If B.V Larson was a better writer. Brian Larson is a college professor and decided to put a perfected version of himself in a book. The problem was that he decided his fictional persona was always going to do the right thing despite that B.V never thought things out out. The result is a narrative littered with plot holes and terrible ideas that make the protagonist come across as an ignorant villain because he always assumes hes right (thankfully for him the narrative bends the universe to aid to his misguided attempts). To make matters worse everyone else fits into a one dimensional caricature with an IQ of around 80. The main female character enters the book nearly naked and only gets more 'seductive' from there and doesn't mind at all that shes just a shapely object. Elite troops the world over can't suggest better tactics or give incite to the unseasoned protagonist. Likewise the protagonist can spout off pseudo science that always seems to work but nobody ever corrects him that hes using the word theory for something he just thought up when hypothesis is apt.
Mark Boyett did a great job with the many voices, each voice was unique and portrayed the emotions the character felt. Interestingly he also narrated John Ringo's Troy Rising which is nearly the same book only more political. Mark Boyett has a knack for suspense on even mundane things like giving programming code or making large mirrors.
Molecular biologist. Musician. Lover of science. Lover of music. Dreamer of magic. Thinker of thoughts. ||| "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" - Arthur C. Clarke ||| As a scientist, science fiction and fantasy inspire me to push the line of discovery forward, beyond conventional imagination, beyond conventional wisdom.
First, if I wrote the book's blurb:
An everyman computer scientist is propelled into a cosmic landscape that will bring out his best, and, unfortunately, his worst. The "ring" to Hell is manufactured with Kyle Riggs' intentions. But, as you'll find out, Riggs' really is the right man and perfect protagonist for BV Larson's genre smashing space operatic military apocalyptic science fiction pragmatic technothriller.
Second, why I chose this book:
This book caught my eye because I was looking for a new sci-fi series, and I really enjoyed Troy Rising which was also narrated by Mark Boyett and has been compared to Star Force by others. Similar to at least the first book of Troy Rising (Live Free or Die), SWARM and the Star Force series in general (I'm on Book 3 as of writing this) has a strong protagonist who starts as a humble rural type with an additional edge of technical prowess (More about Kyle Riggs below). But while Troy Rising really lost its momentum after the first book, the Star Force series keeps it going and lays it on hard.
If you like military science fiction of the sort portrayed in the Troy Rising series, you will love the Star Force series. And, to those of you who enjoyed the Star Force series, you will enjoy Troy Rising. But, as of Book 3, I have to put Star Force above John Ringo's space opera brother from another mother.
Other comments have already mentioned some of the reasons you may have to suspend disbelief, but I think good science fiction will always include a few things that make you feel a touch incredulous. Nevertheless, I really don't feel like Star Force takes it over the top in any way, and I never felt like what I was hearing was too absurd or unbelievable. The technology focuses a lot on a few specific plot elements (if you are intrigued by nanotechnology, this book is your fantasyland) , but the descriptions of said technology are surprisingly within the realms of science fact. Larson either did his research well or has a wealth of information that I wish was wielded by more writers of science fiction and fantasy. Most readers will find a little bit to learn from this book. And, as good science fiction should, it will hopefully inspire your envisionment of things that are very possible given our current rate of technological advancement, even without extra terrestrial intervention.
A little bit of analysis about the books protagonist:
Like so many nerds growing up in the information age, I at least considered the possibility of pursuing computer science as a career choice. And, I think anyone who has ever found beauty in the workings of a machine or the elegance in a mathematical proof will be able to relate to Kyle Riggs and put themselves in his position. Larson seems to intentionally leave out specific details about Kyle Riggs appearance and style so that the reader may either truly empathize with Riggs' through his tribulations, or one can easily insert the image and essence of whichever heroically moral archetype they feel most comfortable with. Some may criticize that this leaves the main character seeming more hollow, but I think this allows Riggs to be less a man and more a symbol for the resilience of humanity. Kyle Riggs is not a single man, but as I alluded to in my first sentence all the way at the top, he is every man.
Finally, While Mark Boyett's accents may at times all sound alike, his attempts still bring wonderful life to the characters. I really enjoyed Boyett's work for the Troy Rising series and believe he shines even more here. I'll be looking for more books narrated by him simply for his performance. Many audiobook narrators have a voice with distracting qualities of varying degrees,making listening to the book somewhat challenging regardless of the content. But, with Boyett, I have absolutely no trouble focusing on the story he is telling, but at the same time his acting fits most characters absolutely perfectly.
