Tag Archives: Peter Cawdron

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Feedback’ by Peter Cawdron

coverStrap in for Two Days on the Couch

“Twenty years ago, a UFO crashed into the Yellow Sea off the Korean Peninsula. The only survivor was a young English-speaking child, captured by the North Koreans. Two decades later, a physics student watches his girlfriend disappear before his eyes, abducted from the streets of New York by what appears to be the same UFO.

Feedback will carry you from the desolate, windswept coastline of North Korea to the bustling streets of New York and on into the depths of space as you journey to the outer edge of our solar system looking for answers.  -From Amazon”

Its easy and very common to say a new title is an artist’s best work, and when I say artist I am including any of the arts: music, movies and writing. Is it really the case? Probably no. After the initial newness wears off you usually go back to an artists previous work as the place to gauge their future works quality. I won’t tell you that ‘Feedback’ is Peter Cawdron’s best work, I will only yell you that you will find yourself reading his books and weighing their quality against this title.

Cawdron has given us several great novelas in the past two or three years and his stroytelling and science has always been what made his work unique and wonderful. ‘Feedback’ added a new element, depth. Before that sounds like an insult, consider that for a work to really be better than others you have to identify a quantifying trait.

I don’t know the method to Cawdron’s writing process, but in the past he has written wonderful stories with character’s in them. I typically finish them and remeber the story and the characters are just a vehicle to advance the story. Most of the time I don’t remember their names as the story was more than the character. Again, not an insult. Lots of authors write stories and the events of the tale are better than the characters, sometimes the book is about the story you tell, not the people who experience the events in the book.

In ‘Feedback,’ Cawdron built an experience that could not work without the characters he created, this is truely the “Story of Jason” and when you are done reading you don’t wish that the story was longer, you want to write to Peter Cawdron and tell him to write another story about what happened to Jason, Lily and Prof Lochan. The connection he creates between character and reader is deep and unforgiving. Unforgiving? Yes, you need to read the book.

If your first thought is that I am implying Cawdron wrote a book about one character rather than his signature story served with a side of science, you are wrong. Beyond the synopsis attached to this book written by the author I don’t want to really mention the story because of potential spoilers and unintended plot reveals that could ruin the twists and turns of the book.

What I can say is that the layout of the story and the method in which past and present blend are told prefectly. Planned so cleverly that bits of information all connect for a reveal that you will figure out moments before the characters throw it into your face for the folks who might need that extra push over the plot line.

“Feedback” is about 250 pages, and the book peaks very early and the climax runs from about page 100-200 making you feel like you are watching ‘Star Wars: A New Hope’ where you sit on the edge of your seat for 45 minutes while Luke and Company make a monumental Death Star run.

People like comparisons and identifying comments, so here you go. If you have read Michael Crichton you might have read ‘Timeline’ or ‘The Andromeda Strain,’ ‘Feedback’ is nothing like either, but it is clear those works both had a strong influence on Peter Cawdron’s creative mind while he was laying the seeds for a great story.

I meant what I said in the title of this review, while having the opportunity to beta-read this book I broke from my normal beta-process. Typically I would read a chapter and send in little grammar typos and feed back to Peter, after about 3 chapters I had a copy on my Galaxy Tablet, my Android phone and my Google Drive to read on my work PC in all my free moments, I was hooked the moment Jason yook Lily in from the rain and there was a very large gap where I missed 10 or so chapters of ‘Feedback’ feedback because I was lost in the book and the experience of the story.

Cheers, Peter. Brilliant story.

AMAZON LINK for Feedback by Peter Cawdron

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Monsters: A New Novel by Peter Cawdron

“Reading is solitary.  A writer may control the words on a page, but what those words mean is up to the reader.”

One of the biggest gripes I have with disaster movies is that writers, whether it be movie or film are too over the top.  It is always a gigantic meteor or a mass event that takes Earth to the brink of falling apart to crumble society.  In reality Mother Earth is very resilient she has withstood flooding and eruptions; earthquakes and impacts for millennia and continues to spin with the sun setting and rising each day regardless of whom or what inhabits her land.  It is the fruits of the Earth who find adapting to changes difficult.  Empires have risen and disappeared, the fabrics of society hang in a very delicate balance between peace and chaos.

