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Reviews by JoJo Biggins

Out From Edom

by J. Patrick Sutton

This is quite a long story, and much of it is overwritten with unnecessary verbiage. That is not to say that it's boring - just that the author is more concerned with flowery language than concise storytelling.

As for storytelling, the author does know how to spin a yarn and maintain reader interest. The epic adventure has many threads, and it takes a little time to tie them together and see what's going on. It would seem the hero is a young boy, but there are other major characters in government and church that command the stage, so in some ways it's hard to say exactly what the story is about without launching into lengthy description. I will attempt to summarize...

In the far future, after five galactic empires have arisen and fallen, the sixth empire is tightly controlled by a humanistic "church" that is dedicated to purifying man - primarily in the physical sense, but psychologically and technologically as well. Though authoritarian, characters don't view the church as evil, most follow its edicts, and a few serve it wholeheartedly.

Henryk, the nominal hero, does not conform biologically to the church's guidelines. The story is basically about what happens to him, with a galactic rebellion thrown in for fun, and many other undercurrent stories woven into the overall tale.

The story has three primary downfalls:

1) I'm neither Catholic nor an expert on them, but I got the feeling throughout the story that the author specifically wanted to marginalize the Catholic church, and religion in general. I find that distasteful.

2) Though there are no explicit sex scenes, the author makes plenty of references to perverted sexual relationships, showing that everyone in the empire is OK with such arrangements. I found that disgusting, and almost kicked the story to the curb because of it.

3) The author drops you off a cliff at the end. A very disappointing "unfinished" ending.

Overall, a most interesting combination of entertainment and disappointment.

Reviewed on 2016.12.08

The Other Likeness

by James H. Schmitz

This is a fairly entertaining story up until the end - at which point it falls off a cliff.

Aliens bent on destroying the human Federation are foiled by their own devices. Ho-hum.

Reviewed on 2016.11.15

Open Minds

by Susan Kaye Quinn

This is one of only three or four stories on this site that I've given 5 stars to - and it deserves every one of them. The author hits every beat, and does everything right. The pacing is great, with lots of "page-turning" action, highs and lows. Characters are totally believable and not over done. She even knows how to create a proper story ending. All this without stooping to explicit sex scenes or any foul language. Amazing!

In a world filled with mind-readers, the zeros are those unlucky few who can't read minds. Our hero is a zero - until she finds she's really something else. From there, an underground mob and the FBI are out to get her. The ride is one long thrill.

Reviewed on 2016.11.03

Oomphel in the Sky

by H. Beam Piper

An entertaining and enjoyable story, but a bit heavy on the side of humanistic religion. It's all about altering an alien race's religious beliefs, and ends up doing so by pronouncing mankind as soul-less beings. It is mostly enjoyable because the writing is professional and the characterizations are believable.

One other thing - if you're a die-hard liberal, prepare to be offended.

Reviewed on 2016.11.01

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Author of the Day

Bonnie M Hennessy
In a time when 80% of American families don't buy or read books, Bonnie Hennessy works as an author and English teacher, inspiring young people to become more interested in books. While reading a bedtime story to her daughter one night, Hennessy was inspired to write the real story of Rumpelstiltskin. As our Author of the Day, Hennessy reveals why she decided to retell the famous fairytale, talks about her work as an English teacher and why she had to reshape the Duke's character three times.
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