Review of “Unlikely Messiah” by William R Mitchell

Unlikely Messiah and other stories    Unlikely Messiah is a collection of science fiction stories from a new e-publisher, Pothole Press (url for their website here:, which is putting together a stable containing a broad mix of fiction and non-fiction e-books. This is its first foray into science fiction

Mitchell brings a full and varied life to bear on this, his first collection of stories. He draws his protagonists with full lives too, having strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, successes and failures. That’s a lot to do in a short story which also contains plenty of world-building, plot and action, as these do. There is humour as a leaven. There is lively dialogue to push the stories along.

Most of the stories take place off world (our world, that is), space ships are in plentiful supply, as are accidents to them. Human – and alien – nature is well observed here. Aliens visit Earth with interesting results. Stranded astronauts and other life forms interact with well-imagined aliens; each has a recognisable agenda, for good and ill.

The ingredients out of which Mitchell makes his stories are often to be found in SF stories and movies. The warp drive, for instance, is an unquestioned staple. But each story takes the reader beyond the well-known; further than one might expect; on occasion two or more SF staples are combined to unusual effect. In each story something has been added. There may be a conjunction with our way of life, a parallel drawn with problems we currently have here on our own blue-green planetary home, even on occasion possible solutions – as all good SF stories should reach towards.

The author has been published several times in ‘Jupiter’ SF magazine – including the title story of this collection, which was also short-listed for the L Ron Hubbard ‘Writers of the Future’ award – and also in ‘Omega’ and ‘Apex Digest’.


Published by Judi Moore

Hi there, I hope you find something to interest you here. In December 2017 I published my fourth book – ‘Wonders will never cease’. It’s a satirical campus novel set in the fictional Ariel University in 1985. If you enjoyed Tom Sharpe’s Porterhouse novels, Willy Russell’s ‘Educating Rita’, David Lodge’s campus novels or Malcolm Bradbury’s ‘The History Man’ back in the day, you may enjoy revisiting the ivory towers of 1980s’ academe thirty years on. See what you think. “It is December, 1985. The year is winding gently towards its close until Fergus Girvan, a Classicist at Ariel University, finds his research has been stolen by the man who is also seeking to steal his daughter. But which man is, actually, the more unscrupulous of the two? And is there hope for either of them?” In the autumn of 2015 I published a volume of short fiction: 'Ice Cold Passion and other stories'. I am also the author of novella 'Little Mouse', a shortish piece of historical fiction which I published in 2014 and, a sequel to it, 'Is death really necessary?', my eco thriller set in the near future and which, confusingly, I published in 2009. All the books are available from all good online bookshops and FeedARead on paper, and as e-books on Kindle. On a semi-regular basis, and about a month after the event, I post here reviews which I do for Big Al & Pals, the premier reviewer of indie books, based in the States. My interests tend to thrillers, SF, magic realism and other quirky stuff. On this blog are also posted the reviews I did for Leighton Buzzard Music Club over some five years up to the end of 2015. LBMC present annual seasons of eight monthly chamber music concerts at the Library Theatre in Leighton Buzzard, Bucks. They select young musicians just beginning to make their name - and the concerts are usually magnificent. I was very proud to be associated with them. I review other music, books, theatre and exhibitions which I've particularly enjoyed. BTW - it says the link to Facebook is broken. I dispute that. Click it and see, why not?

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