Citizen of Earth, Kassabian Rothdas book review RSS
2.0 Stars

An unfortunate mil-sci-fi adventure novel. I really wanted to like this book, since I like the author and it is his first published fiction and I'd like him to succeed. However, while some of the ideas in the book are neat, the book doesn't really work as a story/entertaining piece of fiction. The main problem is (sorry) that the writer just isn't very good at his craft. There's a skill to writing evocative, entertaining stories that flow and draw the reader along and create a world inside the reader's head. I certainly don't have that skill, but I can at least broadly recognize it in writers who have developed that skill through talent/time/dedication. In this case the basic fundamentals of the story just don't function well, since much of the writing is just too bare bones and simplistic. It feels more like a rough draft or bullet point summary of what the story should be, rather than the actual story. Viewed from a certain angle it might *almost* make it to an Isaac Babel type sere style, except that the story matter/profundity just isn't there. All of the above isn't helped by the fact that I read this in e-book form (thanks a lot, Amazon discount) rather than in paper back form, and this always makes me undervalue a novel somewhat. The small silver lining to all of this is that the story does at least read quickly.

Oh, and just for completeness: the actual story is that North Korea invades the Star Wars universe. Humans almost entirely live in the Sol system, and they are ruled over by an oppressive Chairman who has successfully conquered and indoctrinated the Earth, the Moon, and Mars. The earthlings then get involved in an already ongoing war with the various other races that are out there in the galaxy. The main character is a kid who is drafted into the military, gets separated during battle, falls in with aliens, and starts to see the wider universe. He and his girlfriend meet aliens at bars, help out freedom fighters, assault the ground stations for various planet destroying super weapons, and board/crash various starships. In the hands of a Jim Butcher this might all work very well, but as above it just fell down due to the lack-luster writing. Oh, and since I ding the right-wing mil fiction for this, I will also do it to the left wing mil fiction. There is not that much thought about how technology would change warfare, rather things are just updated so that you have lasers instead of bullets and plasma instead of high explosives and blah blah blah. The combat isn't pure idiocy and it has a few neat ideas (the way weapons from different tech trees interact, the alien versions of Colonial Britain), but on the whole it is still closer in quality to Star Wars than to the Culture.