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674 Reviews
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120 of 126 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a masterpiece but a good start
I downloaded this book 2 days ago and have read through the trilogy at a good pace, a testament to the readability of the stories and the author's writing style. The stories and writing style are not so "mature" as some renowned sic-fi authors, a point Mr. Lalonde recognises and acknowledges in his afterword, a nice touch. I've enjoyed the stories and have downloaded the...
Published on January 3, 2011 by Amazon Customer

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53 of 63 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Weak even by cheap Kindle sci-fi standards
Basically, the first 15% of the book is pretty good, then nothing much happens for the next 75% while the crew refits and upgrades their spaceship. Then, in the last 10%, there is a muddled space battle and the crew is declared heroes.

The long, tedious middle section of the book is made even more painful by at least a couple of department head meetings where...
Published on April 6, 2012 by Aphotog


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120 of 126 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a masterpiece but a good start, January 3, 2011
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This review is from: Origins (Spinward Fringe Book 0) (Kindle Edition)
I downloaded this book 2 days ago and have read through the trilogy at a good pace, a testament to the readability of the stories and the author's writing style. The stories and writing style are not so "mature" as some renowned sic-fi authors, a point Mr. Lalonde recognises and acknowledges in his afterword, a nice touch. I've enjoyed the stories and have downloaded the next 2 books in the series. I look forward to reading them.
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212 of 230 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This really needs to be a TV series!!!!!, January 27, 2011
This review is from: Origins (Spinward Fringe Book 0) (Kindle Edition)
If you like sci-fi, if you like humor, if you like action, if you just love a really great book, I cannot recommend this first Broadcast in the Spinward Fringe series, enough. I have been thoroughly enjoying the universe that Randolph Lalonde has created, and now that Amazon is letting the author release this for free, all I see are more readers being drawn in to his world and an ever growing fan base. Be prepared though. It really isn't free. You will find you will HAVE to go and purchase the next Broadcast in this wickedly fun space romp! Then you'll need the next one, and the next ... :) I cannot wait for more from my new favorite story teller!
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61 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, February 5, 2011
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This review is from: Origins (Spinward Fringe Book 0) (Kindle Edition)
I spotted this book with high reviews on the Kindle bestseller list and FREE, so I'm late to the party. After reading the whole thing, I immediately downloaded the next two books (and paid for them!). So good, I am willing to pay money to read more.

The genre is best described as space opera, in the general vein of Star Trek and Serenity/Firefly. It's entertaining and occasionally hilarious, but there are also Scenes that Make You Think. Best of all, the author made me care about the characters and want to find out more about what happens to them.

I want to commend the author for delivering high-quality, well-edited prose. That shouldn't be cause for celebration, but these days it is.

Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys light science fiction.
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53 of 63 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Weak even by cheap Kindle sci-fi standards, April 6, 2012
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This review is from: Origins (Spinward Fringe Book 0) (Kindle Edition)
Basically, the first 15% of the book is pretty good, then nothing much happens for the next 75% while the crew refits and upgrades their spaceship. Then, in the last 10%, there is a muddled space battle and the crew is declared heroes.

The long, tedious middle section of the book is made even more painful by at least a couple of department head meetings where the captain goes around the table and has each head report on progress, which go on for page after page. If you love such meetings at work, then this book is for you.

As other reviewers have noted, the premise of this book requires superhuman suspension of disbelief. In short, a group of dedicated video game players hacks the government's most super secret war gaming computer, and when they are caught, the government is so impressed with their skill that they are given a real warship to cruise around the galaxy in to look for things that they find interesting. Oh, and to ensure the success of their mission, the admiral assigns her drop dead babe daughter, the best engineer in the fleet of course, to the gamers' spaceship. Needless to say, she quickly hooks up with the captain. You have to admit, this is the kind of plot any 15 year old guy could make up while bored in social studies class.

I've read a lot of great and well written science fiction over the past 50 years, and it is hard not to conclude that there is no substitute for a good editor, or just an editor. Like most of the cheap Kindle sci-fi I've read, this book contains a lot of dialog that would not make it past an even semi-comatose editor.

