on Sep. 22, 2018 :
When I detected, some years ago, "Alien Alliance" on Smashwords, I was delighted and downloaded all sequels as they came.
Maxine Millar has her own style and her contribution to SF is unique, doubtlessly because of her professional background as a nurse and probably a solid knowledge on biology. What if there exist an intelligent race of egg-laying beings similar to porcupines with hands? Nobody else than MM could have written the scene where a female one with their special variant of PMS keeps away the males in her space station, as this race has quills to punish attackers - and undesirable overtures as well. The books of MM do show a fine humour, als is the case in this scene.
SF is not developed out of today's technology. They have space ships with faster-than-light drives, which are not further explained. But Alien Extortion is a logical evolution of today's society on earth, as well as a logical development of other races. What if there are intelligent fishes, similar to dolphins, which are really grateful that human beings settled on their planet able and willing to rid them of extremely nasty vermin, similar to ticks or barnacles? Again, it's MM's special biological knowledge which enables her to include that story.
As we are accustomed already, there is lots of human (and alien!) feelings in "Alien Extortion", and women (as well as alien females) play a most important role. The creation of a better society among humans from terra, as well as a respectful relationship to alien races is a prevailing concern of the author. This, however, leads to a sugary portrait of the created society.
Quality is medium to high. The Table of Contents consists of "Chapter One" through "Chapter Twenty-Four", which is standard in Smashword E-Books but there are authors wo give speaking names to the Chapters. There is, however, a really good introduction to the previous Books of the "Niseyen Galaxy" series, and there follows a very useful "Index of Charakters, Races and Planets". I was not too happy with the placement of that one at the end; I would have liked to refer to that one throughout reading the book but then I would have to jump at the last pages and the software of my ebook-reader would not remember which was the last page I was reading of the text itself.
Errors are not beyond bearable but they exist, especially in the second half of the book. It is a pity that this author does not allow any contact to her or her proofreader or editor. I have made a habit of mentioning the good sides of the story, criticising the SF aspects or style if there is anything to criticise in my public reviews, and prefer to point out the errors to the authors. This is not possible here. There are few errors but they do exist, like P. 173 "Those bloody concealer devices which made it impossible to identify them by facial recognition but he knew who they were and we identified almost all of them" (one "which" too many...), P. 130: "ordered it to be dumped it on a prison Island" (one "it" too many), P. 95: "Was that comfortable for you? Wear you able to breathe, did you feel safe?" (= "were"). or P. 13: " 13: "Leave the table with drinks on it and the one with fruit and desert stuff" (it's "dessert", not "desert"). I habitually marked them in my ebook-reader and would gladly have sent a list of approximately 20 to the author.
Remark: I almost never award a rating to SF Books. For the reason please see my profile. By all means, download and enjoy "Alien Extortion"!
(review of free book)