Charles Ott


I'm a long-time SF writer in Chicago, with a master's degree in CS and a life-long habit of reading darn near anything. I'm blessed with family and "civilian" (that is, non-writer) friends here, and because this is Chicago, I'm also lucky enough to be in a writers' workshop, too. I'm in the Indie City workshop which meets in Hyde Park, and if you are also a Chicago writer (in any genre), leave a note on the Indie City Facebook page.

Where to find Charles Ott online

Where to buy in print


A Weapon of Mathematics
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 49,970. Language: English. Published: May 3, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
The Sorcerer’s Deluge crashed civilization and ushered in the Age of Magic. Magicians of mathematics are trying to rebuild the world. Hondoll, the King’s Magician, is a champion of rationality of rigor, but now two cults of “The Unborn Gods” threaten to unleash chaos again. Can Hondoll’s mathematics and reason stand against crazy, unreasonable gods?
Something Made of Vacuum
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 56,100. Language: English. Published: May 3, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Romance » Sci-fi
Tom’s a Moon Man, Helene comes from Earth on a business trip and they fall in love. But Helene discovers she’s hitched up with a man from the oddest little ethnic village culture ever. Moon Men live 24/7 in their spacesuits, sleep on the ground in vacuum, love to dance and gossip and think it’s odd that Earth people have to smell each other. There's a gap, you know?
The Floor of the World
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 66,410. Language: English. Published: July 28, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi
The planet Brythe is strange, so physically strange that it really should not exist in the same universe as Earth. When two young scientists find themselves transported there, the natives are humans, and that doesn’t make sense either. More than that, there are two races of non-human aliens who say the planet is going to explode… and the clock is ticking.

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Smashwords book reviews by Charles Ott

  • Scale Free on July 28, 2013

    This is worth your time. Arnesen writes well and does a good job exploring what it would mean to live as a disembodied "upload." There are a lot of expositions and monologues in this, but it's okay: they're interesting in themselves. The plot is interesting, the characters are pretty good, and the points he raises are worth thinking about. I enjoyed it.
  • En Masse on Aug. 02, 2013

    This one's a page turner. It begins with the discovery of an impossible alien artifact, and the mystery gets stranger, and more deadly, steadily after that. It leads at the end to a satisfying, big-screen science-fictional ending. Well worth your time!
  • 9 Tales of Henghis Hapthorn on Sep. 11, 2013

    You'll like this book better if you ignore the references to Jack Vance and The Dying Earth -- these stories don't have any important connection to that book and the style is only slightly reminiscent of Vance. But on their own, these are cheerful fantasy stories, very lightweight but fun if you're in the mood for that. Heghis Hapthorn is a far-future private eye, solving unusual crimes in an age that is sliding from rationality into magic. The problem with this set-up, of course, is that you can't outguess the detective because the solutions to these mysteries involve more fantasy elements which the author must introduce. (I also have to mention that the answer to the first mystery is memorably icky.) Overall, this book is good light reading for fantasy fans.
  • All the Stars Within Our Grasp on May 18, 2020

    This book is the pure, old-timey, space opera taken straight from the bottle. Galactic empires, a plucky lady bounty-hunter, a neo-Confucian bureaucrat, a corn-pone spaceship pilot, lots of regular aliens and a race of god-like (but nasty) super aliens, the fabled lost Earth – what I mean is, this book is packed tight. It’s well-written, full of action and easy to read, and a fine dose of escape fiction if you need that, as a lot of us do in this glum year of 2020. The book actually comes to a real conclusion, although the author steps on his own ending to add a hook for a subsequent book. Recommended as a good, lightweight romp.
  • To Believe In Mathematics: A Galantier Story (4.5) on May 31, 2020
    (no rating)
    I didn't look carefully enough at the blurb before buying this book. It's part of a series called "Rien's Rebellion" and is number 4.5 out of 6. I haven't read the others.
  • Muslim Mars on June 12, 2020

    [NOTE: This review has a plot spoiler at the end.] Muslim Mars is a “problem exploration” science fiction story, which has a long history in SF – Isaac Asimov wrote quite a few of them. The problem is the Hestia colony on Mars, which was established by Europeans just before Europe and the Islamic world. The war has come to an end and as part of the peace settlement, Hestia has to accept a large contingent of Muslim colonists. The plot of the book is just the tale of how that works out. The characters are mostly just people who step forward to present a point of view, and all of the plot action happens off-stage. But Hale has done an excellent job of exploring this complex problem in accommodating groups that are wary of each other (many more than two groups), in a precarious environment built in old lava tubes of Martian volcanoes. I was interested all the way through, and if you like this sort of careful, methodical story, this is a good example. Now the spoiler: Hale comes to the conclusion that the problem can’t be solved, and the book ends with a heartbreaking failure in a really painful way. I’ve given this book five stars because I think the ending is honest – given the situation Hale describes, there really wouldn’t be any hope. But you should decide for yourself if you want to go to that depressing end.
  • The Quantum Hypostasis - San Francisco 1938 on Aug. 05, 2020

    Odd, But Good It's surely an odd book when (1) it kept me reading and entertained all the way through to the end, and (2) I'm not sure if I liked it or not. It's all interesting, well-written and often humorous. The set-up is unusual and pretty cool: the entire world has been reduced to San Francisco and the nine surrounding counties, and every new year is 1938 again. The people living there don't know what happened. The heroine is "Sam Spade," and not only does the author know where that name came from, she does, too. In the course of her detective work, she's falsely accused of murder and has to clear her name. It won't be a spoiler to tell you that she finds the real murderer and clears everything up in a big confrontation at the end; that's entirely standard for detective stories. The problem is that the real interest in the book is, of course, finding out who the heck set up this artificial environment. This is the first book of a series, and the end explains something about that mystery but not all of it. I guess you'll have to decide for yourself if that's a feature or an annoyance.