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After Moses by Michael F Kane

 

The Solar System is in a state of decline. The benevolent AI Moses disappeared decades ago taking mankind’s hope of a better future with him. The dream of the stars is dead. Freelancer Matthew Cole struggles to find a way to pay the bills and keep his ship flying. He’s always been a bit of a loner but the time is coming that he may have to find a crew. When the specters of the past come back to haunt him, it’ll take everything he has to keep his wits about him and not be swallowed by the uncaring vacuum of space . . . 

Note: After Moses contains some graphic violence.


A serialized novel, updating fortnightly

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Listed: Mar 25, 2019

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A Wild Wild Solar System

By Hejin57, author of Music Masters

Apr 10, 2019: I will always give points to any story that immediately evokes a sense of specific imagery, and is simultaneously able to evoke a sense of tone that blends with said imagery perfectly.

After Moses fits the bill, presenting a futuristic space-western tale that is informed by the likes of Star Wars, Firefly and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

It begins as your typical sci-fi western fare: a lone guacho named Matthew Cole goes from job to job, rarely making friends but steering the line between benevolent stranger and questionable character. He finds his foil in fellow bounty hunter Abigail Sharon, who prefers to do her job with a mechanized suit and a no-nonsense attitude.

The two form an unlikely and entertaining pair, as they trek the solar system, getting into all sorts of trouble with all sorts of colorful characters.

Colorful is the first thing I would use to describe this story. The characters and setting are easy to understand, as is the state of the solar system.

Everything hinges on the fact that a once nigh-omnipotent AI, known as Moses, has shut down and vanished. Humanity flourished in Moses’s time, but since its departure, they’ve regressed to a backwater, clearly western-inspired existence.

I do like that it’s specifically made clear that this future is inhabited by humanity only: no aliens, at least for now, allows for much more common, more realistic struggles.

All of this allows for fun, pulp fiction-esque encounters with the characters, with the tone being light overall and easy to digest. The train job in chapter three is a particularly great example of this.

So far, my only criticism might be the tone itself, which I feels sometimes comes off as confused.

We get these overlying themes that do make you question humanity’s future and the price of technology, but then we get things like Matthew Cole starting a fight in a restaurant and constantly trying to be "the loner that cares." It’s a bit tropey at times, but the solid writing and world-building makes up for it in spades. Also, the writer himself does make it clear that he’s going for an overall "all-ages" tone in the story, so I can somewhat give this a pass.

All in all, this is a great story with very minor flaws. Between the strong characters, great setting, on-point writing style, and potential for amazing growth, this story deserves a look. Perhaps maybe the only change they could consider would be a weekly update schedule, but I digress.

Final score: 4/5

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