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Salvage Trouble

(Black Ocean #1)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  1,253 ratings  ·  151 reviews
Science to build a starship. Wizardry to take it past light speed. A crew to give it a soul.

In the year 2254 gravity was officially declared to be magic; the scientists gave up trying to figure it out and handed it over to the wizards. Without the inherent respect for the laws of physics, the wizards poked and prodded at gravity, poring over all that science knew about th
Kindle Edition, 112 pages
Published (first published October 26th 2014)
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Average rating 3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,253 ratings  ·  151 reviews

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Apr 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
Reads like a fan fiction homage to Jos Whedon's Firefly. Similar attempt at charm and some original elements, but not different enough to feel other than derivative. ...more
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I heard about the Black Ocean series on the Shacknews Chatty. Someone mentioned an Audible deal, a package that contained all 16.5 books. That was the first thing that drew me to the series: That there were 16 and a half books. What an odd number, literally and figuratively.

The second attraction was the premise. Black Ocean follows Karl, captain of the Mobius, and his ragtag band. It’s a space opera with light science elements, just enough to lend verisimilitude to situations like surviving on f
Alicia Huxtable
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. It was a good read with a solid storyline and interesting characters
Chafic (Rello)
A bit underwhelming in terms of story, but makes up in both atmosphere and a fun ensemble of characters.

Somewhat derivative of the Firefly series, it's a light, fun read which provides mindless entertainment.

Mar 30, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, sf, fantasy
I wanted to like this book because the blurb read like a Firefly-style adventure.
I was very disappointed.

It is ultra-light, not tightly written, with predictable, mundane dialogue throughout. It takes a while to get to the point of the story, then (80% through the book) it does get to an attention-worthy bit of business. Can't say I'm a fan of having magic in a hard SF universe just to have it used as an ass-saving device. World building is poor. There were many places where it would have been
There are two major impressions I have if this book: one, the writer is a big fan of Firefly. That's not necessarily a bad thing, so am I, but it never really seemed like enough of its own thing. Two, it was really short. Jarringly short. "What, that's it?" short. I'm okay with short books but this one felt like it didn't even really get going before it was over. It teased at world building and characters but never really developed them. It needed subplot! Even the overall conflict seemed flimsy ...more
Apr 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a fun book. Carl and his crew are off enough to be interesting, without being full anti-heroes. I'm hoping that future books will get more into the breakdown of science vs magic, but the these are quick fun actioners, so they may not support much on screen world building. ...more
The good:
Love the setting of Science fiction and magic.
The Characters are enjoyable; with vibes of Firefly or a Han Solo adventure.

The bad:
The big reveal at the end was somewhat underwhelming.
Frank Carver
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have had this book in my to-read pile for a while now, and I’m kicking myself for not picking it up sooner. The reason I didn’t? The series title “Black Ocean”. While skimming through titles on Amazon, I spotted an interesting-looking sci-fi story, but assumed it was something to do with underwater exploration. Turns out I was wrong, and “Black Ocean” is a metaphor for the emptiness of space. Don’t make the same mistake I did!

As for a review, I’ll admit at the start that I loved the TV show Fi
Neznem (Trent)
A friend insisted on these and I got the whole collection for one audible credit so I thought I'd give it a go. It has a bit of a slow start, and the narrator is above average, but there's something here that is definitely fun and actually feels structured like a TV series in novel form, which I like. I hope they delve more into this alternate Earth's history, and there's some annoying stereotypes about gender that bug me, but nothing's perfect and it was entertaining enough to keep going.

Erin Edgar
Apr 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
A salvage captain picks up 2 stowaways. The lives of himself and his crew get ... complicated. The crew has to figure out whom to trust. This is a light snack of a novella; very fun; I would submit that teh mystery at the end is not fully explained. However, it’s’ an amusing romp if you’re looking for a light escape.
Juha Niittynen
Jun 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great combination of scifi and magic-fantasy. Han Solo meets Gandalf.

First short-ish book is more or less character introduction, interested in following the crew of Mobius to the next adventures.
Oct 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, audiobook
07/09/2020 Mini-Review

Black Ocean Audiobook Bundle (Whole Series):

I bought the Black Ocean series bundle from Audible for one credit. The whole thing is 85 hours for about $10 if you are an Audible Member. I loved Firefly. It was one of the best, quirky SF shows of that time. Black Ocean is not Firefly. It is an oddball space pirate story with a handful of "special" characters. There's a mix of action, a little humor and a thin plot with a handful of cool details.

