Title: Junk Mage
Author: Elliot Cooper
Publisher: NineStar Press
Length: 49 Pages
Category: Sci-Fi, Cyberpunk
At a Glance: Despite my not being able to muster up a deeper investment in the world and its characters, this story does make up for that in imagination and heart and sentimental intention.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: When technomancer Quillian Defote crash-lands on remote planet Marutuk, he has limited time to repair his ship and get off world. If he fails, he’ll forfeit his position as professor of mechanical transmutation at the prestigious Ivy Arcanarium and ruin his employment prospects in yet another sector.
Hunter, a cyborg guarding a junkyard that holds what Quill needs, is charmed by the wayward mage and wants to help him. But Hunter is bound by honor to dutifully guard his mistress and her possessions, no matter how cruelly she treats him.
Together Quill and Hunter stand a chance of starting a new life together if carnivorous wildlife, a violent necromancer, and stubborn pride don’t keep them apart.
Review: Quillian Defote, Professor of Mechanical Transumation and junk mage extraordinaire, has gotten himself into a spot of trouble. He’s stranded on the planet Marutuk after a crash landing that’s left a gaping hole in his ship, and him on the brink of losing his job if he can’t find the parts he needs to fix the Lemon and get back home.
There’s only one thing that stands in the way of the parts Quill needs. Well, two things, really—a cyborg named Hunter, and his mistress, Tisha Turo, AKA, the Deathwitch of Sector Nine. Yeah, she’s heinous, but I liked her in spite of her villainous ways because without her there’d have been no Hunter, nor a daring escape scene. She’s the spark this story needed to keep it moving forward.
Junk Mage is a short and sweet sci-fi tale with touches of humor and subtle romantic overtones, wrapped up in a fun cyberpunk package that provides for all the action and suspense as Quill and Hunter make a connection. There was quite the swoony moment in this story that I won’t spoil, but I will say that knowing the direct connection between books and the ability to escape reality for a while, it gave me a heaping case of the feels.
Short stories/novellas in any realm of the speculative fiction genre are a catch-22 for me, and Junk Mage is no exception. The potential for so much more, especially in a world this intriguing, almost always goes amiss for me in the limited word count. I will say, though, that despite my not being able to muster up a deeper investment in the world and its characters, this story does make up for that in imagination and heart and sentimental intention. The author offered just enough detail to make me root for Quill and Hunter and a happy future for them.
This being my first time reading Elliot Cooper, I’d say of this story that it left me more than a little curious to see what other sorts of creative inspiration the author could dream up in a lengthier book.
You can buy Junk Mage here: