Ebook Review – The Frozen Sky

The Frozen Sky, by Jeff Carlson


The Frozen Sky

Something is alive inside Jupiter’s ice moon Europa. Robot probes find an ancient tunnel beneath the surface, its walls carved with strange hieroglyphics. Led by elite engineer Alexis Vonderach, a team of scientists descends into the dark… where they confront a savage race older than mankind…


Based on the award-winning short story, The Frozen Sky is a new full-length sci fi thriller novel from the international bestselling author of Plague Year.”



I got hold of a copy of The Frozen Sky direct from Jeff Carlson after entering a LibraryThing giveaway earlier in the month.

After the event ended Jeff was quick to get in touch and offer me whatever e-book format I needed.  So it wasn’t long before I was off and running, and I mean running – from page 1 – with his main character, Alexis “Vonnie” Vonderach as she struggled alone and injured in the dark.

It didn’t take me any time at all to devour the story and this was certainly not due to any paucity of text.  I found I really enjoyed The Frozen Sky and it was, in the oft used cliche, a genuine page turner.  The writing was, for me at least, reminiscent of the intelligent writing of Crichton in books such as Prey and Next.

The setting of TFS on Jupiter’s moon, Europa was intriguing.  Still local to Earth to ground it in today but alien enough to give it distance from everything familiar.

As I’ve already indicated, the action gets off to an explosive start and chucks the reader right in.  Perhaps the lack of detail early on might put off some, but I enjoyed the way we joined the action at a critical point and the genesis of Vonnie’s predicament was then revealed to us; the onion layers swiftly peeled back.

When the initial peril had passed I did start to become worried if I’d seen the best of it, and that the pace would slacken into a more moral debate about the alien “sunfish” at the heart of the story,  but fortunately I was not to be disappointed.  Carlson quickly and effectively slammed the gear right up again, even if the second predicament that befell the human protagonists was to my mind a bit too clearly telegraphed.

Carlson’s characters were solid and believable and whilst the apparently factional political background back on Earth was less than fleshed out, I didn’t have a problem with it.  For me the way it was handled neatly mirrored the sense of distance I felt existed between those on Earth pulling the strings and the men and women on the Europa expedition, separated by thousands of miles and minutes of communication delay.

Given the subject it was tackling, the story did at times come close to being a little preachy, particularly with its obvious parallels with earth’s unfortunate domestic history of bloody first contacts with new cultures, but ultimately I think it trod the line well.  I found the attention to the science and biology of the “Sunfish” particularly gratifying as it could so easily have been glossed over given they were “aliens”.

If I was to pick any holes it would be first the constant reference to “sims” which seemed a phrase too liberally sprinkled through the narrative to explain the various analyses being undertaken, and second the convenience of Lam.  Although I must say Lam’s story was neatly led into from the start so when the thread re-emerged strongly it did not jar the narrative.

All in all a great read.  I’d certainly recommend it.

Get it on Amazon now.



Reading and reviews

I’ll be honest, new writing is going slowly.  A combination of an intense period at my day job and preparations for a new addition to the family in December.  That being said the hiatus has allowed me an opportunity to recognise I’ve been foregoing a key dimension to being a happy and fulfilled writer; reading.   So now with the aid of my new friends the Kindle apps I’m enjoying new and old fiction whenever I can.

First up was Iain M Banks’ Consider Phlebas for a hardcore injection to kick start me, then I’ve been seeing what’s out there.  So far I’ve finished Jeff Carlson’s The Frozen Sky and Tony Healey’s promising series opener Far From Home 1: Legend.  I’m also now halfway through E. Patrick Dorris’ John Smith, World Jumper Book One: Portal to Adventure.

My M.O. right now is to focus on what’s being offered for nowt on Smashwords and the gems you can uncover in giveaways from LibraryThing etc.  So far quality has been high and I’m looking forward to writing some reviews alongside my own stories.

I’ll start posting reviews here shortly so stay posted.  Ahem…no pun intended.

