Whom the Gods Would Destroy

Whom_The_Gods

My review is up at Innsmouth Free Press.

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Shock & Awe

Review: Shock & Awe: Operation Enduring Unity II by Richard Peters

Amateurs think tactics, dilettantes think strategy, and professionals think logistics.

Disrupting enemy supply chains is a one of the main elements of Peters’ novel. Given that both sides use the internet and speak the same language, it’s easier than in a lot of other wars.

ShockThe other big element is that the fortunes of war can change very quickly. Victory, in the propaganda and shooting wars, shifts rapidly here.

The first book used political analogies from history. This book uses battle analogies. The rebel URA mounts a Bay of Pigs style effort in Florida. Denver threatens to become Stalingrad as the USA attempts an invasion of its breakaway western states. Continue reading

Power Games

When Richard Peters offered me a review copy of his novel Power Games: Operation Enduring Unity 1, I was not enthusiastic.

Power GamesThe cover (not the one shown) looked kind of cartoonish. A blurb stating “After years of unchecked extremism, the presidential election is now a high-stakes poker game played out on a bloody table.” did not sound promising. I suspected either an attack on “Tea Party extremism” or, in the manner of some of the self-published survivalist novels I’ve read descriptions of, an attack on the current U.S. administration. No matter how congenial the politics, I expected crude satire or propaganda. The title seemed too cute too.

But it was a story about a Second American Civil War, and I suspect, as the years go by, we will hear more about states contemplating secession from the Union for whatever reason. Having reviewed Adam Connell’s Total Secession, a very different novel set against the background of a soon to be extinct Union, I was curious what Peters did with the idea.

I liked it, a lot, enough to buy the sequel Shock & Awe: Operation Enduring Unity 2 which just shows the wisdom of Peter’s advice to self-published authors: research and define your target reader.

Review: Power Games: Operation Enduring Unity 1 by Richard Peters, 2013.

No plan survives first contact with the enemy. Continue reading

Azure

Grant Palmquist’s Azure is the first self-published book I’ve reviewed here, but I’ve reviewed others in the last three years.

There doesn’t seem to be any reason to dispute the truism that the quality of self-published works varies greatly and is generally inferior in product and literary values (however defined) to “traditionally published” works.  (I doubt anyone is truly willing or able to actually do a census to confirm this, but I eagerly await such a study.)

That has not been my experience though.

Most of the self-published stuff I’ve read has been at least average in terms of literary quality. Production values — I’m talking the proofreading and formatting of e-books — tends to be the weakest area for self-published authors, and even there some, if not enough, of them take steps to match the quality of regular publishers.

Originally, I was going to do a breakdown of the self-published works I’ve reviewed, list the good, the bad, and the ugly. But, after looking at just how many books that was, I decided that seemed too much effort.

Palmquist provided me, via LibraryThing, a review copy of his short story collection Cemeteries of the Heart and Other Stories. I generally liked the book, and the production values were good. I was curious to see what he would do with the dystopia theme to ask for a review copy of this book.

Review: Azure by Grant Palmquist, 2013.

The novel starts out with a bang, several really, as our hero Asher Cain sees a mass shooting in a bar. The time is ripe for the “perfect end”, thinks Cain, his mouth gratefully wrapping around the barrel of one of the shooters’ weapons. But fate — and fate is a big thing in this book — intervenes in the form of an undercover android cop. Continue reading