J.W. Kurtz: Bellerophon: Ambush

I’ve been reading J.W. Kurtz‘s Bellerophon: Ambush lately and I’m about half-way through.

It’s a sci-fi book, and we’re aboard the ex-government ship Bellerophon, or the Belle, for short. Captain Wray, respected by his crew, leads them in a boarding action, and takes us into ship combat and some intense close quarters combat.

I really like the detail with which Mr. Kurtz (“He dead!”) creates his world. It is excellent. There’s plenty of detail, without it being a lecture. We hear enough to keep us informed.

He also does a great job of scene/sequeling. Each time I think, “well, that went terrible, but now the protagonists can move on and things will be looking up,” something worse happens. Fantastic! It makes for a very compelling read. I mean, what’s the worst thing that could happen? Oh, it does. The stakes are pretty high, and the tension is maintained with short lulls before we discover we’re not really out of the woods, Bilbo, you just saw the lights of dead guys under the water or elves or something.  Stupid Mirkwood.

I thoroughly enjoy that we’re going to go down that 40 km of bad road, and he’s going to be the driver the entire way.

Tough Reviewers

Yeah, you think you’re going to write some best-selling military sci-fi.  There’s a picture in your head and you’re #1 on the Amazon best seller list and all is ducky with your book, the birds are singing, and so on.

Then this guy reviews your book.  He gives it. One. Star.

I’m curious about the ones who pan the military side of things. “Not realistic enough military scenes,” they say.  That’s fine, I may stay away from those books. But what’s your dream military book? What’s the book that is real, reflects the reality of combat, and makes combat vets say “this dude gets it”?

I stumbled into one reviewer, a Mr. Cary G. Anderson, who had something to say about J.W. Kurtz’s book “The Bellerophon: Ambush: Book 1 of The Captive Galaxy Series”.  I haven’t read your book yet, Mr. Kurtz, though I purchased a copy for later perusal.

On to Mr. Anderson’s comment.  He points out that the dialogue is too wordy in combat.  I thought, that’s fine, what earned your praise, then? And went on a search of his reviews, because those kind of comments are useful if you get them in, say, beta.  Before the book is published! And Mr. Anderson reviewed this book:
Dead Ice: A Dane and Bones Origins Story (Dane Maddock Origins Book 4) [Kindle Edition]

His review was not kind, but his points made me sit up. “What’s this?” I said, to no one in particular.  My children and wife ignored me.  “Combat in cold environments?”  That was something I was planning in the Great American Novel Not Yet Written.  Heck, most of space is a cold environment.  And Mr. Anderson points out a great book that totally gets the combat in cold environments thing, which is “Thunder of Erebus” by Payne Harrison.

So I bought that. 4 bucks. Not on kindle, so I have to wait for it get here.

I’ve also got “They were all Young Kids…” by Aaron Elson. It’s WWII accounts of combat (an assault on a hill with tanks) by the survivors.  I don’t know how it will read, but it was recommended by another tough reviewer.

Maybe I can get Mr. Anderson to read some of my initial drafts, and get the unpleasantness out of the way early on.