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Beyond Those Distant Stars

Alien invaders have all but destroyed humanity. Stella McMasters, a retired naval officer, yearns to get in the war but knows she’ll never get a chance. Then amazing things start to happen.

After saving a comrade's life during a meltdown that almost kills her, physicians remove her radioactive flesh and turn her into a superhuman cyborg. She is then given command of her first ship and, against her better judgment, falls in love with its charismatic pilot.

On their way to join the Empire’s last line of defense, Stella runs right into an enemy vessel. For the first time ever, the mysterious invaders invite humans aboard. Should Stella accept, or run? Can she avoid a crushing defeat and save humanity in the process?

Winner of the Allbook Reviews Editor's
Choice Award

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John B. Rosenman

John B. Rosenman is an English professor at Norfolk State University in Virginia. His first novel, The Best Laugh Last, won Treacle Press’s First Novel Award and was published in 1980 and 1981. He has published 300 stories in places such as Weird Tales, Starshore, Cemetery Dance, The Age of Wonders, Hot Blood, Whitley Strieber’s Aliens, and Treachery and Treason.

Reviews

This is a blend of old style space opera with galactic empires and the usual trappings, mixed with a heavy dose of military SF, and some interesting speculation about alien cultures...an exciting and entertaining journey.

Don D'Ammassa -- Science Fiction Chronicle


Though this may sound like a female Cyborg Cop in outer space, Stella insures that this tale is quite different. The tale plays out on two interlocking story lines. Fans of military science fiction will appreciate the survival war the humans are in against a powerful foe. That subplot serves more as a background for the audience to follow a wonderful protagonist trying to regain what she lost and to apply her new abilities. Her doubts on several levels as to being a human female add a psychological underpinning to a strong cross species war BEYOND THOSE DISTANT STARS.

Harriet Klausner -- The Best Reviews


When I was done with this wonderful tale of adventure, I was glad to read the 'About The Author' Section on the very last page and learn that John B. Rosenman has several other science fiction books in the works, including a proposed sequel to BEYOND THOSE DISTANT STARS. My only advice to Professor Rosenman after reading this news—get yourself to writing!

Shawn P. Madison -- The Eternal Night


Mr. Rosenman's writing is fresh and has a distinct voice, and readers will immediately be captivated by this book. Full of intrigue and action, fans of David Weber and Lois McMaster Bujold are sure to enjoy BEYOND THOSE DISTANT STARS, and I look forward to reading more by John B. Rosenman!

Courtney Bowden -- Romance Reviews Today


A good summertime read...and beyond... It is a perfect 'summertime read'...it flows quickly, the action is sharp, and the prose is interesting and keeps the reader reading. There is depth here that all sf should have. There is some very good writing here, and very well-wrought twists and turns in the plot that elevate BEYOND THOSE DISTANT STARS to something a cut above the bulk of books we see these days. And that in itself is a very good reason to read this one.

Jeff Georgeson -- Penumbric


While futuristic novels often seem so remote that the reader can not identify with anyone, this is an exception. Situations and characters live and breathe. Complex issues and people make this a riveting novel that has some elements of classic sf, yet an originality that is undeniable.

Amanda Faye -- The Eternal Night
Excerpt

PROLOGUE

Emergency!

“Why do they call me?” Supervisor Stella McMasters muttered as she ran down the circular metal stairs of the turbine building on the planet Warren. “The crew knows more about reactor plants than I do!” She raced past each of the landing’s flashing red lights that warned of out-of-control readouts in the pit below.

Radiation Protection Supervisor...Hah! I’m a nav-comm officer, not a bloody tank sniffer. I belong on a ship fighting the aliens. Dammit, I always hoped to command my own ship. Now look at me-given a soft job as a reward for loyal service.

Reaching the bottom, Stella headed for where Jack Faust bent over one of the filter tanks, the headset he was required to wear dangling from a back pocket. He was studying the panel on number 4, apparently still trying to dislodge the resin he’d mentioned earlier.

“Still constipated?” she called, thinking that she’d have to put him on report again for not wearing his headphones.

“Tighter than a Scaley’s asshole,” he half-shouted over the hum of massive pipes welded to the wall. “I’ve used air, steam, gas, solvent, but the bitch hasn’t budged. I tell ya, Sup, I’m worried.”

She nodded at the readout. “It’s only 200. That’s within accepted limits.”

Faust straightened and rubbed a slender, lined face. “Doesn’t feel right, somehow. And I’ve been doing this a long time, even worked in the asteroid belt and at Solax out near the galactic rim.”

“Have you checked the sight port?”

“Yeah, just five minutes ago.” He shrugged. “Maybe I oughta take another look.”

She watched him climb the ladder fixed to the tank and squint at the sight port.

“Hey, it’s steamed up now. I can’t see a thing.”

Steamed. Her face froze at the word. She removed her cap and ran a hand through her blonde hair. What had she read recently about a blocked filter tank whose temperature registered normal?

A dull cough echoed through the pipe overhead. She raised her hand.

“Jack, get down!”

He turned on the ladder and looked down at her. “What?”

More sounds thrummed through the conduit. This time he heard it. She saw his mouth open.

“Get down!” she shouted. “It’s-”

Like a giant snake, the pipe exploded from its mounts. Struts and valve controls rained like hail. But worst of all was the steaming water that covered Faust as he fell to the floor.

Suddenly every alarm light on tank four started flashing. She stood, gazing down at the still body. In just seconds it had been transformed into something she didn’t recognize.

Searing water sprinkled her side, licking her boot heels.

Somewhere a klaxon shrieked.

Arms pulled her back from behind. Doug Shane, a man on her crew, spoke into the comlink on his headset.

“Turbine trip. Tank 4, level 1.” He grabbed her elbow. “C’mon,” he shouted, “let’s get out before the reactor blows.”

She nodded, knowing it would take at least an hour for a meltdown to develop over in the reactor building. What she had to do now was evacuate her crew from the upper levels, then report to command, who would be trying to stop it.

“All right,” she ordered, “let’s clear the place, make sure everyone’s got the word.”

She watched Doug head toward the ladder she had just descended, and then followed. Of course, all her crew must know there was a problem, but it was her job to make sure even though a high-pitched oscillating warble now filled the building. Why didn’t Jack move? If he’d just got off when I told him, he’d be alive now. Why hadn’t the fool listened?

Forcing the image of Jack’s frozen figure on the ladder from her mind, she picked up her pace to catch Doug. Mustn’t think of that. What I’ve got to do now-

Ahead of Doug, a salmon-colored pipe overhead abruptly shook. And Doug was...

There was no time to shout, as she’d had with Jack. Dashing forward, she slammed him hard to the side, sending his body flying. Above her, the pipe punctured, spewing a flood of streaming liquid. Trying to duck, she barely had time to turn her head before a cloud of radioactive iodine settled over her like an invisible cloak. One breath shriveled her lungs and drove her to her knees, where she teetered briefly before collapsing to the floor. Desperately, she tried to rise, to escape the death that even now descended upon her, but her body seemed distant, as unreachable as the stars.

The last thing Stella remembered before she lost consciousness was a voice calling her name.