What a Writer Lives For: Praise
"Throne of the Gods"
"A classic piece of science fiction, it looks at both the Supremis and an ordinary world through the eyes of its outcasts: A Protector who lives in shame, ostracized and condemned to serve in a remote corner of the universe, and an alien man who could never be accepted by his own people. They share the further misfortune of having the ultimate force of nature collide with their planet, sending them flying into the safe (or not) keeping of a Scalantran trader and the eclectic crew of his privateer trading vessel. The story is grand, and it's rich in imaginative detail."
-- Sharon Best
-- Mandi Steele
"This is a darn fine read and, unless you read AU for just the spicier moments, I recommend it for the lofty issues of this genre (and there are some, in case you missed them - LOL). TOG explores the burdens that might accompany the benefits of supremis genetics."
-- Lisa J. Binkley
"It's an excellent space opera (one right up there with the Lensmen series IMO) and I can't speak highly enough about it, everything from Domyr's first contact with the universe, to TheelÕdaraÕs gradual ascendance from resentful and spoiled brat (encapsulated perfectly with her title and the DomyranÕs subtext for it) to a true protector is pure class. Even AmsulÕs slow acceptance of his worldÕs fate and the mission he must take on is handled brilliantly, especially his fate which is executed with dignity and poise that takes nothing away from his poignancy."
-- Tarot Barnes
"Pictures of an Expedition" and "Terms of Enhancement"
Reading these really was a pleasure, not just because of the insight they provide into the messed up world of the Kim'Vallara family, or even because of the background they lay for the other works you and Shadar have created or are presently forging.
No, this was a pleasure because theyÕre just plain fun, and each for their own reasons. Pictures of an Expedition might not have the depth of the Throne of the Gods but thatÕs ok because itÕs a prequel and, as hard as they are to write, a prequelÕs job isnÕt to tell a story (that task has already been performed by its sequel) so much as it is to fill in the details and flesh out the background, and thatÕs exactly what this is.
ÔPicturesÕ is exactly that because it shows a series of pictures, and I must say, in incredible detail. My favourite scene has to be the one just before the Throne of the Gods makes its august appearance and the essence of Domyran culture is revealed in the factory forests and their efficient dismemberment.
Terms, despite my initial misgivings about the title, is just as good, if for different reasons. For one itÕs nice to see an actual war, plenty of mention has been made of the conflict in the past, but I think youÕre the first to take it to the extent of actually showing massive movements of people, mentioning the use of combat vehicles and, above all else, describe the use of tactics. The last item is particularly well demonstrated, not simply because it sounds realistic, but because theyÕre also realistically fouled up by those in command.
Then of course thereÕs that romance between James (and great it is to see him again after his short stint in OV) and Bidu, and theirÉ <cough> ÔinterestingÕ take on rough sex. I think IÕll leave it at that, itÕs good, but not something IÕd like to mention on a public forum :)
-- Tarot Barnes
You've created a really nice piece of fiction. Its a mix of older and newer trends in SF/Fantasy, and that makes it fun. Some of the old hard SF about mining and technology, the practical difficulties of living in space, the distances involved, etc.
Plus some of the newer themes about distant worlds... corruption, corporate greed, politics and non-human characters. The unpleasant underbelly of humanity.
And, of course, she's got all those amazing genes of a Velorian.
Yet on top of all that, a simple country girl from the USA who hasn't a clue as to how she wound up with all that cool DNA, and she doesn't have a clue what a Velorian is. And even when she finds out what she can do, what I love is that she never becomes really 'affected' by it. She's still an clear-eyed big-hearted country girl at the end who just wants to do the right thing.
They say major characters must change for a story to progress. But the other fascination is when a major character doesn't change, even if the world around her does. That's equally fascinating. Charmin will always be a girl from Deer Meadow, and if she had her choice, she'd be back living there in a heartbeat.
Yet she has the power to change the future of colonies, cities, even planets. To her credit (and a little to her lack of imagination, but its mostly an admirable trait), she remains a simple girl with modest goals. Mostly to be a good wife and partner.
Anyway, enough said. It's a great story. I read bits and pieces as you wrote it, but sitting down for the whole feast was great fun. This is your best writing yet.