The purpose of this blog is to have a little fun. It is NOT to start arguments. I don't profess to be an expert on Sci-fi, nor do I aspire to become an expert. You are welcome to comment on any and all content you find here. If my opinion differs from yours, as far as I am concerned, it's all okay. I will never say that you are wrong because you disagree with me, and I expect the same from those that comment here. Also, my audience on the blog will include some young people. Please govern your language when posting comments.

Posts will hopefully be regular based on the movies I see, the television shows I watch, and the books I read as well as what ever strikes me as noteworthy.

Spoilers will appear here and are welcome.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Dune: The Heir of Caladan By Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson - This Lead-Up To Dune is Incredibly Good

Dune: Heir of Caladan (The Caladan Trilogy Book 3) By Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

I'm always on board when Herbert and Anderson release a new Dune tale. I have read them all and love every one of them. Heir of Caladan is no exception to the rule for me. It is a great ending to the trilogy that leads directly to the events of the original Dune novel by Frank Herbert. I've always wondered about the events leading to Dune. Why is there such a vicious feud between House Harkonnen and House Atreides? How did House Atreides come into control of Arrakis? Why does Shaddam IV seem to not trust his cousin, Duke Leto?

Heir of Caladan, we get an idea of the answers to those questions and more.

This segment rounds out the trilogy that also includes Dune: The Duke of Caladan and Dune: The Lady of Caladan. All three books are excellent and well worth the time for fans readers who enjoy the books written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson.

It is busy in the known universe ruled by Padishah Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV.

Jaxson Aru, son of the CHOAM director, has made it his mission - or obsession - to free the universe from Corrino rule once and for all. He has made it clear he will stop at nothing to accomplish this mission and he has the attention of Shaddam. As a matter of fact, Shaddam is equally determined to rid the universe of Aru, and any of those who are in league with him. The Emperor's Sardukar troops are going to be busy making examples of those who dare to associate with the traitor Aru.

Duke Leto Atreides of Caladan plays a dangerous game. His mission is to infiltrate Aru's organization and attempt to bring it down from within. He has dispatched Gurney Halleck to Kaitain with a message for Shaddam, letting him know he is loyal and what his intentions are. The only problem here is that Gurney has been captured on his way to deliver the message by the Harkonnens. No one knows he hasn't delivered his message.

The Lady Jessica has been taken away from Caladan by the Bene Geserit and reassigned to the planet Elegy to be the new bound concubine of Viscount Giandro Tull. Jessica is on a mission that she hopes is successful, will allow her to go back to Caladan to be with her Duke and her son.

The Ducal heir, young Paul Atreides, is left on Caladan to assume the duties of his father. He faces numerous challenges and hopes to be successful thanks to his mother's training, and the advice of Mentat Thufir Hawat and Swordmaster Duncan Idaho. 

And, if that isn't enough, The Baron Harkonnen plots to see that Leto is left with nothing, not even a home. Hasimir Fenring investigates the spice situation on Arrakis, and the Bene Geserit think they are close to producing the Kwisatz Haderach they have long been searching for. One of the problems Paul must solve, once and for all, is the illicit production of the Caladan Drug thought already to have been eradicated.

All the characters are in play in this story of intrigue and plots within plots. As always, they are recognizable as who they are and each unique in their own voice and thoughts.

It is difficult to choose a single point of plot in Heir of Caladan because it is all just that good, but if I was forced to choose one, it would have to be Paul's trials filling in as Duke. He faces quite a few challenges, but young as he is, he appears quite capable of making the hard decisions and isn't afraid to take advice from the advisors surrounding him. Paul faces a few situations, but there is one which tests him at the highest lever because the stakes are the existence of Caladan itself!

My takeaway from Heir of Caladan is that no matter what one's plan is, no matter how carefully one plans, there is always the possibility of failure. In this tale, everyone has a goal they want to achieve, and it seems some come close to seeing those goals become successes, that is, until some random, unplanned element is introduced. It happens through this entire story.

