Alan Schuyler


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Smashwords book reviews by Alan Schuyler

  • Spinward Fringe Broadcast 4: Frontline on June 08, 2011

    The First Light Chronicles and Spinward Fringe series by Randolph Lalonde evokes the earlier golden age of sci-fi storytelling. This wide ranging series is a delight in the vein of an early Asimov or Clarke. Many writers bog down their storytelling with attempts at distracting explanations of hard science to the detriment of the actual story. Gene Roddenberry was asked to describe the first Star Trek series and he said it was, “Wagon Train to the stars”. (For you youngsters, Wagon Train was an early sixties TV show about a wagon train's crossing to the West.) As in those early stories you didn't need to explain how a wheel works or how a horse pulls a wagon. In the same way LaLonde doesn't get bogged down trying to explain every detail of how a ship works and doesn't try to invent an entire new vernacular for the sci-fi elements we have come to take for granted. A wormhole is a wormhole. We don't care how it works, we want the action that lies at the end of the journey. LaLonde keeps his stories flowing in a linear fashion exploring the characters and their environments. The universe he populates can easily be seen as a far future extrapolation of today's society where major corporations compete with governments and the governments fall by the wayside. His characters are fully fleshed out but have their foibles. There is plenty of action in a true space opera fashion. There are complicated relationships that are easily identified with, no matter that they take place in hyperspace. Each book in the series stands alone as an enjoyable work. But for maximum enjoyment, the reader should read them in order as each carefully builds on the previous work and the surprises and adventures are more rewarding when read in order. A quick word about editing. I've seen some reviews that disparage the editing and typos. To these folks I can only say get a life. It's true there is an occasional editing error, but they are few and far between and do not detract from the works. I have paid far more money for a hardback book of lesser quality. For the price of free or a couple of bucks, this series is a bargain and a delight.
  • Free to Die on June 29, 2011

    Well written and suspenseful.