The first thing one can’t help but notice about author Kent Wayne is that his name has to be a pseudonym, and of course, it is.
Other than that he served for ten years in the military, he hasn’t revealed too much about himself.
Oh, yes, he has released this photo:
A striking looking dude, though I wouldn’t want to meet him in any dark caverns.
And he seems to like some of the posts that I’ve written on my blog. By which I mean he’s clicked the Like button that you’ll find at the bottom of each blog post. In particular he seems to like the posts where I mention a classic science fiction writer like Asimov or Heinlein. He even liked the somewhat cheeky time travel story I wrote last week (perhaps because it contained all those references to classic time travel tales). This becomes somewhat understandable when one realizes he is a science fiction writer himself, and he has a blog, Dirty Sci-Fi Buddha.
I mention this in the interests of full disclosure as I’m about to talk about one of his books, to wit, his very first one, Approaching Shatter, which I purchased from Amazon as part of the Combined Edition of Volumes I and II of the Echo Series.
The first thing I noticed on the very first page is that he’s a literate writer, who knows how to put words together. The first few chapters have a somewhat Heinleinesque flavor to them, certainly a good flavor to have as far as I’m concerned. And Wayne can write credible action sequences; there’s a fight scene involving several characters early in the book that is especially well done.
Not surprisingly for a writer who is ex-military, the Echo series falls into the genre of military science fiction. And here I must admit that military fiction is not my favorite thing to read (Heinlein’s Starship Troopers is among my lesser favorites of his works). But that said, Approaching Shatter held my interest from beginning to end, largely I think because the military serves mostly as a backdrop to the story of the main character Atriya gradually beginning to learn some hard truths about himself and the world he lives in.
There is also a mentor character, but not the wise old man that can be found in some of Heinlein’s work, but an attractive, middle-aged woman. I don’t mean to belabor the possible Heinlein influence, as the young person being mentored by a more experienced character crops up frequently in fiction (as it does in real life), as in Star Wars, for example. And in fact, Wayne explicitly draws his own connection to the Star Wars saga.
Overall I enjoyed the book, but— I’m afraid there’s always a but.
The story takes place a thousand plus years in the future on a different world, and yet sometimes I got the feeling the characters wouldn’t feel too out of place in our own time. They go to a gym equipped with a climbing wall, for example.
And one of the characters smokes. Cigarettes. A thousand years from now, and they don’t have a better delivery system for nicotine? For that matter they haven’t found a better (or worse) drug than nicotine? OK, I’ll admit that smoking is a bête noire of mine. But still. (Given that the cover for the combined edition shows a character dangling a cigarette, I must assume that this is not the last cigarette that we’ll see in the Echo series.)
Still and all, I found much more to like in this short novel than to complain about. And it is short as it ends, not so much on a cliff hanger, but more right in the middle of things. Almost as if the first two novels were originally conceived as one novel and then split into two.
But as I have the second one, I can continue reading it whenever I like.
Note: When you purchase something after clicking Amazon links in my posts, I may earn a small commission. As of this date, I have yet to earn anything. 😎