My science fiction series Exodus is doing very well, selling almost two hundred ebooks a day between the first two books of the series. Refuge is also doing well, not as well, but book 1 has sold 600 copies. Now I believe that, while there may be some crossover readers of both series, the readership is in fact very different between them. Maybe some readers are strictly science fiction, while others are completely devoted to fantasy. Readers of both series are awaiting the release of the third book. My answer is, why not read the other series while you are waiting. In my opinion they are mirror images of each other. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. Both deal with members of the human race in a fight for survival. Both are very complicated series with lots of characters and lots of action. Some reviewers of both have stated that there was too much action, or too much detail in the battle scenes. Not sure how that is possible, but to me it beats the alternative. I really hate novels which have a big build up to the battle, maybe a couple of short paragraphs about the fight itself, then a long section about the aftermath, dealing with all the physical and psychological costs of war. To this reader that is boring. I want the details of the fight. I have also been told that some of the physics of Exodus, and I would guess some things like the Pantheons of Gods in Refuge, were too complicated as well. But, again, I want to do something different than having a captain order her ship to match vectors with another, and voila, they are suddenly right up next to the other ship. I have received a review from another science fiction novel of mine, The Deep Dark Well, in which the reader stated he liked that approach, being treated like an adult who could understand 2 + 2.
I guess the point is that if you like Exodus you will probably like Refuge, and if you like Refuge, the same will be true of Exodus. If you don’t like one of them then odds are that you won’t like the other. So if you are a fan of one series, give the other a try while waiting for the next book. I think you will like it, whichever one it is. And now for some excerpts:
Lieutenant Jacquelyn Smith hurtled the body of one of the Elves that had attempted to get in her way. She had shot the man through the face after the first two rounds she sent his way bounced from his armor. She was learning that some of the enemy soldiers had much better equipment than others. And those needed head shots to take out.
Movement at the corner of her eye caught her attention, and she twisted and jumped as the arrow came hissing at her, flying past her shoulder. The US Army officer pulled her rifle to her shoulder, brought the archer into her sights, and squeezed off a round. The man’s head splattered inside his helmet and his lifeless hands let fly an arrow that flew unaimed into space.
Jackie turned in time to bring her rifle around to block the thrust of a sword. She back peddled as she brought the rifle down and fired from the hip, striking the Orc swordsman in the throat. The Orc attempted to come on, only to fall to his knees as he choked on his blood. She looked down at her assault rifle, one she had picked up moments ago when an ax had smashed the action of her American made weapon. The sword had only nicked the barrel guard.
The Lieutenant felt more fully alive than she had ever imagined she could feel, here in the midst of battle. Her senses were sharp, her situational awareness at a new height, her reflexes lightning, and she dodged in and out of the melee as if her opponents were handicapped. Arrows and spears came her way, dodged easily as if they were traveling in slow motion. Sword and axmen died just out of their reach of her, as she snapped off shots and killed without thought. Troops gathered to her as she fought, recognizing a war leader that would carry them to victory.
Her German made assault rifle empty, the officer squatted for a moment over a soldier who had been killed by an arrow through the neck. She avoided looking at his staring eyes, which brought the reality of the situation too close to home; making the game she had been playing a horrible event that snuffed the lives from young men. She unbuckled the web gear and pulled it from the man, taking his full load of ammo with it and slinging it over her shoulder. Then it was back to the business of killing her enemies and guarding the flanks of her friends.
A roar from ahead caught her attention as she ran forward. She was aware that there was still fighting behind her, as more of the enemy came out of the woods and more Germans fought their way forward. But from the sounds up ahead the battle was raging, and that was where she wanted to be.
Jackie skidded to a halt on the grass as she came around a turn and saw what lay ahead. She had not imagined that the enemy would have anything like the three creatures she saw killing Germans with the huge maces in their hands. An APC lay tilted over on the side of the road, the turret on top dislodged from its mount. And the Lieutenant didn’t hesitate, fear totally removed from her adrenaline charged system. She ran forward at a sprint, yelling at the top of her lungs and firing her rifle at the nearest creature.
