Hannes Birnbacher

Biography

Remark: In case you wish to contact me, write to "morpheusNN@kabelmail.de". Please change NN against "13". It is a means of anti-spam. This address will be read more often and is more reliable.

My SF Experiences
I have read SF since about 1960 or earlier. In 1972 I participated in a Workshop with the late Dieter Hasselblatt, then managing editor at "Deutschlandfunk" for radio drama. At the end our group wrote our own SF radio drama, which was broadcasted approximately three times in the following years, which earned good money for the author collective considering that we were no professional authors.
Dr. Hasselblatt did employ me from time to time to write an approximately 2-page review of scripts for SF radio drama, so he could choose some of them to broadcast in Deutschlandfunk.

My Reviews
Authors are welcome to contact me, for example, if I am doing their book wrong or they changed a book so my review has ceased to be applicable. I do not believe to be that important, but I consider myself a committed critic and if I am aware that I could improve my view of a book, I will be happy to share the new findings with the readers. (My reviews, however, are *not* for sale).

How do I chose the Books I would like to read?
1. Read the plot, klicking on "more". Is it religious? Does it include magicians? Is it the 1-zillionth "after atomic war" Story? Zombies? Then I would go to the next E-Book.
2. read "about" the author and, if any, the interview? Does he have a scientific education? Is he an experienced author? I will never sort out an author because he's not a pro (imagine, to have ignored the first book Crichton, or Franson, or Brin has ever written, offered for free?!) and the fun of reading e-books is that they are actual. I certainly do not wish to restrict my reading adventures to books from authors who are on the market since 100 or since 20 years, even if Verne or Clarke have been masters ... of their century). But if he is a pro, I will read more sample pages, if I do not like the first two of them.
3. read online, starting with two sample pages, e.g. 10 and 100 (in reality I chose other ones). If an author does not have any scientific or technical education and there are three pages from him explaining gravity or astronomy which everybody learns at school - next book, please. If style is boring - same, for example if there are no dialogues. Even if there are dialogues and the hero explains half a page to his co-pilot why you do not hear sound in vacuum or how huge a distance a lightyear is - thanks for uploading your book to smashwords, next one, please.
4. I never pay for a book from an author I do not yet know. Sometimes, I purchase the sequels and other books of an author I like, if the price is not beyond what I consider appropriate to my living conditions, maybe two or three Euros, same as I paid in earlier years for used books at flea markets or Amazon.

Reviews make sense in the very few cases where I feel I should warn other readers not to waste their time on a really bad book.
I have a problem with ratings, however. In my opinion, five stars should reserved for the best authors of all times (e.G. Michael Crichton, whose Story "Jurassic Parc" I read many years before Spielberg made his Blockbuster film from it) or those SF Authors who have formed our culture, e.G. George Orwell.
Everybody else gives five stars if he enjoyed reading so I would decrease the average review ratings of those Authors I liked most, even if I do award three stars (= worth paying money for) or four stars (= among the best and most enticing SF I ever read) to them. So, I lowered my standards to what everybody else does also apply. Thus, I still might help aspiring writers to promote good books, and readers to find those worth reading.

With more than 1000 E-Books in the database of my software, Calibre, I found I was not able to post a review for every book but I am trying to do as much as possible. When I started reading and reviewing E-books, I tried to understand and appreciate the plot and it's author but it cost too much time, so I postponed and in the end forgot a lot of them.
Now I am trying to do as much as possible, both to help authors as well as possible readers.
(Note to me) I will try to keep to a scheme.
- If it's not mystery or action, but SF: Is it real Science Fiction, an extrapolation from today's ideas, inventions or social conditions, or is it just some cheap imitation of some trapper and injun plot, or man-eating space ants instead of wolves? I can't take serious a plot where the aliens have two arms and two legs, talk with vibrations in the atmosphere like we, weep and love, fly jet airplanes, but have green skin and funny names.
- Important: there must exist an online preview before I download the e-book, even if the download is free. There are so much very bad books, with lots of errors, with a horribly style, written by totally ungifted authors, that I do not want to clutter my hard disk drive with them. So there can not be reviews and ratings from mine about them.
- Is there a bad ratio between advertisements and the total size of a book? I do not want to clutter my hard disk drive with a book containing copyright notes and readers opinions on page 1-20, the content from page 21-70 and reading samples for more books from page 71-99.
- Does the book, first in a series, end with a cliffhanger and the invitation to buy the sequels? That's a no-go and I seem to remember it's not even allowed at Smashwords.
- Is there a Table of Contents, preferably with meaningful headings, something like "13. Success", not only "Chapter 1", "Chapter 2" etc.? Some e-books have only one mysterious chapter heading, "Midpoint".
- are there many errors or typos? Yes, I am aware that in the english speaking area, a few errors like "your" instead of "you're" are not so terribly assessed like in my mother language, which is German. Still, if there is somebody who does have a very bad command of his mother language, English, it is no fun to read him.

Where to find Hannes Birnbacher online

Hannes Birnbacher's favorite authors on Smashwords

Maxine Millar
Latest book: Nursing; Carer or Career.
Published December 30, 2023.
Peter Menadue
Latest book: New Glory.
Published January 1, 2024.
Gavin E Parker
Latest book: Ephialtes.
Published March 20, 2016. (4.00 from 3 reviews)
M S Lawson
Latest book: No Wolves in Los Angeles.
Published November 8, 2023.
Peter Darman
Latest book: Kingmaker.
Published February 16, 2024.
Jim Walker
Latest book: Black Plains Bison - A Kananaskis Novel.
Published May 19, 2023.
David Grace
Latest book: Six Crime Stories.
Published March 4, 2016. (3.00 from 1 review)
...and 14 more

Smashwords book reviews by Hannes Birnbacher

  • The DrearGyre on Nov. 05, 2013

    As there was not yet a more experienced and natural english reader for a review, this will become my first review on Smashwords. I did not know the "Star Treck" Universe before. The story is quite trivial, but I downloaded it for entertaining me and I did very much enjoy to read it. It is no great literature or unheard-of ideas like Crichton or Franson, but more the Larry-Niven-and-Jerry-Pournelle-class (old universe, new wars), it's quality one or two points better than mass-produced Perry Rhodan or similar. It was fun to read and it tells perhaps as much about the author (much from a female point of view) as about the plot. Furthermore, it was a gift, free for a full-length book, so as I was forced to chose between three and four stars, I happily chose four stars!
  • The Last Roman (The Praetorian Series - Book I) on Dec. 01, 2013

    This is a great book, very entertaining. Thank you that it is free. It is full-size (almost 400 pages), and it is not a sample ending in a thrilling moment, but at the end. The same, btw., is valid for the little sample of the second book of the series, so it is pure pleasure to read the free first book as well as the samples, because they are fair. I am considering to purchase the second book also, as soon as I have found a way to pay for it. The sample shows the authors is developing his skill further, there playing with different views, alternating between the hero and it's girl friend, very amusing.
  • To Crown a Caesar (The Praetorian Series - Book II) on Dec. 09, 2013

    Okay, hundreds more legionaires killed and the girlfriend of the hero ist more lovely than ever. Sisters and lovers are always bashing their beloved if they are emotoinally upset. (Now what does this tell us about the author, I wonder???). I would have probably clinked out the 2.99 Dollars for this second Book just for the entertainment, but there is more in it. Watch the author in future. He plays around with history with very much knowledge and imagination, supported by superior scientific knowledge. (Sorry for my bad command of the english language in this review, I hope you understand what I really wish to point out). If he describes how it feels to spend a quiet evening at Cesarea, you really wish to be there, and I am grateful to have been lead to this experience. Even though the persons in Volume I started to be sketched black-and-white, the Author in this second book develops them into more shades. Some of the scenes are worth the 2.99 Dollars alone he asks for, for one page only (grin). Watch this author. I just acquired volume III of the series, after having enjoyed the 20% sample of it.
  • A Hunter and His Legion (The Praetorian Series - Book III) on Dec. 13, 2013

    So I am the first to dare write a review?! Smashworld is not even in my mother language and the subject deserve precise understanding of what I am feeling. Finish with the indians-and-trappers, oh, sorry, SEALS and pretorians slaughters. The book is not SF either, if you understand "SF" as building a story around an existing and exciting Science perception. It's fantasy, and I never was very interested in hard-core fantasy. (Now why did I purchase the Praetorien Series? Because it is fun to reading it, anyway). But I was not able to stop reading until the end, except sleeping times, eat, work etc. I just could not stop. Remark: the praetorien series is not written for the youth. I found myself looking up lots of words, and learning more of them which are not explained in the dictionaries (biggrin). So what is different with volume III? It is dealing with the person, Soul, destiny and responsible, self-reliant action. Let me guess that the author progressed from writing something for entertainment to writing something to express his life experience. And he does ist with always better artisan skill. As I had stated above, I could not stop reading. For me personally, this series was quite fateful. I am part of a community of persons impaired in communication (Asperger Syndrome). What came into my sense after reading Vol. III, was, that I could point out to somebody with big problems, that the problems are ALL and ANY within himself, his personality, and that God or whoever gave him the capability to overcome his problems. I believe the author communicated a tiny bit of his experience in life and it came very conveniently to fill in a gap in what I sought for a solution :-) . Hope, the last Volume (as the author is promising vor IV) will be available soon :-) . Watch the author.
  • Spinward Fringe Broadcast 0: Origins on June 07, 2014

    Could not stop reading it. Quality for me is between Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. Furthermore the size of the book "Origins", consisting of three novels, which with other aothors would be the first and only free volume each, and offered free, is very generous. Will purchase the others, too, and be gratefully for the good entertainment. Critics? Okay, women are somewhat ... faceless, the relationships quite simply put. That's good for us readers, because else Origins would have it made into the bestsellers worldwide and cost plenty of money .
  • AMP Messenger on March 21, 2015

    Gewaltige Space Opera, unterhaltsam und amüsant.
  • Breaking Gravity on March 21, 2015

    I liked this one. It is amusing and a thrilling "what would happen if..." story.
  • Tsar Wars: Agents of ISIS, Book 1 on March 21, 2015

    No, thanks. It looks like a Space Opera but is even less than that - a story of treason and revolution, but with the names of planets instead of countries. Novels playing in real history are more enthralling for me. It is not as bad as really bad Ebooks, but I just did not like it. Probably I did not understand what the author wanted to say.
  • Rescue Mission to the Stars on March 21, 2015

    boring, naive, stereotypes.
  • Few Are Chosen, K'Barthan Series: Part 1 on March 23, 2015

    Oh no. In my opinion, style is boring, plot is boring, story is boring.
  • Bypass Gemini on March 23, 2015

    Very amusing and entertaining. Must-have!
  • The Life, Death and Life of Amelia Hollow on March 23, 2015

    I tound the style not very elaborated, maybe a beginner's work? The plot was not interesting for me.
  • Burden of Sisyphus (Brink of Distinction book #1) on March 23, 2015

    (Yawn) another war-in-space story. Short sentences, easy-to-read for children. Maybe the plot or style is interesting for them?
  • The Empty Door on March 23, 2015

    Good plot and very entertaining.
  • Geisterschiff on March 26, 2015

    Schön kurze Sätze. Leicht zu verstehen, das Buch. Und ganz neue Ideen, Raumschlachten und so.
  • The Siege Of Apuao Grande on March 26, 2015

    Extremely thrilling, very differentiated view of the varieties of political opinion and character.
  • The Colonisation of Mars on March 26, 2015

    Epic, witty, entertaining novel. Somewhat daunting: the story is even realistic, as a view into the future. Definitively more interesting than the naive Heinlein or Bradbury stories of a past age.
  • Beyond Uranus on April 19, 2015

    This is a most entertaining and amusing book. Who says that real Science Fiction must not be funny written? The Novel mirrors human society and types of individuals in the description of a space station and the actions of it's population, be they human or alien. Everything is there what makes a great Space Opera: love, combat, spaceships, hierarchy - and sarcastic Computers. There is a table of content with real chapter headings, not only "Chapter 1", "Chapter 2" etc. The word count is not filled up with a preview of the sequel, like I have seen in other books, and "Beyond Uranus" is a self-contained story; the beginning of "The Rings of Uranus" does continue the story, but "Beyond Uranus" can be read alone. I would have given the six stars which this author merits, but I lost a beautiful sunny spring day, on which I could have done much work, because I just stayed in bed and read the book, therefore only five stars. But I purchased the two sequels so in the end, it might come to fifteen stars.
  • The Rings of Uranus on April 23, 2015

    Let me say it so: I am grateful that with "Beyond Uranus" the Author gave away his best book for free. But I would have been unhappy if I did not have the sequel "The Rings of Uranus" with more fun. Space Opera, dirty speak, getting drunk, aliens which you could find in any pub, beautiful daughters, romance - it is all there, again.
  • Inside Uranus on April 23, 2015

    Okay ... with Jazz, dirty words, aliens who are too human in their bureaucracy, lots of fun and lots of lager there is still enough stuff for a third, funny and entertaining space opera. I like this one, too.
  • A (Not So) Healthy Dose of Chaos: A New World on April 25, 2015

    Aliens have shown up on earth some years ago. A human decides to become landlord for a bunch of female humanoids from various cultures. Great stuff about cultural differences, communication etc., and Edo-chan is the man to master it. This is so sweet. One of them is a really tiny elf, and he serves coffee to them all. For the tiny one he considers some cups and then goes looking for a thimble. You can't avoid snickering when you are reading the book. It is 69.000 words but it is free (the sequel only 1.99USD for another 60.000, which is fair). There table of contents has meaningful captions so you easily can find again a chapter.
  • The Yeomen of England on May 08, 2015

    At first it seemed to me to be nothing more than the story of a huge war between man-eating aliens and humanity, mixed with some weakly described love stories. It could have been placed in prehistoric times between Neandertals and Homo Sapiens, or in the wild west between white man and Indians, or in WWII, or ... . But is it really nothing more? On the homepage of the author (chrishanger . net) I found lots of older books, most of them about "what-if" or alternative timelines. I now understood that it is a concern of the author to change one parameter in history ("what if an alien race does threaten to destroy Earth", "what if modern Britain was sent back to 1940 for a second chance in WWII") and find out how history would have developed, SF at it's best. I converted all the rtf's with Calibre into .epub, because my E-Reader will not understand rtf. I had to set the general conversion parameters to "heuristic" or Calibre would not read Chris' rtf format. "The Yeomen of Engeland" also is a parable for war, agression and bravity, some reincarnation of H.G. Wells martian wars, and more. It is incredible enthralling, better than the lesser stories of Jerry Pournelle, those which seemed to come from a fabrication line, in my opinion. Don't miss it! If you like the Posleen Universe, read another story from Chris' Homepage: "HOLY WAR". Furthermore, he does point his fans to more free Posleen Books from John Ringo and other authors on his Homepage. His download links in that section are no longer valid, but you can download all in one if you do a Google search for "baen cd eye of the storm", download and un-zip the CD file - and you will find there a wealth of other free CD, enough ebooks for years.
  • Jethabel on Jan. 24, 2016

    Now this is a really exciting space opera, very intelligent. I really enjoyed reading it.
  • Fort Falling: Comments on a Life in Orbital Decay on Feb. 07, 2016

    This is, in my opinion, one of the greatest SF Novel ever written, equal to a Crichton or David Brin. It is amusing. It is written in blog form, and very exciting. It has new ideas, and it is SF at it's best: Projecting from the present into the future the scientific and social developments from today. Furthermore, anything I ever liked is there - Space Battles (mostly without victims, and still 100% victory), kittens, power women ... Don't miss it!
  • A Depraved Blessing on Feb. 10, 2016

    I regretted reading the book to the end. I waited for something to happen, but it did'nt. On the last page there is a hint that a sequel could be purchased. I waited for some science fiction idea to show up, but it did'nt. There was no projection of actual social or technical developments in the future. The book makes believe it is SF by playing on an other planet but that one is just like Earth, complete with towns, trucks, oceans, ships, deserts and nuclear bombs. Life consists of breakfasts, grandpas, sons and daughters, jobs and love. Some of the inhabitants of this earth II can exercise sorcery, which saves them to use bulldozers or explosives. This is not meant cynical; it is all what the concept of sorcery is used for in this book. What happens anyway? The action consists of biological warfare by a mothership and smaller spaceships from unknown invaders, spread by invisible monsters, but the microbes are nanoparticles which cause some type of rabies, changing human beings into zombies. This is the whole plot, thinned out to 272 pages. There is a little hint in the last sentence on the last pages that' s more to it, and you can learn about it if you pay 0,99 Dollars for the sequel. Remark: there is some action in the novel, the author may have some writing talent. What's missing, in my opinion (I never gave only one star in my reviews before, I believe), is any trace of an idea or an interesting plot.
  • The Last Immortal : Book One of Seeds of a Fallen Empire on March 07, 2016
    (no rating)
    I found it boring, bad SF, written unprofessional. I was so happy to have found a Space Opera with six big volumes for free, but I did not bother to read the following ones. Galactic empires, Immortals, space wars ... nothing new here.
  • The Bright Black Sea on April 08, 2016

    This is big SF, enthralling to read, sometimes very amusing (I like the scene with the spaceship pets, specially bred dogs not at all different to our contemporary ones which "inevitable end up as frantically flaying derelicts barking for a tow" when losing contact with the floor, lacking gravity), containing three (!) volumes, 840 pages, a typical Space Opera of the year 40.000. People are drawn literary credible, unlike lots of SF where you have difficulties to distinguish the women and partners from each other. It contains interesting theories and continues social and technical developments logically into the future, so I do not hesitate to give it five stars, the same rating I would grant to a novel of Crichton for "Jurassic Parc" or Larry Niven for "Ringworld".
  • The Trilisk Ruins on April 22, 2016

    Could not stop reading, extremely exciting, lots of action, interesting science fiction (extrapolation of today's technology. Four stars only because five stars, in my system, are reserved for the best fiction of all ages, e.g. Orwell "1984".
  • A Summer in Amber on April 22, 2016

    A great romance, playing in the near future, very interesting, very touching! I love the humour of the author, too! Some reviewers do mention the typos. They were not annoying in my March 2016 Download, so I think some have been corrected; the problem seems to be with the author being a perfectionist, not so much in the text being faulty; there are much worse among the smaswords books. English is not my mother language, but by considering what would be the sound of a word and which other words sound the same (e.g. "there" and "their"), I was able to understand what was the sense immediately.
  • Some Day Days on April 23, 2016
    (no rating)
    "Some day days" ist lots of romance, little of science fiction. I am very fond of the style and the humour of C.Litka, which made it worthwile reading this book. This is the first of the three (at the moment) books of C.Litka available at Smashwords. The topic: man loves girl but girl seems to wish him only as a friend, however, they are talking endlessly about this problem. I prefer dialogues for action, not for explaining feelings and problems to the reader; it is not plausible that two people do talk about their love problem all day long. In the same universe, post-apocalypse Great Britain, plays "A Summer in Amber", which includes a similar relationship and is written much more sophisticated. I consider that one a masterpiece of the author. I am submitting this review of "Some day days" without a rating, therefore, but it is still fun to read.
  • Saving John on April 24, 2016
    (no rating)
    I could not force myself to read on after the first third of the book and stay awake, for lack of suspense, of interesting details or new ideas. For heavens sake, why should I read 292 pages of logorrhoe like this: "Fear began to grip Donny’s mind as childhood movies of monsters in space ran across his thoughts. And then a comforting thought: his lighter. He always carried a lighter, a nice slim Zippo that Chris and Jake had gotten him as a gift. A nice gift for their smoker friend. He reached down into his pocket, (...)" ? This is not my thing, therefore no ranking.
  • H1NZ-0 (Abby and Phil's stories) (H1NZ series) on May 11, 2016

