resonant

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Smashwords book reviews by resonant

  • Through Struggle, the Stars on Feb. 07, 2013
    (no rating)
    Not bad at all. I do have a minor quibble. As other reviewers have noted, the society and the universe don't quite match up. The political structure, the sensibilities of the characters, the level of medical care, and most applications of technology are at a mid-21st-century level. The characters feel removed only a generation or two from current society. The presence of partially-terraformed planets with populations in the millions in wide-spanning star systems seems like it should be set several hundred years in the future. However, other than that, it was very well written. Others have mentioned shades of John Ringo (nooooo!) or David Weber. However, a better comparison might be Jack Campbell/John G. Hemry. I look forward to reading more of these books.
  • This Crowded Earth on July 28, 2013

    This had some good bits, but wasn't worth purchasing. Much of it just didn't make sense - for example, just to get a sperm sample from the protagonist, he was transported to a far-off pristine valley and allowed to wander freely for months, impregnating various women who came to him with made-up backstories.
  • Smallworld: A Science Fiction Adventure Comedy on Sep. 10, 2013

    This was extremely good, and I am recommending it to my friends.
  • Mimsey's Tale on Sep. 10, 2013

    I was reading this while standing in line at the grocery store; the clerk asked me if I was all right, as I had teared up at one scene. I haven't read anything like this in a long time. This was funny, entertaining, moving, and engaging. It was far too short (in the sense that I was left wanting more, not in value for my money). It has the same premise and setting as some of the author's other stories, so I hope there will soon be a full-length novel.
  • For Your Safety on Sep. 10, 2013

    This is good, but should be read after "Mimsy's Tale", by the same author.
  • Piss Match and Other Stories on Sep. 12, 2013

    Interesting concepts, but too few words for the price.
  • The Dragon's Companion on Sep. 12, 2013

    Enjoyable, and a goodly amount of interesting reading for the price. There are no cardboard characters or settings. The behaviour and reactions of the humans are realistically complex, the behavior and reactions of the dragon are reasonable, multifaceted, and consistent, and even the political considerations (example: the difficulty of remaining neutral when neighboring regions are in conflict) are believably complex. Spoiler-free note: if something seems off (for example, how could a huge dragon commission something to be made by a human craftsman without scaring him off?), don't worry, everything is neatly made plausible by the end.
  • Lacuna on Oct. 23, 2013

    Another reviewer suggested that the first book in the series was free to get readers hooked. It worked. This is a standard navy-in-space story with battles and boarding parties. It's not something new and innovative. It's not a series that will totally revolutionize the science fiction genre. However, it's well-written and I didn't get bored reading it, and it's good enough that I'm buying the next two in the series.
  • Tempus Bellator part 1.1 on Oct. 25, 2013

    This isn't a single coherent work. It's a bunch of story fragments, with a wide variety of different characters, different plotlines, and different technologies. This is like seeing tiny segments of trailers of different movies, jumbled together into a single trailer. And all of the glimpses of the movie trailers make you want to see each individual movie. From this tiny sampling, the author sets the stage for what I hope will be an epic series of excellent novels. I really, really, really want to read them when they are done.
  • Destination Alpha Four on Nov. 24, 2013

    Darker than the others in this series, but well worth reading.
  • Dog on the Highway on Nov. 24, 2013

    Enjoyable, and a lot of reading for the price. Note: get the other free downloads from this series too.
  • Cowboys and Dinosaurs on Nov. 24, 2013

    Bizzare does not begin to describe this. I do not know how so much weirdness can still seem plausible while reading it.
  • There Ain't Gonna Be No World War Three on Nov. 24, 2013

    Weird, funny, enjoyable. I read this first, but you should really read the previous books to get the most out of it (especially understanding the origin of the robosheep).
  • Sister Ships and Alastair on Nov. 24, 2013

    Very enjoyable. After this, read "There Ain't Gonna Be No World War Three".
  • Thieves Emporium on Nov. 24, 2013

    Interesting, and disturbing.
  • This Old Rock on Nov. 24, 2013

    An interesting view on the health-and-safety aspect of space colonization. Enjoyable, especially for engineers.
  • Moon Dreams on Nov. 24, 2013

    Very good. I liked it enough that I'm buying the author's other books.
  • Bad Jump on Nov. 24, 2013

