The Jovian Manifesto

The Jovian Manifesto

Hello again! Today I thought I’d take a break from talking about reviews, and focus on the progress I’ve been making with my second book. Basically, the manuscript for The Jovian Manifesto – the sequel to The Cronian Incident – now exceeds 78,000 words in length! To put that in perspective, the final draft is likely to be about 100,000 words, so I’m more than three-quarters there. While I had been hoping to get the manuscript finished in time for Christmas, it seems that no plan ever survives contact with reality.

But that’s okay. At this rate, the book is sure to be finished and released sometime in early 2018, and will feature new characters, new settings, and new challenges. And as I promised myself before I began writing it, it will also involve more action and a seat-of-the-pants narrative!

As for The Cronian Incident, the reviews keep coming in. At present, it has 10 reviews on Amazon (where it enjoys an average rating of 4.7 stars) and 11 reviews on Goodreads (where it averages 4.0 stars). But getting back to the sequel, here’s a quick rundown of what’s new:

Credit: US Geological Survey

New Characters:

Veronika Gallego: Cytherean by birth, intelligence-gatherer by training, engineer by choice, and amateur poet by inclination. Gallego is a jack of all trades, and more useful than she cares to be. Because when her old mentor comes calling and asks her to investigate an attack on the Jovian moon Ganymede, she can think of no one more qualified to do it.

Adelaide Cheboi: A specialist in combat and infiltration, Cheboi thought she had seen it all. But after being assigned to protect Gallego on her mission to Ganymede, Cheboi realizes there are some things that even she was not prepared for. And sometimes, the line between enemy and friend is not so clear.

Audhild Saana: An elite mercenary, Saana runs one of the toughest crews in known space. Soon enough, she and her crew will find themselves in the toughest fight of their lives. On the one side, they will face another band of skilled and hungry mercenaries. On the other, they face the people they have been contracted to kill, and they are more trouble than they initially appeared!

New Settings:

Venus: Much of the book is dedicated to establishing what life is like on Venus, where the population lives in floating cities above the planets incredibly dense and hot atmosphere. While this might sound a little space opera-esque, the concept of colonizing Venus with floating cities has actually been explored as a serious scientific matter. Up above Venus’ clouds, temperatures and air pressure are actually safe, providing you don’t mind living in pressurized cabins.

Credit: NASA

Ganymede: Much of the story also takes place on Jupiter’s moon Ganymede, which is the core of the Jovian system. The story also begins here, specifically in the capitol city of Selket. Like most of Ganymede’s architecture, this settlement is built into one of the moon’s craters and was laid out in a honeycomb-configuration. Another setting of interest is the underwater settlement of Kur, a casino and resort that is only accessible by ocean liner. When in the Jovian system, its where the fancy people go to play!

Europa: Europa, another of Jupiter’s largest moons, is another major setting in the story. It is here that the Jovian Manifesto made it’s first appearance, and where our heroes must inevitably venture in order to find the authors themselves. Once again, the planet’s interior ocean plays a significant role in the moon’s geography and culture.

O’Neill’s Reach: This habitat (an O’Neill Cylinder) is where the story’s protagonist – Veronika Gallego – lives at the beginning of the story. Like all Gyro Habs, it is a massive cylinder in space that rotates to provide artificial gravity. And thanks to Gallego’s marvelous engineering skills, it can also simulate a sunrise… with spectacular results!

Credit: Lightfarm Studios

That’s the precis and the preview. Expect to hear more as it nears completion, which will hopefully be soon!

Make that Ten (and Eight) Reviews!

You know, I seem to recall saying I was going to stop making announcement every time I got a new review.But in this case, it was three new reviews, so… yeah! In the past few weeks, The Cronian Incident has received two more reviews on Amazon (4 and 5 stars, respectively), bringing the total to ten. Meanwhile, on Goodreads, I picked up another 5 star review, bringing the total there to eight.
Granted, I am more excited about the latest Amazon reviews, mainly because my publisher has said that advertisers pay more attention to books that have ten good reviews or more. And while I am thankful for a good review no matter where it comes from, the Amazon ones also came with comments, which I wanted to share.
The first came from a user named Chris B, who gave it 4 out of 5 stars. I especially liked what they said in the last sentence:
I’ve enjoyed the world building as another reviewer has stated and am starting to warm to some of the characters. I really like how the action is taking place on various planets/moons of the solar system, and am eagerly waiting for further instalments of the story. For a (seemingly) first time fictional author it’s certainly well written.

