Tag Archives: techno-thriller

I N T E R S T E L L A R ~ Offworld Adventure at Your Fingertips

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All subgenres of Science Fiction are included: Space Opera, Humor, TechnoThrillers, Military, Hard Science, Time Travel, Fantasy, Adventure and YA.
It’s a big universe out there…so Buckle-Up Buttercup–you’re in for a wild ride! Find your New Favorite Author and leave a Great Review.

Once again, I am part of a wonderful Instafreebie giveaway where all 54 novels on offer provide offworld adventures. I shall be featuring a selection of the free books so if you see something that takes your fancy, you can click on the link above and claim it…

 

“He wasn’t human. You’ve discovered the existence of a new enemy combatant, Captain. Since you saw him – he saw you.”
150 years after the last war, humanity has united in exploring space with colonies on its moon and Mars. But the Europa Mission has just failed and 152 people died in space. No one knows why. When military bioscientist Capt. Warren’s hidden research installation gets attacked, he joins forces with armored assault Sgt. Von Radach. They become entangled in a deadly fight to stop the theft of classified military secrets by a lethal female villain. Her devious plans to use enemy cyborgs posing as humans and altering military personnel’s neural implants to accept her commands have every chance of succeeding. Unless…Capt. Warren and Sgt. Von Radach can end her first.

 

 

A lethal orbital defense platform.
A squad of green Marines.
A silent alien killer.
WHO DIES NEXT?
2441AD. A quarantine platform in the Rakasa system goes quiet and a squad of freshly minted Marines are sent to investigate. The blood soon flows, but there is one Marine who has the bravery and cunning to take on even the most lethal hidden foe. Set 125 years before the events on Tranquility that sparked the creation of the Human Legion, ‘The Demons of Kor-Lir’ is a standalone novella that is also an introduction to the Sleeping Legion novels.

 

 

Isaac and Aaron are nothing if not survivors. Their homeworld lost and their people scattered, all they have left is each other. Then, in the Far Outworlds, they find a dead colony with a beautiful young woman frozen in cryostasis. She is also a survivor—and she needs their help.

 

 

Arek Lancer, independent freight hauler, just wants to pick up a cargo from the port of Buhin. But when an old “friend” from his military days forces Lancer to take on a cargo to deliver to a criminal organization, he must figure a way out of the mess before either side kills him.

 

 

 

Clunk’s grateful when his boss sends him off for a refit, because old robots are usually junke

d. So what’s the catch?

Well, before the refit he must help a freelancer pick up some cargo. Landing in a deserted field under cover of darkness, avoiding customs ships, orbital lasers and trigger-happy warships along the way, is not a problem for Clunk. The freelance pilot is a much bigger challenge, because Hal Spacejock is obstinate, over-confident, and woefully under-skilled, and yet he refuses to cede control of his ship to a mere robot.
Can the two of them sort out their differences and deliver the cargo, or will they still be wrestling over the controls when the deadline expires?

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Review of INDIE Book Ghost of the Gods by Kevin Bohacz

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Kevin Bohacz’s first book, Immortality, started this epic story when the nanotech plague ravaged humanity. He has now brought out the sequel and sent me a review copy – does Ghost of the Gods continue the momentum Bohacz created in his first novel?

Was it the accumulated wounds to the environment that had finally triggered the nanotech plague or was it simply one more step in a ghostofthegodsshrewdly crafted plan to replace us with humans 2.0? As I write this at least one pair of these transhumans breathe the same air as us, and there are likely many more. They may look like us, they may even be almost human, by they are also cybernetic and will live for an extraordinary length of time. Trust me, their goals are not the same as ours. It was not a natural plague that almost drove humankind to extinction but an attack from within, turning our own biology against us. Scientists discovered all too late an artificial entity, a sentient machine foolishly created in the image of god, had been studying us and genetically altering us for longer than we can imagine. What we do know that its work is not done…

Bohacz is a fluent, capable writer – but in these days of character-led action, his writing style is omniscient. This normally has me backing away from a book at a rate of knots – mostly because writers who use this particular POV these days often don’t know what they are doing. However, when Bohacz describes this book as a speculative fiction techno-thriller, he is only grazing the surface. In amongst the mayhem and chaos, some hefty issues are examined – the nature of existence and what happens after we die; humanity’s purpose; where Mankind originated and why… The engine that powers this book isn’t the character dilemmas – it is the techie stuff that is happening and these big questions that are raised. His scientific background majorly shows in the writing and I don’t think Bohacz could have written the book he wanted to if he’d stayed within his characters’ viewpoints. So, has he managed to get away with using omniscient viewpoint? Yes, I think he has.

