Then there was nothing but an airless abyss dragging darkness behind it.

“Far out, man!” Hightower heard the stranger blare in the last moment before the void claimed him.

About The Author

Jon Land is the critically acclaimed author of 32 books, including the bestselling series featuring Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong that includes STRONG ENOUGH TO DIE, STRONG JUSTICE, STRONG AT THE BREAK, STRONG VENGEANCE (July 2012) and STRONG RAIN FALLING (August 2013).

He has more recently brought his long-time series hero Blaine McCracken back to the page in PANDORA’S TEMPLE (November 2012). He lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

Website

www.jonlandbooks.com

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Gina at Partners In Crime Tours for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

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Giveaway: Jon Land – The Omega Command

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Thanks to Gina at Partners in Crime Tours and Mr. Land I’m able to offer my readers 1 copy of this e-book. To enter, follow these simple rules:

1) One Entry if you’re a follower [You can follow through Google Friend connect to the right, you can also sign up to follow through Twitter or Facebook].
2) An Additonal Entry if you blog about this contest.
3) An Additonal Entry if you’re a new follower.
4) One entry each for posting on facebook and/or twitter.
5) Must leave a comment letting me know how you follow me, blog link to this post, facebook/twitter link, etc.
6) Contest will continue until 2/19/2013.
7) This giveaway is open to residents of US and Canada. No PO Box addresses (street mailing only).

See our review here.

1 people like this post.

Review: Star Wars: Vortex – Troy Denning

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

 

 Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: LucasBooks (November 30, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 034550920X
ISBN-13: 978-0345509208
Order book here:

 

amazon

Order E-book here:
 
amazon

Characters:
Luke Skywalker – Jedi Grand Master.
Ben Skywalker – Jedi Knight.
Gavar Khai – Sith Knight.
Sarasu Taalon – Sith Lord.
Vestara Khai – Sith Apprentice.

Abaloth has been defeated, or so the joint force of Sith and Jedi believed. However, Abeloth survived. Once again Luke, Ben, and the Sith find themselves trying to stop her before danger comes the galaxy. On the other side of the world, Admiral Daala is continuing her quest to destroy the Jedi Knights. The Jedi Council has to deal with one of their own who may be becoming extreme in his duties.

I’ve enjoyed this series. Vortex is the sixth book, and there are three more to go. There are mutliple plot lines going on, and they add to the adventurous feel of the story. I can see more and more how this series is setting up the galaxy for the future as we’ve witnessed it in the Legacy comic series. A lot of questions remain. What is Abeloth’s goal in the story? What do all the visions mean? Will Luke and Ben ever be able to return? If so, will Ben be able to bring Vestara back from the darkside?

I enjoyed the story. For the audio edition, the added sound effects, and the narrator blended an extra dimension to the overall story. If you have read the others, then don’t miss this entry in the Fate of the Jedi series. If you haven’t, you have a lot of catching up to do.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Kathryn at Random House for a review copy of this audiobook. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Giveaway – Singular – David F. Porteus

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Thanks to Brandi at BK Walker I’m able to offer my readers 1 copy of this book. To enter, follow these simple rules:

1) One Entry if you’re a follower [You can follow through Google Friend connect to the right, you can also sign up to follow through Twitter or Facebook].
2) An Additonal Entry if you blog about this contest.
3) An Additonal Entry if you’re a new follower.
4) One entry each for posting on facebook and/or twitter.
5) Must leave a comment letting me know how you follow me, blog link to this post, facebook/twitter link, etc.
6) Contest will continue until 07/20/2011.
7) This giveaway is open to residents of US. No PO Box addresses (street mailing only).

See our review here.

1 people like this post.

Review: Singular – David F. Porteous

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

 

 Paperback: 222 pages
Publisher: lulu.com (March 27, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1447501748
ISBN-13: 978-1447501749
Order book here:

 

amazon

Order E-book here:
 
amazon

What would you do if you were told you were going to die? What if you were told you could live forever, but in a computer? What would happen if that computer decided it wanted more of an existence? These are some of the ideas presented in Singular, the Debut novel of David F. Porteous.

Mr. Porteous manages to blend science ficiton with a dose of sharp humor and pokes at some of the other areas of the science fiction world. The book is a nice blend of both the real and the surreal world. Set in the year 2045, we get to see Patrick Clark, a not so great man, as he learns that he has testicular cancer.

The book enters the surreal aspect when it ventures into the world of the computer. Sometimes it seemed a little hard to understand, but by the end of the story, it all made complete sense.

If you like Science Fiction, and are a fan of the Terminator and Wargames type movies, then I think you should pick this up. Be warned, that there is some stronger language, so I’d suggest for older teens or adults. A good story and I definitely look forward to Mr. Porteous’ next book.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Brandi at BK Walker Books for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.