Tough Traveling- Beginnings


Fantasy Review: ‘Buffalo Soldier’ by Maurice Broaddus

“We call them engineers. It’s from the Navajo meaning…engineers.”

If you have ever read a short story and thought ‘damn I wish this was just a bit longer.’ Or if you have ever read a novel and thought ‘there is a good story here but the page count seems padded.’ Or perhaps you are a person who has been waiting for a steampunk alternative America with a Jamaican protagonist. If any of these statements apply to you then proceed to pick up Buffalo Soldier immediately.

This is the story of Desmond Coke and Lij. The former a covert agent of Jamaica and the latter just a boy. Well, a boy turned into an object to covet being searched for by man unsavory sorts. Searching for nothing more than a place they won’t be found the pair leave Jamaica, skirt its rival regional power Albion, and make their way near the lands of the Five Civilized Tribes. This is American that wasn’t; splintering at an unknown spot in the historical timeline. Continue reading

Fantasy Review: ‘The Holver Alley Crew’ by Marshall Ryan Maresca

The opening to my favorite fantasy series of all time begins with a city on fire. The Holver Alley Crew starts with a city on fire. This says absolutely nothing about the book, nor are there any comparisons to be made to The Color of Magic here, it is just an observation.

Maradaine is a city that has appeared in two series previous but The Holver Alley Crew is the start of its own series within the series; I had absolutely no previous experience with the author myself and this book felt like the start of something completely new.

Thrown right into the action we meet the Rynax brothers as they awaken to a fire threatening not just their homes and business but the entire neighborhood. When the smoke clears they come to the realization that all their previous plans are for naught. They are two old criminals who tried to go strait and now have nothing but debt to show for it. What is there to do? Go back to the old work of course. Continue reading

Fantasy Review: ‘The Waking Fire’ by Anthony Ryan

Nathan, what the hell are you doing now? I thought you were writing a review for The Waking Fire.

I was, but I got to looking into carnivore populations and I am pretty sure there is no way the dragons in this book could survive in the numbers they have been shown.

Oh geez, I thought you liked this book. Didn’t we already go over this with Novak’s dragon series?

Well, I thought about it, sure. But I never actually did any research. But this time I am sure of it; the numbers just don’t add up. The largest population of large carnivores I found was brown bears and they topped out at a hundred grand in Asia. The Greens in this book are at least twice that size AND THEY FLY! That has got to require a crazy metabolisms. And the greens are just one species of dragons! We see them in herds like buffalo; you never see carnivores in that large of a herd.

Ok, it is a fantasy book Nathan. Dragons have magic metabolisms, can we move on?

I…I guess. Magic metabolism, sure. Continue reading

Sci-Fi Review: ‘Hunger Makes the Wolf’ by Alex Wells

“You load sixteen tons, and what do you get?

Another day older and deeper in debt.”

Scavengers in the air tip off three people biking across the vast desert of the planet on their way home. Hob draws the short straw and checks out the body finding someone she knows well. When a body is found out in the dunes of Tanegawa’s World there is no real secret as to how it arrived there; the corporation TransRift runs everything on the planet and unofficial deaths are not uncommon. But events will soon prove that her now dead ‘Uncle’ got into something over his head. There are secrets that TransRift means to keep.

Hunger Makes the Wolf is a fast paced adventure novel with a surprising amount of depth. Though it has two central characters who hold their own it is Tanegawa’s World itself that takes center stage. Through it we learn very little about the universe around it but enough to know that it is much more important than its status as small mining colony suggests. The company controls everything, being blacklisted from work is a death sentence of its own but as seen in the opening so is a push from a moving train with multiple bullet wounds. Continue reading

Q & A with Maurice Broaddus

First posted to

While has a very full and impressive lineup of novellas coming out in the near future the one that stood out the most to me was Buffalo Soldier by Maurice Broaddus.  A secret agent escorting a mysterious young boy through a North America completely different from our own?  What is not to want?  After reading the tale, and enjoying it very much, I asked if the author would be willing to answer a few questions.  Thankfully he agreed!  But first, some information on the upcoming tale!

Having stumbled onto a plot within his homeland of Jamaica, former espionage agent, Desmond Coke, finds himself caught between warring religious and political factions, all vying for control of a mysterious boy named Lij Tafari.

Wanting the boy to have a chance to live a free life, Desmond assumes responsibility for him and they flee. But a dogged enemy agent remains ever on their heels, desperate to obtain the secrets held within Lij for her employer alone.

Assassins, intrigue, and steammen stand between Desmond and Lij as they search for a place to call home in a North America that could have been.

Publication Date: April 25 – Available for pre-order NOW


First of all, thank you so much for agreeing to a Q & A.  I loved Buffalo Soldier and have a major fascination with GOOD alternative history and just had to ask a few questions.

Continue reading

Sci-Fi Review: ‘Home’ by Nnedi Okorafor

I wish I could give Home, second in the Binti series a more in depth review. Sadly, despite enjoying it, I find myself completely lacking of anything to say. I think I know why, reviewing this series is like reviewing a TV drama series. Perhaps if I read the entire series in one go once completely, as many reviewers of television do once an entire series is complete, this would be easier.

Binti was a debut episode. It was kind of rushed, introduced too many characters that won’t matter, but had the pieces to hook a new reader. In it Binti saved the world, stopping a war by use of a Chekhov’s device that allows her to communicate with the militant jellyfish who slaughtered her ship. In the end she is going to school, with one of the aliens in tow as new best friend. The reader is not given much in explanation or resolution; it is expected that future episodes will fill in the details. Continue reading

Fantasy Review: ‘The Obelisk Gate’ by N.K. Jemisin

obelisk-gateLet’s look at some of the things I said about The Fifth Season.

“This one may have broke me.”

“Along with its ability to shred my emotions.”

“One of the most emotional reads I have had in a long time.”

I think there is a pattern here. The Fifth Season was a five star read that played on readers emotions. Looking back it is important that that is the case. Not a lot happened in reality, a couple characters traveled and met with each other and the groundwork for a world wide mystery was laid. But if a reader was looking for any sort of answers, or a fast paced plot, or all kinds of action they were not going to get it. Emotional gut punches and strong characters, yes. Answers? Oh no. Continue reading