Fifty years after Steve Stuart and his friends captured an alien starship, the Solar Union is a thriving interstellar power while Earth is increasingly backward and falling into barbarism. For two youngsters from Earth, the Solar Union offers the only chance they will ever have to make something of their lives.
But humanity's involvement in Galactic affairs has not gone unnoticed. The enigmatic masters of the universe have put together a fleet to crush the upstart humans before they can threaten the precarious balance of power. Pushed to the limits, the Solar Union must fight to defend its freedom - and the existence of the human race.
©2014 Christopher G. Nuttall (P)2016 Podium Publishing
Story line and pace.
Rather than one character, it was the mix of similar yet separate characters.
The narrator is excellent although I struggled a bit with the occasional either ‘Americanisms or strange pronunciations'.
astra semper fi.
the narrator was good if u liked the original book this is as good and begins to take in the broader scope of the solar union and what is instore for the future
"Now we have Space Opera!"
Second book is better than the first. We get much more personable characters that learn and grow as they go through the world. Also we finally get Space Battles with Space Marines that last for more than a paragraph. the Author has achieved Space Opera.
I also enjoyed the nods to various other authors in the genre. Maple syrup as a worthless commodity is funny (nod to Ringo), Engage! I am looking forward to the next book.
"Still too preachy, and not too interesting"
If you made it through book 1 of this series, you already know Nuttall's opinions on society and politics. If you are here, you have read past all that for the story. You accepted the moon base being established in about a month, and that humans were exploring further than the Solar System. In this book, taking place 50 years later, Kevin Stuart has become Ambassador at Large and his brother Steve has given up governing the humans and gone off with his wife on trading missions, so does not appear in this book.
The main scenarios in the story focus on 2 young Marine recruits, Martin and Yolanda; then there's Kevin and Sally, and Professor Scudder. It is this Professor who delivers the John Galt radio broadcast in this book, lecturing us on Nuttall's take on education, artificial intelligence, border control and immigration, the "weaponization of the word 'racist'" wherein one must prove one's innocence, and the Divide and Rule principle in which all groups are set against each other so that the politicians can stay in power.
Martin is a young man of color from a ghetto, yet has no ghetto mannerisms or language, or accent (sorry, Mr. Rummel). Yolanda is a half Mexican, half Japanese Cinderella with tons of brains. Their friendship is merely another platform from which to speechify about race relations. Kevin and Sally, what to say, what to say? Kevin is an unlikely ambassador, and seems to be turning into a despot like the admiral in the author's Barbarian books. Sally, Sally, what in blazes are you doing out there, and how did you get there? She's about the only Human on some alien planet working for some information broker Jabba the Hutt. What's up with her? She'll probably be made Secretary of State.
You will tire of the overused terms "Masters of the Universe" and "ossified" or its variant "ossification." These Master aliens suffer from the same implosion problems of the Galactic Empire in the time of The Child Roland" in the Empire's Corps series, so they will fall and Humans will establish their new Empire, and there will be thousands of years before the Barbarian Bride and Stalker's Stalkers at which time there will be no more mention of the thousands of species of aliens that appear in these stories.
Christian Rummel's narration is pretty good except for that of Martin. He fails miserably to give this thoughtful young man any color or character or personality. But maybe it's not his fault.
I'm sorry, but these books are pretty much a fail on many levels. The characters are not consistent, not well-rounded, and there is too, too much grand-standing of Nuttall's ideas, whether you like them or not. Things are too simple. The Masters of the Universe are set to destroy the humans, but of course we soundly beat them, with some unsung losses, but very handily for all that.
There is another book after this one, and I will listen to it because I want to see how things work out, and how this pre-history leads us to Ed Stalker. That's the only reason. It is not a very good example of Nuttall's abilities.
"I thought this series had the potential to be his best"
And I believe that is still the case. This is a great series and I cannot wait for the next book!
"A fun space opera"
This is book two in “The Learning Experience Series”. This book opens fifty years after the end of book one. In book one Steve Stuart and friend captured an alien starship. They decided to keep it and create their own nation rather than turn it over to the government. They built on the moon and asteroids. The Stuart brothers are active in key roles in the Solar Union but Steve is no longer involved in the running of the Solar Union.
