Reviews of Free Sci-fi - G

Reviews of free Sci-fi with titles beginning with G

Gaia's Brood – Nick Travers

*** sex = 1, action = 8, prose = 8

This is set in a world where everyone lives on airships or floating islands in the sky. It's a primitive culture, billed as Steam Punk by the author, close enough not to quibble though there is no massive iron. The plot is a girl recently graduated from flight school setting out in search of her mother and running afoul of assassin's guilds, savage aerial pirates and secret operatives of the remainders of the Microsoft corporation.

The main character is supposed to be 21 years old but has the thought processes of a much younger girl. The adventures are exceedingly violent, but not exceedingly gory, like a video game where everyone will get a 'new game' button. The action is engaging but not very realistic. The story is probably aimed at the 'young adult' market, but can be fun for adults if you suspend disbelief. There is a token love interest that is very 'tweens' in execution, never reaching beyond the kissing stage.

I don't recommend exposing young people to this much violence, especially portrayed with no remorse or consequences. Other than that the story is fun. There are quite a few typos but only a few that cause confusion. There is a sympathetic but not completely accurate portrayal of a character with Asperger's syndrome. There is no discernable message, this was probably written only as entertainment, and judging from the author's efforts at self-promotion, probably meant to launch a professional career. This is more likely to do so than the Helium 3 story reviewed below.

Back to top

Galaxy of Heroes – Max Flory

*** sex = 1, action = 6, prose = 9

The human race is caught between two warring non-human empires, each bent on ruling the galaxy. Both of them are more advanced than humans, but only a tiny bit more so that we can compehend and label their weapon systems. As the name suggests, the plot of the story concerns several heroes (who do not have super powers) and their efforts to combat the empires.

One of the empires is populated by giant mechanical insects, the other by large humanoids who also converse with accoustic waves and have psyches that are totally, one hundred percent human without the least hint of alien thought processes. The story is good space opera, written and read mainly for entertainment. If there is any message it is in the third section which shows that many politicians will put their own greed above the future of the human species.

There is a token love interest in the story but it is totally incidental. There is quite a bit of violence but it is not as graphic and gruesome as some. I found the notion that an alien species will communicae with audio, walk on two legs and have the same alpha male macho shtick as humans a little unrealistic. I also find it unrealistic that the aliens are fifteen minutes more advanced than humans even though they are millions or billions of years older. Still, making them a little more like a billion year old species, like the Pronna in The Secret of Mount Traygol, makes them a lot harder to relate to. Having them push humans aside like they were ants under a bulldozer, not even noticing them as a technological species, would be much more realistic, but a lot less interesting reading. As it is, it's a fun read except for the violence. There is a sequel but it is not listed on 'Free-online-novels' and may not be free.

Back to top

Gamers Gate – J. Scott Garibay

*** sex = 1, action = 5, prose = 7

In this story we have some interdimensional portals or wormholes that connect Earth to a world that has been used as the setting for a role playing game very much like Dungeons and Dragons. You've all seen this world before, medieval technology and lifestyle, kings and knights, rogues and jesters, magic, quests, named swords, the whole high fanasy thing. It's a world with rules of magic instead of science, but magic that also works on Earth when their sorcerers are brought here. The plot is about the people who first pass thru the portal, what adventures they have in the world of magic and the people who come to Earth and the adventures they have in the world of technology.

There is violence but it is not unremitting. The characters are adequate and one is physically unique but with an exactly human peronality. The world is substantial, but mainly because it is one we've all seen before. The reaction of Earth's governments to the events described is very restrained. There is a pseudo-governemntal raid soon after the people from Thrycion reach Earth, and some of them are captured, but then the reaction fizzles out and corporations begin to make plans to exploit the new markets. The story ends rather abruptly but there are hints that the relationship between the worlds continues and a lot of commercial exploitation occurs. That could probably happen because Thrycion has nothing like the Kassikan to protect it. It would be very likely that Earth and its nations and corporations would soon overwhelm such a society in spite of their use of magic.

