The Touchstone Trilogy - I started by reading 'The Stray' which looked a lot like a teenagers type of book (I'm nearing 60) - once I got into it I 'had' to know what happened next! I then got the ' The Touchstone Trilogy' and could hardly put it down till I had finished it. Then there was the ' Gratuitous Epilogue' which was a nice way of winding things up which leaves the reader with a 'completed ' feeling for the story. I still feel like this is a teenagers book but I enjoyed it greatly - even bought another copy to give to my sister (only a little younger than me) who doesn't normally read SF - she couldn't put it down either once she got going. Not sure if I missed a few bits, but was a little disappointed in that 'ghost - the cat' was never fully explained, and was expecting more from the gift (Collection of Earth's Artwork) to the Ruuel family. There were certain sections where the psychology hints at, or touches areas, that I thought were related to me and not recognized (or acknowledged)by others. It was a good read and I enjoyed it.
I found this book to be a good read - for me it was like an autobiography of a couple of cowboys, set in my own time span (give or take a few years), which moved fast enough, and with enough action to keep the interest going. All the drama appeared (to me) to be real enough to be believable, which I think adds greatly to the story. I always like endings which give a rundown of where the characters 'end up' - not suitable for all stories off course, but this book did not disappoint. I am glad I did not have to work in their environment!
"And All the Stars" is another science fiction love story, with basically teenage characters centred around a heroine who sees herself as a 'non-special' person. This young group again saves the day - in this case Earth.
This book definitely has Andrea's stamp on it style wise.
I was somewhat passed the half way mark when I got the feeling, at the pace the story was progressing and it looking like a slow climb up from the bottom, that the ending would be in another future book - ahhh!
Then the story takes a couple of very unexpected twists with the bottom seemingly lower than first thought - but twists can go both ways!
It is a good feel to have a world disaster seen from Australia, and the fight-back led from there as well!
If I had to be critical of anything it would be all the usual utilities that people tend to take for granted staying on-line. Things like electricity, water, sewage systems, communications, etc. Our infra structure is fairly delicate, especially without 'human' repair persons to put things right that often (but not generally noticed) go wrong.
I would have been totally wrapped to have read Sci-Fi stories like this when I was a teenager (though certain detailed scenes would not have had the same understanding from my generation back in the pre to early '70's) - and even though I'm getting close to the top of the hill, I still enjoyed the tail very much.
I like stories that have epilogues so you aren't left dangling (mentally), and it doesn't mean the story is closed as someone with an imagination like Andrea must have, it could be picked up at a later point with either a slightly older group, or a group of their children. It could stay on earth, or go off-world. It could be the same menace either way, or an 'after effect' from the menace. The possibilities could keep going on.
Congratulation Andrea on adding another fine book to your stable.
Death in the Canyon was certainly worth a dollar and was a good read for a short western. There were some very unexpected twists, and some very misleading situations. Some parts did not quite jell for me, but overall it wasn't a bad story. I would probably read it again with interest again in a few years time (the time between re-reads is getting shorter as I get older!).
I found this story a little confusing - the actions and reasoning in the story are those you would expect from a child, yet the characters are mostly aged adults. Some of the themes (or interplay) are somewhat adult-ish , which sort of implies this is not a book for young teenagers. I think most High School students could tell you that you don't point a spaceship at the moon (or mars) and go for it - you aim for where it will be after the elapsed time to get there (and that is simplified).
It is not the sort of story you feel comfortable reading as there are so many points that are unrealistic (a child's fantasy, or someone how has never grown up). I think the overall idea is cool, just the meat doesn't hold together.
The Black Ships
This wasn't a bad story - it did have a few loose ends that were never finalised though.
Things like the terrorist group that went nowhere, tails on the aliens that weren't explained.
There seemed to be a thing about mass deaths and destruction.
Overall, I found it to be a reasonable read, if you don't get too serious about things.
This book certainly is packed with action and adventure which captures and holds your interest. The science is well thought out and so makes the story a lot more plausible, and thus interesting. Don't think (and hope) a nuclear war couldn't start that way - not unless everyone was about to push the button anyway. As for the firepower used in a confined space - surprised anyone has any hearing left. Big as these critters are, I'm also surprised they take so much killing with the available weapons. Disappointed the explosives and claymores were not used - especially on a defensive perimeter. I think some of the logistics could be a little out of whack with the time frame - again being a little picky but wasn't going to let it stop me from enjoying the flow. There is enough detail to allow the story to flow and keep you on the edge, without bogging you down with too much detail. The characters are great, and with that setup, entirely believable. If Mark can produce book one under pressure, what will the sequel be like? Please don't keep us waiting too long - and it would be nice if Jo, Mike, and the rest of the gang got reunited, and it progressed from there.
Thank you Mark.