Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Departure

By Neal Asher

Alan Saul woke up not knowing who he was. But he had a voice in his head, Janus, who told him what he needed to know to survive. With help from Janus, Saul is going to go after those who done him wrong.
Saul's Earth is in decline, overcrowded with humanity ruled by a cruel, oppressive world government. Ecosystems are failing, people are starving, chaos is only kept a bay through the use of cruel crowd-control robot weapons.
But Saul doesn't really care about the starving masses. What he cares about is tracking down the man who stole his memory. What he cares about is revenge.
But the man Saul is after isn't on Earth anymore. He is on the Argus, a huge space station. But that isn't going to keep Saul from coming after him.
Meanwhile the Mars colony has just been informed that they are on their own and will no longer receive any more support from Earth. The Mars colony leader is instructed to kill off most of the staff except for a few of the key people in order make their limited supplies last longer. This instruction is kept secret but one woman suspects something is terribly wrong and discovers the truth and makes a stand against extermination.

I liked this story a lot. I liked Saul and thought the idea of man allied with machine was interesting and intriguing. But the author does like to add a lot of technical detail to the story, for example:

When this thing was up and running, deuterium droplets sprayed into the aggregation plants, where they froze, and were next electrostatically coated with tritium dust. The resulting microspheres were then conveyed to the injectors, to be fired into each combustion chamber. Once a sphere reached the chamber's centre, it was briefly captured in a magnetic bottle, then targeted with the beams from high-intensity stacked gallium-arsenide lasers. With each ignition, the bottle expanded to form a tubular containment field, focusing the resulting blast out of the rear of the engine. The lasers fired, igniting fusion, then this process repeated itself a hundredth of a second later, and from then on kept repeating. The resulting plasma explosion from the engine provided thrust measurable in millions of tonnes.

I just skimmed those parts since that kind of technical stuff doesn't interest me.

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