Wow! And here I’ve been feeling self-conscious about my writing all along. When you know people are going to be reading it, you really begin to second guess your choices of words, your pacing, everything. Hearing a comment like this makes me feel a bit more comfortable with the writing process.

And here is the second and latest review, which came courtesy of Heather Archuletta. I bragged about her impressions in a previous post (which she posted on twitter) but I’ll let her speak for herself right here:

The Cronian Incident, which I recommended to my audience as my top Sci-Fi read of the year, is a treasure of planetary science. From bio-implants to solar system stations to the particular engineering environments in each planets’ system, this is a well-developed story with believable settings and characters. The author has a firm grasp of exobiology and extremophiles that will please scientists who enjoy ‘realism’ in their reading, but enough possible future tech that will also please the space-opera crowd. Don’t be afraid of methanogenic hydrocarbons — the hard science is never overwhelming, but neither does Williams assume is audience is dumb by over-explaining anything. A nice balance is struck, here. The novel assumes you know the basics of aerospace, but even if you don’t, you’ll follow the hero because you want to, as his reluctance transforms into purpose. The standout in terms of detail is the uniquely, culturally distinct planets and moons, which could only be done with competent research on each environment, and projecting the imagination into the framework of what it would truly take to colonize places like Mercury, Titan, or Callisto. Join the Interplanetary Accord.
The Interplanetary Accord. No spoilers, but that’s a reference to something mentioned in the text, and something I totally forgot about (to be honest). I better keep this in mind for future novels! 🙂
In any case, thanks to everyone who has left a review and know that your words of encouragement are what is making ths all worthwhile.

The Cronian Incident Named “Best of the Year”!

The Cronian Incident Named “Best of the Year”!

Good news, folks! First off, I apologize for the tardiness of this post. I meant to write about this days ago, but unfortunately for me, blogging about writing seems to take a backseat to actually writing. But I digress…

Heather Archuletta, a member of NASA’s Flight Simulation Research program, a STEM education advocate, creator of Pillow Astronaut (Pillownaut) and sci-fi geek (among other things) recently gave me the best review of my life! As she says in a Tweet posted on Dec. 8th, The Cronian Incident was the best sci-fi book she read this year.

Gifts! ADULT SCIENCE FICTION BOOK: Best I read and reviewed this year was “The Cronian Incident” by Matt Williams . Awesome hard sci-fi on multiple planets, with plot twists, available at Amazon.

Needless to say, I am very humbled and honored. I was also feeling pretty smug when I got this news to be perfectly honest! It certainly made me feel more motivation to get the sequel done too, which has just surpassed 70,000 words. For those looking to follow up on The Cronian Incident, the second installment – The Jovian Manifesto – it will be available in the New Year!

Eight (or Seven) Reviews and Counting!

Eight (or Seven) Reviews and Counting!

That title needs a little explaining, I realize. Since it’s release in September, The Cronian Incident has been accumulating reviews. And I”ve been monitoring them pretty closely. These days, and Goodreads are kind of the gold standard for online reviews. And between them, the book has eight reviews on one and seven reviews on the other.

The book has done far better on Amazon, where it has accumulated an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars. I tell you, you can get greedy for 5-star reviews when that’s what the first few are. But so far, I’m very glad that no one who’s reviewed it on Amazon has rated it lower than four stars. Sure, there was some constructive criticism here and there, but that’s what’s good about a decent review that offers some pointers. You know that they liked it, but were still able to offer some suggestions on how it could be improved.

On Goodreads, things have gone a little less well. With seven reviews to its name, my book has accumulated an average ranking of 4 out of 5 stars. I’m still very thankful for that much, but you kind of get slammed when some people don’t like your work and say so! In this case, one person gave it a 1-star review and that brought the overall ranking down. Not going to name names, but I did look up what they had to say and found out that they didn’t like the book because it was: Cursing, icky vilence, slow.” (that typo is all them).

