Expert Assistance

( 1 )

Overview

To get out of debt, spacer Jake Bonner takes on two odd jobs. The first, chauffeur pop star Evvie Martini on her tour; the second, helping Daniel and Clarissa Rosen overthrow their planet's tyrannical ruler.

Unfortunately for Jake, Evvie finds out about his second assignment and, hoping to advance her career, invites herself to the revolution. From there the absurdity grows for Jake and his band of "freedom ...

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Expert Assistance

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Overview

To get out of debt, spacer Jake Bonner takes on two odd jobs. The first, chauffeur pop star Evvie Martini on her tour; the second, helping Daniel and Clarissa Rosen overthrow their planet's tyrannical ruler.

Unfortunately for Jake, Evvie finds out about his second assignment and, hoping to advance her career, invites herself to the revolution. From there the absurdity grows for Jake and his band of "freedom fighters."

Expert Assistance pokes fun at revolutions, pop culture, and some of the cliches of sci-fi.

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Editorial Reviews

Bob Spear
This very funny space opera science fiction is also a brilliant social commentary, especially on the shallowness of pop culture... this story should be considered a classic in the field of social commentary.... The author, an active historian, brings to bear an excellent knowledge of what comprises good music and theatre and how bad and shallow current and evolving pop culture is. It is a cleanly written story and is very appropriate for young, gifted readers. We rated this... four hearts.
Roy Bird
Expert Assistance is full of vivid, contemporary language, is largely nonviolent, yet fast-paced. It will appeal to many modern readers not only because of its ingenious content, but also for its revolutionary publishing style. It’s a fun read as well as an innovation that we will see more of in the future of book publishing. Collins should be applauded for being among the first Kansas authors to explore this new galaxy.
Heartland Reviews - Bob Spear
This very funny space opera science fiction is also a brilliant social commentary, especially on the shallowness of pop culture... this story should be considered a classic in the field of social commentary.... The author, an active historian, brings to bear an excellent knowledge of what comprises good music and theatre and how bad and shallow current and evolving pop culture is. It is a cleanly written story and is very appropriate for young, gifted readers. We rated this... four hearts.
Kansas Libraries Newsletter 9-2007 - Roy Bird
Expert Assistance is full of vivid, contemporary language, is largely nonviolent, yet fast-paced. It will appeal to many modern readers not only because of its ingenious content, but also for its revolutionary publishing style. It’s a fun read as well as an innovation that we will see more of in the future of book publishing. Collins should be applauded for being among the first Kansas authors to explore this new galaxy.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781456510084
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/31/2007
  • Pages: 182
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Collins is the author of the science-fiction novel Monitor, published in 2010 by Whiskey Creek Press. His second novel, Lisa's Way, came out in 2008. He has sold over 70 short science-fiction and fantasy stories to magazines such as Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine; Tales of the Talisman; Space Westerns; The Fifth Di...; and Sorcerous Signals. In 2009 he self-published a short-story collection, The Sagas of Surgard.

Mr. Collins is also the author of numerous nonfiction works. His book, Jim Lane: Scoundrel, Statesman, Kansan, published in 2007 by Pelican, was a finalist for biography of the year as voted by the Society of Midland Authors. Pelican released his biography of a Kansas Civil War general in 2005. He has had six railroad books published by South Platte Press, including Kansas Railroad Attractions and Ghost Railroads of Kansas. He has sold dozens of articles to periodicals such as Working Writer; Wild West; Chronicle of the Old West; and Territorial Magazine.

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Read an Excerpt

The next morning, Jake was in the lower part of the bridge, angrily tapping his foot. Behind him on the large bridge screen was a three-dimensional view of the main dome on Antioch Two. It had been five minutes since he'd asked his partner to join him, and Evvie still hadn't appeared. "Call her again," he told Odin.

Before his computer could respond, Evvie breezed into the room.

"I'm here," she said. "I had to get ready. Jeez, Jake, don't you know it takes women time to get themselves ready to face the day?"

Jake sighed. "Just sit down, and pay attention to the screen."

"What is that?"

"The layout of the main dome."

"Nice. The colors are a bit bland. And I have seen those projections before."

"Evvie, sit down."

"Why?"

"It's part of waging a revolution. It's called 'mission planning.' We sit, we look at this, and we try to figure out what to do first."

