One Page Podcast: Star Realm: Rescue Run by Jon Del Arroz

Star Realms: Rescue Run (Star Realms Novels) is a 2017 Dragon Award Finalist for Best Military Science Fiction

Since being court-martialed by the Star Empire, smuggler and thief Joan Shengtu has done what she needed to do in order to survive—gaining a reputation along the way. When a new client’s mission goes sideways, Joan finds herself caught in the middle of dueling gambits between the Star Empire and the Trade Federation. Recruited to perform the heist of a lifetime, the fate of the Star Empire rests in her hands.

On the opposite side of the galaxy, Regency BioTech manager Dario Anazao sees an unsustainable situation brewing that promises a full-scale revolution. The megacorporations of the Trade Federation have kept the population in horrible working conditions, violating their human rights. With no one else to help, Dario must take it upon himself to rescue the workers of Mars.

Can two heroes from warring factions come together to make a difference in the galaxy?

Book Review: Murphy’s Law of Vampires

Murphy’s Law of Vampires is book 2 in the Love At First Bite Series by Declan Finn. The review for book 1, Dragon Award nominee for best Horror, Honor At Stake is here.

This time, Marco and Amanda are battling vampires on different coasts as well as a demon. Will their budding romance survive the distance? Will they survive Mr. Day?

The book picks up where Honor At Stake left off. While Amanda is accounting for her and Marco’s actions during Honor At Stake to the Vampire Council, Marco is headed to San Francisco to help Merle Kraft take on the vampire hoards there and attend college. In San Francisco he meets a whole new group of vampire fighting characters, including a vampire and werepuppy.

The new crop of characters, especially the members of the Vampire Council are fun and interesting. I loved all of the different personalities that showed up. It’s easy to imagine that a council with members of vastly different ages would be weird and it is.

The bad guy, Mr. Day, is a special kind of evil that doesn’t easily die. I love bad guys and Mr. Day pushes all of my buttons. He dresses well, he’s pure evil and he isn’t easily defeated.

One of the best parts of this book, besides Mr. Day, is the character development. This book brings out a side of Marco that you didn’t get to see in Honor At Stake. He really does have feelings, who knew?

Like Honor At Stake, Murphy’s Law if Vampires is a timeless battle of good vs evil, with lots of action, explosions and a crew of Vatican ninjas who have very cool gear.

Murphy’s Law of Vampires is an awesome read that is full of action and a bit of romance. Just like in the first book, the reader is left hanging at the end of the book. As a reader, I want to know how it ends. (As a writer, this is an ingenious way to hook readers for the next book.)

Well worth the read.

Astounding Frontiers Issue 2 is Out!

Dull and Preachy stories beware…

Astounding Frontiers Issue 2 is now out on amazon, featuring stories by Dragon Award Winner Brian Niemeier, Karl Gallacher, Scott Washam and Russel May. The serials by John C. Wright, Ben Wheeler, Nick Cole and Jason Anspach continue, and the cover features the beginning of a new serial by SuperversiveSF contributor Corey McCleery, whose awesome dad has been helping me with music videos. (there are more to come of those) Click on the image below to grab yourself a copy for the low, low price of $2.99!For those of you who’d like a more epic version of the above video, using some music by the ever-excellent Kevin Macleod, your wish is granted:

The Superversive from the East: Super-Dimensional Fortress Macross

Japan has several long-running science-fiction franchises, but few are truly global in reach. Mobile Suit Gundam is one. Space Battleship Yamato is another. Both got their start in 1979, but the third part of that era’s triumverate came in 1982: Super-Dimensional Fortress Macross, what many in North America may (unfortunately) know better as the most popular part of Robotech.

I won’t go into the details of what makes the original Macross great–you can read the TV Tropes article for that–so I’ll skip straight to why I’m marking this out as a Superversive work. First, and foremost, this is series is a counter-balance to the downbeat stories that the Gundam franchise often did; this was the era was “Kill ‘Em All” Tomino’s penchant for nihilism, despair, and audience-unfriendly narrative decisions were at their worst. While tragedy and loss are present in Macross, they are Things To Overcome and not You Suck Forever elements.

The story, despite the massive warfare going on, ends on a hopeful note that’s borne out before the credits roll for the final time and expanded upon in the many franchise expansions ever since. Brotherhood is rewarded, faith in things greater than oneself key to victory, beauty and culture are explicit superpowers (but that is not enough; Right Needs Might), and real love is not narcissistic delusion.

The transformable fighters and the Space Opera story are what many remember, but what gives Macross its heart is much like what we see with Gurren Lagann: an earnest, relatable hero who struggles to do what is right while doing what is necessary, overcoming his losses by keeping faith with his people (which is also difficult at times for him to do), and in time he becomes a leader in his own right. Maturity, marriage, and the embrace of responsibility are shown to benefit him and make him into the hero he saw in his big brother.

This theme persists across the series: those who embrace the elements necessary to build up a healthy culture with concern for the future are those that succeed, whereas those that embrace nihilism and succumb to despair are those that fail. Not only does this persist throughout the series, it persists throughout the franchise.

While not perfect, Macross is a beloved classic for good reasons- and if “Superversive” was a part of the vocabulary of the culture then, you would’ve seen it used prominently. Recommended.

Hard Sci-fi Made Me Cry

Tired of the remakes, the reboots, the “let’s see how much more blood we can squeeze out of this turnip” output of today’s Hollywood? I think you’ll find Passengers a refreshing change.

If like me, you didn’t rush out to see it in the theatre, it might’ve been because of blurbs like this one from IMDB: “A spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in its sleep chambers. As a result, two passengers are awakened 90 years early.”

Sounds like a snore, doesn’t it?

It is rated PG-13, just under two hours long, and tagged as adventure, drama, and romance. What it is, however, is a story about love, redemption, and forgiveness. It’s about making the best of life, even when things don’t go as planned. It’s about the pioneering spirit, about a positive future, about what a man and a woman can achieve together.

“But wait, you said this is hard sci-fi.”

Yes, I did. And I stand by it. It’s science fiction because of the setting, a spaceship traveling between the stars. It’s hard sci-fi because it’s closer to 2001: A Space Odyssey in that it’s an extrapolation of current knowledge, than to the space-fantasy cum turnip known as Star Wars.

But what this movie actually is, is a great example of using science/setting as a trope, a literary device for delivering a character-driven story. The science is not the point of the story, but there is enough verisimilitude that it has a real feel to it (this comes from someone who can get really picky about the scientific details). Continue reading

A Dragon Christmas in…August

What’s better than a great book? One that’s on sale, of course.

Seven Dragon Award finalists have put their ebooks on sale (or will have them on sale soon) for 1.99 or less.

Check them out, buy them and have a great weekend.

And don’t forget to vote in the Dragon Awards for your favorites. Voting ends Sept 1st.

Blood of Invidia: Maestru Series Book 1 (The Maestru Series) (Volume 1) Aug 11 – Sept 5th 1.99

A Place Outside The Wild (Z-Day Book 1) Aug 10-14 1.99

Escaping Infinity Aug 4-Sept 1 0.99

Live and Let Bite (Love at First Bite) (Volume 3) Aug 14-21 1.99

Codename: UnSub (The Last Survivors) Aug 14-21 1.99

Invasion: Book 1: Resistance (Volume 2) Aug 14-16 0.99

ZK:Falling (Zombie Killers Book 0) Aug 14-16 0.99

The Secret Kings (Soul Cycle Series)