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The Birth of the Dread Remora Paperback – March 24, 2011

3.1 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Scattered Earth Series

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Aaron Rosenberg likes to mix things up. Perhaps it’s because of his history: born in New Jersey, raised in New Orleans, schooled in Kansas (under the tutelage of science fiction legend James Gunn), now living and working in New York. Or it might be his work experience: creative director for an animation studio, script editor for a film company, submissions reader for a publishing house, English comp and lit teacher at two colleges, graphic designer for an insurance company, and desktop publisher for a publishing house. Whatever the reason, Aaron just can’t stick to one media or one genre. He’s written novels, short stories, children’s books, roleplaying games, webcomics, essays, reviews, and educational books, and has ranged from mystery to horror to science fiction and fantasy to contemporary fiction. He’s won awards for his roleplaying work (an Origins Award and a gold ENnie) and his fiction (a Psi Phi Award and a Scribe Award), and is constantly finding new stories to tell and new ways to tell them. Recent fiction projects include the Stargate: Atlantis novel Hunt and Run, the Chaotic junior novel The Khilaian Sphere, the middle-grade series Pete and Penny’s Pizza Puzzles, and two Eureka novels (written under the house name Cris Ramsay). Recent game projects include the Supernatural Hunter’s Guide, Eclipse Phase: Sunward, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, and the Trail of Cthulhu supplement This Sceptre’d Isle. You can keep up with Aaron’s exploits on his website, www.gryphonrose.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @gryphonrose.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Crossroad Press (March 24, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983434808
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983434801
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,553,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoy a good naval space opera, and my bar for the genre is not set very high. I'm not a scientist, just a science fiction fan.

There are some things to praise here, concepts like the implied future of humanity as an evolved underwater-based organism (due to the melting of the icecaps? never made clear), and the hints of what such a society might be like at the moment it's making its break for the stars.

I have two very fundamental issues with this novel, though, basic science and plot mechanics.

The violations of basic physics are t00 numerous to count, so I'll cite two simple examples. The first is the idea that sonar (or any sound-based technology) works in a vacuum. The second is the idea that if two ships dock with one another, a slight pressure differential between them will somehow prevent commingling of atmospheres (be they gas or liquid) rather than result in equalization. There are other (slightly subtler) examples, but if those two don't bother you then you probably won't mind the others, and shouldn't avoid reading this based on the science alone.

Which brings us to the plot. Spoilers ahead. What starts off as a mission to learn about a celestial phenomenon observed from the earth is derailed when the ship and crew are assaulted by space pirates. After the pirates have come and gone (having killed the captain) the ship has about 4 weeks of supplies left, and an estimated 3 week return trip to earth. The officer left in charge by the captain's death decides to head home. His second in command (and the protagonist of the novel) cannot believe this decision, because the mission is unfulfilled, and eventually successfully stages a mutiny with the enthusiastic support of the crew.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Writing the first book in what is planned to become an ongoing series is probably never the easiest of challenges a writer encounters during his or her career. And while Aaron Rosenberg was able to provide an engaging tale, it can't be denied that there are some birth complications, if you'll pardon the pun. Maybe my biggest gripe with the book is that it seldom really reads like a self-contained novel, but more like a set-up story for things to come.

But - and this is a relatively big but - once you accept the nature of this book and let yourself get sucked into the narrative, it's a perfectly enjoyable, fun ride. The story progresses logically, if a bit hastily on occasions, and brings the Remora and its crew to a point in the end that should provide very interesting storytelling opportunities for the following stories.

The characterisation is decent, but as a result of the focus on one particular crew member, Nathaniel Demming, from whose perspective the third person story is told, it's a bit too one-sided for my liking. Several of the characters do show potential, but since you only see them through the eyes of Demming it's a bit hard to really identify with them. I was surprised how much I actually liked the nautical feel of the story and behaviour of the characters, though, but I guess it just felt natural for a sea-based lifeform even in space. As with the plot there are some minor things with the characters that, while not game-changing, made me do a double-take, like when the acting captain resigns and pretty much just disappears afterwards. Maybe it's just me, but the way his character was developed beforehand, I have a hard time believing that he would remain still once he had calmed down and regrouped somewhat.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a rollicking tale of adventure and courage. A very easy read that leaves you wanting more of Aaron Rosenberg. Filled with characters you'd like to see on the big screen. I want to know what happens next for Mr. Demming and crew. The Scattered Earth concept is a bold one with lots of promise.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This appears to me the work of a bright young author who is lacking experience and still learning basic writing techniques. The .99 cent price allows new authors to learn to practice their trade while providing entertainment that is worth the price. I hope to see more of this author as he becomes more proficient in his craft. By the way, he might like to review the uses of over pressure and under pressure. (Smile).
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There are just sooo many things that irritate me about this book. First and foremost being: It could have been an enjoyable book. The plot is good, I like the characters, I even like the idea of having weird sentient gas creatures that research stuff.

But the science! Soooo many things are just -wrong-.

1) The ship has gravity with no mention of how or why.
2) Eating soup and crackers while in water.
3) Showing sweat on your face while in water.
4) The 'impellers' work in space. They pull in particles and shoot them out the back. There are vvveerrryyy few particles in space. The idea of them moving a ship with the added mass of all of that water is just silly.
5) Sound does not travel in a vaccum. Sonar would -not- work.
6) Anything 'sonic' will not work in space. Sonics requires vibrating -something- usually air. There is no air in space, so you can't bounce off asteroids. Using this to launch into space is already semi-ridiculous, but using it while in space, is just crazy.

I struggled getting through the book for the sole reason that I really do like the underlying ideas and story. The writer really should have passed the technological elements by some friends before putting them in the book. They really detract from what could be a good 'thrown under the bus and need to succeed' SF story.
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