Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
The Red: First Light (The Red Trilogy) Mass Market Paperback – June 30, 2015
|New from||Used from|
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
"...one of the best pieces of near future Mil-SF ever written. What's so good about it? The action rocks and the characters are engaging as hell. But this isn't just adventure fiction, it's Mil-SF and very well done, straight out of DARPA's dreambook, not somebody's fantasy." --Ernest Lilley, SFRevu
About the Author
Linda Nagata is a Hawaii-based American author of novels, novellas, and short stories. She has been awarded the Nebula Award, and The Red: First Light was a 2013 finalist for Best Novel for both the Nebula and John Campbell awards.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The book is initially compelling; it reads like a near-future, military techno-thriller that hints at some great conspiracy that the protagonist has unwittingly become wrapped up in. Without a doubt, that pulled me in; I love a good "hardcore" sci-fi, especially of this type. And for the most part, it was a good read; characters freely use unfiltered, harsh language, descriptions are quick and to the point (military style), and, when appropriate, things are suitably gory.
But the plot gradually loses sight of where it wants to go or what it wants to be. After starting out following a squad of elite commandos using cool sci-fi tech toys, the protagonist suffers an injury necessitating an amputation and limb replacement ... at which point the plot starts focusing on their rehabilitation in the hospital and their shiny new robot limb. And then there's a sub-plot about all of this being a part of a reality TV show, though who's behind it and why is never made clear, and it's kind of only mentioned here and there and then discarded. And then another sub-plot comes up ... and that's when I realized the book had run into an identity crisis.
It's not that any one of these particular plot lines is bad in and of itself; each one is a compelling concept. But after awhile, four or five sub-plots get mashed together with no apparent logic, some of which are never resolved, and too much time is spend trading off between the sub-plots. They aren't really integrated in any way either; one chapter, the narrative focuses almost entirely on one concept ... the next, it's discarded it and move to another concept ... and rinse and repeat. And one of these sub-plots was handled far better by a movie director in the 80s; here it comes off forced, completely at odds with the rest of the book, and ultimately unresolved. Worse, many of the characters seem to just end up knowing the truth, with no clear explanation as to how they could have, and everyone else just accepts what they say as God's truth.
By the end of the book, I was literally just reading it so that I could say I read through the entire thing and didn't miss something ... otherwise, the ending is unsatisfying, only resolves the main conflict while just forgetting about everything else, and just kind of stops.
On the whole, I'd say skip this book. It's not clear what this story strives to be, and when it reaches conclusion, you end up not caring anymore anyway.
"You are being used, Lieutenant. For what purpose remains unclear, but there is a force at large in the world interfering in the affairs of Man. We built its house, when we built the Cloud. Now it moves among us, bleeding through every conflict, every transaction, watching, manipulating – and it does not have our best interests in mind."
Soon after this meeting with Sheridan, there’s speculation that this same force – an emerging AI – may be using a reality TV show about Shelley and his Unit to influence the thoughts of the millions watching the series.
For a just a moment it seems that Nagata is going to dispense with the ‘Military’ and focus on the SF as she narrows in on the idea of an emergent AI using the media and the narrative of reality TV to influence the population.
But that thread never really goes anywhere. Yes, the Red – as the AI is referred to – is a constant presence throughout the rest of the novel, a sort of dues ex machina that pops in and out of the plot when required, but the philosophical crunchiness of an accidental AI manipulating the populace through the press and reality TV shows, is lost in all the shooting and righteousness and nuclear explosions. In other words, after a brief hiatus the Military SF switch is flicked back to ‘on’ and what could have been a brave shift in focus becomes a hum drum shoot em up, damsels in distress included.
If you enjoy MilSF – and there’s a certainly an audience out there if Baen’s publication history is anything to go by – then I’m sure you’ll find The Red: First Light entertaining. Nagata’s clean, almost transparent prose, means the novel is a quick read. But for me this Nebula nominated novel is a disappointment. There’s the enticing hint of another, more interesting, book just under the surface that sadly never breaks past the trappings of the sub genre. I wanted more. But maybe I was always the wrong audience.
James Shelley is a hero we can truly root for. Part robo-cop, part romantic, and 100% physically brave, he is far from a cardboard cut-out as we learn the sorry tale of his indentured servitude for civil disobedience into an elite Linked Combat Squad. The soldiers are virtually wired together via brain-chemical enhancing skullcaps and communicate through the Cloud online. They use body armor and mechanical structures that enhance their strength "dead sisters." Artifical intelligence communication and drones "angels" are used for ongoing strategy and information gathering. This modern unit is all too plausible, because wars are orchestrated by private contractors to enhance the world economy, and James says, "there needs to be a war going on somewhere."
Welcome to the near-future world: and if that weren't bad enough, there's the Red. The Red: First Light will leave you wondering about the future of humanity and the Cloud. Throw in a few Texas crazies, too, and the world needs saving. James Shelley is the one to do it.