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Swarm Audiobook

Swarm: Star Force, Book 1

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

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  •  
    Lamonica Johnson 04-25-12 Member Since 2010
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    "If Micheal Bay Wrote a Sci-Fi Novel..."

    If you are a fan of Isaac Asimov's deep thinking, or Larry Niven and his habit of making the reader do math, then this book is a welcome mental relief. Another reviewer referred to it as "sci-fi easy listening" and I think he hit the nail right on the head. Much like a Michael Bay film, if you start thinking too hard, you just ruin it for yourself. But that's not to say it can't be entertaining. To understand what I mean, simply read the following (spoiler free) synopsis:

    Computer Science professor Kyle Riggs is abducted by an artificially intelligent alien spacecraft. With occasional interjections from his stunningly beautiful consensually captive co-ed companion he must make clever use of programming, hacking, strategy, logic, and knowledge of powers of two to save Earth from merciless robotic aliens.

    At several points throughout the novel I considered how it might have made a good story line for a real-time strategy computer game (a la Starcraft). I must say, the book is massively entertaining. Listening to it is akin to having testosterone injected through your ears. Mark Boyett captures the different characters exactly as you would expect with all the seriousness that is required. The book skates a fine line between easy to take in and outright melodrama. It does a pretty good job at staying this side of melodrama (most of the time).

    I feel I must give a disclaimer that, as a computer science graduate myself, I think there is a certain draw to a book featuring a computer science professor as a protagonist. Especially one that gets the girl and saves the world. It's not really the kind of thing one would expect out of someone in my field.

    To sum things up: The characters aren't deep and neither is the plot, the action is enjoyable and constant, the hacking is surprisingly realistic (5 points for executing a privilege escalation exploit on an alien ship), and I think I'm going to pick up the next one.

    54 of 59 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Akron, OH, United States 10-25-11
    Amazon Customer Akron, OH, United States 10-25-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Finally some ORIGINAL scifi action."

    I got this book on a whim, and I am very glad i did. I found the story to be very original and let you really use your imagination to decide what some things should look like. It wasnt filled with a bunch of technical fluff that i have found in other books. 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.

    43 of 49 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael G Kurilla ROCKVILLE, MD, United States 11-11-11
    Michael G Kurilla ROCKVILLE, MD, United States 11-11-11 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Finally, an explanation for alien abductions!"

    Larson has crafted a novel twist on alien contact as well as solving the dilemma of advanced technology within a society temporally close to our own. In Swarm, alien vessels with alien advanced technology, but no aliens arrive on Earth and begin selecting, rather brutally, human candidates to pilot the ships in anticipation of future conflict with another alien enemy.

    Our hero is a college computer scientist who is the most successful at deciphering a functional interaction with the alien artificial intelligence powering the spacecraft. The bulk of the tale revolves around bootstrapping a military response to a malevolent alien invasion by what appears to be a machine intelligence, intent on wiping out humanity in order to use Earth as a source of raw materials.

    While some of the approaches to dealing with the alien invaders are contrived (and not well thought out), it's clear that Larson is setting up the opening salvo in what appears to a larger and longer story arch that will eventually introduce humanity to a more enlightened view of galactic politics (and lots of interstellar warfare as well).

    The writing is tight and the reading is well done making for an overall easy listening experience.

    37 of 43 people found this review helpful
  •  
    crazybatcow East Coast, Canada 02-28-15
    crazybatcow East Coast, Canada 02-28-15 Member Since 2015

    I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)

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    "Adolescent - and I don't mean YA"

    It is absolutely nothing like what I expected. I thought it was a military sci-fi where they battle space aliens. Oh... well... technically, it is a military sci-fi where they battle space aliens. But it feels more like a college boy's fantasy than anything that might come close to what would really happen in such a situation.

    I'm all for new and novel ideas. I like the concept of the aliens, and how the ships arrived, and what the humans had to do, and how they fought the aliens at the end of the novel but... and it's a big but... the characterizations were absolutely ridiculous. A college professor ends up saving the world because he is smarter than everyone else... sure, okay, I can deal with that. But... a guy watches his kids die, tries to save them and is all agitated about if they will survive and then, voila! problem solved by the entrance of a nude woman. Yep... naked woman solves all problems just by appearing in the story - and then no more whining and hair-tearing over the little issue of his dead children.

