Title: Beyond Meridian (Men in Space #1)
Author: C.C. Bridges
Publisher: NineStar Press, LLC
Release Date: September 3, 2018
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Romance
Page Count: 26,900 words / 99 pages
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Captain Rick Raine thinks he’s just picking up a passenger and some cargo when he takes on Karl as a member of his crew. He didn’t sign up for battling privateers, the United Planetary Alliance, and his own heart. But everyone has secrets in space, even a naive kid who knows more than he should.
Karl is on a mission, deep in the heart of enemy space. Sam saved him from a life of servitude and now it’s time to return the favor. For that he needs a ship and someone to fly it. Captain Raine seems like the perfect guy, a good pilot and an honest thief. But Karl doesn’t count on falling for the spacer, not when he has a mission to accomplish and the UPA’s secrets to keep.
First published December 9, 2009 by NineStar Press.
The blurb sums up this short story quite succinctly, so I won’t rehash. This was an enjoyable romantic science fiction story. The plot moves briskly along, there is just enough character development to draw the reader in, and the world building made for a strong backdrop without losing plausibility.
Captain Raine is your Han Solo, Malcolm, Holden (geek points if you know the last two references…) in the Meridian universe. Loner, comes with a reputation, but appearances can be deceiving.
Karl comes across as naïve and young, but he’s already well versed in survival. What’s sweet about Karl is “street smarts” haven’t been so beaten out of him that he lost his idealism.
Itchy – perhaps my favorite character. You’ll have to read to find out more.
I’ve mentioned this before; short stories can be difficult to write. The author needs to trim the extraneous “fluff”, so to speak, and get down to the essentials, and still have an engaging story. I think Bridges does a wonderful job doing so in this story.
That being noted, I’m really on the fence if this should have been a longer story. There were some transitions that felt abrupt – on one hand, it moved the story along; on the other hand, I was mentally prepared for a scene to play out a certain way and…poof! Situation resolved and we’re on to the next thing.
My one other quirk was how easily one ship AI was able to hack into everything. This ship AI was very cool, I loved how Bridges developed the AI character, but given the background, the ship seemed almost too powerful. My idiosyncrasy aside (blame my 30 years of reading scifi), the ship was pretty awesome.
My review is starting to resemble a short story itself, so I’ll conclude by saying this was a well written, engaging, and fast paced scifi romance. If you like scifi, or are thinking about trying scif, give this one a try.