Dan Balman began his umpteenth career (that’s umph^10 for you mathematically minded) as a writer twenty years after the dim memory that was the pure hell of wasted years in high school. He has been a student (a bad one), a dishwasher (a good one), a short order cook (so-so), a soldier (reserve and active—both so-so), an electrician (no fires that we know of), a plumber (some leaks), a welder (nothing fell apart while he was still on the premises), an industrial and residential HVAC installer (he’s still not sure what that is), a computer technician (he hates computers), a network engineer, blah, blah, blah, ad infinitum.
His pastimes include, reading (mostly picture books), writing (it can too be loosely defined as such!), Gothenburg-style melodic death metal (yes, someone is either vomiting into the microphone or screaming in never ending anguish and pain—the cords in their body stretched taunt, pushing through skin stretched taunterer (that’s not a word, is it?)—as if they are forced to listen to an audio book of Dr. Seuss's One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, or watch Barney, or Fantasia just ONE MORE TIME! He can empathize, and he likes it!), and tormenting anyone of the four small humans who reside with him and his wife in upstate New York—whom he also occasionally loves to mentally poke at from time to time just to see what will happen (he doesn’t recommend it).
When he is not working he can be found sitting at his desk, typing very slowly with four fingers, sixteen year old Chihuahua “Lucy” sitting on his lap, headphones on, music blasting, a stupid grin plastered on his face.
He couldn't be happier.
Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Smashwords book reviews by Dan Balman
- The Children of Roswell (Book One) The Swift Chronicle
on July 28, 2011
A Willing Suspension of Disbelief
As in any profession, there are different levels of proficiency in writers. There are the two star Dean Koontz’s and Dan Brown’s near the bottom, and then there are the five star Peter F. Hamilton’s and George R.R. Martin’s near the top. This author falls in between which astonished me as I was expecting something of much lower quality from a self-published author—both in content and editing. The editing is very, very good considering the length of this work and presuming the author was responsible for all edits. As I well know, it is damn near impossible to edit your own work. You, sir, are my hero. There are a few typos here and there, and some incorrect punctuation usage, but these detract from neither the author’s story nor the voice he uses to tell it—both of which I found to be superb.
In fact, I enjoyed this first part of the three-part series so much by the conclusion of its tenth chapter that I jumped back online and bought the second and third books while they were still on sale this month.
However, I was very disappointed with one aspect of the book and hence the requirement to suspend disbelief. The “hook,” or the synopsis, the author has written reeled me in like no book has since I was a kid, BUT the story lacks verisimilitude, or the appearance of being true, because it is so incredibly detailed and not consistent with hearsay. I wanted it to be true, I did, but I felt cheated when I realized that it could not possibly be an eyewitness/participant recounting early on. This annoyed me at first, but I couldn’t stop reading the story despite this. Once I let my annoyance go and understood the hook for what it was, I enjoyed the story much more. I would think this could easily be “fixed” by some retooling of the prologue to explain the explicit detail.
For this reason as well as a few “hokey” scenes that left me snorting B.S. and also required a suspension of disbelief, I have deducted one star. Had the author not been, what I would consider, such an excellent wordsmith, I would have gone much easier him.
In closing, I would like to point out that I panicked when I concluded reading the prologue because I thought this would be a story with a heavy religious theme. Why? Because it is pointed out in the middle that the pilot is a “solid, God fearing man” and finishes with “His truth is now ‘out there.’” Rest assured, if you came to the same conclusion as I did upon reading the sample, this is not the case. If you like SF (like me) and have an active imagination and/or are able to suspend belief in lieu of great enjoyment for a great story well told by a great author (like me), buy the book. You will not be disappointed.
Thank you Alan James for a great read! I can’t wait to “burn through” the next two.
- The Children of Roswell (Book Two) The Homestead Incident
on Aug. 24, 2011
In the second book of this three-part trilogy, a lot of questions are answered and much of the missing back-story is filled in. I found this book to be as addictive as the first with extremely well developed and likable (or not) characters, believable dialog, and a first rate story line that climaxes and caused me to burn through this book as quickly as the first (in a matter of a few days) just to find out what would happen next. Of the three books, I found this one to be my favorite with the first one a close second. Alan James definitely has a knack for SciFi, and if you like this genre at all, you will not be disappointed. Start with the first book though as these should be read in order for continuity.
- The Children of Roswell (Final) Ergosphere Reset
on Aug. 24, 2011
In the final book of this three-part trilogy, our hero is faced with a choice—several in fact—that will decide the fate of mankind. Again, I found this book to be as addictive as the first two. I was not disappointed with the conclusion, which was a great deal more satisfying than I expected, but not perfect. I don’t want to give anything away, so I won’t elaborate, but let’s just say that I am very, very picky (sort of like a very detail oriented, Star Trek convention nerd). Did it ruin the story? Not at all, but makes me want to deduct a star for this as well as the pacing, which I found to be a bit slower than in the first two, but not so slow I skipped around or got frustrated and quit.
If you’ve read my review of the first book, you may have guessed just how picky I am, but you will also have seen just how esteemed I hold this work by Alan James. I may be a bit harsh, but it’s because I find his writing so good. Is it perfect? Is it the absolute best I’ve ever read? No, but it’s damn close and well worth the few dollars charged as this story plays out in the theater of the mind for a show that will entertain you for many, many hours and leave you full and satisfied at its conclusion.