The Troll swiveled in mid step towards the soldier, bringing its shield up to bat the bullets from the American’s rifle away. She ran toward it, firing low now, watching as her bullets bounced off its skin and wondering for a moment what the hell she was doing. Then she was in range of its mace and the creature swept the weapon down to crush her.
Jackie dodged away from the blow and the monster brought the blunt weapon down onto the ground. It pulled the mace back and attempted a backhand swing at the woman. Jackie ducked under the blow. It brought the mace back again on a downswing, this time missing the leaping woman.
Another roar brought a shiver down the young woman’s spine, breaking through the warrior’s trance she had been a captive of, and she realized that another of the monsters was on her, coming in from behind. She caught a glimpse over her shoulder and dove forward, tucking into a roll that brought her between the legs of the first Troll, and the second missed with its swing, almost hitting its fellow, who gave an accusatory roar in return.
I need a better weapon, thought Jackie, feeling the inadequacy of the rifle in her hands. She couldn’t really use an auto cannon, it being too big and bulky to carry. And all the ones in the area were already manned. A grenade launcher might do some damage, but she didn’t have one of those either.
Jackie’s thoughts were interrupted as she became aware that the Troll she had dodged through the legs of was rearing up over her. She quickly dodged from its downward swing, then ducked the swing of the other Troll, then leapt backwards ten meters from the beasts, her eyes searching for a weapon.
How in the hell did I jump so far, she thought as the leap registered on her mind. Then time for thinking was gone as both Trolls came at her again, moving so they would come in on opposite sides. Jackie moved into a graceful dance that was perfectly timed, making both of the Trolls miss with multiple swings. The creatures stopped for a moment as the human back flipped away, staring stupidly at each other as their tiny minds tried to come up with a strategy to take the annoying warrior out of the fight.
Jackie noticed that she was not even breathing hard. Her reflexes were much faster than she had ever remembered them being. She was dancing around the creatures like Spiderman, one of her favorite comic characters. And while she wasn’t doing the creatures any damage, she was keeping them occupied, away from harming any of her fellow soldiers.
I wonder how strong I am, she thought, moving fluidly to keep the Trolls off balance. With a thought she was moving in, bringing her leg in as she leapt through the air. Her right leg rocketed out and struck her target Troll in the face. She was ready to ride through the kick and land on the monster as it went over. Reality was very different. Her foot hit the monster in the face, the shock transferred up her leg, and she bounced off with a sickening crunch of broken bone in her ankle, while the creature staggered back about a half meter.
Jackie landed on her back, feeling the agonizing pain in her ankle as the ground jarred her. She ignored the pain to the best of her ability, and rolled away as the second Troll brought his mace down on where she had been. Rolling up onto her feet, she felt nausea almost take her down again as the pain shot up her leg from the ankle. She backed up as fast as she could, hopping on her good foot, keeping a wary eye on the two Trolls that came after her with snarling faces.
A mace came at her from head high, and Jackie ducked under the weapon, then jumped with her good leg into the air over the second mace that was coming in at her waist. She was surprised that she still cleared the second mace, and came down well balanced on her one leg. The first Troll came at her with a back swing and she back peddled away, forgetting her injured ankle and surprised that it held up so well. Jumping over another swing and twisting in the air, she landed on both feet and felt no pain.
I know the damned thing was broken, she thought as she ran around the Trolls on both feet. But now there was no pain and the ankle was functioning perfectly. And the Trolls were again roaring in frustration as they chased after her.
Lieutenant Smith felt the physical shock of the arrow before she felt the pain. The arrow sliced through the back of her body armor, through her lower left thoracic region, nicking the heart, and out through the front of her armor. She looked down at the red dripping head of the arrow before the intense pain hit her brain. She could feel blood in her throat and coughed, which caused more pain. The roar of the Troll came to her as from a distance.