The book follows two new recruits to the Solar Union military from earth. Yolanda is a smart mixed-race girl that applies to the space navy and becomes a navigator/helmsman and Martin, a young black man from the ghetto, joins the Marines. We follow them from boot camp to seasoned officers. The Solar Union comes to the attention of the Tokomak Empire who decided that Earth needed to be destroyed not realizing the Solar Union is not located on earth. The Tokomak are the oldest and largest Empire but have failed to keep up with the advances and changes in the universe; they have relied on their enormous size to keep everyone under control.
The book is well written and fast paced. Nuttall provides some exciting battles on land and in space. The action and suspense will keep the reader on the edge of their seats. Christian Rummel does an excellent job narration the story. Rummel is an award winning audiobook narrator.
"Great story, good telling of political situations."
This book is a good story about human emergence in the galaxy. The parallel story about the stupidity of earth politics is also a good parallel to actual political situation and the "age of entitlement" so pervasive in western culture.
Excellent narration too.
Waiting for the next chapter!!
"Enjoyable Political Hyperbole"
Probably not. This book and the entire series are speaking (I think) to a very specific audience. A lot of people are turned off by this books 'preach-y-ness' and dont get to see past that to the way its also pointing out flaws in a hyper libertarian vision of the future.
I could see this being made in a similar way to starship troopers... for the same reasons that movie was made.
I think for me the reason I enjoy these books is that its making fun of both progressives and libertarians. Its drawing out very fundamental ideas and their issues when being executed purely without reason on both sides. This in a reductio ad absurdum story, and it's fun read knowing that
The fact that most of the victories and revelations that the protagonists make is due to luck chance or incompetence of selves and others. further that problems are brought up then dismissed trivially. Skipping over basic logistical or logical progressions..... the book is a big "what if every thing went the way we thought it would go" day dream.
That's interesting to read more for what is obviously omitted rather than what is actually there at times.
"Socialio / Political Preaching at its WORST!"
All the social and political preaching about race and America. I listen to si-fi books for entertainment to get away from all the Network news programs and preaching from commentators and politicians, I certainly do not want to be preached to by a si fi author.
Rummel does an excellent job.
All the politicians,
This is a DEFINITE RETURN.
"Inconsistencys galore and overall daft."
I do not think anyone who pays more then cursory attention to this book while listening to it will enjoy it overly much.
There where so many small mistakes that made absolutely no sense. It was as if the author wanted to knock the listener/reader out of the moment on purpose on a rather regular basis. There where also some big whoopers that caused me to press pause so I could let my irritation peter out. I will not note any of the instances for to do so would be bad form but I must say I am severely tempted to populate this review with a nice spoiler list of all the bloopers.
So to the question... I would in the authors place have actually re-read and corrected as many "mistakes" (read: idiocies) in this book as humanly possible before letting it be published.
None come to mind to be absolutely honest.
Also why this question is in the form is beyond me as it would need a spoiler alert and some way to be blanked out.
The concept and the universe it is set in plus the narrator, more then that.. well I guess I'd have to torture myself by listening to it a few more times to come up with any more.
Mr. Nuttall really needs to shape up because this was hands down the worst book of his that I have ever read/listened to.
"Marred by author's overbearing libertarianism"
It is such a pity - the author is very good in the "action scenes", but simply can't help himself. His overriding priority, that seems to override even the need to tell a good story, is to promote his libertarian political views.
I came close to simply quitting the book, and returning it early on in the story - it was just abominable; if you thought the first book in the series was a bit heavy handed with the libertarian bent, the first, maybe a quarter of this book takes it to a whole new level.
As a vehicle for essentially delivering us a LECTURE on what is wrong with liberals, "social justice warriors", unions, and basically every kind of organization beyond the individual, we are introduced to immigrants leaving the dystopian "liberal hell" that Earth has become, to join the bravely libertarian Solar Union. These hapless newcomers are then treated to lessons covering the history of "what went wrong on Earth", and why libertarianism is the better way.
It is PAINFUL to slug through this charade of strawman politics, with the poor misguided newcomers immediately agreeing with the wise teacher, and seeing that whadoyouknow - it was the "government handouts" that were holding them back all along.
