Review: Maelstrom by Richard Paolinelli

I guess I’m just on a reading kick. Here’s another for you Happy Readers to look into. It’s been in my reading queue backlog for quite a while now! Luckily, it was a good one! And how cool is that cover, huh!?!?

Happy Reading!

Amazon’s blurb & preview

Dr. Steven Collins has devoted his life to one cause: finding a way to prevent a catastrophic collision between Earth and an asteroid, like the one that killed off the dinosaurs millions of years ago. Collins spends years developing a shield—a device that uses the Earth’s own magnetic field—and finally reaches the point where he is ready to test it. But when Collins turns on his creation, he rips open a hole in time and space itself that hurls him forward in time, where he discovers to his horror that the device he created has caused the very global Armageddon he was trying to prevent. Collins now must try to undo the damage he has done as best he can. But the few surviving members of the human race are slowly dying off, a century of living under the shield taking its toll, and they cannot leave the planet to try to build a new civilization elsewhere. For just beyond the shield lurks a madman who seeks to dominate the human race or exterminate it.

MaelstromMaelstrom by Richard Paolinelli
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Maelstom’s subtitle could be “Every Hard Science Fiction Trope Ever In One Book That’s Still A Good Read”. Time travel, energy shields, apocalypse, environmental disaster, mad scientist, pulp romance, mind control, mind machine interface, mind melds, terra-forming, psychic aliens, miraculous healing alien magic, twist endings, and deus ex Marty Stu. By the end I was actually impressed by how many of them were used in a coherent way. It’s like someone made a bet that it couldn’t be done, and Richard P. said ‘Hold my beer!’

Even with the trope whip-lash, the story is still good. It started a bit rough because I didn’t feel the MC’s angst on a relate-able level. I mean, I understand how you might feel bad about your science project–that’s supposed to save the planet from disaster–actually being twisted and causing one instead. My problem was that the salesmanship on the character’s self-flagellation was too heavy handed early on in the story. I didn’t know him yet, so I couldn’t ‘feel’ his sense of responsibility. Later in the book, though, I totally get it. You come to know and understand who Steven Collins is, and then you just get it. That’s one of the reasons that I can say this book is a Good Read. The payoff is great!

The only other advice I can give anyone who intends to read it, is to enjoy it for what it is. Don’t over-analyze the happenstances or you’ll dislocate your eyeballs when you roll them. Consider this book pulp science fiction and just enjoy it. The story is good, the characters are good, and all the tropes are fun. It’s a fast read and has plenty of action to keep the pacing up. I give it 3 stars and a call it a Good Read.

Have any of you Happy Readers checkout my two books yet? If you haven’t, check them out on Amazon. If you have, Thank You!

PS – If you have read either of my books, please consider leaving a review for them on Amazon. This is how I gain notice and a wider audience!

If you like intrigue, humor and a bit of speculative technological supposition, you should pick up a copy of my technothriller-comedy eConscience Beta from Amazon today!

Peacekeeper Incorporated’s breakthrough nanotechnology could bring repeat offense crime to an end, freeing society from the need for criminal incarcerations. But first, they have to finish testing it. With funding on the line, and time to prove out the project getting short, the lead scientist must find a way speed things up. That’s unfortunate for his guinea pig, and anyone who would stand in his way.

Can the goal of ending most crime justify committing one… even a few?
And what happens when you conflate altruism with egotism?

Find out in eConscience Beta, where two lab techs and an uncouth petty criminal must outwit a brilliant but sociopathic scientist who’ll stop at nothing to establish his legacy as the man who ended crime.

If Science Fiction Space Adventure is more your speed, then you should check out my anthology, Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1.


Matter conversion technology—Matt-Con—has broadened the scope of mankind’s existence. It has opened up the real possibility of viable colonies on other planets in our solar system, and even space itself. Anywhere matter can be captured or energy from the sun can be felt, the possibility of expanding human habitation exists.

In this volume:


The space station Chariot of Helios—on its way to Mercury to become a power collection station for Earth’s growing need for energy to power matt-con tech—encounters a strange anomaly that threatens ship and crew.

Escaping Aurora

The sudden destruction of mankind’s first atmospheric terraforming platform leaves three unlucky exonauts struggling to survive in the skies of Venus aboard a cobbled-together airship. Meanwhile, the commander of the space station above battles obstacles that might keep her from rescuing her stranded husband and crew in time.