My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In this fourth installment in Sigler’s GFL series, Ionath Krakens team ship, the Touchback, has breached the territory of the Prawatt race in an attempt to escape pirates. They are captured by the Prawatt and are facing execution for trespassing in the Prawatt territory. Quentin manages to maneuver his way out of that one by staging a- well, no surprise here- football game. He also discovers that the Prawatt would make excellent football players. And the Kraken need help this season. They have some key player roles to fill, and some of the team relationships are not at their strongest. The Krakens are facing at tough season, and they can easily make the championship or be relegated back to tier 2. Add in the usual political, social, and personal twists, and this is another fine installment in the GFL series.
Okay, as I have said in reviews of the previous books, I like football. American football, that is. And this imagining of what football could be in a future of alien races is spot on. Sigler knows and loves football and it shows in the way he morphs the game to incorporate a multitude of species with completely different physiologies and philosophies. The GFL game is faster, bloodier, and yes, sometimes fatal, but it is still football. The gangster angle in team ownership seems pretty plausible to me, too. Just sayin’. The worldbuilding is good, and never takes over the story, but there is enough to give a sense of the futuristic worlds here. There is a good range of characters here, from the determined and talented but still sometimes naïve Quentin Barnes to the shady, always looking at the money end of things team owner Greedok to the cast of alien and human players and support people. One of my favorites is Ma Tweedy, biological mother to the twin Tweedy Kraken players, but in many ways, mother to the whole team, especially Quentin. But she’s no sweet, kindly grandmom type. She’s no-nonsense and is as willing to physically slap some sense into “her boys” as she is to cook them a meal. (Though I still say I’ll put my tuna casserole up against hers any day!) The action moves along well, both on the field and off. Even the breaks between sections that recap the games or follow a popular sports talk show don’t slow the plot much, and serve to fill in some blanks in a clever way that tracks with the sports-oriented slant of the whole series.
If you like football and science fiction, you probably should check these out. And if you like science fiction with lots of action, interesting alien species, characters who grow along with the stories, and some political and social plot elements, you might like them, too. And they may just turn you into a football fan!
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Coming May 17, 2022
“Crossed Wires and Other Very Short Stories”. Twelve scifi and twelve fantasy short stories that can each be read in minutes
I have written science fiction, fantasy, and urban fantasy stories. There are novels, novellas, and shorter pieces to fit everyone’s reading time. There are even some free stories, both here on the site and in other places. You can go here to find out more about the books I have published. They are available at Amazon, Smashwords, and most ebook retailers. Thank You!