Fatal Boarding

Rated 4.69/5 based on 16 reviews
“I have never believed in going strictly by the book. It’s the main reason I’ve never been offered a higher position on a big-draft. But, when things really go to hell, I’m always the first one to get the call. They trust me with their lives, but not their jobs.”
--Adrian Tarn, Chief Security Officer, Starship Electra More
Download: epub mobi (Kindle) pdf more Online Reader

Price: Free! USD

Words: 68,700
Language: English
ISBN: 9780615477213
About E. R. Mason

http://www.freefallamerica.com/profile.htm

Also by This Author

Reviews

Review by: Camilla on Sep. 10, 2013 :
I really enjoyed this book. I loved the suspense.
(review of free book)

Review by: Teri Lester on Feb. 25, 2013 :
I read Deep Crossing, the second Adrian Tarn book first, before I found that it was a series. Usually I dislike that, because I don't like knowing some of what's already happened.

However, I loved Fatal Boarding anyway. I love books with well-developed characters that you can envision and care about, and ER Mason is really good at this. Adrian Tarn is great character and I really hope to see more books in this series.
(review of free book)

Review by: Joey Jones on Jan. 14, 2013 :
enjoyed this very much. will be reading next installment.
(review of free book)

Review by: dmjay on Jan. 08, 2013 :
Thank you for the awesome free book! I really enjoyed it!
(review of free book)

Review by: Luke O'Boyle on Dec. 01, 2012 :
You read books, and slowly grow accustomed to the taste of them. You eat enough fast food, and McDonald’s sates your hunger. You dine on excellence, and the Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee may be only enough to provide you sustenance.

You never realise you’ve grown corpulent on mediocrity and complacency until you have a new dish to dine upon.

This is not to say fast food is bad, or that you always have to eat a meal made for gods. Everything has its place. But it is refreshing, and good for you, to be reminded of a part of your diet you have not fed for a while.

Fatal Boarding was was my four star meal on the London South Bank, but with a hundred pound bottle of wine to wash down the already excellent food. It was not perfect, but that is only when you define ‘perfect’ as it truly should be defined.

Fatal was a 7.8 out of 10 as a book, and a 9 out of 10 as a product of what it sought to be.

Let me first of all explain why a 7.8 is actually very good, and then I’ll do a bit more of a proper review of the book.

You could write your perfect book and get a 5/10, if your book never intended to be a rolling epic with days upon days of reading material. Of if yourbook never intended to make a marvel of character development, or drive deeper exploration of a fascinating topic. The list could go on. One of my favourite films of all time is ‘The Girl Next Door’. It’s a comedy about a teen guy who dates a pornstar. When rated as a film, I’d give it a 7.5/10. When rated as a finished project of what it was intended to be, and my enjoyment of that project, I’d give it a 9.5/10. It does not have LOTR’s epic scope, nor The Fountain’s overwhelming exploration of a central theme. It does not have The Exorcist’s impact on modern media, nor generate the feeling of a circle complete that you find in Toy Story 3. But I love it nonetheless.

Fatal Boarding fails to reach a 10 for a number of reasons-

Reason 1- It’s short. It’s not actually short, but then I’ve just come from reading SOIAF, after reading the Wheel of Time, after reading an endless stream of all the Jack Reacher novels (I have read other books between these and Fatal Boarding, but they are close enough to still dictate my measurement of novels). My diet of books has accustomed me to not finishing in weeks. I finished Fatal Boarding in one week, therefore- it’s short.

Reason 2- Characters. They are great- really great. I liked them all, and never felt them to be a caricature or 2d. The reason they contribute to lowering the score is because… well… there were a lot of them, and I did not see the reason for so much development of them in such a short book. R.J, for instance, did not seem to contribute too much. I liked him a lot, but at the end of the book found myself wondering why he received so much focus when he did so little (not strictly true- he does a fair bit, but I felt other characters could have done that better. And he is being used as an example for how I found many of the characters). The reasoning for this might be that the author is intending to write more books (looking at his Smashwords page this is clearly the case), and so perhaps these will be recurring characters in a list of adventures. I hope so. But within the scope of Fatal Boarding, it felt needless.