Take 1990, the majority of society survived with mail communication, basic network television, phones with cords and paying by check.  If we lost the grid for a day people’s lives would be disrupted to the point of despair how would people go without Facebook or TMZ, let alone paying for groceries and this is only 20 years of change.  Take it down for a week and people would be on edge and there would be fights in the street.  Stretch it to a month and the rioting would begin, if it took that long.  Our society grows reliant on the technology we are adaptive too and we rely on it to the point of a physical and sociological addiction, and that is just the internet and communications.  Add in the financial world’s reliance on technology and you have a crisis.  Some designers of our fate take destruction too far, for the cinematic effect, we don’t need the impact of a Death Star sized asteroid to take out society as we know it, we just need a deviation from the norm.

“Reading will open new words for you, worlds that defy the imagination.”

With Peter Cawdron’s newest novel due for release October 31, 2012 on Amazon the subtle act of a comet passing through Earth atmosphere is enough to start a chain of events to bring down not only the American Empire, but modern society as we know it across the globe.  With the initial disruption of international travel due to aerosol ash from the atmospheric breach the World Economy faltered and stumbled.  As nature fought back with intense winters global and internet communications were disrupted leaving all but local communication blacked.

Society may be frail, but the ability for a select few of species are phenomenal, and the rebirth of feudal times returns.  The rise of villages and agriculture   A resurgence in the need for blacksmiths and tailors.  Lost arts reborn out of need for man’s most basic of needs.  And like any other period, humanity’s need to exploit and gain power is as prominent as ever, keeping a class system as far separated as in the past.  Along the way we will also see mans desire for supremacy will repeat the errors of previous societies in their ability to focus on control by power and fear.

Not new to the world of publishing Cawdron has published 5 works of varying length over the past 2 years, all for Amazon.  For those that felt overwhelmed by the science and science fiction of his past works now is the time to try your hand at a much more  straight forward fiction with an Old Man and the Sea feel.  One, or two men’s fight against nature, a nature that has evolved to become the apex hunter and moving man down the food chain to a level where a lone man is game for the most domestic of animals.

“It might have been climatic changes that brought man to his knees, but it was the rise of monsters that kept him there.”

Monsters is a fast-moving partly suspense, partly adventure sprinkled with a touch of romance, science and philosophy on human nature.  Coming in at around 250 pages, the quests of two generations don’t have much down time for dragging on but enough that the story does not feel rushed or confusing.  Leaving the story with a semi-cliff hanger a good sales response should leave the author plenty of room for a sequel if he so desires.

“When knowledge prevails, the reign of monsters will end.”

More than just a book about post apocalyptic societies and the rise of nature to overcome man, Monsters is about the power of knowledge and what the lack of basic learning you and I take for granted can do to raise the ability to be controlled by oppression.  And how the discovery of the knowledge not only scares the ones in power, but how it can bring down a dictator.

“A reader, a true reader, wanted only to set people free, or at least, that was the assumption Bruce carried with him.  He knew freedom had always been a dangerous concept, and now more so than ever.”

In connection with a tale written about the power of the literacy this is coincidentally Australia’s “National Year of Reading,” an ode to written word and also Mr. Cawdron’s best work to date.  Support Australia’s love for reading at http://www.love2read.org.au/

“Over time, suspicions had arisen around readers.  Superstitions said they were alchemists, wizards, witches.  They were different, they were feared.  They sacrifice children to their gods, or so the villagers of the plain said.  They drank the blood of those they seduced.  They were the monsters that attacked in the dark of night.”

Don’t make us become witches and wizards, support literacy and buy this book.

*Note:  All quotes are attributed to Peter Cawdron, excerpts from Monsters (2012).


Anomaly v1.5 [Book Review x2]

Nearly a year ago author Peter Cawdron took and dropped a gem on the indie book scene with Anomaly.  The story of an under-achieving teacher who goes from field trip spectator in downtown NYC to over-achieving armchair scientist in the blink of an eye and thrusting himself into the biggest moment in human history, first contact.

