Simon Haynes is the author of eight Hal Spacejock novels, three Harriet Walsh novels, three Hal Junior middle-grade novels, a number of articles on writing and publishing, and several short stories.
He's also written a book on fiction-writing, titled How to Write a Novel, and is currently working on A Portion of Dragon and Chips, book one in a brand new fantasy comedy series.
Born in the UK and raised in the south of Spain, Simon emigrated to Australia with his family in 1983.
on Dec. 02, 2011 :
Favorites: Very funny, good writing, interesting characters.
Least favorites: Indenting, somewhat stagnate at times.
Hal Spacejock, fumbling captain of the barely-able Black Gull is a cowboy of the stars. A cowboy who can't take two steps without something around him going wrong. Catching a break would be asking too much, even catching a meal seems like a pipe dream. No money, no luck, seems like there's no chance. Hal isn't the type to give up though. Set in the future, when intergalactic space travel is common place, this series follows the adventures, or misadventures, of this pilot.
I thoroughly enjoyed the writing of Simon Haynes. Hal, as well as other characters created in this world, have very unique personalities. They interact with one another in very believable ways, which pulled me as a reader into the story. Some of the exchanges between Hal and the Black Gull's computer are especially entertaining. The mishaps and adventures are quite inventive. One complaint I have is that the story stagnates at points, due to all the problems faced by Hal. This may be the author's intent, but there were times where I just wanted the story to continue, instead of another problem to drag it on. I would only equate this to a minor difference in story preference between people though. Shouldn't be a deal breaker for most readers.
I encountered multiple parts in this book that made me laugh out loud. The dialogue is rich, and some of the things characters say are brilliant. Beyond that, some of the gadgets, and the way robots are portrayed is quite unique. I hope to see the planets and life of the human race in general opened up more in future books though. That's probably the only area description lacked any. Areas with “civilians” were usually gleaned over, and story details focused on instead. Not necessarily a negative, as it was done in a tasteful and workable way that still makes the story rich.
One of the biggest turn-offs I found with this book was the indenting. The indents were quiet small, so it sometimes made it difficult to distinguish between paragraphs, particularly in dialogue heavy parts. A minor inconvenience though, and it's not like it isn't separated into paragraphs (Note: I read the Kindle ebook via Smashwords). The author has told me the files available on his website have proper indenting.
Overall, I found this book to be a wonderful adventure to take. Readers will quickly find themselves immersed in Hal's world, wondering how he'll bumble his way out of the next jam. It should be very interesting to see what kinds of adventures await him in future installments of this series.
(review of free book)