    Yeah, almost all people die from a virus and become zombies. In this book the zombies are merged from several people and some attach them to houses and send vines to entangle the immune citizens. It is free. It is boring.
  • Gathering Clouds on June 01, 2016
    (no rating)
    Do you like Space Operas with huge and fast spaceships, merciless aliens and epic space battles? You will find them here. Do you have a faible for comics? You will meet the clever mickey mouse here, but he is called Trevor in this novel and invented the ultimate flying saucer; Goofy is Alf, and Minnies name, very housewife but strong and intelligent, is Sam in this story. What SF did you read, if any, when you were 16 or 18? Maybe it was Heinlein. The Heroes of this novel are around 18, still fearing the wrath of their teacher (Professor Masterson). This does not mean that "Gathering Clouds" is a book for adolescents. If you like the aforementioned novels, you will love this one. It changes quickly between phantasy and extremely thrilling action. You can't press it in a scheme, maybe not even in one genre. Most evil aliens in SF are either reptiles or insects, which with some other authors points to a regrettable lack of phantasy. Really new beings, let aside with a credible story why they are what they are, are extremely seldom, like Niven's puppeteers or Van Vogt's Coeurl. The bad guys of James Field are oversized Mantis, in all respects similar to the earth ones. The analogy goes so far that the heroes deduct the traits of them from the hunting methods of the terrestrial variant! Luckily the author is not deadly serious with the universe he creates for our amusement so we can take the Mantis as another comic character, like Micky Mouse, standing for a principle. The Short Stories of the authors prove that he also does master serious subjects, like in "the professors conundrum". "Gathering Clouds" does contain some intellectually stimulating insights, too, but it is made up such as we readers like it - for suspense and fun. So, this novel is 169 pages of inventive and exciting lecture for us SF Fans, and it's free. It does not end with a cliffhanger, there is just a suggestion that not all problems for mankind are solved with the last page, so it was inevitable that I could not resist downloading the follow-up (Pink Water). Three stars from me, which means in my system: "Enjoy, store, and clink out money to read more from this author". (reviewed long after purchase) Remark: In my system, five stars is reserved for the most important SF of world literature, e.g. "1984" from George Orwell, and four stars for those I consider all-time best, maybe Michael Crichton or some novels from Larry Niven. This leaves three stars for really good Indie SF, but as everybody else at Smashworts does rate a SF novel at five stars if he liked it, I was detoriating the average rating of those authors I like best! So I decided to change my reviews, step by step, thereby deleting my smashwords rating. Watch out for my rating in the review text instead!
  • Yoikes on June 01, 2016
    (no rating)
    Nice to read, very funny, a clever time travel story. Three stars for a good idea and excellent entertainment! Remark: In my system, five stars is reserved for the most important SF of world literature, e.g. "1984" from George Orwell, and four stars for those I consider all-time best, for example Michael Crichton or some novels from Larry Niven. This leaves three stars for really good Indie SF, but as everybody else at Smashworts does rate a SF novel at five stars if he liked it, I was detoriating the average rating of those authors I like best! So I decided to change my previous reviews, step by step, thereby deleting my smashwords rating. Watch out for my rating in the review text instead!
  • Ally Oop Through the Ulysses Trees on June 01, 2016
    (no rating)
    Great book with a very fine humour. I liked it, three stars from me! Remark: In my system, five stars is reserved for the most important SF of world literature, e.g. "1984" from George Orwell, and four stars for those I consider all-time best, for example Michael Crichton or some novels from Larry Niven. This leaves three stars for really good Indie SF, but as everybody else at Smashworts does rate a SF novel at five stars if he liked it, I was detoriating the average rating of those authors I like best! So I decided to change my previous reviews, step by step, thereby deleting my smashwords rating. Watch out for my rating in the review text instead!
  • First Strike on June 01, 2016
    (no rating)
    Exciting story, but has nothing to do with Science Fiction. It is just a trapper and injuns story placed in deep space. There is faster-than-light travel (Van Vogt 1950ties), Cobra Maneuvre (Suchoi SU-27), 30mm Cannon on fighter plane (Nazi ME-262), the good are American Marines, the bad are reptiles (walking upright on two feet, praying to their god, anti-christian), etc. Two stars, still particularly recommended for reading. Remark: In my system, five stars is reserved for the most important SF of world literature, e.g. "1984" from George Orwell, and four stars for those I consider all-time best, for example Michael Crichton or some novels from Larry Niven. This leaves three stars for really good Indie SF, but as everybody else at Smashworts does rate a SF novel at five stars if he liked it, I was detoriating the average rating of those authors I like best! So I decided to change my previous reviews, step by step, thereby deleting my smashwords rating. Watch out for my rating in the review text instead!
  • Goliath on June 01, 2016
    (no rating)
    I love reading, and books like this are the reason. There is action on every page. The author is an experienced writer. He makes me drive a car in a storm in Alaska myself, and share a Coffee in a tent in the Sahara. He remembers me of the Myriad of Stars I have seen in North Africa far away from human settlements. I am shure that he has been himself to the places in his books. Of course, there is routine to be seen in "Goliath". The good are the Americans, ex-army, police or at least employed in American enterprises, the bad have Far-East or Russian names, preferably North Koreans. And there are no trifling or measly circumstances. The weapons are military grade up to the biggest, the politics do concern the biggest nations and the oldest conflicts. Is the plot plausible? err ... hmm ... honestly, the author has a far above average knowledge of physics, geology or weapons, but I hesitate to say yes. O yeah, what did I expect from an action story which could have been written by Beagley or Cussler ... People are describe somewhat like in comics. This is no Gottfried Keller or John Steinbeck in understanding and characterizing human beings. Still, if you seek an epic love story, you will find it here. And from where did I know that a German Sheperd Dog would play a role also in this novel from Richard Turner ... I considered lifting my rating by one star for this only but Turner decided to let the dog die ... Three stars, please do not hesitate to download or purchase all you can get your hands on. Remark: In my system, five stars is reserved for the most important SF of world literature, e.g. "1984" from George Orwell, and four stars for those I consider all-time best, for example Michael Crichton or some novels from Larry Niven. This leaves three stars for really good Indie SF, but as everybody else at Smashworts does rate a SF novel at five stars if he liked it, I was detoriating the average rating of those authors I like best! So I decided to change my previous reviews, step by step, and repost them without the smashwords rating. Watch out for my rating in the review text instead!
  • White Noise on June 01, 2016
    (no rating)
    "White Noise" is quite intriguing and takes surprising turns; it shows the expertise of it's author, as expected from his other short stories I read. Remark: In my system, five stars is reserved for the most important SF of world literature, e.g. "1984" from George Orwell, and four stars for those I consider all-time best, for example Michael Crichton or some novels from Larry Niven. This leaves three stars for most of really good Indie SF, but as everybody else at Smashworts does rate a SF novel at five stars if he liked it, I was detoriating the average rating of those authors I like best! So I decided to change my previous reviews, one by one, and repost them without the smashwords rating. Watch out for my rating in the review text instead!
  • The Professor's Conundrum on June 01, 2016
    (no rating)
    The story is quite intelligent and does show the expertise of the author at it's best. Three stars for a good short story. Remark: In my system, five stars is reserved for the most important SF of world literature, e.g. "1984" from George Orwell, and four stars for those I consider all-time best, for example Michael Crichton or some novels from Larry Niven. This leaves three stars for most of really good Indie SF, but as everybody else at Smashworts does rate a SF novel at five stars if he liked it, I was detoriating the average rating of those authors I like best! So I decided to change my previous reviews, one by one, and repost them without the smashwords rating. Watch out for my rating in the review text instead!
  • Doomsday Diary on June 01, 2016
    (no rating)
    The story is quite intelligent and intriguing and shows, als expected, the high professional skills of the author. I had fun reading it. Three stars, in my system. Remark: In my system, five stars is reserved for the most important SF of world literature, e.g. "1984" from George Orwell, and four stars for those I consider all-time best, for example Michael Crichton or some novels from Larry Niven. This leaves three stars for most of really good Indie SF, but as everybody else at Smashworts does rate a SF novel at five stars if he liked it, I was detoriating the average rating of those authors I like best! So I decided to change my previous reviews, one by one, and repost them without the smashwords rating. Watch out for my rating in the review text instead!
  • John Gone on June 01, 2016
    (no rating)
    Okay, it's a Novel around crime and punishment, responsability and moral, the wrong girlfriend and true love. But is'nt it set a little bit too high? For heavens sake, there is sort of a re-born aegyptic pharao giving philosophical advices! Science Fiction as the evolution of todays developments is rather weak. Yeah, there exist commercial enterprises who would imprison or kill employees for more profit, that's the social aspect. Okay, there is a funny wrist watch which can do tricks, but that's all what is "scientific". Last not least, the book is part one of a trilogy and not complete by itself; it ends like it has begun, the hero is still trying to regain his freedom, which is, like in the whole book, incredible difficult. Two stars in my system is: enjoy, don't keep, don't buy more... Remark: In my system, five stars is reserved for the most important SF of world literature, e.g. "1984" from George Orwell, and four stars for those I consider all-time best, for example Michael Crichton or some novels from Larry Niven. This leaves three stars for most of really good Indie SF, but as everybody else at Smashworts does rate a SF novel at five stars if he liked it, I was detoriating the average rating of Smashwords authors I like best! So I decided to change my previous reviews, one by one, and repost them without the smashwords rating. Watch out for my rating in the review text instead!
  • Other Worlds Than These on June 01, 2016
    (no rating)
    The first part of the story is a quite boring Space Opera with familiar cliches. I did not like this one. It's our contemporary terrestrial marine shifted into outer space. From where did I know that the aliens would be reptiles with horns and crests like in every unprofessional Space Opera I know? Creatures who have developed on an utterly strange planet in an alien environment still walk on two feet, have a spine, have a head, eyes and mouth, long rows of sharp teeth, feet and hands with digits. These ones, however, have two tails (no clue given why a species should have one spine, but from the lower end splitted into two, or what two tails are good for). The first combat, for heavens sake, ist described as a boxing match between the hero and the foremost monster, after the human spaceship has been boarded by an attack with spurs, piercing the ship like was the case 2000 years ago with roman warships. Other authors create suspense by using dialogues, and if they are gifted, they paint scenes and emotions with word. This author, in numerous places, simply describes a situation and the reader can not forget that he is reading a rather absurd plot somebody else made up. There does nothing happen which could make the reader identify with the hero or feel curious about what happens next. Here is the most dramatic moment of the whole book, where the mighty human spaceship is attacked by horrible monsters: " Her eyes slowly opened as the lights in her small cabin came on dim, steadily getting brighter. She slept like most of the crew, in a gel pod that was vertical on the wall. With no gravity, once stuck inside the oxygenated chamber, it was easy to imagine you were ‘laying down’ rather than pinned to a wall. The door opened and Jane climbed out. She wicked away most of the gel, which inevitably stuck to her light colored skin. She then entered a small shower recess (...)". Furthermore the book has by far the most and sincerest spelling errors I ever met on Smashwords, so I think the author depends heavily on his spell correction software. As English is not my mother language, it helped to imagine what the sound of the word would be which obviously did not make sense, and which words had the same sound, and which of them would make sense. Tails are written "tales", a bubble tinted aqua is "tented". Up to part IV of the book the author seems to be practice writing a book. Hold on to the story, in the second half the plot (and maybe the skill of the author) developes, revealing an age-old mystery, showing more action as well as some ideas which are not taken from the mainstream of SF trash, some alternate human societies and how they would influence each other, shows some surprising developments looking back on the first half, too and introduces some more credible personalities. I _did_ come back to the book and edited this review, adding one star. Two stars in my system means: it's free; read and enjoy, then forget it. Remark: In my system, five stars is reserved for the most important SF of world literature, e.g. "1984" from George Orwell, and four stars for those I consider all-time best, for example Michael Crichton or some novels from Larry Niven. This leaves three stars for most of really good Indie SF, but as everybody else at Smashworts does rate a SF novel at five stars if he liked it, I was detoriating the average rating of Smashwords authors I like best! So I decided to change my previous reviews, one by one, and repost them without the smashwords rating. Watch out for my rating in the review text instead!
  • Broken Soldier (Book One) on June 01, 2016
    (no rating)
    Quite amusing and entertaining. Oh yeah, the american way of solving problems is the best (in this novel). It's a bit of trapper and injuns. The good aliens do have two arms and two legs and a head, they smile amused and laugh about jokes, the bad ones are similar to walking crocodiles. Not that original, and why do I remember "last flight for Craggy" when reading about the old general Max (no, it' s not copied from there, just a similar person) ;) . Hmm, yes, it's real Science Fiction, extrapolating what would happen if you could enhance human beings for becoming better warriors, or some idea of the evolution of computers in the future. So I will give it three stars, which is very high in my system (two = worth reading, four = buy all of the author). Remark: In my system, five stars is reserved for the most important SF of world literature, e.g. "1984" from George Orwell, and four stars for those I consider all-time best, for example Michael Crichton or some novels from Larry Niven. This leaves three stars for most of really good Indie SF, but as everybody else at Smashworts does rate a SF novel at five stars if he liked it, I was detoriating the average rating of Smashwords authors I like best! So I decided to change my previous reviews, one by one, and repost them without the smashwords rating. Watch out for my rating in the review text instead!
  • Arrow of Time on June 01, 2016
    (no rating)
    In this story, time travel is effected by time machines which are very well camouflaged but very bad designed: as coins which have to be flipped for activation. They always get lost in a gutter, an unsuspecting finder flips it and is stranded out of time or somebody steals it to make a nice necklace for his granddaughter. For travelling, I would prefer a gauntlet instead but that's an other story from an other author ;) . The heroes are around 16 years, living in rural U.S.A. so I felt reminded of Heinlein or Simak novels. O yeah, so I missed that it's rubricated under "young adult or teen". Now, who does not love Heinlein's "The Star Beast" regardless of his age?! What are the dogs in Simak stories are big green lizards in this one, a little dumb but helpful and likeable. I enjoyed reading "Arrow Of Time" anyway. The second category is "hard sci-fi". Now, the sci-fi is not that hard ... no explanation whatsoever of time travel, it is just invented and done, and and yes, there are parallel universes in this story but only to enable one of the acting persons to effect a seemingly impossible escape. It still is SF as I understand it - make an assumption and extrapolate it's moral, technical and social impacts in future times. And in the best tradition of stories of juveniles, it points out how the heroes reach adulthood. Three stars from me for "good SF, better than many others". Maybe it shows my appreciation that I downloaded more Novels from this author! Remark: In my system, five stars is reserved for the most important SF of world literature, e.g. "1984" from George Orwell, and four stars for those I consider all-time best, for example Michael Crichton or some novels from Larry Niven. This leaves three stars for most of really good Indie SF, but as everybody else at Smashworts does rate a SF novel at five stars if he liked it, I was detoriating the average rating of Smashwords authors I like best! So I decided to change my previous reviews, one by one, and repost them without the smashwords rating. Watch out for my rating in the review text instead!
  • OMEGA Exile on June 01, 2016
    (no rating)
    "Exile" reminds me a little bit at "The Planet Inspector" from Murray Leinster, maybe to some extent a crossbreed with Isaac Asimov's "Foundation". This is Arseneault at his best, lots of action, exciting, enthralling and with a dry sense of humour. His persons in all his books are somewhat stereotypical - they are all heroes, invincible in the midst of hundreds of enemies, "Exile" has 84.800 Words, again somewhat less than other SF Ebooks I know, and approximately five Percent at the end are a preview of "Omega 2", the non-free sequel. Like the other Ebooks from Arsenault, the table of contents has no chapter headins - it's just capitel 1, capitel 2 etc. Most free Ebooks which I know are self-contained. This is not the case with "Exile" - the reader finds himself with open ends all over. The partner has disappeared, his fate not known, the revolution has not won but is not terminated either etc. The sequel ("Guardian") has a good starting point, but "Exile" has no end. I would had given three or four stars for it but for this reason, it's two stars for "recommended to read". Remark: In my system, five stars is reserved for the most important SF of world literature, e.g. "1984" from George Orwell, and four stars for those I consider all-time best, for example Michael Crichton or some novels from Larry Niven. This leaves three stars for most of really good Indie SF, but as everybody else at Smashworts does rate a SF novel at five stars if he liked it, I was detoriating the average rating of Smashwords authors I like best! So I decided to change my previous reviews, one by one, and repost them without the smashwords rating. Watch out for my rating in the review text instead!
  • The Ferrymen on June 01, 2016
    (no rating)
    Scott zeigt seine Meisterschaft in dieser kurzen, schicksalhaften Skizze eines Plots, der wohl für einen ganzen Roman gut wäre. Die Story umfasst aber nur 26 der downgeloadeten 45 Seiten; der Rest ist ein Preview von "The Tribes of the Hakahei", Band 1. Das Buch "The Ferryman" entwickelt sich und macht neugierig auf die nächste Wendung. Es ist eher anspruchsvoll als unterhaltend. Mir hat es nicht gefallen, aber aus den obigen Gründen drei Sterne (das ist viel, ich schreibe keine Jubelbewertungen) von mir. Remark: In my system, five stars is reserved for the most important SF of world literature, e.g. "1984" from George Orwell, and four stars for those I consider all-time best, for example Michael Crichton or some novels from Larry Niven. This leaves three stars for most of really good Indie SF, but as everybody else at Smashworts does rate a SF novel at five stars if he liked it, I was detoriating the average rating of Smashwords authors I like best! So I decided to change my previous reviews, one by one, and repost them without the smashwords rating. Watch out for my rating in the review text instead!
  • The Malthus Pandemic on June 01, 2016
    (no rating)
    A fantastic plot it is. A little boring it is, too. Or at least no light entertainment. Three stars from me, meaning "good SF". Remark: In my system, five stars is reserved for the most important SF of world literature, e.g. "1984" from George Orwell, and four stars for those I consider all-time best, for example Michael Crichton or some novels from Larry Niven. This leaves three stars for most of really good Indie SF, but as everybody else at Smashworts does rate a SF novel at five stars if he liked it, I was detoriating the average rating of Smashwords authors I like best! So I decided to change my previous reviews, one by one, and repost them without the smashwords rating. Watch out for my rating in the review text instead!
  • The Glass Hummingbird on June 01, 2016
    (no rating)
    Much love, much feeling, mystical dreams of monks. Quite entertaining story. Two stars from me, meaning: "worth reading". Remark: In my system, five stars is reserved for the most important SF of world literature, e.g. "1984" from George Orwell, and four stars for those I consider all-time best, for example Michael Crichton or some novels from Larry Niven. This leaves three stars for most of really good Indie SF, but as everybody else at Smashworts does rate a SF novel at five stars if he liked it, I was detoriating the average rating of Smashwords authors I like best! So I decided to change my previous reviews, one by one, and repost them without the smashwords rating. Watch out for my rating in the review text instead!
  • The Virtual Dead on June 01, 2016
    (no rating)
    I liked this novel. Three Stars for "good SF". Remark: In my system, five stars is reserved for the most important SF of world literature, e.g. "1984" from George Orwell, and four stars for those I consider all-time best, for example Michael Crichton or some novels from Larry Niven. This leaves three stars for most of really good Indie SF, but as everybody else at Smashworts does rate a SF novel at five stars if he liked it, I was detoriating the average rating of Smashwords authors I like best! So I decided to change my previous reviews, one by one, and repost them without the smashwords rating. Watch out for my rating in the review text instead!
  • Fatal Boarding on June 02, 2016
    (no rating)
    Great entertainment. I like the Books from this author. Three stars for "very good SF". Remark: In my system, five stars is reserved for the most important SF of world literature, e.g. "1984" from George Orwell, and four stars for those I consider all-time best, for example Michael Crichton or some novels from Larry Niven. This leaves three stars for most of really good Indie SF, but as everybody else at Smashworts does rate a SF novel at five stars if he liked it, I was detoriating the average rating of Smashwords authors I like best! So I decided to change my previous reviews, one by one, and repost them without the smashwords rating. Watch out for my rating in the review text instead!
  • Deep Crossing on June 02, 2016
    (no rating)
    Fun to read. Download it! Three stars from me for "very good SF". Remark: In my system, five stars is reserved for the most important SF of world literature, e.g. "1984" from George Orwell, and four stars for those I consider all-time best, for example Michael Crichton or some novels from Larry Niven. This leaves three stars for most of really good Indie SF, but as everybody else at Smashworts does rate a SF novel at five stars if he liked it, I was detoriating the average rating of Smashwords authors I like best! So I decided to change my previous reviews, one by one, and repost them without the smashwords rating. Watch out for my rating in the review text instead!
  • Mission Beyond The Stars: Book #1 of "Saga Of The Lost Worlds" by Neely and Dobbs on June 02, 2016
    (no rating)
    Not that entertaining ... still worth downloading, two stars from me! Remark: In my system, five stars is reserved for the most important SF of world literature, e.g. "1984" from George Orwell, and four stars for those I consider all-time best, for example Michael Crichton or some novels from Larry Niven. This leaves three stars for most of really good Indie SF, but as everybody else at Smashworts does rate a SF novel at five stars if he liked it, I was detoriating the average rating of Smashwords authors I like best! So I decided to change my previous reviews, one by one, and repost them without the smashwords rating. Watch out for my rating in the review text instead!
  • The Aurora City on June 02, 2016
    (no rating)
    I liked this one. Style is quite well and there are new Ideas. Three stars for good SF! Remark: In my system, five stars is reserved for the most important SF of world literature, e.g. "1984" from George Orwell, and four stars for those I consider all-time best, for example Michael Crichton or some novels from Larry Niven. This leaves three stars for most of really good Indie SF, but as everybody else at Smashworts does rate a SF novel at five stars if he liked it, I was detoriating the average rating of Smashwords authors I like best! So I decided to change my previous reviews, one by one, and repost them without the smashwords rating. Watch out for my rating in the review text instead!
  • Shoot the Humans First on June 02, 2016
    (no rating)
    Well worth reading. Three stars for "good SF". Remark: In my system, five stars is reserved for the most important SF of world literature, e.g. "1984" from George Orwell, and four stars for those I consider all-time best, for example Michael Crichton or some novels from Larry Niven. This leaves three stars for most of really good Indie SF, but as everybody else at Smashworts does rate a SF novel at five stars if he liked it, I was detoriating the average rating of Smashwords authors I like best! So I decided to change my previous reviews, one by one, and repost them without the smashwords rating. Watch out for my rating in the review text instead!
  • The Battle of Hollow Jimmy on June 02, 2016
    (no rating)
    Download it, it's free. Two stars for good, professional entertainment. Remark: In my system, five stars is reserved for the most important SF of world literature, e.g. "1984" from George Orwell, and four stars for those I consider all-time best, for example Michael Crichton or some novels from Larry Niven. This leaves three stars for most of really good Indie SF, but as everybody else at Smashworts does rate a SF novel at five stars if he liked it, I was detoriating the average rating of Smashwords authors I like best! So I decided to change my previous reviews, one by one, and repost them without the smashwords rating. Watch out for my rating in the review text instead!
  • Dead Energy. The Alex Cave Series Book 1 on June 02, 2016
    (no rating)
    I liked this one. Lots of action! Three stars for good SF. Remark: In my system, five stars is reserved for the most important SF of world literature, e.g. "1984" from George Orwell, and four stars for those I consider all-time best, for example Michael Crichton or some novels from Larry Niven. This leaves three stars for most of really good Indie SF, but as everybody else at Smashworts does rate a SF novel at five stars if he liked it, I was detoriating the average rating of Smashwords authors I like best! So I decided to change my previous reviews, one by one, and repost them without the smashwords rating. Watch out for my rating in the review text instead!
  • The Astoundingly True Tale of José Fabuloso on June 02, 2016
    (no rating)
    Well written, don' t miss it. Three stars for good SF! Remark: In my system, five stars is reserved for the most important SF of world literature, e.g. "1984" from George Orwell, and four stars for those I consider all-time best, for example Michael Crichton or some novels from Larry Niven. This leaves three stars for most of really good Indie SF, but as everybody else at Smashworts does rate a SF novel at five stars if he liked it, I was detoriating the average rating of Smashwords authors I like best! So I decided to change my previous reviews, one by one, and repost them without the smashwords rating. Watch out for my rating in the review text instead!
  • Spinning Diamonds on June 02, 2016
    (no rating)
    it's quite entertaining. Well written. Not very original, - the old game of trappers and injuns. Two stars for "worth reading". Remark: In my system, five stars is reserved for the most important SF of world literature, e.g. "1984" from George Orwell, and four stars for those I consider all-time best, for example Michael Crichton or some novels from Larry Niven. This leaves three stars for most of really good Indie SF, but as everybody else at Smashworts does rate a SF novel at five stars if he liked it, I was detoriating the average rating of Smashwords authors I like best! So I decided to change my previous reviews, one by one, and repost them without the smashwords rating. Watch out for my rating in the review text instead!
  • To The Stars on June 02, 2016
    (no rating)
    Some horror story deployed into space. Could barely will me to read it to the end. Two stars for "worth reading". Remark: In my system, five stars is reserved for the most important SF of world literature, e.g. "1984" from George Orwell, and four stars for those I consider all-time best, for example Michael Crichton or some novels from Larry Niven. This leaves three stars for most of really good Indie SF, but as everybody else at Smashworts does rate a SF novel at five stars if he liked it, I was detoriating the average rating of Smashwords authors I like best! So I decided to change my previous reviews, one by one, and repost them without the smashwords rating. Watch out for my rating in the review text instead!
  • Lacuna on June 02, 2016
    (no rating)
    No important literature ... but quite entertaining. Three stars from me for good SF.
  • Hevun's Rebel on June 02, 2016
    (no rating)
    (Yawn) another one of those "terrible enslavement-in-the-future" stories ... two stars for "worth reading" anyway. Remark: In my system, five stars is reserved for the most important SF of world literature, e.g. "1984" from George Orwell, and four stars for those I consider all-time best, for example Michael Crichton or some novels from Larry Niven. This leaves three stars for most of really good Indie SF, but as everybody else at Smashworts does rate a SF novel at five stars if he liked it, I was detoriating the average rating of Smashwords authors I like best! So I decided to change my previous reviews, one by one, and repost them without the smashwords rating. Watch out for my rating in the review text instead!
  • The Children of Roswell (Book One) The Swift Chronicle on June 02, 2016
    (no rating)
    Hmm ... the spirits of dead extraterrestrial pilots somehow are in the wreck of their crashed spaceship ... he who has so much imagination to accept such a plot, gets to read an exciting and original story. I award an extra star for the beautiful and historically coherent echoes of the aircraft and weapons development of the early 50s. Makes three stars, "good SF". Remark: In my system, five stars is reserved for the most important SF of world literature, e.g. "1984" from George Orwell, and four stars for those I consider all-time best, for example Michael Crichton or some novels from Larry Niven. This leaves three stars for most of really good Indie SF, but as everybody else at Smashworts does rate a SF novel at five stars if he liked it, I was detoriating the average rating of Smashwords authors I like best! So I decided to change my previous reviews, one by one, and repost them without the smashwords rating. Watch out for my rating in the review text instead!
  • Flying the Storm on June 02, 2016
    (no rating)
    War, soldiers, and big big dirigibles, a parallel earth somewhere between WW I and the computer age. An unpretentious story, meant to entertain, but I did not read the second half. Remark: In my system, five stars is reserved for the most important SF of world literature, e.g. "1984" from George Orwell, and four stars for those I consider all-time best, for example Michael Crichton or some novels from Larry Niven. This leaves three stars for most of really good Indie SF, but as everybody else at Smashworts does rate a SF novel at five stars if he liked it, I was detoriating the average rating of Smashwords authors I like best! So I decided to change my previous reviews, one by one, and repost them without the smashwords rating. Watch out for my rating in the review text instead!
  • The Honour of the Knights (First Edition) (The Battle for the Solar System) on June 02, 2016
    (no rating)
    Admirals. Pilots. Big Space Ships. Fighter escorts. Civil war. Imperium. Young pilot, strict father. Now where have I read this before? Oh yes, I remember. Hundreds of well written books with, then, new ideas from Heinlein and many others. I am afraid this one is not really a page-turner, no exciting ideas, no witty asides (remember Heinlein's "The Star Beast"?), no intelligent analysis of today's society and projection into the future. Still, the author manages to make a lot of action out of the few ideas (a super fast fighter airplane, horrible soldiers clad in black with red eyes - now where might I have seen *that* picture already?) after the reader has overcome the somewhat wearysome first parts. No table of contents (there are two capitels only), no extras like some table of persons, ships or star maps. Two points in my system is "It was free, I had fun reading, but won't spend money to read more". Remark: In my system, five stars is reserved for the most important SF of world literature, e.g. "1984" from George Orwell, and four stars for those I consider all-time best, for example Michael Crichton or some novels from Larry Niven. This leaves three stars for most of really good Indie SF, but as everybody else at Smashworts does rate a SF novel at five stars if he liked it, I was detoriating the average rating of Smashwords authors I like best! So I decided to change my previous reviews, one by one, and repost them without the smashwords rating. Watch out for my rating in the review text instead!
  • Chance of a Lifetime (Chances Are #1) on June 02, 2016
    (no rating)
    Okay, in reading Fiction there is an an agreement to accept the paradigms on which the author does base the plot While in "Escaping Earth" from the same author (the title has been changed to "Sea Sheperd" in the meantime) there are a provocative lot of nonsense like, the backside of the moon is always dark and there is no gravity on the moon, only on the planets, it's okay for me that in "Chance of a lifetime" one injection of DNA can change a dead, mid-aged policeman into a very lively girlie of 18, even though I always believed DNA will form the next generation, not the actual specimen. The implementation at first resulted in a sweet story. You can not help grinning when the girl, Ex-Policeman, frequently is on the brink of breaking out in tears, develops a strong urge to purchase shoes and always worries about her weight. But to keep the interest of the reader and the suspense, the author takes refuge to lots of sex scenes, which I think are not needed to form a picture of the characters (who somehow are all alike anyhow. the policemen reborn as 18yo girl; the daughter of the policeman; the daughter of the other policeman; the gangsters who differ from each other mostly by the time of their demise etc.). and, worse, to ever more violence. Still worse, the book ends in mid-action, as was the case with "Escaping Earth". There the last page was that the cruel space monsters were under way to kill all beings on Earth, in "Chance of a lifetime" the scientists find a way to reconvert the hero from a young girl to an adult man and then the story stops. I have downloaded a lot of books from smashwords and purchased some follow-ups from the good authors and interesting series but all of them were faire enough to write a completed novel, not leaving all open ends so the reader should spend the money to find out how the story ends. One star, a very personal rating from me (= no recommendation). Remark: In my system, five stars is reserved for the most important SF of world literature, e.g. "1984" from George Orwell, and four stars for those I consider all-time best, for example Michael Crichton or some novels from Larry Niven. This leaves three stars for most of really good Indie SF, but as everybody else at Smashworts does rate a SF novel at five stars if he liked it, I was detoriating the average rating of Smashwords authors I like best! So I decided to change my previous reviews, one by one, and repost them without the smashwords rating. Watch out for my rating in the review text instead!
  • Just Cause Wrong Target on June 09, 2016