    Good, would be even better as a full novel.
  • This Old Rock on Dec. 16, 2013

    WRITE FASTER!
  • Hit the Town Fabulous: How the Urbane Single Girl Lives Swell & Without Much Cash in Iqaluit on Jan. 01, 2014

    This isn't a travel guide. It's more like a friend sending you an e-mail telling you things that you personally will find useful when visiting Nunavut, that would never get in an official guide. For example, you can get a cheap supply of toilet paper by buying it off someone moving south. And use the washroom before going through airport security in Iqualiut, as there are no facilities on the other side.
  • Refuge on Jan. 01, 2014

    Well written, although somewhat florid in spots. Very good on the details - for example, the protagonist is extremely thorough with his dental hygiene due to the absence of dentists, and his retirement plans include hundreds of cords of neatly-stacked firewood for heating and cooking in his old age.
  • Faith on Jan. 01, 2014

    Noooo! Why would you write something like this??? Why? Why?? :(
  • Magnet: Special Mission on Jan. 01, 2014

    A bit short for the price compared to his other works, but worth reading.
  • 77 Days in September on Jan. 01, 2014

    Plausible, with no technical errors that I could detect. The emotional letters were a bit overdone, but reasonable and necessary for the story (without strong emotion, there would be no reason to rush back immediately).
  • Littlestar: A Science Fiction Comedy of Interstellar War and Virtual Gods on Jan. 01, 2014

    Note: Read SMALLWORLD first. Otherwise, this won't make sense. This is darker and less amusing than Smallworld (necessarily so, because it involves interstellar war), but definitely worth reading. Well-developed characters, multiple plotlines, and a huge number of well-crafted words for a very low price.
  • Tirnahiolaire on Jan. 02, 2014

    This is totally different from the author's other books. It feels more like a Terry Pratchett book than a Douglas Adams book, and not just due to the setting.
  • Meddlers In Time on Jan. 02, 2014

    I really liked the premise, and wanted to like this book. In Leo Frankowski's "Crosstime Engineer" series and Eric Flint's "1632" series, one or more people are thrown back in time and try to introduce modern technology. This book is similar, but with the convenience of two-way portals to allow materials to be brought back and forth. However, the characters are genocidal sociopaths, so I stopped caring whether or not they died or succeeded in meeting their goals. [SPOILERS] A character dropped a nuclear weapon on a city to eliminate a few leaders, despite previously having demonstrated the ability to fire a sniper rifle through a time portal and kill them individually. Some characters needed some prefabricated metal sheds. They had unlimited money, and had previously purchased metal barns in kit form. However, instead of just buying more, the characters hijacked a WWII Liberty ship and killed much of its crew, to get a few bulky, leaky, and generally inferior Quonset huts. A character wanted coconuts for drinks, so he and a friend went to a tropical island, chopped down the inhabitants' trees, and then shot them when they complained. As another character pointed out, they could have just gone to a supermarket instead of killing human beings. I loved the technical aspects, such as building a base out of standard container units pre-kitted to meet mission needs. However, I'd like to see the characters hauled before a War Crimes judicial panel in The Hague and sentenced to imprisonment for the rest of their extended lifespans.
  • Radiant Crossing on Jan. 02, 2014

    I liked the descriptions of the technical parts of flying a large aircraft. If this were a full book, I'd gladly buy it.
  • Through Struggle, the Stars on Jan. 07, 2014

    Write faster, please.
  • Strangelets with a Side of Grilled Spam: Episode Two on Jan. 17, 2014

    Alien robots invade, people drive around shooting them, fairly straightforward. But, the author keeps your interest by dropping hints about oddities in the behaviour of the robots, and what they are making, and what they are doing, so it's not just endless shooting at things. Get the whole bundle, instead of the short episodes. This one ends on a cliffhanger that reveals some things but raises more questions, so you're forced to buy the rest.
  • Teacher's Pet on Jan. 17, 2014

    OK, this was funny.
  • The Subtle Change from Principles to Rules on Jan. 17, 2014

    This was an interesting essay on how (and why) former recommendations and best practices are now becoming mandatory. The analogies are a bit strained in parts, but are cute and illustrate his points nicely. It's very sweet that he dedicates this book to his husband Jesús. It's nice to have spouses believe in each other so strongly, and have such a positive relationship.
  • To Climb a Flat Mountain on Feb. 02, 2014

    This was amazing. It's like something by Robert L. Forward or Hal Clement (Harry Stubbs), where the setting is strange and fascinating, and the story is driven by physics. There are many small gems in this where you have to pause and think, and then say to yourself, "OK, now I get it".
  • Quarantine on the Black Nile on Feb. 02, 2014

