Time Travel


Published: June 15, 2015
Author's Twitter: @RichardBunning
Not even the time-lord, Orlando Oversight, knows everything. But speculation can turn into a real future, and the Lush Star system, where spider-like beings treat humans as we do animals, isn't so very far in the future. Do Jack Baker, the self-styled 'Spartacus', and his followers have a chance to become more than meat and slaves? Will Athalie have the life she hopes for with her hero? And will the 'spider' Boklung hold his business together while funding and organising the Arcraft's voyage across the Milky Way? Spiderworld is another of Richard Bunning’s quirky, speculative, science fictions. Other sentient life forms are out there, planning their own strategies for survival. Other sentient species also run short of space and time.

The Awesome Indies Seal of Excellence for Outstanding Independent Literature has been awarded to Spiderworld by Richard Bunning! Read a brand new review of Spiderworld below!

In Spiderworld, a quirky sci-fi novel by Richard Bunning, Orlando Oversight, a time-lord, space historian, and adventurer, using Bunning as a vehicle, tells us of a future that is yet to happen. In Orlando’s version of the future, Earth has been invaded by an octopedal species, the Aranian ungolian, who have transported most of the planet’s humans to their home planet as slaves—and a food supply.

Through the author, Orlando tells how an escaped breeding yeng, which is the Aranian word for the human slaves, Jack Baker, manages to maintain his freedom against the physically superior spiders. Central to the story is Bokung, an Aranian slave breeder, who is maneuvering to get a special project launched, a project that has the potential to change the destinies of homo sapien and octoped alike.

The author does a masterful job of describing an eerie alien environment in which humans must struggle against aliens and each other. As fanciful as it is, it also paints a fairly accurate picture of what happens when a relatively unsophisticated race encounters a technologically advanced group.

Spiderworld has a bit of everything: religion, slavery, romance, greed, and advanced technology, along with the interpersonal and social dynamics that exists between different groups. Despite some gory descriptions of Aranian eating habits, it also has a touch of humor, so you have here a story that should appeal to a broad range of reading tastes. That’s shorthand for, you’ll like this book.



Tomorrow Is A Long Time

Tomorrow Is A Long Time
Published: November 23, 2014
Author's Twitter: @TabithaVohn
Tomorrow Is A Long Time is an intertwining of two stories, both exploring the boundaries of romantic love and the consequences of pushing those boundaries. It tests preconceived notions of age, fidelity, and sacrifices made for love.









September Sky

September Sky
Published: January 1, 2015
Author's Twitter: @johnheldt
San Francisco reporter Chuck Townsend and his college-dropout son, Justin, take a cruise to Mexico in 2016, where they meet a mysterious lecturer who touts the possibilities of time travel. Within days, they find themselves in 1900, intent on preventing a distant uncle from being hanged for a crime he did not commit.   When unemployed San Francisco reporter Chuck Townsend and his college-dropout son, Justin, take a cruise to Mexico in 2016, each hopes to rebuild a relationship after years of estrangement. But they find more than common ground aboard the ship. They meet a mysterious lecturer who touts the possibilities of time travel. Within days, Chuck and Justin find themselves in 1900, riding a train to Texas, intent on preventing a distant uncle from being hanged for a crime he did not commit. Their quick trip to Galveston, however, becomes long and complicated when they wrangle with business rivals and fall for two beautiful librarians on the eve of a hurricane that will destroy the city. Filled with humor, history, romance, and heartbreak, September Sky follows two directionless souls on the adventure of a lifetime as they try to make peace with the past, find new purpose, and grapple with the knowledge of things to come.

5 Stars


In 2016, Charles Townsend has been laid off from his job as a newspaper reporter. While he’s taking stock of his life, he decides to reconnect with his son, Justin, who is also having his own life crisis and has dropped out of medical school. While on a cruise, they meet Dr. Geoffrey Bell, a lecturer who holds out the possibility of time travel as a reality.

When Charles and Justin attract Bell’s attention, and he makes them an offer of the chance to travel back in time, their curiosity is such they accept the offer. They travel back to 1900, to Galveston, Texas just before a deadly hurricane that wiped out a large portion of the city. Although Bell has warned them not to interfere with events of the past, Charles is driven to save the life of a distant relative wrongfully executed for a murder he didn’t commit. In the process, both he and Justin find what had been missing in their lives in 2016 – love.