I have read everything in the Dune universe (as far as I know) and enjoyed all of it. It is rich and full of splendid story and things to think about in every single volume. I first read Frank Herbert's Dune in 1984 after being sparked by viewing the David Lynch movie. The Caladan Trilogy continues chronicling the events that lead to that first amazing novel and is every bit as entertaining as all the others. Heir, this latest installment is no exception. It is loaded with heroes, villains, and people in-between. I give my highest recommendations to the trilogy and its conclusion. The characters jump off the page and when you get to the end, you'll want more.


Brian Herbert, son of Frank Herbert, wrote the definitive biography of his father, Dreamer of Dune, which was a Hugo Award finalist. Brian is president of the company managing the legacy of Frank Herbert and is an executive producer of the motion picture Dune, as well as of the TV series Dune: The Sisterhood. He is the author or coauthor of more than forty-five books, including multiple New York Times bestsellers, has been nominated for the Nebula Award, and is always working on several projects at once. He and his wife, Jan, have traveled to all seven continents, and in 2019, they took a trip to Budapest to observe the filming of Dune.

Kevin J. Anderson has written dozens of national bestsellers and has been nominated for the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, the Bram Stoker Award, and the SFX Readers' Choice Award. His critically acclaimed original novels include the ambitious space opera series The Saga of Seven Suns, including The Dark Between the Stars, as well as Wake the Dragon epic fantasy trilogy, and the Terra Incognita fantasy epic with its two accompanying rock CDs. He also set the Guinness-certified world record for the largest single-author book signing, and was recently inducted into the Colorado Authors’ Hall of Fame.

Monday, February 6, 2023

Sandorn's Prison: A Military Space Opera (Sandorn's Allegiance Book 2) By Thom Bedford

Sandorn's Prison: A Military Space Opera (Sandorn's Allegiance Book 2) by Thom Bedford

I received a copy of this book for free and am leaving this review voluntarily. Note: Sandorn's Prison is due to be released on March 11, 2023.

Sandorn's Prison is the second book in the Sandorn's Allegiance series by Thom Bedford. The first book in the series, Sandorn's Command, introduces the reader to several compelling characters who find themselves caught up in the middle of a war between two factions, the Alliance, and the Union.

Tanic Sandorn, former spacer, finds himself turning from a life of cargo runs to becoming an important player in the early days of the war on the side of the Alliance. He is joined by nearly all his crew, but one holds out, claiming the Alliance isn't all it's made out to be, and the union has been unjustly vilified.

I love space opera and Thom Bedford's offerings are some of the best I've read. He writes superior characters set in a backdrop of amazing ships, space stations, and impossible situations requiring cleverness to resolve. Along with epic battle scenes, there are political situations, intrigue, and romance.

Sandorn's Prison is the amazing continuation of the saga in which the principal character finds himself torn between following orders, or doing what is right and best for the most people.

On Exeter Station, Commander Tanic Sandorn works his daily routine until he is tapped to command an updated warship, the Leonidas. He gathers his command crew, a group of dependable people he has worked with in the past, and is attached to a fleet charged with the rescue of a large number of prisoners being held on a prison station.

The fleet commander, Commodore Flynn, is a glory-seeking, cowardly officer who has no problem sacrificing others to achieve his goals.

Sandorn disobeys Fynn’s orders to reduce the losses to the fleet. What's more, he is forced to make a monumental personal sacrifice, leaving someone very important to him behind.

In the brig, heartsick and feeling like he's let everyone down, he has to find a way to pull himself together and make a second trip to the prison station before it's too late.

Tanic Sandorn is a good man. He is a good soldier and a superb commander respected by his direct commanders and those he is chosen to command. But he is not the man to follow orders blindly. When he sees an injustice, he acts on it by doing the right thing, consequences be damned. In the pages of the two books in this series, Sandorn is the hero who doesn't set out to be the hero. He doesn't seek glory or laurels; he just wants to get his job done while minimizing the loss of life. As one reads, he becomes a real person one can admire and take as an example to follow.

