The idea behind Swarm is really interesting. The characters suddenly find themselves used as pawns in a battle between unknown adversaries fighting it out with robots. The character development, however, is so awful that I could only listen to half of the book. According to this author, men are so lecherous that contact with any woman will immediately result in objectifying her and a desire for sex. Apparently this is true even if the woman is trying to kill you, even if you just survived a murderous attack by multiple assailants by killing them, and even if you just witnessed your own children being savagely murdered. Yep, nothing says foreplay to this author like seeing your kids killed. And what of the ladies? Really no development at all. Because why bother…they're just there for our hero to stare at anyway. Really retrograde approach to sci-fi characters.
Yes, great storyline
The Starfist Series, grounded in the reality of Humanity Vs....
No, Well done!
Love this book. Action packed and really hooked me in. There are some unrealistic things but hey, this is fiction so I just enjoy the ride.
More believable main character. Any other 3D characters, almost no character development for anyone besides the main. The female character is portrayed as an insultingly weak and stupid girl.
I would recommend this to any science, tech or programming guy who wants to be on a fairly well written adventure about an everyman widower computer professor that starts with him fighting for his own survival in a first contact situation with some unusual artificial aliens that think as a nano collective. But what makes this book so rewarding is that it is followed on by more books that genuinely evolve and have many other big new ideas that over time really change the story and the character. I feel this first book is one of the most inventive though and it has a number of fun wish fulfillment scenarios for people who have always lived by their wits but would enjoy more adventure if it were tailored to a hero with brain and a level headed perspective first and foremost.
I am sure there are likely books to compare the Swarm too, but I really cannot think of any off hand. One key imaginative aspect to this book is combining the speculation of a first contact situation with the notion of very advanced and powerful Alien Nanotechnology. While I do not think it is the intention of this author to engage in super hard science fiction, never the less there is some very intelligent and imaginative work done to play out one way such an artificially intelligent alien first contact scenario might actually take place. In other words this book, while not hard science fiction is most certainly not science fantasy either. It takes more liberties with the complexity of the world socio and political reactions more than the science or the individual dynamics of its main or immediately tertiary characters.
I generally really liked the narrator and I thought he did a great job with all the voices and he should be looked at as an up and coming audio reading voice talent. But if I am forced to talk about specifics I would say that he does a nice job with the main character and with the female lead. Later in the book series is does a terrific job with a number of male and female characters with specific ethnic accents and vocal temperaments. Last but not least he adds a real sense of humor when he finally is able to embody the character of an unique alien AI named Marvin. Although I need to clarify that Marvin may not show up till a later book. Which brings me back to my original point about this book as it relates to its mates. This book is merely one great complete story that then opens the door to several other great stories with new big ideas that keep the epic from becoming sterile or predictable. And a nice part about this audio book series is that Mark Boyett is used through out all of the books in the series so far. Once you get used to how a particular character is voiced, you do not have to wonder if that will change in book 3 or 5 or 6. Its also good for me to point out because if you do not like this readers voice, then be warned he is the voice in all the books that are part of the series so far. I genuinely liked him. He acts and gives unique vocalizations to each significant character and at his absolute worst his voice is not offensive or grating. All in all I consider Mark Boyett a selling point of this book and all the books he is a part of in this series.
its been a while since I have read swarm but less than a moment and more of an overall content theme that moved me was the transition of this middle ages man who was a gentle and smart Programming professor who is still in morning over the loss of his wife and yet over time. You watch as this man who has all the advantage of a middle aged man that is educated and thoughtful and more importantly comfortable with who he is but yet is also still somewhat hung up on the loss of his wife and so therefore is a bit stuck before the novel's fantastical events give him not only challenges but also a new lease on living life in the present and not in the past.
If you are a person looking for a fun smart but not overly deep adventure read that will not fail to disappoint and that has a number of alluring points to it style wise. Namely that each book acts as its own discreet story that are in their own right entertaining to read or listen too. Also it is worth while to not that over time the science fiction tone definitely shapes into a much more military aspect to their stories, But the difference is that the story changes tone very organically into a more military science fiction. In fact this first book is probably one of the less military themed ones because there is so much context, character and fantastic imaginative aspects that must be introduced and explained. that said its still full of some great action. I am some times find military science fiction pretty one note and dry, but in my case, even as the later stories involve even more focus on a more military based Sci-Fi story, it does not do so at the expense of the overall motivations of the various characters that the readers meets in the story, but rather it heads toward conflict and military style fiction because of the people you meet and the evolution of those you have known since the beginning. For me that was key as it kept me caring about the action as I felt very invested in the outcomes. Further, the storytelling style never deviates from letting you see how things develop because of outside developments but also because of the ideas, goals and emotional drivers that influence the choices that are made by several of the main characters. I love it when a story teller is able to credibly tell the story of big battles and wars and simultaneously tell you the story of the peoples that have to make choices in that affect those wars. It keeps the action nailed into the personal while maintaining a great deal of insight into the action that will affect everyone. In general, if you like great speculative fiction that has some real terrifically executed story telling that tackles some neat speculative technology, one form of a First contact scenario, and some follow on struggles that address the struggle for survival, the difficulty of relating to alien intelligences, and some exploration into how much can a human being change its body and or mind physically and still be considered both human and still the same basic core person inside. And all done with a good mix of wit, fun, imagination, and a generally nice pace that keeps one from feeling bored if any of the aspects of the story might not be a hook for a particular reader. I have read all six of this series books and I have really enjoyed all of them. some are better than others, but none of them are seriously subpar. In fact as my last comment, I will leave you with a repeat of one of my earlier comments and that is that the series itself does not just stop adding big fun imaginative leaps in book one. This is a series that has a continuing stream of intriguing ideas that are introduced into the story telling so that as some aspects of the story that may have felt fun to ponder in book one but might be getting tired by book 3 or 5, well have no fear, I felt no idea was flogged to the point of being tedious and boring because the author has run out of intriguing ideas to continue a number of themes.
