Forerunner (Book #1), Isaac Hooke
Rating: 3 Stars
Length: 340 Pages
Purchase At: amazon
A fleet of warships operated by the digitized minds of former humans. An unknown enemy lurking in the dark of space. The one man who hopes to conquer them both.
Jain was the lieutenant commander of an elite SEAL team. He was accustomed to order and discipline, which he used to give the men under his command that particular brand of killer instinct his unit was known for. But one day that semi-comfortable, ordered life ended when he opened his eyes to find his body replaced by a starship. His mind had become its AI core. He is somewhere in deep space. Most of his systems are badly damaged. He has no memory of how he got here, or what his mission is. Evidence points to an attack by an unknown entity. He finds other damaged vessels in the vicinity and reactivates them. They, too, have no memory of the events leading up to their current situation. Jain, thrust into a leadership role, soon learns that commanding a fleet of starships isn’t all that different from leading a platoon of SEALs. It helps that his database is chock-full of tactics and military strategies gleaned from every space battle humanity has ever fought. As he and his fleet explore their surroundings and slowly piece together what happened to them, they realize their attacker is not from any human system.
And that any misstep means not only the loss of his fleet, but potentially the destruction of humanity itself.
Who wants to be a fire engine?
My quote above is partially derived from the scene in the movie Crazy People where Dudley Moore’s character asks all those present to put up their hands if they want to be a fire engine. What I found, as I read this novel, was that I couldn’t completely get past that feeling of disconnect with the main characters being “spaceships” instead of being human(oid machines). Even with the plot devices, where they could be human within VR or inhabiting robotic machines, I just couldn’t shake that in-ability to relate feeling.
The tale is set in the future within a (reasonably) distant solar system of our galaxy and concerns the exploits of a group of “mind refurbs”, real humans who have had their minds scanned, stored and eventually uploaded into computer cores of military spaceships.
Jain became conscious.
He stared at the infinitude of stars before him. He seemed to be floating in deep space.
He had no body.
He joins with his other “mind refurbs” and together they play a game of cat & mouse with an extremely capable alien warship.
“No, we were attacked. And whatever did the attacking is still lying in wait out there, somewhere. Either in this system, or one nearby.”
The world building and character development are of a consistently high quality. The book editing and story continuity is polished, with no discernible mistakes nor discontinuities. But when you combine my disconnect around the characters being spaceships with a repetitious plot and action sequences, it ended up dampening my joy of reading this book and hence the three star rating. Do I believe the writer to be more than capable? I certainly do, but I just felt 100% wasn’t given, especially when it came to the alien vehicle doing the same things when attacking.
Would I buy Devastator, the next book in the series? At this stage, I’m undecided, but, if pushed for an answer, I probably would.
At AUS$4.99 for just a bit over four hundred Kindle pages, if it is of the same overall quality as this work, then, for me, it would be probably be worth it to buy and continue reading.
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