September Sky by John A. Heldt is a multi-genre tour de force, combining adventure, romance, and science fiction in an entertaining story that holds a reader’s interest from the opening paragraph. Heldt does a fantastic job of painting a compellingly authentic picture of a bygone era—it’s customs, settings, and people—that puts the reader solidly in the center of the action. Fictional and historical events are woven together in a consistent and coherent narrative and are peopled by characters that you love, hate, empathize with . . . in short, that you believe in.

This is also something of a mystery, as Charles finds himself first trying to prevent a murder, and when that fails, identifying and fingering the true killer. Nothing is what it seems in September Sky, and readers will be constantly amazed as the true nature of characters unfold.

This is a truly entertaining book. A word of advice—don’t start it unless you have the free time to finish it, because you’ll quickly find yourself hooked and unable to put it down.

I give September Sky a resounding five stars.



The Mirror

The Mirror
Published: March 1, 2014
Author's Twitter: @johnheldt
On September 11, 2020, Ginny and Katie Smith celebrate their nineteenth birthday at a country fair near Seattle. Ignoring the warnings of a fortune-teller, they enter a house of mirrors and exit in May 1964. Armed with the knowledge they need to return to their time, they try to make the most of what they believe will be a four-month vacation. But their sixties adventure becomes complicated when they meet a revered great-grandmother and fall in love with local boys. In The Mirror, the continuation of The Mine and The Show, the sisters find happiness and heartbreak as they confront unexpected challenges and gut-wrenching choices in the age of civil rights, the Beatles, and Vietnam.

Reviewed by Awesome Indies

5 Stars

A Charming Story


On September 11, 2020, twins Ginny and Katie Smith go to the Cedar River County Fair to celebrate their 19thbirthdays. They’ve been going to the same fair for eight years, but this is the first time they go without their parents. Bored, they visit Marta the Magnificent, who warns them that they’re about to embark on a ‘strange and dangerous’ journey. What they don’t realize until it’s too late, though, is that the journey they will take is not to ‘where’ but ‘when.’

When Katie steps through a mirror in the House of Mirrors, and Ginny goes after her, they find themselves in Seattle on May 2, 1964, unsure if they can ever find their way back home to their own time.

The Mirror by John A. Heldt is a story that seems on the surface to be science fiction – after all, it is about time travel – but, is in fact about culture shock and growing up. Ginny and Katie face the kind of dilemma that ancient travelers from developed cultures must have faced when encountering less developed societies for the first time. How much are you allowed to interfere based upon greater knowledge? The two intrepid time travelers also learn a lot about themselves and their family as they deal with smoking in restaurants, the lack of plastic bags in grocery stores, the war in Vietnam, and race relations in the U.S. in the 1960s.

I hesitate to call this a ‘charming’ story, because that seems dismissive, but it is in fact, charming. It is also profound, in that it addresses issues that are with us in 2015, only slightly changed from the 1960s, but does so in a way that allows us to assess them dispassionately as remote observers. The characters are believable, and the picture the author paints of the era absolutely authentic. The Mirror explores human relations and the human condition with a measure of humor mixed with seriousness that will keep you reading, and leave you thinking.

Without hesitation I give this book five stars.

The Fire

The Fire
Published: September 1, 2013
Author's Twitter: @johnheldt
When Kevin Johnson, 22, goes to Wallace, Idaho, days after his college graduation, he expects to find rest and relaxation as his family prepares his deceased grandfather's house for sale. Then he discovers a hidden diary and a time portal that can take him to 1910, the year of Halley's comet and the largest wildfire in U.S. history. Within hours, Kevin finds himself in the era of horse-drawn wagons, straw hats, and ankle-length dresses. Traveling repeatedly to the same time and place, he decides to make the portal his gateway to summer fun. The adventure takes a more serious turn, however, when the luckless-in-love science major falls for pretty English teacher Sarah Thompson and integrates himself in a community headed for disaster. Filled with humor, romance, and heartbreak, THE FIRE, the sequel to THE JOURNEY, follows a conflicted soul through a life-changing journey as he makes his mark on a world he was never meant to see.

Reviewed by Awesome Indies

October 21, 2014

While on a family trip to Wallace, Idaho, Kevin  finds a relative’s secret diary that explains the shed in the back yard is actually a time machine.  Being young and adventurous, Kevin decides to have a go and is transported to 1910.  He makes friends, develops a positive reputation within the town, and even lands a serendipitous position as a school teacher.  Kevin’s reason for staying in 1910 for as long as he did is a lovely lady named Sarah.  Additionally, he meets a second young lady (Sadie) who seems to have affections for him.

