Slaughterhouse: MilSF Short

I'm not only writing fiction these days, but am also doing some experiments.  One that falls in both categories is a MilSF short story I have on Kindle for just $0.99.  The plan is for this story to be the first in a series that flips between combat and what happens after the troops return home.  I hope you will check it out, and feel free to leave honest reviews on this or any of my other works.  


Book Review - "Buffalo Trail" by Jeff Guinn

The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper.  You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.

9780399165429_p0_v1_s192x300Buffalo Trail by Jeff Guinn is an action packed historical novel.  Readers will understand the realities of western culture in the 1870s through Guinn’s story and characters, historical notables from the west. The title fits the plot perfectly since it explains the importance of the buffalo to both the Indians and white hunters. 

This story makes the era come alive with vivid descriptions of Dodge City and the Frontier life.  Through the main character, Cash McLendon, one of the few fictional people in the book, the plot unfolds.  He escapes from Glorious, Arizona, on the run from Killer Boots.  Fleeing to Dodge City, he falls in with an intrepid band of buffalo hunters determined to head south to forbidden Indian Territory in the Texas Panhandle. Cash is befriended by Western legends Bat Masterson and Billy Dixon and decides to travel with them to hunt buffalo.  They establish a camp known as Adobe Walls.  His desire is to get enough money to pursue his true love, Gabriella Tirrito.   Unfortunately, the Indians have other ideas, forming an alliance of Comanche, Cheyenne, and Kiowa, targeting the camp to defeat the white man. This is an authentic confrontation that became known as the Adobe Walls battle, one of the fiercest and bloodiest in frontier history. 

Because Guinn wanted to create a realistic atmosphere he noted, “All the descriptions are true.  I want readers to feel the dust blow in their eyes and the fear as the hunters were attacked. In fact, I followed the exact trail of the hunters to Adobe Walls.  In the hardback will be photos for the readers to see the actual figures.  I also showed the accuracy of the Sharps 50 that Billy Dixon shot with, able to get his target from about a mile away.”

What makes the story even more interesting is how Cash is portrayed as someone down on his luck that seems to make the wrong choices.  In the first novel he betrayed his fiancé Gabriella, his true love, to marry into a wealthy family. After his wife dies his father-in-law hires an assassin to kill him.  Escaping to the frontier, Cash drifts through Texas, loses his savings to Doc Holliday, and stumbles into unsightly and dangerous Dodge City. Cash then ends up at the wrong place at the wrong time, trying to survive a vicious Indian attack. Hopefully he learns from his mistakes because he is constantly penalized for his wrong choices. 

There are also the rich characters of real life Indians, such as the Comanche war chief Quanah Parker, Lone Wolf, Medicine Water, and the Dog Soldiers.  But the most intriguing unique figure, was the real life female Indian warrior, Mochi, a Cheyenne woman and Sand Creek massacre survivor who's later accepted into the fierce dog soldier clan. 

Guinn commented to, “Mochi will have to stay in my stories except she will not be in the next book.  Almost everything in this book, from her witnessing the slaughter of her tribe and being wounded to her fighting at Adobe Walls is true.  Although one scene in the book came completely out of my imagination, when she does a courageous and astonishing sacrifice to recon for the Indians.  She is not the type of person that would sit back and be told what to do.  No matter the cost to herself she is determined to get revenge.  I hope I showed Mochi’s desire along with the other Indians to have Adobe Walls where the collision occurred. It is like today with the tribes in the Middle East, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. These Indian tribes united through the common enemy, the white hunters who they saw as a threat to their way of life.”

Buffalo Trail has an action atmosphere that puts readers right into the battle and on the western frontier.  It brings to life the era and the western legends that have fascinated people.  This novel is riveting and filled with action.

The next book in the series, Silver City, according to Guinn, will resolve the original story arc.  It brings closure to Cash/Boots and Cash/Gabriella.  Although Gabriella basically made cameo appearances in Buffalo Trail, with this next book she will be front and center, since much of the story is written from her perspective. Guinn stated that any future stories will have “Cash and Gabriella intrinsically bonded.”

Book Review and Interview with the Cheneys - EXCEPTIONAL: Why the World Needs a Powerful America

The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper.  You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.