"Why do I have to be here?"

"You want the publicity, you have to participate."

Evvie heaved a sigh, then sat down. She glanced at the image for exactly one second. "Where's the armory?"

"They don't have one," Jake said.

"Why not?"

"The guardbots."

"Oh. So there aren't any guards we can bribe? No weapons we can take?"

"No."

"Maxis does have a personal guard," Odin added, "but it only consists of twelve persons, and only four are on duty per shift. These persons appear to be armed with sidearms. I found no traces of heavy weaponry."

"As could be expected," Jake said.

"What about the drug plant?" Evvie asked. "Y'know, where they make the drugs to suppress the rebelling urges in the people?"

Jake rolled his eyes. Well, at least she'smanaged to do some research about revolutions after agreeing to help. Too bad for her "research" means watching hokey old videos, not reading actual history.

"Evvie, something like that only occurs in fiction. Reality is not like that."

"Actually, Jake, you are incorrect," Odin interrupted. "I call your attention to that large room on level six."

"That's food processing."

"Yes. I previously discovered hardware and software tied into the main food processing systems. I investigated them thoroughly. They are used for the specific purpose of injecting chemicals into a food supply system."

That explains why Odin hedged a couple days ago, Jake mused.

"Such systems are typical of mental institutions housing dangerous individuals," Odin continued. "They prevent ordinary nurses, visitors, and other unqualified personnel from being placed in threatening situations. They are admirable safety measures, accepted by every civilized government."

"Okay. What are they doing here?"

"Since there are no facilities for housing the mentally ill, the only logical conclusion is that these systems are used to inject chemicals into the workers' food and drink."

"Y'see?" Evvie said.

Jake ignored her. "So what chemical or chemicals are being injected, Odin?"

"I was able to uncover shipping records for only one chemical. The medical name for the substance is Lypinisan Oh-Five. The more common name is 'Relaxafin.'"

"Oh, my God."

"What?" Evvie asked.

"Relaxafin. Those commercials? Y'know, the hokey ones with those formerly hyperactive kids being all nice and quiet?" He impersonated the actress who played the grateful mother in the spots, "'It's given my child his peace back.'" He then did the eerily passive kid. "'I can work with others now.'" He shook his head. "Those commercials have consistently been criticized by almost everyone as the worst broadcast spots for four years running."

"By who? I mean, they work, don't they?"

"Only in the cheesiest, stupidest way possible. The only campaign that is anywhere close to being that annoying is the one for that colonial building chain that uses that beaver."

Evvie shuddered visibly. "Don't mention that, please. That beaver creeps me out. I once had this dream--"

"Please. No."

"But--"

"No. Odin, is Maxis using that operation for what I think he's using it for?"

"It appears that it's being used to repress anger, and therefore to repress any unrest or dissension."

"Is this drug being injected in dangerous amounts?"

"Actually, it's being used in dosages well below average, and only in the adult population. That suggests the drug is being used as a minor control on the population's mental state. I should add that Relaxafin is comparatively expensive. That might also be a factor in the small dosages used."

"Geez. He can't be a little more imaginative?"

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 29, 2011

    An Easy Read for Sci-Fi Fans

    A starship owned by Jake Bonner docks at a space station and finds that it will not be allowed to leave until Jake comes up with cash for a past-due debt. He reluctantly takes on a job of escorting a young pop star on her tour. He is also contacted by a couple from a colony planet, Antioch Two, that offers to pay him 5% of all planet mining profits, each year, for life, in exchange for his help in overthrowing the current owner of the colony, Sordius Maxis. While onboard the ship, pop star Evvie Martini finds out about the plan, and sees it as a great way to promote her career. Jake reluctantly agrees to let her help, and the revolution begins.

    Expert Assistance was a fast-paced read. There were several grammatical errors, but nothing that truly slows you down. Sci-Fi fans will love the technology described in the book. Lots of details regarding tele-porting, robotics, and communication fill the pages. There was very little violence involved in this revolution, which makes it so much easier to cheer the underdogs on.

    I would have liked to see the characters a little more developed, and possibly a few more insights from the side of Sordius Maxis, but overall, it was a light, enjoyable read. (Review by Charlie - A Literary R&R review team member)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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