Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Ghost Brigades

On my most recent trip to the beach, I opted to reread The Ghost Brigades by Jon Scalzi, the sequel to Old Man's War. It's a fast-paced military science fiction novel; the perfect accompaniment to a relaxing day in the sun.

The novel tells the story of the life and death of Jared Dirac, a cloned, genetically-engineered super-soldier. Basically, a trio of hostile alien races has united against humanity with the help of a traitorous human scientist named Charles Boutin. The scientist faked his death and defected for reasons unknown. Mr. Boutin’s scientific focus is on consciousness transfers and on computers implanted into soldier’s brains called BrainPals.

In order to better understand the threat facing humanity and find the renegade scientist, the Colonial Defense Forces clone Charles Boutin’s body. They attempt to transfer his consciousness (found saved on a computer drive) into the cloned body. The transfer doesn’t work. The clone of Charles Boutin is then renamed Jared Dirac and it’s given to the Ghost Brigades, an elite force within the Colonial Defense Force. Within a short period of time, Charles Boutin’s memories begin surfacing in Jared Dirac’s mind.

Many questions are raised in the novel such as; will Dirac remain loyal to his Ghost Brigade companions? Will the consciousness of Charles Boutin take over? Can Dirac learn the location of Boutin through the revealed memories? Does Dirac have free will? There’s a good amount of suspense as the story unfolds.  

I found this novel to be quite enjoyable and I would recommend it to any scifi or military action fan.

Stop by the library and pick up a copy.

Also, if you liked The Ghost Brigades then you should read our review of another Scalzi novel, The God Engines

Thanks for reading!
-Adam Delaura

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Death Star: Beach Ball of Death

Here’s another quick beach read, Star Wars: Death Star, by Michael Reaves and Steve Perry. While this wasn't the best Star Wars novel I had ever read, it did spark a conversation among my friends about the engineering and technological challenges to building a Death Star in real life.

Star Wars: Death Star tells the story of the original Death Star, mostly from the perspective of the soldiers and employees aboard the massive space station. (I can't help but wonder if the authors were influenced by that scene in Clerks) There are a whole bunch of characters such as, a Tie fighter pilot, a storm trooper, a gunner in command of the Death Star's super laser, some cantina workers, and a station design engineer. Unfortunately there were too many for me to keep track of and most of them I just didn't care about. (Nova, a storm trooper with a conscience, was the only exception.)

This book was pretty average to me. Nothing special,but not complete garbage either. While reading it, I felt like I was reading the script for some deleted scenes in A New Hope. However, it did serve its purpose for me as a beach read. It fit in well between swimming and arguing over which Jedi is the "best".

If you're a diehard Star Wars fan then you should read Death Star. Others should skip it. I'm just glad to know how that thermal exhaust port was left unshielded!

Stop by the library and pick up a copy.

Thanks for reading. Leave questions and comments below.
-Adam Delaura