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Bewildering Stories

C. G. Davis and Eric S. Brown, Blood Rain

reviewed by Susie Hawes

Blood Rain
    C. G. Davis and Eric S. Brown
Publisher: Creative Guy Publishing
Hardcover: $3.95
ISBN: 1-8949531-9-3
This book is an entertaining collection of work by C.G. Davis and Eric S. Brown. The main offering, “Blood Rain,” is a thirty-one page story following the physical struggles and moral dilemmas of freedom fighters as they battle alien occupation of Earth. As the characters, including aliens, live through a series of events that culminate in a decisive battle in this war of insurgency, C.G. Davis and Eric S. Brown show us a world in flux and examine the lives and the hopes of the characters. A positive ending is not guaranteed, for the authors make this as real to life as they can, including conflicting emotions and loyalties, betrayals and the constant dangers these people face. With half the globe in armed conflict, the story seems relevant to our times. Nothing in war is black and white. The end of this tale is bittersweet, with a sense of loss and gain that touches the reader.

Creative Guy Publishing often includes a selection of stories, articles and artwork at the end its short novels, called a “Extra” section. Blood Rain does not disappoint. The “Extras” section has three short stories and an interview with David Drake. First, a dark sci-fi story called “Chances.” Alone on an alien world following a crash landing, Alan finds that there is truth to the old adage, “You are your own worst enemy.” Alan’s tale is sad and surreal, a thought-provoking look at alternate realities.

The Horror story, “Myths,” is a werewolf tale with visceral impact that leaves the reader gasping. A couple investigate a Bigfoot sighting only to find more than they bargained for. The couple are drawn with such care that their fate is all the more shocking. In the next short story, “Sacrifice,” we follow a man’s astonishing discovery of spiritual realities. John Fredman comes face to face with an amazing being and finds salvation in the midst of betrayal. Poignant, with strong characterization, this was my favorite story.

The visuals, plotting and attention to detail in the fiction offerings of this short novel are wonderful. Tight and exciting, the pacing keeps the reader flipping pages through the first read in anticipation. Then he will go back through a second time to savor the story’s emotions, setting and details.

Finally, this novel offers up an in-depth interview of the author, David Drake, who created the military sci-fi series, “Slammer’s Hammers.” First published in The Smoky Mountain News, Eric Brown brings a fan’s love of the genre and David Drake’s work in particular to bear in an examination of the author’s career, life choices and writing style. This interview is well worth the price of admission.

Beautifully illustrated by “D.,” the dialog in this book is intelligent and the characterization strong. The action sequences are tense, hard hitting and exciting. The plotting is smooth, and the internal logic of each story rings true. I give this book a 5 out of 5 and recommend you pick it up. Once you start reading Blood Rain, you won’t want it to end.

Copyright © 2005 by Susie Hawes

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