Customer Reviews: Perigee
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It keeps you in suspense all the way to the end. The book invites you to make assumptions that turn out to lead to twists. It's a cleverly planned out story about a high stakes dramatic crisis in space.

I found the drama compelling particularly because it is presented with realism and detail, with elements that are grounded in non sci fi things (in other words, this is not Dune, an awesome book that handles sci fi with more fantasy). Love, greed, it all comes into play.

Unfortunately, I feel that going into much detail about the characters or story would force me to spoil the plot. Once they flesh out, you'll probably agree with me that the author knows what he's doing.

It's just another great example of entertainment for your e-book.
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on February 4, 2012
Well written as a story, I kept imagining the cinematic version in my head as the story unfolded.
Can't wait to see a "Ron Howard production" of "Perigee" on the big screen.

It has that "just enough techno" balance with an engaging story to cross the line between Sci-Fi audiences and those who just like a good story.

Plus, it has enough "in the news" relevance to today's advances in aerospace to make you wonder what =you'd= do if the sky started turning black outside the window on your routine flight to Denver.
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on January 10, 2012
I was very pleased with this book - it had everything! There was non-stop action all the way to the end, there was drama, love (don't worry - it's not mushy), and plenty of sarcastic wit. Even though I'm not a NASA nut or aviator I was immediately hooked. The author did a great job of making "rocket science" easy to understand, even the industry jargon was understandable and the story flows really well. There are some interesting twists that keep you on the edge. I hope we see more from this author - maybe even a sequel!
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on April 7, 2012
I liked it and the only reason it didn't get a higher rating from me is I'm technologically incompetent and get annoyed at myself for feeling lost with it. The author is obviously very well grounded in the technology and writes very believably about the near-future technology.

It should appeal to hard sci-fi fans, though it may be a bit slow paced for the action/adventure readers. I would have liked to see more character development, more sense of individualism and a little more expansion of the sabotage/espionage plot angle but those things are, again, a personal preference.

Overall, a well written and an enjoyable entry in the hard sci-fi genre and an interesting look at the possible issues that could be involved in commercial 'space travel'.
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on May 20, 2012
If you like books that are slow to get started, long on technical explanations and short on character development, this book is for you.

You know how some books drop you right in the middle of the action? Well this isn't one of them. When I was well into Perigee, I wrote this note: "At the 10 percent mark, I haven't yet been able to discern any semblance of a plot -- just introductions to various characters. A very slow start. Hope the pace picks up soon."

Also, the author often writes as if this is a technical manual rather than an action-thriller. There's a pronounced emphasis on procedures, checklists and operating details. Now if you love that sort of thing, you're going to be really excited, but I found it tedious and started skipping whole passages.

Finally, this book would have been far more interesting if there had been more emphasis on character development. The characters were flat and, frankly, almost undistinguishable from each other. The good guys were all highly skilled, professional, driven and witty. The bad guys were the same, except they weren't witty. Since they were nearly identical, it was hard to keep them straight or care about them as individuals.

I'm taking away one star for how tedious and slow the action was and one star for the lack of character development.
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on January 27, 2012
I grabbed this book for free during yesterday's promotion after I saw a link on Instapundit and read it on my iPhone kindle app.

I'm a space buff and wasn't expecting much story, either something realistic and technical and a bit cardboard like "The Rocket Company," or on the other side, something Sci Fi with a human story line but wildly improbable.

To my suprise, it was a plain great story and great read. I didn't put it down until I finished it. It's barely sci-fi because it's not only plausible but realistic about what is achieveable. The story revolves around a Skylon-type suborbital transport that has a throttle problem and ends up stuck in orbit with no way back down to earth.

But the characters involved are like real people with real concerns and human frailties. And as a fomer Navy submariner who has worked closely with two military astronauts, I gotta say he has military astronaut-personality types to a 'T'. (Although he paints submariners as a bit more like Marines than they actually are. Figures for a Jarhead.)

This is the first scifi book I've read in a while that presented heros that don't fall into the standard scifi/AynRand polar tropes of either repressive Christianist morons or Superman Engineer Libertairan heros. I enjoyed it.

Kudos for a great first book and I hope he keeps writing.
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on January 31, 2012
Having seen the link on Instapundit, I downloaded the book for free and gave it a shot. Here's what i found... best darned "sci-fi" book I've read in years. This isn't fantasy sci-fi, but rather simply makes one engineering assumption then leaps ahead 10 years to where we could be... the engineering and science are meticulously real and consistent with the premise. This is a can't-put-it-down book. I hope the author can get me a sequel sooner than the years this one took! Bravo!
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on February 8, 2012
But a 'D' for overall result. To his credit, I think Mr. Chiles may be a good author someday. But not unless he focuses more on the writing part of the sci-fi craft.

In the plus column...

This book does a pretty good job of presenting some likely aspects of the near technological future. I give the author a solid A for knowing his field. Actually, I thought his end notes - where he explains the real events & ideas behind his book - were the best-written part of it.

The plot was fairly reasonable. It wasn't particularly engaging, since it took way too long to unfold, but it was clear and plausible.

In the minus column...

The dialog in book seemed like a long series of aircraft pilots' anecdotes. Pilots' anecdotes are sometimes funny but they're always "insider stories." If you're a pilot, you'll probably like this much better than I did (who am not).

The industrial espionage angle to the plot just didn't jibe that well with the rest of the story. It read liked it'd been added to make this a book-length work.

Character development could have been a lot better. Passable is the best I can say about it.

In short, this would make a pretty good sci-fi short story if it were cut down to 20-25% of the book's length.
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on February 20, 2012
A fun, cursory, 99-cent romp through a traditional sci-fi rescue story. Two-dimensional characters, overly melodramatic action, and a plot with holes you could drive a tractor through, but what more can you expect? If you can suspend your disbelief long enough, it's a good distraction for a few hours.
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on February 13, 2013
If you love airplanes, spacecraft, orbiting stations and stories that have to do with NASA, you must read this book.
I bought it simply because I liked the cover and the title. That sort of airplane that I later found out to be a spaceplane (a plane that works both in the atmosphere and in space), lost in orbit, which seemed to be in trouble, made me immediately portend an interesting story. And I was not disappointed.
The plot of this techno-thriller is intriguing. It is set in a future when spaceplanes are used to travel between two antipodal points on Earth. These aircrafts, called clippers, have a drive that can almost bring them to orbit, drawing a parabolic trajectory, and then down to the final destination, which is reached in a few hours. During the journey, a very expensive one, the passengers feel the sensation of weightlessness for a short period of time, in which the clipper is in free fall.
The author, Patrick Chiles, is a pilot, has made several works in the field of aviation and has written numerous articles in magazines which deal with space flight. In short, he is an expert, both for the technical and the human part concerning flight and space. Reading his book, all this appears obvious. The pace of the story is compelling, the dialogue is well-orchestrated and you are given the impression to find yourselves there on the clipper or in the mission control or on the space station. New emotions are always around the corner, making the reading fun as well as instructive. It is actually characterized by a good balance between the technical part and fiction, which ensures credibility. It is a pity that such books do not arrive to the Italian market, because there would really be the need for them. This book is one of many examples of good value products written by independent authors.
If I had to define it with a word, it would be thrilling, under all points of view. Read it.

Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli, author of Red Desert - Point of No Return
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