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The Literally-Literary Garbage Man Reviews: Starshatter by The Black Knight

TheGarbageManJul 24, 2018, 1:34:12 AM

If you’ve been on Minds.com for any length of time, you'd know @Aragmar as a talented writer and independent author under the pen-name of The Black Knight. He is truly a part of what makes Minds great.

One my favorite short-stories is The Last Rifleman, a take on problems facing gun owners today compared to the alternative universe that Aragmar has imagined through a decade of creation and preparation.

After too much time had passed, I finally got to read his novel and do a review, because, ya know, that's what I do. 

He graciously accepted my offer to review and even gave me an exclusive interview, of which is included here.

So, without further delay, here is the Garbage Man review for Starshatter by The Black Knight!

In space, no one can hear your review.

Zootopia in space.


It’s hard to drop that analogy, but the first two chapters of Starshatter really engage the reader using two “uplifted” animals who can have complex thought and are basically like a TMNT-type of anthropomorphic beings.

From rabbits performing guerrilla warfare, to gorillas (trying) to stealth through a space pirate ship, the animal characters are a big reason why this book is interesting and engrossing from the first two chapters. The intelligent creatures of Earth are referred to as "uplifted" animals, with humans being their benefactors in the Starshatter universe 

Garbage Man: Do all uplifted animals become bigger through the process?

Aragmar: Uplifted animals grow bigger yes. The space hamsters and bunnies grew in size indeed. Gorillas too grew in brain capacity, not that they didn't have it, to begin with.

That doesn’t mean that their human and alien counterparts are overlooked. From friendly Kil'ra to adventurous Dzenta’rii, the aliens are also big players in these stories, mostly out in Fringe space, where such peeps like the Terran Empire resides.

And don't forget Aryan and Asgardian warriors as well!

See, this story takes place in alternate universe where people began exploring outer space in the 50’s, invaded by aliens in the 60’s and now, presently, are engaged in terraforming new planets, battling the evil Taz'aran empire, slavers, space pirates, and sometimes all at the same time! 

Each character in Starshatter has something to fight and, more importantly, die for.

G: Who won at the end of WW2 in your alternate universe? On page 247 you say that there were some Illuminati and Communists still left around before the invasion by the pirate lord. Or was WW2 about something different in your universe?

A: The Communists and the Illuminati lost and were wiped out completely, yet they almost won in 1940. The death toll was catastrophic and millions died but in the end, the Axis defeated them with the USA led operation Blue Sword. It was a massive paradrop behind communist lines by American rangers, Free German commandos, Italian Bersaglieri and all other Axis member country's special forces who were supported by the anti-communist uprising in Russia. The Japanese forces helped by saving millions from the GULAGs viciously defended by the NKVD, who had orders to kill all of the prisoners there. While that was happening, communist armies were practically on the outskirts of Berlin, execution squads wiping the resisting civilian population in the thousands. Daily. Axis airforces had somehow won an advantage vs the communist Red airforces and a dreaded squadron named "Flying Wolves" that had pilots who were from all over the world in it. The anti-communist uprising toppled the communist government in Britain during those days too. So the summer of 1940 was the beginning of the end of world communism. Oh, they resisted. Killed many more, but in the end, were crushed.

The books chapters are separated into introductions for each character that all eventually find themselves in and around the Starshatter, a recently captured and retrofitted pirate spaceship, captained by an eccentric Dzenta’rii in search of a replacement for his favorite vintage of wine.

And it’s quite the cast: From a rabbit we all know as Lilly, to the human telepath, Boris, who honed his skills in uranium slave mine for over a decade, each character develops and shows more than just their abilities, they grow in their hatred of the Taz'arans, Vaugns, and other evil-doers of the galaxies. 

Everyone is given a chapter of Starshatter for you to understand their motivations and to understand the plight of the universe they live in.

G: Which of the characters introduced in Starshatter is your favorite? (Mine was Anit'za).

A: Everyone has a dear place in my heart.

Since most of space seems to be the strongest rule absolutely, Humanity and the rest of their fringe space friends must rely on strategy, colonies, and the help of spacers, space marines, morale officers, and even scrapers trying to make a dime and etch a living. 

While most are fueled primarily by revenge, a few want to help the weak and downtrodden, and to ensure they are never put in those helpless positions again.

If I was to name the type of government that seems to be most popular, It'd be a Capitalist Republic. There are nation states, still active on Earth in Aragmar’s universe, and this seems to extend to the various colonies that Terrans have made, both animals and humans. 

Though there is a Earth Empire of sorts, it seems mostly comprised of co-operative alliances among the nation states into a single, solidified force and forces to ensure the survival of the entire species.

But that is all just background and world-building: The real meat of Starshatter lies in its characters and the situations they face immediately before joining the namesake starship.

G: Though it introduces all the characters, this book feels like a prequel to a much bigger story, is that fair to say?

A: Oh, it is just the beginning. You can't imagine the wealth of stories and plots I have amassed for those characters during my ten-year planning. It is all interconnected and follows up one after another, each adventure flowing into the next.

The few complaints I have is the sparsity of dialogue, of which is really good when it does happen, and maybe a bit too much extrapolation. 

Though the descriptions are very vivid, they do take up much of the book, leaving my mind needing a break every now and then. I think some dialogue, both inner and outer, could have been used to break up the descriptive paragraphs. 

But those complaints did not stop me enjoying and finishing Starshatter.

Rating: 4 out of 5. I really dig this book, and I’m looking forward to the sequel, Twin suns of Carrola. It reads quick and vivid, and the humor and dialogue gave me more than a few grins and chuckles.

I enjoyed my time learning about the crew of the Starshatter and how they came to be.

My only complaints, as I said earlier, was the relentless speed of perpetuate action at times and the sparseness of dialogue. I wanted more conversations, especially after Awesome the hamster’s interaction with a smart-mouthed weapons AI. 

The epilogue chapter shows a glimpse of these characters all coming together, and that gives me a deranged grin wider than Lilly upon finding some extra ammo for her railgun.

The universe that Aragmar has created is rich and open to be furthered delved into. I look forward to the next novel and Minds is lucky to have an author like him providing entertainment and insight into worlds that still may someday be.

I recommend Starshatter to readers of sci-fi, action, alternate timelines, and even the young adults and senior citizens. There really is a little something for everyone in his first book, each character coming to life in a universe begging to be explored.

This was the Literally-Literary Garbage Man. Keep those minds sharp.

Coming soon from a galaxy right here.

G: When can we expect the sequel to Starshatter?

A: I had hoped to be at the end of this month, but everything now depends on my editor. So much polishing work was done by me and others who helped me. Hopefully "Twin Suns Of Carrola" will be out mid August.

Be sure to pick up @Aragmar’s book, Starshatter by The Black Knight, on sale for the rest of July. 

If you've waited, now's the perfect time to get it!