My favorite point of plot in this tale is how there is a problem brewing behind the scenes that hasn't been revealed so far. In both books in the series, it is mentioned in a roundabout way, but not pinpointed. This is just one of the aspects of this series that keeps me coming back for more.

Another plot point I enjoyed are the twists and turns. While we know the hero is going to triumph, it is in no way predictable how Sandorn is going to achieve his goals, and it isn't guaranteed he will. His ultimate solution to the problem put in his way was completely unexpected, yet so simple, it could have been child's play. His solution also gives the reader some insight into the leadership of the much-maligned Union faction.

Thom is an avid sci-fi fan, and it really shows itself in his writing. Occasionally, I had to smile as I came across winks and nods to various other sci-fi franchises. 

My takeaway from Sandorn's Prison is no matter the consequences, a person of good character must stand by their principles and do what is right. 

I give my highest recommendations for Sandorn's Prison. It is an entertaining read that runs a full gamut of emotions. This (as well as Sandorn's Command) is space opera at its best. It seems so plausible that it feels real as one reads it, and the story will stay with the reader long after the book is closed.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thom grew up in Cheshire, England, with his parents and brother. Since childhood, he has had a propensity for creativity, whether it be writing, building models, painting, designing graphics and technology, or programming.

After studying computer science at The University of Manchester, he started working as a Software Developer. Following in his father's footsteps, he worked as a Technical consultant in London for several years, then in data warehousing back in Manchester.

In his spare time, Thom still writes, builds models, paints, and programs, but nowadays he also listens to a lot of music, watches a lot of films, reads, and enjoys playing video games.

His love for science fiction comes from blockbuster films like Starship Troopers, Star Wars, and Star Trek. B-movies like Wing Commander, Pitch Black, and Iron Sky. TV shows like Battlestar Galactica, The Expanse, and Stargate. Video games like Homeworld, EVE-Online, and Stelaris. Books Like Jack Campbell's Lost Fleet series, Jasper T. Scott's Dead Space series, and David Weber's Honor Harrington series. In other words, sci-fi - particularly space opera - in any media.

Thom currently lives in Cheshire, England with his wife, Helen, and their two cats.

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Cryptid Killers By Allister Hodge - A Chilling Winter's Tale Of Murder And Mayhem

Cryptid Killers by Alister Hodge

I borrowed a copy of this book from Kindle Unlimited and am leaving this review voluntarily.

When I see the name Alister Hodge on the cover of a book, I will probably read it. I didn't learn about this one until I saw it come across my Facebook feed recently. I was looking for something a little different and decided to take this one on.

Cryptid Killers is a short and fast-paced story set at a ski resort somewhere in Australia. When I say fast paced, I mean reading this book is a lot like hopping a ride on a roller coaster in motion. The action begins on the opening pages and never lets up until the very end. It has a pair of great characters as heroes, as well as a pair of nefarious characters who are so buried in their own self-interest, they cannot see the danger they are unleashing to the resort's guests, who have paid a large premium to have a holiday.

At 149 pages, I was impressed by how Al crammed so much story into such a small space.

Cryptid Killers is a story that could cause one nightmares. The monsters in this tale are vicious and relentless, and there are too many to count. Al's descriptions of the horror caused by these creatures may be a trigger point to some readers, but for those who can take descriptions of injury and dismemberment, it is an entertaining read that might have one sleeping with the lights on.

I enjoyed this book, as I have everything I've read from Al Hodge, and I continue to look forward to his future work as an author.

When a skier is lost at a resort, Agent Rylan of the Cryptid Investigation Unit and her new partner, Eoin Carter, find themselves in a battle for their lives against an army of creatures who are rapidly emerging from hibernation. When they appear, they are ruthless, murderous, and very, very hungry.

As Rylan and Carter do their best to keep the resorts guest from becoming a hot meal in the frozen tundra, they also have to fight against the resort’s greedy owner and his henchman, who harbor ulterior motives.

