Earth arms marines with alien technology and builds its first battle fleet! Kyle Riggs is snatched by an alien spacecraft sometime after midnight. The ship is testing everyone it catches and murdering the weak. The good news is that Kyle keeps passing tests and staying alive. The bad news is the aliens who sent this ship are the nicest ones out there.
A novel of military science fiction by best-selling author B. V. Larson, Swarm is the story of Earth's annexation by an alien empire. Long considered a primitive people on a backwater planet, humanity finds itself in the middle of a war - and faced with extinction.
Battle stations! Listen to another Star Force novel.
©2010 B.V. Larson (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
The first person story telling allows you to keep a constantly attached to the story without forcing you to jump around the world. It is like you are just following only one person in the story rather than many, keeping a straight story line and thus losing pace.
I could compare it with mogworld and Jam. This due due to the fact they are all told in a first person by the protagonist. It keeps you in the story without jumping you around the world.
This is my first one, although I am already going through the others of the star force series.
Space adventure with the smallest allies and the biggest enemies
I got this book for my husband to listen to in the car on long trips and started out wondering how long I'd be able to stand listening to it. Now I'm totally engrossed in the series, probably more than he is. Great story, with just enough human interest to keep it real without going overboard on either the relationship stuff or the techical jargon. Great book!
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.
Mr. Larson's book reminds me a great deal of John Ringo's earlier works, those written before he began letting his politics into his writing (Read: Let the crazy out), the series has a really nice premise and the action is well thought out. In fact, My only issues with the book are:
1) Mr. Larson likes to repeat himself a great deal:
He'll say something once, then again, then spend two pages pounding it into your cranium until you want to yell "Alright! I understood you the first time now can we please see the damn thing blow up now!" I do not mind long explanations of say 'the social impacts of alien tech', but come the hell on!, it began to feel he was pushing for word count rather then advancing the story line.
2) Tactics, tactics, tactics!:
I understand the main character is a college professor but, many of the secondary characters are supposed to be military professionals and you can't tell me that a Colonel or even a Sargent with years of experience on the guy wouldn't tell the nerdy self appointed 'commander' to pack sand if he ordered them to assault a position, over open ground mind you, where a superior enemy holds the high ground. And there is a word for any officer whom takes 6 companies of Marines into battle and suffers 90% losses in a engagement and that word is 'Fired.' I don't care if your the savior of the world your would not lead men into battle after that no one would trust you to.
(Deleted to brevity) (I'm talking to the author now)
STOP BUILDING CARICATURES AND START CREATING CHARACTERS.
Come on the psychopathic Latin sex bomb? NEWSFLASH! Women like that don't really exist. (No matter how much you want them to)
The dumb enlisted man and the elitist officer? Really?!?
I'm probably going to buy the next book in this series. The story is interesting despite the above drawbacks and the author seems to be getting better at his craft.
My wife says she can read me like an open book. Though she regrets not being able to shut me up the same way. :)
... But, overall, it's a good listen; not a wasted a credit.
You know when your friends occasionally describe a movie as a good "popcorn matinee" for those Saturday afternoons when there's nothing else to do? This is like that.
I like to think of this series now as my warm backup when "credit day" arrives yet finding myself all caught up with my main GoTo authors and waiting for their next title.
If you find yourself in that boat and enjoy the occasional bucket of popcorn (with butter) and military sci-fi story a-la "War of the Worlds," meets "Transformers," meets "Alien vs. Predator," AND you're feeling adventurous enough to give an unexplored author a shot, then you're likely to enjoy this one.
Head nod, too, to the performance of narrator Mark Boyett. Mr. Boyett's pacing, voice inflection and character-voice diversity complements the rhythm that was probably intended by author B.V. Larson.
MEL'S BOTTOM LINE: Though it devolves a bit in the middle to a mundane "shoot-em-up" ground fight, there's more than enough originality and enigmatic backstory to keep you engaged in Book 1, even as you "Wish List" future titles in this promising series for those slow Saturday afternoons. But when you do, take this tip to heart: don't spare the popcorn butter! :)
Christian, Texan, electrician, lover of reading-I lean towards Sci-fi/fantasy but enjoy the classics, history, and science titles also.
Yes, I would listen to it again perhaps in a few years when I've forgotten most of the fun.
I loved the concept of equipping Earth with advanced alien tech.
I have listened to most of this series with him as the powerhouse behind why I keep getting the next one. Mark performs with an amazing ability to stay out of the way of the story and still flesh out the characters.
To save humanity would you sacrifice yours?
I've really enjoyed this series as it is one of those that is easy to get into due to the writing style with a heavy nod once again to the narrator Mr. Boyett.
I think people that like poorly written Sci Fi will like this book. The premise was implausible and had very little to offer.
The story was just bad.
It was okay.
