Greatings, Happy Readers!
It’s been a while. I’m horribly behind on my reading schedule for the year. Writing too, truth be told. Mostly this is because of a stretch of full-time work (which I am thankful for), but there’s also the lazy factor that wants to watch Star Trek: Picard and Twitch instead.
Maybe I’ll change that behavior soon-ish as the work contract wains and I get some free time. The whole CV-19 thing is throwing a monkey in everybody’s wrench though, so I hope your crystal balls are less cloudy than mine.
Speaking of apocalypses and lack of toilet paper… have you heard of The Fallen World series?
Well, I finally finished book 3, which is an anthology. Details are below. It is a heavy spoiler type review, so be warned. If you just want the Cliff’s Notes version, it’s a great book and you should read it.
I’m writing this with droopy eyes, so I’m only going to mention a future update without details. The Planetary Anthologies have been given NEW LIFE and will be re-released during the coming year. I’ll post details in a future blog! Stay Tuned!
Now here’s that review…
Amazon’s blurb & preview
These 16 Stories in the Fallen World universe are a great addition to the series. They should serve to whet your appetite for more to come. I found almost all of them to be quite good. I was excited to learn new details about the tech of the Fallen World, both pre & post Fall. The writing from all the authors was top notch. It was a blend of apocalypse and hope that you like to see rather than total morbidity. I thoroughly enjoyed it and definitely recommend it to you Happy Readers!
What follows are individual story reviews. The way I reach my overall rating is to review each story (0-5 stars) and average them together for the book. For this anthology, I give 3.4 stars overall, and I call it a Terrific Read.
Be warned, the individual reviews contain spoilers:
What’s In A Name by Chris Kennedy (4 stars)
Straight after the events of Don’t Call Me Ishmael” our old friend ‘Fred’ decides he has to chance a run to Philly to find a rumored Imprinter that can restore his true identity.
Kennedy rolls out another kicker as the MC finds the path to his past is blocked by a whole lot of ‘bad stuff’ like Clowns & Geno Freaks, but ends up with some potential allies.
Spec Shey by Brisco Woods (5 stars)
Spec Shey joined Teledyne for payback against Obsidian. Now the world has Fallen, and he was stuck in a booth getting some upgrades when it happened. Luckily, he was found by someone who’s first instincts were not to rob, maim and kill.
The story was terrific. A nice backstory the leads to a great payoff at the end. I like a good twist that I didn’t see coming because of the other cool stuff going on around it. Top notch!
Daimyo by Jamie Ibson (3 stars)
Survivors flee the Fall by way of an island and institute Feudalism in the Japanese style to help them survive. Three Agents serve and rule them well. Twenty years on, they now face pressure from other outside survivors led by an Agent who is much more malevolent and power hungry… Gaunt.
A decent story. Good fight scenes. Tension was built and the climax was on point.
A Winter’s Day by David Carrico (4 stars)
Post Fall Montana is about to get its first taste of lawlessness as one family fights for its own survival. After, the law that was must give way to the justice of the Fallen World.
Good story in the vein of an old school wild west homestead defense. Not tame and lossless like most stories. I enjoyed this, and I hope to read its sequel someday.
King of the Mountain by Kevin Steverson (4 stars)
What would you do if you knew the nukes were going to fly tomorrow? Make a survival plan, buy as much gear and food as you can, and head for the hills, right?
I really liked this one. It has made me a fan of Steverson’s writing style. I plan to check out some of his books including Salvage Title.
A Smile for Napalm by Philip S. Bolger (3 stars)
Obsidian Agents did bad things before the Fall. Surviving and helping others to survive the nukes is one way Lucia Frausto is making amends. Her past still manages to find her though, and she must fight for her own survival, and that of her town when it does.
Decent story. The battle scene was cool.
What Passes For Human by Joseph Capdepon (4 stars)
A former Obsidian scientist and his wife struggle for survival after the Fall. It’s especially hard for her since she’s a cyborg. When his wife is abducted by an anti-Tech cult who uses torture to convert and destroys all technology, even if it keeps someone alive, there is no place for half-measures in her rescue.
This was a well built tale that made you care for the characters and brought a new nuance to the Fallen World. I really enjoyed this one.
Mr. Smith Goes To Toronto by Alex Rath (2.5 stars)
Forced to leave his doomsday bunker to deactivate a nuke, Mr. Smith sees what the world is like up close and personal for the first time and decides to hang around and help.
An OK story, but very low-key compared to others in the anthology
Bloody Monday by David Alan Jones (4 stars)
Monday Fulcher is a drifter in the Fallen World, but he takes a liking to a local lass that’s mutual. Unfortunately, the town has a secret that he just can’t go along with… so he ends up dead… at first.
Another great story. It introduced a concept about the nanite tech that is new to the reader. I think it has potential to be expanded upon and I hope for a sequel for this story also.
Justice For All by Derek Shupert (2.5 star)
A soldier of the Corporate Wars seeks meaning and redemption in the Fallen World. When he saves a girl from cannibals and discovers they are lead by a Geno Freak, he decides to help save her whole town.
A bit corny & navel gazzey at the start, but the actual action & plot of the story is good.
The Coward of Leon County by Ian J Malone (1 star)
Just go listen to Kenny Rogers.
Take the song Coward of the County and twist it a bit to make it fit in the Fallen World. I would have liked it if not for the blatant plagiarism of the plot. It wasn’t bad writing, but I was thrown out immediately and constantly by the deliberate parallel to the song. I know that was the point. I did not like that point. YMMV.
Hippocratic Oath by Jan Kotouc (3 stars)
An international story that takes place in the Czech Republic. A man is trying to find medical supplies to create an antidote for a drug used by a rising power that turns people into berserker addict soldiers to fight their invasions.
Good story, but I was lost behind the language barrier at times, especially with regards to place names and roads. Still, the plot was good as was the writing.
Shiva by Jon R. Osborne (4 stars)
A Farmer caravan is attacked by brigands leaving the MC wounded in a ditch, left for dead and his wife kidnapped. A local warlord is getting overindulgent and a bit insane, and when his Imprinter is used on his new ‘toy’ those who are trying to take him down find they’ve made a terrible mistake with the programming.
Damn good story. Slow start, but still decent. Once it gets to the pinch point though, yikes! Shiva indeed! I hope there will be a sequel to this one. It was hinted at and left wide open for it, so maybe so.
A Well-Dressed Wolf by Mark H. Wandrey (4 stars)
A French refugee with a ship full of… well, crap… brings a prize to the island of Bermuda to help with their crops. All they have to do is let him dock…
I’m pretty sure this story is full of nothing but bad guys, but it was really good.
Salt by Marisa Wolf (4 stars)
Problems are building on Nantucket. Survivors are at a pivot point between hunker down and stay safe and gather resources while risking lives to keep them all alive. Thieves raid, and the scientist who is enhancing their people for survival is being stalked.
Another great story that left me wanting more. The doctor who created many of the Geno Freaks deserves more story time.
Enforcer by Christopher Woods (2.5 stars)
Mathew Kade does another walk-through of the city.
This one felt like a repeat of one of the stories from the original Fallen World trilogy. There simply was not a lot of ‘new’ to it. Though some terrific backstory/foreshadowing made me want more.
And that’s all they wrote! Happy Reading!
Make an author happy! Leave a Review on Amazon! Here are links to my novels if you would like to go do that!
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.
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.