Wednesday, November 19, 2014

REVIEW: Cry Havoc by Jack Hanson

When I was a kid, I loved sci-fi, action-adventure novels, sword and sorcery and pulp. Come to think of it, that hasn't changed. About the only thing different is that I've read a bunch of literary novels since then that I'm sure have taken years off of my life.

Something else is different though. The action-adventure novels of my youth featuring a select group of men taking untold numbers of baddies are basically all gone. Fantasy, itself a genre, looks down on the sword and sorcery books that used to sell big numbers. Sci-fi, well...sci-fi just isn't as fun anymore. That's where Hanson comes in. Let me tell you, guys. Cry Havoc is FUN.

The dinosaur on the cover isn't a suggestion. You won't just find dinosaurs though. You'll find pirates, aliens, sword fights, and, most of all, well-drawn characters that you care about.

The plot follows four teens at the Ganymede Military Academy. As expected, they aren't quite ready for what's ahead of them. Enter Master Assault Sergeant Alexander Black to whip them into shape. I'll let you read to find out how that goes.

One of the best features of Hanson's novel is the world building. As the action is going on, you find out about the politics and histories of all the groups involved. It isn't how you might expect it to be. Hanson is writing fun, exciting science fiction but it isn't derivative of what's come before it. Its making its own statement in the tradition.

If you dig science fiction adventure that takes you to wild, incredible new places then here's your book. If you like Burroughs and Card and Weber, here's your book. Even better, there's more coming.

Finally, this is really relevant to nothing but I just wanted to say it. Hanson and this novel were victims of the Permuted Press debacle. You can read all about that through a Google search if you haven't. Suffice to say, they must feel like real assholes now that Hanson released this great book on his own. And they should.  Because they're assholes.

Screw you, Permuted Press.

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