I don't normally give bad reviews to books, but ever since I listened to this book Audible has been suggesting I listen to all of the rest even though I gave the book one star. I'm not sure what Audible is thinking, but every month 3 out of the 9 suggestions for me are from this author and this series. So, while the book was bad, the experience since listening to the book has been worse.
Creation of believable characters, removal of plot holes
He was pretty good at the accents, voices, and keeping them straight. He also brought energy and life to the story.
Exasperation, pain, offense
I wanted to like this book enough to finish it. I really really did. For so many reasons. But I was suffering. I was suffering too badly to continue to suffer, after getting at least 65% through the book. I love sci-fi, and I love speculative stuff and I can suspend disbelief for weird or new or even scientifically inaccurate stuff, so long as it's believable within its world. But so much of the human interactions here were completely unrealistic. The most prominent female character was inconsistent AND embarrassing. Forget the Bechdel test - the two female characters never spoke to one another and the main one never seemed to worry about anything other than a man no matter who she was talking to. Here's a great quote I remember from shortly before I quit the book "I could tell she wasn't going to give me any more sugar just then, so I decided not to beg for it. Women don't respect that." I won't even try to go into the plot holes that were so numerous my brain was feeling like the proverbial swiss cheese, just trying to keep track. I wasn't expecting high literature from this book, but this book was just too bad for me to continue.
Hello, My name is Levi Brousseau. I'm on a life long mission to find stories that blow my mind.
This was like Gi-joe/ Navigator /Matrix. i like the story. had a lot of new ideas which is always good. lots of action which kept me glued to what would happen next. if you like UFO's or machines you will like this original story. lots of Sci-Fi goodness
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.
"Best read this year"
The reader was very good,reminded me of Ed Bishop.
Gripping stuff from start to end,have got all the star force books now. Will get the audio versions too.
All of the characters were good ,hard to pick out.Riggs I think
Yes I did one Sat Morning.
"Great Start but fizzles out"
Probably not, it has a great idea regarding the 2 alien races but as the story continues it falls into the pulp sci-fi genre. It is a good pulp sci-fi.
39 Steps by John Buchan
Good atmosphere - certainly could feel the sense of claustrophobia
Mindless late evening listen - yes
Fair book - bit in same vein as "Forever War" but not quite as good
"a decent book"
the sotry is well told although there is the usual problem of men trying to produce femail voices to me they always sound wrong. other than that there where a few editing issuers with the recording words seems to jump or be cut off half way through this does not affect the story however can be annoying and gives the impression that the book may be abridged when it isn't (i assume as have not read the book in print form however audible says it is unabridged).
over all a solid and interesting scifi story.
A great start to the series. This really sets the scene for a relatively simple story that then gets you thinking. I think it takes a real knack for words when a writer gives you simplicity and you can't help filling in the details. No overburdening with technicalities either and that makes a great adventure story. Iain M Banks did it in great detail, B V Larson does it with simplicity - both manage a good story.
"Not the depth of the likes of Reynolds or Hamilton"
Rocked along at a good pace, no switching off while surroundings are described in minute detail or sub-plots expanded like some of the "Space Opera" type reads from Reynolds or Hamilton. It did feel a rather simplistic storytelling though with too many plot holes and "well why wouldn't you do X?" questions especially w.r.t. military tactics and descriptions.
It was OK. Relatively short I thought, and in two minds about whether to read any more.
Worth a listen so you can decide whether to read the rest.
"Never judge a book by its cover"
I picked up the 'Swarm' Soley on recommendations (and I am glad that I did). I was immediately drawn into a fast paced nightmarish scifi scenario which kept me constantly engaged. I was looking looking for a high paced classic scifi adverture that would keep me entertained and I was not disappointed. A definite buy for any scifi nut who cannot stand unrealistic plots.
Similar pace to the vampire novels by Scott Mariani.
Have not listened to any other books YET!
The first few chapters leading to his abduction.
Exciting, addictive, fun
The concept of the nanos and macros
I have only listened to 2 other star force books, so can't really compare.
I have laughed, i have been on the edge of my set and i find my self trying to find excuses to go listen as much as i can!
Really looking forward to the rest of the series!
"For the first time in a while, I wanted more."
I have read a lot of since fiction stories and my favorites are the ones that span over several books, like The Saga of Seven Suns and The Foundation series. The Star Force Books had the same mystery angle and unknown future. Larson had me guessing and looking forward to the next page.
The Saga of Seven Suns and The Foundation series.
Mark Boyett makes this book come to life in my head.
Gripping,engrossing and addictive
There are many strong characters. I don't have a favourite one.
His narration is excellent and consistent. It helps with the visualisation of the book more than just reading it
I couldn't get through it fast enough and then couldn't wait to listen to more in the series.
"Gets going quickly and keeps the pace fast."
Although clearly the beginning of a series there isn't too much scene setting or arc plotting (although you cn clearly see the hooks). The story starts quickly and keeps the pace fast (sometimes it doesn't make sense in terms of feelings but...). Well worth listening to.
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