While I expected Kevin, as the main character, to be the only point of view, the story was built through multiple points of view, some even being minor characters.  The author was kind enough to announce these changes at the beginning of each chapter.  As three-fourths of the novel was from Kevin’s perspective, it felt like a lazy way of telling the reader about a character.  The point of view changes were distracting, especially when Sarah or Sadie took the stage.  It allowed for redundant reflections that the reader knew from previous interactions told from Kevin’s perspective.  Instead of adding a sense of romance or heartache, it slowed down the progression of the, otherwise engaging , narrative.  The love story plays out rather unpredictably through charming dialogue.

The premise of the novel was unique and Heldt’s research on the time period shows.  His description of the town of Wallace and the nuances of life lived in 1910 bring the reader back in time with Kevin and create a wistful desire to return to simpler times.  The year itself acts as a character and creates a tension in the back of our mind since we readers (and Kevin) know about the forest fire that will occur in August of 1910.

While The Fire is billed as a historical romance, let it be known that the novel breaches two genres: historical romance and science fiction.  The novel also champions the subjects of science and history by casually mentioning the importance of both during dialogue and internal reflections of the characters.  An excellent starter for sci-fi fans wishing to branch out.



Published: November 12, 2013
Author's Twitter: @asgavin
No one remembers Charlie’s name. He falls through holes in time. And a clockwork man is trying to kill him. But there’s an eighteenth century Scottish girl who can bring him back home – assuming they don’t destroy history by accidentally letting Ben Franklin get killed.   Charlie’s the kind of boy that no one notices. Hell, his own mother can’t remember his name. So when a mysterious clockwork man tries to kill him in modern day Philadelphia, and they tumble through a hole into 1725 London, Charlie realizes even the laws of time don’t take him seriously. Still, this isn’t all bad. Who needs school when you can learn about history first hand, like from Ben Franklin himself. And there’s this girl… Yvaine… another time traveler. All good. Except for the rules: boys only travel into the past and girls only into the future. And the baggage: Yvaine’s got a baby boy and more than her share of ex-boyfriends. Still, even if they screw up history — like accidentally let the founding father be killed — they can just time travel and fix it, right? But the future they return to is nothing like Charlie remembers. To set things right, he and his scrappy new girlfriend will have to race across the centuries, battling murderous machines from the future, jealous lovers, reluctant parents, and time itself.      

Reviewed by Tahlia Newland.

March 26, 2013

4 Stars

This excellent young adult historical fantasy is a great little action story and one that would appeal to teenage boys.

Charlie’s father has something important to tell him, but before he can, Charlie finds himself falling into a kind of wormhole after a mechanical man. He ends up travelling backwards in time to London in the 1700s, meets a girl and the adventures begin. They cause a timequake when they inadvertently get Ben Franklin killed before he goes to Philadelphia. This alters the course of history, so when Charlie tries to go back to his own time, 2011, he discovers a very different world. Slavery wasn’t abolished, the French Revolution never happened, the British Crown rules the USA and his mother doesn’t know him because she didn’t meet his father. There was no World War Two either, and clockwork has a much bigger place in the world.

The clock work is the problem. The tic tocs as Charlie calls the clockwork men, are trying to kill the time travellers and to manipulate time to swing in the clockwork direction. He’s not quite sure why, but his father is trying to work it out. We don’t know by the end of the book, but that gives us a reason to read the next one. In this book, Charlie has to work out how, or if, he can set history back on course again, but that means travelling back in time to save Ben’s life, and with those murderous tic tocs after them, it’s not a simple matter.

The rules Gavin builds around time traveling are complex. Women can only travel uptime and men can only travel downtime, so travellers tend to travel in pairs. Sometimes I wonder how Charlie’s father manages to get around time as well as he does given the further restrictions the author places on their activity. Some of the meetings seemed rather too much a matter of  chance for me.

‘Unarmed’ is well written with immediate prose, a streamlined plot, and a fast pace. It is also flawlessly edited and proofed. The descriptions of the different periods in history in America, China, France and London are very evocative, and the mix of a modern boy with a streetwise lass from old London is an interesting combination.

4 stars.