These three books from Instafreebie are by new authors who want to establish themselves by gaining an audience. I respect and commend their dedication to writing and to the very difficult process of writing fantasy/science fiction for adults.
Paradigm, Three Shots of Science Fiction by Killian C Carter
Paradigm is a set of three stories; Exhibit X and Half and Half are short stories and Into Infinity is longer, more a novella. Author Carter writes reasonably well, with a good sense of pacing and delivers decent characterization and setting in these short pieces. Exhibit X and Half and Half both suffer from endings that are predictable when they are meant to be surprise twists.
Exhibit X takes a class on a field trip to the Smithsonian sometime after an apocolypse that killed most animals and people. The story does a good job with the teacher, Mrs. Zilmore, whom we all can identify with. She’s a stereotype but a nice one.
Half and Half takes to to a different dystopian future where people are now cyborgs. It’s not clear why the cyborgs want to eradicate the normal humans. This story is the weakest of the three.
Carter builds an interesting world in the novella Into Infinity. It’s an alien world with a mysterious lake, threatening wildlife and an annoying journalist. It’s my favorite of the three, quite well done.
Overall the collection is 3 stars.
1799 Planetfall asks what would happen if an alien were marooned on earth back in 1799, on a mission to stop invading creatures from acting like locusts. The premise is great. The writing is mediocre and the plot has plenty of smut. I didn’t finish.
Lake of Sins – Escape by L. S. O’Dea
I’m not sure what to say about Escape. It’s the first novel in a series, dystopian with some funny moments, many twisted moments and some disgusting moments. I believe author O’Dea intends us to ask “what makes someone a people?”. According to the blurb the world is populated by normal humans and human/animal hybrids, although it’s not clear in the novel that the different groups are animal hybrids. The only wildlife are small, rabbits and squirrels.
Lead character Trinity is the child of a Producer/House Servant union, a forbidden union. Producers are normally huge, males 8 feet or more tall and almost as wide, docile; they farm and produce the food. House Servants are smaller and have fangs and retractable claws. Poor Trinity is supposed to all Producer and is small with fangs and claws she tries to hide.
This first novel mostly builds the world where the Almightys (normal humans) control Producers and House Servants and Guards, with everyone knowing their place. Trinity is desperate to discover what happens to the Producers who are Listed, removed from their compound. Do they go elsewhere to farm or do other tasks? It isn’t a huge surprise when we learn that Listed Producers get fattened up and slaughtered for food.
The novel sets up a conflict to come when Trinity meets and becomes friendly with Almightys Kim and Jethro. Kim is old enough to know what happens to Producers, and while she apparently doesn’t approve she also isn’t doing anything about it. Jethro is too young and hasn’t yet been told.
Escape grabs one’s attention but the overall premise is so dark and unpleasant that I’m none t sure I want to read the sequels. On the one hand we have people who cook and work and call their parents Mom and Dad but who are raised for food, on the other we have humans who bake cookies and work and also call their parents Mom and Dad and who eat the food.
How do you talk to someone, work with someone one day and eat them the next? At some point anyone would have to ask “Why? What makes this group People and that group livestock?” but apparently no one has. Yet.
The novel flows easily and has good pacing. Trinity is the main character but is actually not that well developed The most interesting person was Lead Producer Troy who is assigned Tina as his mate but is actually gay and will do anything to keep his lover Remy safe. Troy schemes to frame the people he most dislikes and to keep Remy from being retired along with Millie, Trinity’s mother and Remy’s assigned mate.