Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Scythe of Kronos (Cold Stars Book 2)

I picked up a copy of this on the recommendation of Jeffro over at the Castalia House blog, and once again he did not steer me wrong.  The Cold Stars series is less a long string of novels and more a string of short stories all set in the same universe.  It's a bit like a one man Berserker series with a few threads running through the background, but a primary focus on one story at a time.

The first tale in the series is actually The Thorne Legacy, which presents a sad sack corporal deliberately sabotaging his career because, "Screw you, Dad!"  When the big bad shows up, he doesn't necessarily see the error of his ways, but he does redeem himself by the end.

The star-drive conceit is a nice touch - an hour of subjective time for the star-farers costs them twenty hours of time in the outside universe.  It's a hand-wavey way to deal with relativity that opens up a lot of potential for drama.  Although FTL is present, there are no hop-skip-and-jump voyages.  Even a short round trip will see the star-farers returning a day later.  Which allows for considerable tension as a ship races to a planet, knowing that they will get there too late to do the defenders any good.

It also means that those travelling on starships age slower than their ground-pounder cousins, which results in space marines being 'men out of time'.  It means that space travel is conducted only by those who leave nothing behind or who have nothing to lose.

It's an interesting series, and one that I'll be watching as it develops.

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Rock of Bronze

It's official, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson will play the titular role of Doc Savage on the big screen.  Apparently, it's been official for a while now, and I'm late to the party.  My guess is that the news washed over me because I have so little faith in Hollywood.  Much as I love the series and the concept, it's hard to feel anything other than resignation when you read the Rock's announcement:

HE'S A F*CKING HILARIOUS WEIRDO! Confidently, yet innocently he has zero social graces whatsoever due to his upbringing so every interaction he has with someone is direct, odd, often uncomfortable and amazingly hilarious.
That in and of itself isn't so bad, but once you start pulling on the string the whole thing starts to unravel.  I have two fundamental objections:

Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but what I read between the lines there is that the production team is planning one of those 'hilarious' deconstructions.  This isn't a case of making a perfect specimen of mankind and then giving him the glaring weakness of having zero social skills, it's a case of taking the perfect specimen of mankind and mocking not just him, but the idea behind him.  The underlying message of Doc Savage is one of aspiration - this could be you.  The underlying message of this movie seems to be, "don't be this guy".

My second objection admittedly relies on a meta-analysis of the situation.  The dozen or so Doc Savage novels that I've read focused on the Fab Five.  Doc gives them something to look into, they bumble around, figure it out, have varying levels of success, and then Doc shows up near the end as a walking personification of the deus ex machine and sets things right.  You don't pay The Rock 20 million dollars for 20 minutes of screen time.  That means this Doc Savage movie will be all about the doc, with the Fab Five given supporting roles.

It may well be true that there are a number of books where Doc was featured from cover to cover - there were 181 of the dang things after all - but the one's that I've read and enjoyed were all about the Fab Five, and until I see that cast list and see an indication that they won't be given short shrift, and that this isn't another Land of the Lost - The Mockening, I'm withholding my excitement.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Available Now: A Moon Full Of Stars

With only a month left in the hunting season, a young man faces the final days of his rite-of-passage.  Rome always dreamed of being a hunter for the village.  The hunters are daring men who get to explore the world beyond the small mountain valley that shelters the village, but to become one a boy must prove his skills by consistently returning with sufficient meat to earn a permanent place among the hunters.  If he fails, then he will be consigned to work the fields as a humble farmer.  For an adventurous youth like Rome, that would be a fate worse than death.

But fate is fickle and one day while returning with his best kill ever, Rome discovers that monstrous raiders have ransacked his home and carried off his friends and family.  Now, with only the aid of his chief rival, Rome must head west into the irradiated lands to seek out powerful artifacts that might give him the power to rescue his kinfolk from the hands of the mutant slavers.  And so Rome embarks on a journey that takes him farther than his dreams of being a mere hunter ever could.

This post-apocalyptic story features the sort of action and heart you've come to expect from my stories, including a healthy dose of adventure, exploration, romance, and the sort of bonds of brotherhood that are so often overlooked in today's sci-fi literature.

The official release date for A Moon Full of Stars is May 23rd, but you can pre-order your copy at today.