One of Al's major strengths as an author is the characters he writes. While there wasn't a lot of background information given in this story, there is enough to help one become invested in their successes.

Agent Rylan knows her business. She is intense about her work, and she knows how to get the job done. I will not go into too much detail and spoil a plot twist. I want to know more about this character. Hopefully, there will be future books.

Eoin Carter is a former soldier who has seen his share of violence and death. He is pretty good at keeping his cool while he assesses and acts in situations. I don't think he was prepared for what he found on the mountain above the resort. Carter is a well-trained, tough ex-soldier. He and Ryland butt heads occasionally, but they actually work well together and are a great team.

Jacob Freidman is the villain of the tale. He, along with his henchman, make things miserable for Rylan, Carter, and just about everyone else on the mountain for their holiday. He is very rich and powerful; he has an ulterior motive and the consequences to others be damned.

My favorite plot point is also a major spoiler, and the thing about the story that makes me want more. It is also a major spoiler, so I will leave it by saying Agent Rylan has a lot of experience with cryptozoology.

My takeaway from Cryptid Killers is to warn others to be wary of things that come in pretty packages, like the ultra-modern resort. Sometimes those who are in the business of providing amazing experiences may have amazing ambitions and are willing to spend huge amounts of money to make even more money.

I have never been disappointed by anything I've read from Alister Hodge. He is an amazing writer who, through his characters, spins tales that are the stuff of nightmares. If you are looking for something that will thrill and give you the heebie jeebies, this is the book for you! Cryptid Killers is a story that runs at breakneck speed, don't blink, or you might miss something. Al includes things he has experienced in his profession working in the emergency room, and sometimes the reality of his descriptions can make one cringe. If you cannot handle such scenes, this might be one to avoid. But if you like horror with graphic scenes of mayhem, this is one you might want to dive into.

Highest Recommendations for a shorter read that moves.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Alister Hodge is an Emergency Nurse Practitioner, who lives in Sydney with his wife and two daughters. He is also a Clinical Lecturer at the University of Sydney, the author of numerous journal and textbook publications, and the co-creator of an app to support triage nurse development in Australia.

As a mental break from providing healthcare in a busy Emergency Department, Alister leaves behind the everyday traumas and horror of the real world, by creating new ones for a post-apocalyptic landscape.

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Progress Report By Roman Lando - Fast Paced And Humorous With Serious Overtones

Progress Report by Roman Lando

I received a copy of Progress Report for free and am leaving this review voluntarily.

I received an email from the author who offered me a copy of Progress Report and asked if I would consider reviewing it on my blog and other places I leave reviews. The first thing that got my attention was the cover design, and the synopsis sealed the deal.

Progress Report is a sci-fi adventure technothriller that is full of twists and turns and is written with a sense of humor approaching that of Douglas Adams, author of the Hitchhiker's Guide books. While it is not as bizarre as Adams' work, I found myself smiling all the way through it, and occasionally laughing out loud. There are numerous references to today's pop-culture making it a fun book to read.

But don't be fooled by the humor. There are some serious implications included in the text that will make one think, should one desire to do so.

Progress Report is well written and easy to follow. It is entertaining and is a fun rollercoaster ride. The characters are people I found myself caring about. Should one read between the lines, there is a story that should be taken seriously, and some commentary that is worth a second look. I especially appreciated how the author put so much of himself in this tale of intrigue.

Art, an ordinary guy, he just wants to be left alone to do his own thing. He enjoys flying his drones and taking life one day at a time. Unfortunately, for him, one of his older quad-copters encounters an invisible barrier and crashes. The incident gets the attention of some advanced aliens who immediately begin a life-threatening chase. He barely escaped with his life and soon finds himself charged with becoming an unlikely hero on a mission to save humanity. With the use of an alien artifact, he has the adventure of a lifetime with a mission ahead of him, and aliens with nefarious intent behind him.

