I am most pleased to welcome Robert Collins to my site to discuss his book, Expert Assistance. According to Robert, it’s a fun read that might make you see revolution stories and the
future of pop culture in a new light.
“Expert Assistance” is his first published science fiction novel, and it has just been re-released as an e-book. His third novel, “Monitor,” came out last year from Whiskey Creek Press. His second novel, “Lisa’s Way,” was released in 2008 by eTreasures Publishing. He has had stories and articles appear in periodicals such as Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine, Tales of the Talisman, Space Westerns, Sorcerous Signals, Wild West, and Model Railroader. In 2007 Pelican released his biography of “Bleeding Kansas” leader Jim Lane, and before that a biography of a Kansas Civil War general. He has had six Kansas railroad books published by South Platte Press.
And now for a sample of “Expert Assistance”:
The world that Odin showed Jake was a two-color planet known among spacers as a “wet rockball.” This was because Antioch Two had three continents and many islands, with the rest of its surface covered by water. The land areas consisted of rocky mountain chains, rocky deserts, and rocky coastlines. It was the sort of world that only a mineralogist could love.
“How long will it take to deplete these veins?” Jake asked.
“At the present pace, roughly twenty years,” Odin replied.
“All right. Tell me more about that dome.”
“Of course.” The dome image was replaced on the screen with a surface map. “The dome is located within three kilometers of a substantial river. That river is dammed to provide for both water and power.”
Jake looked at the image of the dome for a few moments. The exterior appeared fairly standard. It was a gray structure spiderwebbed by black support beams and silvery panel joints. “Dome” was the common name for such structures, but in reality it was a cylinder capped by an actual dome. The cylinder appeared to be about five or six stories tall, with the dome an additional story. It resembled every other habitation dome on every other rough planet that Jake had been to or heard about.
“All very above board, it seems,” he said at length.
“’Seems’ being the operative word, Jake. I cannot locate any detailed data on Antioch Two, such as the types of systems used, exact mineral output, or even if the world has been inspected for health and safety violations.”
Jake frowned and shook his head. “Odin, that doesn’t make sense.”
“Ordinarily, you would be correct.”
“But it seems that in this particular case, you are incorrect. Interstellar law does exempt privately-owned exploited worlds from most regulation.”
“But that law is supposed to cover asteroids and uninhabitable worlds.”
“So is Antioch Two. It appears from my investigation that the world is the personal property of Sordius Maxis.”
Jake leaned back in his chair. It took him a moment to digest what Odin had just said. “One man owns one of the richest worlds in human space?”
“That appears to be the case.”
“How could that be? How could one man own a planet? How could any corporation have let this gem slip away?”
“I have no information at this time, Jake. It appears that Maxis, or possibly his father, found the ideal loophole.”
“Or pulled off the con of the millennium.”
Jake suddenly smiled. “Which means beating him is going to be beating a conman. I may actually enjoy this after all.”
“Happy to have been of service,” Odin responded, with just a touch of digitized sincerity.
© 2019, Steven R. Drennon. All rights reserved.