Kevin J. Anderson’s Selected Stories Science Fiction Vol. 2 Review

The fourth and final (at least for now) volume of Kevin J. Anderson’s Selected Stories short story series was released back in February.
This outing was another visit to the much beloved genre of Science Fiction which, for those among you who haven’t been keeping up with the main show, is a genre I have taken a deep dive into since I read the first volume.
With these new experiences in that area, I was wondering how this collection would hit me.
Strap on your space suit and let’s space find out…in space!

I have to say, as per the usual with this series, I think the short intros he writes to each story may be my favorite part.
It really seems to give each story a bit more depth to hear where it came from, who or what inspired it, or how long he kicked it around before he dropped the final product on his editors.
Even with the stories that aren’t my favorites, it is at least interesting to have the back story.

As for the stories themselves, this go round I found myself engaging more with the shorter among them.
Not that the longer ones are bad, but I think it may be a bit of brain training and expectation with this anthological format.
The shorter stories here tend to have a bit more of a reveal or “Ah-ha” feel than the longer ones do which, to use TV as a comparison, I feel like most anthologies shows do better than episodic series.
And I like that.
I like the quick and clever economic nature of it all.

I think every subgenre of Sci-Fi gets its day in the sun in this volume, and a few have fun and interesting spins that almost make you forget you are reading a Science Fiction story, which I think is something that some of my favorites do best.
If you need some Military Sci-Fi stat, you are covered with a few novellas.
But there are also stories of time travel, genetic manipulation, alien contact, and a transformational hooker…you know, that tired old trope!

I always try to give you some of my favorite stories when I talk about short story collections, so in no particular order, the top 3 stories that I would say you can’t miss are:
Technomagic, a story of a stranded alien that becomes a world famous magician.
Prevenge, a time travel tale that is reminiscent of Minority Report, with a bit more investigation.
A Delicate Balance, a dark story about seed colonies and a severe miscalculation that leads to forced population control.
All are wonderfully distinct and showcase the variety of this writer and this genre.

So to wrap up I have to say that after reading and reviewing all 4 volumes of this series, I feel like a jackass.
For a decade or so, if folks would mention Kevin J. Anderson I’d always say “The Star Wars Guy!?” or “Awww, The Last Days Of Krypton!” and now that almost feels reductive.
Don’t get me wrong, Shamble aside, Last Days is still hands down my favorite KJA book, but the dude has way more shades and layers than just Krypton, Star Wars, & X-Files.
The goal of this series was probably to collect a bunch of stories he had the rights to and get them back in print, but they have been damn eye opening as well.
I’ll call that a happy accident and wait patiently for him to get enough material together for a fifth installment, and whatever else he’s ready to produce.

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Special thanks to @ACFerrell1976 and @gigiamk30 for their editorial assistance.

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Shadow Warriors: Retaliation Press Release

From WordFire Press…

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Shadow Warriors are back! Will they defeat not one, but two enemies to save mankind?

Monument, Colorado. WordFire Press is proud to announce the release of Shadow Warriors: Retaliation, by Nathan B. Dodge!

Shadow Warriors forces, led by Cal, Letty, Tony, Sasha, and Opi, have defeated two Horde invasions.

The team was kidnapped by the Molethian civilization and forced to become a fighter crew to battle against The Horde, the most vicious, predatory enemy in all the Milky Way galaxy. At first, only Letty could get along with the rest of them, and they basically hated each other. However, due largely to Letty’s efforts, they became not only the top fighting crew in the Shadow Warriors, but also a close family that love and support each other. Due to Opi’s amazing strategic thinking, Letty’s organizational skills, Sasha’s unparalleled ability as a weapons officer, Tony’s crack talent as a navigator, and Cal’s icy nerve as a battle leader, they have found a way to defeat two major Horde invasions.

Opi, their planner, decides that they’ll need new methods to defeat another invasion. The team searches for and finds the main Horde base in the galaxy and strikes…but in the midst of the attack, they are assailed by a new enemy!

About the author:

Educated in electrical engineering, Nathan worked as an engineer and engineering manager, primarily at Texas Instruments, before joining the University of Texas at Dallas as a teacher. He taught full-time for 16 years and continues to teach half-time. In his “spare” time, he loves weight lifting, hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, and solving crossword puzzles with wife Faye Lynn.

Shadow Warriors: Retaliation

Trade paperback $18.99. ISBN 978-1-61475-992-8

Ebook $4.99. ISBN 978-1-61475-993-5

Coming July 10, 2019

WordFire Press is a mid-size new-model publisher founded by New York Times bestselling authors Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta. You can find us at wordfirepress.com. Tweet us @WordFirePress. Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/WordfireIncWordfirePress.

The Nerd Blitz Question Of The Week #42

Some say this week will be the answer to life, the universe, and everything.
Let’s find out.

This week we are staying in Space and asking: Who do you think is the greatest space ship captain in all of fiction, and why?

Leave your answer down in the comments or on Twitter with the hashtag #TNBQotW

Special thanks to @SteBoost for our QotW logo.

The Nerd Blitz Question Of The Week #41

Week 41 brings about supreme nerdery, so let’s dive in!

This week, we are going Trek and asking: Using TOS, TNG, DS9 and Voyager, who would you draft into your ideal bridge crew?

Leave your answer down in the comments or on Twitter with the hashtag #TNBQotW

Special thanks to @SteBoost for our QotW logo.

Star Wars: Maul: Lockdown Review

This book ended up being the final novel released in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, aka Legends, timeline.
I have no clue if Joe Schreiber knew at the time he was writing it that he was the penning the swan song for an entire line of continuity or not, but none the less he was swinging for the fences.
The question at this point is did he get it over the wall or did he swing wild and fling his bat at the pitcher, slamming him in the face and unleashing a torrent of blood, causing a bench clearing brawl the likes of which have never been seen before or since that will go down in history as…I may have gotten carried away just then, and I don’t even like baseball, but I think you see my point…let’s answer that question in less gory detail.

Consider this your official ***Spoiler Alert***

Sidious sends Maul undercover into a prison to meet with a mysterious weapons dealer to get a device to further one of his many secret plans and bring forth the Sith takeover we all know is coming.
Through algorithmic match making, this prison is a hub of fights and high stakes betting that brings the attention of the galaxy and some of its more seedy underworldy types.

This is the 3rd and final of Joe Schreiber’s Star Wars novels and I’m trying to decide if this is better than the 1st or not.
The race is so damn tight.
Death Troopers brilliantly handled Han & Chewie appearances while mixing in some kickass Zombie attacks.
This has Maul, Sidious, Plagueis, and Jabba in Pre-Phantom Menace action.
He has a way of dealing with these legacy characters that makes them feel less like untouchable art pieces and more like action figures that are going to get beat up and thrown back in the toy box for the next writer to take out and toss around for a bit, and I mean that in the best possible way.

His handling of Maul is great, displaying the pure stoicism of this brutal fighter is spot on.
Sidious takes lightsabers and the Force out of the arsenal of the horn headed apprentice, to keep his dark side allegiance secret, and it gives us a great insight into how his mind works and how he has been trained to adapt.
We see a new detective side to him as well as we follow him chasing down leads and rumors in the prison, hunting the arms dealer and coming to multiple deadends.
He almost comes off like The Punisher in that respect, and I loved it.

There are twists aplenty, and not a one had that all too familiar feeling of “are you seriously gonna try this hokey shit?” that can often be found in books/story that try to be too clever or deep for their own good.
They all have an air of “aw hell, why didn’t I see that coming?” to them.
One unexpected twist I’ll share is when Darth Plagueis shows up and starts undermining the plans of Sidious, confronting him about it to pretty much let him know he’s aware of the ongoing shenanigans, and then he cooly moves past it to discuss the grand plan for the approaching Sith takeover.
It’s tense as hell and almost worth the price of admission alone.

Tip to tail, this is a damn good book.
And while I enjoy the new main continuity, I hope at some point in the future that Disney/Del Rey will open the door and let the EU/Legends continuity thrive again.
Because if this is the level of story they were pumping out at the end, there were plenty more great stories to come.