There are both male and female characters but there is no sex, no romance and no interest in it. The proofreading is generally acceptible but there are some missing and wrong words here and there that will make you stop and puzzle out what he's trying to say. I found no message in here that I could pick up on. All in all, it's pretty good, entertaining enough to pick up.

Back to top

Godspeed Inc – Vincent Miskell

*** sex = 3, action = 5, prose = 9

This is a novelette in which the main character, Naomi Kinder, rescues the solar system from an advancing black hole. In just a few pages we have a corporation putting short term profits above human life and even above the fate of the whole solar system. The time frame is late 21st century, the corporation in question has invented a faster than light system which disrupts the fabric of space but is using any and all means to cover up that defect. That defect is what brings the black hole into the solar system and leads to the action of the story.

The science is reasonable space opera, not so unlikely as to detract from the story. I think it is doubtful there will actually be colonies on the moon and Mars by the time period in the story, but this time frame was the common assumption in mid 20th century Sci-fi, and this story has the feel of a magazine story from that era. The characters are as well done as possible in such a short piece. This story serves as an introduction to longer works which will probably flesh out the world a lot more. I got the feeling that the longer works would not be in the free market.

Back to top

Gone With the Trash – Patrick Lussier & Brad Rines

**** sex = 0, action = 7, prose = 9

This is billed as a comic space adventure. What is comic about it are the names of many products and the noises the weapons make. What it really is, is a spoof of the standard shoot-em-up space opera. It is only the fact that it is a spoof that makes the violence palatable because it is very, very violent.

The crazy thing about it is that in the process of creating a spoof on a shoot-em-up space opera, they have created a shoot-em-up space opera that is FAR better than average. It leaves things like 'The Book in the Attic' and Flory's 'Galaxy of Heros' far behind with non-stop action, complex plot twists, a more fleshed out world and more substantial characters.

The plot involves a terrorist organization using an interstellar trash collection service as a vehicle for delivering bombs. One of the pilots for that service is pressed into running down the terrorist organization responsible. It is quite a battle, and as he gets closer he finds the plot going deeper and deeper into the heart of their society, to the point where there is actually a message about corporate greed in here.

Fan's of shoot-em-up space opera may find it silly, while fans of genuine Sci-fi comedy such as 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' will find that it is really not comical enough. I didn't think it was as funny as parts of The Girl on the Crystal Tower but that is not a spoof of anything and my sense of humor is far from the norm.

Back to top

Great News – Karl-Friedrich Lenz

** sex = 1, action = 5, prose = 7

A rather megalomanic CEO of a magic supply company fights a supernatural spider from Venus over global warming. The science involved in the plot is comic-book, only the main character is at all developed. Women are only in here to fawn over the main character. The action is comic book.

Why did I finish it? Two reasons, One - other reviewers thought it was Christian, it is not. Two - it is about the danger of global warming. I commend Karl for trying to speak out on global warming, it is a problem, especially for Europe if the gulf stream were to be disrupted. My opinion is the message would have more impact if the main character was more likable. Someone who constantly brags about his looks, his power over women, his wealth and his brilliant decisions is a total turn-off for me. Having the story told in first person by such a boor makes me less inclined to agree with the author.

Whether we are in imminent danger of a runaway greenhouse effect that turns Earth into another Venus is debatable, but for the most part the climate science here is better than the science used in the plot. The spider from Venus claims he is hypnotizing world leaders into burning fossil fuels, something that also makes little sense. The only sense it does make is to point out that the use of fossil fuels is not a scientific or engineering problem. In engineering terms, we could have the tubeways of later-day Kassidor today.

The real reason we will burn fossil fuels until we either run out of oxygen or the oceans boil is that oil executives making billions of dollars per year are not going to allow the world to move on to other energy sources except over their dead bodies. They have successfully stopped all other forms of transportation since 1903. Their smear campaigns have stopped nuclear power dead in its tracks. If wind or solar were to mount a serious threat, they would stop them also, as they have offshore at Cape Cod. We have seen in Iraq that the oil companies have total command of the United States military, and until we are all willing to put our lives on the line to take on the United States military, all talk of serious alternative energy sources is a waste of breath. That is the global warming story that should be told, not supernatural spiders from Venus.

Back to top