The Die Is Cast, edited by Greg Schauer

The Die Is Cast, edited by Greg Schauer book coverGenre: Military Science Fiction
Publisher: eSpec Books
Published: 201
Reviewer Rating: three and a half stars
Reviewer:  David L. Felts

Have you read this book?
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)


The Die Is Cast, edited by Greg Schauer, contains 10 stories by Mike McPahil and Danielle Ackley-McPhail. Although The Die Is Cast was published in 2017, most of the stories collected have seen prior publication.


Wayward Child, by Mike McPhail
Turtles All the Way Down, by Danielle Ackley-McPhail
Chimera, by Mike McPhail
Fun and Games, by Danielle Ackley-McPhail
Cling Peaches, by Mike McPhail
In The Dying Light, by Danielle Ackley-McPhail
Sheepdog, by Mike McPhail
Proving Out, by Danielle Ackley-McPhail
Beyond Imagine, by Mike McPhail
Brother, by Danielle Ackley-McPhail

As stated on the back of the book, these stories are based on the authors adventures playing The Alliance Archives, Martial Role Playing Games (aka Alliance Archive Role Playing universe), over the span or years from 1986 – 1996.

The general setting is a far future where humanity has established an off-Earth colony world Demeter in the system of Tau-Ceti. Rather than ravenous aliens hell-bent on the destruction of the human race, humanity discovers it’s greatest enemy is still itself.

The Die Is Cast stories detail some of the engagements between ADF power-armored troops and their Parr scouts against invading corporate mercenaries.

For the genre, Mike McPhail’s pedigree is impressive. He’s a member of the Military Writers Society of America. He was trained as an aeronautical engineer and dreams of becoming a NASA mission specialist, balanced by his enlistment in the service. In the late 80s he was involved in the design of the Martial Role-Playing Game (All’Arc MRPG), a manual-based, hardcore military science fiction adventure, set in his Alliance Archives universe.

I relate the above so you’ll know you’re getting stories written (and no doubt reviewed by) someone how knows his stuff.

Wayward Child, the first offering stars with a bang. Morgan finds herself under siege by enemy troops in the depths of Demeter’s forests. McPahil does a great job building the tension and stress of being in combat.

Chimera is likewise as tightly written, a survival story staring a cybernetically enhanced cat, aka a Parr. An unknown enemy is hunting Ma’Rou and his human partner.

In reviewing the stories, it seems Mike McPhail’s stories present a more hardcore military life or death tales, while Danielle Ackley-McPhails tend to be more light-hearted.

A fun way to spent time for any fan of military science fiction.

Liked it? Take a second to support SFReader on Patreon!

Leave a Reply