Reason 3- the threat. I can’t say too much on this without spoiling a huge amount. Let’s just say, I liked more the way it was going at the beginning than at the end.

Reason 4- the… hmm… how to say this without spoiling anything. Let’s just say ‘Golden Aura’, and hope anyone who has read the book understands who/what/where I mean by that. I felt it removed an element from the book (intentionally) which would have otherwise been interesting, and felt almost like… well… a deus ex machina. I could go into this more, but doing so would be to spoil the book, and I don’t want to do that, because it really is worth reading.

Now the reasons I would give it a 9/10 as a finished product of what it intended to be?

Reason 1- The characters. I know I’ve already criticised them, but then characters should always be the most complex part of the story. People are complex. Therefore as complex creations, there will be good bits and bad bits. The characters are overall good. I liked (or disliked) them all as I was meant to. I found them interesting. I wanted to be friends with the likeable ones, and wanted to push the dislikeable ones out of an airlock. They were believeable, their dialogue was well handled, and they all had clear identities.

Reason 2- The style. The book was very well written. There were a number of typos, which is disappointing but then I fully get that it is hard to clear them all out (I just read through my own book and found 50… So I can’t judge). But otherwise it was very well written. It was easy to read, and the first person narrative was very well handled. Adrian Tarn’s thoughts made me smile, sometimes laugh. They were mature and cool, rather than snippy and irritating. I found the writting around character interaction better written than that around the action/sneaking scenes, however the best written sections were the tense/scary moments. Those were verywell written- all the more so for the balance with humour.

Reason 3- The science. I know nothing about science, especially the science of spaceships. I fully believe that E.R.Mason is an expert. The characters would discuss the necessities of space flight, the difficulties of going into warp without gravity, and impact of space through a tear in a space suit, and I would believe every single letter of it. Within a well written, stylish book, having something that also credibly feels like scientific, factual substance was brilliant. Whether it was accurate or not (I know spaceships like those in the book don’t exist…) doesn’t matter. It felt like it was, and that’s all that I care about.

Reason 4- The mystery. I fell for the twists and turns, and hungered for every morsel of information that came out. And it came out in trickles then waves then trickles again, which is brilliant because it adds diversity to the pace of the book. The eventual cause, in my humble opinion, was disappointing compared to some of the earlier possible ideas. But the way we got to that point was brilliant- I loved the ride.

I think that’s the main point actually. I loved the ride. I want more Adrian Tarn. Fatal Boarding did not break the levees of narrative genius, but it brought me one hell of a lot of fun when reading it. Even considering ASOIAF, Fatal Boarding has been one of the most difficult books to put down in a long time. I read it so quickly, in part, because it demanded reading (thought I don’t have much free time to read, so maybe the book is still short).

I would pay for that book. It’s free on Smashwords, but I would pay. If E.R.Mason came up to me after writing this review, and said ‘you said you would pay’, then I would say ‘yes sire, I did indeed. Thank you for giving me a number of hours of immense fun- here’s five quid’.

I wouldn’t pay more than five quid (pounds for the uninitiated), but that’s just because I’m poor.

So yeah, read Fatal Boarding. If you don’t, then you’re an idiot (or you don’t like sci fi…), especially considering that it is free.

FREE.

(P.S. I wrote this review on my blog. To Mr Mason, if you want me to remove the review from my blog, I will of course do that. I'd feel bad about it, so please dont, but if you do then let me know)
(review of free book)

Review by: Frank Galan on Nov. 22, 2012 :
A great read with a strong plot and dirction. It was very enjoyable. My thanks to the author for making this available. In my determination the typo's that others mention are inconsequetial in regard to understanding and enjoying this fabulous novel. I highly recommend this work.
(review of free book)

Review by: Engineer Friend on Nov. 20, 2012 :
A great read! I am also happy that it seems that a series is being made from the storyline ....
(review of free book)

Review by: TrellAndMaritzia on Nov. 03, 2012 :
Overall a terrific read. Great value for the price (free). I would heartily recommend it to anyone as it is written now (some editing needed) even if it was priced at $3 or so.

With the edits mentioned by sourcejedi in the review below, this book would be on my recommendations list even at $5.

