Beyond the confines of our small world, far from the glow of our star, lie a galaxy and universe much larger and more varied than anyone on Earth can possibly imagine. For the new NAC spacecraft Odyssey and her crew, the unimaginable facets of this untouched world are about to become reality.The Odyssey's maiden voyage is an epic adventure destined to make history.
Captain Eric Weston and his crew encounter horrors, wonders, monsters, and people; all of which will test their resolve, challenge their abilities, and put in sharp relief what is necessary to be a hero.
A first-rate military-science-fiction epic that combines old-school space opera and modern storytelling, Into the Black: Odyssey One is a riveting, exhilarating adventure with vivid details, rich mythology, and relentless pacing.
©2012 Evan Currie (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
Sci-fi, History, Police Procedurals and Science
While one book does not a great, sweeping space opera (usually) make -- this book is a solid foundation for what could be a great series. . .in the tradition of Campbell's "Lost Fleet," or other similar series (Ian Douglas, John Ringo, William Dietz, David Weber, David Drake, John Scalzi). There are really good ideas here, and excellent battles in space. The seeds are also planted for what is coming next -- along with a number of really good "concepts" about technology.
I did not read earlier iterations of this book, just listened to the 'final' Audible version -- which I thoiught was EXCELLENT. The writing is not tight -- but tight is not what I think of as the 'be all and end all' in this type of "writ large"" type of opening salvo. And it seems clear that as this rolls out it will provide an opportunity for greater control of language and syntax. But this is no amateur venture by a mile. This is a fine story well written and well performed.
If you liked the Lost Fleet you will love this. If you enjoyed the Dietz takeoff on the Foreign Legion, you will also appreciate the sinilarities here.
I cannot wait for the next book -- and what more can you say about a new writer and series ????
Evan Currie represents a growing new species of author, one who transitions into a "traditional" publishing model after self-publishing several titles in eBook format. "Into The Black" is Currie's first novel to be recorded as an audio book and it leaves me itching for more.
Currie presents two "alien" races, one that is reminiscent of the bugs found in novels such as Starship Troopers and Ender's Game (though, as one of Currie's characters humorously points out in the book: all exo-armor ultimately comes across as bug-like because, "God just got it right with those guys"), and another that appears to be human. This gives the reader no room to wonder who the "good guys" are and who the "bad guys" are and comes across as just shy of contrived. However, the characters acknowledge this stretch of believability, at one point even joking about how much their situation compares to stereotypical science fiction plots.
The two major Earth-human advancements presented to the user are "CM" technology, allowing for the manipulation of apparent mass or inertia of objects big and small, and a faster than light drive called a "Transition Drive," a form of intersteller quasi-teleportation achieved by temporarily converting matter to super-luminous Tachyons. The Odyssey is Earth's first faster-than-light starship, while CM technology has been in use for some time. This is pretty obvious even without being told. The characters are distrustful and even disturbed by the effects of the Transition Drive, but demonstrate many ingenious uses for the CM technology that would be expected from decades of military use.
However, one thing that bothered me while reading this novel is that most characters display only token cultural resistance to each other before falling right into place as allies. Having just finished Stephen King's "11-22-63," which displays the vast cultural distance between 21st century New England and the 1950's American deep south, I found myself struggling to accept that two groups of humans separated by thousands of years of cultural divergence and a computer-translated language barrier would find each other's subtle jokes to be funny. But if Star Trek's William T. Kirk's good looks and charm transcend the lightyears, I think we can give Currie similar artistic license.
Currie is obviously a developing author, and with widespread availability of his works and the associated feedback, I have no doubt he will develop quickly. He does many things right. The technology he presents the reader with is believable and intriguing. There is room for improvement when it comes to character conflict, but Currie seems to acknowledge this fact, especially towards the end of the book. Here's to hoping the next book provides us with a bit more internal conflict among allies.
This book is available in many formats at a reasonable price and is a very quick read. I finished it in a single weekend without difficulty. Overall, despite it's few shortcomings, I found the book to be very intriguing and hard to put down. It's crammed with exciting space and futuristic ground battles and a few interesting characters. Like the first couple seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation, it's obvious the characters need to grow into their own a bit. But the book is far from a waste of time. It plants the seeds for a long and exciting series and I'm certainly looking forward to the next book in the series ("Hear of Matter"), due out in late 2012.
Into the Black, Currie's first installment in the Odyssy one series is a gem of listen. While the story is placed far in the future and involves the testing of the first faster than light drive. the crew of the Odyssey begin their journey as mere test pilots / guinea pigs. After their "jump" they find themselves encountering what appears to be human beings who refer to the Earth people as potentially the mythical "others" that are the stuff of their legends. At the same time, the Earth crew bump into another alien species intent on human destruction, without regard to home world origin.
The sci-fi elements are pretty standard at about the level of a typical Star Trek movie. The compelling storyline is a combination of excellent space warfare that is skillfully executed by the Earth crew with an exceptional ensemble crew (no one character does it all). Currie also does two other things right: 1) the aliens are uniquely different, intelligent, and inscrutable, and 2) the "alien" human counterparts are not so much advanced relative to Earth, but rather they have progressed in some, but not all areas of science. While this first salvo in a longer story arc bodes well for a good run, this first installment is also pure listening pleasure with good pacing and plenty of surprises.
The narration is first rate and does a respectable job of capturing the mood of the various characters (of which there are many).
