Monday 23 May 2011

Two for One: Sci-fi and Fantasy Stories in Review

The following are reviews of two short ebooks:

My Review of The Manus System by Guy Betar:

The Manus System by Guy Betar is a brief, intriguing science fiction story that tantalises the reader with its premise. It is a substantial bite of tempting science fiction.

The story postulates the scientific advancement of an integrated human/spaceship control system and narrates the inaugural launch of this ship. The story’s point of view is from pilot as he prepares to test the new system and the author does a nice job of mingling the nervousness of the character with the technical aspects of the plot.

One of the best features of The Manus System is the smooth blend of the science into the plot, without becoming so procedural that your eyes glaze over as you read. You get a great sense of tension and dealing with the unfamiliar from the main character that leads to a wonderfully intriguing ending.

The Manus System does favour explanatory passages over dialogue, but given the nature of the plotline it is a logical structure and not a detriment to the overall story. I enjoyed this story and recommend it.

My Review of When Dragons Sleep by William Fulks:

The story When Dragons Sleep has a nice fantasy premise, the proverbial quest to slay a dragon. The two main characters, Bishop, a magical cleric and the elf Thormir are drawn into this mission by a stranger and find an adventure with surprising results.

I found When Dragons Sleep had a decent, solid plot and I liked the reliable fantasy setting. The portrayal of characters is well realized and their relationships are soundly formed. The ending is the best part, being both atypical and dark.

I thought this story had real potential, but unfortunately When Dragons Sleep leans too much on passive, lengthy, detailed description and protracted, somewhat prosaic, dialogue passages which create a very slow narrative and dull story flow. The plot is imaginative and well realized, but it simply did not engage my attention as it should. It could have been great, instead of just good.


Sheila Deeth said...

I always enjoy your reviews.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Sounds fascinating, Anita.

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