    Sure, a couple times while his is stealing furniture and complaining about his lack of decorating options, and fantasizing about having a cold beer, he thinks of his dead children, but only in passing... after all, nearly 2 whole days have passed.

    And I won't even get into the other space ship captain and the earth responses to the situation - after all we know that a college professor knows more and is smarter than the entire forces of every country on earth - it's not like any nation would have experienced trained military leaders and/or technical geniuses that these brand new captains could rely on.

    But... to be honest... the single biggest issue - which has probably tainted my entire review - is that women in this book have about the same value and intelligence as a beer. And if there was a blow up doll on board, I'm pretty sure the cold beer would be worth more.

    14 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tracey Danville, AR, United States 01-14-13
    Tracey Danville, AR, United States 01-14-13 Member Since 2016

    I am a voracious reader (average about 4-5 Audible books a week, in addition to those I "eyeball".) I have been hooked on recorded books since the time of cassettes/CDs and was thrilled when I became an Audible member in 2007. I find reader reviews good guides to spending my credits, so have finally decided to write a few (although, I would rather be reading!)

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Opens great but descends into utter drek!"

    I read A LOT of mil scifi (Heinlein, Scalzi, Card, Campbell, Resnick, Ringo, etc) and am always looking for new books in the genre. Given the number of 4-5 star reviews for this book, I was expecting a great read. The opening was great, but it just started going downhill from there.

    This really read like a YA book, or perhaps even a book based on a video game (but, I have read better entries in that genre.)

    The characters were utterly 2-dimensional, dialogue subpar, and plot plodding. I was hoping that this volume would be redeemed by some good space battles, but I found those wanting.

    **********************spoiler alert**************************************

    The development of the protagonist is preposterous. He goes from "work-from-home" college professor to dynamic military strategist in just a few chapters. His early stages of grief went from denial to anger to lust within minutes of his children's grisly deaths. And the half-naked female sidekick's "oh, this ship has good taste" within days of that same ship killing her had me thinking this book was written by a teenager.

    I only paid $4.95 for this book, but I still feel I overspent -- and I wish had those hours of listening time back for a more worthy listen. Downloading "Earth Strike: Star Carrier" by Ian Douglas now and hoping it will help clean my mental palate.

    57 of 70 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alex FPO, AP, United States 10-27-11
    Alex FPO, AP, United States 10-27-11
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    "John Ringo sans the crazy politics..."

    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.

    3) Characters:
    (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.

    40 of 51 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 08-04-12
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 08-04-12 Member Since 2015

    I am brutally honest. Popular, love everything they read, reviewers are scared to go neg. and risk their ranking. It's your money!!!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Six Million Dollar Man"

    The very beginning of this reminds me of the game Portal. Then it becomes kind of (early) Heinleinist. It ends with the Six Million Dollar Man.

    The story concept is really good and will keep you listening, even at the times when the writing falters.

    Problems: At the beginning the main characters' kids are killed and in a very gross way. His reaction is very lacking. Parts of the book sound like something Piers Anthony would write. We are given information on his wife's death, which was kind of gross and which adds nothing to the story. He is a college professor who teaches computer science and this seems to give him the ability to lead armies, design weapons, be a diplomat and be a military strategist. I believe those that have trained in the military all there life will be insulted by this.

    Good: The story is creative. It kept my attention as the miles I was driving just melted by. I have never heard of the (Hope Monkey) before, but I will always remember it. The length of the book is perfect. The ending makes you want to buy the rest in the series.

    The narrator was ok, but after listening to Ray Porter and Dick Hill, he was a little lack luster.

    26 of 33 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Pannenberg Fremont, CA 03-07-12
    M. Pannenberg Fremont, CA 03-07-12 Member Since 2014

    Fan of the Amazon

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Unbelievable characters"
    This book wasn???t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    In my opinion, this is easy listening SciFi. Entertaining if you don't want to invest too much effort.


    Would you ever listen to anything by B. V. Larson again?

    Not sure.


    Any additional comments?

    The main character is a computer science major, but his conversations with the machine is just aggravatingly illogical. Also, he takes charge of the whole army of super soldiers, without any military training or background, continues to lose most of his men because he's being an idiot and then doesn't even seem to feel responsible. I profoundly disliked the main character. Lost his family in the first chapter, but that doesn't really seem to faze him much only a few pages on.

