by Stephen Hunt
Sliding Void is a fun space opera tale that sets up the series of the same name. It is the story of how erstwhile Prince Calder Durk of the frozen planet Hesperus meets Captain Lana Fiveworlds of the starship Gravity Rose.
Lana's ship is an independent freighter and she's looking for a cargo run to get her off of the "Planet of the Balls" (as the first chapter is called). Before she is completely desperate a courier vessel arrives. The courier passes on a message to Lana from a former crewman, Rex Matobo. The message says, "I would appreciate it if you came quickly." There were co-ordinates. As it turns out, Rex is in trouble on Hesperus.
Sliding Void is a fast-paced science fiction story that doesn't overstay its welcome and leaves you wanting more. It is classic SF space opera, and the beginning of the promise that eBooks can fill the voids left behind by mainstream publishers. There are not many straight forward science fiction adventure books getting onto store shelves these days. Kristine Rusch's Diving series is a welcome exception to that rule.
But now, because of ebooks, authors can write what they want to write and easily publish it themselves, regardless of what the publishers are interested in doing or what their marketing departments think will sell. I'm not even sure that the publishers are really trying to sell books anymore. I think they shoot for a hand full of blockbuster best sellers to keep themselves afloat and then sell movie rights to make a profit.
Regardless, what the big publishers do doesn't matter as much to me anymore because individuals like Stephen Hunt, KW Jeter, Mike Stackpole, Kris Rusch, and Dean Smith are writing what excites them and putting them out on their own. As with everything else, the internet has allowed niche interests to find their audience.
I will reading more about Lana Fiveworlds and her crew in the next book called, Transference Station, also an ebook original. Stephen Hunt is most famous for his steampunk novels including, The Court of the Air, Rise of the Iron Moon (Great Title!), and The Kingdom Beyond the Waves.
For this review I read the ebook of Sliding Void. I give it an 7.5 out of 10. This is solid, well written space opera. I may have to delve into Mr. Hunt's steampunk as well.