L.K. Rigel lives in California with her cat, Coleridge. She wrote songs for the 90’s band The Elements, scored the independent science fantasy karate movie Lucid Dreams, and was a reporter for the Sacramento Rock ‘N Roll News. Rigel received her BA in humanities from CSU, Sacramento. Her work has appeared in Literary Mama and Tattoo Highway.
Her short story "Slurp" appears in Anne Frasier's 2011 Halloween anthology Deadly Treats published by Nodin Press.
Pavarti K Tyler
on Oct. 30, 2011 :
The best free book you'll ever read
Wow. Just WOW. That's about all I can say about Space Junque. The end.
You know how I rail against how badly Indies are regarded by the publishing industry? Well, I'm going to tell you a secret. I do a little of it too. I have read so many Indie books that I don't put up here which are unedited and un-thought-through. Someone's mom told them it was good so they hit "publish" on smashwords. Uggh.
This one though? This one was everything I could have ever wanted a sci-fi novel to be and then you add the romance and man, I was captivated.
Space Junque is different from the sci-fi I usually rave about. The world building is slow and presented to the reader in a matter of fact manner. It works because the author has empowed the main character, Char, to completely own her reality. The details about the word are dolled out in sparce and enticing pieces, making you want to know more about this world and how it got this way. As you read along you realise you understand more than you thought you did because this future isn't so different from our own.
Using pieces of current day politics and some very possible scientific possibilities Rigel manages to create a world our children might find to be real: The icecaps have melted bringing the water levels up and destroying entire cities, The oil spill of 2010 was much worse (or was it and we just don't know the ramifications yet?), fertility is dwindling and genetic enhancements are the norm.
Around our main character the world is filled with
* "Ghosts" (mutated humans who have lost all will to live or thrive but exist none-the-less and seem to have unnaturally long lives)
* Hairless mutants who haven't "gone ghost"
* Eco-terrorists called DOGs (Defenders of Gaia)
* Religious fanatics called the TU (Talibanos Unidos)
* Raptors (mutations within the animal kingdom)
* An Emperor
* Inhabited Space Stations
* Oh and there's something called the "vault" which I'm not entirely clear on but I don't think I'm supposed to be.
There are two more books in the series and I definitely got the sense that this was a lead in. I'm dying to download the 2nd in the series but I'm making myself wait. I have too much going on right now to loose myself in another book but I really really want to. Seriously, I had this on my phone and I would sneak away from the kids to read a few more pages whenever I could.
The romance between Char and the endearing and passionate lead, Jake was somewhat glossed over. I can't decide if this is a problem or not though. I got their connection and their attraction, but I like a little more lemon in my lemonade. Since not everyone is a perv like me, this is perhaps not a real problem but I did want some more hot lovin'. It was nice to see a relationship in a romance that was equal and respectful and where the woman didn't just whine. I liked Char and Jake together and hope to see more of them.
About 2/3 of the way through Space Junque we are introduced to a character, Asherah, who claims to be a God. There's a lot of mythology and innuendo, but basically it seems that Asherah is an incantation of the iconic fertility goddess - Isis, Inanna, etc. Another God, Samuel, is mentioned but we don't know anything about him yet.
Rigel does a delightful job of weaving the mythology aspect of the plot through the entire story, so when Asherah appears it's not completely out of the blue. In fact, much like the world building, Space Junque manages to present these situations in such real terms that the expected Wait, now there's Gods? reaction doesn't occur.
Space Junque is free. To me this is utter insanity. It's so good you should have to pay for it. So do yourself a favor and click on any of the 962 links in this post and download your copy now. It's short, it's fun, it's sexy and action packed and you are going to love it.
(review of free book)
on May 30, 2011 :
I really enjoyed this story. Loved the characters and the worldbuilding. Admittedly, I didn't realize it had paranormal in it so that part threw me for a loop.
I wish it had been much longer. Love the original cover, too.
(review of free book)
on May 13, 2011 :
Char finds herself throw into a catastrophe and plot of epic proportions.
I loved the world building in this novella--some of the best I've read. It was jarring in all the right ways, and somehow, seamless at the same time. Char's voice is easy to read, recognizable and relatable. Within the first 20 pages, she'd clicked for me.
**slight spoiler** I found the physicality and swiftness with which Char and Jake's relationship developed to be in keeping with the time/world of the story--a byproduct of sex no longer being connected to procreation.
Toward the end of the story, a couple of scenes moved a little too quickly. I found myself having to go back and reread a sentence or two to be sure I hadn't missed anything because the scenes flew by with such speed. For example, I'd have loved to be in Char's head a little longer with Mike and the air lock (trying to avoid spoilers, here) and in the final scenes with the Empanii aboard the Space Junque.
All in all, I really enjoyed this novella and am anxious to move onto the next!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on March 08, 2011 :
Char is on her way to the Imperial transport to meet Mike. Before she can board her flight, bombs begin to go off and she finds herself on board the Space Junque. Jake promises Mike he would see that Char makes it to the Imperial station unharmed. As they arrive, they realize things have become increasingly worse on Gaia (Earth) and soon the DOGs chaos will reach them, even in space they aren't safe from the death and destruction. Will Char and Jake find love? Will life as they know it perish at the hands of the DOGs?
Hero Material is a fast paced novella with a slight sci-fi tone. I'll admit the beginning had me worried due to my lack of interest in sci-fi books but I was pleasantly surprised at the way Rigel made it easy to forget that the majority of the story was in outer space. The characters, as well as the plot, were definitely unique. I didn't quite feel the paranormal portion of the romance in this installment. There was a fair amount of romance and Rigel never let it get smutty.
Overall, Hero Material is a fast, enjoyable read. Rigel is a strong storyteller that has mildly awakened my interest in sci-fi. I recommend that you give this series a try; it's definitely worth it. Spiderwork is the next installment and the cover is absolutely beautiful.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Dec. 07, 2010 :
** spoiler alert ** I won this e-book in a contest. I was really torn between giving this novella 3 stars or 4. If I could give half stars, this would definitely be a 3.5. I liked it, but it had the same problem that a lot of romance novellas have; the relationship development was rushed. I like Char, and I like Jake, but them feeling strongly about each other seemed rushed, and I would have liked to have seen it actually develop rather than just suddenly have them want to be with each other. In fact the first time they have sex, it took me totally off guard because there was no lead up. I can understand why it would happen - they both just escaped death, but it felt awkward reading it. For example:
...Tyler, but he was in great shape. And definitely not engineered. Those were genuine, earned muscles under that tight-fitting hemp shirt.
He swung her chair around and knelt in front of her, removing the straps from her arms and legs. Again without thinking, she reached out and ran her fingers through his hair.
He looked up sharply. She expected anger, but she saw tears. It had all gotten to him too, then. She smoothed the furrow between his eyes. Did she want to comfort him? Or did she want him to comfort her?
He lifted the harness off her chest, and she floated up from the seat. His hands almost surrounded her waist as he pulled her down. She wrapped her legs around his hips, anchoring herself.
He searched her eyes, silently asking permission to keep going. She guided his hand to the single strap on her top. He pulled it down and kissed her neck, moving toward her breasts. In the weightlessness, she moved easily to give him access to anything he wanted.
OK...so we get that he's in shape, but she doesn't think about wanting him or being attracted to him or anything else to indicate that she's even remotely thinking about getting him naked. He unbuckles her, and suddenly she's touching his hair. He's crying, so she decides to have sex with him.
As I said, I don't think it's unbelievable that it happened, but it would have worked better for me personally if she had been thinking about how she needed to feel alive, she needed to feel some human connection and he was there and convenient. She sort of thinks those things after, but, I feel like not having insight into those thoughts before it happens made me think, "Where the heck did that come from??"
On the plus side, I felt all the sex scenes were handled well. They aren't exactly "closed door," but they aren't described as a blow-by-blow either. I like when the focus is more on the connection and the mood rather than "flowery or crude name for tab A" inserted into "ridiculous or crude name for slot B."
The relationship aspect of the story aside, the story line pulled me in. I felt that just the right amount of background was given, and it was worked into the story subtly rather than obvious info dumps. There are definitely more things about this world to learn, but we're given enough to understand what's happening in the immediate story and what we're given was at least enough to whet my appetite for more.
I'm looking forward to Spiderwork, the sequel to this novella, and the rest of the related stories.
Technical notes: I downloaded the .epub version from Smashwords and noticed no formatting issues or typos.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Nov. 15, 2010 :
Rating: 4 (I Really Liked It) -
When LK approached me about reviewing this book my nose crinkled a bit -- Space Opera…um, not really my thing. I’ll watch it but not too keen on reading it. But then I looked a little closer at the description and chatted with LK about the book. She said it had a Firefly vibe and had paranormal characters like a shapeshifter. Visions of Space 1999 (yeah, giving away my age there, huh?) filtered into my brain and one of my favorite characters from that series, Maya the shapeshifter. I agreed to give it a go. Well, I’m glad I did and I gobbled up this little nugget of a novella in no time.
In the distant future the country and world as we know have drastically changed due to environmental disasters like the Gulf Oil spill of 2010. Radical environmental terrorists know as DOGs (Defenders of Gaia) are wreaking havoc. The story opens with Char desperately trying to get to the terminal on time to catch a ride off-world on the Imperial Shuttle. There is an attack at the terminal just before she is about to board and Char is saved by Jake Ardri, pilot of a ship called the Space Junque. Sparks start to fly between Char and Jake amidst all the chaos. Mike, who arranged for Char to get on the shuttle, has feelings for her too but he also has his own agenda. With the world falling apart, the old gods are stepping in and Char appears to be part of their plans.
Space Junque is action-packed from the beginning. There is always something going on to keep your interest. The paranormal aspect starts to come in about halfway through the book when we meet the goddess Asherah and this is where my interest definitely picked up. I still enjoyed it up until that point, but what can I say? I like my paranormal. Did I get my shapeshifter? Yeah, sort of, just not quite what I expected. I’m still trying to figure them out.
This story might appeal to those who prefer a lighter romantic element that doesn’t overshadow the main plot. The love scenes are mostly closed door. I really liked Char and Jake but my preference for the romance would be a little more spice, which you could probably guess I was going to say if you’ve followed my reviews :)
There is a lot going on in this little novella, though it is fairly well-rounded for the length. I enjoyed the writing style and dialogue, and it was edited well. There are some unanswered questions at the end, but it’s a prequel to the next book, Spiderwork, so I expect we will see more of Char and Jake, gods and goddesses, shapeshifters, chosen ones, all that spacey stuff, and some futuristic swearing all wrapped up in an action-packed paranormal space opera adventure. Sweet!
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Sep. 25, 2010 :
I thoroughly enjoyed Space Junque. LK Rigel blends sci-fi with paranormal and romance elements -- not that easy to pull off, but Rigel does it with the confidence of a seasoned writer, not a first-time author. This quick-paced, entertaining read left me wanting more and looking forward to Bleeder, which I understand is a full-length novel set in the same world.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on Sep. 04, 2010 :
You want a story that's going nuts and postapocalyptic? Read this book. At the time of this review, I haven't finished it and just impressed...
(reviewed within a week of purchase)