Most of the book's 5 star reviews, and especially those by its apologists, say that it should be viewed as just a fun, easy, breezy read. Since I found it to be long and tedious, I don't plan to read any of the subsequent books.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting ideas, not ready for paid distribution, April 25, 2011
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This review is from: Origins (Spinward Fringe Book 0) (Kindle Edition)
Lots of good ideas here for a space opera. Reading this book is like reading a draft manuscript written by a friend of a friend who tells great stories and wants to be a writer, but never quite learned to write. The plot is compelling, with interesting ideas and a lot of "fire the antimatter torpedos" kind of action. I love the corporate-controlled worlds, and the thin legal shell around corporate annexation. It's hard to get past the inane dialogue, with its middle-school-level banter and the inept execution. Sometimes I had to skip ahead to see who was talking, and too often, it was inconclusive. The book is riddled with abortive plot lines that should never have made it past an editor, and equally riddled with grammatical errors so flagrant ("Her and Anya went ...") that a literate child would cringe. I haven't seen so many comma splices ever in a published work. I think the author made a good decision to offer this book for free. As a free book, and an exploratory foray into the world of fiction, it is an embarrassingly enjoyable read. I read it all, and enjoyed the story despite the book's many flaws. But in the world of varsity fiction, this is club team work. I give it three stars for great ideas and an enjoyable free read, but it is very, very far from commercial fiction.
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40 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid Space Fiction, December 14, 2010
This review is from: Origins (Spinward Fringe Book 0) (Kindle Edition)
Great characters, action, humor, and drama. I loved these books! If you are looking for a fast, fun, and well-written read, click it.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surpassed all expectations, February 17, 2011
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This review is from: Origins (Spinward Fringe Book 0) (Kindle Edition)
The first thing that comes to mind is WOW! I saw that one of the spinward fringe books was on the kindle bestseller list (sci-fi), and when checking the series out, found out that this was the start of the series. Even more amazing, is that it's free.

Let's be clear here though, this would still get 5 stars from me if it was normal book priced. In fact, I feel a bit bad about not paying for it. I felt a bit better after buying the rest of the series, though they are pretty cheap compared to other books. (Benefit of self-publishing, I suppose?)

Spinward Fringe Origins is a collection of three novellas, that add up to a single novel type book. They mesh together excellently, so when reading it feels like one novel that just has three distinct plot segments. The plot is compelling, though not necessarily entirely original. It follows a common theme in sci-fi, but it is very well done. The spinward fringe universe is an interesting place, and feels vast throughout the writing. It's hard to not feel attached to the main characters, they are developed enough to feel real and cared about, without bogging down the story.

This is definately an action series, with a lot going on. The setting still seems real, however, and the first novella really sets up the feeling of exploring this unknown fictional universe. Despite being self published, this story is far superior to most self published books here on amazon, and having professional editing is apparent. There are no more spelling/grammar errors or typos in this than in a paperback book.

This book follows a first-person perspective throughout, which I feel really adds to the explorative sense of the story. The following books move to the more traditional third-person narrative. It was addictive, and is one of the more rare books that kept me awake wanting to read after my bedtime. :)

Right now this story is being offered for free by the author, get it now! Even when the price is increased, it's still very much worth it. I'd be glad to pay full price for this book, and still might buy it in hardcopy.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Oh please...., January 21, 2013
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I am reluctant to criticize another writer. So I won't. But in a long, puzzling afterward to his work, Randolph Lalonde admitted, in the KIndle version I downloaded, that in this - his first effort -- he wanted readers to read his book as if they were watching a TV series or a movie. Exactly - so I view this as criticizing a screenwriter. Fair game.

I don't write movie reviews, but if I did, here's what I'd have to say about this, if I were to see it screened:

"Star Trek meets Love Boat, in an adolescent, techno-geek gamer wet dream, that features periodic galactic battles, using incomprehensible weaponry - fought between a kumbaya crew and fascist corporate goons - and interspersed with long episodes of space ship interior decorating."
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Shallow and predictable, May 27, 2011
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This review is from: Origins (Spinward Fringe Book 0) (Kindle Edition)
I read a LOT of fantasy and sci-fi and this was pretty bad. It had a decent premise but the execution was unimaginative. The characters were shallow and predictable, the villains were shallow and predictable, and the story line was shallow and predictable, rendering the entire book, well, just like my next statement...shallow and predictable. I really had a hard time finishing it. The author could turn this into something vastly improved by reworking it and spending more time developing the characters and the setting instead of wrapping every scene up in trite little quickly overcome hurdles. I never got the feeling that any of the characters actually had personalities or depth. Oh well, maybe Mr. LaLonde will get better with his next work, I certainly hope so.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What if High School Kids ran a Starship?, October 26, 2012
This review is from: Origins (Spinward Fringe Book 0) (Kindle Edition)
Picture a group of video game playing high school kids trying to fly a spaceship and you have a pretty good image of the crew of the First Light. Parties, hanging out with friends, attending the Prom, who likes who and who is mad and who all consume the thoughts and actions of the main characters. Irresponsible behavior has no consequences. Poor, ineffective leadership is never reprimanded. The crew should have mutinied on several occasions but cheered instead. It is abundantly clear why we find Joseph Valent at the beginning of the book in a low level position with little responsibility. It's a position that best fits his capabilities. Maybe even exceeds them a little.

The prose is choppy, simplistic and disappointing. Several times a scenario is setup that promises to be interesting only to be ruined by inane dialogue and ludacris reactions. For example, the ship pulls in to a space port for repair and re-supply.

Captain: No shore leave for anyone. The bounty on our heads and our ship makes things too dangerous.
Crew: A[...]
Captain: Officers, come with me. We'll do some light shopping then have dinner in a public place, wearing our uniforms. If anyone asks, use your real name and give them actual name of our ship.
Me: What?

It's a strain to call this writing science fiction. Fiction, yes, science, not so much.
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Origins (Spinward Fringe Book 0)
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