Mikael Naramore did a fantasti
Joseph Wetterling
Apr 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Salvage Trouble is an enjoyable first foray for the crew of the Mobius. Comparisons to television's Firefly are unavoidable but positive, as this series promises to have much of the imagination and heart of its spiritual predecessor. The captain has much in common with Mal Reynolds (as well as Han Solo, if he's more familiar) -- in both disposition and heart. This is not simply flying in Serenity's wake, however. The crew are a curious mix, with distinct backgrounds and personalities, with hints ...more
John Willson
Oct 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
A likable rogue and motley crew, just trying to make a living and fly under the radar in a galaxy where the mega-corps hold all the big cards. Fun characters, sharp dialogue, cool twists, and situations that turn from comedic to deadly (and back) faster than a Typhoon fighter with the AI pilot-assists turned off.

First title of a long series. It's short, more like a TV episode than a movie, but the price reflects that, at only a few bucks. This first installment is available free from the author
Dennis Fahey
Bland characters, improbable plot

Starts with an ok concept, space trading ship, but story is predictable, characters flat. I skimmed thru. It is a Prime freebie and a few more volumes of the series exist , but i'm passing...
Julie Davis
Apr 14, 2019 rated it liked it
A good intro to the series, crew, and type of adventure. Definitely a la Firefly and light fun of a rascally nature.

The first time through I listened to the audio book. This time, taking advantage of a deal, I read it on the Kindle. It holds up either way.
Dale Russell
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Carl Ramsey, Captain of the ship Mobius is a man of opportunity. His crew will take any job, anywhere, that will bring them the money they need to survive and keep the ship running in the area of space called The Black Ocean. So, when he witnesses a pirate ship attacking a passenger freighter he jumps at that opportunity. Driving the raiders off, he and his crew board the ruined ship only to find their efforts were late and all the crew apparently dead. Not letting a gift horse escape him, his c ...more
Dylan Evans
I have never read anything by J. S. Morin before this one. It started off as a pretty solid science fiction piece, at least until Mort showed up. At the point I realized it was a mixture of science fiction and fantasy, I was hooked. The setting was enjoyable and fun with the bulk of the story with a pulp science fiction and the frequent forays into magic.

One of my favorite parts of the setting is how magic disrupts technology. It is a nice touch that balances the science with the fantasy while a
Olivia Gratehouse
Apr 02, 2019 rated it liked it
I kinda stumbled on these books at random when I found the ENTIRE series on audiobook for the price of one. How could I refuse the promise of 80+ hours of the dorky adventures of a motley crew of space pirates, that’s been likened to Firefly and Guardians of the Galaxy???

Mission 1 was surprisingly both fun and...slightly boring? I guess? For one thing, I loved the world (ahem, galaxy) the author has created. Magic and wizards and space travel???? I’m in love!!!! And for another, I already like t
May 30, 2019 rated it liked it
As I imagine many readers did, I picked this up as part of the full series collection on audible. There's just something about "85 hours of audio book for one credit" that's hard to pass up.

With that said, it's still an entertaining listen. I found it a little difficult to listen to because the author threw a lot of new concepts and characters in all at once, but for the most part it was plenty entertaining to listen to.

The biggest detractor to me was that the audiobook collection didn't do a go
Gareth Otton
Jun 06, 2020 rated it liked it
This was an enjoyable book with (as other reviewers have already pointed out) some serious Firefly vibes. However, I loved Firefly and am in the majority of people who felt shortchanged by its short run, so that's not really a problem for me.

