Monday, May 02, 2011

War of Attrition--Review and Interview with Frank Creed

Summary: (From Amazon):

Set in 2037, Calamity Kid and his muscle cell are targeted by the One State's Federal Bureau of Terrorism and must survive alone in Chicago's Underground. At one-half its usual might, the cell encounters traps and snares set by a faceless opponent-and question the suspicious arrival of a bio-engineered One State traitor. Blamed by the media for the very violence they're trying to contain, CK and his fellow saints race for their lives to avoid the high-tech crosshairs aimed into the underground. War of Attrition, Book Two of the UNDERGROUND, is the sequel to Frank Creed's award-winning Christian sci-fi/ cyberpunk novel, Flashpoint.

Mini Review: Once again, Frank Creed spins another exciting tale of a cyberpunk Chicago in an Apocalyptic world. I love his imaginative use of technology to enhance the gifts of the Holy Spirit--and the really cool Matrix-style skills with a new (pardon the pun) twist. I enjoyed the chemistry between Calamity and Lethe--hope to see more of their relationship in Book Three. The only thing I didn't like was the way it just seemed to end. Really, I was roaring along on the El of adventure--and suddenly the track ended! I wondered where the rest of the book had gone. Of course, if the worst you can say about a book is that it ended too soon, well--bring on the next!

Note: This is unapologetically Christian speculative fiction. Much quoting of the Bible, some moral discussions from a very Christian perspective, and of course the Christian underground is the good guys. That said, I think this book is a lot of fun for readers of any denomination, and even for those who do not necessarily ascribe to a particular religion, as long as you understand the characters are talking to each other and not that the author is trying to preach to you. It's not that kind of book, really.

Interview with Frank Creed:

1. What’s different in War of Attrition from Flashpoint?

Our heroes get some upgraded tech capabilities. They get uploaded with a mindware update that has advantages, like using their mindware abilities without being detected. Also, Calamity Kid gets some electromagnetic swords.

Another change is a new player in the power struggle. If a One State bully pokes you every day, you assume that when you get poked it must be the bully. What if you get poked and the bully is not there? A third party enters the fray, and shocks Calamity Kid.

Also, our main characters’ Mommy and Daddy are not around. Calamity Kid and e-girl have grown up.

2. What do you love best about War of Attrition?

Easy question. The new characters that were not in Flashpoint.

Lethe is someone Calamity Kid knew from online gaming. Back then, she ran under the name Heartbreaker, but she hates that name. Heartbreaker was a One State experiment who got away. She seems to be fleeing her former masters, but can she be trusted, and will she break Calamity Kid’s heart?

Barren is CK’s new partner. We learn early that Barren’s whole family has been killed by the One State. He has little to live for and looks forward to seeing his family in Heaven. How does Calamity Kid deal with such a man?

Vex also came from the One State. He worked with the peacekeepers as a sniper. Vex came from Mexico, fled his duty in Vancouver, and wound up joining the underground in Chicago. How will his skills fit with CK’s needs?

3. What lessons did you learn from Flashpoint that you applied to War of Attrition?

Not a fair question with my brain injury—I learn so many nit-picky details about writing that would bore readers . . . here’s an easy one though. Flashpoint’s ending was too long. War of Attrition has a final scene that satisfies without boring.

4. How’s the role playing game coming?

Slowly. Copies of Join the Underground, by Mike Roop, are just not selling. I had hoped that there would be a great crossover between Christian cyberpunk readers and Christian gamers, but we have not been able to effectively reach the gamer market. It is sad because a lot of effort went into developing the gaming system and even though it only uses normal easy-to-find six-sided-die, nobody is enjoying it.

5. Got more Underground books coming?

Yes! I’m currently writing Devil’s Hit List, Book Three of the Underground. All your favorite characters are back, doing what they do best. This time the saints are trying to stop a diabolical technology, Virtual-e, before it can be offered to the public. I will say that Calamity Kid is running out of friends!

Book Four of the Underground will be co-authored with an author friend of mine from New Zealand—Grace Bridges.

Buy it on Amazon!

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