A Review of – Danu Station SciFi Shorts
Some stories are perfect for lunch. The chapters are short but packed. The characters are compelling early on. The descriptions just draw you in. Danu Station SciFi is one of those hidden gems. Danu Station SciFi is a series that revolves around a space station in the outskirts of civilized galaxy. The story begins on Earth and Denaria Rhen has been coerced into being the commander of the space station by her previous superior officer. Danaria had been moved to light duty and training after a mission gone wrong and even that duty seemed unlikely to last. At this point her previous commanding officer calls her back to duty. She agrees but only if she can have two of her prize officers back. With agreements in place, they are off to the station.
The author, Shauna, previously published a novel to a small, but loyal audience. She has been constantly writing all her life and this fun project grew out of a desire to give her loyal audience something to read on a more regular basis. She developed it as a space based soap opera meaning: “short lengths, ongoing story, interweaving personal drama, with a bit of fancy tech and strange aliens thrown in for good measure.” Each entry is short and only 3 to 5 pages long and meant to be readable in 5 minutes.
What is good
The dialogs of DSSS are very strong. She writes them with crisp responses, a range of emotions from humor to outrage to grief, and they drive the story forward. Her attention to detail makes the story easy to visualize. I am particularly impressed with her use of body language and position to set a scene. But she also provides details of the environment, people’s clothes, and what they are eating. I just finished a blog describing interstellar travel that described how people become depressed or unhinged in the interstellar space. She has set up many interesting dynamics and conflicts beyond the “something is scary in space.” There is conflict between Denaria and her commanding officer; there is tension between Denaria and her assistants; there is even a scuffle of a sorts between Denaria and the captain of her transport ship. And I haven’t even got to the station yet. All this adds up to a story that will be interesting for a long time.
What needs work
All criticism should be viewed with the knowledge that I am early in the story and more may be revealed later. The author made a great scene about Denaria’s alieness at the beginning entry, but I haven’t seen much since that early entry. I have not made it to the station (in a metaphoric sense) so I am guessing that changes in later chapters. Also are there other aliens? What are they like? Again all of this may appear in later chapters that I haven’t read yet.
The next suggestion is a general beef I have with many WordPress based series – navigation. Shauna writes each as a blog entry. That is ok for people who are all caught up. But as a newbie I have to scroll practically to beginning each time to get to the section that I left off at (Note: I have added a link in the opening paragraph to the opening blog.) Once you are in a story, there are navigation buttons between the previous and next entries. There are “related” blogs, but I haven’t figured out how those relate to the story I am reading now. Adding a site map or an archives widget would make getting to beginning for us newbies so much easier. A bit of explanation on the related blogs would help or a guide page with good entry points would make it much easier to read.
I have been enjoying DSSS during my lunch. The characters are compelling; the dialog is entertaining; the descriptions nuanced. The story is interesting and keeps getting more so. For that I can endure a few moments of scrolling until I where I left off.