WARNING!  SPOILERS BELOW.

In January of this year I read and reviewed this story [LINK] and gave it 4 1/2 stars out of 5 or an A- overall.  Last week the author shot me an email that he had updated and expanded the ending and asked me to take a look at how it had changed.  Mr. Cawdron stated,

“There were two reasons behind the rewrite. Firstly, the [UN] invasion didn’t come off as plausible, and understandably so, but the second reason was more important. Like a lot of writers dabbling in science fiction, I made the plot bigger than the characters. In rewriting the ending, I tried to focus on building some depth of character, wanting to ground the story and give the reader someone to relate to.

The chance to revise and improve a story is not something many authors consider, whether it was feedback from comments and reviews on Amazon and Good Reads or just plain not 100% happy with their own work. Continue reading


Galactic Exploration Book 2: Trixie and Me

Earlier this month I reviewed “Beyond Lies the Wub” by PKD, and the author of this story commented that he was inspired by the Wub while immersed in left brain creativity for Trixie and Me.  Everything we do is inspired by things we interact with daily and historically whether we can admit it or not, in this case when pointed out you can see the minor similarities of the alien species in both stories.

Trixie, the story, not the woman is not as intelligent a read as Serengeti.  But what it lacks in the immense technicality of  Serengeti it makes up for in story content.  Twice the pages as it’s predecessor, but read in half the time because the story flows and you just read and read, rather than having to read and re-read because you are trying to understand the complexity of astrophysics… unless you are Stephen Hawking or Brian Greene, then Serengeti is like Dr. Seuss.

Slight spoiler below, Continue reading


Galactic Exploration Book 1: The Serengeti

A novel, a course in astrophysics, a lesson in the theories of Albert Einstein all wrapped up in the guise of fictional galactic voyage.  Serengeti is the first story in a collection of 4 novellas written by Peter Cawdron.

Sharing the book’s title, the Serengeti roars through space, not at unattainable speeds depicted in Star Trek and the numerous ships that explored the Universe throughout our childhoods, but at 99% of the speed of light.  Making a trip to another galaxy not possible by a simple splay of light and a screen blend on the t.v. but a multi-generational task handed down from one captain to the next.

“And yet, even at such radical relativistic speeds, he knew the frozen image before him would take decades for the slightest change to appear.  The universe was so vast as to defy reason.  The distances were so immense that a life time of travel at almost the exact speed of light would barely make any perceptible difference at all.” – Excerpt from Serengeti

Taking the romance out of interstellar travel Cawdron gives us the depressing reality of solidarity that a true traveler would endure to reach beyond mankind’s grasp.  Man is bio-replicated for the century long journey, engineered being, using and discarding old workers, making human life the oil filter of civilization’s conquest.  Generations lost just to maintain the quest of the unknown.

While Book 1 tends to be on the slow side from the perception that space travel books ultimately end up in physical struggle and adventure.  The psychological exploration of the future generations and outcomes bring the book much closer to the mind bending and thought-provoking tales of a life times journey and it’s cost.

Book 1: Segengeti   B+


BOOK REVIEW: Anomaly

Before Christmas the prospect of me reading a book by an indie author was slim-to-none.  Not that I wouldn’t care to read a book not written by an author not named King, Asimov, Poe or Dickens, but for a person that shops within his comfort zone of large retail book stores and his local library how would I find something so obscure.  When I look for a book I hit the new release racks and browse the bindings, familiarity is what would catch my eye, and frankly if I had to choose between a no name and Grisham, I am reading Grisham every time because the likelihood of disliking the book is much like my earlier chances, slim-to-none.

Christmas changed all that when my wife bought me a shiny new Kindle.  The world of books immediately expanded.  Shopping has never been so much fun.  I always though an e-reader would take the book out of my hand and lose the beauty of discovery.  While that is true, it also opens doors a library could never open.  I click on a few favorites and Amazon is recommending me all worts of things I would never find on my own, people I have never heard of and the reviews tell their own tales.  While I will grab a stinker from time-to-time I am sure, the ability to step outside of my comfort zone is proving the grass is really greener on the other side.

Continue reading


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