1,000 word challenge

Cripes! No posts for months then two come along at once!

Well I’m now keen to move on with my next book or books. One is a follow up to Counterpoint (working title Mars Rising) and another adventure for Jake Trant whilst the other is a collection of short stories.

To get me moving I’ve managed to pen a rough 6k or so words of “Mars Rising” but need to press on and keep up the momentum. I’ve therefore set myself a challenge to write 1k words a day. Whether they be for this new novel, another one still in gestation or a short. Just to get the juices flowing.

Let’s see if i can maintain till December 25th !

I’m also trialling my post via email thingammy so here’s a test hyperlink to my main site.

Been a long time…

Well it’s been a little while since my last post. Combination of crazy work and family holiday but the interim has seen my first reviews on Amazon. Very happy with my four star (Amazon US) and five star (Amazon UK) reviews. Hopefully my giveaway on LibraryThing will net me a few more reviews in the coming months. Fingers crossed they’ll also be good ones!

To Giveaway or not to Giveaway…..

Well I’ve had a few more sales on Amazon now but what I really want are some reviews on places like Amazon, Smashwords, LibraryThing and Goodreads.  Having thought about it I’ve decided to try a giveaway.  Hopefully this will get my book in front of interested readers who might then be kind enought to go the extra mile and post something about my book somwhere.

Given that Goodreads still hasn’t got its act together over ebooks I have focused solely on Librarything and its excellent community.  Here’s hoping my giveaway generates some interest.

Go and sign up if you’re interested, and thought or reviews always gratefully received!

Short stories

Well a few more sales via Amazon and Smashwords have bucked me up. Clearly I need to market more but for now I’m focusing on some short stories via some of the better known scifi outlets.

So far I’ve got something in for consideration with Daily Science Fiction and another with Asimov. I’ve got plenty of ideas so the plan is to try and get out a story every week, or maybe every two if work and family allow!

I’m keen to get on with my next novel but I think investing in some short fiction now will be good for visibility; provided I get it published of course! It then lends itself to an anthology once I’ve got a body of work together. Obviously the more published pieces I can include the better.

Well onward and upward.

Publish, publish, publish

In addition to a presence on social networking, other people’s blogs and indeed forums such as Goodreads, a key limb of my strategy must surely also be to consistently produce good writing and get that out there.

To this end I submitted my first piece of flash fiction the other day to Daily Science Fiction. Who knows what they’ll think of it but it was certainly fun to write.

I’m focusing for now on SFWA approved outlets but from my trawling of the web I know there are plenty of other outlets to try, some which pay a little or not at all. Clearly compensation is a help but right now I am of the view that it may be more important that Tom S.Christian is simply read by people. After all, from acorns oak trees grow. We’ll see.

Promoting my ebook – Blog Reviews / Author interviews

As well as forums, another potentially rich seam I’ve been looking into are spots on other people’s blogs either by securing a review, or by guest blogging, or even providing an interview about me, my book, or indeed my characters.

Not sure yet about the how’s and where’s of guest blogging, but I’ve submitted a few book review requests to people who might like my writing so let’s see how I get on.  I’m hoping a few decent reviews on sites such as Goodreads and Amazon will help promote awareness of my writing.

I’ve also managed to get an author interview with Laurie Jenkins on her blog, hopefully for sometime during May so keep your eyes posted for that.  Many thanks to Laurie for her interest.

Raising my Profile

Well I’ve been trawling the web for days now for the various ways to get Counterpoint out and about and I must say it is both easy and hard.  Easy in so far as on the surface there appear to be a surfeit of potential avenues but then hard in that there are no easy options – surprise, surprise.  As no doubt we all suspected all along, writing a good story is merely the beginning of the journey!

In my journeys I’ve looked at numerous sites and blogs and so far Book Blogs  has been a great starting place for me, as has GoodReads.  Both have friendly communities of readers, reviewers and authors alike and plenty of good ideas on where to go next.

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