Science Fiction Story with Real Science and Wonderful Young Woman Hero #scifi #sciencefiction #physics #reading

Two races of humans, several alien species, multiple starships and planets – this story ranges across a galaxy in Marcha Fox’s Beyond Hidden Skies.

The Brightstar family is moving from a safe but restrictive planet to a dangerous outpost world. Creena is a young teenager, a hybrid of the two human races, angry at her brother, in constant trouble for breaking rules, and also my favorite character.

As her family travels via starship to their new world, she seems to be accidentally trapped in an escape pod that launches to the wrong planet. But it may not have been an accident – a powerful man is trying to manipulate her father.

Creena’s reactions are realistic without being annoying (well, only appropriately annoying for a young teen) and her problem-solving feels plausible. Her longing to be back with her family is something I can relate to.

Fox infuses her story with the physics of space-time. The ships are traveling near the speed of light, using Time Dilation Modules. Three main subplots spin out in the book, involving Creena and various members of her family and some interesting comrades they find along the way.

As the characters navigate relations with alien species and space-time, they ponder the role of logic versus feelings, and debate taking action themselves versus trusting the Universeto provide. Growing up for Creena and her brothers requires confronting and overcoming “a serious challenge, [to] learn the meaning of courage.”

This is the first volume in a series, so all those ships, worlds, and species continue over the course of three more books, all available now. Cool.

What others are saying
“I really got involved in the story. I found it quite imaginative and entertaining. I felt that the author did a wonderful job of portraying a young teenage girl, full of fire and yet torn in so many directions.” Jay B. Cutts

I’m a sci-fi space fan and this story ticked all my boxes.” Wendy Scott

“The authors background with NASA plays a big role in the development of these books. I read the entire series.” Dawn Ireland

Personally, I like real science in my science fiction, but one reviewer said “too much techno-babble.” sterling r walker

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Peace Force, a Harriet Walsh novel #scifi #sciencefiction #ebook #amazon #giveaway #read #review #bookreview

Peace Force book coverScience fiction with humor, that’s Peace Force. On a planet colonized long ago by humans, Harriet is unemployed and newly homeless. She’s recruited by a crazy robot (funniest robot since Hitchhiker’s Guide’s Marvin) to become the sole member of the police force on a planet that’s so peaceful, it doesn’t need a police force.

Or so it seems.

As new-hire training turns real, Harriet picks up an orphan pickpocket partner, an artificial intelligence car that can’t wait to get out of the garage, and a retired police officer who isn’t ready to leave it all behind.

The story is good entertainment and there are two more books in the series. Comments on Amazon call it a fun romp. Though there is a darker twist at the end I wasn’t expecting, I think the description is spot-on: “It’s good clean fun, written with wry humor.” And the day I’m posting this, it’s free on Amazon.

Blogging note: this is new. When I pasted my post into WordPress, it grabbed the Amazon link and inserted a really-big picture of the book cover with a “buy it now” and “free preview” button. Hmm. Is this convenient or annoying? I wonder who’s paying whom for the link? I took the big buttoned image out this time… but it is slick. Do you like slick?

Mars Colony Covers – this is my new series – hope they’re thrilling, exciting, well – hope you like them :) #scifi #Mars #books

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The new covers – start with Glory on Mars – something’s terribly wrong in this near-future Mars colony :O

Here are my new On Mars covers. Woo hoo and yee haw – a big deal for me. It takes a surprising amount of time for them to pop up in all the stores, so you may not see these in your favorite for a week or so. What do you think?

All my books, including the On Mars series, are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major online retailers. You’ll also find paperbacks at Create Space and all major digital formats at Smashwords. Read one today.

I’m working on a collection of short stories, flash fiction stories, and excerpts from On Mars – I hope to publish in April. If you’d like a coupon for a free download of the ebook edition, sign up now at http://eepurl.com/bCpx1v

Earth Can’t Hide Alien Boy Forever #fantasy #book #newadult #scifi #review #bookreview

I Am Number FourI Am Number Four was written for teenage boys. Five years after publication, it still scores in the top couple percent of its Amazon sales categories. I like a lot of Young Adult books, and I’m in touch with my inner male, so I had high expectations.

You may recall the book was made into a movie in 2011. From comments I read, the movie was forgettable. But that’s not unusual for a movie adaptation, so I don’t hold it against the book.

I guess I’m just too-much-not a teenage boy. My reaction is a more modest “meh.”

Magical swords mean fantasy
Despite being tagged as science fiction, this is a fantasy story – not that there’s anything wrong with that. It may have aliens but – come on – it opens with swords. Magical swords.

The fifteen year old hero comes from a world where some kids – called Garde – are super-strong and super-fast. But that’s just the beginning. They develop specific superpowers in their teens, like becoming invisible or fire-proof. An alien race of monstrous beings has slaughtered the inhabitants of their home world. (Because the monsters destroyed the environment on their own home planet – a little message there.)

Despite having killed a whole planet’s population of super-powered people, the monsters feel threatened by nine Garde who escaped to Earth as young kids. The monsters are therefore hunting them and their adult companions – each kid has one Cepan, or guardian. The Garde/Cepan pairs scatter and hide. Fortunately, they look exactly like humans and fit in perfectly. Of course, they don’t reveal their alien nature to anyone on Earth or ask for help.

There’s more magic
Because of a “charm” the monsters can only kill the kids in a certain sequence and if they kill one, a scar magically appears on the ankles of the others. Three scars have appeared on Number Four, so he knows he’s next. He and his Cepan move and assume new identities twice a year anyway, so when that third scar appears, they run – to a tiny rural town with a surprisingly well equipped high school – the home ec lab has ten kitchens and there’s a class in astronomy.

None of that is a spoiler because it’s all explained in the first few pages. Then the story can begin.

As the August 2010 “Amazon Best Books” review says
I Am Number Four is a breathless page-turner of a sci-fi novel that will have readers rooting for the teen alien who must unleash his fire power to save himself, his human friends, and the planet.”

At fifteen, Number Four, going by the name John Smith, is due to develop his superpowers any day now. But his first concern is with the stereotypes at his new school – a pretty girl who makes him nervous when she’s nice to him (which leads to a lot of kissing), a bully jock, and a geek in a NASA tee-shirt. At least John gets to adopt a strange stray dog.

I was indeed turning pages quickly, scanning rather than reading every word after John’s first couple days in his new school. Some of the story I expected but there was also a quirky twist I liked. I think it’s not much of a spoiler to say there’s a climatic battle.

BTW – the author is shown as Pitticus Lore – a name from the Garde’s world. Cute.

Tremendously popular
With over 1,000 Amazon reviews averaging four stars, and still ranked number three in its kindle Best Sellers category of sci-fi aliens, you don’t need me to tell you this book is hugely popular. The follow-on books in the series are, if anything, more highly rated and close behind I Am Number Four in sales ranking. I’ll just add that this book is most likely to appeal to tween and teen readers.