What a great spinoff concept. Prior to this book the Syndicate, controlled by nefarious CEO's, were nothing more than relative stick figures. In this case we get to delve deeper into Syndicate society in the post-Geary age. The main characters were tangentially introduced in the main series, but now we have a chance to see the desperate fight of the leadership of Midway to separate themselves from the central control of the Syndicate.
This is much more of a political novel than the Lost Fleet books. Yes, there is space combat as well as ground combat, but a lot of the book is devoted to the truly twisted political realm of the CEO's, where you cannot trust anyone. Even though they must work together to wring a small hole of safety for both themselves and the people of Midway, the sheer level of scheming is intense (where every move is never taken at face value and no one is what they seem to be). But the two leaders, Drakon and Iceni, seem to see the value of cooperation and realize that the system that they were born into needs to be changed (but realizing that it cannot be done overnight).
A very solid book and I very much look forward to the next (with a cliffhanger like Jack dropped at the end of the book, it is a given that there needs to be another book).
This is a discrete story from what I was first exposed to, the TV show. A little less conspiracy-ish and more just generic random happinstance, this is still an interesting exploration of the Flash Forward event, which offers a lot of different ways to see the impact of everyone suddenly having a glipse of their future selves actions.
This actually was a pretty solid prequel to the video game. I kind of had low expectations but overall the story gave a pretty good background on Master Chief, Cortona and some of the other characters seen in the series.
So initially I found this book hard to categorize (my general categories that I finally picked are general enough not to ruin any reveals), but like an onion it all finally peeled back to a reveal (not completely, but enough that I wasn't angry that more info wasn't given). To beat the concept into the ground, this onion was then cut apart, battered, deep-fried and served with a side of thousand islands sauce. Yeah, the book was that good. Blending a bunch of different characters together into a cohesive story of a seriously, seriously weird LA building into a story that really made it painful at times to stop reading/listening to this book. I don't want to go into any more details as a lot of the fun in this is the incremental approach, and the engaging characters, that made this book so much fun.
This may be my favorite book from 2014 (only another 6 weeks to be bested).
While I generally associated the reader with the Joe Ledger series, I think he did an awesome job with this book as well.
Solid and engaging SF. One of the things I respected about this book is that it shows the future as a messy place. Sure, they have FTL travel and communications but everything is not hunky-dory at home. Earth is a messed up place that seems only to be getting worse, science is still operating on a shoestring budget, the military/government is still stepping on peoples toes and the universe is a big scary place.
Spanning 5 separate planets, this tale is good (generally what I have come to expect from Jack McDevitt). We have the stars but they are a fairly lonely place. Only one alive race has been found (the are technologically around the WWI level), another never got off their planet and died out and a third was engaged in a game of clue, placing structures near all three races (they left a statue near us an weirdly empty city on a moon of another race).
The main characters are mostly archaeologists, who only seem to have exciting jobs in the stories that are written (like Indiana Jones) who are trying to put all the pieces together. There is action scenes scattered all around story as well as high tech action. I am really looking forward to the next book!
Ah, redshirts. It seems to be a sign of a true SF geek to immediately get the reference, vs those would stare at you blankly if you referenced it. But what if you suddenly realized that you weren't the main character in the reality that you inhabit. Worse, you come to the suspicion that your part in the show may be to become just interesting enough to make the audiences feel some emotional loss when you died. And everyone around you is dying at a rate unheard of for any other ship in the fleet.
Well, this is what happened to the main characters of this story. And after living through a dreaded away mission (except for their dramatically lost friend ironically) they finally figure out what is going on and even when their show is being written (though of course via divergent universes there is no reference to their show). After kidnapping a main character (one of the best ways to ensure that they don't die off-screen) they are off to the past to try and stop the writers from killing them and their compatriots.
Overall a fun book, with entertaining characters and a sly wink to a bunch of in-jokes. It may not be a book I ever go back to re-read but it was an interesting story.
Treading water. When you get a series that has such breadth and scope such as the Safehold series (in particular when you are talking about a book that spans the entire world where the fastest objects are moving at around 20mph) you sometimes have a book where most of the story is spent getting things tidied up from the last book and preparing the ground for the next. Midst Toil and Tribulation is one of those rebuilding books.
Sure, some things happened. Fights occurred, progress was made, troops were moving across the world. But in the end you find yourself wanting, waiting for the next book because that is when the interesting stuff is going to happen. I appreciate the series and look forward to the next but this book just whets your appetite for the next book, leaving you unfulfilled and wanting.
This may have been the only "pure" fantasy (vs urban fantasy) books I have read in a long while. I have read Weber's Reef series but that has a serious SF element. Not that I haven't read fantasy ever (100's of books disagree with that estimate) but it's not my primary genre.
I gotta say that I liked this book. The story kept me interested the whole way through and I turned around and bought the next book in the series right after finishing this one.
As to the story? It helps that it is an interesting world, populated by both the standard races (humans, dwarves, elves) as well as the unique (like our lead character and sidekick, who are hridani, a tall human like people with different ears). Bahzell is at his core a good guy, and therein lays the problem, as his tendency to do good gets him into deeper and deeper trouble. And then the Gods and Mages get involved....
I very much look forward to reading the next book.
Given that I grew up in the days when the Russians (or Soviets) were a driving force, this novel felt familiar. This is basically an alternate future book, where a message from space shows that Aliens are out there and motivates the world to head outwards to greet those aliens on a more equal footing.
Star is basically a construction manager / captain of the still developing L5 community being put together by the Western alliance (US, Japan, Mexico, Canada) on a grand scale (miles long rotating habitat meant to house 1 million people? That's the definition of grand scale!). Of course, there are a lot of issues. The potential of a hostile takeover, construction delays, solar flares and, yes, aliens all make this book an entertaining read.
Amazingly for a book written 2 decades ago, the book holds up fairly well (other than the geo-political aspects). I had to go back see when it was written and was quite surprised at the date.
While a few of the concepts of the future world are a bit dated (though one could argue that as most of the story is from the perspective of a man who died in the 1970's) it overall is an interesting romp that covers an impressive scope of time (not just throwing us hundreds of years into the future, but millions!!!).
Corbell begins this tale as a corpsicle, frozen on the off chance getting revived in the future. And lucky for him he does... sorta. Waking up in a new body he finds he is merely fodder for the "State", his old body is ground up to extract his memories and tied into a body of a criminal who has been wiped. Slated to be a operator of a ramscoop ship, he eventually has his own ideas and ends up hijacking it and eventually returning to the Earth 3 million years after he left. Afterward he spends the rest of the book on the prowl for a special treatment that will make him young again.
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