Review: Channel Zilch by Doug Sharp

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Been doing mostly posts with reviews/promotions lately, but I have to with friends so active in the field. Channel Zilch is reviewed below, spoiler free for you. If it sounds like your cup of tea, you can get it on amazon here:


Channel Zilch by Doug Sharp is a book that defies expectations all the way. It’s published by a small publishing house making a big push out of Northern California, where I live, and with the product they keep producing, everyone should see to buying their books so they succeed! And start with this one! I’ll try to do the best I can to give you a feel of what you’re going to come across without spoiling.

I’m not sure what my expectations were coming in, hearing a book about a shuttle heist and a space launch that parlays into more of a sci-fi realm in its sequels. I think I expected it to be stuffy, filled with technical details, a hard type of work that doesn’t come across.

Instead, what I read was part John Clancy thriller, part Spider Robinson wordplay, part Robert Heinlein wonder, part homage to geek culture mixed together with clever originality. From even the way one of the characters communicates with others, to the footnotes provided, Mr. Sharp took a lot of gambles and pulled out all the stops to give us a thrilling ride (kinda like flying on a rocket, I’d imagine). On top of that, he gave us a cliffhanger ending to force us to beg for the next book!

The plot sounds really simple: a shuttle heist to launch a reality tv series in space. It ends up being anything but simple, as Mr. Sharp did so much research into this that the shuttle heist could have actually been possible. The details he provides are perfect, but never bogs the plot down. It should excite both hard sci-fi readers, thriller readers, and casual readers alike, which is a hard tight rope to walk, but Mr. Sharp does so with unparalleled expertise.

More impressive is his use of comedy. At points, a reader almost thinks it’s going to go over a comedic edge to end the seriousness to the story, but the balance again is perfection.

And that’s the best way I can describe the story: a perfect balance of seeming contradictions. It’s impossible to categorize this story because there are so many different elements that one would think would conflict, but they all end up working well and forming a synergy that proves this piece to be jaw-dropping literature. If you like the truly unique and well written, then you will love Channel Zilch.

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Zharmae Press Anthologies

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Well then, I’ve been asked to do a little promoting for my friends at Zharmae Press, and with a story in one of these anthologies myself, I’m happy to do so. Even were I not in one, I’d still post this up. They’re really good people and it’s always good to support indie press,.

They’ve got a deal going on in their shop for the e-book so this would be the perfect time to check it out, if you haven’t already.  My own story, “The Romance Chip” appears in the Irony of Survival anthology, the first one listed below. If you’d rather get it on kindle off Amazon, got a link on there at the bottom of the description too.  Cheers!


For the month os September, The Zharmae Publishing Press is putting their two amazing Anthologies The Irony of Survival and Real Lies, on sale for only $4.99

A complete steal of a deal!




Release Date: June 17, 2013

Publisher: The Zharmae Publishing Press



Some Authors Include: Frances Pauli, Nyla Nox, James Wymore, and Jon Del Arroz

Description: Irony of Survival being the second in the Zharmae

Anthology series takes a deeper look at survival and how irony’s effect on it can grow into something we may, or may not have anticipated. While we wonder to ourselves, how it managed to happen, it does. That is the law of irony, if the possibility exists, then the instant will occur. So we must look beyond the instant, to the series of occurrences and ask ourselves: Is this really what was meant to happen? The answer to that, in our heads at least, is no. The reality may be far different.

When I was asked to sum up the theme of this year’s top shorts obviously the title comes to mind. It’s simple, quick, and to the point. Does that really answer the question “What do the contest entries actually say about the theme, and what does that say about the reasoning behind the theme?” Probably no, and probably nothing at all. Now, when I say “Yes, we did just survive that; but it’s ironic that we did, because now, What the hell!” Is probably a better demonstration of the theme at hand. This is the look at life, and what it really takes to survive. How irony seems to play a dominant role in our lives with concurring thoughts such as: It worked out differently in my head. Or the ever so ingenious.

I didn’t die on the trip to Mars, though I should have, only to be killed 12 hours after arriving by Martian children. Of course!

But why is this important?

Sometimes irony works to your advantage. Sometimes, irony is what helps you to survive in the first place, what allows you to see beyond the near term and envision a future that was not present before. Sometimes, the irony of surviving allows for the greatest of accomplishments.

Featuring the top rated short stories of the 2012 Annual Spring Writing Competition, the Irony of Survival takes a keen look at the future, while strolling along a summer park full of adventure, love, and fright. The stories within these covers are spectacular and compelling even for those who scoff Irony in the face.

Amazon Buy link: Irony of Survival




Release Date: Feb 1, 2013

Publisher: The Zharmae Publishing Press



Some Authors Include: Dan Pike, D.H. Aire, and Oscar Francesco

Book Description: Enter a world where fantasy and reality collide, where seeking answers only raises more questions, and the paths you choose can change everything you have ever known. The pages in this collection will send you on an adventure into the unknown to discover the truth about yourself and the world around you. Create and destroy destinies when facts and reasons fail in Robson’s “Walk on By.” Question reality with Lisabeth in “Onward Into Dark,” where dreams come to life and the past returns to haunt those searching to escape the truth. Don’t believe in escapism? Join the characters of Pike’s “The Wolf of Descarta,” as they face reality head-on and struggle against wild fantasies that eclipse life itself.

But be careful, our dear readers. One bite of “reality” and you might wish you could wrap the illusions around your eyes once more because as you will find, the truth lies.

Amazon Buy Link: RealLies: A Zharmae

Collection of Short Works (Zharmae Anthology Series)

If you’re looking to discover some great new reads written by some amazing debut authors. These Anthologies can’t be beat!
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