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Salamander Six : Will’s Reviews #2

January 3, 2020
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Watch the video review on Patreon »

Salamander Six is a series of four short stories by Michael A. DiBaggio and Shell Presto. I met Michael and Shell several years ago at Sci-Fi Valley Con, a local pop culture convention.

Looking over their books, I wasn’t sure if it would be worth my time. Their stories focused on superheroes in prose. I always want my superheroes in comics rather than prose. No offense to the authors, I don’t normally read prose about sups.

We picked up a copy of Salamander Six, their collection of short stories. I’ve been burned by indie authors in the past. We like to give them a chance. It’s the whole reason I offer Greed for free. Short stories are a perfect test to see what you like.


Salamander Six sat on the shelf until I dug it out of my to-be-read list. That’s several shelves stacked to the gills with books in crevices, shoved in between others, and tightly jammed against the wood, making it impossible to reach other books.

When I saw Michael and Shell at Paranoia Con, I remembered the book. They recently went through some cover changes, and I couldn’t remember which one it was. In the spirit of supporting indie authors and reviewing their books, I dug through the pile and pulled out our copy of Salamander Six containing the stories of the Ascension Epoch universe.

Here’s what I thought:

Salamander Six

This story is a heroic science fiction adventure about a team of power-suited firefighters performing daring rescues.

In reading this, I wasn’t looking forward to the rest of the book.

Don’t take that the wrong way.

This story wasn’t for me. I struggled through it. The characters are French and there are a lot of French elements. For those who don’t me, French and I don’t get along. I love languages—Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, German, Gaelic—but I don’t like French… it makes my ears and eyes bleed.

That said, I can’t rate this story. It might be something for you to look into, but it wasn’t for me.

Won’t You Come In and Blink – East End Irregulars

Won’t You Blink is about two characters with super powers in Pittsburgh, PA. I’m always in Pitt, so stories taking place there interest me. In this very short, very quick story, the characters follow a thief into a house that comes alive.

It was good.

A little fast for what seems like a horror short. The beginning dumps information on the house. I wish the authors would’ve sprinkled that information along to let our imaginations build.

Blink was great! I loved this story!

It’s about a girl named Kali who gets abducted. In meeting her captors, strange things begin to happen. That’s about all I can say without giving spoilers.

At first, I wasn’t sure I’d like her character with her responses to certain actions. In the end, it was the best story of the book.

Unwholesome Victuals

Like Salamander Six, this just wasn’t my thing. It felt more like a War of the Worlds fan fiction than something unique. The description does say it’s part of the War of the Worlds universe, I just never expected it in a book tailored towards powered heroes.

I personally don’t read fan fiction.

If you like War of the Worlds, you might like this short. It was well written. I really can’t say anything against it other than it doesn’t fit the collection.

Would I Continue?

I would continue with After Dark, the ongoing story of the East End Irregulars. The story and characters have promise, especially Kali. The writing style kept me engaged. Other than describing the house in too much detail too early, they were great shorts.

If you’re interested in the East End Irregulars, you can check them out on Amazon.


Unfortunately, I wouldn’t continue with Unwholesome Victuals or Salamander Six. That’s me. If you like the premise I described above, you may want to give them a try. Everybody has genres they like or don’t like. These two just weren’t for me.

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