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The Northern Star: The Beginning Kindle Edition
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This is not the case here. If you are a fan of Matrix and Robocop, you will enjoy and probably like this book. In fact, you will probably like it a lot.
I am afraid, I did not. There are some spoilers ahead, so, please, if you plan to read it and do not like spoilers, quit now and come back after you've read the book.
So then, first, I understand that Venezuela may have been on the news for all the wrong reasons. And I understand how the author may have thought it a good idea to "go with it". But, please, do a little research. Using Hugo as the "patriots" (Please!) Leader's name is either offensive to a large group of Venezuelans or appropriate, for a small minority, which, by the way, would not read this book. Having Carlos, be the trusted but drunk minion, is another very poor choice.
Then we get into the geography problems. The revels (not patriots, revels, things have their name) go into the mountains near the oil fields. PLEASE, in Venezuela the bulk of the oil reserves are in the plains AWAY from the mountains and the few refineries are on the coast. Furthermore, there are no pipelines worth blowing up because most oil is moved and will be moved in the future by river traffic not pipelines. These are just a few of the most glaring mistakes.
Now, on to the science. Aside from borrowing freely from Matrix and Robocop, "people may not be able to control a giant robot because we can pick up an egg without breaking it and can bench 350 pounds, but when you are in a machine you may not be able to control yourself". Really? I guess the author either does not drive or is capable of running at 60 mph, and that's why he can control his car. Furthermore, crane operators that move multi tonnes containers are exceptional in that they can gage how to control "vastly powerfully equipment" with nudges and not squish people and property in the process. Sorry if I sound petty, but is bad science description and ignores reality.
There are many more examples of bad science and very poor science descriptions. From going in indicating the boy hero is marginally autistic and the coming around and saying that his brain just "works differently" and is not autistic, to the Tank Mayor technology and consequences. There are a lot of inconsistencies in the descriptions of the weapons and the use of those and then there are very "brilliant" people making many, many, many stupid mistakes. Most, in science and tech.
Usually I look forward to reading other installments in series such as this one, but in this case in particular I have absolutely no interest in the sequels.
The one or two characters that may have been moderately interesting, died idiotic deaths. And the ones that survived really hold no interest to me. Sorry, but it's true.
So, again, if you have not read it and like Matrix and Robocop, you'll like this book. If you don't, you may want to skip it altogether.
Mike Gullickson is a California based writer, fairly new to the literary scene, and a writer who has taken his long obsession with science fiction (from age twelve he states `if it was gothic, horror, science fiction, fantasy or gory, I was into it.') But what makes Gullickson unique among writer of science fiction and futurism (and one of the primary reasons this reader could better appreciate a genre not usually to my liking) is his ability to create a backdrop for his stories that is anchored in reality, people or places or situations to which we can easily relate to the point that his stories become all the more terrifying because they are more than feasible possibilities. He has addressed our current dependence on oil and the global struggles of control of that dwindling resource, underlining that very real situation coupled with the rising incidents of terrorism and technological advances that simultaneously glut the media with images of terrorist acts and critical conditions distance us form confrontations in real time by viewing it all through the protective and poorly understood shield of the internet information source.
The Northern Star (Volume 1 The Beginning) opens in 2058 (actually a Prologue begins in 2048), a time with oil deletion has created the battleground for the super powers of China, the US, and the EU who have united in a military fashion to occupy all of the oil rich countries, a situation that has driven the masses into ghettoes, stimulated even further the Terror wars to the point where terrorist acts occur daily in the streets of the remaining cities. The only defense against this decimating progress is the creation by the corporation Mindcorp who has invented a computer based technology called Mindlink that allows people to have their mind outside their body: people can `live' in a virtual reality online. Out of this, Tank Majors (or bionic soldiers) are created to combat the powerful perpetrators. Gullickson personalizes these bionic warriors, and here again the author's ability to create identifiable characters in a bizarre situation helps drive his story to a surprising end.
Mike Gullickson has found that path that appeals to both sci-fi and futurists addicts as well as though of us who do not usually appreciate this genre, and much of that is due to his skill in keeping the language contemporary as he steps beyond the crises we know as reality - and just pushes reality further. It works. Grady Harp, November 13
The book is well-written, fluent, and is very easy to read. There is little character development, in part because the plot evolves so fast there is little room for it. The descriptions are clear, and it is reasonably easy to picture the action, which, because of the "Tank Major" concept, tends to be oriented somewhat towards the comic-style nature or the output of a computer game. In short it is exciting but not exceptionally intellectually demanding. The actual technology is fictional, and probably would not be like that, but who cares! The plot is reasonably predictable, and it offers few surprises. It is very good for light holiday reading, and my rating is on that basis.