Share this post on Twitter with the Hashtag #TNBBookReview.

Special thanks to @ACFerrell1976 for her editorial assistance.

Walpurgis III Press Release

From WordFire Press…
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Who is more dangerous, the man who kills from compulsion? Or the man who kills from calculation?

Monument, Colorado. WordFire Press is proud to announce the release of Walpurgis III, by Hugo and Nebula Winning Author, Mike Resnick!

Conrad Bland has slaughtered tens of millions, a butcher vastly worse than Hitler. He has never considered not killing anyone who stood in his way.

He takes refuge on Walpurgis III, a planet settled by various cults of devil worshippers. He is the manifestation of the evil they revere, but now that they have come face-to-face with their beliefs, the cults desperately want Bland to be removed from their lives, their world, and entirely from existence.

So Walpurgis III contacts Jericho, the greatest assassin in the galaxy, to rid them of Conrad Bland. But once the assassin arrives and begins to make his bloody way toward Bland’s headquarters, the people—especially John Sable, the top policeman on the planet—must face an excruciating choice.

About the author:

Mike Resnick is, according to Locus, the all-time leading award winner for short science fiction. He is the winner of 5 Hugos (from a record 37 nominations), plus other major awards in the USA, France, Poland, Catalonia, Croatia, Spain, Japan, and China (where he recently won an award as Most Popular Foreign Author). Mike is the author of 78 novels, 10 books of non-fiction, close to 300 short stories, and three screenplays. He has edited 43 anthologies, and is currently the editor of both Galaxy’s Edge magazine and Stellar Guild books. He was the Worldcon Guest of Honor in 2012.

Walpurgis III

Trade paperback $14.99. ISBN 978-1-61475-954-6

Ebook $4.99. ISBN 978-1-61475-955-3

WordFire Press is a mid-size new-model publisher founded byNew York Times bestselling authors Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta. You can find us at wordfirepress.com. Tweet us @WordFirePress. Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/WordfireIncWordfirePress.

Thieves & Beggars Press Release

From WordFire Press…

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Space pirates return in this riveting new space opera by C. S. Ferguson!

Monument, Colorado. March 22, 2019. WordFire Press is proud to announce the release of Thieves & Beggars, a Wild Space novel by C.S. Ferguson.

After the loss of Tamora, the last three Crimson Star pirates are even more desperate to find their hijacked starship and escape the Heracles system. The once-infamous Crimson Star pirates lost their ship to a band of mercenaries, lost their doctor to the Inquisition, and are now reliant on the good will of the ruthless Borjigin crime family for safety. But the Borjigins could be a blessing in disguise … if they and the pirates can survive the tightening grip of the merciless and calculating Inquisition.

The Inquisition is mercilessly crushing crime at every level, and the pirates can feel the icy grip of the law tightening around their necks...

Coming March 27, 2019

About the author: C. S. Ferguson used to be an adventurer. He traveled half a million miles through 55 countries on every continent, circling the globe nine times. Then he had this epic fight vs. a crazy boss monster that was basically a vampiric half-dragon 14th level ranger/7th level assassin. He tried to solo it, which was a big mistake, because that boss was a total badass. Yeah. It didn’t end well. So, after he weaned himself off the pain killers, Ferguson retired from that and looked for something less dangerous. He settled in Seattle, where everyone is an aspiring game designer, so he claimed the same in an effort to fit in. Except, people believed him. His 14 games are in 68 countries. That means people actually buy them, which is pretty cool because now he can afford the high-end ramen. The mail lady and grocery store checkout girl both know him by name, so that’s two diehard fans. And his mom gets his name right half the time, so that’s like two and a half. That’s more girls than would talk to him in middle school, so his life is improving.

Thieves & Beggars

Trade paperback $16.99. ISBN 978-1-61475-962-1

Ebook $5.99. ISBN 978-1-61475-963-8

Hardback $29.99. ISBN 978-1-61475-971-3

WordFire Press is a mid-size new-model publisher founded by New York Timesbestselling authors Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta. You can find us atwordfirepress.com. Tweet us @WordFirePress. Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/WordfireIncWordfirePress.