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Fleet: The Complete Collection Paperback – December 4, 2013
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If you love science, if you love the ocean, if you love "hard" science fiction, if you love biology (especially if you love marine biology), then you will almost certainly enjoy this book.
My very minor gripes: there were a few typos here and there ("he" when it meant "her", for example), and I felt that the character development could have been stronger. A few of the characters developed really well (and not necessarily main ones) and a few I didn't really feel a connection to. It just kind of sometimes felt like characters were blurring together and it wasn't easy to keep names straight, because they weren't distinguished enough, and so you kind of had to remember things like "oh, so-and-so was the bosun of that boat".
But overall, the story flew (or sailed, if you prefer). Good pacing. Decent foreshadowing (though a bit easy to predict; any twists weren't major surprises). Nice dialog. Overall a very fun and different read, as you don't see a lot of nautical science fiction. I, for one, would very much like to see more. :)
Hints of advanced technology from earlier civilization and hard-won pragmatism balance each other enough to create a sense of verisimilitude that is not broken. Even when a cache of treasures is found, there is no free lunch. The law of unintended consequences reigns supreme. Yet, still, there is a thread of hope that runs through good sci-fi. This undercurrent remains in this story such that the conclusion leaves both the reader with a sense of cautious optimism and the author with plenty of opportunity to further develop this world.
I'd love to see more stories set in the universe of the Fleet.
When the crew of one of the ships gets all excited about finding an actual FOOD FISH.... I took a 24hr break to recover.
As the title indicates... you'll be more oriented if you read the prequel PREPARED first..then move on to FLEET.
I agree with the reviewers who are worried about proof reading... that's evidently the nature of the everyone can write a book and put it on Amazon to sell world we live in now.
Editing is a higher level, but the editor of Pat Conroy's BEACH MUSIC let Conroy refer to a classic of MIDDLE ENGLISH as written in OLD ENGLISH(that would be Anglo-Saxon)....and that was hardback best -selling fiction done in the days before ebooks.
Nature of the beast this editing matter. If I WERE a solo ebook writer however I'd enlist some friends to give me some help prior to publishing.
I wasn't too worried about such as this with Thaler's FLEET. Characterization could have been better. Transitions could have been better. Narrative pull could have been better.
But where he excels.... he pulled me as the reader into a nightmare world that I want never to live in. So A+ for setting and A+ for the details that bring this nightmare world to life in the reader's imagination.
The books are inexpensive. I'd get both for your ereader devices. Store on the Cloud. And wait for one day when Thaler says... I TRIED TO TELL YOU! And I TOLD YOU SO!
As I said in my review of PREPARED... Thaler's efforts here merit your taking the plunge. Join the nightmare. And possibly make a commitment to a different future.
Dr. Thaler’s work may signal a change. He's taken an old premise–that Earth’s land is submerged or uninhabitable–put a new set of complex characters on a motley collection of boats, and told them to survive. The action takes place in the 23rd century after the seas have risen and a plague has wiped out most of humanity. Man-made climate change is implicitly blamed for the creation of this dystopia.
As an experienced writer and scientist specializing in deep-sea ecology, Thaler knows his subject. His characters appear to be drawn from the men and women he’s come to know in his work with fisherfolk. The details of the boats and their operation are convincing, and the dialog is first rate. The structure of the novel is confusing at times, and the suggestion that a wooden sailboat might survive more than a century in salt water is far-fetched. But Thaler deserves credit for picking up science fiction’s nautical thread, and showing that the oceans still have many lessons to teach landlubbers.
For a story that kills off lots of characters, it ends on a remarkably happy note. It most certainly leaves you wanting more, I really hope there is a sequel that engages in more extensive world building beyond the setting of this story.