Sci Fi Short Stories/Novella

Mr. Fizzle Pops Ruins Everything – Short Story Review

Aeon 14/Perilous Alliance 6.5 by Chris Pike and M.D. Cooper
Published on: September 22, 2019

Cats in space! What’s weird is this is the fourth science fiction short story I’ve read recently that features a cat – and from different authors too. Personally, I’ve never actually thought about which Earth pet might work best in space, but apparently it’s already decided – and it’s cats. But what’s beginning to pop out to me is the message these authors are sending in three of these four books: Cats are not getting fed!

Description:

Mr. Fizzle Pop tells an epic story about his adventures aboard the Barbaric Queen. In search of a fifty-foot pizza, he pilots a shuttle refitted for love, steals a box of cigars, and nearly gets killed in the process. All in the day and life of your favorite uplifted cat.

Thoughts:

First – love the title. Titles aren’t usually a selling or non-selling point for me, but the name of that cat is awesome and most definitely attracted my attention. I mean, who doesn’t want to know how Mr. Fizzle Pops ruined everything?

But apparently sci fi writers are beginning to see a troubling trend that they are needing to address through their works- calling out like a canary in a coal mine. Do they know something we don’t? In Gerald’s Mistake and Gerald’s Regret, we see how not being fed on time leads Gerald to “accidentally” cause the end of the world. So perhaps they are just warning us of potential apocalyptic events that we can avoid if only we feed our cats. Or perhaps they are attempting to put mystery/thriller authors on notice. They are tired of police walking into the homes of potential victims (or suspects who have fled the scene) where it is noticed that the pet hasn’t been fed for days. But, I digress.

In the Forward section of this short read, the author actually identifies how Mr. Fizzle Pops came to be created and how he is based on their own cat who insisted on constantly being fed.

The short story starts with the crew of the Barbaric Queen crew having a victory party and neglecting to feed Mr. Fizzle Pops. They laugh about his constant need for food and it is this that leads Bubbs and Mr. Fizzle Pops to tell a few stories of past events. Stories are:

  1. How Mr. Fizzle Pops was found by Bubbs and came to be on the Barbaric Queen.
  2. How Mr. Fizzle Pops got rid of the dog (Moon Sausage) that used to be on the ship.
  3. Even though I read it I’m actually not 100% sure on what the third story is about, but I believe it is how some individuals left or were removed from the Barbaric Queen.

This is a series I am not familiar with – at all. I do this often – I see an interesting book, and then read it no matter where it is in the series. Generally, I can figure out the major plots and characters with little to no trouble. However, I had a much more difficult time with this one. The characters weren’t necessarily introduced by who they are within the story and prior plot points were not explained in enough detail that I could pick out what was going on. An example of this is the third story – it begins with Bubbs saying she will take care of another character right after he eats dinner. Then, Mr. Fizzle Pops strolls onto the bridge and cuddles with another character who is also giving him snacks. But, then someone else joins them on the bridge and the dynamics change, but we aren’t told why. I even wondered if they were putting on a show for the cat just to drive him crazy. The scene just didn’t make sense to me, partially because this is all from the cat’s perspective and we are given a “cat’s version” of what is actually occurring, but also because there is no reference point or explanation of the events to fall back on.

Even though I didn’t quite understand the characters and past events, I did find the stories to be very readable and would be interested in reading the series. It was most definitely filled with very memorable characters that felt like a true ‘crew.’ I just wish a little more background had been explained within the story so that I could enjoy it a bit more.

Rating: 3.5 if you’re new to the series 4.0 if you’re familiar with it.

Sci Fi Short Stories/Novella

Barry’s Deal – Book Review

The Amazing Conroy Book 4 by Lawrence M. Schoen
Published on: August 28, 2019

Every once in a while one needs a science fiction story that is just pure fun. A story with a sense of style that has a lot of charisma. A story that gives you a break from alien invasions or post-apocalyptic worlds. In Barry’s Deal, you get the feel of Las Vegas along with the con games you might have seen in the movie Ocean’s 11 (or 12 or 13). All set on Neptune’s largest moon – Triton. Incidentally and unrelated to the book, per NASA’s web site, Triton is the “only large moon in our solar system that orbits in the opposite direction of its planet’s rotation.”

Continue reading “Barry’s Deal – Book Review”
Sci Fi Short Stories/Novella

The Sound of Blue – Short Story Review

Four Science Fiction Stories By Michael Duda
Published on: August 16, 2019

Nice collection of 4 science fiction short stories that while each are unique in their theme, all together they are a cohesive collection. The first one in the book, The Sound of Blue, was awarded Silver Honorable Mention by Writers of the Future, Q2 2019.

Continue reading “The Sound of Blue – Short Story Review”
Sci Fi Short Stories/Novella

Mass Transit – Short Story Review

by Graeme Ing
Published on: January 17, 2016

In short, Mass Transit is a terrific science fiction short story that hit all the right notes with me. This well crafted story was entertaining as we see a new and different way to handle traffic at Atlanta with an interesting conflict between the protagonist and antagonist that continues to build up to a satisfying conclusion.

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Sci Fi Short Stories/Novella

Fractals: (Not An) Aurora Rhapsody Short Story – Review

Amaranthe Short Stories Book 6 by G.S. Jennsen
Published by: February 20, 2019

My first thought after finishing this sci fi story was “What did I just read?” “What just happened?” I kept repeating it to myself to see if it could help sort things out. It did in a way. It told me to go back and re-read a certain section to see if it would help put a few of the missing pieces together again.

Continue reading “Fractals: (Not An) Aurora Rhapsody Short Story – Review”