Book Review: Partials by Dan Wells

April 9, 2012

Dan Wells, author of the I Am Not a Serial Killer series takes a leap out of the horror genre and into post apocalyptic sci-fi.

Partials tells the story of Kira, a teenage medical intern in the Maternity ward where every child dies shortly after birth. Killed by the insidious virus RM. She’s sick of seeing the children die, and knows humans will go extinct if they cant reproduce. It’s been eleven years since a baby survived. To make matters worse the thinly veiled totalitarian government, forces all young women to get pregnant as often as possible, hoping that somehow a child will be born immune.

Kira desperately wants to find a cure for RM, but the finest minds of the forty thousand remaining humans on the planet haven’t been able to find one, so how can she?

They’ve looked everywhere for a cure except for in the blood of their most hated enemies. The Partials. Genetically engineered living weapons who all but annihilated the human race by releasing the RM virus. No-one has seen a Partial since the war and now Kira wants to cross over to the mainland from Long Island and find one without getting everyone in her group killed, or restarting the Partial war and exterminating the last survivors of the human race.

I enjoyed Partials. It had adventure, excitement, romance, and gun-battles. I found myself looking up at the clock and saying, “Three AM? How did that happen?”

The only real problem I had with Partials wasn’t really Dan Wells fault. His action scenes are actually pretty good and he’s got a lot of them in Partials. Unfortunately the book I happened to read just before Partials was Dead Six, by Larry Corriea and Mike Kupari. Both of whom are serious gun nuts, Larry used to be a firearms instructor and gunseller, and Mike defuses IED’s so it would be hard for anyone to compare with them in the action department.

I just kept wishing for a tiny bit more gun details. Heck the book takes place about sixty years in the future, so there was plenty of opportunity for some nifty gun stuff. Unfortunately every gun in the book was either a rifle, shotgun or pistol. That was the entire description of the weaponry. Oh well, Dan’s not a gun geek, but his writing makes up for it in plenty of areas. The characters are great, the world is detailed, and the plot had several, “holy crap!” plot twists. So yeah, Partials is a definite buy.


Writers of the Future Honerable Mention!

September 19, 2011

I am so stoked I can finally tell you guys about this. I submitted a SCI-FI story to Writers of the Future and received an honorable mention!

Honorable Mentions:

Matthew Mayner of Idaho

This is the coolest thing that has happened in my writing career so far.

I know this isn’t just a “thanks for submitting” award, because my first story that I submitted didn’t get one.

They’re going to send me a certificate in the mail and everything. Sweet!

I know it’s not the same as winning but if my story “Battlefield Pickup” was trash I know I wouldn’t have gotten an honorable mention.

So without further ado, here’s “Battlefield Pickup.”

Chapter 15 Should Be in Your Inbox

August 5, 2011

That is all, carry on.

Still Here

July 24, 2011

Hey guys, I’m still here. I’ve just been busy. I think I’ve hit a roadblock with Alone: Psi-Mage. It’s okay, now that I understand how my “Writers Cycle” works I think I know how to deal with it.

I’ve been molling over a short story idea now for a few days. The tentative title is “Military Working Humanoid.”

I’m not going to say anything more than that other than it’ll be a sci-fi story with the protagonist as one of the a fore mentioned “Humanoids.”

I’ve got some ideas but it’s still a bit rough. I guess we’ll see when I start typing.

To Three Act or Not Three Act?

July 13, 2011

Hello readers!

I’m still plugging away on my main project Alone: Psi-Mage. If I was using the three act structure of writing, which I don’t really do. I’d say act I is almost wrapped up. Most of the main characters have been introduced and the “super powers” have been more or less established.

Some people love “three act”, others believe it’s the devil. Should we arbitrarily impose a structure on our stories? In my opinion writers should be able to use as much or as little structure as they’d like.

I’m a “discovery” writer, meaning I get a story started from an idea or two and run with it. Making it up as I go along. The problem with that method is sometimes the author could get lost in the bushes by the side of the road while missing the more important parts.

So what does that have to do with Alone: Psi-Mage?

