So this week I’m reading The Golden Queen by Dave Wolverton, which starts out looking like a whimsical Irish fantasy novel before turning into a galaxy-spanning science fiction epic in which several adventurers and a talking bear (because why not?) with a name like a vacuum cleaner attempt to drive the conquering alien insectoid race known as the Dronon out of human space.
In this two-sentence snippet, Our Heroes are about to make a run for it to escape a Dronon-occupied planet and get to the gate that will take them to the next world and, they hope, their final showdown with the Dronon ruler, the titular Golden Queen.
Gallen, Orick, Maggie, and Jagget sat in front of the inn, straddling their airbikes. Far to the south, Veriasse heard a dim concussion, the sound of heavy artillery.
Orick is the bear. The bear is riding an airbike.
Send in the clowns! Now The Golden Queen, the first in a series, contains many interesting ideas and is generally well-written. I would sort of describe this book as Hamilton’s “Commonwealth” series (specifically Pandora’s Star and Judas Unchained) meets “Stargate” meets The Clone Wars, with a dash of Doctor Doolittle thrown in for good measure. Unfortunately it suffers from a large number of formatting glitches. I am guessing they were introduced during the conversion to the Kindle format and nobody bothered to fix them. Because, you know, Dave Wolverton is only the writer of various best-selling novels, so why would you bother assigning someone to look for formatting errors in one of his books? Granted, I got it for free from BookBub, but still.
Hudson: Is this gonna be a standup fight, sir, or another bughunt?
Gorman: All we know is that there’s still no contact with the colony, and that a xenomorph may be involved.
Frost: Excuse me sir, a-a what?
Gorman: A xenomorph.
Hicks: It’s a bughunt.
Yes it is, Corporal Hicks. Yes it is. And speaking of bughunts, the third and (I hope) last editing pass on The War of the Ravels is well underway.
He didn’t think the mumbler had been Brannoc; the rogue’s presence was missing from Bernard’s mind in a way that seemed different from his usual absences when Brannoc would go away to sulk. That left unpleasantly open the question of who had been making those sounds—some creature gibbering in the dark?—but Bernard wasn’t ready to deal with that thought just yet.
Bernard just woke up in a sea cave, and isn’t very happy about it. After having been garrotted, thrown into an oubliette, hauled out at spear-point, hung by his wrists from a cable over a chasm, falling a hundred feet into the water, and getting pulled down by the undertow, I suppose you can’t really blame him …