I’ve been remiss. I forgot to mention that the book/ebook Kickstarter for Shadows of Hyperion, the fourth entry in Ryk Spoor’s Grand Central Arena series, has been going on for the last month, and now it’s nearly over. The good news is, the Kickstarter has already fully funded at the $10,000 level, so there’s no danger of failure—and there’s still a little time to help Ryk reach for the $12,500 stretch goal.

The Grand Central Arena books are one of my favorite recent Baen series. Set a couple centuries in the future, they tell the story of a human expedition to try out a new hyperspace engine that ends up discovering a whole new realm just outside our own universe. The Grand Central Arena is a vast artifact created by ancient aliens unknown, that mediates among myriad alien races who meet and compete for status and star systems. It holds many secrets—but some of the humans on the expedition have secrets of their own.

The first volume in the series is available in multiple DRM-free ebook formats from the Baen Free Library, or also free from Amazon for the Kindle, and I strongly encourage you to check it out. The first book is a little slow to start, but it’s definitely exciting once it gets going. It’s primarily space opera adventure, but there are also intriguing ancient alien mysteries that put me in mind of Arthur C. Clarke’s Rendezvous with Rama, or Roger MacBride Allen’s The Hunted Earth series. I really want Spoor to be able to finish it just so I can see where it all goes.

This is also the series I had previously mentioned Spoor acquiring permission from the estate of deceased author E.E. “Doc” Smith to make use of some of his characters and situations—so if you’re a fan of classic space opera, you’ll find plenty to love here.

Unfortunately, apparently not enough people loved it for Baen to want to continue publishing it—the publisher did not express interest in picking up any further books in the series. But Spoor saw this series as a labor of love that he really wanted to finish, and hoped it had enough fans who wanted to read further adventures in it. And so the Kickstarter was born.

Spoor had already run one successful literary Kickstarter, for his Wizard of Oz pastiche Polychrome, in 2014, so he knew how to avoid the missteps that author Lawrence Lee Rowe made in his Kickstarter attempt. The starter goal was an entirely reasonable $10,000, sufficient to cover publication and writing costs without seeming over-inflated—and, as events have shown, entirely attainable within the 1-month funding period. There are ample different reward levels, starting at $1, with the ebook included at all levels $5 and up. And the description given on the Kickstarter page is definitely intriguing.

Once it’s completed, the book will also be published through Eric Flint’s Ring of Fire Press, so you can still buy it and read it then if you don’t want to kick into the Kickstarter now. But I hope you’ll kick into the Kickstarter—it will help Spoor continue to deal with a series of unexpected expenses that prompted him to launch a GoFundMe last year, and it will produce a new volume in an excellent series that I can’t believe Baen was willing to let go. I can’t wait until the book is finished and on my reader.

The Kickstarter will be taking donations until 7:29 a.m. Eastern on Thursday, June 27. Please don’t miss your chance to kick in and help meet the $12,500 stretch goal of a wraparound cover painting!