That brings me to one more point. This is the first series where I've noticed that the narrator is incredibly effective at channeling a representative presence in his characters. What I mean is, the cast in this story are from so many diverse backgrounds, as they should be. So much military sci-fi puts the US at the forefront with a couple token internationals sprinkled in due to necessity. But I feel that Larson very effectively has created a very believable cast of characters from all aspects of life from all over planet Earth. This, of course, is something which would almost definitely be the case provided the scenario in the book came about.
Furthermore, and somewhat importantly, he doesn't harp on about it. In the third Troy Rising book, 75% of the story was about the conflict between South American culture versus US culture versus Middle Eastern culture. So, sure, there was a lot of diversity,and sure, there almost certainly would be a culture clash provided people from diverse backgrounds were forced together in close quarters. But I do not think it has to be a huge focus, or a focus at all really,in a book that is about the unification of humanity into an established and significant force.
Thanks for reading.
My favorite genres are absurdist humor, Sci-fi & modern fantasy, but, as you can see, I'll read just about anything. Don't mind the typos.
I liked the first book in this series. It was a little rough listening to the detailed description of the deaths of the children and I found the alien ships were fairly one dimensional. points for original story ans characters.
This was the best sifi that have listened to in a while. Not that it is brilliant by any means, but it is very absorbing, has great pacing, is well performed and avoids most of the pitfalls which have ruined so many other contemporary sifi series. As with a lot of sifi – most of what happens is absolutely preposterous, but Larson dose a great job of making everything seem plausible as it unwinds. The hero is strong, the situations novel, the conflict imaginative. Not deep literature, but a great story.
What made this best for me is actually what it left out. I have read a lot of this style of sifi (invading space aliens etc) and in most of it the author seems more interested in tub thumping about their politics than actually telling a story. Swarm mercifully avoids this. Sure, there are political conflicts and strains, but there is too much serious stuff going on for Larson to bother going into snide asides about how easy it would be to defeat the aliens if it were not for all the liberals and hippies getting in the way, or to go off on some rant about impending global melt down caused by greedy corporate right wingers.
The other pitfall Larson manages to dodge is not getting his ego get caught up in his hero too much. Ok, so the hero is your cliché average guy swept up by events and single handedly saves the world (several times), but he is written well enough that this feels genuine. Often, such a heroic main character just feels like the author is using the hero as an excuse to write about an idealized version of themselves, allowing their ego to explode out all over the page. Again, Swarm mercifully avoids this. – very refreshing.
All in all 3 thumbs up and I hope Larson will turn out a lot more like this.
This is just a fun little series that will easily help you pass the time. The storyline is fresh and the narration does it justice. Give the series a try you will be glad you did.
5 stars is i love and i will read agani and again. 1 is i hate and i never want to hear about it ever again. YES = :))) - NO= :'(
if you read "Troy Rising" by John Ringo, you will see similarity between the 2 series. But at the same time there is a lot of difference and twists.
its really good and to proof that i got the audible 3 credits offer to get the next 3 books. :)
It's very suspenseful and dark without attempting to pretty up things. What I mean is there are things happening that could have been sugar coated and drawn out, and Larson simply tosses it out there. It was shocking at times, but worked very well. I like the future tech in it as well.
He is an excellent voice talent that brought the characters to life well. I could easily distinguish characters simply by his tone.
As I understand Larson is a relative newly published author, but have no fear his work is very well written. If you like military sci fi with adventure into the unknowns of space, you will love this.
Best Sci-Fi I've read in a long time. War of the Worlds meets Terminator. Can't wait to read the next book in the series.
I mostly read fantasy because most of the sci-fi I have read have been dissapointing. Often the humans are totally out of luck and doomed.
This series is something else. The story took me totally by suprise. Nothing what I expected.
The enemy was interesting, powerfull but not omnipotend. The friends of the earth was not what you expected either.
I found not a single deadpoint in the book. Nor a borring moment.
The narrator is doing a great job. Love his Alamo computer-voice.
Not likely. I thought the overall story concept sounded interesting, but quickly became absurd. A computer programmer leading the Fleet....really? The main character is an incredibly arrogant jerk. I developed an intense dislike of him. I'd downloaded books 1 & 2 for a long road trip but gave up halfway through book two. (Go Worms!)
None really lived long enough. We're introduced to dozens of likable characters quickly killed off by "Admiral" Kyle's stupidity.
So many to choose from...probably the scene of Kyle lusting after a women moments after his kids are shredded to bits. What a prick.