Hmm. I wish they had said “Cursing, icky violence and sex”. That one bad review would have sold a thousand copies! And, from what I understand, as soon as I reach ten reviews on Amazon, advertisers will apparently start taking me seriously. So if you’ve already read the book and have not found the time to make a review, that would great!


Fourth 5 star review for The Cronian Incident!

Fourth 5 star review for The Cronian Incident!

Okay, I think its about time I stopped posting every time I get a good review. That’s got to be bad manners or something! But at the moment, I just can’t help myself. The Cronian Incident has been out for one month (as of October 5th), and I’m very happy that the first reviews have been universally good. The latest comes from by friend over at Goodreads, Scout.

She posted the following review to both Amazon and Goodreads, which you can read below:

“I haven’t read science fiction for years, so I had a pretty fresh approach to reading The Cronian Incident. First of all, I’d never thought about the fact that science fiction writers, especially in a first book in a series, can’t just tell a story; they have to, at the same time, create the world in which the characters move. I’d say that Matthew Williams did an excellent job with this. I now have a good understanding of how the world works in this series. I’d describe the novel as a futuristic sci-fi detective novel with some elements of the Wild West thrown in. Ward, the main character, begins as a convict, formerly an Interpol agent. I won’t go into detail on the plot, but I found it interesting, and this was a fast read once I figured out the basics of the world in which it’s set. I’ll leave it to the reader to discover how Williams worked possible future advancements into the novel. Suffice it to say that I was intrigued.”

Thanks Scout! And to the internet gods, may I implore you to please let reviews like these keep coming!

Third 5 Star Review for the Cronian Incident!

Third 5 Star Review for the Cronian Incident!

The latest review from The Cronian Incident has come in. This time, it comes courtesy of my buddy and writer-in-arms, horror/thriller aficionado Rami Ungar. As always, he’s detailed, honest, and knows a good thing when he sees it! Well, one can only hope… Here’s what he said:

“I received an eARC copy from the publisher prior to publication, but it took a while to get through the novel. Now that I’ve finished it, I have to say I found it quite compelling. It’s almost like you’re getting three stories in one: the story of how man has advanced in our universe through colonization and technology; the story of the disappearance of Doctor Lee; and the story of how the protagonist, Jeremiah Ward, is trying to find his freedom and rediscover himself in the process. All of them are told at once and are told splendidly by the author, who takes his time building the world of the story to be immersive, as well as the characters to be relatable. He also takes time to make sure the world of the story is easy to understand, especially for those who don’t usually read hard science fiction, and subverts a lot of tropes for these sort of stories. Twice I thought I could tell where the story was going to go, and about four or five times I found myself surprised or wrong.

“The only problems I really had was that, even though the author explains the tech and stuff, a lot of the hard science stuff can be a little hard to understand at first. That, and there were some grammar/punctuation/spelling errors here and there, but other than that I had no issues.

“On a scale of 1 to 5, I give The Cronian Incident a 4.7 out of 5 (which on Amazon is basically a 5). Pick it up, and be transported.”

Another 5 Star Review for The Cronian Incident

Another 5 Star Review for The Cronian Incident
The latest review for The Cronian Incident is in. And it was both detailed and pretty favorable! It comes courtesy of

The Cronian Incident (The Formist Series) (Volume 1) by Matthew Williams is a slow-paced, contemplative science fiction story that fans of The Expanse will really enjoy. When a high-ranking member of a Formist family disappears, Jeremiah Ward, a former detective serving a hard labor sentence on Mercury is called to act as private detective. In exchange for Ward’s services, his sentence will be commuted, but it may be more than he bargained for.

Out of the gate, Ward has his own self-imposed obstacles to overcome. He’s guilt-ridden over the events that landed him in prison, and seems to accept his fate as if he were on death row. When Ward is given his “golden ticket” of a task as a private detective, it seems like the best of all worlds. Of course, nothing is ever so easy as all that, and Ward finds himself going deep down the rabbit hole of conspiracy and danger.

Williams injects a realism into this splendid science fiction story that is reminiscent of some of the best in the genre. The Cronian Incident offers a unique view of the future-imperfect through the eyes of the flawed by likable character Jeremiah Ward. Fans of the genre will definitely want to pick up the slow-boil science fiction mystery and tuck in for a good read.