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Earth Unaware (The First Formic War) Mass Market Paperback – April 30, 2013
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A hundred years before Ender s Game humans thought they were alone in the galaxy Humanity was slowly making their way out from Earth to the planets and asteroids of the Solar System exploring and mining and founding colonies The mining ship El Cavador is far out from Earth in the deeps of the Kuiper Belt beyond Pluto Other mining ships and the families that live on them are few and far between this far out So when El Cavador s telescopes pick up a fast moving object coming in system it s hard to know what to make of it It s massive and moving at a significant fraction of the speed of light But the ship has other problems Their systems are old and failing The family is getting too big There are claim jumping corporates bringing Asteroid Belt tactics to the Kuiper Belt Worrying about a distant object that might or might not be an alien ship seems not important They re wrong It s the most important thing that has happened to the human race in a million years This is humanity s first contact with an alien race The First Formic War is about to begin A hundred years before Orson Scott Card s Ender s Game humans thought they were alone in the galaxy Humanity was slowly making their way out from Earth to the planets and asteroids of the Solar System exploring and mining and founding colonies The mining ship El Cavador is far out from Earth in the deeps of the Kuiper Belt beyond Pluto Other mining ships and the families that live on them are few and far between this far out So when El Cavador s telescopes pick up a fast moving object coming in system it s hard to know what to make of it It s massive and moving at a significant fraction of the speed of light But the ship has other problems Their systems are old and failing The family is getting too big There are claim jumping corporates bringing Asteroid Belt tactics to the Kuiper Belt Worrying about a distant object that might or might not be an alien ship seems not important
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The setting for the series is developed beautifully, especially surrounding the culture and economy of asteroid belt mining, a major focus of this first book. Free Miner clans spend generations in deep space mining metals from asteroids and sending material back to a lunar base and then Earth. They compete with mining corporations, who treat the Free Miners as pests while trying to assuage their insatiable hunger for territory and profit.
The primary story in EARTH UNAWARE centers around Victor Delgado, an engineer with a free miner family way out in the Kuiper Belt. His unlucky family is among the first to encounter the invading aliens and Victor realizes that a warning must be sent to Earth no matter the cost. However, fights and distrust between the various human groups in deep space make coordinating a response to alien invasion much more difficult than you might think. Much of the book focuses on absurd and very-human conflicts, even in the face of imminent doom. These sections of the book are excellent.
However, a substantial portion of the book was also devoted to a Special Forces group known as MOPs (I can’t remember what that is an acronym for, but something like world police) and their leader Wit. This storyline was seriously confusing in the context of this book, apparently only included because of the involvement of MOPs in the rest of the series. These sections definitely felt tacked on here and not necessary at all, and worse, it takes the reader away from the central storyline of Victor and the first encounters with the Formics.
Overall though, I enjoyed this one and look forward to continuing the series. Simple and easy reading, but tells a story worth hearing. Highly recommended.
After seeing the recent ENDER movie, I wanted to get into the Ender story universe that Card created, but rather than reading the first book, I decided to start with the prequels, so that I could follow the story in proper chronological order. So, having said that, I haven't read any of the other books (besides Earth Unaware, Earth Afire, Earth Awakens), so I'm not really privy to the whole Ender universe-story yet
I first started reading the sample of this book before buying it, and after my purchase, it was difficult to set down the book (actually my kindle) and I read thru this book in a span under two weeks. The story seems to move quite fast, and you're introduced to various characters that you love (or grudgingly tolerate) and see things from their unique perspectives. There are unexpected things too, such as sadness from an unexpected loss, the thought processes of how one makes a decision, and revealing perspectives of systems and people.
If you read this book, you'll find that it's "unfinished". It has an ending, but you really need to read books 2 (Earth Afire) and 3 (Earth Awakens) to get the full story. Even still, apparently 3 more books are on the way to complete "the rest of the story", but they haven't been released yet. I can't wait!!
Yeah, as mentioned in other reviews, the whole thing about having to slow down for space walks did not feel right. Their propulsion technology must be pretty good for all of the "acceleration and deceleration" they are doing, presumably to avoid getting hit by space junk. I agree there is no such thing as a "full stop" in space, but I am willing to suspend disbelief on the idea that maybe what is meant is a full stop relative to the other stuff moving in their neighborhood. That said, this issue did not spoil the story for me.
The cultural and corporate stuff worked for me, and the characters were believable enough to keep me engaged, especially the various protagonists.
The story hooked me enough to keep me up late reading. That is where my four star rating comes from. The fact that this essentially volume one of a multiple volume story does not bother me. I just went on to the second volume when I finished it.
To sum up: three stars for quality of writing, but add an extra star for me staying up for one more chapter, then two, then three.