Firstly, I am darn cheap so prices tend to reflect that. At the same time, there is a lot of competition for our book dollar these days. Secondly, the grammar/spelling issues detract from the quality of the book, and I think unfairly in that they are easy to fix. Both my wife and I trip over those issues, it pulls us out of the story and we are the kinds of people who read every word. The flow of the book and the characters are just fine, in my opinion.

But thanks very much to the author! Writing is hard work, and the value provided here is terrific.

And also thanks to sourcejedi's list of fixes. That also takes time, and I do believe it is meant to make the book even better. I caught many of the issues sourcejedi pointed out, yet only got to about half of them and I didn't take the time to list them here. So hats off to the author for the free book, and sourcejedi for the free editing review.

Now, on to Deep Crossing!
(review of free book)

Review by: Pierrette Paradis on Oct. 27, 2012 :
Not bad at all when you "suspend disbelief". Very entertaining. The hero is a little like a space faring Travis McGee. Will read Deep crossing next. Thanks for the freebie!
(review of free book)

Review by: David Kounter on Sep. 07, 2012 :
Excellent read, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Hope to see more of Adrian Tarn's adventures soon.
(review of free book)

Review by: C.J. Schmidt on Aug. 07, 2012 :
Awesome book! Couldn't put it down! Hope to read more of Adrian Tarns' adventures. Thanks for the free read.
(review of free book)

Review by: Marcus Heimann on June 27, 2011 :
From the beginning to the end a very good book, E.R. Mason reminds me a little bit of Andre Norton from the way of writing. I enjoyed the book a lot and hope there will be sequel. Very recommendable!
(review of free book)

Review by: Crescent Suns eBooks on June 22, 2011 :
In Fatal Boarding E. R. Mason gives an adventurous account of life among the stars for those who prefer traveling "out there" rather than remaining land-bound. For a fun adventure with plenty of fast-paced action, download your copy of Fatal Boarding from Smashwords.
For the full review on this eBook visit: http://crescentsunspublishing.blogspot.com/2011/06/space-exploring-hard-way.html
(review of free book)

Review by: B A on May 14, 2011 :
Great read. I couldn't put it down.
(review of free book)

Review by: oldcar on May 11, 2011 :
Outstanding book ! Unique plot, interesting characters and well written. I want more...
(review of free book)

Review by: sourcejedi on May 10, 2011 :
Reads very nicely so far.

/indiscrete/indiscreet

The dark gray, thin-shelled stateroom walls were not reassuring. They are tangled with conduit and cable track, the ceilings are low, and there is a perpetual drone that lingers within +the+ unibody construction.

"equally mood conservative"

"So I, Adrian Tarn, breaker of rules, romanticist-unreliable, found myself in a sterile stateroom alone, thinking about the unopened pint of bourbon I smuggled aboard, located only inches away in the second drawer on the left in the psychologist-recommended beige metal desk, imitation wood grained top, that houses the integrated PC that was staring back at me like a disinterested observer. A drink was out of the question. When you're on call, plummeting along well beyond the speed of light aboard the QE2 of space, you do not assume all will go as expected. So I leaned back and continued to wait for R.J. to show up for his usually absurd chess game." (First sentence. And whatever rhythm there is there, the short second sentence breaks it, and I think not in a good way).

Chapter 2 turns everything into a monospace font (equal letter sizes, as in e.g. typewriter), for the rest of the book?

"On this occasion only seven of us were -being- included." (Redundant word. And you're probably using that because "included" wasn't the best choice either).

"It is a paradox trial of the inhuman mind appraising its creator." /paradoxical/. Or /paradox: a trial of/.

"adhered to the computers preprogrammed point of view." /computer's/ (missing apostrophe).

‘rules’
I'm

Whee! Can I ask what software you used here?

The preferred character for an apostrophe is a curly single "close quote" character, e.g. /I’m/. If you can't do that, down-convert to all-straight quotes. (You can always keep your master copy in a partial state). It's fine when you don't notice it -- but if the text _ever_ gives someone reason to notice it, they'll be tripping over it the whole way through.

