Greetings, Happy Readers!
OK, I’m a day late on this blog post. I wasn’t quite done with the book, and I’m not done with two ongoing Homestead projects, so I just had to postpone. Here it is though!
Wow, it’s been a WHILE since I did a review. I have read some other books (and listened to a few) but they were either just not worth mentioning, or they were books I was editing because I had stories IN them.
I’m slacking on my reading, but I’m going to try to do better for the rest of this year. Anyway, here’s Review #3 of 2021.
The Human Side by Robert E. Hampson
Is it an asteroid…or a weapon?
An asteroid headed toward Earth was not unexpected; multiple asteroids were a different story. And, when the “rock-throwing aliens” finally appeared, the people of Earth had to deal with a new type of war, where an enemy with powerful weapons held the high ground of space.
Dr. Tobias Greene felt guilty over patching up soldiers only to have them return to battle—until learning that his work was essential to the survival of the human race.
Master Sergeant Martin was a combat medic, trying to do his job and save as many as he could.
Lab Technician Kat Smith was forced out of her home and away from friends and family by the alien attacks. Her work was important, but would it be enough?
Jan and Li Janacek were trapped in New Mexico with their son, daughter, and eight other teens. They needed to get home…but home was no longer there.
For Arielle French, the aliens’ arrival was everything she had predicted, until they attacked. Had she misunderstood their motives, or was it all the fault of the humans who failed to behave the way the aliens expected?
Technical breakthroughs might allow humans to resist the worst the “Rockers” could throw at them. But even if they could level the battlefield, though, would there be enough time left for Earth to show the Rockers what was really on the Human Side?
Your own mileage may vary with this novel. If you like ‘Character Driven’ stories, you might have a different experience than I did. I was looking for action (like the cover kind of indicates), but I did not find it here.
Rob Hampson is a top-notch scientist and one of the smartest people on the planet on many topics. I’ve heard him speak (his nickname is Speaker To Lab Animals) on various subjects, and he can make the most complicated ones understandable and highly interesting.
Unfortunately, for me, that innate ability of his to drive interest complex topics did not translate over to this novel. I hate giving complaint riddled reviews, but this book is kind of boring. The nanotech ideas are neat, but there is so little action that I found myself losing interest most of the time. The aliens are barely a footnote. The ending is a summary. Characters were developed fairly deeply, but they were done so with details that I just did not care about.
For example, there was a lot of time spent explaining the details of a para-Scout master and his group, but then almost no time was spent showing what they DID other than a traipse through the woods. There was actually time spent describing how they raised money for the scout program. Honestly, who cares!?
The other major flaw I saw in this book was the pre-action spoilers. Two (maybe three?) times, the action is about to start, but an omniscient exposition tells what happens before you actually SEE it happen. “Show, Don’t Tell” was a much needed editorial review tip that was not given for this book.
Some sections were redundant. In places it could have been as simple as re-ordering things and the problem of redundancy or spoilers would have been solved.
The book needed more beta readers.
It’s not all bad, though. I liked the nanotech concepts put forward. They would definitely be a game-changer in the world if they do ever get to the level described in the book. Nanobots that heal you? Stop bleeding? Block incoming UV or EM radiation? Yeah, I can see how all of that would be useful. Of course, none of it was ‘explained’ scientifically speaking, so it’s just handwavium tech, but that’s fine in sci-fi.
The best (most exciting) part of the book was dealing with the highwaymen. It had nothing to do with the nanos or the aliens, though. *shrug*
Honestly, as I write this I can’t find it in me to actually ‘recommend’ the book. On a five star scale, I can only offer up a two for this one. I won’t be getting the sequel.
Well, let’s hope for better luck on the next book!
If Science Fiction Space Adventure is what you crave, then you should check out my anthology, Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1.
Matter conversion technology—Matt-Con—has broadened the scope of mankind’s existence. It has opened up the real possibility of viable colonies on other planets in our solar system, and even space itself. Anywhere matter can be captured or energy from the sun can be felt, the possibility of expanding human habitation exists.
In this volume:
Quicksilver (short story)
The space station Chariot of Helios—on its way to Mercury to become a power collection station for Earth’s growing need for energy to power matt-con tech—encounters a strange anomaly that threatens ship and crew.
Null Gravitas (short story)
New crew and new relationships form above the skies of Venus. A post-prequel to Escaping Aurora.
Escaping Aurora (novella)
The sudden destruction of mankind’s first atmospheric terraforming platform leaves three unlucky exonauts struggling to survive in the skies of Venus aboard a cobbled-together airship. Meanwhile, the commander of the space station above battles obstacles that might keep her from rescuing her stranded husband and crew in time.
If you like intrigue, humor and a bit of speculative technological supposition, you should pick up a copy of my technothriller-comedy eConscience Beta from Amazon today!
Peacekeeper Incorporated’s breakthrough nanotechnology could bring repeat offense crime to an end, freeing society from the need for criminal incarcerations. But first, they have to finish testing it. With funding on the line, and time to prove out the project getting short, the lead scientist must find a way speed things up. That’s unfortunate for his guinea pig, and anyone who would stand in his way.
Can the goal of ending most crime justify committing one… even a few?
And what happens when you conflate altruism with egotism?
Find out in eConscience Beta, where two lab techs and an uncouth petty criminal must outwit a brilliant but sociopathic scientist who’ll stop at nothing to establish his legacy as the man who ended crime.