The title of this book, Exceptional, applies to its authors, former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter, Liz Cheney, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State. From Presidents Franklin Roosevelt through George W. Bush America remained the world’s premier power, triumphing during WW II, the Cold War, and the War on Terror. The Cheney’s take readers on a historical journey while pointing out how President Obama’s policies have weakened this nation. Below is a Q/A with the Cheneys.

Liz Cheney explained to, “The point of our book is to say America is an exceptional nation.  We have been since our founding and are today, but for different reasons. After America’s founding we became a model for freedom in the world and from the time of WWII we became the defender of that freedom. The fact that we have a President that is embarking on dangerous policies does not mean we are not exceptional.  Rather it means he does not recognize the unique role we must play in the world. We need a president that truly believes we are freedom’s defender.”

The book is separated into three parts.  The authors first give a short history of America’s foreign policy and the unique role played as the world’s protector of freedom.  The authors add flavor by using quotes from past Presidents.  They show how Presidents knew that weakness invites aggression.  They write about President Roosevelt who in 1940 convinced a war weary and isolationist leaning country to join WWII because America has an obligation as "the defender of freedom" and “the arsenal of democracy." And in 1962, Kennedy said, “The 1930s taught us a clear lesson: aggressive conduct, if allowed to go unchecked and unchallenged, ultimately leads to war.”

Throughout the first part they show that both Democratic and Republican Presidents believed in a bi-partisan approach that recognized America’s prominence in the world.  Vice-President Cheney commented, “I don’t think Theodore Roosevelt would recognize Barack Obama in terms of his policy.  Looking at the Democratic Party from Roosevelt, Truman, and Kennedy, all shared in the consensus view that we had to be strong and the leader of the free world.  I don’t think they would associate themselves with Barack Obama’s policies. This is a guy who wanted to go to Japan and apologize for what we did in WW II at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Harry Truman’s decision to use the bomb was crucial in reducing loss of life or we would have had to invade Japan. He is trying to rewrite our history through his apologies of what his American predecessors did. It comes down to an issue of leadership.  As we quote in the book, President Ronald Reagan said, ‘It is up to us in our time to choose, and choose wisely, between the hard but necessary task of preserving peace and freedom, and the temptation to ignore our duty and blindly hope for the best while the enemies of freedom grow stronger day by day.’”

Part II explains how President Obama’s policies have made America less safe, citing ISIS, Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea.  This part is especially relevant since they speak about the Iranian nuclear deal.  They write, “The president has tried to sell this bad deal by claiming that there is no alternative, save war. In fact, this agreement makes war more, not less, likely… In addition to accelerating the spread of nuclear weapons across the Middle East, it will provide the Iranians with hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief, which even the Obama administration admits likely will be used to fund terror." The Cheney’s also criticize what they see as inadequate verifications for inspections of Iran's nuclear sites, the removal of restrictions on Iran's ballistic missile program and the lifting of sanctions against the regime, which they believe will help Iran fund terror.

Liz Cheney commented about the above quote, “President Obama believes the US is a maligned force in the world, a force for ill.  He tries to do anything possible to minimize our impact in the world and to limit our engagement/involvement. Look at the Iranian nuclear deal that will basically give the Iranians a path for a nuclear arsenal.”  The Vice-president added, “He has taken us down a very dangerous road by making a deal with Iran, the world’s greatest sponsor of terrorism.”

Part III is the most interesting part of the book.  The Cheney’s make recommendations on how to use America’s power against its enemies.  This path restores America as the world’s leader that includes rebuilding the military, negotiating with our adversaries out of a position of strength, and working closely with our allies. 

The authors advocate the need for a robust military.  The Vice-President stated to, “My dad and an awful lot of Americans served in WWII.  They look back on their service with pride.  Today President Obama has sent a tremendous signal to friends and adversaries of weakness and our inability to influence events in the world.  For example, when America withdrew from the Middle East the Iranians, ISIS, and Russia, all our adversaries, filled the void.  He has decimated our military capabilities in the face of rising threats. I can’t think of a time in history, in our history, when we’ve seen such rising threats: ISIS in the Middle East, creator of a caliphate, China on the march in the South China Sea, Putin in Europe, we see threats rise, yet the President is consciously and obviously doing whatever he can to reduce our military capabilities. The military has been very sadly neglected, especially in the strategic systems. The damage to the defense department will take years to be built up.  What really bugs me is Barack Obama has taken away a future President’s ability to play defender.  I remember after Desert Storm one of the first things I did was call Ronald Reagan and thank him for having a magnificent military force that helped us to wrap things up in a very short order.  Now we will have future President’s that will look back and tear their hair out because of the damage done to the military. But I am hopeful because of all the good candidates on the Republican side.  A number of them have been very clear about their understanding of what it will take to return American power and influence across the globe.”

