Written by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
Narrated by Macleod Andrews
Damn it, no damn is safe!
The Centauran circus has come to town and they are serious about their take.
Apparently…so are we
I’m not sure who was imitating who but Footfall is a 1985 SciFi novel not unlike the Colonization series by Turtledove. Now these guys do not need praise or criticism from somebody three decades later but it is astounding how this work has stood the test of time…written as it was, a near term work.
Pachyderm-like aliens invade our solar system to try and take Earth from us. They bombard us with kinetic weapons, lasers and other crap they inherited from their predecessors. We on the other hand, are stimulated into innovations for fighting back. Can you hear the jingoistic species martial music in the background?
By the way, where else can a borderline alcoholic biker guy become a hero and then a space combatant ship do it all engineer? I liked this book back when I read the dead-tree version and I still like it in audio. Four stars for some hard SciFi.
Authors Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
Narrator: Eileen Stevens
Apparently this is Theo Waitley book 1 but it is Liaden Universe book 11. Fascinating. It is the first work in this series I have consumed. Hmmmm.
Upon the fanatically safe world of Del Gado where a very prestigious university stamps out its graduates a young woman named Theo Waitley is coming of age. The daughter of Camille and Genzar, she has made it to fourteen years of age amassing a volume of warnings in her file regarding clumsiness and reckless decisions. On Del Gado some view that as evidence enough to drug the…offender into a safer state of being.
Her mother and Father, or Honor Grad, are high level academics in the University of Del Gado. They have the clout and sense to push back against such notions but for how long. A published peer of theirs has been outed as a fraud and they’ve uncovered a conspiracy that would bring down the University, the only major source of economic succor on Del Gado.
They must act to save their daughter and the well being of the planet.
I really enjoyed this work. Though there was little science involved there was bio-science, space opera and social engineering displayed in abundance. While not a novel I would usually seek out I do recommend this one for the younger crowd, perhaps twelve and up as any touchy subjects are dealt with rather tastefully here.
Four out of five entertainment points are thus awarded.
RAI: Welcome to New Japan
Written by Matt Kindt
Penciled and colored by Clayton Crain.
The year is 4001 A.D. – led by the artificial intelligence called “Father,” the island nation of Japan has expanded out of the Paciﬁc and into geosynchronous orbit with the ravaged Earth below. With billions to feed and protect, it has fallen to one solitary guardian to enforce the law of Father’s empire – the mysterious folk hero known as Rai. They say he can appear out of nowhere. They say he is a spirit…the ghost of Japan. But when the ﬁrst murder in a thousand years threatens to topple Father’s benevolent reign, Rai will be forced to confront the true face of a nation transformed…and his own long-lost humanity
This trade paper back volume includes the first 4 issues of Rai, the protector of new Japan and embodiment of Father’s policies. I think the story is fabulously complex for a comic arc and the art is extremely entertaining. Even though Rai is the main protagonist, I have to say I’m enjoying the character building going into Spylocke. Both are ruthless implementors of violence in their views of the greater good. Four out of five enjoyment stars for this and I hope to read more. Got my copy from Valiant’s booth at Denver Comic Con 2015.
If one must Amazon then here is the link. Try and buy local though if you can.
Written by Jason Kent
I got my dead-tree copy of this work autographed by the Author at Denver Comic Con. The scope of the story takes place in both near and far space, probably why the name was chosen. There are two points of view maintained throughout the book, Ian Langdon and Jennifer Wright. This is a good thing in my opinion because it helps continuity and character building. At appropriate places minor characters pick up the tale.
Earth knows there are technologically superior aliens burning around the galaxy and they choose not to take the well intentioned advice of the only species that has deemed to contact them. They were tole to pull in all their noisy space infrastructure, hunker down and hide. Stupid humans.
Ian is supposed to be this hot shot pilot fresh from training and finds his fortunes twined with a beautiful scientist that travels in his circles. The crafting of this part of the story is telling on how hard it is to maintain a relationship when deployed…to another world.
The book is action packed and moves quickly through about three years of story line. Things I found improbable include: national sovereignty maintained while pursuing Solar System colonization, reverse engineering alien technology for human use within a year, and an alien civilization with an analogue of an Human monotheistic religion. Things I found compelling: Humanity unifying to repel alien attacks, active and supported colonization efforts, AM drives, wormholes, individual combat armor exo-suits and the armament choices for the capital ships.
I liked this book for the story, character building, true attempt at doable technology and the alien species concept used. There is quite a bit of copy editing needed here but the story got through. I’m awarding three stars.
The Atlantis Gene
by A. G. Riddle
David Vale used to be Andrew Reed and is a highly trained operative with a bug up his ass about the perpetrators of 9-11. Kate Warner is a doctor who is trying to treat autistic children with gene therapies to abate or correct their autism. I have a huge problem with that part of the story.
The Imari are the off shoot of an even older tribe of humans called the Imaru. They seek to spike mankind’s next great evolutionary leap forward by either killing off most of the population with a plague or finding the…Atlantis Gene.
