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Retirement. Publishers, thank you for the many years of reading pleasure you gave me, but all good things must come to an end. Due to failing eyesight I am forced to retire. I can no longer review your books, and any that you send will be donated to the local library, unread. Do not send any more. I can only read for a couple hours every day, and this does not allow me to finish a book in reasonable time. I will be devoting time to my own books from now on, and reading on a personal level. Books that interest me. I prefer paperbacks and hardbacks, not eBooks. My eyesight has been failing the last few years, and I cannot handle hundreds of review books any more. My books are still available for review. Anyone interested in reviewing any of them, they are found in the Link to Tom’s Books On Amazon. Contact me for pdf copies at

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Five Minute Science Fiction

Genes, aliens, zoos, dragons, time travel, murder & revenge. It's all here in these 25 short science fiction stories. If you love to read but don't always have time to finish a long story, this is the collection for you. You can read this series anywhere and anytime. Whether you are an avid sci-fi fan or new to the genre, there is something for everyone in these tales. From genetic lotteries and murderous felines to face transplants and dating your own clone, these bite-sized pieces explore how we use our scientific knowledge to change ourselves and the universe around us. This collection of tales comes straight from the mind of veterinarian and scientist Leah Cannon, so unsurprisingly, they are about science, animals and what it means to be human.

Five Minute Science Fiction (SF Short Stories)
Volume One
By Leah Cannon
Independent Publishing Platform
Price $0.99 (Kindle)
99 Pages
Rating 4.5-Stars

BUYING TIME is a quick tale about a person attempting to buy extra time for their cat, and what they have to put up with at the office. The rigmarole they face with the office worker is typical of any office you’ve ever been to for getting something done, and the result is the same also.
BEING IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT ALL THE RIGHT TIMES. Like most great discoveries, it’s the people who are in the right place at the right time who end up with the prize. So it was with the great discovery of time.
VIRTUALLY OBSOLETE. Mason came up with the idea, and created a virtual zoo with real life virtual hybrids of the big cats. But now the board of directors is shutting the zoo down, and retiring Mason, and there’s nothing he can do about it.
RUSSIAN ROULETTE. Mr. Hunter’s genetic maintenance payment is past due, and they are about to take some of his healthy genetic code in payment. But he knows a black market in town where he can swap genetic codes, it’s just that this could be a game of Russian Roulette, if it backfired.
A LITTLE INTERFERENCE. Brick awakes to a voice in his mind. It is the Commander, and he’s being recalled from Earth. But, he begs, the humans are only now studying DNA; he just needs a little more time with them. He’s been here a millennium; another twenty years should be enough time to point them in the right direction. But Commander is not backing down. Brick must return. Only one possibility, Brick must release his mind to the human scientists so they will grasp DNA.
            BABY FACED. Gloria Willis paid Alex Lincoln fifty thousand dollars for a facelift that should have lasted a year. However, after only a few months the wrinkles returned, and she’s mad. But just what will her anger accomplish?
            A HORSE IS A HORSE, OF COURSE. Horses were needed for sports, but their redesign just wasn’t working, so the professor asked his students, “What about a dog?” So the students redesigned a greyhound to replace the horse. So naturally they had to rename the dog.
            YOU WON’T EVEN NOTICE. Larry signed up to watch a few ads for $25,000.00, but it turns out the ads appear when he shuts his eyes to sleep. Now he wants to give the money back, but that’s not possible. However, he can find a number of people to take his place, he just has to sign them up.
            HIS FACE IS UNREMARKABLE. Alicia is at the supermarket when she looks up and see’s her husband’s face. Her husband was killed in an accident, and she had seen his body in a casket. Was it really Mark?
            THEY WILL FINALLY WANT TO TALK TO ME. Jack Steeple, a zoologist, sends his findings to Jennifer from location. She studies the samples and finds their DNA. But this time the zoologist will not be the one people will want to speak with, it will be Jennifer who has discovered something even more special than the zoologist.
            THE CLOUD WHISPERER. Young Ms. Gardner is awaiting word from the university while her parents pray for rain. In fact, her father does some rain dances just by chance that will work. All the time, Ms. Gardner is a cloud whisperer, and finally calls for the rain when the letter from university arrives.
            THE VOICE WILL IGNORE ME. Unfortunately, when you have technology at your command, sometimes that technology takes control and may not listen to you.
            BACK IN TIME. She watches everything going backwards.
            READ THE FINE PRINT. Collette Nguyen visits a DNA Service to provide a DNA alibi but fails to read the fine print.
            LET’S TRY THAT AGAIN. He is being tested. Put in a room with Alex while Carol and Ray watch. Will he fail the test?
            CONVERGENCE. In this one, children are born smart, and then lose their intellect as they age. Is Michaela smart enough to extend her intelligence?
            MIND SPACE. Mindy insisted she join her in a new yoga class called Mind Space, and she freaked out.
            A CUP OF COFFEE. Katrina can’t find the right man. All her dates end with her escaping some fool and regretting ever accepting the date in the first place. Then she gets an idea - why not create a man from her own DNA, someone who would be just like her, but a man. Half way through the experiment, she dumps everything and decides to ask one of her co-workers to have a cup of coffee with her. Hmm, will this one work out, or not?
            A HEATED PROPOSAL. Damon has a plan to entice Eliza to marry him. He has been hatching an egg in the bathroom, and put the egg in a thermos and takes it with him. He finds her with Chris, and challenges him to a dual. Chris wins, of course, but he still has the egg, and it just might do the trick.
            THE FORBIDDEN WORLD. Braydon was warned never to go near the Blue Lake, but something pulled him there, and one day he went. Looking down into the valley, he saw nothing that scared him, and ventured on in. There a naked woman met him, and she seduced him, and then swallowed him. He should have listened to his father.
            MUTATION LOTTERY. Len planned to win the lottery, and with his mutation genes he might be able to do it. 128 million dollars would last him a lifetime, if they didn’t discover the mutated genes.
            DEATH BY CAT. Give animals more intelligence, and soon they will want control, even if they have to kill you.
            WE’LL ALL BE IMMORTAL. David and Soon Hee, are of Korean heritage, but raised in America. He’s campaigning for president, and having an affair with Octavia, a biologist. Octavia has discovered the cure for aging, and with this discovery he will be able to win the presidency, but Octavia wants more.
            YOU WILL NEVER GROW OLD. A mother gives her child away so that she will grow into an adult, but will never become old and die. But the mother misses her daughter and writes letters to her.
            HARNESSING DNA FOR LONG-TERM MEMORY STORAGE. This is the case for storing memory codes.
            THE GIFT OF LIFE. The preacher watched as the new women came from the machines, this year they were silver-haired, replacing the red-haired models of last year. They were given life for advertisement, this year it was a brand of beer, and they were sure to spread the word.
            These short stories were quick reads, interesting, and most dealt with animals or science, especially DNA. Some of the stories may not have technically conformed to a story – beginning, middle, and end. In fact, some of the endings weren’t satisfying. But the stories did conform to the author’s strategy, they were five-minute stories, and what you got out of them was entertainment. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson


Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Forgotten Planet

The possibility that our planet will some day be dominated by the insect world has been admitted by our greatest entomologists, and the possibility of this is not half so remote as one might think. Some of our deepest thinkers believe that it is not only possible, but most probable, that this may happen, or possibly has happened in the past. It is a story tremendous in its possibilities, and the author has written it with such a facile pen, that you cannot lay the story aside until you have come to its conclusion.

The Forgotten Planet (SF/Adventure)
By Murray Leinster
Fiction House Press
ISBN #978-1947964136
Price $19.95
220 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

This book contains three novelettes: THE MAD PLANET, THE RED DUST, and NIGHTMARE PLANET, collected from the pulps. The story takes place thirty thousand years after the 20th century, and into the second Carboniferous Period. Insects are now giants, even larger than they were in the first Carboniferous Period. Our hero is Burl, a simple man little more than a savage.
            In THE MAD PLANET we meet Burl as he forages in the large toadstools looking for food, a naked human who only exist for food. He’s about twenty years of age, and has notice Saya, a beautiful female among the tribe, who causes strange feelings within him. While hunting for food he accidentally falls into the river and is swept forty miles from his little tribe. The story is all about his dangerous tract home, and the many near tragedies that come upon him; giant spiders, army ants, fires, and other dangerous insects. Returning to Saya, he is no longer naked, but wrapped in the soft wing of a giant butterfly, and toting a slain spider on his back. Naturally, Saya decides he’s the man for her. This was a fun yarn.
            THE RED DUST finds Burl in a quandary over the sudden appearance of red toadstools that emit poisonous red particles into the air. His people must leave and find new land if they are to survive, and there is much hardship and danger along the route. But in the end he leads his tribe to safety in the mountains far from the deadly toadstools, and finally takes Saya for his mate. A sequel to THE MAD PLANET.
            Nightmare Planet is a bit different from the first two. Actually, it doesn’t seem to fit with the other two stories. It is still Burl and Saya, but they’re not lovers yet, and their valley (not where the second story left off) has been over-run by a giant spider with her egg sack. The babies hatch and start eating everything in the valley, including humans. Burl kills one of the spiders as he goes for food. H thene tells them he’s leaving the valley. He pulls Saya along, and then the rest follow. They climb a mountain reaching high above the clouds where they find fresh air, and small insects, plus view the stars and sunrise for the first time. Then they find a pack of dogs and instantly become constant companions. In the first two stories we were led to believe their world is Earth thirty thousand years after the 21st century, but now we’re given a new history. The planet had been seeded many times in the past by a highly advanced race of aliens. One ship crashed, and that’s where humans and dogs came from. At the end of the story the aliens return once more and find Burl and his people, and subject him to an educator machine, and they build a city on top of the mountain, where the president of the aliens come to hunt with Burl. This story brings a final conclusion to the short series, even f it is hard to fit it in with the previous two stories.
            Okay, the stories were definitely fun. I love anything with giant insects and spiders. We never see a scorpion in the stories, but thirty-foot long centipedes, spiders with a thirty-foot leg spread, and mammoth-sized tarantulas. Beetles the size of tanks, and enormous moths and butterflies. There were some minor formatting problems, but I highly recommend the book for lovers of science fiction and adventure.

