80 Comments

Devon doesn't have a Substack account so I'm just stepping in to say, thank you for this wonderful review!

To everyone who has bought copies, I'm certain you will enjoy it. Theft of Fire only published last month, and it has been such a wild ride. This is NOT a book that the traditional publishing industry would ever touch with a 10-foot pole, and it's too out-of-genre-spec to be picked up with a small press (who typically want "easy to define" novels, because that's what their readers expect. Theft of Fire is... well, I have read it 4 times, and I still have a hell of a time condensing the experience).

We're doing everything out of our home in nowhere, Tennessee, as Devon says, some of it ourselves, some of it hired out (cover art, editing). We're still in the "every sale counts" stage, so we're extremely grateful for everyone who's starved for good science fiction, who's read this post and taken a chance on a new author :) Devon wrote with one goal in mind: to give the reader something to love. And if you pick up his book, and if you find something to love, I'm encouraging you to tell a friend, or write your own substack post, because we're going at this alone, but we can't do this alone

Thanks again, and John, again, so glad you enjoyed. I was thrilled when you bought a copy. Now that you've read it, you see why the name of your substack amused me!!

Expand full comment
Dec 28, 2023Liked by John Carter

Having the wife enthusiastically cheering for her husband here was simply too wholesome for me to resist. Bought! I hope this turns out great for the both of you!

Expand full comment
Dec 28, 2023Liked by John Carter

Aww, yayy, enjoy!!

Expand full comment
Dec 28, 2023Liked by John Carter

I’ve now stayed up way too late reading this book after buying it on your recommendation. It is so weird to read something that feels like Heinlein but includes references to Bitcoin and SpaceX. I like it. Great review and great book.

Expand full comment
author

Fantastic. Really glad you enjoyed it.

Expand full comment
Jan 9Liked by John Carter

Based strictly on your description, I have ordered a copy. If it holds a candle to Heinlein, then I will be pleased.

Expand full comment
author

🔥

Expand full comment
Jan 1Liked by John Carter

I’ve been reading sci-fi for 50 years, and have read all the great writers. I enjoyed this as much as almost anything I’ve read; certainly for a long while.

Thanks to JC for pointing it out. It was fun and hard to put down, and that’s I feeling I haven’t had for a long time. I’m anxious for a sequel, so keep Devon at it Christine!

Expand full comment
author

Really glad you enjoyed it so much.

Expand full comment
Mar 11Liked by John Carter

> Theft of Fire is...

... cyberpunk IN SPACE, except they stick it to the Man in the end. Beautiful stratagem, I'm in awe.

Expand full comment

Thank you, Groddlo! I saw your Amazon review, yay!!

Expand full comment
Dec 26, 2023Liked by John Carter

OK, so Theft of Fire is a totes rad HARD SF novel with sexual tension released since the fall of Berlin Wall AKA a unicorn. And it's even not too expensive! Thank you for telling us of this, kind sir, and may your engines always ignite on the first try (that's what belters say, isn't it?). <3

Expand full comment
author

May your delta-vee be sufficient, your O2 last, and your trajectory be true.

Expand full comment
Mar 11Liked by John Carter

Bought it, read it. Was excellent. Would do it again (Devon has a newsletter, go subscribe.)

Expand full comment
author

Excellent. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Expand full comment

Thx for noting his links to other buying options, I deal with Amazon when there's no other choice but prefer to take my business elsewhere, even if it costs me a wee bit more.

Expand full comment
Dec 27, 2023Liked by John Carter

No problem Jim! There's actually a slight issue right now with ToF being available in physical copies from non-Amazon retailers (boring logistics reasons) but since that's like... 1% of our sales, I've been slow to resolve that. I need to get back on that. But yes the other digital retailers should work!

Expand full comment

Any preferred options for this book?

Expand full comment

I don't quite know what you mean by this, but you can find every basically every buying option at books2read.com/theft-of-fire

For physical copies at non-Amazon retailers you're going to have to wait a day or two unfortunately. Suppose I'll note that there's a Smashwords end-of-year sale going on; that's the only place to find a discounted copy

For what benefits us the most, tbh it's buying through Amazon, as much as I hate their near-monopoly. But getting up in their sales ranking, and you having the ability to write a Verified Purchase review, rather helps us

Expand full comment
Dec 27, 2023Liked by John Carter

There are few pleasures in life beyond the total immersion into a well written novel. Especially science fiction. But I hate it when I'm reading a very good story and I run across a misspelling or a narrative disconnect or some other sort of obvious mistake. In a really engrossing story it's like having someone slap you awake.

Recently, I've noticed that the Woke gender nonsense has started to creep into some of the books I read and it's awful. It's very jarring to have a character referred to as "they" or "them and it really interrupts the flow of the story while I have to try to figure out who the author is referring to. Not to mention that it just pisses me off to see it. I have had to completely stop reading the work of Alistair Reynolds who is (was) one of my favorite science fiction authors. Starting a couple years ago, he really went overboard with the personal pronoun crap and it just completely ruined his stories for me. Maybe one day I'll get over it, but I doubt it....

Expand full comment
author

Reynolds stepped on the woke rake with Poseidon's Children, but that honestly felt like he had a gun to his head.