    21 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Chicago, IL 09-28-12
    Amazon Customer Chicago, IL 09-28-12 Member Since 2009

    Emergency physician and fantasy nerd in Chicago.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Just don't care..."
    What disappointed you about Swarm?

    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."


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    More Patrick Rothfuss


    What about Mark Boyett’s performance did you like?

    He actually did a great job.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Swarm?

    ***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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    11 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Professor 11-28-12
    Professor 11-28-12

    1*=I didn't like it..... 2*=It was OK...... 3*=It was good but I will never read it again.......... 4*=Maybe I will read it again in the future.............. 5*=I will definitely read it again(maybe more than once)

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    "BEST WORK BY B.V. LARSON"

    IMHO this is best or maybe second best work (Technomancer) of B.V. Larson
    Sci fi Story with strong and interesting characters and many developments at this moment I'm reading book 6 and my attention still fully occupied.

    You will find everything you may want: aliens, humans, AI machines
    Love happiness and sorrow, Honor, betrayal and sacrifice and you will definitely enjoy it.


    PS
    For some some strange reason audiobooks of this series are published 3 or 4 months later than ebook version, so I had to get the dust of my Kindle.

    16 of 21 people found this review helpful
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  • D. Fitzgerald
    coventry
    6/1/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Best read this year"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    The reader was very good,reminded me of Ed Bishop.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Gripping stuff from start to end,have got all the star force books now. Will get the audio versions too.


    Which character – as performed by Mark Boyett – was your favourite?

    All of the characters were good ,hard to pick out.Riggs I think


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes I did one Sat Morning.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gery Lynch
    GLASGOW, United Kingdom
    3/26/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Start but fizzles out"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    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.


    What will your next listen be?

    39 Steps by John Buchan


    What about Mark Boyett’s performance did you like?

    Good atmosphere - certainly could feel the sense of claustrophobia


    Was Swarm worth the listening time?

    Mindless late evening listen - yes


    Any additional comments?

    Fair book - bit in same vein as "Forever War" but not quite as good

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mike
    liverpool, United Kingdom
    3/9/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Colin
    Tewkesbury, United Kingdom
    1/29/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Hidden Depths"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • David
    Great Dunmow, United Kingdom
    1/18/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not the depth of the likes of Reynolds or Hamilton"
    What did you like best about Swarm? What did you like least?

    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.


    If you’ve listened to books by B. V. Larson before, how does this one compare?

    NA


    Have you listened to any of Mark Boyett’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    NA


    Was Swarm worth the listening time?

    It was OK. Relatively short I thought, and in two minds about whether to read any more.


    Any additional comments?

    Worth a listen so you can decide whether to read the rest.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • GMJ
    East Yorkshire, UK
    12/15/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Never judge a book by its cover"
    What did you like most about Swarm?

    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.


    What other book might you compare Swarm to, and why?

    Similar pace to the vampire novels by Scott Mariani.


    Have you listened to any of Mark Boyett’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    Have not listened to any other books YET!


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The first few chapters leading to his abduction.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • john
    DURHAM, United Kingdom
    12/8/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Exciting consept"
    If you could sum up Swarm in three words, what would they be?

    Exciting, addictive, fun


    What did you like best about this story?

    The concept of the nanos and macros


    Have you listened to any of Mark Boyett’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    I have only listened to 2 other star force books, so can't really compare.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    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!


    Any additional comments?

    Really looking forward to the rest of the series!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Truls
    Norway
    12/1/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "For the first time in a while, I wanted more."
    What made the experience of listening to Swarm the most enjoyable?

    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.


    What other book might you compare Swarm to, and why?

    The Saga of Seven Suns and The Foundation series.


    What does Mark Boyett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Mark Boyett makes this book come to life in my head.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr
    United Kingdom
    12/1/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent series"
    If you could sum up Swarm in three words, what would they be?

    Gripping,engrossing and addictive


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    There are many strong characters. I don't have a favourite one.


    What does Mark Boyett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    His narration is excellent and consistent. It helps with the visualisation of the book more than just reading it


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I couldn't get through it fast enough and then couldn't wait to listen to more in the series.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • RMB
    11/12/11
    Overall
    "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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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