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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

Black Gate Online, February 3, 2013

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Black Gate Online, February 3, 2013

“The Pit Slave” by Vaughn Heppner

Reviewed by Louis West

Vaughn Heppner’s “The Pit Slave” is a classic sword & fantasy tale. Lod had urged the last of the human soldiers, who worship the god Elohim, to rise up and rebel against the conquering Nephilim giants since “it was better to die on your feet than live on your knees.” But all the soldiers were killed or captured. Now Lod is prisoner of the Nephilim, slated to die in the arena as a pit slave. Against all odds, he defeats the pit slave champion, an eight-foot tall half-Nephilim and lastly a full-blood, fifteen-foot tall Nephilim. Believing that Elohim still has purpose for him, Lod is led away to the mines, eager to discover that purpose.

Stock action and characters, the story did not stir my blood as has some of the author’s other works.

Louis West. With a background in sub-atomic physics, astronomy, biophysics, medical genetics and international finance, Louis is particularly fond of hard SF. He critiques a broad variety of unpublished works and volunteers at various New England-based SF&F conferences. His own SF writing explores the personal, social and cultural impacts of evolving nano-tech.