The Cupid Reconciliation by Mike Underwood

Disclaimer: I received an eARC from the Author. In addition, I have backed the Genrenauts Kickstarter.

Twitter Summary: Twice as Much RomCom, just as much Multiverse SF!

Affiliate Links: The Cupid Reconciliation , The Absconded Ambassador ,The Shootout Solution

First Line: Leah Tang hustled into the Genrenauts HQ at nine-o-eight AM and snuck her way to the ready room, exhaling in relief at having escaped King’s anal-retentive time-cop powers.

Review: It is no secret that I’m a fan of Mike Underwood’s work in general , and his Genrenauts series in particular. My previous reviews of the books are Shootout Solution by Mike Underwood and The Absconded Ambassador by Mike Underwood .

One of the features of most of Mike’s stuff is taking genre and it’s trappings (geekery, fandom, tropes) and examining them from a different angle. He has a gift for writing genre that revels in genre. Much like a child taking apart the DVD player to see how it works, Mike likes to get down to the elements that make up genre and twist them around.

In the Cupid Reconciliation, Mike manages to write about a group of people who are investigating and dealing with a RomCom¬† story line, while simultaneously being part of their own RomCom story line. I don’t know how he story boarded that, but the idea of figuring all that out gives me a headache.

Really, my only criticism of the story, mainly that the antagonist seems a little paint by the numbers/cardboard cutout is really just another extension of the genre that Mike is lampshading.

Mike has a breezy conversational way of writing that lends itself well to quips, wordgames, and great characterization. He’s able to pack in a lot of quirks and personalities into each of his characters, to really make them separate entities.

Final Verdict: Thoroughly enjoyed, very much recommend supporting the Genrenauts Kickstarter.

It’s already funded, and is working towards audio stretch goals.

The Cupid Reconciliation by Mike Underwood

Outriders by Jay Posey

Twitter Summary: Small Unit Special Ops in SPAAAAAAAAAAACE! MilSF at a tactical level.

Affiliate Links: Outriders , War Stories ed. by Jaym Gates & Andrew Liptak , The Red: First Light by Linda Nagata

First Line: Captain Lincoln Suh had three minutes to live.

Let’s start with the gorgeous Larry Rostant cover

Outriders_144dpi

That’s a book cover I want a print of to put on my wall. It would pair well with a couple of Larry Rostant’s other book covers: Myke Cole’s Gemini Cell and Linda Nagata’s The Red (no review yet, but the whole trilogy is HIGHLY recommended). Interestingly enough, the cover artist isn’t the only thing Gemini Cell and Outriders have in common.

In both books, the main character dies within the first couple chapters. And THEN the fun begins.

Whereas Gemini Cell is about the power of love, Outriders seems to reach back and touch on some of the themes of Myke’s first book, Control Point, and ask questions about what it means to lead, and what it means to belong to a group that sometimes has to make tough decisions.

And the lead character, Captain Lincoln Suh, isn’t the only one making tough decisions. While the story is primarily told through Suh’s viewpoint, Posey switches between a few other viewpoints as well. A reoccurring theme of “What is right vs. what is my duty?” pops up even in the ancillary story lines. It’s not a very deep line of questioning, and it mostly serves to add gravitas to the plot. I would love to see the author delve deeper into those themes in a sequel.

This isn’t actually my first hop into the the extraplanetary setting of The Process. I was first exposed to it in the anthology War Stories, which contains quite a few amazing MilSF stories.

I thought that the author handled the action scenes well, in a sparse, kinetic fashion. I never felt bogged down by them, and felt there was a good balance of action vs. non-action scenes. This book tapped into my love of bureaucracy porn as a good chunk involves Suh going through red tape and getting to know and bond with his teammates. I’m a sucker for stories where the author invokes the more human elements of serving.

I’m a huge fan of the quality military SF that’s been coming out recently. From indie authors like Jay Allan, to the amazing works by Linda Nagata, Marko Kloos, Ann Leckie, and others… my TBR pile just keeps getting bigger.

Final Verdict: Highly recommended, and if they announce a sequel, I’m pre-ordering it.

Outriders by Jay Posey