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“A bright, stimulating work that deserves a wide readership.” —Gregory Benford, author of the Galactic Center Saga
“Fans of SF as a vehicle for ideas will devour this intriguing debut…. The Kollin brothers keep the plot moving briskly despite the high proportion of talk to action. Their cerebral style will especially appeal to readers nostalgic for science fiction’s early years.” —Publishers Weekly
“Recalls the emphasis on freedom of the early works of Heinlein and the cutting-edge social commentary of William Gibson and Fritz Leiber. A good choice for most libraries.” —Library Journal
About the Author
Brothers DANI KOLLIN and EYTAN KOLLIN live in California.
To all fans of the series this book is a must have, and while it has its flaws it is certainly a worthy sucessor to the heady Unincorporated Man more so than the middle two. I have been a fan from the start of the series, especially the ever classic opener to the series, and this book brings it all home. I won't spoil anything other than to say while some will certainly complain about the ending I am a huge fan of how the story ultimately played out. Everything is wrapped up though in a bit of a hasty fashion. I suppose then you are wondering why the four stars? Simply put in spite of jumping the shark, and opening up some unnecesary plotholes the story became more focused on the actors and not the glitzy battles although as a high point of consistency the battles have remained tense and as fun to read as in the Unincorporated war. If you want a novel about implausible crushing victories and clear good guys, this book isn't for you, but if you want to see the moral and spiritual effects of war; if you want to seee the depths of depravity, and the heights of mercy. If you simply want to see brilliant leadership and effective idealism, then do yourself a favor and buy this novel, in fact purchase the series. The questions it raises about humanity and our place among the stars, and in relation to each other are worth the occasional narrative mishaps, plus its just plian darn good reading.
If you've gotten this far through the series you'll know that, while not the best written Space Opera you'll read this year (the award for which surely goes to Hannu Rajaniemi's Quantum Thief), there's generally been sufficient interesting idea's and action to keep us all somewhat entertained. The series was already on a bit of a downward curve, but I was willing to forgive many of it's flaws to see how it all panned out. Unfortunately this book threw out all the mitigating characteristics, and the authors plumbed those flaws as deeply as they could. The main theme of this particular installment is the canonization of religion as humanity's ultimate saving grace, in the face of the evil corporate system. It's basically a naive polemic about the importance of religion in an increasingly irreligious world, with absurd wish-fulfillment visions of all creeds coming together against the atheist hordes. I can only surmise that one of the brothers has taken it on himself to use the book as some sort of tribute to their father, a Rabbi.
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I don't have words for how much I loved the first book in this series, it's a classic. Great characterization, an interesting big idea, and a largely idealistic tone and outlook. The book was very character driven and while slow at times, was more than worth the effort. Sometime during the second book the series "jumped the shark" and hasn't really looked back since. It moved from a thoughtful character driven piece that felt very much like something from the golden age and turned into an over the top space opera that felt like it went out of its way to torture (often literally) the characters that made the first book so great. I had hoped that the authors would return to form in this last installment and at least try to build some semblance of if not a happy ending at least one that captured some of the optimism and character driven greatness of the first book. Unfortunately, what I found was one of the most nihilistic endings of any book I've read in recent memory. There are literally no winners, and even the characters you think might get off with at least some semblance of a happy future turn out to have that marred by some nasty little twist in the final pages. I rushed out to the get the last book in the hope that the middle two were their "Empire Strikes Back" and that they would pull the whole thing out in the end. As it stands, it's going to be a good long time before I reread the first book and not have the experience marred by what follows.
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It is true that there were few if any "happy endings" for the cast of characters in this series, most of them got about what they deserved due to their actions. Also, the epilogue (set in the far future) gave an outlook of optimism for the descendants of what had been called the "Outer Alliance". It also left the door open for a sequel series...
The first book (The Unincorporated Man) was the best of the bunch, addressing some concepts relatively unique to the science fiction genre. However, the second book (The Unincorporated War) shifted the focus to the military and political arena, and surprisingly introduced the previously-unmentioned religious concepts which continued to the very last sentence of the series. (At least the author provided a good reason for that topic not appearing in the first book.) Even more surprisingly, "War" killed off the series' main character (Justin Cord), but in a way which allowed for a possible resurrection.
So in this last book, we're waiting for the Outer Alliance to triumph over their enemies, maybe led by a revived Justin Cord, but there really turns out to be no winners or losers, and as for Cord...well, you have to read the book to find out :)
Overall, I liked the series but it could have been so much more...I wish the Kollin brothers good fortune in their future works, regardless of whether they occur in the "Unincorporated" universe or not.
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Dani is an author, blogger, and advertising copywriter currently living in Los Angeles, California. He works in the print, broadcast, packaging and new media fields. In addition to being happily married and the proud father of three, Dani is an avid endurance cyclist and surfer.