I’m aware that I may have given the impression that this is an ambitious epic book that deals with some major issues – but it’s also a really entertaining read. Mark and Sarah, Bohacz’s main protagonists, are convincing and sympathetic. I was quickly drawn back into their story and wanted to know what would happen next – which was lots and lots… This fractured, paranoiac world is convincingly portrayed and the action scenes have pace and plenty of tension. Despite the fact that this book is nearly four hundred pages long and the text is reasonably tightly spaced, at no time did the story drag.

I managed to follow the science sufficiently to make sense of the story – but there were times when I skimmed over some of the explanations, which I do think could have benefitted from a bit more pruning. However, I’m aware that my dislike of lots of detailed exposition about world-building isn’t shared by many science fiction fans – particularly those who enjoy techno-thrillers.
Bohacz manages to provide a gripping plot with plenty of twists and turns that kept up the tension right to the very end.

But… my main niggle is that I would have preferred the book to have finished before the Epilogue, which has the feel of ‘tidying up’ the story and introduces a slice of sentimentality we don’t see anywhere else. I got the sense that Bohacz added it as an afterthought, maybe on the advice of an editor or beta reader. Personally, I would have preferred it if he hadn’t. However, it isn’t as big deal as it might have been if this had been a book with a smaller agenda. Bohacz has aimed very high with this techie yarn about why we are here and what might happen next – and even if techno-thrillers aren’t normally your favourite genre, give this book a go. I’m betting that you’ll still be thinking about it when some of your favourite authors have faded into the furniture.
8/10

Review of We Can Be Heroes by Scott Fitzgerald Gray

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This YA crossover science fiction techno-thriller (you may have gathered it’s something of a genre mash-up…) is the first of Gray’s work I’ve read – although it didn’t take long to realise We Can Be Heroes is the work of a fluent, experienced writer.

If you press them, anyone who games will admit to some variation on the idea of how they’d love to be the hero for real, just once. Just for one day. But right now, I’m on an empty street five hundred kilometers from home, barely able to walk. I’m soaked and shivering, wearing someone else’s clothes, and with way too many memories of almost dying rattling around in my head. And right here, right now, all I can think about is what I’d say if anybody asked me how much I want to be a hero…

This short paragraph gives a small slice of the narrative voice by űber-stroppy teenager, Scott Gray, sometime gamer and conspiracywecanbeheroes theorist teetering on the edge of dropping out of school. Like an increasing number of books, it is written in present tense which works well – particularly once it gets going.

If you track down this book, my first piece of advice is – keep reading, it gets a whole lot better. I understand why Gray wanted to take time to fully establish his character, setting and situation – but in my opinion, his approach is just a tad too leisurely for the genre and subject matter. However, once this book hit its stride, I was gripped.

This story isn’t just about Scott, it is also about his gaming team – Mitchell, Breanne, Rico and Molly. I liked the fact that there were two girls in there and was impressed that Gray managed to keep all five main protagonists fully engaged and developing throughout the mayhem – a feat far more technically demanding than Gray made it look. I wondered about having a team of five, rather than three or four, but came to the conclusion that using five quite different personalities, Gray was able to fully explore the notion of heroism and how it plays out in a variety of ways. Over-arching the whole narrative, though, is the self-absorbed, arrogant yet vulnerable persona of young Scott. The voice is a joy – those of us who have had the misfortune/privilege to have lived alongside an overly bright sixteen year old male will be forcibly reminded of the experience halfway down the first page. I even confess to sneaking feelings of sympathy for Seth, his permanently enraged father… Does this mean that my allegiance to Scott wavered? Nope. Not even at his most obnoxious. I am a sucker for a strongly written, complex first person narrator and Gray certainly delivered. Unlike so many techie-minded male authors, Gray manages to write his main character with depth and humanity.

In addition to exploring the idea of heroism, Gray also has his protagonist musing on the nature of isolationism, what defines humanity, as well as confronting him with the fallout when someone unexpectedly dies. All this without letting the narrative pace fall below frenetic once the action starts kicking off…

Other than my one niggle about the book being a bit slow at the beginning, I found this an engrossing, highly enjoyable and accomplished read and have marked Scott Fitzgerald Gray as One To Watch. I’ll be hunting down his back catalogue – in the meantime, I suggest you upload We Can Be Heroes, or order a print copy. Now that the summer is rapidly drawing to a close, you’ll need a bit of action to keep you warm – and this book has it in spades…
9/10