Exceptional: Why The World Needs A Powerful America is a must read.  Unlike many authors the Cheney’s actually make clear and concise recommendations of what future Presidents need to accomplish.  Through the historical journey readers will understand why the authors criticism of the current President is valid.  They make the excellent point that to safeguard America, Presidents must “speak softly, but carry a big stick.”  As they said in the book, “Without our armed forces, there would be no liberty.  They are the ultimate guarantor and protector of our freedoms.” 

Book Review - "The End Game" by Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison

The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper.  You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link on the right sidebar.

9780698189317_p0_v3_s192x300The End Game by Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison is a great escape.  Anyone frustrated by what is going on in the world should read this book.  Because of its realistic and authentic storyline people gain an understanding of the dynamics between the US and Iran.  Unfortunately, it is only fiction, but the beauty of this novel is how the authors are able to solve the world’s problems, allowing for redemption and justice. 

The irony in this book makes for a very suspenseful plot.  Returning FBI Special Agents Michaela “Mike” Caine and her British partner, Nicholas Drummond, are on the trail of a shadowy terrorist organization known as the Celebrants of Earth. A scientist, Matthew Spenser, whose family was killed in the 2007 terrorist bombing by the London Underground, heads this anti-Muslim group as they attempt to stop the importing of Middle East oil by bombing refineries. They never hurt people until Darius, an Iranian agent plant, worms his way into COE. His goal is to bring America to its knees through the assassination of its leaders, and convinces Spenser to use increasingly violent means. Drummond and Caine are on the tail of these domestic and foreign terrorists that eventually lead them back to Washington DC where they must thwart the assassinations as well as an attempt to crash the Richmond, Virginia power grid.

Ellison commented to, “We wanted to convey how both the antagonist, Spenser, and one of the heroines, Caine, have their lives shaped by terrorism.  Both saw the devastation and murder by the terrorists.  While Spenser wants to get revenge in the beginning he did not want to kill and drop down to the terrorists level.  Eventually he is pushed to the edge and at that point he lost his sense for caring.  On the other hand, Caine was shaped by 9/11, emphasized with this quote, ‘I was sixteen when Nine-Eleven happened.  These sons-of-bitches and their bombs and attacks, it still makes me so mad I knew if I had them in front of me, I’d blow off their worthless heads.’”

Another reality of the novel is its use of technology. The terrorists launch cyber attacks against the oil companies, draining their financial and intellectual assets. To fight them the FBI goes on the offensive.  The authors must have had a crystal ball considering that in the last Republican debate Governor Jeb Bush talked of “offensive cyber.”  One of the characters Adam Pearce, a computer genius, helps the FBI uncover the plots, using aggression action.

But the story is also a word of warning.  Imagine the scary scenario of a bomb that is the size of a fifty-cent piece and can get lost in someone’s pocket. It could be dropped in any niche or corner and can be completely overlooked. This and a computerized trigger, allows the detonator to be thousands of miles away from the bomb. Even though Iran has gone live with its nuclear facilities it sends an assassin to steal the hand-size bomb.

The authors superbly pit the President and Vice-President against each other regarding Iran.  President Jefferson Bradley wanted a legacy of peace in the Middle East, making it his number one priority.  He managed to have all the parties sit down in Geneva. The glory he was seeking is based on a peace accord where America’s enemies became its friends, believing the Iranian President as he panders to the President.

Then there is Vice-President Callan Sloan.  She is strong-willed, decisive, intelligent, and not afraid to use America’s might where necessary. Considered a trailblazer, Sloan was a former CIA Agent turned Congresswoman who refused to kowtow to anybody.  Her attitude toward Iran is 180 degrees from the President’s, “Are you content to ignore what he says about the West? That we’re a blight, vermin, and should be exterminated?” She understood that the peace meetings were basically for show. Readers will yearn for a real leader like Sloan, regretting that this VP is only fictional. Just think if there was a leader like her in personality, philosophy, and political will, doing what was in the best interests for America and its allies.

