05 December 2018

Wholesale mayhem in a post-apocalyptic world

Military science fiction | The Perseid Collapse | Steven Konkoly

A fast paced story with more or less relatable characters.

Placed in the USA after what is either a nuclear attack or an asteroid strike, three neighbouring families decide to trek out to a survivalist camp set up by the protagonist at his parents' farm in the wake of the Jakarta Epidemic*, with one working car and a lot of bikes and firearms between them.

If military sci fi with post apocalyptic situations and a hero who can single-handedly take down large numbers of baddies is your scene, look no further. There is a reference in there to the Die Hard movies, and it's not accidental. But if you feel squeamish at wholesale mayhem, stay away.

Be warned that the story does not reach any kind of conclusion in this volume. For that, you'll need to buy the next, and possibly the next book. If you like this stuff, that won’t be a hardship. Steven Konkoly writes with reliable quality.

*Yep, that’s another book. I think this one would actually be book 3 in the series, but you can read it as standalone. Many reviewers have commented on the overly detailed weapons descriptions. I, too, needed to skip paragraphs when that started.

⭐⭐⭐ aka ‘I liked it’. Not fabulous, but a good read.

Disclaimer: I got this book when it was under heavy discount.

Books I didn't really like, but YMMV

Recommended sci fi and fantasy, but it didn't click.

Every now and then, other people seem to really like books that leave me cold or unimpressed.

Here are a few short notes on some of these. I’ve rated them 2 stars, aka ‘It’s ok’, or just 1 star, aka ‘I don’t like it’.

Now, just because I didn’t much like them, it may merely be because the story is not really my scene. Hence, the YMMV (your mileage may vary) disclaimer. 

Fantastical stories 
Juraj Vondena

The ideas, while not bad, are fairly pedestrian.

The writing is straightforward, but desperately needs an editor. There are grammar mistakes in practically every paragraph (I understand English is not the primary language of the author, but that’s what editors are for), and the characters never quite become fully real or engage your emotions. As a result, the grammar became a deal-breaker.

⭐⭐ aka ‘It’s ok’. You can find it here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/438430

Nora's Sun
M.S. Fowle

The best thing about the story is its sheer frantic pace. It could do with a good editor, though. For a start, the title should be Nora's Son, because there is no reference to any Sun in the whole story, but lots to Nora’s son. With many clich├ęs /tropes, it's nonetheless a simply told story of a mother looking for her son and taking on an alien invasion to do so.

⭐⭐ aka ‘It’s ok’. You can find it here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/140318

Brian Fogarty

Just when it started getting interesting and one had got comfortable with the characters, it's over, and pointing at the sequel.

Over the top military humour and angst in the tradition of Bill the Galactic Hero, but with none of the sly knowledgeable wit of the latter. Plus, there are grammar and spelling errors and most of the names seem to be generated by banging a keyboard at random.

⭐⭐ aka ‘It’s ok’. Get it here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/512686

Prison mountain
Scott Hilkene

A horror fantasy that goes all over the place without really going anywhere.

This one gets a ⭐ rating, aka 'I don’t like it'. But if you still want to check it out: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/297764

Something new
Legend Brook

It's not a story. It's just a single scene. And you've already seen X men.

Another one with a ⭐ star rating, mainly because of the disappointment of getting a single scene instead of a story. Find it here:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/668386

The final battle
Nagraj Rao

It's not a story. It's a platform for the writer to vent about religion and the lack of peace in the world. It's trite. Adding a robot doesn't make it sci fi. 

So, ⭐ star aka ‘I don’t like it’. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/294412

Here’s the thing, though. Should I put up my reviews on Smashwords or not? I tend to be of the persuasion, when reviewing, of: if you can’t say something kind, don’t say anything. And none of these is so atrocious that I feel that warning the unsuspecting public is my duty. Any comments on this aspect will be welcome.