When Minds Collide is a free short story from the author of Conditioned Response which is set in a future where mankind has left Earth for an alien planet. I mentioned in my review of Conditioned Response that I am no major fan of any gritty style of writing but I very much appreciated this short story. I found it provided the extra detail and information I personally found lacking in Conditioned Response and the tone and characters appealed to me on a more personal level. I particularly liked the irony of one character calling another an 'intolerant ass'. Little touches like that provided the sense that these characters were not air-headed caricatures but more flesh and blood symbols. They were more realistically grounded in terms of their personalities.
This is a fast paced and short story but when combined with Conditioned Response a reader can see the bigger picture of the grand setting. This is one thing I did find lacking in Conditioned Response despite it being perhaps the better story in terms of depth and plot. I am quite intrigued to say the least to see how Marjorie Baldwin is gradually drawing her world together through the various books and short stories centred around this world. In fact I think that it is great. On its own one book provides a decent story and some interesting sci-fi ideas but when that book is combined with this short story you gain something far greater as a reader.
In terms of the plot this short story follows human settlers and their reactions to the new Phoenician world. It introduces the reader to the alien people and animals while also revealing the background of certain characters in Conditioned Response. The one reason I did not give this a five star rating is merely personal preference and due to the fact that I would have liked for it to be slightly longer. However as a result of the developments shown in this short story I am certainly interested in reading the next book that comes out to see whether the style of this short story can be adopted to make a great full-length sci-fi novel.
In summary I would recommend that anyone interested in checking out a new e-book sci-fi series go check this short story out for free. It will provide you with a taste of the tone and style of the longer Conditioned Response. I also think that anyone who likes this story will want to go on and read Conditioned Response that they will find it a very well-written and gritty sci-fi novel indeed.