Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Second Star (Star Svensdotter #1) by Dana Stabenow

Second Star (Star Svensdotter, #1)

Second Star (Star Svensdotter #1)

Classic SF. Given that I grew up in the days when the Russians (or Soviets) were a driving force, this novel felt familiar. This is basically an alternate future book, where a message from space shows that Aliens are out there and motivates the world to head outwards to greet those aliens on a more equal footing.

Star is basically a construction manager / captain of the still developing L5 community being put together by the Western alliance (US, Japan, Mexico, Canada) on a grand scale (miles long rotating habitat meant to house 1 million people? That's the definition of grand scale!).  Of course, there are a lot of issues. The potential of a hostile takeover, construction delays, solar flares and, yes, aliens all make this book an entertaining read.

Amazingly for a book written 2 decades ago, the book holds up fairly well (other than the geo-political aspects). I had to go back see when it was written and was quite surprised at the date.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Lost Stars: Tarnished Knight (Lost Stars #1) by Jack Campbell

The Lost Stars: Tarnished Knight

The Lost Stars: Tarnished Knight (Lost Stars #1)

What a great spinoff concept. Prior to this book the Syndicate, controlled by nefarious CEO's, were nothing more than relative stick figures. In this case we get to delve deeper into Syndicate society in the post-Geary age.  The main characters were tangentially introduced in the main series, but now we have a chance to see the desperate fight of the leadership of Midway to separate themselves from the central control of the Syndicate.

This is much more of a political novel than the Lost Fleet books.  Yes, there is space combat as well as ground combat, but a lot of the book is devoted to the truly twisted political realm of the CEO's, where you cannot trust anyone. Even though they must work together to wring a small hole of safety for both themselves and the people of Midway, the sheer level of scheming is intense (where every move is never taken at face value and no one is what they seem to be). But the two leaders, Drakon and Iceni, seem to see the value of cooperation and realize that the system that they were born into needs to be changed (but realizing that it cannot be done overnight).

A very solid book and I very much look forward to the next (with a cliffhanger like Jack dropped at the end of the book, it is a given that there needs to be another book).