I like Art. Just a regular, if not somewhat reclusive, character who knows his technology. He is unsure of himself, especially when it comes to female companionship. He also seems to be a bit clumsey, but has solid survival instincts. He is comfortable with artificial intelligence, which is very much to his benefit in Progress Report.

Along the way, he meets Tia. I cannot write too much about this character because it would be a major spoiler. I'll just say she is the embodiment of people are often not what they seem to be. She is, in a word, fascinating. Art also thinks she is.

My favorite point of plot is the angle the story comes from. The first chapter is titled "74%," indicating the amount of battery life in a cell phone that Art is using to chronicle the events that follow. All the chapters are percentages of battery life and I feel it is a race for art to complete his story before the phone goes dead.

I also enjoyed how Art injected humor into the story. It drove the plot forward and was never over the top. He has a unique way of seeing the world and I appreciated it immensely.

My takeaway from Progress Report is how a hero can emerge from a character, especially when they aren't looking to be a hero. Does anyone wake up in the morning and say to themselves, "I'm going to do something heroic today?" That's not the way it works. Super heroes don't exist in the real world. In Art's case, he was just out minding his own business, flying his drone, and he was forced into being a hero by the circumstances. He learned there was a situation and did what was needed to resolve it to everyone's benefit.

I give my highest recommendations to Progress Report as a fast-paced sci-fi adventure story with great characters. If you enjoy tales, including futuristic technology and first contact scenarios, this is the book for you. I look forward to future work from this author. His debut novel is full of swerves and surprises. It is engaging from the very first page with just a few places where the action slows a little to give the reader a chance to catch his/her breath. 

This is the first book completed in 2023, and it was a great start to my year of reading.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Roman Lando, author of Progress Report, is a composer, musician, web and new media designer, and positively has too many passions, interests, and hobbies in his life.

When he’s not writing books or music, he can be found sailing, playing keys in a prog rock band, flying his drones, building crazy flight simulation rigs, and LARPing. His life long love and passion for hard Sci-Fi take a special place in his heart. Reading was never enough. The only way to satisfy the obsession was to write his debut novel. He hopes to share his love for true Science Fiction, along with his interest in history, science, philosophy, and technology with his readers.

After living in three countries on three continents, and speaking three languages, Roman has finally settled in Toronto, where he lives with his wife and two daughters. No dogs or cats are involved - his drones are his pets. He is now working on his second novel.

You can get in touch with Roman and subscribe to his mailing list at the Progress Report website:

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Entropy By Michael McGinty - A Hard Sci-Fi Look At A Grim Future For Humanity

Entropy: A Novel by Michael McGinty

I received a copy of this book for free and am leaving this review voluntarily.

The story in Mike McGinty's debut novel, Entropy, is an attention-grabbing tale of a future when things have gone from comfortable to terrible for principal character Bill Bartles, as well as the world he lives in. It is a fast-paced story of a man who is charged with looking at past events, stripping away all the static, and uploading what he filteres to a database contained in a space no bigger than a shoebox.

Entropy is a hard sci-fi, dystopian look at a grim future for humanity.

When I began reading Entropy, I found it commanding my attention. I was mesmerized by the story in its pages and whenever I had time to pick it up, I was drawn into a nightmarish world where chaos rules, and it's everyone for themselves.

I enjoyed Entropy. It ran me through an entire gamut of emotions, from being horrified, through sadness, and even some triumphant moments. It is an intense look into the future where there might be danger lurking around every corner. I had to pay attention because there were a few things I knew little about - at the same time, everything was adequately explained.

Bill Bartels lives in a city where life is strictly regulated. As long as one follows the rules, everything seems to work well, but going against established procedures have consequences. His life is quite comfortable - he lives in a nice apartment, has a girlfriend, and nearly everything he needs to live. He works near the bottom of a corporate ladder that goes very high. His job is to gather all human knowledge, sift it to be sure there is no spin left to taint the information, and finally store it on a device called the Infinity Drive. Bill does his job so well, he expects a promotion soon, but something goes wrong.

