Raiders of the lost art of Sci-fi

You know, I’ve been reading science fiction for about thirty years now. My personal library contains roughly two thousand books and I’ve read at least five times that, so I’ve been around the block long enough for my odometer to have turned over. Now, I don’t know if you think this qualifies me as a reviewer of sci-fi and fantasy, but I think it does.

Why am I so concerned with showing you my bona fides? The answer is a simple one: when I review a book, I want it known that the opinion expressed has some merit, that I’m not just talking out of the back of my lap. Okay, enough of my favorite subject (me, of course).

Let us travel a few years into the future. Well, actually a couple hundred. That is the timeline for indie author Steve Umstead’s new book, Gabriel’s Redemption. Dishonored Naval Commander Evan Gabriel is given a second chance when given an assignment to capture a drug lord on the planet Poliahu.

That’s the set up for one of the more satisfying tales from what I believe is a shrinking genre. While everyone else segues into Urban Fantasy, Steve Umstead delivers a solidly crafted story with believable characters, near flawless dialogue, and a well plotted and paced story. All that is fine and dandy, but what adds the cherry onto this sundae is the science. Remember, it’s science fiction, not goofball fiction (anyone remember Berthold rays from the original Star Trek tv series?) and Mr. Umstead has given us, what I believe, is a logically thought out extrapolation of what science could be far into the future.

Is it original? Nope? Is it great? No, very few books are. The nuts and bolts are this: If you can lose yourself for a few hours into someone else’s strange little world and return safe and happy, then you’ve read a good book.

Gabriel’s Redemption is a good book. It’s $2.99 at Amazon in e-format and well worth the money.

Thank you for reading this, if you have shown the good taste to have done so. Please leave a comment, even if it’s to call me a son-of-a-bitch. I’m flexible.

Oh, back to my favorite subject (me), Things to do in Denver when you’re undead will be released July 15! Check it out on or where you can read the first two chapters for free! Free! Can you freaking believe it!

Ahem…and I’ve also completed the first draft of the sequel: What happens in Vegas, dies in Vegas.


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3 Responses to Raiders of the lost art of Sci-fi

  1. Patti Larsen says:

    Great review, Mark–and happy for your draft completion! Hello, Vegas!

  2. Shay Fabbro says:

    I remember when I read the part about the telomerase! I wrote him a message and told him how awesome that was! 😀

  3. Mark, thanks for the great review – I really appreciate the comments! One of the most personal and well thought out ones I’ve gotten, love what you say about the science, and losing yourself for a few hours. Sort of my intention – just entertainment.

    Thanks again!