My issues with this book mainly come down to lack of impact. The story was good, but not stand out. The action was present but not engaging. Humourous characters were only mildly funny, bad-tempered characters were only mildly grumpy, clever characters were
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
While Captain Carl Ramsey and his crew are working on salvaging a damaged ship, they discover two refugees that need rescuing, which comes at a cost. Sister Theresa Richelieu, of the One Church and Adam, the little boy she’s trying to help, are the refugees. The priestess isn’t really a priestess any more, so she goes by Esper thereafter, and the little boy isn’t exactly what he appears. There’s a mystery to be solved as trouble keeps popping up, and the wizard does what he does to get them out ...more
J. S. Morin's 2014 novel "Salvage Trouble: Mission 1 (Black Ocean)" is pretty much your quintessential light bit of action/science fiction/fantasy reading. Well, light in the sense of non-heavy. There's certainly plenty of non-pleasant things that happen in it to weigh things down. In general, though, it's fine: the universe is interesting, the writing decent, and the characters fairly well done. It would have been nice if Morin had done some explaining of how magic and science co-exist at fairl ...more
Gavin Waskett
Feb 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, j-s-morin
Meet Carl Ramsey, Captain of the Mobius and his crew of misfits. Tanny his pilot and thrice ex-wife, Mort the ship's magician and one powerful fella, Mriy an alien you really don't want to mess with and Roddy the mechanic.

They inhabit a world powered by Science and Magic and spend their time drinking, playing games and trying to earn money. On one such salvage job they end up meeting Sister Theresa (Esper) and Adam and their lives get very interesting very quickly!

This is a fun and action packed
Katie Brock
Jul 27, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
For a short sci fi novel, it was packed with space travel, futuristic settings and some surprises! I actually enjoyed this novel, or novella more like considering it's just short of 200 pages!

Each of the characters have different personalities, from the Captain, Carl and his ex wife and co-pilot Tanny, to the old wizard Mort.

There's alien crew members too which just made it feel completely futuristic and helped me to get fully immersed into the world.

As an opener to the series it was also just
No spoilers so you are safe!
Firefly with wizards my friend said- Hmmmmm .. really? I'll give it a go. I was prepared to hate this book, but it was really good. So good in fact that I'm on book 7 of the series now & they keep getting better.
So ok in my head I have this cast as a TV series already & the more I read the more I'm refining who I want in my dream cast - but these books are FUN. Kick back, take your brain out of gear & just relax with the book & a brew. They aren't long so if you are
Jan 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Firefly with space wizards (it actually works)

A nice, light, and entertaining sci-fi tale of a nearly derelict salvage/ trading ship with a misfit crew and a sardonic ex- military captain that picks up space hitchhikers who are more than they seem.

...burn the land and boil the sea....

The formula for Firefly works so well that it's hard to screw up and this first "Mission" of the Mobius hits some entertaining notes (even if it never quite feels like a fully told story). But the writing is solid,
May 08, 2019 rated it liked it
The entire 16 book set is available as a single purchase on Audible for one credit... Basically a smokin deal for 60 plus hours of listening.
This is probably an ideal series for someone looking for Firefly fan fiction but wished there were more wizards. There is casual sexism, speciesism, paper thin motivations and characters who develop traits as needed for the story. Honestly, they all have back stories that sound more interesting than the actual plots in this series. All that being said, the
Gary Sedivy
Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
In some ways, the story and characters remind me of “Firefly” (or the movie “Serenity”. Throw in some extra-terrestrial species, a wizard and you’ve got an interesting mix. FTL is accomplished partly by wizardry. (Again, reminiscent of Cordwainer Smith’s scanners or game-of-cat-and-dragon.)
This a novella, rather than a full length novel. The author told the story, and finished it without a shaggy-dog or cliff-hanger ending. You know there are other stories to come. I didn’t feel cheated or dupe
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I am a creator of worlds and a destroyer of words. As a fantasy writer, my works range from traditional epics to futuristic fantasy with starships. I have worked as an unpaid Little League pitcher, a cashier, a student library aide, a factory grunt, a cubicle drone, and an engineer--there is some overlap in the last two.

Through it all, though, I was always a storyteller. Eventually I started writi

Other books in the series

Black Ocean (1 - 10 of 17 books)
  • A Smuggler's Conscience (Black Ocean #2)
  • Poets and Piracy (Black Ocean #3)
  • To Err is Azrin (Black Ocean #4)
  • Alien Racer (Black Ocean #5)
  • Retro Version (Black Ocean #6)
  • Siege of Mortania (Black Ocean #7)
  • Moon of Odysseus (Black Ocean #8)
  • Adventure Capital (Black Ocean #9)
  • Collusion Course (Black Ocean #10)
  • You, Robot (Black Ocean, #11)

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