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The Backworlds

(The Backworlds #1)

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  729 ratings  ·  105 reviews
Book 1. Space opera series.

In the far future, humanity settles the stars, bioengineering its descendents to survive in a harsh universe.

After the war with the Foreworlders, Backworlders scatter across the planets left. Competition is fierce and pickings are scant. Scant enough that Craze’s father decides to improve his fortunes by destroying his son.

Cut off from family
Paperback, 146 pages
Published April 10th 2012 by M. Pax (first published June 30th 2011)
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Community Reviews

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3.35  · 
Rating details
 ·  729 ratings  ·  105 reviews

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S.J. Higbee
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The initial couple of chapters pack a real punch – Craze’s hurt and amazement at his father’s double-cross is believable and immediately had me rooting for him. Pax shows her experience in the slick handling of her protagonist – too much fury and resistance would have unduly slowed the pace, while a mere defeated shrug would have still had the reader convinced that his father was a complete ratbag, but would not necessarily have engendered quite as much sympathy for the main character.

After his
Jan 16, 2014 added it
Good Lord, how this did not work for me. Disliked the protagonist, disliked the prose, pretty much only liked that it was free and short. I'm kind of glad I didn't see any FIREFLY comparisons before reading it, as that would just have made the annoyance more intense.
May 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Holy Cow! I bow before the master of science fiction. M Pax should be on the Hugo Ballet right now for this story.

I became a fan of the author when I read Semper Audacia last year. I can't remember the details of that review, but I decided that I was going to be reading everything I could get my hands on that had M Pax on the cover.

So, this came around and my perception of what this author is capable of just went up considerably. This is MAJOR league awesome. I need, what? I need another star
May 31, 2013 rated it liked it
Three stars is a first-novel gift.

This isn't space opera. It isn't really even science fiction. It's an off-world coming-of-age story. Sort of like Star trek (that's no complement), it has aliens, technology and space geography pasted on to resemble science fiction. Everything was too easy.

Having said that, there's potential here. Pax shows talent.

Catherine Stine
Jun 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: lovers of space-opera, sci-fi, world-building
M Pax has visited the stars, you can tell. In fact, her bio says that she’s a star guide at Pine Mountain Observatory in Oregon. In her sparkling new space opera, Backworlds, her main character, Craze talks about shopping for a used rocket with scrappy cabins and a limit of “100 more jumps ‘n’ stops”. She’s created a nuanced galaxy of Backworlds and Foreworlds, with thugs on Wism, Jix cons on Elstwhere, and a rather verdant home planet of Siegna. If only Craze hadn’t been kicked off his own plan ...more
Marcha Fox
Jan 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: scifi-fantasy fans
Shelves: fiction
Craze is a Verkinn, a stocky race which can control their ear holes and have living hair that can braid itself. He's a big guy with a good heart who wears life-support overalls which help keep him out of hibernation when he gets in low oxygen environments. His family has betrayed him and undeservedly labeled him a leecher so he's on the run, determined to live out the old adage "The best revenge is to live well." During his quest he encounters a variety of other characters and they share numerou ...more
Jan 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
Due to the greed of his Father and Community Elders, Craze finds himself exiled from his home world. But all is not lost for him as he teams up a crew journeying the "Backworlds". All the while considering how he will make his fortune and take revenge on those back home!

This story introduced some interesting characters and original concepts. It was also a very enjoyable read and I will be adding book 2 in the series to my reading list!
M. Pax
Apr 11, 2012 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
I think it's fab ... of course :)
M Hamed
Nov 13, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2017, military-sci-fi
one of the first things the protagonist do,is buying boots .leather,hand made with a gemstone
yeah,that's right
in the age where humans settled a quarter of the galaxy
boots are a fucking issue
Not a bad introduction for a sci-fi series. It's not gritty or deep, but it was entertaining watching the main character get himself in and out of trouble as he tried to find his feet in the universe having just been thrown off his home planet. From the very first chapter I just wanted to scoop Craze up in a big hug and whisk him away, the poor bloke. I love a good underdog and I love a motley crew of different species. Looking forward to carrying on with this series and seeing what Craze gets u ...more
Tony Laplume
Dec 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Pax is excellent at world-building, but Backworlds is ultimately not nearly as interesting as it should be. The biggest problem is that she leaps into the story without looking, sending the reader into the lead character's dilemma of being cast out by his father without first establishing why we should care about the poor guy to begin with. And then just sort of stumbles on from there. Some readers have apparently been turned off by what might be described as the backwoods, stereotypical Appalac ...more
Apr 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
I have confessed to having a soft spot for sci-fi. I was hooked from the first page when I felt immediate sympathy for the main character, Craze. He's an underdog with limited material resources, but his drive and ingenuity come through loud and clear. After being betrayed by his father and booted out of his home planet, he makes new alliances in a desperate attempt to survive. Craze is a charming character. The Backworlds is a scary place with all sorts of bioengineered beings. I loved reading ...more
Jeff Chapman
Betrayed by his father, his girlfriend, and community, Craze is cast into exile, forced to make his fortune on his own. His father has taught him a few skills, but Craze never intended to set up a business on another planet and he's going to have to earn a lot more chips before he can hope to buy what he needs to start his own tavern. A few chance encounters and a back alley deal with stolen goods seems to put the fortune he needs within reach. Well, maybe and maybe he'll be lucky to get out ali ...more
May 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a fast read, yet did a great job of introducing the reader to the "Backworlds" and the characters there. Craze is young man who suddenly finds himself shunned by his father, his girlfriend and his home-world. Forced to move off-world (literally chased off the planet), and carrying only a few coins and even fewer possessions, he finds himself relying on the skills (scamming and manipulating) that his father taught him. But, when trouble soon finds him, he ha ...more
J.L. Dobias
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: shelf-004
The Backworlds(Book 1) by M. Pax

This book really entertained me.