Wait, you're also using the straight version of _double_ quotes ("). So I'm intrigued, but you should just make sure you're using straight quotes all the way through. Search and replace all is your friend.

"back dropped by stars" -- sorry.

"too loftily cast for disciplinary encounter"

He always wears a formal light-blue uniform with a high collar+,+ and appears comfortable in it.

"The overhead projector illuminated over the table and cast a rotating 3-D image"

"attractive--and". em dash character please. '--' has no place outside of typewriters (and TXT files from Project Gutenberg).

"get some zero-G".

"how he wanted the ship and crew postured for the EVA"

"added degree in computers". /second degree/? /computing/. or maybe /computer science/...

"hews of green and gray" /hues/

"0-G". Easier to type; not easier to say or read, and inconsistent with the previous instance.

"the dark side of the moon"
-- seems a very earth-centric description, when our action is taking place in interstellar space. E.g. Heinlein uses "Luna". Seems only to make sense if other planets and moons are unsettled, and alien planets taboo?

"But-,- one hundred and fifty people on board Electra were watching and listening."

"A low handrail glowed soft-yellow fluorescence". Grammar; add "with". /fluorescent/ could work in some contexts.

The chatter on the intercom had stopped. I looked up to find the other four team members hovering around the opening, staring down into the hole with me. +"+Electra, this is Tarn. We have access to a lower level. What are your instructions, Captain?"

"Tarn to Electra, Understand, Captain. Ten minutes to return."

"It was much smaller than the control room we had just seen, but no less arcane." Not quite (arcane).

"graveyard of nightmares." (A place where nightmares _die_? Doesn't parse as a spooky place _in_ a nightmare -- "graveyard" is not consistent enough with the immediate context).

"the room's pressure differential" -- wait, when did we go from vacuum to atmosphere?

"I became aware of the rest of the team hanging behind me. Normally, they would have dispersed around the area to investigate." -- normally? This is the second room they've been in, and they haven't been doing anything else like this ever. You mean /They should have been dispersing/.

"I rotated to face the exit. Just inside the low V-cut of the elevator door, Erin was holding to Nira's right arm. They were floating no more than a meter above the floor, as though they were ready to leave quickly." -- I don't get it. Should the "no" be removed?

"concussion from the blast." In a vacuum, the presumption would be that there _wasn't_ a large concussion. "The concussion" seems a bit presumptious. Maybe something starting with "A", or "we were blasted"...

"It flattened my suit against my chest. My ears popped and began to ring. The suit pumps wined as they struggled to compensate." hmm.

"as though it were an open portal"

"O2"

"red O2 icon". An icon is a picture?

"It couldn't be patched." -- why?

"No one ever succumbs to suffocation from a cut suit. It's usually the boiling blood that gets you. You freeze on the outside while you explode on the inside. Very messy bodily eruptions mark the end of it. And when it is over the offending suit has suddenly become more of a bag than a piece of apparel." -- citation needed. My impression from a single solid article was that "2001" has it right. NASA seem to agree: .

"We hurried from the hurtful realm of the alien spacecraft"

"complementary suit maneuvering techniques". Makes no sense to me.

"Inquisitions that come about as a result of a serious near-miss can be intimidating, intense affairs." Stick "The" in front, and maybe you'll get away with it.

"finally let out the backlog of tension."

"the hum from some hidden little motor came to life, and the spongy orange couch flattened itself out into a bed." I'm having difficulty believing that :). If you didn't mention "the hidden little motor", I might have passed it by. But you're not doing that with a single electric motor - in that case you might as well do it manually, by just pushing it in the right direction.

/deliberant/deliberate/

"and a repulsive swallow of Dismal liquid" -- ? It's not the mouthwash; there's no need to swallow that. Other than getting drunk, and the next sentence mentions Bourbon :).

"He was tapping the eraser of a mechanical pencil against a crossword puzzle taped to the back of an ultra-thin e-reader." Hum. For me, "e-reader" has very specific contemporary implications, and it's *not* a niche that has a long-term future.

Something like "tablet" would be more conventional. Apple shows that you can get a *hell* of a lot of value out of that form-factor, while still offering full-screen usage to something like a reading application. "Don't interrupt me with email etc." isn't hard either.

