Top positive review
Cawdron’s work is a Masterclass in Character Driven Story Writing
Reviewed in the United States on December 16, 2019
Hello World was initially just a single short story of the same name, telling the captivating story of an exceptional young woman’s bravery when confronted with a situation that seems totally inconceivable.
However, Cawdron has done the Inconceivable, and put together a truly inspired collection of extraordinary tales that show that he is one of the most underrated talents of our age. Cawdron writes some masterfully, creating powerful tales that will leave you thinking about their endings for days afterwards they are so good. Following are individual reviews of each of the stories, enjoy one of the best anthologies you will ever read.
Hello World – 4.5/5 – This is the story of a young woman who goes to see an ageing professor who has a remarkable tale to tell – he claims that aliens have made first contact via Twitter! Of course there is outrage at his claims, but he points out that the aliens just want to learn about our culture, and that Twitter is the place to do it.
The young lady is fascinated by his claims, until suddenly she is caught up in a maelstrom of events, and must suddenly decide, how much does she believe in this professor? How far is she willing to push her convictions?
This is a really fascinating story of one woman’s crusade to find the truth, with help from her boyfriend, and about how First Contact might not have been with aliens coming to Earth, or Astronauts going to space, but through a tool no one would every expect….. Social Media…. Outstanding Start to the Series!
The Man who Remembered Today – 4/5 – This is an interesting short story about a man who cannot remember yesterday, but he can remember today, the thing is, today hasn't happened yet...
Even worse is, today has some major things that are going to unfold, what should he do? Can he change the future?
It makes you wonder, what would you do?
This book is a fascinating thrill ride through a one man’s desperate struggle to understand what is going on with his life. Cawdron is very clever at weaving a brilliant story, but at the same time, making you think about important social values and the prejudices that are so easily dismissed in todays society, social stereotyping, not to mention how easily we all forget about terrorism and laid back about things so quickly. This is a powerful and gritty character driven story that has a very interesting take on Deja-vu at its extreme!
Once again, Peter Cawdron delivers a great story that you will read in a single go as you won't be able to put it down.
Mirror, Mirror – 4/5 – story of alien invasion with a difference, as is always the case with Peter Cawdron.
The aliens were in ships, nuked, crashed to earth, now they are in machines on Earth. Kids think that there are no such things as Monsters, that there are only Machines. They sneak out to go and see a ‘Dead Machine’, however, they get more than they bargained for. There is a live one there. They free it and see it for what it really is, nothing more than a scared little alien that is trying to help. It is a peaceful creature. Then they meet a Soldier who tells them the truth of the war, that THEY are on the wrong side. When Jenny is shot by her own Mother with a Plasma Rifle and dies, the alien saves her, and she has to decide – her daughter or her false principles.
Butch & Sundance – 4.3/5 – This story is set in the ‘Four Horseman’ universe, and is a futuristic tale of a Bounty Hunter sent to get a Mark. However, this is no ordinary Bounty, and it appears that he is not the only person looking for him, with a lot of others not only looking, but willing to shut down entire sections of the country, kill people, do whatever is needed. Our Bounty Hunter realises he has a lot more than just a ‘Bounty’, but also realises that to get his reward, that he will not be able to bring him in in the usual manner, he has to think of something very clever….
This is a really well written and intelligent story, with a lot of twists and turns and subterfuge, it will leave you not only guessing, but really enthralled.
Revolution – 4.5/5 – Whilst flying back from Russia, Phil, an ordinary guy, has a rather intimate and extreme encounter with a beautiful brunette on the plane. However, all is not what it seems, and Phil’s life quickly spirals out of control in this futuristic techno-thriller, that is brutally fast paced, so that you will be leaning forward into the book as you read, and at the same time, intriguing and intellectual to make it stand-out from all the others. This is an exceptional story and one I just don’t want to give away any spoilers. This story shows why Cawdron is such an amazing Author, with the ability to deliver captivating, remarkable and stunning stories that you just can’t forget.
Lost Stars – 4.5/5 – This is one of the truly beautiful and magnificent tales in this book, and you will just be in awe of Cawdron’s story telling ability, his ability to craft these amazing worlds, and build such intricate detail within them in such a short time frame. The story follows a thrilling adventure had by a young woman in a steampunk universe, and the challenges she faces when the ‘Bladder Ship’ she is aboard is attacked by Pirates. They seek only one thing, and in a daring bit of bravery, the young woman does all she can to save it, but as a result, is taken prisoner herself.
Now she must use her wits, her bravery, and other skills she didn’t know she had to try and save her own life and escape, before she ends up at the end of a plank, which in a Universe with flying ships, is not a good thing.
This is a brilliant story, lots of fun, with a beautiful and amazing world, and as usual, extraordinary Characters, that truly enrich Cawdron’s marvellous world. This is a wonderful story.
Killer – 6/5 – This is one of my favourite shorts in this collection. It is based in the Nick Webb “Legacy Fleet” series, which is just an exceptional read. Cawdron has created a story that weaves a tale of legend into the main story of ‘Constitution’, both the ship and the main story, without actually interfering with the timeline itself, providing a thrilling bit of backstory, and additional reading for those that love the Legacy Fleet universe. The story itself follows a young woman with the nickname ‘Killer’, based on her name, not her skills though, as she is better known for being one of the best pilots in the fleet, and also one of the gentlest. This is a story of heroes, and is brilliant.