I love character driven stories and I frankly thought at the beginning that there was no way a shallow self absorbed character like this was going to get me through the story.

The problem is that for the most part the story is well written and the style of writing drew me into the story.

It took a while for my thick head to figure out that Craze was some sort of gene-engineered made for space being. And as I read I began to wonder if
"A good book makes you want to live in its world. A great book gives you no choice." I can't remember who said it, but The Backworlds is therefore a great book. It doesn't quite make it to five stars because I like more thematic depth from books, but as a fast-paced adventure of planetary wheeling and dealing, it's a great one. Pax's writing hits that hallowed mark where I wasn't conscious of the words on the page (well, kindle screen) but there, in the Backworlds.
Some of the reviews are saying
The Mysterious Reader
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I think that M. Pax‘s The Backworlds is a masterful achievement in that it does what really (really) goood science fiction is supposed to do: set up a future universe that really makes sense and then have fun inside it. That’s certainly been done here and the story of lead character Craze is a great one. Not only is thus a fun book in itself but I can already see that it’s going to be the tip of a an iceberg of a truly great space opera adventure series. But for the fact that I’m literally dicta ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jewell Moreno
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
My first introduction to this author. Story about a young extraterrestrial who is kicked off his home planet when his father decides the planet isn't big enough for the two of them. His exploits at his first time away from home. Consist of most of the story. He meets a large number of shady characters and also some very good friends. I had a hard time visuallizing some of the characters and locations, because descriptions were so foreign to me. I liked this story the more and more it went on, un ...more
Jan 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This space opera was a quick read. I felt that the story started a bit abruptly with Craze getting booted from his home planet and we didn't have much backstory. A little more depth in the beginning would have been nice to help submerge me into the story and main character.
The thing I found most interesting in the book was Craze's living hair that could braid itself.
There were a few things, however, I found a bit cheesy and silly. Like the value of chocolate. Craze should have at least eaten a
Pétur J.
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
There are several things that bothered my with this book. The protagonist wasn't interesting nor did he keep his "alienness" throughout the book, i.e. he was pretty strange in the beginning but towards the end he was just a human doing human stuff.
The storyline simply didn't interest me. How he befriended a bunch of random characters with practically no effort at all, how he as a master hustler somehow forgot to hustle his marks and more.

Sadly I will not be reading the sequels.
Adam Windsor
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, sf-fantasy
I really did want to like this. The book does a pretty good job of establishing the protagonist and making us want to see him succeed ... and then basically fail to give us anything like that. Instead we get lots of contrivance to keep him involved in events, most notably characters becoming dedicated friends and allies after knowing each other for a page or two. The text needs to work harder than it did if it wants me to buy into the level of loyalty being displayed.
Gary E O'Hara
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read

I really like the world building and characters in this story which is not a space opera but is an interesting world and moves quickly if a little short in length. This story really pulls you into a different universe which is not easy to do for me! 70 years and long time SF reader.
Ken Hubbard
Aug 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Quirky and interesting soft sci-fi. The main character is a hustler who is kicked out of his home, and has to find his way through the seedy side of the galaxy. It's very short and doesn't have much of an ending, but that's because it's intended as Part 1 of a series. I liked it, but not sure if I will continue with the series.
PJ Lea
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 star beginning.

Craze is ostracised and loses everything for dubious reasons. He then gets into, and out of, tight spots as he tries to find his way.
I liked Craze as well as the new friends he meets. The story is fun to read, a well written tale with excitement aplenty to keep you reading.
Walter Scott
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
My first M. Pax novel. Interesting and entertaining world building. Always something new to draw out the reader’s imagination.(Chocolate bars are worth more than their weight in gold.😉) Some original concepts are detailed so convincingly that there is a strong sense that they MUST be real. I already have the sequel on my Kindle
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
This started off really strongly but then went downhill. The word building was interesting and the main character started off as intriguing. However, the heist was too straightforward, for all his talk Craze was a poor hustler and the loyalty shown to him by essentially random acquaintances was just not plausible.
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
I liked the book. Had various type of characters, humor and good descriptions of places and environments the characters find themselves. I'm looking for #2 in the series. I read various genres and too much non-fiction (meaning "technical documents"); I enjoy the light and fun read this book provides.
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding first book in this new series. Humanity has settled on the stars. Craze’s father has decided there isn’t room on his for both. He sends him away to another one. Now he has to make sure he survives and then take revenge on his father. Loved it
Carole O'Brien
This story is about a young man, whose father betrays him, gets him kicked off the planet and marries his son's girlfriend, the young man has no choice but to get on the next spaceship leaving the docks

Brilliant story, well worth a read.
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M. Pax is author of the sci-fi series, The Backworlds, and the new adult urban fantasy Hetty Locklear series. A Browncoat and SG fan, she's also slightly obsessed with Jane Austen. In the summers she docents as a star guide at Pine Mountain Observatory where the other astronomers now believe she has the most extensive collection of moon photos in existence. No fear, there will be more next summer. ...more

Other books in the series

The Backworlds (7 books)
  • Stopover at the Backworlds' Edge (The Backworlds, #2)
  • Boomtown Craze (The Backworlds #3)
  • Beyond the Edge (The Backworlds #4)
  • Worlds on Edge (The Backworlds)
  • Precipice (The Backworlds, #6)
  • FreeFall (The Backworlds, #7)
“You can take a flyin’ leap off a space dock.” 3 likes
“It made Craze smile, despite wishing most of his body parts would find new homes and leave him in peace.” 2 likes
More quotes…