During a session taking a deep dive into the archives of the Infinity Drive's controller, he finds something disturbing. Outside the city is death and devastation, the result of numerous man-made disasters. In effect, Bill discovers a state of social entropy existing outside the city, and he is compelled to investigate. What compels him is that he is caught discovering forbidden information and the corporations do not want it to become common knowledge. He escapes the city and enters a world the likes of which he had no idea existed.

Along his journey, he discovers many disturbing facts and learns that humanity is doomed to end in the not-too-distant future.

For much of the tale, Bill is accompanied by an antisocial curmudgeon, simply known as The Thinker, who helps Bill with his decision if saving the dregs of humanity is worth the loss of the Infinity Drive.

The Thinker takes Bill on a tour of the ruined world and presents him with some disturbing looks into the realities of Social Entropy.

My favorite point of plot is the author’s illustration of the extremes between strict social control, and the lack thereof. It shows what can happen in two different worlds on the same planet when things are out of balance. It made me think of a lot of the things I witnessed during the height of the recent COVID Pandemic. How panicked people were hoarding supplies. How people began making their own rules and ignoring established laws. How people were behaving irrationally in general. Had things not calmed down, what might our world look today? I shudder to imagine it. We got a glimpse looking into an abyss, but Entropy takes it the rest of the way. It is not a world I would want to live in.

Another favorite point of plot was how the mood of the story changed in the blink of an eye. As the story opened, I felt as though I were reading a comedic story. There were things that struck me as being funny, but that didn't last long as the life of the principal character became unhinged as he became more aware of the realities of the world he lived in.

The overarching theme of Entropy is Social Entropy, as outlined by the second law of thermodynamics. My takeaway is an understanding of the concept of Social Entropy. When the constructs of living in communities break down, when there are no longer laws, in the absence of institutions that maintain order, society descends into chaos. It is a point at which irrationality rules and survival is the rule of the day. The strong survive at the expense of the weak. One example cited in my reading was what happens during war.

Entropy will make one think. It has a very familiar flavor in the light of headlines presented in the last few years. It takes the themes we have witnessed in reality and projects them into a future where it wasn't pulled back from the brink of tipping into disaster. We are still healing from the chaos witnessed during the pandemic, but this story gives us a look into what might be if some disaster, or combination of disasters, is left to follow its course. I see Entropy as a warning to societies telling us to take care of each other or we may face our own extinction.

I recommend this book to readers who like hard sci-fi and who enjoy post-apocalyptic and dystopian themed books. It is well thought out and disturbing. It caused me to have a few nightmares. While that may seem like a bad thing, perhaps it is just what we need to keep humanity moving in a positive direction.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Mike was born and raised in Kalgoorlie, in the goldfields of Western Australia, before moving to Perth to complete a degree in Electronic Engineering. With a good science fiction book in hand and a lifelong passion for innovation, Mike has always imagined a future where technologies that are improbable today might be possible tomorrow. When not writing, Mike runs a software development company at, loves 1970s heavy rock music, and cheers on his beloved West Coast Eagles AFL team. And he often goes fishing in the Australian never-never. Together with his wife, Mike lives in an empty nest with their black Labrador, Louie.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

The Road By Cormac McCarthy - One Of The Greatest Post-Apocalyptic Stories I Have Ever Read!

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

One morning at work, I was visiting with one of my co-workers about good books. My coworker is not a sci-fi fan, but we were discussing one of my favorite post-apocalyptic books. She asked me if I had ever read The Road, and I said I hadn't. She just told me I needed to read it and left it at that.

I bought it for the Kindle and started reading and was hooked from the first line, and I read the entire book in a day. It is one of the best books I have ever opened, and I will read it again.

It took me several pages to get into it because I was temporarily distracted by the writing style. There were no quotation marks to set the dialog apart from the prose, and no apostrophe in the contractions. The punctuation was absolutely minimalist. After a few pages, I got used to that and the text flowed well. As I think back, this aspect of the writing added to the way the story felt. 

