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WesternSFA
Force Cantrithor
by Michael McCloskey
available on Amazon, approx. $6.99 to $8.99, or $2.99 for Kindle, 239pp
Publication Date: February 22, 2013
This is a self-published story but not to be discounted. Sometimes you get good reads from the strangest places.

Emil is an ‘emmer.’ He is assigned to a spaceship that is engaged in a ferocious war with deadly aliens whose only agenda appears to be the total annihilation of humanity. His job is to provide a cloaking ‘device’ to protect the ships. Emil can ‘see’ disturbances in space and locate the enemy’s ‘cloaked’ ships and he can also, with some experience, read the thoughts of his shipmates; and, with more limited success, those of the enemy commanders. The fleet is contacted by their enemy with an offer of truce and partnership against an even more deadly foe. Emil confirms their intent is true and a shaky truce begins but with suspicions on both sides.

The story then progresses as both fleets approach their common enemy – with no idea on either side of what exactly they are facing or how to deal with it. It falls to Emil to discern exactly what the enemy is, why they are doing what they are doing, and how to stop them. But Emil is having his own problems. It seems that emmers are prone to becoming ‘lost’; that is, losing their minds. This has already happened to his two coworkers posted on other ships. One of them contacts Emil with the promise that he will appreciate what the other emmers have to show him. They contend they are not lost so much as exploring other parts of the universe with their minds and this conflict has lost all meaning to them. Emil starts questioning his own existence and lack of memory of his previous life.

This is a pretty good story with a substantial plot. The Emil character is well-done although the rest of the cast are shallow. There was a nice mystery and surprise at the end. ~~ Catherine Book

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