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.
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.
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.
Avid Zombie fan who's starting to listen to more and more Fantasy and Sci-Fi stories. So, my description is apt to change. Dog lover who's known to have cats. LOL C# coder, part-time prepper, B movie fan, AMC watcher, recovering but successful day trader, perpetual student, overjoyed uncle, former adrenaline junkie with a flare for cooking, and lots more. LOL
i'm a casual scifi reader. i've read a few, but scifi is usually my 3rd stop when looking for something new. i like standalone books, but i'm drawn to series. i was drawn to this book based on the plot, number of reviews, and the high ratings. so, i gave it a try, and i'm glad i did.
i've read hard scifi and military scifi where you really have to pay attention or rewind to get it. the alien technology in this book easily makes sense since nanotechnology has become so mainstream the last few years. the tech is cool, and you can see how it works, and the potential benefits. the tech makes sense so you can understand how our hero uses it.
speaking of our hero, riggs, he is a college professor. he teaches computer science. this is a cool twist b/c you can see how he interacts with the aliens. i'm not giving anything away by saying the aliens are machines. it's fascinating to witness riggs learn how manipulate the machines' programming to answer his questions and accomplish his goals. i write code all day long for work, but you don't need to understand programming to understand and enjoy riggs' interaction and manipulation of the machines' code.
the story opens with riggs being abducted by a spaceship in the middle of the night. i won't give much away, but riggs eventually gains control of the ship. he learns that over 700 other ships have been scouring the earth looking for "the right kind of people." just as riggs and the others start to gain some semblance of understanding what's going on and how to manipulate their ships, their ships take off into outer space declaring enemy detected. the enemy is another group of machines, who riggs names the macros. they are after earth's resources.
this book has battles in space and on the earth. the macros are cold, heartless, and relentless, just as you would expect. there's a lot of plotting and in-fighting between the earth's forces even as the macros attack and slaughter millions.
the battle scenes are well drawn out and smartly done. the space battles are a match of wits; whereas the earth-based are battles of attrition.
the book is fast-paced and enjoyable with a touch of mystery. the review, mark, puts it perfectly, " Its a very entertaining story that keeps you listening. Every time you start to wonder about a certain topic, or why is this happening, or why would they do that, the author fills you in. Its as if he knows just when you want an answer but makes you wait just a bit longer for it to keep the story going."
note: mark, i hope you don't get pissed that i quote you, but you put it so aptly.
I found this to be an enjoyable little listen. Not 5 star worthy but I got hooked nonetheless.
The premise is a bit like the 'The Last Starfighter'. A small fleet of advanced alien ships arrive on modern-day Earth. Each one chooses a human pilot - one per ship. The ship and the pilot are interfaced with nano-technology and human pilots find they're equipped with devices of incredible power.
Just as they begin to contemplate who sent these ships and why, the reason is thrust at them....another armada arrives, and it is hostile. Earth quickly realizes that the arrival of the first fleet was a gift to help combat the second adversarial fleet - which is fortunate because the level of technology they're facing means they'll need all the help they can get.
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! :)
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'm ambivalent to the narrator but I'm finding it hard to imagine a circumstance in which I'd read another Larson book.
The characters, the plot, the dialogue.
It was okay
None of the characters had any redeeming or memorable qualities so pretty much any of them, although I suppose Sandra was particularly pointless.
This was a book that I couldn't wait to finish, much in the way that one can't wait to finish any particularly unpleasant chore. I like military sci-fi, but this book was absolutely horrendous on pretty much every level. I gave it two-stars instead of one simply because I was able to muddle through and finish it.
The book was told from the first-person perspective of the main character. I had no idea that I'd find a first-person POV so annoying, but apparently I do. Likely this was probably because his inner monologue was as simplistic and cliche as the rest of the dialogue in the story.