I enjoyed this take of post-apocalyptic adventure and survival. It was terrifying, triumphant, depressing, and intense all at the same time. The relationship between the man and the boy was great and so well written. Their feelings for each other were always at the surface of the story.

A man and his young son take to the road on a journey of survival in a world that has gone all wrong. It is cold, and they follow the roads to find a more habitable place. Along the way, they run into various things that can either help or harm them. Unfortunately, there is far more that can harm them, mostly the other people, or as the boy thinks of them, the "bad guys," who will not only take what little they have for survival but will also take their lives.

The principal characters are the man and the boy. We never get their names because names are no longer important in the world of The Road. The thing that keeps them going is they are carrying "the fire," which I took as meaning the living spirit. The man is knowledgeable of the ways of survival, which he teaches to his son as they move along. The man is sick and tries to get the boy to understand they must do whatever it takes to continue living, but the boy will not set his innocence aside. He holds on to his compassion and caring for others. When the pair encounter those less fortunate than they are, the boy wants to share what they have, even when they are faced with having almost nothing for themselves. This creates a compelling dynamic between the two characters to create tension between the two.

My favorite point of the plot is how this tale unfolds with almost no background given on the characters or what created the situation they live in. One can guess what it might have been given the described conditions, but there aren't many clues how widespread the catastrophe is. Assuming this story is set in the US, there are hints that, at least, our country has been hit hard. Background on the characters is sparse and mostly as flashback scenes of the man's life before his and the boy's time on the road.

While the overall theme of the story is survival against impossible odds, there are other supporting themes. One is how one must be as ruthless as one's enemies to ensure their own survival. Another theme is how one needs to hold on to their compassion to remain human. Therein is my takeaway from The Road - no matter how bad the situation is, one should never let go of one's humanity lest we degenerate to the level of being subhuman.

I recommend The Road as one of the best stories I have ever read. As a matter of fact, I downloaded the audiobook to listen to as I drove back and forth from work, enjoying it a second time. Were I to rate all the books I have read, I would number this in at least the top ten, if not the top five greatest modern stories I have ever read.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Cormac McCarthy is an American novelist and playwright. He has written ten novels in the Southern Gothic, western, and post-apocalyptic genres and has also written plays and screenplays. He received the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for The Road, and his 2005 novel No Country for Old Men was adapted as a 2007 film of the same name, which won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture. His earlier Blood Meridian (1985) was among Time Magazine's poll of 100 best English-language books published between 1925 and 2005 and he placed joint runner-up for a similar title in a poll taken in 2006 by The New York Times of the best American fiction published in the last 25 years. Literary critic Harold Bloom named him as one of the four major American novelists of his time, along with Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo, and Philip Roth. He is frequently compared by modern reviewers to William Faulkner. In 2009, Cormac McCarthy won the PEN/Saul Bellow Award, a lifetime achievement award given by the PEN American Center.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Sandorn's Command By Thom Bedford - Fun Action Packed Military Space Opera

Sandorn's Command by Thom Bedford

I received a copy of this book for free and am leaving this review voluntarily.

Sandorn's Command is a military sci-fi space opera story following the exploits of Tanic Sandorn during a time when war breaks out between two factions in the galaxy. It is an original story that has flavors from several various influences in science fiction and are brought together in a well written, entertaining, and intriguing story that will - I hope - become a series of novels. I learned about this tale when the author contacted me via email, inviting me to review his work. It is an easy book to read and unfolds as a film might and is told mostly from Sandorn's point of view.

Tanic Sandorn commands his small shuttle as it plies among the stars delivering items between planets and space stations. An accident aboard his vessel, the Kadpass, forces him to put in at Exeter Station, a huge orbital space station in where goods and services are offered. The station also hosts a military contingent from the predominant governing body of its area of space known as the Combined Systems Alliance.

