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A Shadow on the Galaxy: A collection of short stories [Kindle Edition]

Jan E. Steen

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  • Length: 240 pages (estimated)
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Book Description

What you don't know can hurt you...

It's a golden age of prosperity for the human race as it expands through the galaxy. Interstellar trade is at an all time high, new colonies are being formed, businesses are thriving, and new planets and resources are being discovered daily. But humanity never changes, and there is always rivalry and even war between the three major factions.

This vibrant civilization could come crashing down if some whispered rumors are indeed true. The planet-harvesting Flies were beaten back centuries ago, but are they really gone? Could a mythical and ancient space navy be the key to defeating mankind's greatest foe? Who is Cam Ranie, and why does he always seem to show up at crucial times? And just what are the mysterious shadows that some traders report seeing in deepest space?

A Shadow on the Galaxy contains the following short stories:

The Turnkey Planet: Two engineers plan the most profitable project in history. But a very powerful man has other ideas...

Dead Admirals Can't Complain: After a mission goes badly wrong, a young spaceship pilot is given one last chance to prove himself.

Not On My Watch: The crew on a mining installation find themselves caught in the crossfire in a desperate war. But why is no one panicking?

How To Sell A Spaceship: When a mysterious explorer wants to sell a weird-looking spaceship, business must take a backseat to other considerations.

A Necessary Measure: The spoiled son of a nobleman tries to take command of a warship. But it seems to resist him...

Now That Is Science: An archaeologist makes the discovery of a lifetime on a remote planet. But will he be allowed to enjoy the fame?

Death Is Our Business: Not all is what it seems when a spaceship commanded by an incompetent aristocrat is attacked on an important mission.

Well Under Way: When a clever plan goes disastrously wrong, a novice officer finds inspiration in an unexpected place.

Your World And My World: A trader under attack by pirates is saved by a mysterious stranger. But where did he come from?

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1858 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00L08CMRK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,035,834 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
4.0 out of 5 stars Refreshingly Imaginitive Science Fiction 22 July 2014
By deerez - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Most new writers in the sci-fi genre write long novels as their first effort, and they are usually not very good, trying to squeeze too much out of a single idea or at most two. I like to read short stories by new authors, because it takes a smaller investment in time and cost to see if they're any good. This collection is an example of a new author who writes engaging short stories right off the bat.

All the stories are set about a thousand years into the future, and our galaxy is about to be invaded by insect-like aliens called Flies. Most of the stories have the Flies in them, but sometimes only indirectly and sometimes not at all. Many of the stories concern the human agency, called ASALT, which is tasked with chasing the invaders away, but sometimes you don't realize that until the very last paragraph. The title of the collection, A Shadow on The Galaxy, alludes to the swarm of aliens that is about to overwhelm mankind.

All the stories have a well executed twist at the end, which I find that most sci-fi authors never even try. So it's refreshing to see a new voice that knows the basic rules about short stories and uses them well.
My favorite is the first story in the collection, called The Turnkey Planet, which is really very good indeed. I like many of the ideas and the little twists and turns here. Even the dialog is well done, which is rare in this genre. The whole book is a fast read, with stories that are short enough not to wear out their welcome.

Ideally I would have wanted all the stories to form a coherent narrative - as they are, you get a few little glimpses of many part of the galaxy, and no overarching story. I subtract one star for that. The exception is the stories about ASALT, which do follow a loose storyline and progression.

Note that this is not "hard" science fiction - the emphasis is not on new technology or science, but on mankind's response to an external threat. For instance, faster-than-light travel is commonplace here, but it is never explained how it works.

As an introduction to a new and imaginative fictional future universe, I recommend this collection, and I hope the author will write more from this universe. A novel would be interesting.
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