    "Just Cause - Wrong Target" is one of the most exciting books that I ever have read. As I read "The Siege of Apuao Grande" before, I already knew the Hero as well as the historical and political background of the plot. It is unmistakable that John Muir is a friend of the philippine people. At first I would not believe that there possibly was so much violence and injustice in colonial times and during foreign occupation, but looking up the history of the Philippines in Wikipedia proved that the author gave an accurate detailing in this matter. Afterwards I detected an informative summary of the Philippine's history and politics at the end of the book. This does not mean it is a political book. The author, however, shows a deep understanding of life circumstances of the Philippine people, which contributes to the interest with which one reads the novel. Street children were portrayed not as an unpleasant encounter for the tourists seeking the beauties of the landscape, but within all the action scenes, there has been enough room to mention things like, that the Philippine populace has under catholic influence exploded from around 18 to 95 million people, where many abandoned children turned to "street urchins". Scenes of pure suspense alternate with descriptions from the perspective of a fisherman as he works hard to expand base for the livelihood of his family. The author, as well as his hero "T.A." is from New Zealand. To all abundance he proves a deep knowledge of the southeast pacific. Who else could have described by what tricks the intruders in the rural philippine barrio were able to bring the dogs to silence ... little scenes like this one make one smile during the exciting lecture. From me without reserves the highest rating!
  • HADRON Dark Matter on June 23, 2016
    (no rating)
    Oh, great, a new Arseneault! Arseneault is the specialist for exciting fiction (have purchased a lot from him of the former series), and he does not disappoint in this novel. There is action, action, action. The science part in "science fiction" in HADRON Dark Matter (considered by itself, without consideration of the following books of the series), however, is a fake. There is a world-wide power blackout, which is somehow attributed to an experiment at Swiss CERN. Without further explanation, this brings the spontaneous lineup of criminals tied with it and furthermore, government, military and police immediately cease all their activities. The book lives from it's action, it's dialogues and people are portrayed credibly. There is, however, a bit too much violence for my taste. The good boys shoot the bad ones by dozends at one time, having thankfully just an armored mobile home with huge inventories of weapons and ammunition at hand, and for heavens sake, at one point stack the dead bodies in heaps of ten each at the roadside, for the coroner. "Hadron" would get a rating of three from me, which is very high in my system (four and five being reserved for the best contemporary SF respective best literature of all ages) but for this excess of violence, therefore it's two stars noted in my computer. (For SF, I almost never give ratings in smashwords, because everybody else will give five stars for the pretty good authors and I found myself actually decreasing the average for those authors I liked best). The last approx. ten pages are a sample of Hadron II, which is not too much (I had books where the actual text was a short story one tenth only, the rest always the same preview). Furthermore, the preview does not end with a cliffhanger, but does explain what Science Fiction plot the reader can at last expect from the series. Thank you, Stephen.
  • The Edge on Oct. 07, 2016
    (no rating)
    An exciting Space Opera with exceptional phantasy and many surprising turns. I enjoyed reading it very much and purchased the sequel, "The Wound" immediately. I do not award ratings in SF because five stars are, in my system, reserved for the best authors of all genres and times and to give less lowers the average from authors I consider the best SF I' ve ever read.
  • The Wound on Oct. 07, 2016
    (no rating)
    I just had to have "The Wound", the sequel to "The Edge", and did not regret buying it. The author, however, somewhat lost me towards the end of the story. This is the third novel of Leslie Lee which focuses on a real power woman and I enjoyed all three of them very much. It is very interesting and even touching how the author, for example, does master the topic of interspecies love (not sex). Lee even makes superhuman power plausible in the central female figure but to concentrate on the capability to form spaceships out of asteroids and rocks overstrained my goodwill to follow the story a little bit. If I would award ratings to SF novels (which I don't), I would have deducted approximately a half one.
  • Alien Alliance; Stolen on Jan. 25, 2017

    Important to read, even if you are not an author yourself. Also helps to understand why authors may become paranoid with personal data and contact informations.
  • Graveyard (Gunship XXI) on Feb. 11, 2017
    (no rating)
    Okay, "The Fleet" or "Gunship" series will never become another "Foundation" from Asimov but it's big fun to read them. Stories are so rich that I found it difficult to simply keep track of the various monsters, which are all man-eating, lots of them vampires. The latest one are the krall, some sort of talking and walking werewolves. But I also found it difficult to keep track of the monsters in Van Vogt's "Voyage of the Space beagle", be it coeurl, ixtl or The Annabis, which all have a unfortunately tendency to destroy mankind all over the universe - as is the case with Davis' monsters, too. Van Vogt's monsters, however, are defeated by the use of brains and insights in alien psychology, Davis' by revolvers and swords, carried by space cowboys and warriors. Maybe that is the exciting aspect in his stories of never-ending wars. In any case, I like the entertainment abundantly available in his novels. During the past few years, the stories or at least some stories from this authors have improved from stereotype shootings and true love, persons which somehow are all alike, to more subtile topics: what type of person is this, why is he/she acting as he/she does, what made the person what he/she is. It is my expectation that we will have to expect always more refined and differentiated stories in the future. Remark: I never give ratings. This author would, in my system, be a little bit better than "may be worth paying money for" and not so good as "immediately buy anything from this author at any price".
  • Ghost Planet (Gunship VIII) on Feb. 12, 2017
    (no rating)
    Okay, so here are they again, our space cowboys (or better, their descendants) with their honest esteem for whisky, revolvers and beautiful women (if available; else the others will do). I always thought I would favor high literature in the field of Science Fiction but much to my surprise I found myself not able to lay this book aside before I had finished it. Read it, it's exciting and humorous. The author is on a good way. Best read the Fleet and Gunship "Omnibus" editions before, if you did not so, already. I am a little bit confused but "The Fleet" Series 1-8 come first, then "The Fleet: Graveyard", then "Gunship: Ghost Planet" and the latest, to this date, is "Skyfall: Gunship IX". It's all the same universe and the same whisky, however. Remark: I do not give ratings in stars, for reasons see my profile.
  • Connor's Gambit on March 26, 2017
    (no rating)
    This books starts quiet. A normal man with a family, who wonders if it really was an UFO he saw. From this not too exciting starting point there develops a story which draws the reader more and more the spell of these events. The prophecies of future technology are intelligent and very interesting. Space ships print out what is needed under way, live and computer viruses endanger human beings with standard man/machine interfaces to their brain. The story shows tender love as well as dramatic space battles. I am glad I found it and look forward to the follow-up. Remark: I never give stars.
  • Ephialtes on April 07, 2017
    (no rating)
    Review by: Hannes Birnbacher on Nov. 11, 2016 : (no rating) (Remove) So there is a colony on mars longing to be free of earth ruling, and earth has a spaceship which is soooo big and mighty, and Mars has soldiers which are sooo bold and daring. How does the author deal with this age-old topic? An experienced and gifted author would work out the charakters in action and dialoge, in "Ephialtes" the reader fight's his way through long pages of mere descriptions about the acting persons, the good, the bad and the ugly. But do not give up too early on the author - it is his first novel I see on smashwords, and he is getting better during the work. First the very good news: there is a meaningful table of contents, no "Chapter 1, chapter 2, ... chapter 47" like in so much other Novels on Smashwords, and there are almost no errors or mistakes, wrong use of words etc. which are so irritating in many other Ebooks. You will find the story will get exciting in some parts and there are scenes (like the secret agent who is hired when he just wanted to get boozed and make trouble in the bar, or the reporter trying every trick to get her interview) which make you smile if you want or not. So stay at it. Ephialtes is the first work of the author I found on smashwords and he is improving during writing. Personally, what is interesting for me is the "Science" part in "Science Fiction". The SF part presents an uneven picture. The "Deuterium" mentioned in the first version of Part 1 is not what I know as Deuterium, probably a typo throughout the whole book. Maybe the Author had "Deutronium" from Star Wars in mind, or Neuterium, target of some scientific speculation in the 1930s ? Another key part of the story is how the big carrier spaceships, built for Earth orbit, are enabled to reach mars within a few months. The author is somewhat vague about the atomic motors fitted to it, but remember (or google) the forgotten "project pluto", an atomic ramjet which was built and successfully tested (!) even in the 1950ties by the U.S., so that's realistic. For me, SF is defined somehow like "projecting the influence of today's science on future social developments". Here at last, the author shows he is indeed mastering the genre, be it war lead by drones and Artificial Intelligences, be it the influence of streams on global networks to politics. Finally, I was quite glad that I forced myself to read further on than the first 7% the previous reviewer managed to do. The novel improves "on the run". Characters still are somewhat pale but you can see that the author gets better to show their personalities, and the story gets more exciting as it develops. Hope I will be able to download the next part of the trilogy soon. Remark: I never give ratings with stars in my reviews. "Ephialtes" still is, in my opinion and having re-read it and some short stories of the author, in the upper half of SF, maybe on the way to the best ten percent.
  • Hindsight (Daedalus Book 1) on April 30, 2017
    (no rating)
    Hindsight is a novel about honesty (in the first place, vs your spouse), responsability, guilt and conscience. And a little bit about politics, corruption and greed. And a very small bit Science Fiction. I don't know if the author already had access to the research finding about negative mass (https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.118.155301) , because they have been published only recently here, but they even make his wild plot about time loops plausible. Sort of. In any case it was one of the most exciting Sf E-Books I ever read. Download it, even though the sequel is not available for us non-kindle users! Remark: I never award stars in my reviews.
  • Burning Suns: Conflagration (Book One) on July 09, 2017

    "Burning Suns" is a very exciting Novel. It has not really to do with Science Fiction, as it is just a Trapper-and-Indians story with spaceships for the horses and aliens for the indians, not anything like a projection of todays technical or social state into the future. The various Aliens with a beek or tentacles etc. do weep (at least the female) and go to classes in universities - this is not really a SF novel as from Haldeman or Larry Niven. It still is a really entertaining novel. That was the good news, but it is not up to Smashword Standards or, as I believe, regulatins. The book has no ending. The hero, Keela, is pursued by unscrupulous assassins, without any means to escape. The torturers are cited to say to each other: "If you find that human bitch, anything goes, as long as she's still breathing". The last thought of the victim is: "what do I do now?". End of book, please clink out the money and pay for the sequel. Do not mis-understand me, every time I start reading a free book and love it, I buy the follow-up or even the whole series, as I did with the Pretorian Series, Spinward Fringe and a lot of others. But their authors are fair. I do not think this author is fair - he wants to trick me into buying more from him. I do not support that, so I will read something else, Smashwords has such a big selection even of free SF books - most of them fair ones, which are contained by themselves, leaving it up to the free decision of the reader if he likes the author and thus will pay for more of him.
  • The Hidden Treasure of Darfor on July 24, 2017
    (no rating)
    This is not sensational Science Fiction with a big "Science" (all aliens seem to be alike, they have the usual Faster-Than-Light ships, they have laser guns etc. - it's the usual Trapper-and-Injuns Universe), but it has action, action, action. I could not stop reading it. There was always a surprising turn in the story, and there was just the right amount of humour, too. Get it for good entertainment! I normaly do not give ratings in my reviews. This one would be within the upper ten percents of SF books I like, just because it is so exciting.
  • The Atlantis Project on July 25, 2017