Not going to throw anymore spoilers out there for those of you who still want to read or listen to this work. I listened to this and that is why I did not end before fifty percent. Let me just say that this was a really complex story with lots of points of view.
My problem here is that I do not like to give negative reviews but anything I get past fifty percent on is getting a review. I listened to the entire book.
The plot and back stories are overly complex and rushed in delivery, not the narrator’s fault. There is like a hundred and forty some chapters because the author bounced around from POV to POV. Any plot that ties in the World Trade Center terrorist events of 9-11 to an organization seeking to make Nazi super soldiers…I’m going to state that it is still too soon to be writing this kind of alternate view. Lastly this business about autistic persons having to be treated as if they are diseased or need to be cured is absurd and I guarantee would piss off a lot of people in the autistic community.
Going to give this thing three stars overall and that is for the Narrator. By the way, the ending is a trite clean up and very unsatisfying.
Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #4
Written by Zack Whedon.
Artwork by Georges Jeanty, Karl Story, Laura Martin and Michael Heisler.
My staying on top of this series amongst all the other things in ADD-land is sketchy but let’s reel the canon back into the fold. This story is after the movie Serenity and some things have happened…duh! Apparently, the crew has had more adventures, the operative is now on the same side as Mal’s folks, there is a New Resistance and Gorram-it Zoe has been captured by those galactic assholes called the Alliance.
In this installment Zoe establishes some order in the prisoner playground while the crew of Serenity discover that she is not where they expected her to be. Something else is and they…should run.
Got to say I’m really enjoying this and now I will make an effort to track down more of the issues. I really do prefer volumes, oh well. I’m giving this installment four out of five entertainment points because I would rather pay a little more and have a volume than a trade paper back. Enjoy!
Five by Five Target Zone 3
Anthology of Military Scifi
Edited by Kevin J. Anderson
This was a collection of Science Fiction shorts from several authors, some of them prolific and others not so much. Two of the stories really stand out to me. One was by the Kollin brothers and is an off shoot or back story to The Unincorporated Man series. Daddy, the con man and Baby Girl, sounds like the duo from Kick Ass, have found each other in the UHF (United Human Federation) Marine Corps. He really is against the war but we will stay and do what he has to until his daughter sees the light. The light is seen…too late and AI avatars protect them for centuries.
The next one that I enjoyed immensely was Escape Hatch by Kevin J. Anderson. Who doesn’t want to fight a hopeless battle against overwhelming alien forces with the fearless Adm. Haldane there…to convey everything he sees (understands) to the future in which he will always survive while you die. To him escape is just pushing a button that he deserves…because he is so very important you see. Hopefully I haven’t spoiled things too badly for you.
The other stories were good though the editing, sorry Kevin, could probably have been honed a bit. Misused and misplaced words mainly. I give the collection a four out of five points. Enjoy.
Written by Neal Stephenson.
Narrated by Malcom Hillgartner
The Forthrasts are a diverse family hubbed in the heartland of America in the state of Iowa. They created war heroes, a draft dodger, an uber conservative recluse who moved to Idaho and a computer-geologist adoptee from the Horn of Africa. Their reunions are not the scene of friendly softball games so much as the group firing of the family armory of rifles, pistols, shotguns…redneck paradise.
The skills from this hobby will come in handy as they become embroiled in dealings with: Russian Organized criminals, Chinese Hackers using the Reamde virus to get rich in the Multi-person online game called T’rain, and Islamic extremists who want nothing better than a martyrdom opportunity on US soil.
As seems to be the genre for this author this is not so much a science fiction as it is a fiction with some science. The uses of the web, hackers, complex code used to make global impact are just some of the realms that are common to Stephenson’s works yet there is very little in this that is a …stretch. Where this book really sings is in the paths of action as Zula, Kongor(?), Solokov, Olivia and an impressive supporting cast engage the Russians then the extremists in rapidly changing environments. I was really impressed.
I’m giving the audio version of this work five out of five. That’s because I liked the storyline, liked the delivery, saw no hand waving on technical things and the whole product kept my interest. Time will tell if it is a masterpiece but I think it is well worth listening to. Enjoy.
Tek World Volume 1 Number 14
I was a Teenage Zombie
By William Shatner
Published by Marvel Epic Comics, 1993.
Jake Cardigan and others are being randomly, or maybe not so randomly, targeted by berserkers who suddenly decide ‘I must kill you’. Business executives, little old ladies, perhaps even little children if they had thought the story censors who have let it pass. A scientist connected with Tek Lords has developed some kind of disc delivered drug that compels the victim to become a programmed weapon.
Pretty good development for William Shatner. When I read an installment in the series and think back to the TV series I often wonder who contributed what to this endeavor and find…I don’t care that much about who did what. Point of fact the product is really better than I ever expected it would be and I enjoy reading and the artwork. Kind of the result you want from a comic book.
The banter between Gomez and Cardigan is really cheesy though, resulting in a three star award here. I got my copy of this from my local comic book…archive. Haley’s Comics.