What I gleaned about the story: When a simple salvage op becomes a rescue mission, Carl and his crew of space-yahoos get dragged somewhere they really don’t want to be—under the spotlight of official scrutiny—so it’s up to their resident FTL jockey and bona fide eldritch wizard to put down his beer and get them out of another jam.
Find this book on Amazon.
Technical Note: The EPUB file I received was almost 4M in size, and upon investigation, 3M of that was for the cover file, which was both higher resolution than it needed to be (IMO) and packaged into the file twice. I understand that this has been corrected since I received the file, but I take this opportunity to remind authors that you are paying for every byte your readers download. With Amazon, if you’ve taken the 70% royalty option, this download fee gets deducted from your share of the proceeds. And when a book file is 5 times larger than it needs to be, that can add up to a lot of squandered revenue.
Analysis: In any “band of rogues” tale, the scurrilous members of said band have to sound like they know each other and have spent WAY too long in close company. And in this case, they really do. The entire first scene is almost entirely banter between shipmates as they strip down an abandoned ship, found floating dead in space. This situation makes it even harder to do the bantering well, because with each character encased in an EVA suit and spread out around the hulk, there can be no grins, glances, or body language cues to help sell the bond. It all has to be done via suit helmet audio, and Morin pulls it off here with charm.
Analysis: On the surface, this is a Band of Rogues in Space story, with some superficial similarities to Firefly. But that all changes when you factor in the FTL system. See, in this world, science has not figured out a way to make things move faster than light. But magic has. So every ship has a wizard of sorts, who handles the FTL jumps. Unfortunately, magic and tech do not play well together, so this arrangement is fraught with complications. And good story opportunities.
Final Note: A space opera with an eldritch wizard who chants them in and out of FTL space? Yes, please! This was a thoroughly engaging romp. At 40K words, it’s a single-sitting popcorn novella, but loads of fun. Plus, there seem to be plenty more books in the series, either à la carte, or bundled into “mission packs” of four. I’ll definitely be checking out a few more to see if the magic holds.
Take the Pepsi Challenge: Want to know if my own writing measures up? Download one of these free short stories, in the format of your choice, and decide for yourself.