Tom Johnson


Monday, December 25, 2017

Going The Wrong Path

The Botelho family emigrates from the African country of Angola to the United States of America for a better life. Antonio, the younger son, is rather timid and quiet. A caring and studious person, he has aspirations to attend a good university and land a great job. Silvio, the older brother, a good soccer player, is on the wild side, but has hopes of acquiring a soccer scholarship to a good university. The Botelho family is working hard and all four are achieving the American Dream, even though Silvio gets mixed with the wrong crowd. Suddenly, a tragedy occurs. Will Silvio’s wild side take over? Being Antonio’s only adult relative in the United States, will Silvio drag him to his wild ways? This is a compelling story of a young man trying to achieve his academic and professional goals while surrounded by adversity, drug use, drug dealing, and crime. Will he succeed? Or will the environment kill all of his dreams and perhaps even himself?

Going The Wrong Path (Coming Of Age)
By Arthur Weissmann
Independent Publishing Platform
ISBN #978-1521472194
Price $12.75 (Paperback)
Price $2.99 (Kindle)
481 Pages
Rating 4.5-Stars

“How Two Children Survive”

This is the story of two brothers, Antonio and Silvio Botelho. Their family emigrates from Africa to America for a better life, but when their parents are killed, the boys are left on the street. Now they need to survive, and hope to continue their education, but Antonio must join his brother in the criminal activities he has been involved with already. This is their story, and how they reach their goals through diversity.

I’ve read better coming of age stories, and you don’t have to be an immigrant to face hardships in this land of plenty. Nor do you need to turn to crime to survive; you do it because you want to. Poverty is not limited to one group or race, and there are plenty of starving kids out there. Our own veterans are overlooked, as well as mental patients, while we pour money into welfare programs. But this is one of those stories where crime is an out, and it is an interested story about these two brothers. I highly recommend it for those readers who especially like coming of age stories facing immigrants.

Tom Johnson


Friday, December 22, 2017

A Rebel Spy

A Yankee Army major so admires a Confederate spy that he puts his life on the line for her. What secret does the major keep from the spy? Can love based on secrets survive? Is there a future for these war-torn lovers?

Danger loving, madcap Sophie Garrett spies for her beloved Confederacy. Flirting her way through Union lines, she gains vital information for General Stonewall Jackson until she is suspected of passing secrets. She’s unable to hoodwink Yankee Major Brent Bartell. Even though his moral and ethical allegiance belong to the North, he so admires the rebel spy's courage and wit that he puts his own life on the line to protect her from prison and death.

A Rebel Spy (Historical Romance)
By Anne Greene
Winged Publications
ISBN #978-197394427
Price $5.74 (Paperback)
Price $2.99 (Kindle)
96 Pages
Rating 4.5 Stars

Sophia Garrett is a southern spy in a family of spies; She lives in Falling Waters, in the Shenadoah Valley, Virginia. During a party at her home, she meets Major Brent Bartell, with the Union Army. Major Brent observes her tapping out a message in code with her fan. After observing her using code again, he has her arrested. But he also admires this female rogue, and sparks fire, but can romance ignite between a southern belle and Union army officer?

Characters are strongly defined and grow on the reader. The writing continues to impress, and the author keeps the reader turning the pages. There is also a certain wit that takes you off guard at times. However, this wasn’t one that I cared much for. Maybe it was the setting, or time period, as I prefer more contemporary and western romance. Civil War novels have little interest for me. However, I can highly recommend this for readers of historical romance with this particular setting.

Ginger Johnson