Ellison gave a heads up about the next book she and Coulter will write that will bring back The Fox, aka Kitsune.  Instead of being a topical novel like The End Game, it will be an historical quest. She explained how a series works, “The first book introduces all the characters.  The second book has a plot that showcases them.  The third book is where you realize all the limitations you put on your characters.  We know Nicholas and Mike tend to go off book; yet, they are FBI agents.  They would be fired in the real world.  Because of this we decided to have them transition to a new position in the FBI, which you will read about in the next book.  It will be very international, going back to the territory of The Lost Key.”

The End Game is a magnificent story where art imitates life.  It is a timely tale of terrorism with an added dose of political intrigue.  This third in the series has so much intensity that it will be hard to put down. While entertaining it is also has a very thought-provoking plot.

Ashley's War -- Book Review

Guest post by Daniel Burton



Ashley’s War by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon 

At some point while reading Ashley’s War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield, I started to read faster, flipping pages and nearly skimming. It must have been shortly after I realized that Ashley–the title character, but by no means the only female soldier documented in Gayle Tzemach Lemmon’s book–was going to go to Afghanistan to serve on the front lines with special forces and wasn’t going to tell her parents any more than that she would be an “enabler.” They thought she was doing humanitarian work; Ashley was actually participating in raids with U.S. Army Rangers to capture insurgents in the dark of night. 

As the father of three daughters, it scared the living daylights out of me. If I wasn’t gripped by the book before, I was after this. I couldn’t put the book down, and it was closer to sunrise than it was to sunset when I finally closed Ashley’s War on the last page.


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Book Review - "Woman with a Secret" by Sophie Hannah

The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper.  You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link on the right side bar.

9780062388261_p0_v2_s192x300Woman With A Secret, Sophie Hannah’s latest book, delves into the online world.  Parts of the story are told through email correspondence, gossip columnist’s entries, the main character’s narration, and a police investigation.  The deception, lies and secrets, are what makes up a great deal of this novel.

The best description of the story comes from country singer Brad Paisley’s lyrics to the song Online, “I'm a sci-fi fanatic.  Mild asthmatic.  Never been to 2nd base.  But there's a whole another me.  That you need to see.  Go check out Myspace… I'm so much cooler online.” The main character Nicki Clements through her on-line life portrays herself as someone different than she actually is.  She leads a double life, on the surface respectable, while on-line just the opposite with her unsavory Internet connections.

The plot has Nicki, a stay at home mom, repeatedly engaging in reckless behavior.  Although she lives a comfortable existence, she is not satisfied with it.  Nicki is driven to live on the edge, exchanging clandestine and lustful emails with men who share her fondness for the thrill of the forbidden.  One of those she corresponded with is the well-known journalist Damon Blundy, found murdered in a bizarre manner.  This is when Hannah’s main characters, detectives Simon Waterhouse, Charlotte (Charlie) Zailer, and the rest of the team enter the story.  Through their investigation they suspect Nicki of being the killer.  The rest of the story has the police trying to find evidence that will lead them to the murderer.

Nicki is nothing like the protagonist of Hannah’s last novel.  The author noted to, “Gabby, was an admirable character while Nicki is a flawed character who has desperate, ridiculous behavior with a life based on lies.  Her parents always made her feel bad, naughty, and excessively punitive. She is not strong willed like Gabby.  But I am hoping that a flawed character can be sympathetic.” 

Unfortunately, while readers rooted for Gabby they will have a hard time doing so with Nicki.  She is high-strung, self-centered, and seems incapable of telling the truth for twenty-four hours at a stretch. Her attitude can best be summed up from a quote in the book, “Being bad and getting away with it; there’s no feeling like it.”

Woman With A Secret has compelling themes of Internet bullying, hypocritical people, and a dysfunctional relationship. As with all her books, Hannah allows readers to get into the thoughts of the protagonist and the police, by having each alternately narrate the chapters. 

The author also gave a heads up about her next books.  In May a stand-alone will be released about a woman who moves her family from London to Devon.  She is faced with someone wanting to kill her family and persecuting them with menacing experiences. In the summer The Narrow Bed, a Simon and Charlie novel, will be released.  Its plot has a serial killer murdering best friends.  The protagonist is a comedian a la Joan Rivers who is prickly, contrary, and says deliberately annoying comments.  In both books the main character is a heroine that has a strong willed personality and will aggressively pursue justice.