    Certainly one of the best SF Novels I have ever read, exciting and enticing beyond any expectation I had, treating with sensitivity the topic of disabled persons, among else. "The Atlantis Project" is good, and it is free. Get it! The sequel, at the moment, regrettably is available in french language only, but even if I am not so fluent in french as I am in english (which is not my mother language, either), it is well worth to start reading the series.
  • Salvage-5 on Oct. 06, 2017
    (no rating)
    Salvage-5 is a quite entertaining SF Novel, and it's free. The authors shows much humour, and the action is exciting. I liked reading it. There are no gross scientific errors (but it is more the action type Novel, not the sensational or philosophical ideas). It is well written, the author is gifted or trained in writing. No boring explanations of absurd scientific theories or social conditions from the "Off" like what I have read from so much beginners on Smashwords. Download it, if you like Space Operas. Remarks: The table of contents shows "Chapter 1" through "Chapter 16", but no more information. "Salvage-5" is contained in itself, it does not end with a "cliffhanger" to trick the reader into buying a follow-up. There is added a 14 page preview on the follow-up "Salvage-5 The Next Mission". Hint: AMP-5 plays in the same universe, with the same persons, so it is a sort of free follow-up. I never award ratings (stars) on Smashwords, read the review instead. Considering that I would give to George Orwell or Michael Crichton the maximum five stars, three or four stars would be a very good rating in my opinion but everybody else gives five stars to everybody - so I found I actually was decreasing the average rating of authors I liked best on Smashwords.
  • The Centauri Conspiracy on Oct. 10, 2017
    (no rating)
    There is a chronist of the fourth Millennium writing down some Utopia of the author ... 49 of 50 states are evacuated and used for growing food, 1 state is for the citizens ... they live in skyscrapers ... their height is fixed from 20 to 33 stories by law ... people are allowed one child only ... no action, no dialogue, no humour, always more pages with just the just the enumeration of all these achievements ... then there are thirteen pages reporting the arrest of somebody ... three policemen, they enter, they collect evidence, they lead the suspect out of the building ... still no action, no dialogues above a few words where to find lists and files ... "On the thirteenth level three blue uniformed policemen step out of an opened elevator door and walk past the building security station in the foyer without pausing" ... how exciting! Yep, I am sure this has some hidden sense, to arouse the curiosity of the reader or so - sorry, I did not make it beyond the first few chapters, and I give up very, very seldom.
  • Planet Secrets on Oct. 12, 2017

    This is an intriguing and exciting crime novel of the far future, unique and very original ideas, and well worth downloading and reading. It does, however, also contain some Errors. There is only one scientific (the distance between galaxies is never so small as eight lightyears only), but some grammar mistakes ("there were worst things to keep in your bathroom", "could'nt let that happened") and often "their", "they'r" or "there" mixed up like in "they're purchases wolud impress the ladies" or "they're liknesses changed". I can live with that but this free book ends with a classic "cliffhanger" - the hero of the novel lies helplessly on the ground and a hand grenade rolls in his direction, end of book, please go buy the follow-up if you want to learn what follows or where he does awake, if at all. Normally on Smashwords, they have a rule that each book is completed in his own, therefore I can't rate the book with more than one star.
  • Ham Taylor: Lost In Time! on Dec. 13, 2017

    J.P. Jackson knows how to write a very exciting style. There is action throughout the novel. On the other hand, his characters and their fate are not plausible. Twice in my life I broke a collarbone and it lasted years until I could use that shoulder for work. Twice my nose was broken and I still can't breathe freely and never will. The heroes of that story have to endure such injuries, also loss of a finger etc. practically every day and continue figthing, flying (clambered to the outside of a space shuttle to where there is no oxygen they could breathe) and other nonsense. If you love excessive violence, this book is for you. On a day-to-day-basis, there are heads crushed and the brains flying out of the ears, the hero is eaten by huge worms and coming out undamaged, tongues are ripped out at a mass basis etc. The author is gifted and able to write a exciting story. He's not so able to write correct spelling. It's always somethin like "most of the ghouls where startled" instead of "were", "as he past Taylor a glass of scotch" instead of "passed", "The straining priests pushed sacks passed Bull's woman" instead of "past", "The general senses a lack of disrespect" (instead either "lack of respect" or "senses disrespect"), "in a cue of slaves" instead of "queue", "General Apophis ... wants you to bare witness to the death of everyone" ("bear witness"), so some parts are not understandable unless the reader is able to imagine what is the sound of the wrong written word and which words sound alike and make sense. Knowing one's own mother language is a matter of quality for an author who wants to sell his work.
  • Victory on the Veldt on Dec. 18, 2017

    This is certainly one of the most exciting and interesting books I have ever read in the last sixty years. There is a lot of action on every page, human relations, as well as a surprisingly complete and historically exact description of the second boer war. I believe the description of the characters on the Boer and the British side, which is an analysis of the reasons for the war also, is realistic. Read it! Remark: I normally do not give ratings, see my profile. To help readers like me to find the gems on smashwords, I chose to give five stars (which normally should be reserved to the greatest novels of all history) for this author.
  • The Legacy of Solomon on Dec. 24, 2017
    (no rating)
    I found out quite early that this book is way boring, but the topic was very interesting for me, so I read on. A writer searched for a new topic for his next book and met a scientist who has explored the Temple of Jerusalem ten years long. Jewish culture and rituals were thoroughly explained in the book. I only made it to page 51. There were pages and pages full of "He shall slay the young bull before the Lord; and Aaron's sons the priests shall offer up the blood and sprinkle the blood around on the altar that is at the doorway of the tent of meeting. He shall then skin the burnt offering and cut it into its pieces. The sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire". It still was historical fiction I wanted to read for good entertainment and not ever longer passages out of the thora, even though (or precisely because) they were necessary to understand the plot. Normally, I do not award ratings for the type of books I read (see my profile).
  • Posse on Jan. 04, 2018

    i like the "campfire stories" of Jay Greenstein, as they are extremely exciting and at the same time contain interesting twists and surprises. Typical for Greenstein, "Posse" is about a man who needs to become a hero just to survive. Another scheme on which it is based we do know from classical westerns: a man and a beautiful, strong woman live together on a farm. They are not (not yet) married and they bring up a child, but they never are it's biological parents. This review is difficult and I am sure it was difficult to write the Novel, too. One important character of it is a 14-year-old girl which acts sexually agressive. Child porn? Much to the contrary, there is not any description of her appearance, let aside of any acts done to her. This part of the story is about child abuse and what damage it does to the soul of a child, and I really don't know any novel which deals with that problem even roughly comparable in sensitivity and affection. Normally I don't award ratings but for this ohne four stars from me so the title note is overlooked by other readers.
  • Necessity on Jan. 04, 2018
    (no rating)
    Another "campfire tale" which I could not stop reading. Okay, the terrorists are very horrible terrorists and the tender love is very passionate, and there is no lack of bombs, dead bodies and explosives, but that's what we all love and what Dan Browne or Jack Higgins could not have managed better. To the contrary, Greenstein knows how to sensitively describe psychological processes. I do almost never award a rating/ranking. Just download and enjoy this E-Book!
  • Samantha and the Bear on Jan. 07, 2018
    (no rating)
    „Samantha and the Bear“ is another story of Jay Greenstein following the scheme of the classic western: a man and a woman on a ranch farm, with a child, but it‘s not their common offspring. Again, the hero(ine) of the story is in deadly danger and has to develop almost superhuman skills and capabilities in order to survive. The evil persons are really evil, their motives indicated faintly only. We are allready accustomed to this in Jay‘s plots. There are some Science Fiction aspects, call it interdimensional or call it time travel, but it‘s acceptable and the main plot, like always, is psychological, not SF. I could have done without a corporeal goddess, however; the plot is exciting and coherent enough without that mystical effect, though I am sure it‘s a symbol for something the author wanted to make clear to us. Once again, one of the main topics is multiple personalities, like I already know of an other story of Greensteins. But man, how versatile the plots of this author are! It is in no way a copy of his other novel. It reminds me a little bit of „Cabu“ by John Robert Russel, but it is neither similar to that one, too. The story is tightly woven and, as in any Greenstein, exciting beyond all limits. Chances are good that, if you plan to start reading a few pages before going to sleep, you will not put out the light before you have read it to the last page. Usually I do not award ratings, finding that there is no way to make them fair. One-dimensional, maximal five stars for anything between a pupil who does not know to use his mother language correctly to Tolstoi and any authors I like between that? Does‘nt work for me. For this book, a strong recommendation from me!
  • The Edenix Cycle: Acrimony Arising on Feb. 16, 2018
    (no rating)
    The author proves he is quite gifted and able to write vivid descriptions and exciting scenes. You feel like you have been on board of the spaceship during the crash, and you feel you have known all the characters in real life. In this novel there aren't those faceless people, figures that lack all individuality except being beautiful women or merciless fighters. That was the good news but there are lengthy passages with nothing but descriptions of the plot. Readers must fight their way through many pages of how more men than women died and how the community decided that a man can have more than one woman and somebody even had five wifes instead of four like the maximum agreed upon etc. I think an author should keep the boring outline of his plot (with no action, no dialogues) to himself and then write a story according to his plot, not just type his draft as something a voice from the "Off" is stating. This polygyny could have been explained in one sentence, describing how five spouses started a domestic fight or how the many sons helped to manage and enlarge the farm. Furthermore, if you love to read those religious tracts pious people impose to you at your door, you made the right choice with this book. The author does not conceal his deep religious belief, so you will have lots of devotional paragraphs like starting with: "Creator, give us protection, she asked in her heart" or "Lord, help me find those girls (...) Dirk grumbled out his prayer". It is part of the plot, the controversy between piety and the need to kill evil people to save good ones, but you still must be able to tolerate those undertones. Remark: I usually do not award ratings because in SF, it is too difficult do justice to a book. There is no reason to warn readers with a low rating; it is quite entertaining and You Set The Price, so you can decide if you wish to purchase the sequels.
  • Don't Poke the Bear! on March 06, 2018

    This is a very funny book and at the same time extremely exciting. I loved reading it, and it was free. But it is not complete. It ends in a cliffhanger. The hero has taken a mighty blow, lying in the wood, his enemies (indians, Confederate soldiers, Union soldiers) all out to kill him, he does'nt know if his wife has survived, End Of Book, please buy the next one. This is not fair to the readers, and I seem to remember that it is not in accordance with Smashwords conditions either.
  • Promise You Won't Tell? on March 09, 2018

    Whoever put this book about sexual abuse and blackmail into the category "young adult or teen" must have a peculiar humour. This said, it is not what I expected and loved from John Locke. It is very funny but your heart will miss some beats with horror sooner or later. It is about sweet young girls (remember his "Goodbye, Enorma", the sexy 14-years-old?) but these ones are hard and witty. No pets this time as in "don't poke the bear", no funny drunk bantering among men relaxing in the pub. But man, how exciting and tricky the plot does develop! It is a crime story more complicated as those from Agatha Christie. But what I love with E-Books, it plays in our time. There are no carriages and no wood-fired stoves, there are smartphones and computersoftware for secure deleting files. This author knows his business. It's even free. Read it. Remark: Usually, I do NOT award ratings. As I recently dissed the author's "Don't poke the bear" with one star only, for a very good reason, I do rate this one anyway, to accomplish a sort of compensation, in honor of his proficiency.
  • Promise You Won't Tell? on March 09, 2018

    Don't know why this book about sexual abuse and vengeance also exists in the category "young adult or teen" so I posted this review in both categories. This said, it is not what I expected and loved from John Locke. It is very funny but your heart will miss some beats with horror sooner or later. It is about sweet young girls (remember his "Goodbye, Enorma", the sexy 14-years-old?) but these ones are hard and witty. No pets this time as in "don't poke the bear", no funny drunk bantering among men relaxing in the pub. But man, how exciting and tricky the plot does develop! It is a crime story more complicated as those from Agatha Christie. But what I love with E-Books, it plays in our time. There are no carriages and no wood-fired stoves, there are smartphones and computersoftware for secure deleting files. This author knows his business. It's even free. Read it. Remark: Usually, I do NOT award ratings. As I recently dissed the author's "Don't poke the bear" with one star only, for a very good reason, I do rate this one anyway, to accomplish a sort of compensation, in honor of his proficiency.
  • Destination Havana on March 17, 2018

    No, thanks, even if it is free. I did not read through the end. It seemed not that exciting, not the entertainment I was looking for, but that was not the reason. I do not give up easily, but it was too difficult to read because of the errors and typos every few lines, like "he was beingshoved", "tried everythingpossible","the mechanicpointing at a small fissure" (that was in three contiguous lines). Furthermore there is no table of contents and the font on my E-Book-Reader is wrong - the default size is much too small and the letters of the different lines touch each other.
  • Alien Alliance on March 20, 2018

    I loved this book. In electronic gadgets, I am always very distrustful if they promise all-in-one function. "Alien Alliance" is all in one, Space Opera, love story, coming-of-age-novel, discreetly hidden social criticism ... I could not stop reading and most urgently purchased the sequel on the morning after I had read "alien Alliance" to the end.
  • Quagmire's Gate on April 18, 2018
    (no rating)
    Allan E. Petersen has a wide range of topics. Almost all of them have a strong woman as the main person, and almost all of them have a humorous side in addition to being very exciting and entertaining. That's real suspension. This title I found in the SF section and I am happy not only to have read it, but to detect this author, who is so much better than many others who are trying to write SF. In some scenes I could not stop laughing (e.g. the going-alone-to-toilet one). Throughout the book, I barely could stop reading! I almost never award ratings. I strongly recommend downloading and reading "Quagmire's Gate".
  • And the Humans Wrote on April 18, 2018
    (no rating)
    I liked all the books of Allan E. Petersen I have read - except this one. Maybe there is a message in it which I don't have an antenna for, a warning about what we humans are and where we are going. It is the Bible, Old Testament, re-told. It presupposes that God is Universal Energy, that he has created other Humans in other dimensions, and it continues to re-write the Bible right from Adam and Eve. I respect the author to sacrifice to us a considerable part of lifetime to convey his message to us readers - and I have yet to see that he does make money with any of his books. Being no religious person in the sense of church or creationism, however, this is not a book for me. I normally don't award ratings in my reviews. If you are as deeply and intelligent interested in the field of religion and worldview as the author, read it by any means.
  • Hercules Down on April 18, 2018

    This is Petersen at it's best. Strong women, heroes, a subtle relationship, lots of humour (written with sensitivity as to the relationship and communication between man and woman), extreme surprises where the plot is going (as we are accustomed from all of Petersen's books), exciting and entertaining - you will not be able to lay the book aside before you are through to the end. I do not award ratings to SF Books, but better forget the SF part here anyway. Petersen, at the time he wrote it, seemed to believe that a geostationary satellite would fly barely over the surface of the earth (in reality, 3 times as high as the diameter of the whole planet), and that they could land at will (due to celestial mechanics, they are a hundert times more sincerely fixed in their orbit as if they would have been if welded to the point of the Eiffel tower in Paris). But this is an unimportant detail in a mystery and adventure book and certainly one of the best I have read.
  • High Tide Treasure on April 18, 2018

    Whow! I found Allan E. Petersen in search of SF books, but this is a adventure, action, historical thriller which immediately captured me and held me throughout the last page. As we are accustomed to, Peterson shows humour, deep compassion, and absolute mastership as an author. It's no SF, it just *could* have happened, so I do not hesitate to award my rating (which I don't dare in SF). Read it.
  • The Factory on April 18, 2018
    (no rating)
    This is a mixture of mystery and Science Fiction (not really...), written with humour, compassion and it is extremely thrilling. I do not regret to have taken the time to read it. It is partly SF and usually, I do not award ratings to SF (I do not dare to compare actual Indie Authors to Arthur C. Clarke or George Orwell, for example...), so I do recommand you download it. You will have a good time reading ist.
  • The Ratsenburg Curse on April 18, 2018

    Haha, normally, when I find out that I bought a Ghost story, religious, mystery, horror e.g. at a flea market, it would be thrown into the garbage with a curse more horrible than most authors ever used in their books. Knowing Petersen, this is none of them. It's the first book of this genre which fully captivated me within the shortest possible time. As usually Petersen demonstrates his mastery as an author, with an exciting plot and his usual, humorous and extremely exciting style. And as always, male heroes, vulnerable kids and strong women play the main part.
  • Graves of the Past on April 18, 2018

    Yeah, it's horror and I never before bought or downloaded horror and mystery books knowingly. This is one I did, knowing I could expect best entertainment from Petersen, and was not disappointed. Hours of reading an extremely exciting plot, written with compassion and humour are waiting for you. And as usually, there is a strong woman, a vulnerable kid and a heroic but human policeman (in this book), masterfully described over a big span of years, in this book.
  • An Angel in the Shadows on April 28, 2018
    (no rating)
    Smashwords states that "An Angel of the Shadows" is the first book, but the title shows it is the third and indeed, there are mentioned two previous ones in the book. So, I went through the titles and the order is: Background: And the Humans wrote 1 missing 2 missing 3 An Angle in The Shadows 4 The Alien Code 5 The Second Creation 6 The Sentinal Satellite 7 Earth Before Man 8 The Noah Satellite. The plot is not appreciated by me personally. I have been educated in a society of christian values. This book, however, is very pious. On P. 297 Maria says: "I love my faith, my God and Jesus Christ". The dramatics are based not on the bible but on the Catholic Church. Angels, the Pope, the Devil, Heaven and Hell are taken literally and the story weaves around them. It is important to prove that the DNA of a bone is from an angel or at least of somebody created by the same God as human beings and not from an alien, because the latter could weaken the faith of Catholics all over the world (other religions do not exist in this book anyway). So, please before reading take a sheet of paper and write: "I herewith abstain from any critics on the religious contents of the plot", date and sign it. Then start enjoying Petersens excellent literary quality in creating suspense and writing a plot where you never know who is friend and who is foe, up to the last page, garnished by a lot of interesting SF ideas. I normally never award ratings to SF Books, because it's impossible to do them justice in all the dimensions of this part of literature, and boy, in this case I am glad that I don't. If you were honestly able to sign the previously mentioned (imaginary) paper, download and read the book, you are good for hours of excellent entertainment.
  • First Fury on May 14, 2018