If you look at markets like modern mobile phones -- where *all* the budget phones sacrifice daylight usability, just so they can tick a "millions of colours" box that adds absolutely nothing -- it's difficult to see where this dedicated e-reader comes from.

So... I can't really parse "an ultra-thin e-reader". Either it's "_his_ ultra-thin e-reader", which is familiar from past appearances. Or it's "an ultra-thin tablet device", which may or may not be an e-reader, but we can't tell from just looking at it. (The "Apple dedicated reader: no distractions" logo on the back is hidden by the crossword taped to it, remember?).

[haha, just read the banter about the crossword. Note that I'm not saying there wouldn't be such thing as a dedicated 'e-reader'. There could be, and it could be entirely consistent with what you're doing with R.J. But using one is at the very least a distinct choice, out of a range of possibilities which the average person is not going to be able to distinguish at a glance].

Again - this is just me; I don't claim the word choice would affect others in the same way.

"He eye'd me appraisively". I believe /appraisingly/ is the correct derivation. If it doesn't sound right, perhaps it's just the wrong word. Either way, it's definitely /eyed/: no apostrophe.

"Oh yeah, the hand scanners did pick some things. They are still arguing whether it is corrupted data or an actual language. This is all privileged, by the way." -- lack of contractions is getting to me. Myself, I can't imagine him using "they are" in the same breath as all these informalities/conversationalities. /they're/, /it's/?

/nueronic/neuronic/

/wave length/wavelength/

"What are you talking about, Adrian." -- no ?


“It's alive!"
-- _fuck_. Curly quotes again. You're using the same broken regex E-reads do, aren't you. I'm serious. If you have a file that's half straight quotation marks and half curly quotation marks, please do yourself a favor and just convert all the curly marks to straight ones.

Well, actually you're not using the E-reads algo.; the variation looks much more random than that.


"the 'where you were when' nemesis." /nemesis/cliche/. 'where you were when' is a "niggle" or annoyance. A nemesis is a deadly enemy. Yeah, it's an exaggeration, but the problem is it doesn't quite fit, so there's too much weight of probability on the "author has got this word confused" side -- so it doesn't read smoothly.

"Hey, when below the umbra, what goes up must come down." Um. While this sounds awkward but awesome at first, I realized I didn't have an appropriate match on "umbra". So I looked it up, and I still don't. What do shadows have to do with escape velocity?

"Hey, I'll buy into that theory real fast" -- I hit a page break just before this. It's not a good response :(. I had to page back to check I hadn't skipped one.

"It must be a current-life requirement" -- what?

/in tact/intact/
/back pack/backpack/

Prnca -- mispelling, or did I just not notice it the first time?

/sawy/sway/

"You can see this lingering shadow of fear in the eyes of people who have sky-dived and should not have, or in the soldiers of war who have been forced into hand to hand combat when they where not expecting it." /were/

"No amount of therapy usually cures this condition."

"eye'd" again

"I smiled to myself, shook my head and headed for the mess hall.

The Commissary ..." -- This division tripped my "scene break" detector; it wonders why there's not a blank line here. (It's fairly sensitive detector :).

/ground breaking/ground-breaking/

/space bound/space-bound/

"ole', or should I say young" -- are you sure about that apostrophe? What's been ommited there?


"Ms. Brandon, who is always anxious to validate Space Ops undeserved confidence in her" /Space Op's/ or /Space Ops'/

"The latest mapping we've done hadn't yet been imported into the analytical computer base" -- over-complex/confusing

"optical storage mediums" /media/.

"They're replacing the optical storage mediums with backups to get it back" -- repetition of "back".

"You really think that went unnoticed." missing ?

"We are responsible for the rescues."

"It is -extremely- prudent to always be careful of what you say on the Command Network." Double emphasis in conflicting directions :).

"No Gos" -- what's a Gos? 'Go' needs to be delimited in some way, e.g. NO GOs.

/initiation test/initialization test/ An initiation test sounds more like a hazing routine.

"That’s +on+ a need-to-know basis. You don’t need to know."

