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Far from the Spaceports Paperback – November 26, 2015
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"a splendid good read... possibly the best thing the author has done to date..." - Breakfast with Pandora blog
About the Author
Richard Abbott writes science fiction set in the near future of our solar system. He has a keen interest in exploring how human and artificially intelligent individuals will combine and relate to each other.
He also writes historical fiction set in the Middle East at the end of the Bronze Age, around 1200BC. Look out for his books in the Kephrath series: In a Milk and Honeyed Land, Scenes from a Life, and The Flame Before Us.
Richard Abbott has visited some of the places that feature in his historical fiction. To date, however, he has not had the opportunity of visiting the asteroid belt, or anywhere else outside the Earth.
He lives in London, England and works professionally in IT quality assurance. When not writing words or computer code, he enjoys spending time with family, walking, and wildlife, ideally combining all three pursuits in the English Lake District.
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Top customer reviews
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Abbott tends to put less emphasis on plot, more on character and world development. The action is satisfying enough, but it is never earth-shaking. Abbott does not send his characters off on impossible missions that miraculously turn out fine anyway.
This book deals with an interplanetary economic fraud case somewhere in the future (AD 2100? No year is given), investigated by the one and only Mitnash Thakur, a swashbuckling coding genius who works for the watchdog Economic Crime Review Board.
"Mit" uses computer programming the way Indiana Jones uses his whip. He is also helped by his "persona," Slate, an intelligent computer that combines some of the aspects of the HAL "2001: A Space Odyssey" computer with what can only be termed sexy geek girl partner. Slate is linked with Mit through a neurotransmitter, so "she" can practically hear his thoughts. The result is quite an intimate portrait of hand-in-bot computer sleuthing and hacking.
The world Abbott creates is no less engaging: a set of asteroids in linked orbit called the Scilly Isles, remote outposts used as a base for miners. Think Antarctic Research Station, but without the penguins, or the oxygen.
But the real star of the show may be the hyperauthentic coding jargon, which is indicative of the kind of science fiction this novel represents: a reasonable, plausible future where computers and computer hacking are by an order of magnitude more important in everyone's day-to-day life than is now true.
Add to this a number of well-drawn supporting characters (including the dashing South Asian spaceship captain Parvati and her partner Maureen, and Mrs. Riley, who is more than just an old lady B&B proprietress), a non-obvious economic mystery to unravel, and an ugly little persona that hacks in to Slate, and you have a nifty and entertaining short novel with much room for further adventures, possibly the best thing the author has done to date.
The story is very well written and kept me engaged throughout. I really enjoyed the simplicity of the story, Mitnash being a coding hero instead of an action hero. It was refreshing to read a story that was low level action, and more about an intelligent character, a well-rounded plot, and a believable futuristic world. I hope there are more stories to come about Mitnash and Slate.
I would have rated this book at 3.5 stars if I could have, but it deserves to be rated up rather than down.
Title: Far From the Spaceports
Author: Richard Abbott
Star Rating: 4 Stars
Number of Readers: 17
Of the 17 readers:
14 would read another book by this author.
1 thought the cover was good or excellent.
13 thought the exciting plot was the best part
16 thought the ending was exciting.
16 felt the writing style was excellent for this genre.
‘A superb sci-fi thriller with excellent pacing and characters. A mystery thriller in space – sort of. This is my sort of thing. Hated the cover but loved the story. Lots of pace and thoroughly likeable characters to get behind.’ Male reader, aged 54
‘The best book I have read in a long time. Cover needs re-doing; at present it is oozing ‘boredom’. However, don’t judge a book by its cover. I liked the claustrophobic feel and the way the two central characters worked together. Solid ending too. Good stuff.’ Female reader, aged 50
‘This is a very clever novel. It’ not full of ridiculous stunts but is thoughtful and, often, even technical. The mystery of who is up to what is cleverly designed, and the setting is well described. The characters interact well with the futuristic environment.’ Male reader, aged 32
‘A hero in coding and not a hero with big biceps. A sci-fi thriller for a smarter reader who enjoys being tested. I would highly recommend this book.’ Female reader, aged 36
‘Simply written, often fascinating and always clever. Sort the cover.’ Male reader, aged 44
‘Interesting, fascinating and totally unputdownable. A RED RIBBON WINNER and highly recommended.’ The Wishing Shelf Book Awards