Now that posting for the sequel to this excellent story has stalled, I felt that it might be an apt time to provide some encouragement by means of a review.
Blockade Runner is the story of the super-genius, bad-boy-with-a-golden-heart, futuristic swashbuckler whose first name is James and whose last name is inconsequential. Other characters exist, and there's even a Bad Guy that the reader will be eagerly awaiting the downfall of. Seriously, he's a mustache-twirling asshole. Not at all respectable like that other Bad Guy who turns out to be a Pretty Cool Guy.
James has a magical science ship called the Didgeridoo with a charmingly annoying AI which, despite not being as funny as Alpha from Any Pseudonym's works, is still chuckle-inducing at some points and provides an appropriate foil to the carefree attitude of the main character. Another character, I'll say Female A, is also sweet and charming, but perhaps too much so. She seemed a bit too perfect for my liking, but then, she also wasn't an active part of the entire story; the next installment seems to broaden this out and show other facets of her personality.
Other characters exist, but I can't say that they stood out to me in any particular way. It isn't necessarily that the author failed to take time to adequately characterize them, it's more that events are mostly viewed through the lens of "What does James think about this?".
Sex in this story is nearly non-existent. There's only a couple occurrences, and it's tastefully handled in a way which does not take away from the story. Quite the opposite: the author manages to use it to drive plot points right from the start, something I can always appreciate here. If there were a category between Some and Minimal, I'd probably have suggest its use for this story.
On a technical level, this is one of the most well-written stories on the site. There are very close to zero flaws, and it's obvious that the author spent quite an amount of time in editing--or perhaps Lortay is naturally gifted this area. Regardless of the reason, I was pleased by the smoothness of the flow of text in this story.
As reviewer Vitruvian Manuel pointed out, the biggest negative of this story is that the conflicts really do seem to be too easily resolved. This should not be misconstrued as advocating for character/reader anguish on the level of bluedragon's stories or the sheer amount of rape in Mike Cropo's 'Time of Eden and Elves' epic, but at no time did I feel that the heroes were ever outmatched or that the Bad Guys might win. I don't have any specific advice here since everything did play out logically based on the inherent strengths and abilities of the characters, but it felt like the Good Guys were bringing tactical nukes to a knife fight most of the time.
Blockade Runner as a story and a series is a great read even despite the shortcomings that I've listed. I was happy with it a couple years ago when I thought there was no sequel forthcoming, and I'm even happier with it now that the sequel has started to be posted. If you like reading scifi stories with a bit of romance and a likeable, roguish main character, you'll enjoy this greatly.
PS. I eedray igpay atinlay.
This was a good read. More on that in a minute.
The big battles are too easy. Things go too well in the smaller battles.
Interesting, dynamic characters. Mostly technically believable, if you suspend the standard amount of disbelief required by science fiction. Good, if heavyhanded, foreshadowing. Politics range from blunt force to nuanced, depending on the people involved. Satisfying ending.
All in all, if you like SF, you should read this. It's pretty quick, and definitely worth the read. I'm looking forward to reading and commenting on the sequel.