Helen Smith


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Smashwords book reviews by Helen Smith

  • Phantoms of the Quantum Rift on Feb. 12, 2011

    I have read Peter Salisbury's two novels, Passengers to Sentience and Passengers to Zeta Nine, so I was looking forward to this short story. It doesn't disappoint. In fact, I think it's my favourite of his so far. Once again, the relationship between a man and a woman is central to the plot. In this case, the relationship is in jeopardy, and I found it quite moving. The author speculates about how technology would work in a future world and comes up with some very interesting ideas. Imagine if physics lessons were fun - that will give you an idea of how Peter Salisbury's books work. I really liked the time travel/parallel world elements to the story. I don't want to give too much away, but something happens that causes a rift... the world is in chaos. Can it be repaired? Can the lost people be saved? We learn about Quantum Fog and The Wanderers. My favourite line in the story: "Where is my hundred per cent Susie?" Recommended.
  • Passengers to Sentience on Feb. 12, 2011

    This is a book of ideas. It's an intelligent, well-written sci-fi thriller told by a likeable first person narrator. The story - involving body-swapping holidays, mining for fuel ore, far-flung colonies, kidnapping - is engagingly told and, like the best sci-fi, it shows us a future that shines a light on our present; the characters struggle with questions of identity and memory while seeking to escape from the terrible drudgery of the daily toil. And, of course, there is always the hope of finding redemption through love. The world it is set in is confidently and convincingly portrayed; the technical details made me feel as if the author must have travelled to the future and worked in a job very much like the narrator's to be able to tell us so much about it. I found this book through a recommendation on the kindle forums and I'm glad I did. I enjoyed it and I look forward to reading more of this author's work.
  • Passengers to Zeta Nine on Feb. 13, 2011

    Rafe and Dr Nancy Zing are pioneers. They have been travelling for a hundred and twenty years - or at least their minds have, stored electronically - and their mission is to explore and colonise new territories. When their space ship Explorer 5017 finally goes into orbit, their stored identities are `born' into their new bodies. They are ready to start their mission. With artificial intelligence on board to ensure that they are protected from harm and there's no possibility of bio-hazards outside, what can possibly go wrong? I bought Passengers to Zeta Nine after reading P J Salisbury's first book, Passengers to Sentience, which I found through a recommendation in Amazon's kindle forum. The dry, witty style I enjoyed so much in the first book is evident again from the first few pages of this one as Rafe and Dr Nancy find their way around their new home. From the detailed descriptions of the world itself - the geography, the technology used to explore it, and how it works - it seems that the author must know the place and be reporting back to us. I'm looking forward to reading the next and final book in this series.