"That is apparently working just find." /fine/

"coup de resistant" /Piece de resistance/

"The translations"

"I still think its prostitutes, but that doesn't fit either" /think it should be/. Oo, and /it's/

"a room full of active electronics consoles" /electronic/

"Maybe we are ...so far." (elipsis spacing)

hand.”Okay -- missing space

… -- unicode elipsis character. inconsistent: could cause inconsistent rendering. Recommend just removing (replacing with normal period characters); they have very little utility.

/marshal arts/martial arts/

"ice capades as they slip and slid their way home to get them" /escapades/. /slide/

"I pushed along the walls to the elevator and tapped at the open key."

"zero G" -- yet another different rendering :).

/space sick/space-sick/

There's a suspicious lack of heading markup on the chapter headings. I should be seeing HTML tags on them (for arbitrary values of "2").

"A place he would not want to be found." missing ?

/head mistress/headmistress/

"His iron-trademark stare was sagging." /trademark iron/

He laughed. "It's instant. The water won't boil in the mess hall percolators. I guess you could call them one-G coffee makers." "How'd you survive being underweight?" (presumably missing line break)

"If this thing is an air born, we've all been exposed already, anyway." /an air born/airborne/

/summery/summary/

“Navigation” -- missing .

“And what happens when you loose navigation?” /lose/

"frozen gas": no. You might try looking those two words up in a dictionary.

/god dam/god-damn/

"It's not impervious" -- normally things are impervious with regard to something else, e.g. "impervious to sarcasm".

“No Problem.” -- capitalisation.

I’m thinking maybe we can get out through the cooling fluid waste dump” -- missing .

"We stealthed the darken corridors as safely as possible". /darkened/. And "stealthed" is bogus usage.

"A few minutes later Perk hit me with his light on and off" /signalled/. (I assume that's a double-l -- this is UK English, right?)

"Would it crash in on us, or come gradually up like in a sinking ship." missing ?

"special gas to breath" /breathe/. Hey, what is it with that word and indie writers ;). (c.f. "Turing Evolved").

"We stepped passed our new friends" /past/

…. -- see, this is why I warned you about the elipsis character. I'm pretty sure using it joined to a normal '.' is a bad idea.

"Why hadn’t I though of these things beforehand." missing ?

"Using our weak suit thrust" /thrusters/

"With endearing patience" /enduring/, haha.

"We made sure the pose suit-liner temperature control tubing, and telemetry connectors were secure."

"What if he was much more powerful that expected" /than/

“Let me hang your weapon back on you. I got the satchel. Let’s go.” Come on. We’ll try this way.” (spurious quote in the middle)

/crew compliment/crew complement/

‘We need to set up without alerting the nervous guy who keeps running back and forth. We don’t want them swarming down here just yet.” (opening quote is single instead of double quote)

"Not wanting to miss anything, I quickly willed myself back to consciousness." Dictionary time again :).

"upward" -- in what frame of reference?

"An instant later came something totally unexpected, nothing at all. Suddenly black, empty space, as though it all had been an illusion. But, it only took a second to understand. They had been running with antimatter. With the destruction of their antimatter containment, the antimatter had been let lose to devour everything. Mutual annihilation. Neutralization of all matter in equal proportion." -- hmm.

"Not just shot one, fire-fight!"

"Video-Tube". Heh. I like to think this isn't considered redundant because "tube" has been retroactively understood in the sense of "a series of tubes".

"critical expendables" /consumables/

"habitat transition" (habitat is a _living_ place -- you mean something more like "medium")

"too much laser was saturating the receptors" /laser light/

"had been set up in the best possible ways" /way/

"In addition to our other firsts, we would essentially be ballistic" -- don't think so

"On the day pf departure" /pf/of/

"10:00 hours". Wrong - military time drops the colon.

/hanger/hangar/

"I woke up on the floor. Everyone was down. Others around me began to wake. I climbed to my feet and quickly surveyed the area. No one appeared to be injured." heh

I gave up running the "after the deadline" contextual spellchecker; it didn't seem to pick up much. That said, it would point out the overuse of passive voice.

"Eventually RJ" /R.J./

/Accommodations/Accommodation/
(review of free book)

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