Tag Archives: Short stories

Review of “Children of the Dust”

Book ReviewShort Stories – The short story “Children of the Dust” is available from the Baen Books website. It was written by Catherine Asaro (http://www.catherineasaro.net). Ms. Asaro has published many works of both fiction and non-fiction. This short story is set in her “Saga of the Skolian Empire” universe. As pointed out at the end of this short story:

Two-time Nebula-award winner Catherine Asaro has an M.A. in physics and a Ph.D. in chemical physics from Harvard. A former ballet and jazz dancer, she founded the Mainly Jazz Dance program at Harvard and now teaches at the Caryl Maxwell Classical Ballet. “Children of the Dust” is a prequel to her Major Bhaajan series, which is set within her popular Skolian Empire, with Undercity and The Bronze Skies out now.

I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence, Mature Language and Mature Situations. The story is set on another world, one colonized by humanity it the far future. Young 15 year old Bhaajan is one of many who live in the derelict tunnels beneath the City of Cries, the Undercity. She and the other eek out a life of survival – stealing, dealing, fighting – with one another and with the civilization that lives on the surface of the planet Raylicon.

Bhaajan wants more for her future. It will be a struggle to leave her pseudo family in the Undercity, and an even bigger struggle to fit in, but she sees enlisting the Army as her way out.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 100 minutes I spent reading this young adult science fiction short story. I both enjoyed the plot and the rich characters that were created. I look forward to reading more stories set in this universe. I give this short story a 5 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

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Review of “The Blue Widow”

Story Stories – The short story “The Blue Widow” is available from the Baen Books website. This story was written b J. P. Sullivan. This is a little different from the other short stories I have read at Baen as it is a fantasy rather than science fiction. Baen Books selected J.P. Sullivan as the grand prize winner of the 2017 Baen Fantasy Adventure Award for this short story.

Teresa Kowalczyk is a member of a religious order that hunts monsters, a Blue Widow. She is given an assignment to travel to a remote village in Molovia. The village, Elik, is not unknown to Teresa as she was born and grew up there. Traveling back there stirs up her own personal monsters in addition to the one she was sent to hunt.

I found the 45 minutes I invested in this fantasy short story to be interesting. I would give this a 3.8 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

Review of “The Powhatan”

Short Stories – The short story “The Powhatan” is available on the Baen Books website. This alternate history tale took me about 30 minutes to read. This story was written by Tony Daniel (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Daniel_(science_fiction_writer)). Mr. Daniel has published 10 novels.

I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in an alternative history where Roman Legions have occupied part of North America. The Romans have the city-state of  Potomak (located West of Washington DC on the Potomac river by the falls) under siege. Seventeen year old Wannas Kittamaquand is one of 22 who have been chosen to quietly go over the city walls and seek help.

I enjoyed this short story and would like to read more of the Universe in which it is set. Not only are the Romans in North America, but there are beasts and men you would consider part of a fantasy. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

Review of “Infinity Wars”

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Book Reviews – “Infinity Wars” eBook was published in 2017. This collection of short stories are from several different authors. What they have in common is War.

I have to say I was not a fan of this short story collection. I read about half of the stories in the book, then quit. I like military science fiction, but these stories did not grab me. I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I give this short story collection a 2.8 (rounded up to a 3) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Short Science Fiction Film “The Problemless Anonymous”

Short films – This short (13:03) film is a little on the odd side, but has a creative twist at the end. The film was published to YouTube in December of 2017 by DUST. The synopsis per IMDB:

Ivan has tested positive for perfection, but sadly in this world it’s illegal and the law states he must attend a private clinic to be made imperfect.

I would not categorize this as science fiction exactly. The film is sort of slow, but I think it has a redeeming twist at the end.

Review of “Force Multipliers Being What They Are”

Short Stories – The science fiction/military short story “Force Multipliers Being What They Are” was written by Travis S. Taylor (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travis_S._Taylor) and is available on the Baen Books website. Mr. Taylor has published 10 novels as well as scientific non-fiction.