    Being not a member of any church, I never read religious literature but I am happy to have come across this book, which has religious elements included in the plot. The female hero, a scepticist, is convinced by sort of a lay preacher on the ship to doubt her own motives for vengeance and brought within long months to acknowledge she is master of her own fate. As this has been true for all her life, her dire situation must be a consequence of her own, past behaviour. During this process she learns to master her emotions and shape her own future. This plot is unobtrusive and I, completely areligious, gained very much insight from the book. As if that were not enough, there is underlying a very tactful and tender love story within the inner world of the main person. Furthermore, it's style is written masterfully and exciting, and I learned lots of 19th century maritime navigation and whaling. In this it remembers me of Kassandra Alvarado's "The white passage", another masterfully book about a woman aboard a big sailing vessel. I strongly advise you to not let deter you from reading "First Fury" because of it's christian elements, it is one of the best and most exciting books I have ever read.
  • The Craft II on May 16, 2018
    (no rating)
    I have the highest respect towards the authors who sacrifice a part of their lifetime to write entertaining books for us readers, and I have to thank Joe Bob Newman to have given this one to us for free. Alas, not always is the result of their work what a specific reader expected in the book. The Craft II is said to be Science Fiction, which in lucky cases is written exciting and touching, showing an extrapolation of social development or technical technical trends. This book is none of that, it is the story of a war between two rocker bands complete with beautiful girls (from an alien planet, fo course...), pepped up with buzzwords like laser, warp speed etc. The main person sits in his super flying saucer near saturn and points his laser to the pluto orbit until he hits the hostile spaceship by this method. Could be a good satire but I found no hints that it was to understand this way. Okay, what with the acting persons, is the story interesting and touching? Don't know, found no persons. Okay, the author needed a wife for his hero. He called her Loretta and she is sceptic about his space adventures, as well as religious. What is she feeling, how does she look, what ist her background, what are his feelings towards her? It's a name, nothing more. Author also needs three children of them. They have names, two are male, one is female. What is their relation to the parents or to their spouse, are all of them thinking the same, are some of them emotional and others rational, do they try to do the right thing before their god or not? There is the alien, Walter, who recruited Larry for the Alien Federation. Walter, like almost all the Aliens (9 races), is very similar to humans. One of the races has a pig snout. Some have movable ears, others none at all, like a dolphin. All are bipeds, all communicate with sounds. One race is smaller, about three feet high. Again, that's all - it is still a cross between a rocker war and a computer game, nothing but a technical narrative. At least on the first 33 pages. At page 31 it was clear to me I never was curious what would follow on the next page, at 33 I felt I was not willing to continue reading. I normally do not rate SF books, and I am happy that I am not force to chose how many stars "The Craft II" should have.
  • Traveler in the Dark on May 26, 2018
    (no rating)
    This is basically an environment SF Story, by a gifted author. Earth is no more base for human beings, all spoilt and poisoned, and they built a huge generation ship for 50.000 persons, which has searched for a new planet. After 1600 years they found one. It is very exciting how they investigated the new planet and found out which beings live there, and lived before. So far, so good, and I very much enjoyed the first part. But then the author let his persons start absurd quarrels about, if humanity was had the right to spread to this planet (which was empty of conscious beings, except a friendly, giant metal ant built by the former inhabitants), the spacefarers starting to murder each other. Even this might be good for an exciting reading, but the ratio of lines, where people are discussing absurd things vs. where there is SOME action is huge. At least 75% is filled with dialogues like "We kill our host planet, wring it dry and then move on", and even the simple act of hurting one person and then allowing her to draw out a spear from her eye-socket herself is taking a discussion of fifteen lines of discussion, from "Please", Alice moaned to "Don’t do anything except pull the stick out.” At this stage of the book the fun had disappeared completely for me. I am grateful for any free E-Book, knowing that the Autor has given away quite a part of his lifetime, but this one simply was 'nt for me. Remark: in SF, I almost never award ratings in stars or numbers. This is a skilled, experienced author with a good writing style, I found the plot interesting, the plot was not imitated following other SF stories; and I did not like it.
  • 365 Days Alone on July 10, 2018
    (no rating)
    Nice, a book about human society. The author chose a society consisting of only girls from 7-17. It's all there, horror, extreme tension, the good against the evil, it is comparable to animal farm form George Orwell. Even though there is no scientific background at all (it simply happened that all men and all adults disappeared suddenly), I do apply my habit to not award ratings for SF - it's too difficult to apply justice to all authors. But it is a page-turner so download this one!
  • To My Readers on Aug. 01, 2018
    (no rating)
    I do. Read my opinion on that in my profile. I do it instead of payment. Or to trick authors giving me proofread copies earlier than to anybody else, and for free, too ;) . But sometimes there is a backlog, or I am ill for some time or so. Sometimes even, I do an author a favour not to publish my real opinion (does not concern you), or for lack of another five negative stars ;) . And I feel unable to award ratings for SF anyway. I might really like a very entertaining novel which deserves three stars, but everybody else awards five to all and any SF he ever reads. How can I give the maximum rating and still be fair to the one masterpiece of an author who managed to write the best book of his life, exceeding most of the novels on the market, too?
  • 2120 Titus on Aug. 14, 2018

    Asperger Autists are people who are not ill but, to a degree, handicapped. They suffer from "stimulus filter weakness" and might be, for example, unable to work if there is a fluorescent lamp flickering in their office, or unable to follow a conversation if there are other persons speaking near them. They might get into panic, not able to move or speak because of troublesome factors such as noise, or even get driven to violent(but never planned, of course) action. Furthermore, they do not fit into the social expectations of the majority. For example, chimpanzees maintain eye contact in communications, gorillas avoid eye contact. Normal people ("NT", neural typic) maintain eye contact, Aspergers avoid it. NT's interpret this as lying and bad conscience. Facial expression is less vivid, and lots of Aspergers have another handicap, Prosopagnosis - they do not recognize known people, even their partners or children they know instinctively, but only by their appearance. Let their wife come from the hairdresser and they are'nt sure who it is. 120 Titus is a story about an Asperger Autist. Obviously, the author searched for a topic about death, devil, hell and terror. Burning of witches is out, lynching for racial hatred forbidden since long, but hey! There are Autists. Hear of mass murder and you can be sure to read in the news the word "Asperger". So, the Asperger in "120 Titus" is a scientist planfully shooting 47 students, to study a first-hand experience of mass murder. "To him they were no better than lab rats or a Rhesus monkey. All in the name of science". It is not explained; the author equates Autists and mass murderers and that's it. The Asperger autist, in the end, seems to fall in some curious scientific hell of a superior race who plays god on earth (one of those stories which leave open who is the god of *that* race). The authors, at the end of the book, offers lots of links for evidence like the Huffington Post. Everybody knows that this is a premium scientific paper... I might have awarded two stars because style and story shows the author is quite gifted, the book is, although utterly nonsens with his god-devil-conflict etc., exciting and humorous. But alas, there are lots of mistakes and errors. He has a problem with his word processor, resulting in something like, for example: "He his doctorate was in Astrophysics". He too lacks a full command of his mother language. Some samples about were, where, we're are: "Is that were you belong?" (correct = where), or "I mean, we're there dinosaurs on the ark?" (correct = were), "supplies to cathethers where jammend into the four by six by two foot area" (correct = were). So, sorry, one star from me because you can't award zero in Smashwords.
  • Sliding Void (Book 1 of the Sliding Void Science Fiction Series) on Sep. 11, 2018

    Sliding void could be an adventure novel of the colonial age, with the captain of a cargo sailing ship, dealing with local kings who fight among them, with a cargo cult (read in wikipedia about it) taking the european traders and adventurers for magicians, and an exciting story weaved around them. For us science fans, stephen hunt transferred the plot to outer space and eloquently describes the power of sailing the monsoon, eh, the artificial wormholes leading through hyperspace, the black powder cannons, er, the multiple nukes which are shot at said trading vessel, making a very inspiring story of the inhabitant of an pre-technological planet, which has been forced by circumstances to become a crew member of a 40th century space ship. This is enticing to read, and the quality of the book is good - no or almost no typos and errors, and there even is a TOC with real chapter titles. Characters are a little bit on the cardboard side, the female captain being, of course, an attractive woman, the mail hero a real one, witty and battle tested, the slaves, sorry, androids are loyal and more intelligent than they want their owners to know, and said owners discussing if it is wise to teach the slaves to read, eh, sorry again, to enable real awareness in their androids. So why the lowest possible rating from me? I normally do not award a rating at SF at all (reason see my profile). I write the reviews to help readers find good SF and authors find readers. Very seldom I do rate a SF book to warn readers, and that is the case here. I thougth Smashwords had a rule that the E-Books at their portal have to be a complete story and this one is'nt. From the 86 pages (measly enough, if you want to know my opinion), the last one, titled with "Chapter six", is advertising, "join the free ... group", and the plot does not begin before page 8, the previous pages filled with "for links to all these books, visit...", "Also by Stephen Hunt", "Praise for Stephen Hunt's Fiction" (three screens for scrolling with my Ebook-Reader" etc., making 77 real pages for reading. The story is not finished, it ends with the spaceship fleeing, being under deadly attack by a dangerous pursuer, and his previous ally on the planet overpowered, arrested and tortured, end of book, go clink out 2,99 Dollar for the sequel or register on the author's homepage with your precious e-mail-address for more promotion, pardon, "newsletters". Want at least to have a look into the sequel before buying? The predominant .epub format from the first, free "book" (I would rather call it appetiser...) is not offered for the 20% sample of the sequel, only the amazon proprietary .mobi format. Go buy a kindle, Stephen Hunt has dozends of books on sale at amazon.com, not only the seven visible on Smashwords. It is a pity. The "appetizer" was fun to read and the website of Stephen Hunt is interesting and entertaining, too.
  • Alien Extortion on Sep. 22, 2018
    (no rating)
    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"!
  • Beneath the Lanterns on Sep. 29, 2018
    (no rating)
    One definition for Science Fiction is extrapolation of today's real conditions (social, technical) into the future, or to ask "how would it be" if one parameter is changed, for example life on an other star like "Dragon's Egg" from Robert L. Forward, or a mutation within the human genome, like "Slan" from Van Vogt. Other novels, which aren't "hard" SF and often called fantasy, just try to entertain the reader by an exciting plot, with some future, alternative or astronomical names mixed into it so the authors need not to follow our strict scientific and historic environment, or they are using distant places or times as a stage for a romantic love story, which could have happened in today's real world either. But alas, not all authors are equally gifted in writing an interesting and scientifically correct plot with touching, individual characters. Chris Aylott in an review on "Dragons Egg" titled "The Humans Were Flat but the Cheela Were Charming in 'Dragon's Egg'" brought it to the point: "The same can't be said for the human characters. They're perfect representatives of the cardboard scientists typical of hard SF". Rhetorical question: What do you remember from Asimov's "Foundation"? The human characters or Hari Seldon's Thousand-Years-Plan? Not so C. Litka. Other authors clink out a new novel about their man-eating space crocodiles every month (and I devoured all of them as they came), Litka works on his latest idea for years until he has it all correct - and he writes great romance as well. I can not imagine that his early work, "A Summer in Amber", a beautiful romance playing in a meticulously worked out future Great Britain, will be surpassed by any future SF Author. With "Beneath the Lanterns" he has done it again, but of course, in a completely different time and based on a new plot. It starts unsuspiciously. Okay, the times of day seem to have changed from 24hrs to something like quarters of the day, and the first, second etc. hour of the quarter, but that's the freedom SF Writers have. Going along the plot, which is love and combat, unsuspicious as well, the reader becomes fascinated with the world Litka has developed. WTF are the "Lanterns"? Is it spring, summer, autumn, winter? There are more and more little differences. I think Litka has set up a riddle for readers and has fun imagining how they, bit by bit, solve the riddle or at least try to do so, unless they are fully distracted by the romance developing over the time. Unlike some other SF novels, the background proves inventive and consistent. "Beneath the Lanterns" could have been written by a physicist or an astronomer, and still has a beautiful balance between the "Science" and the "Fiction", exciting and touching at the same time. Of course Litka did not forget to include those unforgettable, subtile humouristic events, little gems we readers have become accustomed to find in his novels! Remark: I almost never award a rating to the books I am reviewing. Please see my profile for the reason. Download this one. It's fun, it is exciting, and I myself estimate C. Litka to be in the best 10 percent of authors.
  • The Trouble with Rescuing Zoe on Oct. 10, 2018
    (no rating)
    A Story about building trust into oneself and the partners, a story about love and the will to live. So far, so good. The novel begins with somebody giving somebody else a message for another person. Suspense is created by not letting the reader know what was in the message until the end of the novel. This is as spurious as the persons are cardboard characters - elder man, young woman, young man, mother-in-law, aunt, and the plot is sometimes quite ridiculous (elder man goes into the forest and comes back with a stone axe he has fabricated himself in half a day, history of mankind finding flint deposits, forming the cutting edge and making it resistant to the considerable force an axe has to apply forgotten...). This were the bad news. The good news is: - The story has a message. This is important, like a steering wheel for a car is important - else it makes noise which is fun for the kids, but it will arrive nowhere. - The author understands to create immense suspense, dangerous surprises and an exciting plot from the first to the last page. Quality is between average and good. The Table of Contents is "Chapter 1, Chapter 2, ... Chapter 8" like in most E-Books. Errors are few, even less than average, and not irritating. I almost never award ratings, as is explained in my profile. I strongly advise to download and read this novel, some intriguing reading hours are waiting for you!
  • Zebra Horizon on June 17, 2019

    Yeah, apartheit is bad, school-uniforms are bad, separate doors for girls, boys and teachers in school are bad, the black maid is superstitious but the author knew a bavarian farmer who was more superstitious. If the story is not a fake, names are fake. There is one Otto Huberschmidt. Names had a meaning when they were given to the people, so "schmidt" is somebody working with iron, Huber is a farmer who owns a whole "Hufe" of farmland. You will find a zillion "Huber" or "Schmidt" in a phone directory, but no "Huberschmidt", the name can not exist. The book is boring, politically overloaded, interaction but no action, the sparse self-irony not sufficient to help.
  • A Trucker's Tale on June 17, 2019

    I did not make it through the novel. Ten pages about how the respect for truckers is missing, how people do not understand the responsability they have to take, that the author dedicates his work to his lovely wife, and his daughters, and his father, and that his family makes the world a better place, and his father makes the world a better place, etc., and then the hero, sitting in his new truck admires how sucessful Owners make the American Dream come true ... and sorry, soon after my patience run out, because everybodies lifetime is limited and I did not want to devote more of it for a propaganda leaflet - I just thought it would be entertainment for all.
  • The Ticket on June 20, 2019

    This might be the most exciting book I ever have read, full of action. Is it logic and plausible? Yes, possibly police and secret services do this sort of action. Acting persons are not stereotype, they are described with great care. And furthermore, even though it is so thrilling, it is in some places so funny I almost peed myself, but the author applies it sparse like salt - it's not a stupid comedy. You can not avoid to smile at a dialogue like, here from a cynical old lady: "Let him in for Christ's sake. He's a car thief. You and he have much in common". Download it!
  • El Lazo - The Clint Ryan Series on July 07, 2019

    Very exciting novel, I loved it. It's not the usual western, fast written, fast forgotten, but obviously well researched. There is a detailed section at the end about the history of 19th century California, the background of the novel.
  • Chronicles of Time: Book 1 on July 16, 2019

    This novel ist quite funny and entertaining, more a heartwarming family novel (one dad, six girlies from 11-15, one yet-to-be girlfriend of dad) than "hard" SF. Remark: I checked book II with the online reader, but it is obviously identic with book I - the text on the first 10 percent (20 pages) is the same and the Table of Contents of book II shows the same chapters as are in book I. Before, I tried to make use of the Special Offer to purchase book I - III, but had a problem with purchasing at Smashwords, anyway - they seem to have changed payment procedure after five years, asking me for either a state (am no U.S. Citizen) or a province (no provinces here), so I will stick with free books.
  • Dog Robber: Jim Colling Adventure Series Book I on Aug. 10, 2019

    The first half of the book is lacking any remarkable action. Its style ist most of the time something like: "They were led through a spacious dining room and the kitchen behind it, then down a set of stairs into a cavernous cellar. Colling and Zinsmann followed Müller through several chambers until they arrived at one in which was stacked with not only lumber, but a quantity of sacks, buckets and crates". I loved it but I did not understand why. I was hooked to the way how the autor resurrected a time long gone, same as one Grimmelshausen or a Wilhelm Raabe. They depicted ages longe gone, McCurdy however described a world I still remember, the ruins of Munich, the newspaper pages of the Soviet actions in the early 1950ies, even though I was born a few years after the story begins. Then I was hooked once more when extreme suspense came up. I almost could not stop reading. Of course, the novel is not lacking a tender romance. It was quite helpful to read it on an E-Book-reader, so I could mark the names and look them up any time, so broad was the span of the action and so many details and characters were presented. The book is well worth reading, and I could not resist to purchase the sequel, too.
  • The Nomad (Awakening) on Sep. 15, 2019

    This book has escaped my filters as to reading the description carefully (there is none worth mentioning, nothing at all about the author, his background or his other work) or read a few sample pages online, tempted by the many clickbaits in the few lines of the description like "incredible string of events" or "something far more sinister". The commander just has won the war against the Symbians. Now Symbian from Nokia in fact has lost the fight first against Windows Phone and then Googles Android but that was a marketing thing and not an exciting combat. I wonder if the author even knew he had used the name of a handy operation system. I stopped wasting my lifetime at the point where the almighty commander of the mightiest spaceship humanity has available, on his campaign to save non less than the universe, directed by another humanlike race who are guardians of the world (generously giving away the DNA of really sexy, intelligent female Clones) as his first action starts a boxing match with the commander of the troups on board, to clear the chain of command in this important event. Yeah, that's how an effective organisation is built up. At least in the schoolyards up to 5th grade.
  • The Tesla Secret, Book 1 on Jan. 15, 2020

    This is another proof the quality at smashwords is declining. No author is forced to give away his work for free, but if they do, readers (and as I am informed, the Smashwords conditions) expect that is a complete book in it's own right. This one has 124 pages of narrative and ends in the moment where the scientist, the mystic and his beautiful daughter are confined in the huge estate of a filthy rich criminal. They are in danger either to get killed immediately or fall victim to a catastrophy unheard of. If they manage to escape, they will be murdered by the global adversary of their kidnapper. End of book, go buy the follow-up. Usually I look into a book before downloading. There are too much of even the free ones which are not interesting for me personally or which are just too bad. Then I read it and if I like it, and it has sequels I can afford to pay for, I purchase them. Here you could not find out in advance that this is not a complete novel, but a clickbait only, as there is no online reader for this one. Contrary to my usual procedure I doubled my rating for this book. It is well-written, exciting, its spelling is outstanding (don't remember a single error) and it has some elements of real Science-Fiction, "what-would-happen-if". I still will not purchase another book from this author. Don't want to risk to arrive at the end of a paid one and find out it has no end either, luring me into spending still more money.
  • The Last Resort on Jan. 20, 2020

    This novel is difficult to read and to review. On the surface it seems to be not very entertaining. It does contain two strings of action. One is a "Defense Report" from a convict who has been banished to an incredible distant reality. The other one is a detective story. Those threads are interwoven, whereby the "Defense Report" is partly repeated every time, partly continued. This is annoying but the author obviously wants to presentate "his" gloomy reality of our civilisation in the near future, and hammer into the awareness of the reader all the negative tendencies of our present like "maximum security prison", "propaganda campaign that equated the democratic antiwar pacifists who had opposed the Vietnam war with communists", "American democracy was seriously altered by the loss of Constitutional Rights" again and again. The other thread is the frame story, a not-too-exciting detective story. I searched for a SF story to entertain before going to sleep. This one is not good for this purpose. As I see it, you are requested to think about the matter and to see the intention of the author, to make you understand what he critizises in our today's society, in little chunks. As there already exists a review with a rating of only "one", which does not honour the intentions and craftsmanlike quality of the author (as well as the unique idea to present his opinions or warnings), I set a rating of "five" against it, making it an average of three.
  • The Shiny Thing -- An Uncle Wil Sequel on Jan. 20, 2020

    This is so sweet. I need to try out 10 or 20 downloads (after sieving a 100) to have one such success. A mystery shows up in somebodies everyday life, and step by step, when trying to solve it, a gigantic and mind-blowing adventure reveals itself, right with Aliens, Spaceships and the Earth in the near future, right with some ingenious agents of a sort of future FBI who are most of the time a step behind the main figures. Well-written, exciting, intriguing!
  • Twin Beeches -- An Illinois Love Story on Jan. 24, 2020

    I discovered the author when searching for SF. I liked his novel "the shiny thing". When I started reading "Twin Beeches" I immediately fell for the details and style of the story, which started against the same background. During the first third, I was fully content with the lovingly written description of what is obviously the homeland of the author, with a lot of details and sub-stories. Even the gruesomest parts are written with love and humour. Then the story got more and more exciting with the turn of each page and I could not put down the book, eh, the E-book-Reader. Certainly a book which I will always remember, and I can't expect to finish the follow-up "A Touch of Rural Justice".
  • A Touch of Rural Justice -- Another Illinois Love Story on Jan. 28, 2020

