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George Dean

Menlo Park, CA USA | Member Since 2008

16
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 1 reviews
  • 27 ratings
  • 479 titles in library
  • 12 purchased in 2015
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  • Armor

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By John Steakley
    • Narrated By Tom Weiner
    Overall
    (1215)
    Performance
    (808)
    Story
    (810)

    The planet is called Banshee. The air is unbreathable, the water poisonous. It is the home of the most implacable enemies that humanity, in all its interstellar expansion, has ever encountered. Felix is a scout in A-team Two. Highly competent, he is the sole survivor of mission after mission. Yet he is a man consumed by fear and hatred.

    George Dean says: "An intense and unusual work, wonderfully performed"
    "An intense and unusual work, wonderfully performed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There are really two stories here, that eventually come together, and they are somewhat different. The Felix narrative tracks the experience of an individual soldier in an interstellar war. Steakley expends little time on the tech details and essentially none on the politics, the war is apparently completely pointless, but focuses instead on the actual experience that Felix endures. The writing is distinctive, with a chopped flow and bursts of intensity that mirror the fighting, and Weiner's narration captures this. It's very fast paced, and I found it even a bit emotionally draining. Felix has a rough ride.

    The Jack Crow character provides the comic release and I found that storyline a welcome break from the intensity of the Felix chapters. Again, Weiner brings out the fun in that part of the story.

    Ultimately Armor is a psychological fable, more than simple military SF, examining how people think, act and feel under extreme situations, the nature of heroism, the many ways people are motivated... some people look tough but aren't, some are brave and don't know why, some know how to lead but don't want to... lot's of unexpected little character dimensions.

    Be prepared for large parts of this story to make little sense or be complete mysteries. Why the war? How do the warring technologies match up? Where does this fight fit into the larger war? How could their intel be so completely wrong? I didn't mind this; the story is not about the war, it's about these people, and this is a much more realistic way that such events are actually experienced. Only in novels do we get the "God view" that gives us knowledge of everything. Not in this novel, however. This one's all about the characters and they repeatedly say that they don't have any idea what's going on, and since they don't, neither do we.

    16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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