Genre: Science Fiction
Released: September 2018
Reviewed by: Jane Stockwell
Back in May, we reviewed “A Planet For Emily” by M. S. Lawson, a fun science fiction story set in a dystopian future. Mark has clearly been busy and has just released his second sci-fi story, “Claire Takes On The Galaxy”.
Set in a completely different universe from “A Planet For Emily”, this book has no overlap with the previous work. Still set in the future but without the dystopia, “Claire Takes On The Galaxy” follows the story of Claire Williams, who starts the day as a bride-to-be on her wedding day and ends up a recruit in the Stellar Marines after finding out her future husband has been cheating on her with her best friend.
Claire (naturally) finds she is a natural as a sniper, and teamed with her new best friend Lou who acts as her spotter, become the “Annies”, the most devastating sniper team in their platoon. Before long, she and her platoon are shipped off to Devil’s Pit, a mining planet where the Stellar Marines are there to protect the miners from the “Mercs”, mercenaries hired by the Mercantilists, who wish to claim the resources for themselves.
The story moves on quickly, complete with love interest James who has his own history as a thief but now mining settlement repairman, Maddy, his spirited foster daughter, and the mysterious Shades, the only alien species in the story. Of course, the Mercs attack the settlement, where Claire and her platoon live up to the Stellar Marine Corps recruitment slogan, “Take On The Galaxy.”
“Claire Takes On The Galaxy” is a fun, classic action/sci-fi story. It feels more cohesive than “A Planet For Emily”, which was ever so slightly disjointed in its last story movement. The climax builds well, along with the sexual tension between Claire and James. The Shades remain mysterious; their origin remaining undetermined, which I found a little disappointing, but perhaps they will make an appearance in a subsequent story that may shed more light on them.
Unfortunately, the version I read had a significant number of spelling and typographical errors throughout. It could have done with another review by the editor, as while not by any means a major issue where nonetheless somewhat distracting.
Mark Lawson is showing a strong talent for writing in the science fiction genre with both of his books enjoyable with interesting characters and fun, exciting storylines. The books are free through a number of sites including Smashwords, so if you’re after a classic sci-fi adventure story, then you could certainly do worse than “Claire Takes On The Galaxy”.