Vienna, Bavaria, and Redspace Rising Wows the Critics

Donna and I decided to voyage to Vienna, for the signing of the Sokovia Accords.   🙂

The city of music and Hapsburg opulence, shelled by Napoleon and half-obliterated by World War 2, Vienna is a study in contrast: centuries-old architecture lurking amid a thoroughly modern metropolis. Visiting Schonbrunn Palace and its lavish gardens dotted by fake ruins; sampling the sumptuous delights of the naschmarkt (with wiener schnitzel, bratwurst, and the rich decadence of Sachertorte); and getting familiar with streets that are an efficient circulatory system of cars, trolleys, scooters, bicycles and horse-drawn carriages.

My only complaint? The obnoxious sirens and horns blaring every few minutes, even through the night. I swear, Vienna is louder than Manhattan.

And here was an interesting moment: while waiting for a tram, a Russian-speaking man approaches me and, apropos of nothing, says, “You American?” I looked at him and nod cautiously.  Then he says, “Putin is asshole. Asshole!” and puts a finger to his lips, indicating we should be careful who we share this opinion with. It’s simultaneously amusing and chilling and true.

“If attacked by tentacled monster, don’t get in elevator with your shorter neckless clone.”


We also visited the Mozarthaus. This is the apartment (“four rooms at 450 florins per year!”) where Mozart composed some of his most famous works. It’s an illuminating exhibit, and one which pokes holes in some popular myths (there’s no hard evidence that Antonio Salieri murdered Mozart, for example, or even that they had a sinister rivalry). It’s almost a cheat to say Mozart is your favorite composer, but holy hell did he make extraordinary music. And when he wasn’t composing, he apparently was quite the gamer: in addition to a billiards table, he owned a gaming table with multiple games-in-one like something you’d find in stores today!



Since I’d never visited a salt mine, I decided to remedy this by taking a trip across the Austrian border into neighboring Bavaria. There’s a 500-year-old salt mine there, and descending into it is an otherworldly experience.

I absolutely thought of the Star Trek episode “The Devil in the Dark” while exploring these subterranean corridors. Lots of Journey to the Center of the Earth vibes too, as we trekked roughly hewn tunnels streaked in vibrant hues. There are two slides plummeting you into the lower levels. There’s vintage mining equipment, a train running along a maze of passageways, and even a boat that brings visitors across a Stygian lake. Moon miners will experience something like this in the future… except for the lake. For any fans of the fascinating book Salt by Mark Kurlansky (stand up and be counted!) or simply for those looking for a unique and informative experience, this is very worthwhile.

Afterwards, Donna and I spent time in Salzburg (a city whose name literally means “salt fortress”). Both Salzburg and Bavaria are postcards come to life. Rolling green hills, misty mountains, and storybook villages.

And confession time:

I don’t like beer. I find it too skunky, or too hoppy, and too carbonated, and always resulting in too feeble a buzz. I’m a martini drinker, and I enjoy the crisp and astringent inebriation that beer cannot equal.

And yet… in Bavaria, I finally found a beer that I genuinely enjoyed. In a mountaintop village tavern, it was listed on the menu as “wheat beer dark”.

When we returned to Vienna, we found ourselves in the midst of a pro-freedom Iranian rally.  I took this picture in Vienna in Stephansplatz, where an emotional rally was held in honor of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died in custody of Iran’s nefarious religious police. She’d been arrested and sent to a re-education center for not wearing her hijab “properly”.

As of this writing, Iran is brutally attacking students who are protesting Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his theocracy. But the protests are spreading. The anger is real, and so is the solidarity. As a lifelong enemy to theocracy, I proudly stand with them and wish them a decisive overthrow of their sadistic government.


I returned from my Austrian expedition to find that Redspace Rising is continuing to win over critics.

Publisher’s Weekly calls it a “nimble, bloody space opera… Trent works in some thought-provoking speculation on the pliability of identity and technology’s ability to change human nature.”

Grimdark Magazine says, “From its well-developed cast of characters to its innovative worldbuilding and intriguing plot, Brian Trent has crafted an ingenious masterpiece of military sci-fi… With its fast-paced action, double-crossing characters, and focus on personal identity and memory, Redspace Rising is like a literary sci-fi version of the Jason Bourne movie franchise, with Brian Trent serving as the virtuoso cameraman documenting the gripping adventures of our proficient but broken hero.”

And Locus says, “Once begun, it will grip you by the throat– like its soldier protagonist grips his many enemies–and compel you to read it all the way to its jubilant, battered conclusion. And you’ll be very grateful.”



This entry was posted in Blog and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.