(CCLaP is dedicated to reviewing as many contemporary books as possible, including self-published volumes; click here to learn how to submit your own book for possible review, although be warned that it needs to have been published within the last 18 months to be considered. For the complete list of all books reviewed here, as well as the next books scheduled to be read, click here.)
Dark Matter Tiding
By Chance Maree
Reviewed by Jason Pettus
Chance Maree's Dark Matter Tiding is a perfect example of why I bother to review any self-published book that an author takes the time to send me; for while admittedly most of the time it's a chore to get through them, every so often you're rewarded with a smart and entertaining tale that justifies all the headaches that come with self-publishing to begin with. Like all the best science-fiction novels, Maree uses a Big Thing as a sort of anchor to the world-building in her particular story -- namely, that the Earth has recently started getting bombarded with more and more dark matter from the edge of the universe, which has the unfortunate side effect of making some people turn into murderous psychotics -- but then uses this milieu to instead tell a series of small, character-oriented tales within this Big Thing going on, most of them centered around or at least concerning our hero Camera Hence, a drone engineer who literally starts on chapter one by becoming horrified by the way her militaristic employer (a thinly-veiled Halliburton) has used her inventions for the mass slaughter of innocents in emerging nations, so gets her revenge by deliberately creating an "accident" with the drones during a stockholder party and demonstration that ends up killing every single executive of the company. This calls Chance's own sanity into question right from the very beginning of the book, a question we never get a definitive answer to as her storyline expands into other plots and threads (including a family ranch that is about to be foreclosed, a drug-addicted brother who owns the deed but has suddenly disappeared, his bodybuilding friend who is renting his house to a group of dark-matter psychotics who believe they are vampires and that he is their leader, an ex-hippie astrophysicist who is convinced that there is a direct correlation between dark matter and peyote, and a lot more). Like a typical William Gibson novel, all of these disparate storylines come together and reach a satisfactory resolution by the end; and I have to say, this tight, fast read was actually a lot better than many of the novels I've received in the last year even from large and established genre publishers, definitive proof that self-published work is not always a waste of your time as long as you bother to seek out the best of the best. It comes strongly recommended to fans of sci-fi and day-after-tomorrow technothrillers.
Out of 10: 8.9