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Welcome!! My name is Paul Lappen. I am in my early 50s, single, and live in Connecticut USA. This blog will consist of book reviews, written by me, on a wide variety of subjects. I specialize, as much as possible, in small press and self-published books, to give them whatever tiny bit of publicity help that I can. Other than that, I am willing to review nearly any genre, except poetry, romance, elementary-school children's books and (really bloody) horror.

I have another 800 reviews at my archive blog: http://www.deadtreesreviewarchive.blogspot.com (please visit).

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I am always looking for more places to post my reviews.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Red Sky Radio

Red Sky Radio, Matt Howarth, Merry Blacksmith Press, 2011

Set in the far future, this book is about a group of freelancers who harvest gases from a Jovian planet.

Peri Fairchild is one of the divers who has been physically modified to survive in vacuum. She could become very rich harvesting gases from the gas giant Baltuss, but she is addicted to diving. All of the freelance divers live in an abandoned space hotel. Harvest Corp., the corporation who runs the harvest operation, considers the divers to be pirates, and would love to destroy the space hotel, if only they could find it (it's not as easy as it sounds). Another big headache for Harvest is the existence of Red Sky Radio, a pirate radio station that plays really good music, instead of the boring crap that comes from Harvest.

Dezi is an older miner, who has several personal secrets. He also loves to start rumors, just to see what will happen. He whispers to Peri that Harvest has developed killer robot drones, to pick off the "pirates" one at a time. During a mining trip in Baltuss' atmosphere, Peri spots one, and freaks out. None of the other miners will believe her. During another mining trip, accompanied by Juul, a recent defector from Harvest, Peri spots another "drone" and Juul shoots it with his laser gun. They have just done what Harvest has been unable to do for years, put Red Sky Radio off the air.

The other miners are convinced that this is the just the first move by Harvest Corp., and that the "final battle" is coming. Dezi admits to Peri and Juul that he is behind Red Sky Radio. It will take money to repair the transmitter, so Peri is obligated to go gas mining, for real this time. Meantime, one of Dezi's "secrets" causes the destruction of the entire Harvest Corp. base, and the moon on which it was built. Can both sides find a way to work together?

This is a very well-written story. It's nice and weird, and the inclusion of pirate radio certainly helps. The reader will not go wrong with this one.  

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