Reviews of Free Sci-fi - P

Reviews of free sci-fi with titles beginning with P

Peregrin – A. Sparrow

*** Sex = 2, action = 9, Prose = 8

The sequel to Xenolith happens almost entirely on a parallel Earth in a medievil level of technology. People from Earth reach here via 'magic' stones that form a link between the worlds at various times. In this the doctor finds his long lost wife who is living among the natives with a few other people from Earth called 'peregrins'.

Most of the plot is actually about the war taking place between two different nations on the parallel planet. The planet is never given a name, only a few of the nations are named. The war is similar enough to the early part of the Fmak invasion of the Kshoned basin that I can now say a chonicler has given it life. The landforms and society are like the Kshoned in the early Troubled Times although the vegetation is Earth native and the people look more like those of the Ydontrostl Basin. The people of the Kshoned at the time had lighter skin and curlier hair.

The story earns high marks for the well rendered society and especially the well done characters. It could have been a four star if not for the excessive and brutal violence. That violence is true to the Fmak invasion of Kshoned, but it is heart rending when it happens to characters you've come to care about. It is not quite as bad as Xenolith only because few of the major characters die.

When I picked up this book it was listed on 'free-online-novels' but between then and now it has been removed, and is now only available on Amazon. Xenolith for kindle is still free, Peregrin is not. The free version had a fair amount of typos, I don't know if they are in the Amazon version. If you don't mind the violence, I think it is worth the price.

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Phamtom Universe – Laura Kreitzer

*** Sex = 2, action = 7, Prose = 9

This starts out as a look at human trafficing and slavery in modern times. The main character of the book is captured by slavers and sold into slavery on a modern day pirate ship. During that part of the book there is nothing at all 'science fiction' about the story. It details the girl's horrific treatment. The treatment is horrifying, but a real slave in modern times would consider herself lucky if she made it to twelve without being raped, much less sixteen. I was ready to have a good read about the subject, even if it wasn't sci-fi.

Alas it was not to be. A secret society finds her on the cargo ship and in trying to take her, she winds up going two hundred years into to future. The adventure and romance of the story begins there, as well as a few things that don't add up. The biggest problem is that two hundred million people are blinked into the future at the same time. They are found within days, but there are already camps set up for them and popular sentiment is against them, as if they had been there for at least a year.

The time is another look at life after the demise of the USA, this time after a conquest by Canada. Now I admit I've never spent a lot of time in Canada and have only met a dozen or so people from there, but to me a militaristic and bigoted Canada seems a little far fetched. The action is also a little unbelievable, especially an eighteen year old boy having the authority shown by the male lead.

The romance is probably the most believable part of the story, at least from her side. It is necessary for the story that the male fall for her, but in real life he would feel a lot more pity than lust. The story is quite chaste with nothing more than kisses exchanged and no erogenous zones named.

All in all the story is entertaining. I may be shortchanging it a little because I was really expecting an expose on human trafficing and slavery and disappointed that it wasn't followed up on.

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Pink Butterfly – Geoff Lynch

** Sex = 4, action = 6, Prose = 7

This is billed as an erotic novel, and some of the characters actually do have sex and a couple of them are actually attractive, but there is a lot more sleaze than sex and a lot more violence than either, brutal, impulsive, unthinking alligator-style violence.

The Pink Butterfly is a strip club where most of the story takes place. It is also the embassy of an obsure, poverty stricken country that doesn't show on any map. That and the fact that the story is filled with ghosts and passages back and forth across the barrier of death, and one of the characters has a potato for a heart and the ability to open his chest and bite off people's heads with it is what makes it sci-fi. The quality of this novel that makes it most like erotica is that the plot is pretty nonsensical, and there is nothing in here to take seriously.

The author may be trying to say something about the sleazy, low-life world of strippers and strip clubs. What little I've seen of it, even in Texas, where the story takes place, was nowhere near as bad as this. Nor is the clientelle. A better and more realistic, though still sleazy look into this world is found in 'Denial' by Kieth Ablow, although that is not sci-fi and last I knew was not in the free market.

The author may also be trying to increase the chastity of our culture by making sex look ugly, diseased and violent. As a child of the 60's I have seen the other side, that even casual sex can be affectionate and fun, even if a little overwhelming, as in Yoonbarla. A similar amount of sex can even appear in a crime drama without being so hind-brain violent as in almost any Harlequin mystery or Antidote.

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Planet Bound – DM Arnold

**** Sex = 4, action = 2, Prose = 8

This is the third in the 'Earthbound' series, see reviews of 'Earthbound' and 'The Lexal affair on their respective pages. This one starts out a little slower than the others and the proofreading let a few more things thru so that I was worried that this might be merely 'good' and get only three stars. But things get better as you get farther into it so I feel this deserves to be rated 'excellent' or four stars.

There is very little action in this one. It is mainly about pregnancy, birth and post-partum depression. The plot involves the male lead's wife trying to get him back from Earth and his adventures trying to get back to Earth and stay away from the operatives his home planet sends to get him. Emotions are more important than action in this one, like much of classic literature. Like classic literature, this could have taken place witout the sci-fi aspects and indeed the sci-fi is minimal in this story, the parts that take place on Floran could just as well have taken place in Russia, China or even North Korea, though the ending would not have been as happy and it would not have fit the series.

If you like sci-fi that is emotional and character based, I recommend this also. If you're looking for body count, you won't find much here.

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