Expand full comment
Dec 27, 2023Liked by John Carter

...and it's sad because I REALLY like his stories and writing style. But, I just can't bring myself to read a book for pleasure and have it periodically piss me off by poking me in the eye.

Expand full comment
Dec 27, 2023Liked by John Carter

Well, good news, Theft of Fire will not periodically poke you in the eye :) Devon believes his job is to serve the reader a story, not a lecture half-hidden by a coat of narrative

Expand full comment

Have you searched the meme "The Pedants' Revolt"?

Two of the cartoons speak to our concern.

Expand full comment

“The emotional abusiveness of HR” describes my entire 19-year career.

Expand full comment

Thanks for the rec. Sounds like a winner.

Expand full comment
author

It's good shit.

Expand full comment

One of your many talents is that you know how to really sell a thing you like, while still using it as a vehicle for truthtelling. Wouldn't mind seeing more reviews in the future.

Expand full comment
author

I may do this. The last time I did one, for Nelson Elliott, he said he sold more books than he ever had before. We'll see how much this post moves the needle for today's author.

Expand full comment
Dec 27, 2023Liked by John Carter

We don't share hard sales numbers publicly, but apart from release day (when pre-orders got fulfilled) this has been our best single sales day :D

Our biggest challenge is definitely people just... knowing this book exists. Devon is a debut independent author. All he had to start was me SCREAMING MY HEAD OFF on twitter. And some people picked it up and found... hey... actually... this book is good. Now that the book is published, people finally have the opportunity to discover the book by recommendations on its merit <3 But it still requires constant word of mouth. In a tiny tiny tiny corner of twitter, there's Theft of Fire awareness saturation. To the rest of the world... no awareness at all... YET.

Expand full comment
author

I've been seeing word of mouth spreading in my corner of Twitter. It takes a while for that to work of course, but it's a good sign.

In any case, I'm glad to know this resulted in a sales bump!

Expand full comment
Jan 1Liked by John Carter

Bought ,read it in 2 days. Great read! Thanks for the recommendation, JC.

Expand full comment

For what it's worth I just splurged 8.99 on this based on your first few paragraphs

Expand full comment
author

Fantastic.

Expand full comment

Maybe there should be a, before you get to the nuts-and-bolts part of the review, a line that says something like, "if you like going into your fiction totally blind, know that [something nice about the book idk it's up to you]. You can [buy it at this link] and come back later for the rest of the review, which is written to be spoiler-light, but still gives some shape of the story" or whatever. Or not. It's your blog!!!!

Expand full comment

Wow, you just sold a book.

Expand full comment
author

Sweet.

Expand full comment
Dec 27, 2023Liked by John Carter

Cool. I’ll order a copy. Thanks

Expand full comment
author

Excellent.

Expand full comment
Dec 26, 2023Liked by John Carter

I immediately thought of The Gate to Women's Country, by Sheri S Tepper... same issue, but then romance ain't the core of story. I reckon there's lots of romance in the Sturm undt Drang Sci-fi section 😉 I'm a bit of a tragic with soap opera scifi. Hmmm, Stranger IASL, EVERYONE falls in Love 🤣 I shall ask my Library to aquire 🖖

Expand full comment
author

I don't think SIASL really qualified as a love story. More of a free love story.

Expand full comment
Dec 26, 2023Liked by John Carter

Ha! When read at 14..? Then it is a love story, a love I searched 50 years for! Oh yeah, around about the time I worked out that we wore white hats, us, NOT the Gummint, ¿sabes? The Borg never stood a chance 😘

Expand full comment
Dec 26, 2023Liked by John Carter

Immediately reminded me of "To The Tombaugh Station" by Poul Andersson. One man, one woman, alone on a ship bound for Pluto, the story driven by their dialogue (if I'm not misremembering). Well worth a read, it's not even 150 pages so it's easily finished in an afternoon.

Never heard of Theft of Fire so the association is probably thanks to the man/woman-dynamic.

Sex-war was a staple of smutty sci-fi comics in the 1970s and 1980s, and the early 1990s too. Always an entertaining genre: check out "Sex Warrior" for an example (Dark Horse Comics; Pat Mills did the script).

Expand full comment
author

Haven't read that Anderson book but everything I've read by him has been first rate. Tau Zero and The Broken Sword are classics. I'll have to check it out. And yes, it does sound quite similar.

Expand full comment
Dec 26, 2023Liked by John Carter

To the Tombaugh Station is legit. Forgot about that one.

Expand full comment
Dec 29, 2023Liked by John Carter

John Carter, it makes sense you love this book when it has so many mentions of Barsoom.

Expand full comment
Dec 28, 2023Liked by John Carter

Great book, about 3/4 of the way through, thanks for suggesting the perfect holiday read.

Lots of overt and hidden classic SF references, I particularly liked the Stanislaw Lem "His Masters Voice" homage.

Expand full comment
author

Yeah, lots of little Easter eggs in there for sure. I'm glad you're enjoying it!

Expand full comment

Great review - you've convinced me to part with what few shekels I have. Always loved a good Sci-Fi but most of the stuff these days is bleh.

Expand full comment
author

Yes finding good sci-fi has become excruciatingly difficult.

Expand full comment

I'm not much of a sci-fi guy, by nature I find the genre a bore but this sounded kind of interesting given it sounds like it focuses more on characters than anything else. Might have to check it out and review it myself down the road.

Expand full comment