To Sail The Dark Sea

Rated 3.67/5 based on 3 reviews
On a fairly routine run to deliver cargo to a colonial world, Captain Duschelle and the crew of the 'Persephone' encounter extraordinary danger. More
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About Steve K Smy

Steve K Smy was born in Ipswich, Suffolk - a picturesque part of England famed for being part of Constable Country, where the renowned artist John Constable worked and produced many of his finest paintings. He has lived virtually his whole life there. He started writing for pleasure when he was 13 years old, with a science fiction novel! Naturally, his writing was less dominant for many years, as he and his wife Jenny raised their three children to adulthood and independence. He returned to writing seriously in February 2012, following a long illness. Since then, he has written and published, in ebook format, several short stories and, in ebook and paperback formats, four novelettes and a novella, and has been working on a major fantasy novel.

His published stories include tales in three series: the Thief series of fantasy short stories, the mixed genre G1: The Guardians series (two novelettes and a novella, to date) and the science fiction Captain Henri Duschelle Stories (a short story and two novelettes, so far). The novelettes and novella have now been published in paperback. Fans of the G1: The Guardians series should be aware that a novel (part four of the series) is going to be published very soon!

Mr Smy is also a blogger with a growing readership for his blog Imagineer-ing, Again, fans of the G1: The Guardians series will be happy to hear that they can find background information on the stories, especially the political shape of the world, in a special section of the blog site!

Steve passed away on November 22nd 2013 after long periods of illness. His novels are being typed up and published by his son, Damien. Any profits are to be donated to Help for Heroes, a charity that Steve supported.

Learn more about Steve K Smy

Also in Series: The Captain Henri Duschelle Stories

Also by This Author


Chris The Story Reading Ape reviewed on Oct. 28, 2013

A great tale in the style of the old sailing ships and characters of yesteryear, but instead of being on the high seas, the action takes place in space and the future.
A nice easy read, characters that are easy to relate to, an interesting plot and a satisfactory ending.
(review of free book)
Philip R Benge reviewed on Oct. 22, 2012

This short story gives a slightly different slant on travelling through space and is worth a read.
(review of free book)
Francis W. Porretto reviewed on Oct. 18, 2012

Let me cover the good parts first. You did well with your scene-setting and laying out the SF trappings one expects in a space opera of this sort. It took up a fair amount of your prose, but as it worked well, I'd say the investment was worthwhile. But now I have to talk about the unsatisfactory bits.

You need stylistic help. Your style "stands back" much too far from your characters. It created a distance between the reader and the characters that renders them two-dimensional and the story emotionally flat. Inasmuch as your protagonist, Captain Duschelle, is supposed to be a hero with a moderately poignant backstory, that is a serious demerit.

Next, plot. Yes, you have one. However, there isn't enough of it. You have events -- a plot *line* -- but the causal tendons that link them are weak. That might be in part a function of the distance I felt from your characters; to me, their motivations were seldom palpable.

Third: What is the theme of this story? What overarching idea is it intended to illuminate? I have no idea. I find myself wondering if you had a conscious theme in mind. That's a serious demerit as well. A story's theme is what makes it memorable -- what makes a reader recommend it to his family and friends.

Fourth and last for this highly compressed critique: Do yourself a huge favor: Rip the exclamation-point key off your keyboard and throw it away. One of the plainest symptoms of an emotionally insufficient story is a profusion of exclamation points. Editors call them "screamers," and not to praise them. (When I encountered the sentence "He was angry!" I almost tossed the story aside; that was a very serious error.)

Nevertheless, "To Sail the Dark Sea" has potential. Yes, it badly needs to be reworked, but the bones of a better story are there. Nor is it inferior to half the SF tales I've had to suffer through in my years as an editor and reviewer. So: three stars. But please give the above some thought.
(review of free book)
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