Something slammed into her hip and she was flying through the air. The agony in her side was warring for space in her awareness with the agony in her abdomen. Light and shadow flashed by before she hit the ground, adding more pain to the mix. She lay on her back, trying to pull air into her lungs through the pain of broken ribs, feeling the tread of massive feet approaching and knowing that any moment she would be smashed to jelly under a massive mace. That was her last thought as blackness unfolded over her brain and the world faded away.
“Missiles firing,” said the tactical officer.
Captain Dame Mei Lei sat in her command chair, battle armored with helmet nearby. The Jean de Arc bucked slightly as she released a spread of missiles from the starboard tubes. The port threat had been taken care of by the remnants of the fighter force that had originally struck the enemy fleet. They had continued on, accelerating away from the action. Two hundred fighters had swarmed over the enemy force, taking out the three cruisers and the super destroyer pair of that force.
The battle cruiser was now firing on the other force, which was more distant than was thought at first. They had fired as well, and the battle cruiser’s fighters were forming a screen between their mother ship and the enemy, waiting for the incoming missiles.
“Missile ETA in fifteen minutes,” said the tactical officer, his voice cracking with tension.
We’ve all been under too much tension for far too long, she thought, watching the holo display.
“I wonder why they haven’t thrown their fighters at us,” said Commander Jackson from CIC.
“We don’t know enough about the capabilities of those platforms,” said the tactical officer. “They may be too short ranged to be employed against us.”
“Ours could chase us three times around the system,” said Jackson. “I wouldn’t assume theirs were any less capable.”
“Maybe they just didn’t think of it,” said Sean, his voice flat.
“What did you say, your Majesty?” asked the Captain, wondering if he was being sarcastic.
“What if they didn’t think of it,” said Sean, his voice coming alive. “What if they don’t think as well as we do? After all, we are the most powerful race in this region of space, able to out think most of the dozens of other sentients in this region. Maybe we are smarter on the average than the Ca’cadasans. Maybe we are better at strategy and tactics than they are.”
“They are more advanced than we are, your Majesty,” said the tactical officer.
“By what,” said Sean. “Maybe a couple of decades. Maybe less. I can tell you that some of the advanced tech I have seen from these demons from our past is similar to what we have on the drawing boards right now. Hell, some of it is in predeployment trials right now.”
“And they were thousands of years ahead of us, thousands of years ago,” said the Captain, nodding her head. “And that time includes a thousand years in transit, without a lot of advancement going on. Now they are only decades ahead of us, if that.”
“They are too big,” said Sean, smiling into the link. “They have rolled over everyone they have ever come in contact with. There was no pressure to advance, while we were involved in the fight of our lives against other powers that were more or less technologically equal to us. In some cases superior. And we continued to advance so we could continue to win.”
“And we learned from those who had ruled this space before us,” said Jackson. “We picked up their tricks, and tech from our friends.”
“They are still really big,” said the tactical officer. “Even if we catch up with them. I think it was Stalin who said quantity has a quality all its own.”
“You know your history, Lt. Commander,” said the Emperor, his eyes glowing. “It will be a fight. But we may have the advantage in smarts. As long as we keep those dumb asses in Parliament out of the way.”
He’s coming back to us, thought the Captain, a smile breaking out on her face. He can see hope in the future, and that is lifting him up.
“We have translation ahead,” called out the tactical officer. “Something big.”
The Captain’s eyes narrowed. Of course there was so much going on in the near hyperspace to this system that they were having trouble tracking individual ships. But it couldn’t be coincidence that the ship was coming in right here, right now. And they were so close to the hyper limit themselves.
“Can you tell whose it is?” she asked the tactical officer, feeling her chest tighten.
“It could be one of our super battleships from the size of it,” said Jackson hopefully. “Or it could be…”
“One of theirs,” said the tactical officer. “Thirty light seconds ahead on our present bearing.”