Book Review: Wanderer’s Escape, by Simon Goodson

Jess is a slave, and it's his job to be the first to enter newly pirated spaceships. Slaves go first, trigger the booby traps, and then the slavers claim the prize. I assume other slaves clean up the remains of the first slaves.
But when he and two others survive their entry, the 16 year old suddenly finds himself free and on the run, in a universe of brutal empires, pirates, and slave traders. He can trust only his mysterious and seemingly intelligent new ship, the Wanderer, and maybe—or maybe not—his few friends. What follows is a frantic race to understand and utilize the new ship, while others try to take it from Jess and his small group.
Wanderer’s Escape is the first of a series, and introduces us to a boy and his ship: a ship which, like Doctor Who’s TARDIS, has seemingly unlimited capabilities in the right hands, and a sentient dedication to its owner. Jess makes mistakes--he's a teenager, after all—but like the ship he's a fast learner, and watching him learn is half the fun. Unfortunately, this is a place where learning from your mistakes isn’t as likely as dying from them.
I did feel a little lost at first, not knowing much about the universe Jess inhabits, but getting to know it was a fun ride (although I wouldn't want to live there!) The story reminded me of some of Heinlein’s “juvenile” SF—or rather, my memory of them—which is a compliment. Sometimes the Wanderer seems a bit too good to be true, but there are plenty of other problems along the way to make up for it.

Another Submission Season

In all the work and fuss over getting Hoosier Hysterical published, I haven’t had time to deal with the other works I sent out into the cold, cruel publishing world. Over the last several months they’ve all come back to me via rejections—except in some cases when I hauled them back in after not hearing from publishers/agents for several months.
So I’ve gotten busy again. Over the last few days I’ve sent out eight submissions—three novels and five short stories—to various magazines, publishers, and agents. I have another romantic comedy (Coming Attractions) that I’ve held back for some further editing, so that’s my next chore.
Unlike most editors, agents are usually okay with simultaneous submissions, which means I could be telling you about several dozen submissions. But a writer/agent relationship needs to be very solid, so I spend time investigating agents, looking for one that might be just right for me … shotgun submitting isn’t my style. If an enthusiastic publisher offers me a three book deal before I land an agent … well, that’s a “problem” I’ll just have to deal with, isn’t it?

A walk in the park

A tunnel through the woods at Chain O Lakes State Park.

Which led to a deep gully that Bae found fascinating.

I scored a 6.5

I made my six mile hiking goal, whoooo!!!! Six and a half, in fact, because I stink at knowing when to turn back. Okay, so, I'm going to go collapse now.

The Firefighter List

I turned in the list of Albion firefighters from throughout our 225 (or so) year history … or at least, all the names I could find after a fairly exhaustive search. They’re to go on a plaque that will be displayed at the fire station.
I came up with 197 firefighters. I’m sure there are more, but it’s become a game of diminishing returns—at the moment I just don’t have time to pour over microfilms of 100 year old newspapers in the hopes of stumbling across one name (although that does sound kind of fun. I’m strange). A wintertime project maybe, depending on how my writing time goes. I hope there will be some light bulb moments out there, and more people will send names in.
Meanwhile, I also compiled AFD fire chiefs, and even managed to fill in some holes that were in my original list, published in Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights. Here’s what I have:


1887-1888                   A.J. Denlar
1888-1894                   William E. Worden
1895-1997                   ?
1898                            J.O. Russell Jr.
1899-1903                   ?
1904                            Edward A. Kunkle
1905-1912                   ?
1913-1916                   Charles Callahan  (resigned 5/1/16)
1916-1930                   John Gatwood (nomination approved 6/5/16)
1930-1934                   ?
1935-1952                   Harry Campbell
1952-1954                   Byron K. Smith
1954-1959                   Harry Metz
1959-1963                   Robert Beckley
1963-1969                   Al Jacob
1970-1971                   James Applegate
1971-1973                   Edward Moorhouse
1974-1975                   Terry Campbell
1975-1981                   James Applegate
1982-1993                   Larry Huff
1994-1997                   Bob Beckley
1998-2001                   Kevin Libben
2002-2008                   Gregg Gorsuch
2009-2010                   Brad Rollins
2011-2012                   Tim Lock
2013-2015                   Steve Bushong
2015-2016                   John Urso
2016-present               Brad Rollins