Book Review - "The Jazz Palace"

The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper.  You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category in the right side bar.

9780385539739_p0_v1_s192x300The Jazz Palace by Mary Morris is part historical novel, part mystery, and is filled with cultural heritage.  She writes how poverty, race relations, romance, immigrants, migrants, and gangsters shaped the city of Chicago.  The mystery comes into play as readers wonder what will happen to those struggling “outsiders” as they face triumphs and tribulations. Although the primary story is fictional the many historical details and characters add to the plot’s authenticity.

The novel opens with the sinking of the SS Eastland in 1915 where hundreds drowned in a capsized Lake Michigan ferry. Through this tragedy the author introduces two of the main characters, Benny Lehrman and Pearl Chimbrova. As the story unfolds it becomes apparent there are three main protagonists with a major supporting character, the music of jazz, which is inseparable from the character’s lives. 

Benny is a Jewish teenager growing up on the North side of Chicago in the early twentieth century. His father wants him to participate in the family business of making hats, but Benny’s real passion is playing piano, especially jazz.  At night he sneaks down to the South Side, slipping into predominantly black clubs to hear jazz groups play, until one night when he plays an improvisational piece.  It is here that he is befriended by a black trumpeter, Napoleon, who resembles the famous Louis Armstrong. 

Morris commented to, “During that era in Chicago there were migration, immigration, Anti-Semitism, and racism.  Jews and blacks have felt a certain connection.  Louis Armstrong wore a Jewish star around his neck.  He talked about a Jewish family giving him the money to buy his first instrument.”

Napoleon Hill brings together Benny and Pearl. She runs a saloon, offering drinks and jazz to its customers. Recognizing the talents of Benny and Napoleon, she invites them to start playing at her family's saloon, which Napoleon dubs "The Jazz Palace." But, Napoleon must contend with mob bosses who see him as their property, including the real life gangster Al Capone, a lover of the music.  A powerful quote in the book emphasizes this point, “The Stroll (the center of urban black entertainment) is a big plantation.  The musicians had their jazz slave masters, just like in the old days.”

She noted, “Nothing was better for live music in Chicago than prohibition.  Al Capone said people want booze and music so that is what I am giving them.  Even though alcohol was illegal throughout the US, in Chicago it was a thriving business.  It was like a toxic soup that fed into the music.  People would go from club to club to drink, dance, and hang out.  But, the gangsters owned the musicians.  They were not free to go from place to place, and were at risk if they tried to play at a different club.  Blacks were exploited, but in subtle ways.  If they tried to leave they faced horrific cruelty.” 

Readers are spell bound as they wonder what will happen to the characters while they can picture the music playing in the background.  The action ratchets up like a jazz crescendo with the ending a triumphant climax. As Morris wrote about Benny, “He was inside a globe like a paperweight and around him the music swirled, shaking, and what had been outside was inside of him now.” (

The Jazz Palace brings to life the jazz era of the 1920s. Readers will feel they are actually in the saloons with Al Capone, Louis Armstrong, and those who ignored the prohibition laws.  They will be transported to another place and time with the well-developed characters, historical plot, and mysterious story.

American Exceptionalism -- Book Review

It is a pleasure to introduce you to Daniel Burton, who will be doing a series of guest posts reviewing fiction and non-fiction works.  He lives in Salt Lake County, Utah, where he practices law by day and everything else by night.  You can also find him on Twitter at @publiusdb.  


American Exceptionalism: An Experiment in History by Charles Murray

American Exceptionalism: An Experiment in History weighs in at a little under fifty, four-by-six pages (not including notes and citations). It's pretty light weight, especially as it goes for books on politics or history. And yet, Charles Murray does not disappoint. He packs in a lot of interesting ideas in a short amount of time.

Murray opens by looking at misconceptions about what American exceptionalism means. Rather than using the definition of "exceptional" that means "wonderful," Murray notes that at the founding of the country, and indeed for most of the first century of US history, most of the world saw what was happening in America as exceptional. There are four arguments Murray makes to demonstrate exceptionalism:

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Book Review - "Dance of the Bones" by J.A. Jance

The following book review is  special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper.  You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.

