FREE this week for Kindle. Amazon only lets me offer free books for 5 days a quarter. Would be a great gift idea for those of you who are thoughtful but temporarily short of cash, but I checked and the usual “buy as gift” button — which lets you buy a code the recipient can use to get the book — is removed when the book is free. Scrooge would be proud.
The rest of the series is, as usual, priced at $2.99, which is not much for so many quality words. Those you can give as gifts, or spring for the sumptuous trade paperbacks — not cheap at all, but look better under the tree.
“As a new school year ramps up on campus, Justin Smith began another day at the Artificial Life lab running ALife simulations on human evolution. The lab was a sanctuary from the political divisiveness on campus and, for that matter, across the nation. A nuclear terrorist attack in New York City some years ago resulted in a government crackdown on dissent as well as a depressed economy where educational grants were drying up except for those labs who ‘cooperate’ with the government. However, Justin’s lab was soon to transform itself from a sanctuary to the center of resistance to the government… [with the] discovery of a computer program so powerful that it could be weaponized, tilting the balance of power even further into the hands of an already repressive government. The race to keep this mega weapon out of government hands leads Justin, Steve and a small cadre of students to secure the weapon and fight for their freedom from a tyrannical Dept. of Homeland Security.”
Running through all of the machinations and maneuverings, personal stories of love and loss, sacrifice and heroism—and of course treachery—is the ages-old story of a band of rebels fighting for freedom against almost insurmountable odds. Kinnison handles all of this with aplomb and a sure hand, making for an engaging, page-turning read.
I go to IndieReader for formal reviews, since I’ve discovered legacy reviewers like Kirkus apply ideological prejudice to their reviews — notably for Bad Boyfriends, where the reviewer downgraded the book because I mentioned the need for children raised with expectations of entitlement to adjust to reality to find a true partnership. IndieReader does a much better job of fairly reviewing indie and small publisher works.
NEMO’S WORLD is the second installment in Jeb Kinnison’s The Substrate Wars series. The action takes place in the near future where the United States has become a one-party oligarchy opposed by a group of rebel scientists and humanity is poised to destroy itself in the name of “security.” Fortunately, a group of idealistic scientists and engineers use their intelligence to address the damage and offer a true taste of freedom to humanity.
The scientists, primarily quantum physicists, possess breakthrough technology that allows them to travel across vast distances as well as monitor others remotely through their gateway technology. The superpowers, especially the USA and China, are trying to capture the technology and the leaders of the group so they can dominate the planet. Justin Smith, a rebel leader, becomes the face of the opposition and the Americans (as well as other powers) are trying desperately to capture him. Fortunately, the rebels used their gateway technology to escape to an earthlike planet 50 light years away. The chief scientist of the rebel group, Steve Duong, used the gateways to capture every nuclear warhead on the planet to warn the superpowers to stand down and negotiate a lasting peace for their populations. The war goes on as the US and China try to duplicate the technology and end the rebellion.
The science is accurate and is footnoted so the reader can delve into the actual science behind the plot. There is conflict in the plot, especially in raids from US Seals and Islamic terrorists but the resolution is tempered with justice. NEMO’S WORLD does not have the melodrama of a space opera or of bloody fanged aliens attempting to wipe out humanity. It is a thought-provoking plot where each scientific breakthrough is analyzed for its effect on humanity and even the forces opposing the rebels rationally sort out their plans to capture the technology. The action is set against a background of intelligent discourse ranging from the effects of the technology on third-world farmers to the noosphere, the realm of human thought, and how it is affected by artificial intelligence. Even the title, NEMO’s WORLD, is a translation from Latin meaning “nobody’s world”, a reference to the loss of hegemony by the world powers. This is the level of discourse in the novel from its first pages. The book leaves several topics open, like the possibility of alien contact and the development of AI, but these seem to be hooks to be used for later in the series.
Good science fiction is usually about humanity rather than deep space or death rays. NEMO’S WORLD is well-written science fiction that harkens back to the golden age of Heinlein and Asimov.
There is an interesting line in Jeb Kinnison’s new novel, Nemo’s World: The Substrate Wars 2: “The reward for succeeding is more work.” KInnison wrote a terrific sci-fi dystopian novel, The Red Queen. His reward for this success was writing the next novel in the series, Nemo’s World. Kinnison’s hard work paid off in the form of a wonderful and engaging sequel that anyone who is a fan of speculative fiction, particularly science fiction/dystopian fiction, will enjoy.
The novel picks up immediately after the events of The Red Queen. The students, along with a few older advisors, have escaped Earth, but the major governments on the planet are working to duplicate the technology and create more quantum gateways. They need to hunt down the rebels to stop the spread of the new technology. The governments are afraid that readily available gateways will open up a million habitable planets for colonization. Once people leave the Earth, the established governments will lose control (and power).
As the US government draws ever closer to making its own gateway, it fights the rebels with a propaganda campaign designed to make them appear to be terrorists. But the rebels are not without resources of their own, and soon the President and the security agents find themselves under surveillance by the very technology they created.
I read this novel in one sitting—something I do not always do—but every time I thought about putting it down, I wanted to find out what happened next. It is the type of book where you start thinking “I’ll just read a few pages more,” and then realize that another hour has passed and you are almost at the end, so you can’t quit now. I really wanted to find out about the wedding between two of the main characters, the baby in the works (so to speak), and the results of the court case as well as the outcome of the rebellion, the near civil war, and if the new colonies will succeed or if the attacks from Earth will destroy them.
I think that everyone who enjoyed The Red Queen will agree that Nemo’s World is just as interesting as the first novel. (You can read my review of The Red Queen HERE.) Like the first novel, I really enjoyed the A.I. (artificial intelligence) chapters and laughed out loud where they start using humor. There is something wonderful about one A.I. “dissing” another one with the expression “your momma.” This is a five-star enjoyable read!