Groundties -Reading_fox's review
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Groundties my review is here
Superb. Thoroughly engaging and complex debut novel.
Mankind has spread through the galaxy, with the aid of what these days might be known as cloud computing - the Nexus Space Internet - some dimensional fold that allows instantaneous information communication and storage. Naturally the administration of this vital resource has spawned a complex bureaucracy - NetAt, as well as specialist professions authorised to make changes to the Net. Meanwhile colonists have developed their own unique planetbound cultures, distinct and as untrusting of spacebaced authority, as the spacers are of them.
the story opens with a NetAt Special OPs captain - Loren Cattrell, being called off leave to investigate a 'glitch' in some Net records involving the colony of Natehumid. This is also an opportunity to take along one Stephen Ridenour, a freshly graduated whizkid, potentially suitable NetAt candidate - who admittedly didn't have an easy time at college. His thesis was inspired by Wesley Smith, thrown out of NetAt and now resident at Natehumid. As they arrive at NateHumid everything seems tranquil, even idyllic, with residents and spacers cooperating far more freely than usual. Even Stephen's nervousness seems under control. However when within minutes of landing the ship's security officers are attacked by the president's son for doing no more than asking questions, it seems as if Natehumid is too good to be true. Loren's only chance of a simple resolution may be Stephen's attempt to get along with the exiled irascible genius Wesley Smith.
The writing is excellent, the various characters really stand out, sympathetic with vulnerabilities and strengths of their own. The worlds and societies are well imagined and enjoyable. I'm not a huge fan of frequent jumps form ne viewpoint to another, but it is well handled here. There are a lot of names and even worse abbreviations to get to grips with, but it all becomes fairly clear quite quickly. The story does come to quite an abrupt halt, very obviously part of a trilogy. I'm definitely looking forward to reading the continuations.
One area I'd particularly highlight for praise is the keeping separate of the various characters thoughts. Stephen. Loren and the Planetsiders all have very different expectations of each other, and interpretations of why certain actions were performed and what the consequences might be vary - each obviously based on the different characters past experiences and observations. This is something that is very difficult to do well without any crossover from one to another, and Jane has done this exceedingly well - and managed to keep the reader up-to-date as well.
Thoroughly enjoyable, well worth re-reading and I'll definitely be downloading the next installments soon.
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