    The Prequel, "Twin Beeches - An Illinois Love Story" ended with Martha Jo Hawkins having found a quiet contentment in their home at Twin Beeches, next to her mother, and managed to trace down her beloved husband-to-be. When she found out a mining company had an old title to Twin Beeches and planned to strip mine the extremely rich coal under it, she decided not to respect the law, and enticed her husband, Eddie, to sabotage the plan, thereby causing extreme damage to machines, vehicles and infrastructure. Eddie is in bondage to her, and the author describes the moral conflict arising out of these crimes for the husband. Another open conflict arises between Martha and the other residents of Woodland. The coal is worth a hundred million Dollar per square mile and Krohn, the manager of the mining company, is quite willing to generously compensate everybody for their not-too-profitable fields and woods, Twin Beeches being the only plot where the owners do live in a house. The character of Krohn is multifaceted and described in the quality to which we are accustomed from this author. This starts with his reasons to treat employees well ("you don't treat everyone as though you could lose them any moment") to committing violence against a child of 12. All these events are, as usual, narrated in an increasingly exciting way and with many side-tracks about family history, description of the native Americans, their way of life and burial rites, absence of any morality in the persons who have gained a high status in the community, county or state etc. There are aspects about American Society which are new and interesting to me. Even though I have grown up in an german Evangelical family, I have not been a member of any church for fifty years. They were no believers and the history of their religion is one of the use of religion for power politics - my ancestors in 1731 were expelled from Austria if they would not switch back to Catholic religion, thus enabling their duchy returning to the power sphere of Catholic souvereigns. It was all a question of Power and Money, not about God. (They preferred to migrate to East Prussia and were barely allowed to take their children with them). Furthermore, the family cohesion and support in U.S. is probably stronger than in German post-war years, where families and communities were widely dispersed, so the author gives - probably without knowing - an interesting view of the mindset of American society. Another page-turner of Paul Schoaf. I strongly recommend reading it, after "Twin Beeches - An Illinois Love Story".
  • ARMS War for Eden on Feb. 01, 2020

    Thanks, I enjoyed this one very much. Of course, there are other SF-novels about Dealers and Smugglers, and I liked those, too. "War for Eden" is not a bier-ernst book (I don't know to translate that word, means among else it makes you smile), but it has an earnest background about not living at the cost of society, and making good the mistake if you did, and got the insight that you did wrong. Furthermore, it is exciting, too. Clifford D. Simak managed to describe a dragon as a nice pet for a boy, even after it had grown to the size of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, but to all what I know, Stephen Arseneault is the first author in SF history who presented a robot dog plausibly as a lovable pet, btw. Contrary to my earlier reviews, a rating of five stars means now that it is worth reading and on the same level als the best other novels on Smashwords and you should not hesitate to download it. It does not mean, of course, that the author is comparable to George Orwell or Aldous Huxley because of this novel.
  • Rural Murder -- Another Illinois Love Story on June 07, 2020

    The fans of Paul Schoaff know that his books are intriguing, thrilling and filled with very much detail. That's not the only feature which distinguishes them from a lot of the other reading matter which we like so much on portals like Smashwords. I have read lots of crime novels where their author at a certain point wrote: "It rained, so they got wet", and I forgot all of them within a short time. In "Rural Murder" I read "A low pressure area was advancing a warm front up from Arkansas through Missouri to Western Illinois (... later) transitioning into Spring, or what passes for it in Western Illinois". That one I will not forget, instead I added it into my general knowledge. Only an author who has experienced the setting of his story himself can know such detail. I learnt the details of the home of a well-to-do couple, with their shiny new gas stove etc., and of their poor neighbours, which have difficulty to heat their home in cold winter with their wood stove and nail additional sheets on their windows to improve insulation. Lots of authors, most of them not very gifted in writing, have a central figure which is superman (or superwoman), masters all sorts of fighting, is the best marksman in the world etc. Schoaffs would-be sniper never learnt what the small screws on the rear sight of his shotgun were for, so he does not correct for the distance - and shoots the hat, not the person (and it was the hat of an other person in the group, btw). The persons of Schoaf are multi-facetted. The judge is corruptible and was forced to give up his post, but over the years, he is recognized as a valuable member of society. The sheriffs get lost in their own surroundings, finally meeting on a cow path in the middle of nowhere. "Neither wanted to admit they were lost. “Do you know where you are going?”, Pollitt finally spoke. “Nope, haven't got a friggin' clue”. The plot is built intriguingly and has a lot of surprising but plausible turns. The murder is investigated by three sheriffs and we learn how they are trained, rural areas with a small budget compared to a city, and each of them have their own background, methods and way of thinking. We watch them professionally uncovering the secrets of even this small, seemingly simply structured, society, co-operating and finding the solution at last. At the end, nobody is really evil - and almost nobody is really law-abiding. Sometimes, you must smile - what with the previous sheriff, having been forced to ride his patrol car for 15 years until it was 400.000 miles old, and been denied a new, roadworthy vehicle every time he applied for it. So on his very last day before retirement, he ordered a brand new one with all bells and whistles and the town council never could keep him responsible for the expenses or even punish him. I am already looking forward for the next novel of "Rural Illinois"!
  • Lovejoy's World on July 26, 2020

    Certainly one of the best SF adventure books I ever read, exciting and touching. Much action, dialogues etc, and good description of characters. It is not the usual western, transplanted into space (so not the horribly unimaginative story of an universe filled with bipeds which fight, a wink in their eyes for communication etc.), but it is logical SF, what might the consequences for life developing on a slightly different planet, or how our future might look like. Highest quality, too - the Table of Contents has titles, not only "Chapter 1, Chapter 2, ...", and normaly I mark typos and errors, either for critique or for helping authors sending them a list, but I found NONE here. Why not award the best rating possible, which I do very seldom.
  • The Night the Lights Went Out on Sep. 10, 2020

    This is a rather unpretentious novel, one-dimensional, not extremely exciting, strictly meeting the unit of time, of place and of person. Now why do I rate it at four stars, which I do rather seldom considering five stars is the highest possible and extremely highly rated authors like, for example, Michael Crichton or Isaac Asimov do exist? Because it is real Science Fiction. No faster-than-light vessels with ridiculous pseudo-science background and the rest of the plot is identic to a bad pirate story, no beings from other stars with other gravity, light frequency, different environment but they have two eyes, soft skin, arms, legs, wink at each other, laugh etc. It is a story in our days with our science, a what-if question at it's best. You can not avoid starting to think about it. What if power fails in a highly developed nation? What would the people do? How would their psyche develop? What would the military do, the local governments, the national government? And further, what is good, what is evil? Is looting evil if there are no cash mashines, no working computerized cash register systems, no organisation where you could pledge labour against food for your family?
  • Mystery at the Fair on Nov. 16, 2020

    Exciting whodunit story. Background is a rural fair, outlined in loving detail and well worth to read. Quality: Table of contents is "Book 1", "Chapter 1" etc. through "Chapter Forty-Nine". No errors or typos. The end is fair - no cliffhanger even though it is the first of a series.
  • The Stone Arrow on Dec. 09, 2020
    (no rating)
    "The Stone Arrow" shows us the world at 3000 B.C. with much details. To all I have learnt in my life, it has been written by an expert and is very well researched. More than that: the facts get life. There is not (only) a description of a Late Neolithic castle, but the people living and working there, the purpose and it's impact on society are shown as if you were there. Very soon there is breath-taking action, so it's a real page turner. Quality is perfect, almost no typos or mistakes and the Table of Content is meaningful, nothing like "chapter 1, chapter 2, ..." like so much on Smashwords - and it's free, a gift to Smashwords users. Up to this point, the book merits five stars from me, so why no rating from me? It ends with a cliffhanger. The hero has fled from slavery, returned and freed a beautiful girl as he had promised. Never had slaves success in fleeing previously. They are pursuited by mercyless soldiers with bloodthirsty hounds, barely escaped the first wave of them and sure that another one will follow, swimming naked in the sea to break the scent trail and need to get out for rest and find clothing. End of book, go buy the sequel, which does not even has the usual 20% trial version (which is not too expensive, but I won't recommend books marketed by unfair methods). So, download it only if you are aware that it is, contrary to Smashwords conditions, not complete by itself, or if you are prepared to pay for the sequel(s) anyway - and who knows if those are complete or do have a similar open end. On the other hand, to deduct stars in the rating would give a wrong impression of the book.
  • Time Ship (Book One): A Time Travel Romantic Adventure on Dec. 21, 2020

    The story is quite exciting and well written. Quality is good, alsmost no typos. Table of Content is "Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, ...", no individual headers. The Plot is Time Travel, an often and trite "scientific" idea: if the thunderstorm is big enough, it might transfer you into another century. The author makes the best of it, a story in three levels - pirate, pilot, general, often breathtaking. The persons and romances are a little bit ... interchangeable, feeble - I had to mark the names and look up who's who frequently. This is no Tolstoi but the story still is a page turner. The bad news is: I always thought smashwords titles are each a complete novel. Not this one. To the contrary, the author has created a now art form of getting people to buy the sequel. The end is "man loves girl but they are in a desperate situation, on the coast the enemy is preparing his attack, on the ship a situation has developed which will lead to the extinction of mankind", end of book, go buy the sequel. More than that, the last sentences are: "You have now reached the end of Book One of 'Time Ship.' If you have enjoyed reading this book and would like to continue the story, please return to your ebook provider and download 'Time Ship (Book Two)'. In Part Two, you will find the answers to the following questions: 1: Will the (...) 2: What is the secret of (...) " etc, up to number 8. I think this is not fair, and even if this first half of the complete book is free, I would not recommend taking the time to read it - at the moment I am writing this, you even can not buy the sequel at smashwords.
  • The Assassin's Gift (Book One) on Dec. 21, 2020

    Another book of the author which brazenly ends with a cliffhanger. You can't even buy the sequel from Smashwords at the moment when I am writing this.
  • The Old Ranger: A Texas Ranger Short Story on Dec. 29, 2020

    Short story is "The old Ranger", from TOC on page 4 to the end at page 12. From page 13 to 16 follow some acknowledgements and advertisements for the author's website and his "other books in ebook and paperback on Amazon". From page 17 to page 43 it's three chapters of "Logan's Word:, Book 1". It ends in a cliffhanger, danger by one gunman, a neighbour with a ranch and the indians, with a link to Amazon and the words: "Tap here to buy the full ebook now", for 3.28 USD as a Kindle ebook, part of a series of four. Follows advertising for "sign up for pre-order and release date for the author's new Western", Forty-Four Caliber Justice. This makes it eight pages short story and 35 pages title, copyright and marketing.
  • Tumble: The Andaman Event on Jan. 13, 2021

    The book is very exciting, no-nonsense, no dragons, no impossible faster-than-light spaceships, and to all I know, well researched in geographical, geological and military details. Quality is good: a.) only one mistake recurring a few times, e.g. "you're", when the author wanted to say "your". Normally I do not mention errors in the review, but send authors a list, but it was only this mistake so it was not worth the trouble. The E-Book clearly had professional editing. b.) the table of contents is not "chapter 1, chapter 2, chapter 3", but describes place and time of the chapter. An extraordinary feature is that at the beginning of each chapter you are encouraged to look up the place. I had the e-book-reader in one hand and the W-LAN-Tablet in the other, so I could look up places in Google Earth, and the book is so well researched that even single buildings, which are mentioned in the story, show up in Google satellite view. Reading is demanding, as the language is challenging. Being no native English reader, I had my e-reader display lots of words I did not know (and sometimes the e-reader not either), poignant, threnodic, chiffoniers, prodromal - whatever. All the books I have read from Bob Triggs end with a cliffhanger. Persons are in deadly danger, mankind will probably face extinction, end of book, go buy the next one of the series. Whoever follows my reviews will note that I never awarded more than one star if the story ends with a cliffhanger, enticing the reader to buy the sequel. Now, why I don't do it this time - is'nt this unfair to the other authors? Reasons are the following (I still do not like the method): 1. The e-book is to long. The Andaman Event is two stories, one mostly in East asia up to page 114 on December 26th, , one starting on page 115 on the american continent at June 21th. The last author I awarded one star only had only 14 pages actual action in an e-book of almost 100 pages, the rest was marketing speech, short previews and links. 2. The actual three e-books have an online preview so you can see what you get. The aforementioned, last author I read had no preview, let aside online. I thought that one forgot it but now I think they do it intentionally. 3. Bob Triggs has 15% samples online, so you can at least see how the story continues in the second and third part. I am disappointed, however, because of the end of the third one ("the 35dth parallel") - He and She watch their comrade drown or maybe not, on the run, and have to follow him into the torrential flood, their army is attacked by superior forces, mankind is struggling for survival, end of book - and the sequel is not yet written. So I appeal to the author tho avoid this "cliffhangers" at the end (btw: in accordance with smashwords conditions!), and to publish the sequel (book Nr. 4), but I also strongly encourage downloading "The Andaman Event" and buying the sequels.
  • Waters of the Kalahari on Jan. 26, 2021

    Having worked in Africa für an civil engineering many years ago, I looked forward to read an exciting novel against this background. Ten boring screens on my E-Reader with pseudo-sex scenes of the lady of a castle in Swizerland I found myself not able to stay awake, let aside to continue reading. No action, no adventure, no realistic personalities, no hope of improvement, even though when I checked at some pages further into the book - just more eternal love, more of his hands on her hips.
  • A Senior Moment: A Blog on Jan. 26, 2021

    People who have read "The Ticket", "The sand trap" and "The Dark Web" are accustomed to exciting, well researched novels from the author. If they do not play golf, they are accustomed to ignore the very useful, experienced and long advices on playing golf, which come in handy in "A Senior Moment", also. Now, where is the tension in the book? This one builds up more sophisticated. It has four parts. Quite far into the first part I e-mailed the author that I did not count me to the target group of readers for this part, expecting the usual high tension. The advice of the shocked author was to read on, which I did. You even might be tempted to read part I in a fast pace - beginning with part II there builds up real action to an almost unbearable, but never unrealistic climax. Part I is the setup the author uses to introduce the characters, the main character being 71 years old (like myself), the author being a septuagenarian, too. So there is more in part I than a mere introduction - it is a tutorial into managing life (finances, family, golf equipment and expertise) after 70, a preview for those who are younger, a smiling confirmation to other seniors that they are not alone with their ailments and hopes. More than that - if you read part I too fast, you will miss lots of funny and important insights, experiences of a whole life. The author hates what I too hate. For example, a remark on Social Media: "... right wing sites that use the strategy of posting cute kitten photos (...) the reader (...) shares with their 400 friends and now you (and all your unsuspecting friends) are documented as viewers of this right wing website". You must be a senior (or a real media expert) to have such insights. Frequently I literally rolled on the floor laughing, for example when the main character developed a plan to make a real bestseller in sales (anything): "... find something that you would really like imbibing, and make it healthy. The original snake oil barker of 100 years ago ... could sell anything called a magic elixier in prohibition days that was 50% alcohol". Don't miss all those blog entries. Then part II begins and BANG! there comes the action. Very subtly, a conflict in the family starts building up about the financial assets of dad (the main character). In part III he finds himself in the center of a so-called grandpa scam, solves a mysterious supposed murder in the family, has to save a grandchild from deadly danger, debunks a mafia-like organisation and last not least finds out about the real identity of persons who are not what they seem to are, or not doing their job as they are thought to do them. So my advice to you is: read on, it is worth it!
  • Qualify on March 21, 2021

    Is it possible to write a plausible (!) novel comprising martial arts (all types: empty-hand defense, knive and sword, assault rifle, ...), some sort of holiday or is it boot camp for teenager, a sort of world-wide Olympic Games, faster-than-light space travel, a "Cannonball" race through U.S., scenes like "Running man" from Stephen King alias Richard Bachman, the enigma how the Egyptian pyramids could have been constructed thousands of years ago, a network of espionage, the basics of music theory and operatic singing, the mysterious disappearance of Atlantis, the physics of sub-sea tunnels and much more? No, it is not possible, but it results in 700 pages enthralling reading matter. It begins very calm with the tender love of sweet schoolgirl Gwen to her classmate Logan, but very soon gets exciting and dramatic. Novel characters are not stereotypical but finely modeled, and you soon begin to turn pages hoping for their success.
  • This Corner of the Universe on April 01, 2021

    E-book-Readers know that in the first part of a Space Opera, authors need to present persons, vessels, star systems and the whole universe, especially if it's a serie's start. The author has invested an incredible amout of details, and it is visible in the first pages. In this novel, it takes around 100 pages but is not too boring. And it pays out to read. Readers are enabled to follow the SF action. It gets unbearable dramatic. Britt has published one of the most exciting space battle scenes of SF history, almost comparable to "Footfall" from Larry Niven!
  • Small Town Taxi on May 21, 2021

    Very funny. Takes us seniors for a ride (pun intended) and shows thereafter we still make ourselves useful. Shows to us men the world of women, risking all they can just for a fashionable pair of red shoes ;) . I purchased the sequel today for more entertainment, excitement and fun!
  • Sixty-Four Days, A Sea Story on May 28, 2021

    The 26 pages contain title, 2 pages intro for everything, 12 pages story No. 1 and 10 pages story No. 2. Both of them are complete short stories worth reading. Story Nr. 1. I remember having watched a video of the horrible accident from 29 July 1967 on the aircraft carrier "Forrestal" with 134 dead, when due to the gross disregard of safety regulations a missile from a parked jet fighter hit another one, causing spill of fuel all over the deck. The accident is mentioned in the short story, too, a surviving person remembering it decades later, 64 days before his retirement. Story Nr. 2 is similar, about an everyday accident on a carrier. Both are well written. So could it have been. The author shows us the danger and heroismus of everyday life on a warship.
  • Big Dirt on June 21, 2021

    Could not lay aside the book. Humour and suspense, bad spies and worse mother-in-law, and, btw., a subtle plea against racism all make excellent stuff for reading.
  • Bad State on June 21, 2021

    Very exciting thriller with many surprising turns, not lacking humour. Author seems to love Australia but he's not directly saying so.
  • Crooked House on July 19, 2021

    I should give one star instead of five. Peter Menadue cost me all free time of three weeks with his twelve novels. They ware too intriguing to lay down the ebook-reader. I don't know why authors give away their work, even masterpieces like this one, but they do it. Thank you, Peter! This review is for a little part to support the author. The bigger part is to help readers find the really good, entertaining books. Don't miss this one. And as I don't want to write the same for all twelve titles of Menadue, my rating is valid for every single of them!
  • Webster City on July 19, 2021

    Webster City begins slowly and leads to a real height of tension. Contrary to ten novels of Peter Menadue, it is Science Fiction, very realistic. As if the Author had anticipated the Corona (Covid-19) disaster, spreading from a laboratory. Could not stop reading "Webster City" and it's follow-up "Freedom City".
  • Motherload on Aug. 16, 2021

    Exciting! Loved it!
  • Street Candles on Aug. 20, 2021

    This is a big novel, and not only because it is almost six hundred exciting, intriguing pages. Not even because its setting extends stars and realms. It also shows a big stretch of the inner life of the main person, which I got to know as if it was a living human being. The book is written not without humour, but I read the big chapter about the revolution in the very days when Kabul and whole Afghanistan fell to the Taliban and the world learnt of the atrocities which were committed to those on the wrong side of the revolution. So the novel is realistic enough, it's theme being mainly the grief and guilt man can endure - or not.
  • Obsidian's War on Oct. 29, 2021

    Great novel, written with humour and extremely exciting. Could not stop reading it!
  • Southern Hunter on Nov. 01, 2021

    An outrageously exciting novel, with only a slight SF flavor, which has as its theme the search for a prehistoric predator in the Australian bush. Thematically comparable to "Jurassic Parc" by Michael Crichton, but in my opinion more serious, with believable characters, and not as Disney-esque as that novel, let alone the movies made from this template. More literary quality than some a lot of other free e-books.
  • Pray for Rain on Nov. 04, 2021

    "Pray for Rain", Part 1, is an exciting story, written with just the shot of humour and irony we readers like. It is, however, not a "hard" science fiction novel. Replace the names of galaxies by names like Marseille, Beirut, Lagos and Chikago, replace "Star Gate" with "Airport" and you are in a "detectives-against-the-drug-cartels" story. The ships and their drive technology are not nearer described and could be the Mayflower, Queen Elizabeth, Nimitz. There are governments consisting of greedy gangsters who don't give a damn for the welfare of their subjects, exactly as on Earth. The persons are not only human beings, but lots of aliens with tentacles etc. The author obviously wanted to prove he can write SF. But unlike some earnest SF, there is no explanation why they are what they are. All breathe air, everybody is communicating, the communication is by sound (our bees do it by dancing...) etc. There is a being which is similar to an ant. Why does it look like an ant? Which development on his home planet makes him look like an insect? In Robert L. Forward's "Dragon's Egg", people are very, very shallow, because they live on a neutron star, with a gravity of 67 billion times that of Earth. That's Science Fiction - extrapolation to future ages, different physics on different planets etc. Persons in the novel are not very differentiated, suspense has priority. Still worth downloading, so my rating is four stars. The title has 161 pages, the next 37 pages are previews to the other books of the author.
  • Pray for Rain Part 2 on Nov. 07, 2021