Of course, the author doesn't even consider such factors as why government aid is necessary - could it be that the conservative resistance to paying a wage one could live on, for a full time job has something to do with the need for government aid? If the minimum wage isn't enough to realistically live off of, then the government assistance going to the workers is actually a subsidy for the companies hiring those workers - that money should come as wages from the company reaping the profits, not from government needing to supplement the income of the workers to levels that are minimally decent. That is corporate welfare, essentially. But you won't see the author demanding regulation to set a minimum to what you can pay for full time work.
There are a multitude of other problems, which cause a completely different level of opportunities available for people living in the US, depending on their wealth, background, gender and skin color, but the author naively thinks that all that would be needed is a pad on the back, cutting all aid, a stiffening of the spine, and trust that people would just work it out, without the "charity" that has been holding them back.
But the author, of course, opposes all regulations as well. History shows what the lack of regulations, and some sort of organization between workers leads to - it leads to a multitude of abuses, laissez faire capitalism, and the concentration of wealth to the few, at the expense of the misery of the majority.
I just found the authors views very... naive, and superficially thought out.
Of course, he also tends to solve the most glaring issues which such pure libertarian society might lead to with introduction of rather miraculous alien technology. So taking care of the sick and ailing becomes very simple, when you can simply cure any ailment quickly and with minimal effort. The environment doesn't need to be protected - or so the author would have us believe - if you live in space. (In actuality, an enclosed eco-system inside an asteroid would require extremely stringent controls on what you can do, in order not to spoil the environment). Justice is easy too, because infallible lie detectors reveal the culpability of everyone involved.
And of course, predictably, the author is also a very strong 2nd amendment, anti-gun control proponent - and rather bizarrely, the right to bear arms extends to the space installations where people live in enclosed environments. Can you imagine? It would only take ONE individual to go off the rails, to shoot a few holes and evacuate all the air from a colony. He touches that issue very briefly, by describing, in a few sentences, how someone who started shooting inside such an environment dome was quickly apprehended and put out of the airlock, for his stupidity. Wonder what the "half life" of the survival of such a dome would be, if it's survival depends on catching the nuts in time.
With all that said, I don't think the author is malicious or lacks empathy - he is quite egalitarian, imagining a society where neither race, or sexual orientation, or any other factor has any effect at all on how you are treated - all that matters is your interactions with the rest of the society, and with your own effort. That is a laudable ideal. It is just a pity that all surrounding that egalitarianism is so poorly thought out, and unrealistic.
The author seems to skim over anything really technical, or detailed science too - and when he tries to venture to detail, his lack of research into the subject shines through. As a good example, he imagined terraforming Mars to start by bombarding it with comets to bring water in, after which you'd just plant seeds, and watch the rains begin, to water the soil.
What about the fact that the atmosphere on Mars is tenuously thin, and temperatures are too cold to support liquid water on the surface? It wouldn't rain on Mars, it would snow.
And that's just scratching the surface of the problems. So perhaps it's a good thing that the author did not try his hand at describing in more detail how this is supposed to happen, or the specifics of the much more difficult task of terraforming Venus (that, among other things, has no water, thick carbon heavy atmosphere, and surface temperatures enough to melt lead).
It should be clear from the above that this isn't science fiction heavy on the science part. It's closer to highly politically charged fantasy, set in a superficially science fiction like setting.
The story itself, when the author manages to avoid taking clumsy swipes at politics that he disagrees with, is quite good military sci-fi, light reading stuff, that keeps rolling along enough to keep your interest.
The performance of the narrator is excellent.
I am a completionist by nature, and find it very difficult to just drop a story once I've embarked on it, so I suspect I'll be following this series to the end. But I don't think I'll be interested in other titles by the author, and for anyone not sharing the authors world view, I'd recommend looking elsewhere for your Space Opera fix.
as much as I like Christopher Nuttall's writing. (I especially enjoy the Ark Royals) This one just seemed like a Mish mash. A little Heinlein, a little Ben Bova and a little Scientificus ex Machina.
I'm going to read the third book because it's still sweet and crunchy brain candy, but I think I prefer the Ark Royals.
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