I liked this short look at a US Army unit going after terrorists using the latest in technology as “force multipliers”. Unfortunately (at least to me) the story is short, only taking 25 minutes to read. I would have enjoyed reading more in the universe the story is set in. If you like military science fiction you will find this interesting.

Review of “What We’re Made Of”

Book ReviewsShort Stories – The science fiction short story “What We’re Made Of” is available from the Baen Books website. This story was written by Frank Chadwick (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Chadwick). I would rate this as ‘R’ due to the scenes of Violence.

Earth is at war with the Varoki and the USMC is making one of the first combat drops onto K’tok from orbit. They have all done it many times in training, but this will be the first real drop for most, including Captain J. C. Merderet, commander of Delta Company, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Meteoric Insertion Capable (MEU-MIC).

She is ready for the jump, but scared like those she commands. She is perturbed that the higher command has inserted a reporter into her Company for the duration of the operation. She fears that this civilian will get in the way of her troops.

I really enjoyed the 40 minutes I spent reading this science fiction story. I thought it was very well written and felt like the story of a real combat jump. My only real complaint with the story is that it is too short. It felt like I jumped into the middle of the story and was pulled away too soon. But that is the complaint I have with most good short stories. I give this story a 4.4 out of 5.

Review of “Block Party”

Book ReviewsShort Stories – The science fiction short story “Block Party” is available for free from the Baen Books website. The story was written by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller http://korval.com/. I would rate this story as ‘G’.

Earth seems to be surviving after some kind of disaster. Algaina is the local baker in a small community where newbies from off planet arrive from time to time. A new batch has arrived, this one made up mostly of children. Algaina offers one cookies and soon she finds herself working with one of the older refugees who was himself a baker before coming to Earth.

Most like the new items the cooperative efforts brings, but there are a few who voice their opinions against the new arrivals. Will the new arrivals be able to fit in, or will the voice raised against them prevail.

The only science fiction aspect of this story is that refugees have come to Earth from another human settled planet. I did enjoy the hour I spent reading this short story. I bake some from time to time, so I felt a relationship to the plot. It isn’t a deep plot, but it was an enjoyable story. I give it a 3.8 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

Review of “Feldspar”

Book ReviewsShort Stories – The science fiction short story “Feldspar” was written by Phillip A. Kramer (https://pakramer.com) and is available from the Baen Books website. This story is the Grand Prize Winner of the Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award 2017. This is a “G” rated story.

Mars is being developed in many ways, though human exploration is still in the infant stages. Most work on Mars is being done by the the many rovers that have been transported there and which have been leased to “gamers”. TerraForm Games now utilized the drones for exploration and sample collection.

Blake has invested everything he has into one of the rovers. He plays the ‘game’ full time, gathering resources and discretely building a habitat that he hopes to one day live in on Mars. While his rover is returning to his base of operations on the Martian surface, he comes across the tracks of one of the few astronauts on Mars. Soon he discovers that they are in trouble. Will he be able to use his rover to help save the astronaut?

I really enjoyed the 30 minutes spent reading this science fiction short story. You get a real feel for the characters and the plot is quite believable and engaging. I give this short story a 5 out of 5 rating.

Review of “Bullet Catch”

Book ReviewShort Stories – The science fiction short story “Bullet Catch” is available for free from the Baen Books website. It was written by Stephen Lawson and is the First Runner Up in the Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award 2017. I would rate this as “G”.

Mars has been colonized to a small extent. Vinny is one of the colony staff and comes up with a brilliant idea to make a small fortune. He builds a rail gun and then secretly fires projectiles of platinum back to his brother on Earth.

When one of the researchers finds not only that she is pregnant, but that her unborn child has a cancer, Vinny and the others struggle to find a way to save the first child conceived on Mars.

I thought that this was a very good short story and enjoyed the 30 minutes it took to read it. Though the story is brief, you get a good feel for the characters. I would rate this as a 4 out of 5.