    Part 2 is not less exciting than part 1. The setting this time is Bangkok, which make it a bit more real Science Fiction - if aliens wanted to subjugate Earth, how would it happen. As it happens, it does not make a big difference - no spaceships as big as New York, just the gangsters we are accustomed anyway. One more real SF thing I forgot to mention in my Review of part 1. The war is fought at two levels, a second one furtively between hackers and security devices, data bases, security cameras - opening doors, hiding attacking intruders etc. There is a message in the story, too: "Real power came from your view of yourself. An Acceptance and belief in yourself; a personal moral code; ...". It is brought to us together with some fine irony, like a comparison with the traffic on an intergalactic spaceport: "have you seen the traffic in Bangkog? Nothing is a surprise in those roads". As is the case for Part 1, too, I recommend marking names and maybe reading some parts several times over. This is not the western "gunman shoots predators, gets married to the farmers widow and settles down" on 70 pages, but a well built, logic story over the whole Universe, with a lot of different gangs and acting people. You will enjoy reading "Pray for Rain"!
  • Sedgwick County Ambush on Nov. 17, 2021

    The novel is written straight-line, except the first chapter, a riddle which is not bad to keep the tension really high for the most part of the story. The numerous mistakes are irritating, but there are only three different types: - the wondering cows as in "your cattle wondering over and eating on his crops". I stopped counting at nine. - "to" instead of "too" as in "They weren't to intimidating Bub", - missing comma as in ""You tell that to the Farlands Sheriff?" Soph asked". (she does not want to know if a certain sheriff of a far plot has been informed of something, but the is talking to the sheriff), or "I think my boys and I understand Mr. Davis" (it is not a matter that somebody understands one Mr. Davis, but somebody is talking to Mr. Davis, assuring him that they understand him). These missing commas and some similar errors make it sometimes difficult to understand the story, even though the novel is written in very simple language. Okay, it's a lot of action and quite thrilling. Even more, it is free - somebody sacrificed a lot of lifetime to make us readers a gift. Thank you, Mr. Nease!
  • Clarity on Nov. 23, 2021

    Great book, 450 pages exciting action. Too bad, that the Glossary is placed after the end of the story. With an e-book-reader, you better not go to the end first for looking for something like that, because it will consider the story as "read" in all future. There are long dialogues about karma, moral debt etc. - many pages long. Way too long, in my opinion. As the plot depends on some sort of airship, powered by a mysterious mineral, you may think this is a little bit too much fantasy, not supported by science. But consider that you only need the normal, un-refined uranium on earth to start a nuclear reaction, nothing complicated with U-235 highly enriched by centrifuges etc. Hang it in a three dimensional grid, dunk it in a big swimming pool filled with heavy water (Norway had a processing plant back in 1935 and the Nazis would have loved to steal it in WWII for their planned nuclear reactor in Haigerloch) and the production of heat begins. So the kyne energy from certain crystals in the book is not so implausible as it may seem, even if it needs magicians and not electronic controls to run it. I would like to read a follow- up ...
  • The Phone Rang in the Middle of My Shower on Nov. 23, 2021
    (no rating)
    Being about religious topics, the message of the book is not really for me. But as it was well written, I was not able to lay it aside before the end.
  • The Phone Rang in the Middle of My Shower on Nov. 23, 2021

    Being about religious topics, the message of the book is not really for me. But as it was well written, I was not able to lay it aside before the end.
  • A Singular Captain on Nov. 28, 2021

    I could not "dip in and out" of this book or reserve it for entertaining me on plane trips like others mentioned, but breathlessly read it from beginning to end, marking names, often going back until I understood the events as much as possible, or looking up other sources on the internet. It is exciting and touching, one of the biggest story of mankind and at the same time giving an analysis of the personalities involved. I read about Magellan in Wikipedia and other sources and found out that "A Singular Captain" is a very exact description of the historic sources as wall, following exactly the diary of Antonio Pigafetta. Readers fluent in German language should be able to find the legal, free downloads of the .epub or .pdf of Stefan Zweig "Magellan". There are also English translations, title "Conqueror of the Seas". (Dont' know if there are free ones, too). The book from 1938 has approx. 200 pages. It is worth to read it, at least the first half. The first 100 pages comprise the Age of Discovery, starting in the early 15th century with the first Portuguese discoveries in the Atlantic archipelagos and Africa, as well as the discovery of America by Spain in 1492, and the discovery of the ocean route to the East in 1498, and by a series of European naval expeditions across the Atlantic and later the Pacific, which continued until the 18th century (Wikipedia). It covers the ships, navigation, organisation of those time as well as the early years of Magellan, be it as a soldier during the conquest of the muslim rule of the trade with the far east or later as a seaman. Both read together gives a comprising picture of the important period of history.
  • Between the Rivers on Dec. 03, 2021

    Gideon is an extremely dangerous young man, based on his abilities in combat and outdoor life, but also on his anger against the criminals which burnt the ranch of his employer and killed all family. This is one side which creates suspense and action. The other side is, a judge posed Gideon under control of a well-meaning farmer with four sons in Gideon's age so there are lots of conflicts for Gideon - escape and continue his search for the murderers or allow the family he's living with to civilize him, even let him learn to read and write fluently etc. This creates a lot of very funny and/or heart-warming situations. I loved this book!
  • Another Fine Navy Day in the desert. on Dec. 03, 2021

    Linear narrated thriller with lots of action.
  • Coral Sea Affair on Dec. 08, 2021

    A real page turner, endless action, sometimes funny, lot of romance. Could not lay it down.
  • Quivers and Quills on Dec. 28, 2021

    Nice to read. It's no real Science Fiction (and was not sold as such) but it is amusing - and very american. Style is exciting, lots of dialogues, no boring educational content. The message, part 1 is: "Family is an incredibly gift" (page 276), part 2 being: "remember love" so you won't have to understand string theory to profit of the book. Almost no errors. Table of Contents is "1 ... 2.... 27 ... Join My Readers Club" etc.
  • The Atlantis Keystone on Dec. 29, 2021

    Wow, that's an intriguing and exciting story, spanning from ancient egypt to present Sweden and, among else, explosive Beirut. Hope the author will publish more!
  • A Glitch in the System on Dec. 31, 2021

    Liked it very much. Well written. It may be the author's first book, but he is no beginner - a real page turner.
  • The Adventures of Wil Calder on Dec. 31, 2021

    Could not lay down this novel. Oh yes, it has nothing to do with Science Fiction - no extrapolation of today's technique or society, no aliens where there is shown how their body depends on the physical properties of their planet etc. It is just Captain Hornblower without all the salt water. But what a great Space Opera! It is written by a professional author, thrilling, applying flashbacks, lots of dialogues, humorous, nobody boring us with ethic messages like, we should not eat meat from farting cows, ruining the climate - just best entertainment.
  • Wanted Man on Dec. 31, 2021

    Another intriguing, exciting Novel of Peter Menadue. I love his thrillers from Australia!
  • The Toxic Dream on Jan. 03, 2022

    Exciting thriller by an experienced and gifted author. No boring paragraphes, and there are lots of action, dialogues, change between scenes. However, the orthography is as horrible as the action, lots of errors on every page, not typos but mistakes making it a problem to understand what is meant. "He knows were up to something" (we are, we're), on the same page "The vice President has just been assassinated" and "the assignation of the VP", "No, your right but..." (you are, you're). Else the novel should have at least four stars from me. "The Vapour Trails Of Hypocrisy" from the same author, written two years later, is much better so I will reserve the four stars for that one.
  • The Vapour Trails Of Hypocrisy on Jan. 04, 2022

    Intriguing and exciting detective story, well worth reading. Errors still are numerous, but the author has learned a lot since his "The Toxic Dreams" (or found some friend for proofread - it is well known that a pro costs a lot).
  • The Heads of Ayr on Jan. 04, 2022

    The latest and best novel of the author. Also it's not so deadly serious like many detective and horror stories. I loved the scenes with DC Kat Harper. There still is a healthy level of errors, like "see a very contempt dog lying in the sun" (= content) or "don't let the act full you" (= fool). Well worth reading and much better than some of the bestsellers you can buy for plenty $$$. Hope there will be more!
  • Denim Shorts & Foxy Tales on Jan. 05, 2022

    I am a fan of John Muir. I learnt so much from him about Australia, the Philippines etc. He is one of the greatest. This book is humourous with much understanding for people, intriguing and exciting!
  • Olympus Rises (Book One of the Code of War) on Jan. 06, 2022

    I did not like this one, but I haven't read on after approximately the first half. Continuation of the Afghanistan war by Rambo-like boxing matches? The enemy proves to be a "seductive woman" (P. 124)? nope.
  • Your Move on Jan. 29, 2022

    Intriguing plot with a lot of murders, about a mathematic game. A mixture of mixture of sensitivity and suspense with a lot of regional details and U.S. culture. Warning: I am accustomed to convert binary to decimal figures and vica versa by mental calculation. Most readers might wish to inform themselves about the matter to understand what it's all about. One star deducted in rating. Reason: I was shocked by the clause: "no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book". At this point I realized that I already had violated the aforementioned clause. I had transmitted the book by electronic means from smashwords.com to the HDD of my pc, to be retrieved by a retrieveal software called "Calibre". Then I had transported part of it into the electronic memory of my graphic card and again transmitted it, this time to my computer monitor, which acts as sort of electronic memory, too, storing one character at one defined point of said monitor. To read on I needed to transmit the book, this time to a storing device called "Tolino Share 3", which has a retrieval firmware based on Android. May I ask the "written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book" as mentioned there, to send me there "prior written permission" to transmit and store the .epub file I purchased. If I happen to be the first person on earth (including the author) to have read this clause, I might propose to change it for the use in electronic books. The author, after all, describes himself as a pioneer in the computer industry!
  • Trust Me if You Dare on Jan. 29, 2022

    This really was fun to read, of course intriguing and sensitive, but I like to look up places mentioned in the books I read and learn to know cultures in other countries. The author has exact but not boring descriptions of places like Death Valley, remembering me of my visit there during a motorcycle tour of U.S.A. Furthermore social accents in other countries are different from my personal circumstances - family and social networking is extremely important in U.S. (don't have any of both), conversation even in business life is more casual (German language has different words for personal relationships, it's "Du", and formal relationships, which is "Sie" - in English it's all "You") etc. So even as a speed reader, I spent a lot of time enjoying this book.
  • East of the Wall on Feb. 03, 2022

    "East of the wall" is an intriguing and exciting spy novel, as we are used to from Alan Cook. Alan also includes two recommendations for further information about Life in Communist East Germany from Anna Funder and David Strack, which are available as E-Books (but not on smashwords.com). Alan Cook took a lot of trouble to describe life in Eastern Germany but of course, was not perfect. Please note that my following remarks are very unfair, because I am a German Citizen and have experienced life in Western Germany for more than seventy years, as well as lots of details about East Germany. First, he tries to show his knowledge of Germany by using a lot of German words. This went all wrong with what he used most frequently, "Fräulein". It is so simple. "Fräulein" is one of the seldom words which translate very exactly into the English language, meaning "Miss", but he uses it like "girl" in english ("I have a fraulein here", "must be the fraulein", dreaming of being "with a pretty fraulein"). Sorry, you do not dream of a pretty miss, but of a pretty girl and that is "Mädchen" or, more formal, "Junge Frau" (young lady). "Fräulein" is for status, so the boss would introduce his secretary to others: "Dies ist Fräulein Schmitz" (meet miss Schmitz), and it is the correct salutation for a woman not yet married: "Fräulein Schmitz, kommen Sie bitte zum Diktat" (Miss Schmitz, please come for dictation). Good try, epic failure. That's not the only misunderstanding, but the funniest. "Entschuldigen Sie mich" (excuse me) in German is not used if a person wants to talk to a stranger, but when he/she ist talking to someone and wants to leave or to answer the phone, to open the door for another visitor etc. Furthermore, a lot of life in GDR is described more gloomy than I know. Why should, 17 years after the end of WWII, all and any windows show "ubiquitous torn lace curtains"? Certainly, housewifes would have mended them or having been able to buy or trade better ones. Why should Steins be chipped or broken? GDR was lacking foreign currency, but Steins have been produced for thousands of years, just form clay and burn it in a fire. BTW, I believe even in GDR Steins are not refilled with beer, but the waiter brings a clean Stein filled with beer and takes away the empty one. Why should normal GDR women look scruffy, having "unruly gray hair", should "wash it more"? Certainly there were hairbrushes in every household and women even in the poorest countries have found a way to obtain soap, henna or dye blond. Partygoers "had brought baskets of food with them that made up in quantity what it lacked in quality". Huh?! Did they bring moldy potatoes and rotten cabbage to the party? GDR citizens normally did not have much imports from South America like bananas or coffee. The Central European countries, however, have their own delicacies, like salami from Hungary, geese from Poland, borschtsch soup from Russia, and GDR was famous for "broiler" (grilled chicken). The reason western citizens loved the fall of the Iron Curtain was, that they now could buy the popular Thuringia bratwurst (grin). So I suppose that the author used the same text modules as he had for describing Cuba living conditions, or as today's propaganda uses for North Korea. On the other hand, at the party they had "guitars, a saxophone, and even a keyboard". Really? In 1963?! I thought my Roland E14 keyboard from the 1990ies was an early one. All I know is that there already was available the "Hammond organ", an instrument with a big electrical motor inside, as big and expensive as a good piano. Still worth buying, I am enjoying the books from Alan Cook very much!
  • Forget to Remember on Feb. 10, 2022

    Exciting and touching novel, a real page-turner, well worth it's price. Regrettably it has the unspeakable clauses of the pre-Ebook-period like, it must not be stored into a retrieval system (= your pc or E-Book-Reader), and not be transmitted by electronic means (= downloaded) without prior written permission etc.
  • Catch a Falling Knife on Feb. 10, 2022

    I loved this one. If there were not books like "The Bible", or "Jurassic parc" from Crichton (which I read before Steven Spielberg detected it) it might well have merited five stars from me. This one is not an absurd spy novel about superman/superwoman saving the world from Communism, but about a senior woman confronted with criminals in her social neighbourhood and saving the personal happiness of her granddaughter and her future son-in-law with her intellect and persistence. It's written with some sense of humour, too, for example they are talking about some police detective: "... don't trust anybody under 50 (...)" . I love the little scenes in Cook's novels with dogs, too (Lillian meets a dog "so that he could sniff me, although I kept my hands behind me (...) in case his intentions weren't honorable"). Being one of the earliest books of the author I have downloaded, this one also has the silly clauses of the pre-Ebook-age like that it is forbidden to store the book into a retrieval system (= your E-Book-Reader...) or transmitted by (...) electronic means (= downloaded from Smashwords) without prior written permission. Oh yeah, the author is, according to his own words, a pioneer in the computer industry so maybe he will find out sooner or later that the clause should be adapted to the 21th century... As a rating of five stars is reserved to The Bible or awarded by me when I am elated and drunk at the same time, it is four stars.
  • The Wrong Side Of A Gun on March 18, 2022

    Extremely exciting and suspenseful novel, describing also the emotional background of the acting persons. Far better than the usual "whodunit" novel. Good value for the money considering that it is more than 120.000 words. Table of contents is "Chapter 1, Chapter 2" etc. up to 59. Contained are approx. 12 percent links and previews of other novels of the author. I think this is acceptable.
  • The Forbidden List on March 29, 2022

    As we accustumed to in the novels of David Grace, this is a very exciting and enticing novel. The basic story is, considered as science-fiction, not very elaborate: A potentially very dangerous invention, which would enably any country to build a small device, als destructive as a tactical nuclear bomb, is suppressed with all available means by the Government. (But we have real-world analogies to that. The Nazis were stealing "heavy water" from Norway, which would have enabled them to develop their own nuclear weapons, but western governments did not hesitate to sink the ship which transported it, with fourteen Norvegian passengers dead. Probably they saved the world by sacrificing those innocent people, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norwegian_heavy_water_sabotage). So, "Forbidden List" is not as phantastic as it seems. And we have David Grace quality, with realistic persons and a lot of details!
  • Trouble Magnet on Aug. 11, 2022

    Very thrilling, with much feeling. The mass of action is a little bit unplausible, but the novel still is worth five stars.
  • Torino Dreams on Aug. 13, 2022

    I liked "Trouble Magnet" from this author for his action, mystery and humour. In "Torino Dreams" I did not find what I expected. What we get is the classical Wild-West-Story: Woman lives alone in the countryside with her little child; she is threatened by the bad boys; good boy arrives (in "Trouble Magnet") with his BMW; lot of unpunished murders in the past in this region; they fall in love but, of course, do not have sex before marriage; good boy with help of the woman wins against an army of bad boys and they can marry, to have kids together. This is a lot of room for action, shootings, acts of violence, not all of them very plausible. What I did not like was the action was drowned in sweet sauce all over, love, kids, babies, protective boyfriends and husbands, 90 percent of the story being such as: "Only the stars watched as their excitement slowly borned down to a simmering need to hold each other", or "Tears glistended in her eyes". "Sam ", Kate said, "I love you so much.". The theme of the book might be not (only) an action story, but a big story of guilt, love, to open up to one's lover, trust, family, marriage, but then it was too much for me to enjoy.
  • Predictions on Aug. 14, 2022

    This book has an epic span of almost the whole century, well worth reading for anybody. Much romance, but also much action and much historic details. Lot of weddings, but not too intrusive. I loved it.
  • Cop An Attitude on Aug. 16, 2022

    Normally, I would have missed this book. I never download any if there is no online reader, to check style, errors etc. I believe I got this at the year-end-sale. I love reading. In historical novels I look up history in Wikipedia, in the many Australian E-books on Smashwords I check Google Maps etc. "Cop An Attitude", by comparison, is rather irrelevant - just "Girl loves man, girl marries man at last", no hundred years of world history, no spaceships roaming the universe - but amusing entertainment. It is funny (I had an accident and at the moment read a lots of books in bed). A sentence like: "When I left my house, I had hoped I’d make a grand entrance. Instead, I made a memorable exit", about a failed party visit, makes me smile. I LOVED it. Quality is okay, and I did not find any errors. Thanks for it!
  • Rover Flight on Sep. 07, 2022

    Rover Flight is Science Fiction with a big "Science", interesting, plausible and with a lot of action. Normally I would award five stars but the problem with the action is, that a lot of the book is filled with lectures about modern media in U.S.A., which have nothing to do with the plot or action itself. Yes, it is funny and plausible, that millions of television viewers don't give a damn about the new way of spaceflight not depending on huge rocket boosters, but prefer to ask about the sleeping arrangements of the passengers (2 male, 2 female). However the lectures from page 278-284 on my E-Book-Reader, 326-328 and many more is not, what the buyer of a space opera expected, and the Fiction is not what somebody interested how the media work is expecting in a scholarly essay. So it's four stars.
  • Undeclared on Sep. 09, 2022
    (no rating)
    Maxine Millar ist the author of one of the best SF Series ("Alien...") I ever read, so I was delighted to find a new novel of hers and downloaded it immediately. It became clear, however, that the topic was Covid-19 and anti-vaxxer. Not worth the bytes on my hard disk space. No rating, in deference to the author.
  • Outward Bound Episode 1: The Void on Jan. 03, 2023

    Yes, it's free, but that is all what can be said about it. A prospector in the belt finds an asteroid which contains strange artefacts and is attacked by pirates. Home again, he saves Earth, finds out a big boss of his company has something unclear to do with it and steals the nukes which were intended for this purpose. Then he meets a girl he knows and they shall cooperate for the next asteroid. End of book after 31 pages.
  • The Catalyst (Novella 1.5) on Jan. 04, 2023

    Love this one, interesting, amusing and touching. Funny coincidence - I opened the book file at the same time I started preparing my vegetables pot for the next few days, (some of it to be deep-frozen as I'm single), so I read it even more attentively!
  • Death To The Magneker on Jan. 16, 2023

    I got the novel free in a prom action and downloaded it because I like aviation and action books, and furthermore I like to look places. Unfortunately, the places (as well as the persons) all seem alike. The plot: Mad professor, a private enterprise and evil army officers develop, steal, test an energy source which somehow fishes the energy out of the air by a locally limited magnetic pole reversal. The basic idea is almost as stupid as the girl who practises karate knive combat techniques, karate being the doctrine of collecting all mental power to defend oneself WITHOUT ANY WEAPON. A beautiful female pilot and some young, idealistic artists save the world. There are a incredible number of errors, missing comma, left-over from a preceding version, just not knowing the English language etc., which sometimes makes it impossible to understand the meaning: "I don't know Frances" (he's talking to Frances, comma missing) "who, are you" (now what the comma is for?) "Il bet the're spotted the Cataline now" (are spotted?????) "she was a buy-stander" (bystander, she did'nt purchase anything...), Frances almost fainted, she was so taught" (learning to faint?) "What are trying to do?" "the sniper? He looked up passed the sight" (past) "to the right was Warden the tall church steeple visible" "The park break was on the pilot's side" (did the pilot have a break? or maybe he tried to BRAKE?) "applied the park break" (oops...)
  • Dogs Just Wanna Have Fun on Jan. 18, 2023