I really do like sci-fi, and I was intrigued by the premise of the novel, but it read more like a non-sci-fi military action thriller to me.
I found the long and very detailed passages of space combat were far more 'Top Gun' than I'm interested in.
For people who like novels with a lot of military space action, I think this book may really hit the spot.
It just wasn't for me. That being said, the narration is very good and engaging.
Probably for the space ships. This book worried me at first. I have an extremely short attention span. But even though it started a little slow (for me) I shouldn't have worried. Very soon there were mysteries i wanted answers to, characters I wanted to root for, and impossible situations for me to cheer for when they were overcome.
If you like space opera, or military Sci Fi this is simply one of the best of the genre I have come across. Satisfying fun, and I immediatly purchased the second in the series. And since I can't force myself to finish even the first half of most books I buy that is the biggest complemeint I can pay to a new series.
I'm off to read the second installment now. Fingers Crossed!
Enjoy the adventure
A crew, composed of Earth’s best of the best, is launched into space on a mission of discovery beyond the Solar System. The crew quickly discovers that they have landed in the middle of an intergalactic war and must fight or run back home. Of course they decide to stay and battle the ugly aliens. The book is fast paced and the threat of danger permeates from beginning to end. Very enjoyable adventure.
The author obviously drew heavy inspiration from Heinlein's Starship Troopers (one of my all time favs) and there's even a few tongue-in-cheek references to the book. The writing is well thought out and mixes in just the right amount of science. I would like to see just a little more character development or relationships between the characters, but perhaps that's coming in the future. I can only nitpick at the narrator in this review... Quite a few of the characters sounded the same and I had a hard time following the dialogue sometimes, and he really needs to work on his pacing and emphasis during the non-dialogue scenes! He read some amazing battle scenes with the same enthusiasm of someone reading the news on NPR. But even a boring narrator can't detract from me giving a 5 star rating!! Can't wait for the next in the series!
Pace was frantic...Felt like one huge battle scene. Quite enjoyable ear candy. Science was not ridiculous, military protocols felt well researched. Not going to win a Pulitzer, but I look forward to the next in the series....Is it out yet? damn...how 'bout now?
University administrator. Commuter cyclist. Dad, husband. Loves books of course. Aspiring Jedi Knight and Warder.
I don't write a lot of reviews but I felt compelled on this one because I love space operas and this book has received so many good reviews. I understand this is Currie's first book. If this is the case he deserves credit. It's not a bad yarn and the world he's set up has potential, but this first novel was held back for many reasons:
- The total lack of charisma of his main character, his first officer and several other secondary characters. The author made the relationships across the entire book stilted, wooden and quite frankly unbelievable.
- The choices the captain of the book were questionable. You're flying humanities only first and only interstellar spaceship and you threw caution into the wind, not once but several times for this flimsiest of reasons. In real life this guy would have been screened out of the NASA selection process on the first round. He's a real James T Kirk vs Jean Luc.
- With all due respect, I found the whole premise of our civilization showing up at key moment in another alien culture's 8000 year history (which includes interstellar travel) and we save the day, as hubristic. Yeah, North American's save the day again. In space. I get it that we are the warrior culture and they are peace loving, but I found the whole scenario a bit maddening.
- I was gobsmacked by the lack of imagination, explanation and the seeming similarity between North American culture and the human/alien culture in the book. The author made little effort to try and sell what should be a completely different society. Yes the technologies were different and they have a different language, but this was sold way short.
- I did not like the narrator. You had several hyper masculine characters in play and his main voice did not seem to fit. His accents for the alien race were lackluster, but he did do female voices quite well. That's not always the case.
I'm going to give the second book a chance. Despite its flaws, the world and story does have potential and I'm hoping the author will take more time to explore the personalities of his characters and the challenges they are confronting. Will keep my fingers crossed.
This was another debut military sci-fi novel, this time by Evan C. Currie. However, unlike the "Man of War" series I recently started as well, this one is not only quite clearly a "first novel", it is also clear that it was self-published first. Although it gets better near the end, the first part of the book is amateurish and difficult to continue listening to. It shows why good editors are so important in fiction writing. The author makes a number of choices in the story that simply are too much to possibly believe. Feeling like a kind of cheap Star Trek copy, the novel starts with humanity's first faster-than-light ship's maiden voyage, that then quickly turns into a Jack Campbell-style military sci-fi romp. But the jump is way too sudden, and the situation utterly unbelievable. Almost immediately upon arriving at Alpha Centauri, the ship responds to a distress signal in yet another system, which they blindly follow, after which continues one unlikely decision after another until this fleet is involved in full-scale battles with alien forces. It is simply not believable that such a captain would make decisions like this, not based on our current knowledge of military procedures and extensive and careful prototype testing.
While the book does get better later on (at least the space battle are well done), it can't make up for the strange and out of place decisions that are made by both the author and characters in the first half. Another seriously unbelievable element is in the type of "aliens" they run into, although I won't spoil that particular point. Ultimately if he wanted to write an exploration novel, then exploration should have dominated the theme of the book and the conflict kept small and realistic. If he wanted to write military space battles, then he should have introduced us to a world in which this was already feasible, not tacking it on to what was essentially an exploration mission. Some people might disagree with me and say that it worked for them. If so, then please continue reading and I hope you enjoy the rest of the series. I'll be stopping here, thanks.
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