    The story itself was enjoyable, although a bit short. It'd be a good start to a longer novel.
  • No Aloha (The Friendly Happy Music Of The Past) on Feb. 02, 2014

    Beautiful, terrible, and sad. The characters are not just faceless refugees fleeing through a conflict zone. They are fully formed, with their own hopes, needs, flaws, and priorities.
  • Hard Stop on Feb. 02, 2014

    If someone read this without checking the author`s name, they`d think it was co-written by Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiaasen. Very good.
  • Borders Crossing on Feb. 02, 2014

    The first two thirds of the book were very good. Plausible, internally consistent, and everything made sense. The decisions and actions of the characters resulted in subsequent events that were logical. Then things got a bit implausible, with half-starved, ill-equipped refugees taking on a well-fed, well-armed gang that had held its own against a National Guard unit. Still, enjoyable to read.
  • Borders Crossing on Feb. 02, 2014

    This book would benefit from an editor who could fix all the cases of ITS, IT`S, and ITS` being used incorrectly. Just a pet peeve of mine.
  • The Rockets' Red Glare on Feb. 02, 2014

    This was a very good take on what would have happened at Dunkirk if the BEF had Katayusha-style rockets.
  • In Search of Lethality: Green Ammo and the M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round on Feb. 02, 2014

    A very easy-to-understand and readable explanation.
  • Backswipe on Feb. 11, 2014

    This reads like it is the middle book in a trilogy. That is a good thing - the characters don't introduce themselves, there isn't a blatant infodump, and you gradually absorb what is going on and who the people are. The characters are complex and behave like real people, and plans keep getting derailed by things going wrong, just like in real life. This feels realistic and plausible (as much as a story about time-traveling plane thieves can be realistic). Note: this is not a typical action/adventure story. It's more a time-travel story by someone who really loves historic planes. I enjoyed it, but try the preview to see if it's your cup of tea.
  • Weapons That We Can Use Right Now, Part 1. on Feb. 19, 2014

    WTF? This is completely full of crap - literally. I didn't know the meaning of "scatalogical humor" when I bought this, but now I know, so this was at least educational in that respect.
  • Weapons of the Zombie Apocalypse on Feb. 26, 2014

    This seems authoritative and thorough. My only critique is that it is perhaps a bit dismissive of the value of razor wire, treating it as an accessory rather than a weapon in its own right. True razor wire (not the barbed wire used for livestock) will slice through tissue to the bone, and would do more than delay a zombie. Still, that is a minor quibble. This would be good for someone writing a zombie story who wants to avoid getting details incorrect.
  • Invasion USA I - The End of Modern Civilization on Feb. 26, 2014

    This was entertaining enough that I bought the rest of the series. The premise isn't too far-fetched - the electronics industry today is suffering from substandard counterfeit parts being slipped into the supply chain for profit, so it wouldn't be too hard to deliberately introduce components with a built-in kill switch. The author goes into full aircraft geek mode at times, with detailed descriptions of aircraft that go on for pages and pages. I found these infodumps to be rather enjoyable, but people looking for nonstop adventure may want to skip ahead a few pages. My only criticism is that civilization crumbled unrealistically fast, with looting, indiscriminate killing, and mayhem breaking out before people's New Year's hangovers had even gone away. Of course, there wouldn't be much of a story if people reacted calmly and rationally, with everyone working together peacefully as they adapted to the loss of electronic technology. Overall, well worth reading, especially for enthusiastic aerospace nerds.
  • Ambassador on Feb. 26, 2014

    This drops you into the middle of a situation, where the reader must figure out the setting, and details are explained as if you are already familiar with the background. It's unclear who is good or evil, or what everyone's motives are, and often it's unclear what is even going on. So, just like real life. The future Earth, the alien worlds, and most of the characters were unpleasant. The politics that drove the plot were tedious. Again, just like real life. However, it was enjoyable to read about someone navigating through the situation.
  • The Pandemic Plan on Feb. 26, 2014

    This was a realistic view of the impact of a pandemic on health service professionals and their families, along with the secondary impacts to society. The tedium and fatigue were expressed quite clearly. If you are preparing a pandemic response plan for your workplace, you may find it interesting to read this to better understand the emotional and human factors side of such events.
  • Refugees: A Short Story of Survival on Feb. 26, 2014

