Showing posts from February, 2010

"Without Warning" by John Birmingham - Mini Review

Described as a work of "alternate fiction", John Birmingham's "Without Warning" falls just inside the realm of science fiction, barely meeting that category description because of a deadly and unknown phenomenon that has scientists baffled.

A techno/political/military thriller in the best tradition of authors like Michael Crichton and John Clancy, it's a grand "what if" mash up that asks, "What would happen if the United States and much of North America was essentially wiped clean by some sort of mysterious energy wave?"

Naturally, the obvious haters are elated by this new development, but soon even they begin to rethink the benefits of living in a world without Pax Americana.

The story itself is a series of vignettes following the reactions of a group of drug smugglers, our surviving overseas military, a lethal assassin, and a lowly Seattle city engineer to the reality that America, with all her warts and beauty, no longer exists. Birmingh…

"The Hostile Takeover Trilogy" by S. Andrew Swann - Mini Review

This whopper of a trilogy ("Profiteer", "Partisan", "Revolutionary") follows two brothers as they battle over Bakunin - an outlaw planet of congenital individualists located in the heart of the vast Confederacy. As the title hints, Bakunin is crawling with various corporations, each of which is a power unto itself, right down to having their own security forces which more closely resemble national armies.

Dominic Magnus, a Bakunin CEO, and his brother Klaus, an agent of the Confederacy's covert operations branch, have had a lethal beef with each other going back to the death of their mother years ago. At first Dominic thinks Klaus' showing up with an invading force and taking over his corporation is just a continuation of their whole Cain and Abel dance, but we soon learn that the brothers are merely proxies for forces far greater then themselves. There is intrigue galore in these stories which, to me, give a hint of the Machiavellian politics that…