All in all, while I am not going to call this series some Opus of science fiction, I am going to say that is an extremely high quality fun adventure ride that is choc full of a great number of intriguing ideas that imaginatively played with in order to service the On going endeavors of our main character, his lovers and friends, and organizations that he will eventually start. It is perfect escapism that is neither mindless nor soulless. I am reminded of a great Jim Butcher Quote when he speaks of his own sales pitch about his now very famous fantasy series, The Dresden Files. He says, We are not claiming that our stories are life altering literature but rather it is really good popcorn story telling for smart people. And if you know anything about Jim Butcher's Books, you along with me, might be willing to argue that he does not at times get pretty close to life altering literature. I know I certainly care about his characters and therefore his universe and all the fun imaginative speculations in his book. I am giving B V Larson high praise by saying that this book and the series it is a part of nearly as compelling. I know I read the first book in one sitting.
I liked the start - the idea of a nano spaceship - AI, programming etc. but it did not do a great job of maintaining the interest through the latter part of the book and I felt that the ending was weak. Needed more of a twist, something we did not expect - the ending felt like a last minute addition simply to herald in the next book.
I think the characters were a little flat.
I am not sure where all the love for this series comes from. I listened to the first five in the series before I just could not force myself to listen anymore. the main character is an absolute moron and I usually could not go 20 minutes before wanting to yell at the author about how stupid the guy was. Each book is just a continuous stream of him making the same mistake over and over that I could not take it anymore. Kyle always think he is absolutely sure he has everything covered and absolutely never does, and he never takes precautions that he could be wrong. This causes everyone around him to constantly die in job lots and people are still willing to listen to him.
This story has action, adventure, lust, and alien robots. I'm not sure why I liked it, but I couldn't stop listening.
The main character is a computer science professor from Northern California who is forcibly drafted into service as a alien spacecraft commander. We follow along as the world is introduced to two different versions of invading alien robots and how a group of disparate thugs joins together to create "Star Force".
There is plenty of action and political undertones as the governments of earth react to the threat of annihilation. As for the sci-fi aspects, the characters seem as bewildered by the technology as the reader/listener. The author doesn't dwell on the whys of the technology, but there are parts where I tuned out as he went into the hows.
Overall, though, I thought it was an enjoyable start to a sci-fi series.
Once you start reading this book your hooked , its nice and easy to listen to with a great story and great characters , you don't have to be a syfy stalwart to like this !
Kyle Riggs !!! hes cool, laid back drinks beer ,beats up guys that brass him off, and doesn't get too emotional , he kills aliens , intelligent and great with computers
He does great characters accents ! its like your listening to a dozen different narrators
If you want a great shoot em up series with heaps of impossible scenarios just round the corner where things go from bad to worse , get this series its worth it !!
Natural reading voice is great, attempts at accents are terrible.
Mildly entertaining story line
The premise of this book, while not entirely original, was still quite intriguing and provided a good basis for quite an engaging story. The story failed to live up to its full potential though.
The main characters were never really developed beyond a glossed over 2 sentence background story. The secondary characters didn't even receive that much attention. As a result there are no real personalities in the book to either like or dislike.
The author tries to explain the motivations of Riggs (protagonist) but it feels contrived and mechanical. I was never really in sync with Rigg's actions and thought processes given what he was going through, and as such never became invested in the character. I found myself indifferent to the danger he was in. The relationships that develop are too convenient and feel 'set-up'.
The narrative is clunky and just doesn't feel organic enough. There was no personality in the dialogue and it ends up feeling like listening to a computer talking to another computer. Which I suppose may fit with the situation, but it just doesn't make for entertaining or engaging listening.
The narrators natural voice is great when voicing Riggs, however the accents were terrible and extremely off putting. It really made the character become nothing more than cardboard thin stereotypes.
All in all it's an average audiobook, not great - but not terrible either.
I haven't read the reviews on other books in this series, but there is definitely the potential that the author can salvage the story and produce more well rounded books in the future.