Reviews of Free Sci-fi - X

Reviews of free sci-fi with titles beginning with X

Xenolith – A. Sparrow

*** sex = 1, action = 8, prose = 9

Probably the best parallel worlds story I've come across in the free market and I'm not just saying that because part of it happens in New England (probably Waterbury). If it wasn't so violent I would have given it four stars. In this there are portals between Earth and another planet created by magical stones called Xenoliths. The other planet is a warlike place with a medieval level of technology. People have to pass thru Earth to get from place to place on their native planet, but they don't want to be seen or interact with the people of Earth because they are afraid of the advanced technology.

One of the main characters is an aging doctor who's wife disappeared in the forests of Belize twenty years ago. On a trek back to Belize to put flowers on the site where she disappeared, he is captured by a band from the other world and taken there, thus starting the story. All the other main characters are people from the other planet and most of them know nothing about Earth, not a single word of the language. They run into traitors, a band of enemy soldiers and a host of policemen as they try to battle their way thru the ruins of a brass mill. Their take on the world where they find themselves trapped is amusing.

The other planet is Earthlike enough that the story can be easily filmed within the budget of a made-for-tv movie (hint, hint). There are good hints of the culture of the other world that are very well done. There are not a lot of details but this is an action drama and not a traveloge. The characters are good and you feel it when they die, and many of them do. There is some interest in love, but no actual sex.

The story is just about pure entertainment with little message, a few comments about pollution, noise, etc. while they are on Earth. There is no deep analysis of the sociology of war, war just is and everyone accepts it. For an entertaining and well written story, this is a good pick.

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XIN - The Veiled Genocides – Robert G. Moons

** sex = 0, action = 7, prose = 6

A fossil hobbyist finds a sixty five million year old space probe that was buried while studying Earth when the dinosaurs went extinct. The probe goes home to find her planet destroyed and then enlists the fossil hobbyist to help her seek revenge. She gives him superhuman powers and they go off to defend the galaxy against the evil race called 'the Veiled'.

This is listed under sci-fi and has the form of a sci-fi novel, although there really isn't any science to back it up. I can't say 'this is fantasy' because we are dealing with technology millions and billions of years beyond our own that we could never tell from magic. We have so little idea what will really be possible in that much time and this story uses that fact to the limit. My own feeling is that the laws of physics do not allow a technology that would allow a being to make all members of a species vanish, by thought alone, anywhere in the universe, instantaniously, but who am I to say.

Other than that, the story is actually fun. It moves along very quickly, sometimes a bit too quickly. There are places where we change location and point of view with no more notice than a new paragraph and that can be confusing. The prose isn't the most fluid, but it's good enough to tell the story. There are some space battles but little gory violence. The probe thinks it has fallen in love with the human, but that is the cloest thing to sexuality in the story. The aliens are actors in baggy suits, the evil ones are pure evil, the good ones pure good. The story does not distract from the adventure with any message.

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