Heil Hitler – 4.5/5 – This is a really good thriller, you have no idea what is going on until it gets right into the story, and until then, you just have no clue. What would you do if your partner greeted you in the morning with not ‘Morning Hon’ or their normal greeting, but ‘Heil Hitler, mein frau’? One woman begins a desperate struggle to find out what has happened to her husband for the safety of her family, only what she discovers is something beyond the scope of her imagination. This is a very clever, very interesting read. It is a difficult to discuss without giving too much away, but needless to say, as usual, Cawdron’s character work is brilliant, and he has created a rather interesting world for his characters to play in. The technology is also rather magnificent.
The End – 4.8/5 – The end is a very clever story, one that looks at the question of Artificial Intelligence. The story does have a strong aspect of Hard Sci-Fi, but it is integrated very cleanly into the story, so it doesn’t get to bogged down.
It follows two characters Joe and Avika, and their AI, SALLY, as they are looking for the answers on AI, can you just program an AI, or does it need to evolve? As they start to look at the question, they start to run an experiment with SALLY that has a fascinating outcome.
This is an outstanding story, very well written, SALLY is the best character of course, but it is the premise of the story, and how it unfolds that are the truly exceptional parts of this book. One not to be missed!
Don’t Tell – 5/5 – Set in a Dystopian future in which there are people with telepathic gifts, all of whom are required to now register and lose their freedom. One such individual has formed a group to fight this, and as with all things of this kind, it has turned to violence. This story though, is about an Interview, between one of the best-known reporters, and the head of the organisation, a live interview to be aired on TV. The interview is fascinating, as this mysterious person discusses what it is like to be a telepath. This story is some of the best Character writing in this collection, and shows how Cawdron is one of the finest Authors of Character driven stories in this genre. You just won’t believe the ending of this story, you will go back and re-read it just to make sure.
Abraham – 5/5 – Abraham is a fascinating look at a future that tries to accommodate for those communities that do not want to move forward with the ever changing face of Technology. This is a wonderful combination of a Sci-Fi future in which we have evolved into a space faring race, but at the same time, have tried to allow for the simplicity of the old ways, such as the Amish, who still reject technology, for the most part. This story is something that is really different to the usual Sci-fi adventure, and it is a shame it is only a short, it would make a fascinating, and rather extraordinary read, as we follow the lives of young Jed, Amos, their Father Abraham, and their Mother Stacy and sister Georgia, as they deal with Amish life, and its possible changes under the Boston Accords. This is Sci-Fi at its best.
More to Learn – 4.7/5 – An alien space craft appears deep in our solar system, and it is obvious it is coming to Earth, but it will take months to get here. As usual, there is the typical panic, but as the months drag on, publicity fades, and so does public interest, until suddenly, the ship is above us, and everyone panics again. But as the ship parks itself in geosynchronous orbit above the Earth, in an area no one would have thought of, the questions start to get asked, why are they here? What do they want? Cawdron, in his usual creative and brilliant manner, has written a story that explores the underlying beauty of our planet, and the failings of humanity, and bundles them together in a rather exceptional tale that will leave you sitting there afterwards, pondering things. This story is Cawdron at his finest.
Suffer the Children – 6/5 – This is one of the longer stories in the collection, but it is well worth it. It follows those called the Actrixmatrian’s, a species that lives a long way from Earth, and sees in 4 Dimensions, not just 3. Through their senses, we are told of several stories that are interconnected, 2 reporters, Nancy and Kurt, as well as 2 Humans that have been abducted to live in an Actrixmatrian Zoo, Dakota and Billy. Nancy and Kurt’s part is somewhat small, but crucial, and is very clever, you have to pay attention to fully understand it.
The extraordinary story of Dakota and Billy however, and their time in captivity is fascinating, from their interaction with other, to the interaction with the Atctrixmatrian charged with looking after them which they call ‘Smear’ as the Arc has a distinctive mark that separates it from every other Arc. This part of the story is enthralling, and shows the true Master that Cawdron is. It is a combination of Hard Sci-fi, integrated with some Science Fiction, a combination of the two to provide this captivating tale that will leave you stunned, and thinking about it for days after, the sign of any truly inspired story. Suffer the Children is one of the creative highlights of this collection, and deserves far more than a 5 for its incredible characters, and extraordinary story telling.
Déjà vu – 4.5/5 – It is difficult to discuss this without giving too much away, but you will quickly discover that the story has a ‘Groundhog Day’ quality to it, as a particular segment replays over and over for a group of astronauts in space, but the main question is why? And this is the really interesting and truly fascinating part of the story, and you find yourself getting very quickly getting sucking into this thriller, trying to work out what is going on. This is one that you have to read in a single sitting, you won’t be able to put it down, so make sure you allow the time, it’s brilliant!!
The Darkness between the Stars – 5/5 – The final short story is one of my favourites in the collection, as it is far more scientific in nature than any of the other stories, but still has such a great story attached to it. Two astronauts, Masters and Andretti are on a mission in the Oort Cloud, seeking out possible future missions for humanity, when Masters thinks she hears some voices. At the same time, she has a critical medical incident, a bleed on her brain. Her Commander goes to turn the ship around after doing all he can for Masters, but she begs him to go back, and when he does, they discover something that neither of them ever thought possible.
This story is one of Cawdron’s best short stories, capturing his ability to integrate fascinating bits of science into science fiction, and make a thrilling, and outstanding story that is driven by exceptional character work, and leaves you thinking about the story and the science behind it for days afterword. This story is why Cawdron is a true Science Fiction Master
Overall, this is just a beautiful collection of short stories, and anyone who loves to read will get something out of Cawdron’s amazing work, do yourself a favour, and say “Hello” to the “World’ that is Peter Cawdron