9780062297686_p0_v5_s192x300Dance Of The Bones by J. A. Jance is an action packed mystery infused with the legends and culture of the Tohono O’odham Indian tribe. Before each chapter there is an Indian story/folklore based on this tribe’s traditions. Jance readers know that with any of her books they will be treated to a riveting mystery with twists and turns. 

This fifth book in the Walker Family novels, the latest series, brings back all the wonderful characters including retired Arizona sheriff Brandon Walker and his adopted daughter Lani.  Although billed as a joint J. P. Beaumont and Brandon Walker novel, Beaumont only makes what can best be described as a cameo appearance.  The one thing these two crime fighters have in common is that both are retired.  Their new duties include solving cold cases: Brandon with the organization The Last Chance while Beaumont is at loose ends when the Washington State Attorney General’s Special Homicide Investigation Team, has been dissolved.

Jance noted to, “I learned J. P. Beaumont does not play well with others.  He kept walking in and taking over the book.  He would not sit down and shut up.  He was supposed to have a much bigger role but I could not get him to blend in.  Sometimes characters just do not cooperate.  People assume authors are in charge of characters but it ain’t necessarily so.  The reason we did this is my editor thought J. P. readers could be brought into the Walker books. This is a way of cross-pollinating the audience. Finally I took his part of the story and turned it into a separate novella called Stand Down. After that I was able to get him under control.” 

The antagonist is the evil character Ava Martin.  She frames an innocent man that was arrested by Walker.  Years later he and his daughter ask the retired Sheriff and The Last Chance organization to find the real killer and clear his name.  It is in the style of a Colombo episode since the reader sees the case unfold, and how the initial crime shapes the present.  As Ava tries to suppress evidence she eliminates witnesses by kidnapping and then killing them.  Walker must find out who is behind all these missing people and murders.

A fascinating character is Dr. Lani Walker.  She is an example of how these Desert People are able to straddle the worlds of traditional Indian customs and modern day America.  She is both a medicine woman and a medical emergency room doctor, a trained physician.  Jance makes people aware of how the Tohono O’odham Indian tribe continues to carve a path between ancient and modern worlds, and she does it with dignity and respect.

Because today’s world must be politically correct, Jance wants to reassure readers she has the utmost admiration for this Indian tribe.  She commented, “The time I spent living on the reservation in the 1970s has so much impact on my life, as the librarian I wanted to write about it.  I was taken to heart by these people. Part of what I want to express in these books is their resilience and how they live in both worlds, in a world that incorporates the old belief system while accepting new belief systems.  I was a guest of honor at the tribal museum where I got a standing ovation. I think it has to do with their understanding that their real stories and legends are in my books.  Now other people know of their rich traditions.”

This latest Walker Family series has very well developed and interesting characters.  Jance has created a very intelligent, entertaining, and suspenseful novel, one that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat as they feel they are part of the plot.

The author also gave a heads up about her next projects.  Published toward the end of the year is a crossover novella, No Honor Among Thieves, which has Ali Reynolds working with Joanna Brady.  Then her new novel, Clawback, featuring Reynolds will be published with the plot based around a Ponzi scheme.

Edge of Dark: Book Review By Dave Truesdale

I want to welcome guest poster Dave Truesdale, who will be reviewing (primarily) science fiction and fantasy works here, and invite you to check out his work at Tangent.  Dave is the managing editor and founder of Tangent, which is regarded by many as the premier review magazine for short fiction.  He has previously been the editor for the SFWA Bulletin and was a columnist for the Magazine of Fantasty & Science Fiction.   Please do check out his many other works.  This review is crossposted at Tangent

Edge of Dark

Edge of Dark 

(The Glittering Edge, Book One)

by Brenda Cooper

(Pyr, March 2015, hc, 396 pp.)


In the realm of science fiction literature, authors have grappled with the issue of advanced machine intelligence for a very long time—especially when it comes to sophisticated computers who take the form of robots who look like, act like, and far too often for their own good, think like humans and with a consciousness and will of their own. We now call such entities Artifical Intelligences (or simply AIs).

The most famous example of SF dealing with the theme of artificial intelligence is Isaac Asimov's series of robot stories, wherein Asimov uses his invented positronic brains to explore the ramifications, loopholes, and problems mankind would have to confront, given the mandate of the author's iconic Three Laws of Robotics, first introduced in the 1942 short story "Runaround":


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