To be honest, I don’t read much sci fi. I loved it as a Trekkie during TOS (The Original Star Trek) and Star Trek Voyager but got away from it.
Then, Elon Musk arrived with his SpaceX rockets, taking American astronauts to the International Space Station for the first time in a bazillion years, his definitive plans for a trip to Mars, his reusable rockets (up to six times now–or more, depending upon when you read this), the Starlink internet-beaming satellites that are already in beta (in Los Angeles), and everything else that explodes from that fertile mind. I’ve become a Fanboy of Elon Musk, follow him on Twitter (where he posts very cool science experiments) and watch his launches with my satellite-loving Army son–me in California and he in Okinawa.
As a result, I’ve started reading sci fi again. Here are two noteworthy novels I’ve recently finished. They’re both 5/5 though Alex Cavanaugh’s pushed a little above 5–it was that good.
by Alex Cavanaugh
CassaStar (Dancing Lemur Press 2013), 1st in the Cassa series, is the enrapturing story of Byron, a young boy with a storied past. When he lost his parents at a young age, he seemed to be headed down a bad path until he discovered he wanted to become a Cosbolt pilot, fly one of the most powerful military warships of his time. He earns acceptance into the elite school to prepare for this goal and does well though not without challenging the norms. Part of the reason he succeeds is a specific set of skills he has that few do. That becomes the seedbed for changes in his life he never could have expected.
As much as this is a story of battling for the heart and soul of space, it is also the struggles of a young man to overcome the problems of his childhood and grow into the person he always wanted to be. To his dismay, he finds he can’t do that alone, but can he trust anyone to help him after what he’s been through?
Excellent story, great start to a series, and highly recommended not only for sci fi fans but those who love a well-crafted tale.
by D.L. Cross
In The Stones: An Invasion Universe Novel, Book Two of The Astral Conspiracy (Sterling and Stone 2020)–I reviewed the first, The Gate, here–Earth has been invaded through the portal that no one knew worked. Nothing they try seems to stop the invaders so they’re going to have to get more creative.
Here’s the Amazon blurb:
He’s running from Astrals. Running with Black Ops. And running toward the end of the world.
Landon Thorne belongs to an elite group: he’s one of the few people who have ever accessed the Akashic Record. He discovers a weapon that could defend the Earth.
The Astrals want to stop him. The government wants to control him. Even his allies are hiding something.
Through it all, he has one purpose. One compulsion. He’s drawn to the Georgia Guidestones.
His journey is fraught with danger – bandits, cannibals, and ancient booby traps — but when Landon finally reaches the Stones, even he is surprised by what he finds. If he can decipher the code, he can save the world.
If he can’t? His discovery may destroy him – along with the rest of the human race.
Cross creates a completely believable world of trauma, fear, and unbelievable problems as mankind must contend with an invasion from an unknown species. Do scientists take the lead or military? And is this related to the alien that has been in captivity for almost one hundred years? It has certainly reacted to the arrival of the spaceships but whether it’s looking for escape or protection, no one can tell because it refuses to (or can’t) communicate with the humans.
Cross writes with a deft pen and a clever mind, putting us in the middle of the struggle many fear–an invasion from space. This book and its predecessor in the series are fast-moving, exciting, and easily kept me engaged. Kudos to Cross. Book 3, The Nine, is already available.
More sci fi
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Man vs. Nature saga, and the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice, a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature Fall 2021. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning