Monday, September 24, 2007

Breach the Hull Review

Hey everyone. A friend of mine asked me to review this anthology. It's a good read (the anthology, not necessarily the review), Enjoy.

Breach the Hull Review

I met Mike McPhail through his wife, author Danielle Ackley-McPhail as she and I were ran the East Coast convention circuit. Mike is a huge fan of military SF and this anthology is truly a labor of love.

What Mike understands best is that military SF doesn’t have to be just about epic space battles and high-powered grunts waging war against alien bugs. In fact, Breach the Hull is at its best in stories like “Peter Power Armor” and “Forgotten Causes” by Asimov’s veteran John C. Wright and the two reprints in this edition, Jack McDevitt’s “Cryptic” and “Black to Move” (both originally printed in Asimov’s in the ‘80s), which bring us down out of the stars and delve deep into the human condition. That’s where SF does its best work, even SF of a more military bent.

But that’s not to say there aren’t some great space-faring yarns here. I really liked “Thresher,” which contained some truly innovative tech along with a well-developed story of personal loyalty and honor. And for just plain, edge-of-your-seat, wartime adventure, you don’t want to miss Jeff Lyman’s “Compartment Alpha.” This story also has some cool tech driving the plot, but what brings it to life are the characters, whom you can immediately connect with as they strive to survive in the heat of battle.

The final story in this volume, “Shore Leave,” by the always wonderful CJ Henderson, is an amazing romp through a fanciful future city where the military of many worlds come to relax. But again, it’s not the tech or the guns that make this story work, but the two incredible jarheads at the center of the action. While absolute caricatures, Rocky and Noodles made me believe in them and their often wacky future.

I have to be honest, though, some of the stories in this volume are a bit of a mixed bag. Not all the authors here are seasoned professionals, and it shows at times. It’s not that they’re badly written. No, I enjoyed every story for what it brought to the anthology. But some of the stories here just didn’t feel complete. Some had brilliant ideas and crisp writing, but failed to engage me with their characters. Others pulled me into the stories and made me care about the lives of the inhabitants, but didn’t deliver in the end.

Still I saw definite promise in these newer authors and I would give each of them a look again in the future. In the end, there is more than enough great SF in Breach the Hull for any true fan of the genre, military or not. And without small press anthologies like these that provide a venue for up-and-coming authors, the next crop of McDevitts, Wrights, and Hendersons will languish in obscurity, never given the chance to reach for the stars... and perhaps blow one up.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Visual Journeys

My most recent short story, "Resurrection Man," is now out in Eric Reynolds's latest anthology, Visual Journeys. This hardcover anthology from Hadley rille books, which features both great pulp SF stories from some excellent 21st century authors like Tobias Buckell and Jay Lake, as well as some amazing artwork from such luminaries as Bob Eggleton and Ron Miller, is now available on

If all goes well, I hope to have another, even more exciting announcement about this anthology in the near future. Stay tuned

Reader praise for Lasgun Wedding

I have been thrilled to see the response so far to my latest Kal Jerico novel, Lasgun Wedding. Here are some excerpts:

Kal does it again!



Another great book in the Kal Jerico series, I would say. It has the humour one has come to expect in this range as well as superb action and various twists and turns on the story. I certainly cannot wait for the next Kal book!

Book 3

23 May 2007


There are two previous titles about Jerico and his pals: Blood Royal & Cardinal Crimson. I have not had the pleasure of reading the two earlier titles; however, if they are even half as fantastic as THIS title is, then I would LOVE them! Even though I jumped into the series late, I never found myself lost, scratching my head in wonder, or confused. I easily immersed myself on the first page and never came up for air. This is a terrific read from start to finish by an exceptional author!

Fast, fun and furious

15 Jun 2007


Lasgun Wedding is a great book and is easily the best of the Kal Jerico books so far. The book is very well written with a fun and involving plot with many great fights and intrigue that will keep you turning page after page to find out what will happen. Will McDermott gives a great representation off the backstabbing political situation among Hive Primus' ruling classes and is able to give each of the noble houses a distinctive look and feel.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Lasgun Wedding Sightings and Anthology News

So, Lasgun Wedding, my third Kal Jerico novel for Black Library, has been spotted in U.S. and Canadian bookstores. A friend of mine bought a copy last week at a chain store in Bellevue and I saw them for sale at a Vancouver book store, White Dwarf, on Monday when I traveled north for a book signing by my friend (and Hugo Award winner), Rob Sawyer.

I'm very excited about this book, as I was quite happy with the way both the themes of the story came through and the more light-hearted tone of much of the book. I would be interested to hear from fans what they think about it once they read it.

In other news, I recently finished my second short story for Eric Reynolds. Eric printed a story of mine entitled, "An the Off-Ramp of the Intergalactic Super-Highway," in his anthology, Golden Age SF: Tales of a Bygone Future. That book came out last August. Well, in less than two months, Eric's next anthology, Visual Journeys, will be published. This anthology connects some great SF authors with some fabulous SF artists for an anthology that really hearkens back to the golden age of the pulps. Each author was asked to pick out a piece of artwork and write a story based on the piece. I chose a painting by Frank Wu entitled, "Resurrection Man," and wrote what I think is an interesting take on the old zombie astronaut story.

If you're a fan of pulpy science fiction, you should check out the Hadley Rille Books website and look for Eric's anthologies. He is a fine editor with a real love for the golden age stories.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Golden Age Review and Upcoming Convention

I just received word that the Golden Age SF: Tales of a Bygone Future anthology which I appeared in last year, has been reviewed on (Read the Review). My story, "On the Off-Ramp of the Intergalactic Superhighway," was favorably compared to a classic SF story as well as Mike Resnick's own story in the anthology. I am quite pleased.

I actually just finished a story for Eric Reynold's next anthology, Visual Journeys, due out this Summer. It is called "Resurrection Man," and is based on a painting by Frank Wu of the same name. This anthology is all about crafting stories around some great SF art (again in the tradition of the Golden Age magazines). I am really excited about this anthology and am very happy with the way my story turned out.

In other news, I will be attending Norwescon this coming weekend (April 6-8). In addition to attending panels on writing and gaming, I plan to read from Resurrection Man while there, and am involved in their annual Writer's Workshop, critiquing stories from aspiring writers. If you're in the Seattle area, this is a must-attend convention, one of the biggest in the Northwest each year.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Guild Wars New Year Festival

Hey, just a short update today about something cool that happens this weekend. Guild Wars, the MMO I work on at ArenaNet, is having a New Year's Festival this weekend in its asian-themed campaign, Factions.

The Canthan New Year coincides with the Chinese New Year and is celebrated with a huge festival and feast. As usual, with Guild Wars festivals, there will be goodies for players to get (lots of fireworks) as well as hats to earn during the festival's finale on Sunday.

I got to write quite a bit of dialog for this event, including my first two quests. In addition, I wrote the text for our website that promotes the event, along with a set of festival-themed haiku.

It's been a lot of fun. One of the many things I think we do really well at ArenaNet is providing players with new content beyond what they got with the basic game. And this festival, I think, will blow the players away.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Lasgun Wedding Sample Chapter

Hey, I just found out that Black Library has a sample chapter up on their site for Lasgun Wedding. Check out the Lasgun Wedding page and then click on the link to go read the sample chapter.

I'm Back

So, after a protracted battle with the transition from old blogger to new blogger, I have finally gained access to my blog again.

Just a few updates right now, but I hope to post more regularly in the future.

First of all, I am working on a new short story for my friend Eric Reynolds. My story, "On the Off-Ramp of the Intergalactic Super-Highway" appeared in Eric's anthology Golden Age SF: Tales of a Bygone Future. This was a collection of pulpy short stories written as if the authors still lived in the golden age of SF (the 1930s through 1950s).

Eric is working on a new anthology, and this time he's getting the rights from some great artists to illustrate each story. Again, the idea is pulpy science fiction in the manner of the grand masters. Each author gets a painting and writes a story around it. I chose Resurrection Man from an up-and-coming artist named Frank Wu, whom I met a while back at some East Coast convention or another. This is a cool piece of art that immediately sparked an idea in my head.

I don't want to say anything more about it right now, but it will have zombies.

If you want to see Frank's image, take a look at his website: