I first ran on to Alan Black on Facebook with titles like “Granite Heart”, “Friendship Stone” and “Heaviest Rock.” There seemed to be a theme and they looked interesting, taking place in the 1920 Ozark Mountains with a wonderful sounding character, LillieBeth Hazkit; still, I wasn’t compelled to give them a try.
Then I spotted “Chewing Rocks“…
…a story that although related in title, was totally out of this world in difference. I mean that literally… way out of this world. Alan Black introduced me to Chastity Snowden Whyte, captain and sole occupant of the asteroid mining ship, Sedona, and I was hooked.
A strong female character you can’t help but love
In her younger years Chastity Snowden Whyte had gotten into too much trouble trying to defend her name and so started going by Sno; not Chasitity; not Whyte. What a great… interesting… odd name… Sno! “Isn’t that a weather condition?” people would often ask when first introduced to her, many of whom had never seen snow, having been born somewhere off planet, planet Earth, that is. Having found her origins on a planetoid somewhere between Mars and Jupiter, even Sno had only heard stories of snow.
In the opening chapter, Alan Black paints an out-of-this-world picture of Sno, busy outside the Sedona in her EVA suit, by herself, mining asteroids for rock (Chewing Rocks) and hopefully, a rare metal or two. When she returns to her home base in Arizona City on a small planetoid called, Ceres, she gets in a barroom scrap with 4 fellow miners from a competing operation. Men being men and expecting this pretty young woman to be easy pickings, find themselves up against a force that they can’t handle. Without harming so much as a fingernail, she puts them in their place and then shortly after, to avoid possible repercussions with authorities, blasts off into the asteroid belt. There are claims to be worked, asteroids to explored, rocks to be chewed. It’s what happens when the three men chase after her, retribution on their minds, that makes Chewing Rocks so much fun to read. Great action, wonderful word visuals of the planetoid city, the spaceships and the mining operations along with a multitude of colorful characters made Chewing Rocks hard to walk away from. When I got to the arbitration scenes with Therese Cleasemount, I just simply couldn’t put my iPad down; actually found myself chuckling now and then. I think maybe our justice system could learn a little bit from Miss Cleasemount.
Chewing Rocks was simply a joy to read. I look forward to reading more by the “Paperback Writer” Alan Black.