Friday 26 August 2011

Ida by Tim Callahan

Official Blurb
Ida, one of the largest Asteroid in the belt between Mars and Jupiter, has finally been colonized. A group of engineers lead by John McVey, Craig Osborn, Gail Trabor, Andrew Dee and Jennifer McGee, occupy the largest space station every built to plan the future of the tiny colony. Sent there by Kennedy Lacombe, the richest man in the world, their only task is to find ways to mine the asteroid as efficiently as possible. John, however, has grandiose plans including riding a comet around the sun to obtain enough water for the colony to one day survive independent from Earth. His ambition quickly shifts when he discovers an accident with the station's birth control pills causes 20 women, including Jennifer, the woman he loves, to become pregnant. The rules on pregnancy are simple; a baby is a drain on resources and must be removed. John, his friends, and a large group of miners will do anything they can to prevent that, including declaring themselves the first independent colony outside of Earth.
My Review
This was one of Tim Callahan's first audio books.  He's since gone on to create and publish the "Arwen" series of books over at Podiobooks.  This book it not a part of the Arwen series, although it could conceivably belong in the same universe many many years before the Arwen.

I was given one of those "oh" moments when listening to this book.  I was a few chapters in when I realised that the sci fi part of the book is almost incidental to the human story at it's core. The characters are the focus here, Tim does not waste a lot of prose telling us about the working of some "flux capacitor" but focuses on people, what they think, what they feel and what they do when driven by those emotions.

That said, the last couple of chapters do hot up with non stop action. I really enjoyed this one, the characters felt real, they made mistakes and made choices that I could relate to.  The sci fi future described was interesting, worrying, and believable.

There were a few repeated lines in there, but no more than five or six spread out across the whole book and really didn't spoil my enjoyment.

Reading 2/3
Production 2/3
Story 2/3

Total Score 6/9

Download it from the Podiobooks

Listen to the first part

Saturday 20 August 2011

Enemy Lines by John Mierau

Official Blurb

In the near future, an alliance forged by powerful men will challenge the US government for control of secret technology. As their machinations gear up, the true owners of that technology will face a challenge of their own, deep in the asteroid belt. At stake? The future of the human race. ENEMY LINES is a science fiction adventure about conspiracies, spies...and aliens... in a future where the lines aren’t as clear as you think.

My Review

This is a near future science fiction book that takes place when humanity has just started mining asteroids. If you've ever wondered about the "Greys" of the popular UFO memes then this story will explain everything.

What if aliens were giving mankind a technological lift. What if someone didn't want you to know that. What if someone didn't want it happening at all. What if the only hope for mankind's survival was a criminal, or a man who's emotionally on the edge?

That's a lot of what-ifs! Well them and a lot more are included in this fantastic story. I absolutely loved it. A good dose of what I call "proper sci fi". If you like a tense story that will keep you guessing and thrilled by action all at the same time, then this is a book for you.

The reader is excellent and fits the pace and tone of the story very well. there are a couple of repeated lines and a couple of clipped sentences but that's all there is to mar this otherwise excellent audio book.

Reading 3/3
Production 2/3
Story 3/3

Total Score 8/9

Download it from the Podiobooks

Listen to the first part