Peter Glassborow's Franchise was published by Elsewhen Press in a digital format in September 2018 and in paperback in December 2018.

Information about Peter Glassborow:

Born in London Peter wrote his first short story when he was thirteen. His father told him it was rubbish, which it was. However the writing bug had seized him and he wanted to be a published writer. Roll on fifty years or so and now he is living in New Zealand after his family emigrated there. He has had many jobs including twenty years in the NZ army, and writing stories is his main hobby.

Taking a correspondence course in creative writing his first assignments showed him how bad he was at spelling, punctuation and general self-editing, but his tutor’s help gave him the confidence to finally send out submissions. One was accepted, and his teenage ambition to be a published author was finally realised. Now retired he writes in several genres and has become ambitious enough to write and self-publish a historical trilogy. Franchise, the first book in the Cornucopia Logs series, is Peter’s first foray into space opera.

Information about Franchise:

The first of the Cornucopia logs

Navigating an asteroid field was just the start of the hazards…

When Pam Rakai convinces her husband Jack to write an article for the ‘My Job’ section of The Modern Earth Woman’s Weekly, he starts to keep a record of their day to day life. A franchise holder from the Inter-Galactic Vending Machine Company, Jack’s daily routine is not usually glamorous or exciting. He and Pam, along with their three children and sundry alien pets, travel to various spaceports and refuelling stations to service and restock the company’s massive vending machines. In the process, they encounter aliens from many of the 739 species of intelligent civilised life who make up the Conglomerate that Earth joined 114 years earlier.

Their next call is to the Afgfun Seven spaceport to deliver supplies that the company hope will defuse a miners’ sit-in. It’s a trip Jack is dreading as he’s not confident that he can safely navigate their new spaceship through the asteroid field that surrounds the spaceport. The perilous journey is just the first of the unexpected hazards that lie in store as he and his family get caught up in a dangerously escalating situation. Jack and Pam must protect their family, keep their employer happy, deal with some very unsavoury characters (alien and human alike) - and remember to keep a log for the readers back home.

REVIEW: FRANCHISE BY PETER GLASSBOROW

Peter Glassborow's Franchise is the first novel of the Cornucopia Logs series. It's an entertaining and fast-paced space opera novel that is easy to like. It's a quick and enjoyable read to speculative fiction readers who want to immerse themselves in good and light escapism.

When I began to read Franchise, I didn't quite know what to expect from it. As the events began to move forward and I noticed where things were going, I found myself enjoying the story. I was pleasantly surprised when I noticed that the author approached space opera elements from a slightly different angle.

What separates Franchise from other new science fiction novels is that the author concentrates on writing about Jack Rakai and his family. By focusing on Jack, his wife and their children and how they deal with various problems and situations, the author brings a fair amount of warmth to the story. This is something that is not often found in modern space opera novels.

Franchise tells of Jack and Pam Rakai and their chilren (William, Carly and Harley). Pam has gotten Jack a job at writing the "My Job" section of The Modern Earth Woman's Weekly magazine. He keeps a journal of their day-to-day life and Pam edits it. Jack is a franchise holder for Inter-Galactic Vending Machine Company (IGVMC), so his life is not exactly exciting in any way. Along with his family, he travels to various spaceports and refuelling stations and restocks the company's vending machines. When they begin the trip towards the Afgfun Seven spaceport to deliver supplies that are supposed to defuse a miners' sit-in, things gradually become more complicated and exciting for them...

In order to avoid major spoilers, I won't reveal any details about the plot twists, but I'll mention that when Jack and his family are on their way to Afgfun Seven spaceport and reach their destination the story becomes satisfyingly exciting and intriguing, because the author delivers a few well-placed surprises.

The author's way of writing about Jack, Pam and the children has a realistic feel to it, because he tells of their daily life and what kind of obstacles and situations they face and how they cope with things. He writes about how they deal with parasites and passengers etc, and he also pays attention to their strange pets.

The alien pet, Nick the Nock, is an interesting alien being, because he is half-meter high and walks around the ship on his eight spindly, jointless legs and makes sounds. He doesn't have eyes, but he uses his ears to listen to sounds. The other alien pets are also intriguing in their various forms.

The story has several details that are explored surprisingly well. It was interesting to read about how Jack felt about navigating the asteroid field that surrounds the Afgfun Seven spaceport, because he was not expecienced in evasive flying and needed practice. I also enjoyed reading about the relationship between Jack and Pam, because Pam was also a writer, but Jack was more successful at writing than her. What happens at the Afgfun Seven spaceport is especially fascinating and I was pleased to read about the happenings, because the dangerously escalating situation was handled well by the author.

This novel has a good balance between excitement and entertainment values. The humorous elements spice up the story in a nice way, because the author uses them sparingly.

Although this novel has plot-wise almost nothing in common with the classic TV series Lost in Space, I got a few Lost in Space vibes when I began to read it. I guess it's the author's way of writing about Jack and his family that reminded me about Lost in Space.

Because this novel is different from other space opera novels, it's possible that it will appeal to readers who don't normally read this kind of speculative fiction. I think that this novel will also be of interest to readers who enjoy reading stories about families, because Jack's family has an important role in the story.

Peter Glassborow's Franchise is good and entertaining science fiction entertainment due to it being a bit different kind of a space opera novel. Reading this kind of science fiction escapism is relaxing, because the fast-paced story offers a wonderful respite from hurry and daily routines.

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