March 2020 Archives

I have uploaded the files for "The Monad Trap", Book Two of Connected Realms, and it officially launches March 31.

You'd think there'd be more for a god to do.

Alexan and Petra have become Eternals - minor gods, binding themselves together in their divinity. According to most stories, that's where 'happily ever after' would start.

However, there's a divine ecosystem, as red in tooth and claw as any other part of nature, competing for power and worshippers and other divine benefits. There's also the diligar deity Klikitit, who's appointed Alexan his personal enemy for having dared defend himself against one of Klikitit's Sons. Then there is the question of how do they achieve the next step on the divine ladder? All of this while dealing with divine curses which bind both of them - for all divinities are cursed.

The Connected Realms are certainly more complex than they appear at first glance!

Cover lettered one third size.jpg

Amazon kindle edition

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A decent story, but not well thought through. Enjoyable, even if mostly popcorn level.

As an interstellar cruise liner gets underway, Earth's combined fleets come under assault from an unknown enemy. As Earth falls, they may be the only free humans left in the universe.

It's novella length, not novel, and obviously intended to be serialized but does have a story arc with a decent resolution within it.

Taken on it's own, a reasonable little story. Decent characters, even if they are way too dramatic for purposes of chewing scenery.

There are lots of unanswered questions and things that don't make sense - like how did the aliens get such sterling intelligence without Earth intelligence or military realizing what was going on (especially if even civilian grade sensors are as good as depicted)? If you don't know where they're from, how can you run away (as opposed to blundering into the middle of them)? Did Earth's military put up any kind of resistance at all, or were they simply overwhelmed and slaughtered (and if the latter, why is one of their jerry-rigged guns worth anything?) Why in the heck does Earth not have planetary defenses or even nationally based ones if they have military ships and an ongoing piracy problem? The author appears to have not thought things out very well or done very little research. The title may be a clue: season 1 episode 1 - in other words, he was trying to write for TV, where effects and dramatic music can be used in place of thinking things through. For these reasons, I'm not likely to continue with the series, but taken on its own, the story told here is decent.

My rating: Six out of ten. By Amazon standards, a four star book.

Here is the cover for the upcoming release of The Monad Trap, book two of Connected Realms (following The Fountains of Aescalon)

Cover lettered one third size.jpg

Alien Invasion story. Basically enjoyable, but the author uses way too much deus ex machina and the more you think about it, the worse it gets.

Girl's brother and his wife disappears on a drive east to take a new job in Albuquerque, so a month or so later she convinces her friends to take a road trip to Vegas, with the hidden agenda of finding them. West of Amarillo on I-40 they break down just by coincidence near the same town her brother happens to be holed up in. While this wouldn't be too bad if it were just Texas (there are precisely 2 towns with a double digit number of people or more between Amarillo and the New Mexico border), that's less than a quarter the distance to Albuquerque, and there are considerably more towns in New Mexico.

They find the town deserted except for something that attacks the trucker who gave them a lift into town. Of course, there's a barrier preventing exit and no cell phone or wireless or landline connectivity, and nobody has a radio that can reach so much as the trucker traffic on I-40, and nobody came to read the meters or deliver the groceries to the store the town has or anything else in all this time so the world outside is somehow clueless. Yes, my suspension of disbelief was getting tenuous.

The four millenials are so driven by social media that even in the midst of all this, they're still concentrating on that. My kids are social media millenials, and they'd change their priorities well before that point.

Then after they meet up with aliens who appear human and are on their way to be taken into custody, the clueless alien just happens to escort them past the stronghold of the last resistor in town and for some reason they decide to go in and ask him if he's got any Grey Poupon or something, and voila, it's the lost brother.

Brother has managed to hold out solo for six weeks or so despite being infected by alien DNA through using UV light to treat the infection, despite the fact UV light doesn't penetrate skin. Then of course there are the obligatory scenery chewing stupidities through which the author manipulates the plot. Well, so does any book, but when people won't consider obvious issues that any reasonable rational person would, that's
going too far.

The aliens aren't exactly all there in terms of their thinking either - and I'm going to leave it there because I don't want to go in-depth on all of that nonsense.

Basically, if you're looking for a mindless read, might be fun for you. If you expect some sort of intelligence on the part of the characters, not so much.

I'll give it five of ten - by Amazon standards, a three star book.

The Monad Trap Finished

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Finished the rough draft of The Monad Trap last night. This one was tough - it took me nearly eight months for reasons that will become clear to those who read it. Getting past the climactic scene was tough - I'd say it felt like giving birth, except I've never done that. I'll need a few days to go over it, as Petra hijacked the plot at the last possible moment (This makes three times for her in two books), then I'll get it to the beta readers for feedback. Time to start looking for a cover artist as well.

Come to think of it, there was no reason not to create a second trap. I didn't expect Donarr to fall for it; traps of this nature were one of the early developments of my grandfather's generation. But a stupid cheap shot that works isn't stupid. A victory meant I and my family and likely my friends of Treemount survived.

"Milord husband," Petra interrupted, "might I ask you for a lesson?"

"Milady wife may have a lesson any time," I told her, "But I'm need to delegate it to a splinter right now. I'm stretched to near my limit, and I have projects that cannot be delayed or delegated." I was concerned about what Donarr was preparing, and when he would return. He hadn't retreated to play hadul in the Unlimited League. He'd have nasty surprises when he returned.

"So long as the splinter can teach me what I need to know."

"The splinters know everything I do. They may not be able to hold as much power and they may not have as many para, and their effectiveness might be somewhat less, but they can show any basic lesson, and I can refine your control later."

"You've told me of a mixture of matris and farza. You've used it to destroy critical points, even cause things like stones to eat themselves. What if it were augmented by matra, forcing the matris to distort the material?"

"We call the effect of farza and matra a 'phage', and auros can help control it. When you add matris, that makes it more virulent, and difficult to defeat, especially if you have brun and active auros in the spell as well making it more difficult to counter. When you've got all of it correct, we call it an Unbinding or Unmaking. It can be dodged or parried, but once it has connected with its target, it's difficult to stop short of ripping their essence completely apart. An Unbinding is well beyond what I've taught you, but I believe that with assistance you can master it. I'll bid one of my splinters come teach it to you and anything else you may want to know."

"I thank milord husband."

"I am happy to assist milady wife, especially in this."

She smiled and curtseyed, turned and left the laboratory, assigned splinter in tow. I returned to my task of building two monad traps, one for my weapon, one for Donarr, just in case it worked. A thought crossed my mind that I'd just been worked by my wife somehow, but what husband doesn't have those thoughts?


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