    A bit too short - we start to care about the characters, and it's over. This would be better as a whole book.
  • Grey Tide In The East on March 07, 2014

    Well done, and better than Robert Conroy's "1901", which also involved the Kaiser impulsively directing German forces elsewhere. There were a few anachronisms - for example, "Better Living Through Chemistry" wasn't Dupont's slogan until the 1930s. However, there was nothing glaring, and nothing that detracted from the story.
  • The Army of the Night on March 07, 2014

    More, please. This would make a very good novel. Based on the quality of this story, I'm buying the author's other works.
  • Pandemic Influenza: Mental Health Response on April 01, 2014

    Clear enough for non-professionals to understand. Useful both for those preparing a pandemic response strategy, as well as those writing books about zombies.
  • Fully Guaranteed on April 01, 2014

    The writing style is a bit verbose and overblown at first, but after that it's a good story.
  • Exchange Rate on April 01, 2014

    Interesting, although completely reliant upon an unexplained deus ex machina. The story would have been better if there was at least a token attempt to explain what it was, and why it took such an interest in protecting and guiding the characters.
  • The Fallen Race on April 20, 2014

    This is a typical space opera, with interstellar battles between fleets of spacecraft, similar in feel to David Weber or Jack Campbell. It was worth the purchase price.
  • Exchange on April 20, 2014

    This was good. It was obviously inspired by Eric Flint's "Timespike", and contains an homage to it with references to a prison being previously transported. The feel of it is more like Wen Spencer's "Tinker", however (but without the elves and magic). My only complaint is that the reader is left at the end wanting to know more about the setting, as clues are still being revealed about the nature of the other universe and who else is in it - it makes me impatient to wait for the next book.
  • Thieves Emporium on April 29, 2014

    The revised version (April 2014) is an improvement over the 2013 version. A filediff of the two epubs shows over 5100 edits. Most obviously, the current cover picture is much more appropriate to the content. That's not a major issue, but the old cover irritatingly gave an incorrect impression of the story. The new version has an additional appendix on the principal features of money (fungibility and total quantity). There are many very minor edits (mostly dialogue), which makes the conversations between characters flow more smoothly than in the 2013 version. The overall story is the same, just slightly more polished. I still have a quibble about certain witnesses being allowed to live long enough to record their testimony. It would be more likely that they would be promptly killed by a house fire, car crash, drug overdose, or other "accident" with plausible deniability. That's a very minor issue, and their their survival was necessary to the story. Overall the book was excellent, and very good value for the price.
  • Memo to the Leader on July 02, 2014

    This is a well-written alternate history, where competing meddlers attempt to change the course of WWII. The difficulties of adapting to a different time are well-thought-out.
  • An End of Poppies on July 07, 2014

    Oh, so beautiful and sad and so believable.
  • Cycling to Asylum on July 24, 2014

    Very good, engaging characters, a too-real slice of life view of a family seeking refugee status after fleeing a "safe" country. This book is partly responsible for my recent purchase of a bicycle.
  • After the Last Day on July 24, 2014

    Awesome epic book. It doesn't just deal with a collapse, but follows society for several generations, from the viewpoint of multiple characters. "Words: 432,670" isn't a typo. This is HUGE, and it's not fluff and padding. This is a unique story in that it includes people with disabilities, people of various First Nations, people who are immigrants, people who are visible minorities, and people of widely varying backgrounds, ethnic heritages, political views, and religions beliefs, and treats them as actual people with stories rather than background decoration. This gives so many more opportunities to develop the story, and the author fully takes advantage of it. After reading this, I realized how much it gets repetitive reading books where the same generic heroic man fights to survive, with kids and womenfolk only there to cheer him on. I think this is the first post-apocalyptic book I've read where more than half the narrative is from the viewpoint of women. Anton Chekov wrote, "If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off.". In this book, the wall would be destroyed by a train driving through it. The author keeps things interesting by setting up the story so you expect one thing, but then knocks the legs out from under it. For example, a community develops its own currency to replace the nearly-worthless dollar, using some old store coupons they found. The characters carefully sign each one, keep track of how many are issued, monitor the relative value of the coupons to available food resources, and secretly mark the coupons to prevent duplication. You expect that they will soon have problems with counterfeit coupons, or hyperinflation. But, just like real life, events take place that invalidate your predictions. This is really, really, really good value for the money. A lot of good story for your dollar.