Sandorn and his crew of three disembark their ship to Exeter, where they enjoy the amenities while their shuttle undergoes repairs. They soon learn that another opposing faction, the Free Planetary Union, is making headway as they bid to overthrow the Alliance. The Alliance's resources and personnel are wearing thin as the Union continues to gain strength while taking over in system after system.

Sandorn, a former officer in the Alliance Navy, is reinstated at his former rank of commander if he will serve. After some soul-searching, he rejoins the Navy, and two of his three crewmembers - one he has an intimate relationship with - also sign on. The fourth member of the crew refuses the offer and has sympathies for the Union.

When it is known the Union has a fleet headed for Exeter, preparations are made and plans are drawn up for a defense. The Alliance need a decisive victory against the Union. Exeter Station could be an immense turning point in the war for dominance in the galaxy.

I enjoyed the characters in Sandorn's Command. They are all very human, with strengths and weaknesses that brought them to life for me and quickly became people I could care about. Sandorn himself is a person I want to get to know better. He is a good person who knows his business and understands his role as a commander. As a civilian, Sandorn is a laid-back character who is enjoying life as a shuttle commander with his small crew, but when the time comes for him to step up and command, he does so with an even-handedness that immediately endeared him to me. He is of good character and believes himself to be on the right side of the conflict.

Sandorn is surrounded by characters who enjoy various degrees of development depending on their importance to the story. There is still a lot of character development to be made as the saga continues in future stories, which I am looking forward to with great enthusiasm.

Nearly every character in this story is heroic, but they aren't looking to be so. They are just doing their jobs as best they can, using what little they have to work with.

My favorite point of plot is very short, it almost seems insignificant considering the surrounding action taking place. But it is something I cannot get out of my mind after reading, and I think it will be a huge part of future installments.

The Story is told from the Alliance point of view, so far. We really learn little about the Union in this opening novel, but there is a point that some doubt is cast when Sandorn visits with the former shuttle crewmember. Maybe all isn't what it appears to be, and the Union isn't all wrong in their goals for unseating the Alliance as the dominant governing body in the galaxy.

That particular plot point haunts me and I really want to learn more.

My takeaway from Sandorn's Command is to beware of what one believes. Beliefs aren't facts, and there are always three sides to every story. In this case, there is the Alliance's story, the Union's story, and somewhere in between, there is the truth. We have yet to get the Union story, and the truth is clouded for the time being.

The themes in this book have many influences of the author’s fandoms, and it really moves the story along. I recognized elements borrowed from many of my own favorite franchises, making this book a fun and interesting read. I didn't want to set it aside for even a minute and was disappointed only in that it had to come to an end.

Sandorn's Command is a great story with familiar themes, but done in an original way that is comforting to read. It is full of fast-paced action, good character development, leaving room for future discovery. I recommend this book as fine sci-fi for any fan, particularly those who love space opera, as I do. I also think that anyone would enjoy this book, sci-fi fan or not. It isn't overly cluttered with jargon or difficult technical things to veil an outstanding story.

My highest recommendations for an immensely entertaining read.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thom grew up in Cheshire, England, with his parents and brother. Since childhood, he has had a propensity for creativity, whether it be writing, building models, painting, designing graphics and technology, or programming.

After studying computer science at The University of Manchester, he started working as a Software Developer. Following in his father's footsteps, he worked as a Technical consultant in London for several years, then in data warehousing back in Manchester.

In his spare time, Thom still writes, builds models, paints, and programs, but nowadays he also listens to a lot of music, watches a lot of films, reads, and enjoys playing video games.

His love for science fiction comes from blockbuster films like Starship Troopers, Star Wars, and Star Trek. B-movies like Wing Commander, Pitch Black, and Iron Sky. TV shows like Battlestar Galactica, The Expanse, and Stargate. Video games like Homeworld, EVE-Online, and Stelaris. Books Like Jack Campbell's Lost Fleet series, Jasper T. Scott's Dead Space series, and David Weber's Honor Harrington series. In other words, sci-fi - particularly space opera - in any media.

Thom currently lives in Cheshire, England with his wife, Helen, and their two cats.