on June 1, 2016 :
Do you like Space Operas with huge and fast spaceships, merciless aliens and epic space battles? You will find them here.
Do you have a faible for comics? You will meet the clever mickey mouse here, but he is called Trevor in this novel and invented the ultimate flying saucer; Goofy is Alf, and Minnies name, very housewife but strong and intelligent, is Sam in this story.
What SF did you read, if any, when you were 16 or 18? Maybe it was Heinlein. The Heroes of this novel are around 18, still fearing the wrath of their teacher (Professor Masterson).
This does not mean that "Gathering Clouds" is a book for adolescents. If you like the aforementioned novels, you will love this one. It changes quickly between phantasy and extremely thrilling action. You can't press it in a scheme, maybe not even in one genre.
Most evil aliens in SF are either reptiles or insects, which with some other authors points to a regrettable lack of phantasy. Really new beings, let aside with a credible story why they are what they are, are extremely seldom, like Niven's puppeteers or Van Vogt's Coeurl. The bad guys of James Field are oversized Mantis, in all respects similar to the earth ones. The analogy goes so far that the heroes deduct the traits of them from the hunting methods of the terrestrial variant!
Luckily the author is not deadly serious with the universe he creates for our amusement so we can take the Mantis as another comic character, like Micky Mouse, standing for a principle.
The Short Stories of the authors prove that he also does master serious subjects, like in "the professors conundrum". "Gathering Clouds" does contain some intellectually stimulating insights, too, but it is made up such as we readers like it - for suspense and fun.
So, this novel is 169 pages of inventive and exciting lecture for us SF Fans, and it's free. It does not end with a cliffhanger, there is just a suggestion that not all problems for mankind are solved with the last page, so it was inevitable that I could not resist downloading the follow-up (Pink Water).
Three stars from me, which means in my system: "Enjoy, store, and clink out money to read more from this author".
(reviewed long after purchase)
Remark: In my system, five stars is reserved for the most important SF of world literature, e.g. "1984" from George Orwell, and four stars for those I consider all-time best, maybe Michael Crichton or some novels from Larry Niven.
This leaves three stars for really good Indie SF, but as everybody else at Smashworts does rate a SF novel at five stars if he liked it, I was detoriating the average rating of those authors I like best! So I decided to change my reviews, step by step, thereby deleting my smashwords rating. Watch out for my rating in the review text instead!
(reviewed 72 days after purchase)
on July 26, 2014 :
Trevor Cloud invents an indestructible flying saucer. Good timing, because there are a bunch of giant alien insects stealing water from Earth. Aided by his brother, Russell, a martial arts expert, they take the ship into space to confront the Mantis. Piece of cake, right? No. The Mantis show them they’re in for a fight and our hero brothers end up on the opposite side of the Universe, in a spaceship junkyard, the victims of the ruthless Mantis.
James Field is a most entertaining writer. In style, Gathering Clouds reminds me of Douglas Adams without the unnecessary meandering plot, or a Terry Pratchett novel with structure and without the random rambling bits. This is epic space opera, highly imaginative, funny and dramatic. Look out for weapons systems that fire “concentrated beams of extinction”, mind control, and action aplenty.
(review of free book)
on April 22, 2013 :
Wacky science fiction where two young men build a space ship and end up saving earth from aliens which look like praying mantis.
(reviewed 2 years after purchase)
Wilde Blue Sky
on March 8, 2013 :
The world is going through a dramatic climate change - the clouds and life giving rain have disappeared. Can two young brothers, Trevor and Russell, save the world?
The storyline is very well developed and contains many ingenious ideas, but some of the characters didn’t ring true and some of the writing could have been tighter.
If you enjoy sci-fi (such as Battlestar Galactica) you’ll enjoy this book.
(review of free book)
on Feb. 26, 2013 :
A great read and would highly recommend for a holiday as it is a real page turner and difficult to put down, this book has reignited my interest in reading.
Not read many science fiction books before, but I did enjoy this and looking forward to many more follow ups from the Cloud Brothers.
(review of free book)
on Feb. 21, 2013 :
This is a well-written book, which drew my attention from the start and held it throughout. The characters are well rounded and the descriptions are fantastic. A pleasant combination of action scenes and slower scenes of less activity keep the plot flowing smoothly, and there's just enough scientific information to make it clear you're reading a sci-fi novel without you feeling like you're being bombarded with facts from a textbook. I would highly recommend this book to all fans of science fiction novels, or those looking to try out the genre.
(review of free book)
on May 23, 2012 :
I remember reading science fiction when I was a teenager and falling in love it. I couldn't get enough. James Field writes science fiction the way it is supposed to be written.
The pages are filled with technological wonders and fantastical alien life forms. I was snagged, hook, line and sinker by the first sentence.
"Within the next few seconds Trevor will either experience a titanic swell of satisfaction - or die a gruesome death."
Did it hook you? On to the story.
The cloud machine may look like a giant egg but it is a technological marvel. Want to go deep underwater, it will take you. Feeling like a little trip into outerspace, climb aboard. Trevors space craft is virtually indestructable and can go anywhere.
Trevor Cloud, the more serious of the brothers, is a physics genius with an amazing idea. Build a travel machine and explore outerspace.
Russell, the younger sibling, is a martial arts master and rabble rouser with special meditative abilities and visions. These visions will be needed if they are to survive what is coming.
While traveling in space they discover that it is crowded with aliens and not all of them are friendly. One, in particular, wants our resources.
Add together aliens, the end of the world, heroes and a couple of bumbling thugs, stir vigorously and you have all the ingredients for a great science fiction adventure. This author sure can cook.
(reviewed 43 days after purchase)
on March 29, 2012 :
A most enjoyable book
(reviewed 24 days after purchase)
on Feb. 3, 2012 :
I am probably not the target audience for this book, but I found it engaging, interesting and funny. It is a sci-fi adventure with a good pace to keep you interested, with well developed characters and easy to follow plot.
It does not immerse you in technical jargon and although the situation is quite fantastic, you find yourself believing and enjoying the adventure.
(reviewed 23 days after purchase)
on Jan. 17, 2012 :
An exciting book from start to finish with an ingenious storyline. I'm not a fan of extreme science fiction, but this was written in an accessible and understandable way; to understand the "science" part was not necessary to enjoy the story.
There were flashes of humour which I enjoyed too, and hope this humour continues in follow-up books (of which the ending hints).
I think it's aimed at teenagers, but I would also recommend it to adults.
(reviewed 6 days after purchase)