New Treasures: Summer’s End by John Van Stry
Summer’s End (Baen Books, December 6, 2022). Cover by Sam R. Kennedy
John Van Stry is a darling of the indie publishing world. He’s self-published dozens of science fiction novels, including eleven volumes in the Portals of Infinity series, and 18 in The Valens Legacy, written as Jan Stryvant. Summer’s End is his first book with an established publisher, and it caught my eye this week at Barnes and Noble. It’s the tale of newly graduated Ship Engineer Dave Walker, who takes a job on the Iowa Hill, described as:
An old tramp freighter running with a minimal crew and nearing the end of its useful life, plying the routes that the corporations ignore and visiting the kinds of places that the folks on Earth pretend don’t exist. Between the assassins, the criminals, and the pirates he needs to deal with, Dave is discovering that there are a lot of things out there that he still needs to learn.
That’s the paragraph that sold me, and helped move this book up near the top of my already-towering TBR pile.
Some of John Van Stry’s self-published work: The Hammer Commission, volume 1 of
The Hammer Commission trilogy (2013), Everyday, Including Holidays, volume 18 of
The Valens Legacy (2021), and Bridge of Sighs, volume 11 of Portals of Infinity (2022)
Van Stry is no doubt enjoying having Baen’s very talented marketing and PR departments behind him for the first time, and the industry attention they command. Here’s what some of those folks are saying about Summer’s End:
Family looms large even in the vastness of the cosmos in this retro space opera from Van Stry (Portals of Infinity), which would sit comfortably on a shelf of 1950s science fiction. Dave Walker, a recent engineering graduate with a checkered past, goes off-Earth to avoid being killed for political reasons by his ambitious stepfather and finds a surrogate family with the crew of a tramp space freighter. Dave sets out to earn their trust while also relying on his past as a gang member to dispose of the assassins who come after him… The female characters go frustratingly underdeveloped, but the action keeps the pages turning. Readers with a fondness for old style coming-of-age sci-fi will appreciate the rapid rise of Dave Walker.
Read the full review at Publishers Weekly here.
Summer’s End was published by Baen on December 6, 2022. It is 362 pages, priced at $17 in trade paperback and $8.99 in digital formats. The cover is by Sam R. Kennedy.
Read the first six chapters (72 pages) at the Baen website.
See all our recent Vintage Treasures here.
I really do hope that you enjoy the story.
Thanks John! Is this the first of a series, by chance?
I’m still struggling with that. I’m torn between writing a book about Ben (you’ll know who he is once you read it, if you haven’t already) and writing another story about Dave. My publisher would prefer Dave but I honestly want to do Ben.
I’d also very much like to do other stories in this ‘universe’ if there is enough interest among the reading public. While SciFi is my first love, my reputation these last few years has been more Urban Fantasy-ish and to many of the book store crowd I’m not a known quantity.
Let me tell you, having to rebuild your rep from ground zero is a daunting task!