Well Alone: Psi-Mage is basically a “body off frame restoration” of my first version of this story entitled “Alone.”

How different is it? Well… It’s written in 3rd person instead of 1st. The main viewpoint character shifted, and I’ve added the perspective of the “Big Bad.”

Most of the main plot points are the same but I’ve moved, removed or added ones that seem to fit better. I’m trying to make the overall narrative flow better, among several other improvements. Because when I started the first version I really didn’t know where I was going. Now I do. I already know what I want to happen (more or less) and I’ve decided to at least give the three act a cursory glance. Why, because I think many stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Some people might disagree, but usually once the pieces are set up, they get moving, run into problems, fail, fail, win, and eventually come to the climax where the story gets resolved. If it’s the heroes win, everybody dies, or something in-between.

Shoehorning your story to fit a three act when it doesn’t need to on the other hand…

So anyway here’s a snippet from chapter 14, it should be in your inbox a bit later this week.

For a college student in a nuclear engineering program he discovered Katrina wasn’t very bright. Sure she knew her formulas, theories, and periodic table but street smarts were lacking.

“So do you have a long term food supply?” he asked.

She was silent for too long on the other end of the line, “Umm… I don’t know I’d just been getting food from the campus market.”

“Most of which spoiled a long time ago right?”

“Yea, I shoved it all the perishables in a dumpster out back. Why?”

His phantom left leg began to ache, for some reason he could feel its absence more than his right. He rubbed his stump to get it to stop. “Look you’re going to need more food than what is in that little convenience store to get you through the winter.”

“Oh… I hadn’t thought that far ahead. So I’ll walk down the road to one of the grocery stores.”

“Be careful, if they’re anything like we have here you’ll probably run into some feral dogs.”

“Feral dogs? Why would they…”

Martin leaned back in his wheelchair and stared up at the stained ceiling tiles, “Nobody’s feeding them anymore. They’ve begun to run in packs, scavenging and hunting for food. Sarah was chased earlier today.”

“What can I do?”

“Shoot them.”

“Shoot them?” She replied aghast. “I… I don’t have a gun, and I wouldn’t know where to begin. And I don’t know if I could shoot someone’s pet.”

“Listen to me Katrina, these aren’t pets anymore. They’re hungry predators with sharp teeth. They may avoid you… but they might not.”

“Where would I get a gun anyway?”

Martin sighed, “Who carries… carried guns on your campus?”


“Nobody? Are you sure?” He shook his head, “Doesn’t MIT have a campus police force? Or what about Boston PD?”



“MIT is in Cambridge, not Boston.”

“Whatever… everything east of the Mississippi is one big urban blur to me.”

“Well at least I don’t live in flyover country.” She replied.

Martin bit his tongue, getting into a stupid fight right away was for lack of a better term stupid. “Katrina, hey I’m sorry. Look I’m just trying to help you out. The old rules don’t apply anymore. If you get into trouble you won’t be able to pick up the phone and call for help. Plus there’s the aliens.”

He looked up at Sarah who was sitting in an office chair, spinning around in lazy circles. She glanced at her monkey lemur thing the same time he had said the word aliens. Something just didn’t feel right.


“You don’t believe what took billions of people away was a natural occurrence do you?”

“No I guess not.” She said in a quiet voice. “I… I had hoped that aliens, if there were any would have been friendly.”

“Now we know the truth. The universe is a cold cruel place.”

Psi-Mage Chapter 12 Should be in Your Inbox

June 20, 2011

If you’re an alpha reader that is.

Sorry about the delay, life happens.

If you would like to become an alpha reader please shoot me an email to mkmayner -at- gmail -dot- com

Enjoy the latest chapter.

Went Camping and Writers of the Future

June 13, 2011

I went camping this weekend so there won’t be any updates just yet.

Boo, hiss!

Hey take it easy. I do have good news. I should be submitting my second story to the Writers of the Future contest soon. This one is called “Battlefield Pickup.” On a war torn rock a young Specialist separated from his unit wakes up to find his weapon damaged beyond repair. Picking up a dead enemies weapon he soon discovers the secret to their success.

Wish me luck.