Space Rogues: The Epic Adventures of Wil Calder, Space Smuggler
by John Wilker
Rogue Publishing

"The fear of being alone in space for the rest of his life is finally starting to fade."

Wil Calder’s NASA mission from Earth strands him in space. Lost and adrift, he is rescued by an alien spacecraft and put to work as part of the crew. He adapts quickly to his new life even after the crew of his new ship is attacked, leaving him the lone survivor. In need of a new crew and companionship, Wil embarks on an adventure with a band of misfits that might just become planetary heroes... if they can stay alive.

The charming and resourceful Wil Calder has a clear predecessor in Han Solo, and Wilker’s worldbuilding is reminiscent of Star Wars with a wild assortment of aliens and a galaxy full of wonders. The vivid descriptions and rich detail of planets and people open worlds of exciting possibilities for the reader to enjoy. Wil’s planetary excursions offer a travelogue of space with much to enjoy on each planet and much to fear. Wil’s talented team of specialists engage in action-packed sequences and daring escapades with thrilling results. With no shortage of intergalactic intrigue, Wil and his crew are tested at every turn to solve problems and engage in the fight to save the day.

Wilker’s effective use of flashback chapters to fill in Wil’s fate as the first human in deep space alternates nicely with his present-day survival tactics as a space smuggler. The epic space battles are fast-paced and immersive. This is an accessible and highly readable science fiction tale that relies on speculative technology and imagined scenarios but is never bogged down in heavy concepts or complex astrophysics. Entertaining and character-driven, the story of Wil Calder goes from being lost in space to finding purpose in a vast universe of possibility.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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