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Up Against It by M.J. Locke
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Up Against It (edition 2011)

by M.J. Locke

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146681,994 (3.56)3
Member:sylviawrigley
Title:Up Against It
Authors:M.J. Locke
Info:Tor Books (2011), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 416 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
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Up Against It by M.J. Locke

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» See also 3 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
This is a good old fashioned science fiction story. One of the plot threads is about four spunky teenagers, which reminded me of stories like the Hardy Boys or Tom Corbett Space Cadet. Other parts are like the pulp sci-fi stories from the 1940s-1960s — except with several female characters in starring roles. I admit, 'Up Against It' did not grab me at first. I started reading it last year and put it aside unfinished after about 60 pages. I picked it up again this week and found I gave up about 20 pages too soon. It's not great science fiction that offers much new in the way of insightful speculation about the future of humanity, but it is a serviceable story about a society on an asteroid trying to remain independent from powerful and corrupt outside forces that dominate Earth and Mars. There's some politics, interplanetary mobsters, and am emerging AI. I liked it. ( )
  DLMorrese | Oct 14, 2016 |
There was a lot of potential here, and there were parts of the book that I definitely enjoyed, but overall this was a huge disappointment.

The book takes place on an asteroid in our solar system. A bunch of bad stuff happens taht endangers the lives of everyone on the asteroid, and the people investigating it find out that it is all a conspiracy by a mob from Mars. Meanwhile, the artificial intelligence in the computers that run the asteroid becomes self-aware. That's a terrible summary of the plot, but the plot is ridiculously complicated.

So why didn't I like it? For one thing, the book was about twice as long as it should have been. Huge portions of the book follow Jane Navio, the asteroid's Resource Commissioner, as she does her job. These scenes are boring: she goes to meetings, she does research, she gives orders, she thinks about her family. Her character isn't very interesting. The scenes with her were really tedious.

Locke has come up with a very complicated world, and has clearly created the world in great detail. However, I found the technical explanations to be very confusing, and I never did manage to picture a lot of the technology in the book. For instance, although it was described in great detail, I never really understood how the city inside the asteroid is put together. Some things are described in great detail, but some other things aren't described at all. For instance, some of the main characters ride bikes through space. These bikes are never really described, so I just pictured motorcycles. In space. Yeah.... Also, there are lots of bots, which play a really pivotal role in the climax, but these bots are never described at all. We don't know their size, shape, color, anything about them. So I pictured Wall-E. Actually, scale was a big problem for me throughout the book - everything seemed to be the wrong size.

Four of the main characters are teenagers. These teenagers just so happen to be in the right place at the right time every time something major happens, and they just so happen to save the day 3 times in the book. So in the middle of this very serious space opera, we suddenly have the Hardy Boys. It is just so implausible that these teenagers would be involved in all of the major events, and save the day every time.

So all in all, not the best use of my time. ( )
  Gwendydd | Jan 27, 2014 |
Not a bad book, but something here just didn't click. There were bright spots, but they were inconsistent and unevenly placed between plenty of stretches which I found myself glossing over. Neither the story nor the characters really resonated with me in the way I expect out of a five-star read. I've read plenty worse, certainly, but I found myself ready to be done with it.

There were some authorial quirks in the way of telling, rather than showing, and not in that long info-dump way you expect from SF books, but more to the effect of blurting out things that should have been more subtly woven into the background. The setting didn't feel very "real", almost too much focus on Things Happening rather than building a place or people I could care about.

Fans of "idea" or plot-driven fiction will probably enjoy this as a good fun story. ( )
  chaosmogony | Apr 27, 2013 |
A good old fashion hard SF tale with a little bit of punk. Good character development interessting plot and for the most part well written. ( )
  BobVTReader | Aug 27, 2012 |
This is a really good HardSF urban adventure. The urban locale is a colony of 200,000 inside and around an asteroid in the Sol system. It starts out with teens on 'rocketbikes' and seems like it might be a young-adult coming-of-age story, but it is much more. Shifting points of view between the first character(s) and seasoned adults ranging from bureaucrats to scientists to criminals to mutants and even a newly-born Sentient keep it interesting. City management, underworld maneuvers, chases, explosions, and nanotech keep it moving. This story of managing a critical resource crisis in a colony in the asteroid belt while also battling enemies within and without is full of surprises and an engaging, entertaining read. An excellent debut novel. I look forward to more from author M. J. Locke. ( )
  klh | Jul 30, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
(Starred review) Locke has created a believable ecosystem of struggling, competing, sometimes uncomfortably interacting components, where trust is betrayed painfully, but allies appear unexpectedly. Most of all, this smart, satisfying hard SF adventure celebrates human resilience.
added by karenb | editPublishers Weekly (Jan 31, 2011)
 
Locke's precariously wild frontier is inventive and intensely realized; her characters do dirty-hands jobs and aren't afraid of making difficult decisions.

Gripping, well-rounded hard sci-fi, satisfyingly concluded while nicely poised for sequels.
added by karenb | editKirkus Reviews (Jan 15, 2011)
 
(Top pick) Locke has created a nuanced, interesting world and a spectacular heroine.
 

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765315157, Hardcover)

Geoff and his friends live in Phocaea, a distant asteroid colony on the Solar System's frontier. They're your basic high-spirited young adults, enjoying such pastimes as hacking matter compilers to produce dancing skeletons that prance through the low-gee communal areas, using their rocket-bikes to salvage methane ice shrapnel that flies away when the colony brings in a big (and vital) rock of the stuff, and figuring out how to avoid the ubiquitous surveillance motes that are the million eyes of 'Stroiders, a reality-TV show whose Earthside producers have paid handsomely for the privilege of spying on every detail of the Phocaeans' lives.

Life isn’t as good as it seems, though. A mysterious act of sabotage kills Geoff's brother Carl and puts the entire colony at risk. And in short order, we discover that the whole thing may have been cooked up by the Martian mafia, as a means of executing a coup and turning Phocaea into a client-state. As if that wasn't bad enough, there's a rogue AI that was spawned during the industrial emergency and slipped through the distracted safeguards, and a giant x-factor in the form of the Viridians, a transhumanist cult that lives in Phocaea's bowels.

In addition to Geoff, our story revolves around Jane, the colony's resource manager -- a bureaucrat engineer in charge of keeping the plumbing running on an artificial island of humanity poised on the knife-edge of hard vacuum and unforgiving space. She's more than a century old, and good at her job, but she is torn between the technical demands of the colony and the political realities of her situation, in which the fishbowl effect of 'Stroiders is compounded by a reputation economy that turns every person into a beauty contest competitor.  Her manoeuverings to keep politics and engineering in harmony are the heart of the book.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:59 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Managing utilities on a future asteroid colony, bureaucrat-engineer Jane discovers that a water crisis may have been orchestrated by the Martian mafia and that the colony is also being threatened by a rogue artificial intelligence and a transhumanist cult.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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