REVIEW: “Island of Skulls” by Matt Spencer

Review of Matt Spencer, “Island of Skulls”, Broadswords and Blasters 1 (2017): 52-67 — Purchase Here. Reviewed by Yana Shepard.

Where do I start? Well, first off, I should mention the language. Personally, it doesn’t bother me, but I know plenty of people that don’t enjoy heavy use of harsh words. This heads up is for those people who would do better skipping “Island of Skulls” for that reason.

On to the main characters.

The twins are young and it shows. Ketz is easily distracted by curves and Tia is disrespectful in both her speech and behavior towards others. Granted, Ketz was being pulled into the plot by what seemed like lust filled magic, but that isn’t answered as this is a two part story. (The second half being continued in issue 2 of Broadswords and Blasters.) I think if I had gotten the chance to learn more about the twins I could have grown to like them. As a short story, however, I couldn’t get behind their attitudes. Ketz seemed more level headed than his sister, not so eager to kill, unlike Tia.

The world building was interesting. I would like to see more of that, but the twins made the story a slower read than it needed to be.

As far as story goes, I’m unsure why Tia brought Ketz along with her to check on the Island of Skulls. If he was being manipulated with sex appeal (which may or may not have been solely through magic) wouldn’t he be a threat to their mission?

Unfortunately, my question won’t get an answer until issue 2.

REVIEW: “Saturday Night Science” by Michael M. Jones

Review of Michael M. Jones, “Saturday Night Science”, Broadswords and Blasters 1 (2017): 37-52 — Purchase Here. Reviewed by Yana Shepard.

This one is humorous and easily my favorite so far. And sapphic relationships! I’m all about f/f relationships! I was so happy to read this.

The main character, Camille, shows some fire when needed and a huge nerd, showcased via locations in the story. There’s also disability rep. Camille has no feeling in her legs so must rely on a wheelchair to get around.

Daphne, the other character, gave me a Doctor Who vibe. I love Doctor Who. Love that show. So it was no surprise to me that I fell in love with Daphne just as much as I fell in love with Camille.

“Saturday Night Science” had so many nice surprises.

I recommend it to any who enjoy SF, multiverse shenanigans, humor, and happy endings.

REVIEW: “Pension Plan” by Dusty Wallace

Review of Dusty Wallace, “Pension Plan”, Broadswords and Blasters 1 (2017): 30-36 — Purchase Here. Reviewed by Yana Shepard.

I liked the characters and their descriptions. They were fun for the short amount of time you got to spend with them. The story was a blast, and I thoroughly enjoyed the ending.

I will give a brief spoiler warning below.

If you don’t like the mention of genitalia and/or dismemberment of said genitalia, then this story is not for you. It’s only for the last few paragraphs but it’s there, nonetheless. I personally don’t mind such descriptions, but I know many people aren’t okay with it.

REVIEW: “The Executioner’s Daughter” by R.A. Goli

Review of R.A. Goli, “The Executioner’s Daughter”, Broadswords and Blasters 1 (2017): 20-29 — Purchase Here. Reviewed by Yana Shepard.

I liked The Executioner’s Daughter, but I’ll be honest, I felt my anxiety spike during a semi intense scene. I realize for other readers this probably wouldn’t be such a problem, maybe none at all, but for someone like me who struggles with crowds and extreme anxiety, this made me take a break for a few minutes. After that scene, I found I could read it without much trouble.

It wasn’t a bad story. I smiled in knowing what was coming next. If you read it you might think me macabre for that, but that’s okay by me. I tend to have an appreciation for darker things.

If you don’t mind a tad bit of gore, this might be for you.

REVIEW: “Dead Men Tell Tales” by Dave D’Alessio

Review of Dave D’Alessio, “Dead Men Tell Tales”, Broadswords and Blasters 1 (2017): 11-19 — Purchase Here. Reviewed by Yana Shepard.

It’s freezing this afternoon as I write this, snuggling my keyboard under my electric blanket as I try to stave off the shivers. The second story of Broadswords and Blasters kept me company when I was in one of my dark moods, a sign that D’Alessio is a skilled writer. It’s no easy feat to get me to enjoy anything when I’m unpredictable and feeling hostile to anyone brave enough to poke their head into my room.

Science fiction is near and dear to my heart, and this got it right. What I loved most was the technology. Nano machines? Love the little guys. There are others, of course, that D’Alessio describes but I refuse to spoil them. They made me smile in glee to read about them for the first time so it would be heartless of me to take the discovery away from others.

The ending felt abrupt to me, however. But, overall, I did enjoy this short story. A lot.

I highly recommend this if you are a SF fan. I also recommend this if you like noir. This being both, you might get a kick out of it.

REVIEW: “Skin Deep” by Nickolas Ozment

Review of Nickolas Ozment, “Skin Deep”, Broadswords and Blasters 1 (2017): 3-10 — Purchase Here. Reviewed by Yana Shepard.

“Skin Deep” was a fun read. It was well written and easy to follow along. That being said, the only problem I have with it was the fact that it’s easy to figure out once the plot is introduced. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however.

He wanted to behold such beauty, nothing more.

This quote allowed me to find the main character likable. He wasn’t a creep, wasn’t focused on lust or prizes to be gained. He had his own reason for this adventure, and I appreciated that. Although, I’d be lying if I said the ending didn’t contradict the above quote in an indirect fashion. It’s hard to describe without spoiling, and I would rather not do that. Don’t you just hate spoilers in reviews?

All in all, I enjoyed “Skin Deep”. I recommend this if you like action-oriented fiction.