    The only book of this author I could stand reading to the end. Do you like funny scenes in the books of other authors about a dog? Then you find lots of stories here,with the non-dog episodes left out. It's only a tiny bit of "feminist rant" (which some reviewer of an other of her titles wrote), mostly it's a book about dogs. Not silly stories about talking dogs, and not an instructive book about dogs (even though you can learn *very* much about dogs here). It's just entertaining, and whoever knew a real dog will find it among the more than a dozen dogs these episodes are about. Why only four instead of five stars? All the dogs in the wonderful episodes are ideal dogs with an ideal character. One of them, for example, helps a blind one. Okay, nice. But nowhere in the whole book a dog even sneezes at somebody (and dogs can not help sneezing when they lie on their back for belly rubs, because the little drop runs down into their long snout).
  • The Brane of the Space Pirates on Feb. 10, 2023

    "The Brane of the Space Pirates" is one of the rare novels which are real Science Fiction: based on some sort of science, and extrapolating technical and/or social developments into the future. The technical base needs not to be true. It is sufficient that the readers can not have the knowledge to prove that it's wrong. Faster-than-light and the multiverse in "The Brane..." is based on string theory which is really existing and quite interesting. One alternative Universe is described in "The Brane" as a world where an oligopole of almighty companies has total control over all inventions and products, so for example, you need a license to use a wheel. So far, so good. How do I rate this novel? If I award Leo Tolstoi or Ernest Hemingway with five stars, "The Brane..." or any of the other SF books can't be rated so high, but this would spoil the average rating of ALL SF Authors on Smashwords, because nobody compares them to the above mentioned authors - if it was some fun reading, it 's five stars. I am not so generous. There is a lot of action and a lot of fun in "The brane...". There are almost no errors or typos. The Table of Contents is nothing but "Midpoint" and "About the Author". Also, the characters are quite well described but a little bit vague. This is where Tolstoi or Maupassant deserve a much better rating ... or Morrese a worse one compared to the best authors of history. The storyline is linear, no flashbacks etc. here. Furthermore, the author has one serious concern: there must not be monopoles used by companies only for their profit, make it all free (e.g. the wheel) or Open Source. But this leads to the rare episodes I hated: The persons are fighting for their life and for the future of mankind in their universe, and suddenly they sit down and discute, like "many people feel their lives are empty, even pointless. The progress we have made so far is the result of countless generations of struggle by our ancestors to explore, discover, learn, invent, and create. It is this striving that defines us. It is what makes us human. (...) The drive that motivated our ancient forebears to climb down from the trees and out of their caves still calls to us. It begins as a sense of wonder (...)". That's no fun reading if it is many pages. Given the fact mentioned above, that it is injust to compare the Smashwords authors to the all-time-best authors and thus spoil their average, it's four stars. In my private notes in Calibre, it is three (which not many of the content, more than thousand novels, have got so much), which in my system means: "worth reading, worth keeping saved for re-reading".
  • Keiree on April 02, 2023

    I already had read (and forgotten...) a very early version of the novel and enjoyed again reading the latest revision, version 3 of 2023. Most of the Science Fiction in Smashwords and elsewhere is not really SF. In the best case, it's adventure story, typical terranian ants but bigger and space-faring, looking like ants, behaving like ants, or pirates in ships, but in spaceships, behaving like pirates, with no background why they exist at all (a rocket is more complicated than a dhow...). Not so C. Litka. For me, SF is an intelligent (the "S" means science!) extrapolation of today's world into the future. What if mankind is capable of reaching Mars and other worlds? How would they manage to reach distant stars? How would their society develop? How would a Mars would look like if they lost touch with Earth? Litka builds societies, worlds and universes considering all questions like these. There is a main theme in all Litka's work: man searches for wife, the one wife god has meant for him in all universe. His figures are life ones, not only cardbord cutouts without an own charakters. What I love in Litkas novels is when a pet is included in the story. In this case it is Molly the genetically enhanced cat, who plays an important role. But Litka's pets are described with a fine sense of humour. I never forgot the dogs aboard a spaceship in an early story of his, who used to lose contact between their magnetic shoes and the floor and found themselves inevitably in mid-air "flailing and barking for a tow". Molly the cat is an sentient, intelligent being, well able to understand human speech - but after she fled on top of a huge tree, with good reason, he had to chide her not to act as if she was not able to climb down from her treetop. How typical, if you know cats! They have muscles and claws to climb up and down by themselves, much better than we, but still wait for somebody to get them. No errors, no typos. Table of contents is "Chapter 1, Chapter 2, ... Chapter 10", so no section headings but my E-Book reader at least will mark the Chapter where I had read most recently.
  • The Girl on the Kerb on April 09, 2023

    Again, Litka has written real Science Fiction (= conditions or knowledge extrapolated). In "The Girl on the Kerb" he investigated some very interesting questions. What will happen if mankind goes through a pandemic with a high death rate because of the global traffic? What if Earth has used up considerable ressources for the exploration of the sun system, becoming dependent on the raw materials thus gained - and then losing contact with the planets and asteroids? Within the next few thousand years they managed to build up a worldwide agreement to control the use of their remaining ressources, based on a strict code, something similar to the FAA or the U.S. Drug Administration. Nobody would receive authorisation to build the door of a car just a little bit stronger and heavier than before, for example. Not everybody is happy with the restrictions on developing or re-inventing new products like airplanes - and that's exactly what has crashed in a distant area. A man and a woman are sent by their national ministries to find out what is happening. This makes for an interesting, intelligent and intriguing spy novel with much action, a touch of humour - and like in many of Litka's novels a wistful romance. The novel has almost no typos or errors. The technology mentioned is coherent. There is a Table of Contents, with not just "Chapter 1", "Chapter 2" etc. but named, like "Chapter 03 The Journey East Begins". Note: Litka's short novel "Keiree" is set in the same universe and time, but takes place on Mars.
  • Fear of the Father on April 16, 2023
    (no rating)
    This Novel is written with a fine humor. As a fan of Giuseppe Verdi I read: "How will I know you, Mr. Crockett?" - "I'll have a white gardenia in my cleavage" and loved the story immediately. Okay, Violetta used to fasten a camellia, not a gardenia, and the quote above was from a conversation *between men*, but this only adds to the joke. There are more literary allusions like "Something wicked this way comes" (Bradbury) or "Hi, Spy. You get in from the cold?", and certainly I missed a lot more. There is a lot of action. But my enthousiasm dropped later. Central theme is the love between Ruby and Crockett - and Ruby is lesbian. Is a novel based on this special relationship an epic novel or an epic fail? After the approx. hundredths intimate scene like "full-bodied hug", "she draped her calves across his lap" or "patted each other's bottoms" I wondered if Americans do not have those wonderful monitors from Eizo or others where they could watch sex scenes right with the pictures. How come I was bored and disappointed? The solution: there is no mention of Adult, Gay or whatever in the oversight of the books, no Category except Fiction, Mystery, Detective, General. Keywords are romance, crime, suspense, murder, betrayal, action adventure, investigation. Even though I later detected an Icon "Adult" on the download page, I was not aware that I got a sex story. The book is well written, interesting style. I found only two errors, and those were consistent throughout the whole book ("Your" instead of "You're", "desert" instead of "dessert", which latter one made my teeth grate). The story begins at page 8 and ends at page 359, the rest being TOC, Copyright, other titles from the author, what readers are saying, reading sample for another book. Table of contents is "Chapter 1" to "Chapter eighty-two", which is pretty meaningless but still helps readers to find the last chapter they have read on their ebook-reader. As there is nothing wrong or bad with the novel, but it's only me who does not like everything in the plot, I awarded no stars.
  • The Deer Run Trail on April 16, 2023

    One of the most dramatic and intriguing Western and Polit-Thriller, well written and with Lewis' fine humour, and I think, well researched. Like the first person view. Loved it. Text goes from page 8 to page 197, the rest being TOC, other titles from the author, reader reviews, reading sample from the sequel. I don't remember any errors or typos. TOC is "Chapter one" ... "Chapter thirty-four", not meaningful but still helpful. I hesitate to award the highest possible rating, for The Bible or Hemingway as well as some entertainment literature but it would have been wrong either to lower the average of a novel which I want to recommend to other Smashwords members, so it's five stars.
  • Out Of Time on May 23, 2023

    The plot: A spy from the british MI-6 finds himself inexplicable moved from 2023 to the London of 1963. This makes for two exciting plots. 1. the time travel: how was it possible? can he return to his own time? which dangers and chances arise out of his knowledge of the future? 2. The spy story, the cold war. Furthermore the authors seems to have had fun describing the London of the 1960ies with all the new developments, buildings, music, culture. The style is expertly, shows some fine humour and sarcasm in the dialogues. The characters are strangely drab. Atticus never makes a mistake, never misses a shoot. Maggie is a sweet girl, never fails, and loves Atticus. Rathdowne and others are incompetent, complacent superiors. Authors want to sell their work, so they tend to search the trends which accord with the contemporary taste - at least those who are living from their work. One could think this one was written with rules like, surprises with extreme violence, many dead bodies, a subtle love and of course man gets girl, evil soviets, everything quite overstated. Errors: While the characters are acting in Germany, the author mixes in a lot of what he thinks is German words. Epic fail. The name of a dry cleaner shop is given as: "Glänzend Putzerei", which might be translated as "polished task sweeping floors", and there is a lot more of this. Typos and other errors are almost non-existent. Table of Contents: "Chapter 1" through "Chapter 22", not very meaningful. Online sample: If it's an author which I don't yet know, I normally don't bother downloading the e-book. Importing, categorizing, copying the E-Book to my reader, start reading it (thus cutting off the book or books I'm actually reading) to check if I want to download or buy more from the author, to find out maybe months later, that I don't like the style,would blow up my stored books with ones I do not really want to read. "Out of time" has no online sample, but I got a reccomnendation from an other reader so I did give it a try.
  • The Time Agents: Search for the Leon Key on May 24, 2023
    (no rating)
    Boring style, the voice of the author from the off explaining that time travel and faster than light has been invented (the scientical explanation is that the space is contracted in front of the spaceship and expanded behind it), and a plot we know already from 100 sources, Nazi-occupied Casablanca in the year 1939, and most of them series for children - like parallel universes, rifts between them, the mysterious alchimist book which contains the key ford anything. Author states he was inspired by the Creator ofStar Trek at age 15. It shows. No rating, because I want to be polite.
  • The Tunnel on May 29, 2023

    Intriguing story with a lot of surprising turns, dramatic action as well as sensitive portrayals of the characters. The author does not spare on dead bodies and dire fates. Written by a very gifted author, the book is of the "could not stop reading" kind. It is not written in the first person, but changes between the places and groups of persons, e.g. the police district and the home of the Sam and Jack, the detective team, always keeping the readers attention on edge. There are some funny or touching little sub-stories, about the baby Dillon or, like the day when one of the characters is told shocking news and is treated with "vodka and tonic", which she asked for - and "She gulped her drink, then winced: "Where's the tonic?"". I found the story extremely well written and thrilling. However, when I found out it contained lots of statements like: "[The spirits] There is always a reason for what they show you", I was very disappointed. The given keywords were "Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller", not supernatural hocus-pokus. I asked myself: did the author believe she needed it to keep readers interest? She does'nt, her imagination, creativity and literary talent are largely sufficient. In the meantime, I bought the first book of the Sam Casey series, but at this time, I was not aware that the whole series is based on the mystical powers of Sam as a descendant of Native Americans. On the other hand, I enjoy very much to learn about the countries and their history of the books I read, looking up places and facts at Google and there are lots of informations in the books of S.D. Tooley. There are almost no errors. The Table of Contents consists of meaningless "Chapter 1" through "Chapter 61". Reading samples, advertisements and other texts not related to the e-book I downloaded: Authors notes, Reading Sample etc. are six pages out of 249, which is okay with me. An online preview is available.
  • The Quibbling Quartet on June 19, 2023
    (no rating)
    The plot: Ex-policeman who sells hotdogs solves a murder of one member of the Quibbling Quartet. ------------------------------ Characters and descriptions are peculiarly unsubstantially, just names acting in a crime story. Table of Contents: meaningless and useless for looking up something, "Prologue", "Chapter 1" through "Chapter 70", "Epilogue". Seven pages of Copyright, Sign Up, About, Sign Up. ----------------------------- Available formats: .epub only. ----------------------------- No online preview or 20 percent reading sample for download etc. First book of the series is free. : If it's an author which I don't yet know, I normally don't bother downloading the e-book if I can't read a few pages online. Importing, categorizing, copying the E-Book to my reader, start reading it (thus cutting off the book or books I'm actually reading) to check if I want to download or buy more from the author, to find out maybe months later, that I don't like the style,would blow up my stored books with ones I do not really want to read. Due to respect of the author no rating.
  • Surface on June 20, 2023
    (no rating)
    -- The plot: Girl loves her bodyguard since she was 13. -- The style: Written in the first person, changing between the characters. -- The characters are implausible stereotypes, the girl incredible beautiful, the bodyguard the strongest, best looking man, the father over-protective, the thugs so evil. -- Now I know what is the meaning of the keyword "New Adult". With short interruption from the girl's parents, the text is filled with descriptions of the private parts and their reactions, "I don't want to use a condom" etc. There are so many websites with beautiful pictures of coitus on the Internet, that's not what I download an E-Book for. -- Errors: I don't remember seeing typos and errors. -- Table of Contents is meaningless, "Prologue", "Chapter 1" through "Chapter 20". -- There are 18 pages "Dedication", About the Book", Preview of another boo, Other Books by Anna, Acknowledgement, Sign up for Anna Brooks's Mailing List, so it's about eight percent sales promotion, which is more than the average author inflicts on his reader. -- Available formats: .epub -- There is no, say, 10% sample for downloading and no online preview. I don't like importing, categorizing, copying the E-Book to my reader, start reading it (thus cutting off the book or books I'm actually reading) to find out maybe months later, that I don't like the style.. No rating from me, out of respect to the author and as it, being the series starter, was free.
  • Rites of War on June 26, 2023

    The plot: Once again, the evil Krauts (I am one myself...) start a war to subject the world under their rule. (Remember: The book was written in 2004. Due to mismanagement, the German Bundeswehr is as good as ruined today. In 2023, artillery munition like is needed in a full-scale war from, say, Russia, will last one day only, for example. So don't believe we huns really intend to overrun the armies of the free world). ----- This said, the plot develops incredibly exciting - among else, to a thrilling duel between the female leader of the "Mobile Inshore Undersea Warfare", who does an excellent intelligence on the hostile submarines, and the stubborn, totally prejudiced leaders of the own marines who rather risk obliteration for their vessels, crews and themselves than to listen to a woman. At every page there is a new, surprising development. ----- The novel is not written in the first person. The span of the events is far too big for it, as the location and persons changes between the ships and nations. ----- The characters are highly nuanced. The story is - almost - plausible. I was fascinated about the rich details about the military and the submarine warfare, so I spent a lot of time repeatedly reading chapters and looking up things like "Snell's law". ----- There are many errors, some Examples: several times""Leutnant dur See" (it's "zur See") - Throughout the text "World war eleven", written as 11 (it's "two") - P.40 "Ramzage" (= Ramage) - P.48 "choice of intecepts" (= intercepts) - P51 "enoughlets do it" (enough, let's do it), all together a list of 63 errors which cost me hours. The e-mail-adress stated in the book does not exist but I found a valid one. As I am doing proofreading for free for some authors I like, I sent to the author a list. Never got an answer so I editet this review and reduced the rating from fife to one stars. The book may be orphaned, also a lot of errors look as if they are from OCR'ing a printed copy. ----- There is no Table of Contents worth mentioning (it's "Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV"). The subheadings do exist within the text, like "23 FEBRUARY 2002:, THE NORTH SEA, U-504" but they are not included in the TOC. This is regrettably if and because an interested reader wants to look up some chapters, names and events. ----- There is an online preview so you can check if you like the style (you will!) before buying.
  • Rules of Command on June 26, 2023

    The plot: Very intriguing story about a fictive attack on the Panama Channel during the Cold War. Plausible enough, if you remember the Cuba Crisis, the Iran Hostage affair 1979-1981, the Battle of Mogadischu 1993 etc. The style: well written, dramatic The characters: plausible and detailed Errors: Extreme number of Errors, maybe the original text was OCR'd? P. 16 "You've got a problem with my performance, XOT' " (Question mark transformed as "T' "), P.13 "And old Soviet Victor Boat" (it's "An old ..."), P. 29 "Youeu" (the ship's name is Youett, the "tt" is printed as one character "u"), P.35 "specialties" (Specialists), P.40 "together the test of your team" (= the best), P. 44 "and you are -T" (it's a question mark, no "-T") and a great number more. ----- The complete Table of Contents is rather monosyllabic: "", Torpedo, 1" (that's all) ----- Price is next to nothing. Still, I would not have spent the 99 cents, and more, my reading time because of the horrible number of errors, missing spaces, inexplicable newlines, the one or other, meaningless line with bold face fonts etc. Normally I mention the errors in an e-mail or a list sent to the author, but he did not react to my last one. ----- There is a 50 percent online sample.
  • Astraeus on June 28, 2023

    --- The plot: Oh, a Space Opera, maybe a five-star-rating, I thought enthousiastically when opening the file. My excitement did not keep long. P.34 "fight on global warning", P. 30 "humans have been warned of the climate change dangers" (follow three pages of lecture on climate change, no action here), P. 89 "We're a peaceful people who strive for the betterment of the mind and community", P. 91 "We believe in the Creator" etc, P. 151 "You abuse your planet". The keywords on Smashwords were "Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Romance » Sci-fi". I was not aware that I would download a naive political tract, enveloped in an absurde story which has nothing to do with real Science Fiction. --- Errors: The keywords are announced three times as "Science Fiction", Sci-fi". Science Fiction is based on continuing today's scientific, biologic or social world on a "what if" basis - what, if we meet aliens, what if an asteroid hits Earth etc. This novel has so much horrendous errors about science themes that I regretted to have invested reading time into it. They meet an alien "he was the most handsome man" - as if on other planets would develop creatures which not only look like men, but send the same sexual signals (P.15), have a family structure like us (P.70), fall in love with us (P. 97) etc. Even if the aliens are *really* different, they have eyes and exchange social signals with them ("she locked eyes with a large, advancing Oreck", P. 114). Compare this book with "Dragons Egg" from Robert L. Forward about life in high gravity and how sentient beings on a neutron star would develop ... ----- There is more horror. The space ship is in the Andromeda Galaxy, which is "more thant fourty-four light-years from Earth" (P. 79). Here we have an SF Author who does not know about the distances in outer space. "Most humans have billions of atoms comprised of hydrogen, a bite of oxygen, and a smidgen of carbon" (P.81). Author does not know what atoms are, and what is the difference to molecules. Two spaceships are flying near each other in outer space, touching in the end. "the ceiling, which groaned beneath the weight of the other ship" (P. 105). The author does ignore that ships flying in space have no weight. "The gravitational hold in the room ceased to work, and everything lifted in zero gravity" (P.118) Why should things be lifted in zero gravity? They might float, but not lift instantly like a Zeppelin airship. --- The style is enthralling and amusing. the personas are nuanced. It is a regrettable waste that this gifted author tries to write SF or Space Operas. --- Table of Contents: Chapter 1 through Chapter 11, quite meaningless. Epilogue and seven more like Title Page, Copyright Page, Sign Up for etc. --- Text is 145 of 155 pages. --- Available formats: .epub --- Size of cover picture file: 275 KB, somewhatw big. --- No online preview, but you can download a ten percent .epub. I normally don't bother downloading an e-book even if it is a free sample, if I can't read a few pages online. Importing, categorizing, copying the E-Book to my reader, start reading it (thus cutting off the book or books I'm actually reading) to check if I want to download or buy more from the author, to find out maybe months later, that I don't like the style,would blow up my stored books with ones I do not really want to read.
  • Annalea, Princess of Nemusmar on Jan. 14, 2024

    No text on Page 1 through 32, just the headline. Same as in "Annalea a Journey". Story begins not before page 10.
  • Annalea, a Journey Through Strangers~at Journey's End on Jan. 14, 2024

    No text until page 11, on a perfectly working Tolino E-book reader. I did not bother reading further.