To say the characters and their actions are unbelievable is putting it mildly. For example, the main character just has the most unbelievably horrific experiences happen to him and is in mortal danger yet somehow is ogling an attractive nude woman while sizing up her suitability as a sex partner. In other words, "My life is completely shattered, but I'd still hit that."
For a "military" SF book, the military portrayals are utterly cartoonish and devoid of all logic and realism. We are supposed to accept that the main character, a computer science professor and farmer, is somehow able to effectively command a large force of military professionals. He's a completely inept commander but apparently everyone is okay with that. The strategies (and to some extent the story itself) are what one would expect from playing a real-time strategy computer game such as StarCraft.
No disrespect intended to the author, but if I didn't know better I would have thought this book was written by a fourteen year old penning his personal fantasies. The other negative reviews here are completely spot on in my opinion. You may enjoy it but I certainly didn't.
I'm a bit more lenient with an author's first book, and this was a quick and enjoyable listen. It kept my interest pretty much the whole way through. It starts very unconventionally, which really keeps you guessing as to what will happen next. The main character gets abducted by an alien ship, has to pass several tests, and then gets put in charge and forced to fight another invading alien force. It feels very original since it could go anywhere.
Then about halfway through the books really speeds up and devolves into a more traditional marine military sci fi. The author skips a lot of time as forces build up and alien technology is proliferated in order to fight a huge ground war, and most of the latter half is filled with bloody ground battles. This part is more disappointing as it loses much of its originality and actually feels like a different book.
Then the very end puts on a twist that I didn't expect. I wondered how the next book would get set up and whether it was just a continuation of the battles we've seen. But instead something unexpected occurs and leaves a huge hook for future books. I'm interested to see where it goes from here.
This is a real scifi with aliens, robots, spaceships and laser guns. Time after time it is refreshing to listen to an audiobook without overcomplicated concepts. The story goes around an old concept: aliens attack the Earth to pirate its raw materials. Other aliens send help, so the humanity has a chance to defend itself. But then comes a spin: the help arrives in a form of automated ships, which pick up their command personnel by their own. In the process selecting the suitable candidates they kill the unsuitable ones without hesitation.
After losing his children, it takes time for the hero to come to the conclusion that these ships are not evil, but simply follow an algorithm. Nothing is black and white, as it is the case in real life.
I enjoyed the story, which develops from ships killing people to war with giant robots. And of course, there are nanorobots, which injected into people make them superhuman.
If you want a "shoot the alien robots" type of story, this one will entertain you.
Emergency physician and fantasy nerd in Chicago.
Most of it. It's got some decent sci-fi in it but never really makes you care that much. So much of the action takes place inside a windowless ship. I didn't buy many of the plot twists including the very concept of "Star Force."
More Patrick Rothfuss
He actually did a great job.
***Spoiler alert****Probably would not have the kids murdered. It's just so hard to believe that someone could lose 2 kids in a brutal murder and then go on to think about getting a couch or having a new sexual partner within a few days/weeks.
Comments saying this is the best thing since Star Wars are just ridiculous.
I stopped listening with many hours to go because I just didn't care what happened to any of the characters or the story.
"Amazing book! Action filled sci-fi! Great narrator"
It's an amazing book! Loved it from the very first "page" till the last!
The story is great and original, very fast paced sci-fi novel, filled with action, aliens and cool technology. There is no moment you could feel bored. Couldn't put it down at all. Despite the fact that there is a lot of military insight and strategy in the middle of the book, it wasn't too overwhelming (even a girl like me was still interested). I guess it helps that the main character isn't a military person as well, so it's simple enough to understand his solutions and thinking. And the story has a lot of twists and surprises to keep you on the edge!
And special love goes to the narrator - he is just amazing! The best I've heard so far! He really makes you feel the book on your own skin, the way he paces his talk, all the emotions he puts in the voice! And it's so easy to understand (very well pronounced and clear voice - English is a foreign language for me, so it's important)! The different characters also have different distinguishable voices. Great work!
I'm already prepared to listen to the next book in the series!
"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.
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