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Lightless by C. A. Higgins


by C. A. Higgins

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1571776,038 (3.12)10
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A lovely friend put this book in my hands and told me I had to read it. I picked up the sequel at the same time based on the cool-sounding premise -- a state-of-the-art space vessel with an artificial intelligence and a scientist/mechanic who cares for her, even when faced with sabotage, terrorists, and an evil government interrogator. I don't read tons of straight-up science fiction but I would read a lot more if it was all like this! It was tense and exciting and so smart without trying to prove it is smart, if you know what I mean.

http://webereading.com/2017/08/a-big-stack-of-books-fantasy-and-sci-fi.html ( )
  klpm | Aug 5, 2017 |
This story takes place in a mysterious spaceship in deep space on an unknown mission. There is a crew of three on board . The ship is supposedly the most powerful spacecraft that the repressive government has developed. Yet it is has no armed guards .This makes it easily boarded and sabotaged by two boarders. The remainder of the novel is about how the sabotage affects the ship and a larger issue of if this act is the opening gambit in a larger plot to over turn the government. This is an attempt at a psychological thriller. It works on some levels. The interactions between the naive engineer and a roguish prisoner work. Yet the interactions between interrogator that is brought on board, and the prisoner seemed formulated. The larger plot to over throw the government seems to be thrown in and developed at the last minute in order to justify a sequel. Overall I enjoyed the novel. I liked the claustrophobic feel the writing gave. The novel gives a deeply personal aura. It has the bones of potentially decent space opera. Yet this book has a lot of obvious flaws. Why do you have a powerful spaceship crewed by only three people? Given the small crew why did they let an unknown spacecraft get close enough to board them? Why was so complex a ships AI so easily sabotaged? Given the unknown location of the ship how is it that so many spaceships were able to locate it? Hopefully the next book won't have these flaws. ( )
  Cataloger623 | Nov 23, 2016 |
The Ananke, a top-secret experimental spaceship, is boarded by a couple of pirates/con men/thieves. One of the criminals escapes, but not before doing something to the ship's computer. The other is captured and questioned at length by a ruthless interrogator who is convinced he has ties to a high-profile terrorist, but she's so focused on getting the truth out of him that she's clearly not paying as much attention as she should to the increasing computer malfunctions, or to the ship's mechanic's protests that something is seriously wrong.

It sounds like a good, interesting setup, and the plot is clearly trying to be clever and twisty. But it just failed to work for me on far too many levels. The pace was slow, with almost nothing happening for much of the book, until a bunch of plot revelations -- many of them far too easy to guess in advance -- get dumped on us all at once at the end. The writing, while not bad, exactly, felt slightly odd or awkward to me, in a hard-to-pin-down way that had me double-checking to see if it had been translated from another language. (It hadn't.) Too much important world-building stuff is left entirely too vague and underdeveloped, while a lot of other story elements, from the minor to the plot-critical, felt implausible or just plain wrong. It ends on an not-very-satisfying note, too, presumably to induce us to buy the sequel (which I am not going to do). Most damning of all, I never felt, from the first page on, that I had any reason at all to care about these people, their ship, or their solar system.

Rating: 2/5, although it does occur to me to wonder if I'd be less harsh on it if my expectations were lower going in. I'd heard some good buzz about this one that steered me very, very wrong. ( )
  bragan | Aug 20, 2016 |
Ignore the blurb, because if you're looking for Alien or Gravity here, you're going to be disappointed. This is, instead, a claustrophobic thriller set on a very unique spacecraft. The story itself is interesting, but I felt the characters and the world-building could use a little more development. How did the System come to be? How did the Ananke get developed? Who were Domitian and Gagnon and Althea when they were not Ananke's crew members? Why was Ida the way she was? The only character I felt was really explored and the only one that had some real depth, was Ivan, but most of our time was spent with Althea. It is my hope that, if Althea makes an appearance in book two, she will be allowed to develop more as a person.

t was a highly-entertaining read that I enjoyed throughout--I'll definitely pick up the sequel--but it is a first novel from a young writer, and that shows quite clearly in places. ( )
  BillieBook | Mar 1, 2016 |
Two thieves with terrorist connections break into a top-secret research spaceship run by the all-knowing, tyrannical System. As the engineer tries to fix whatever they did to the ship’s computer, which is making it behave erratically, an inquisitor interrogates one of the thieves. She knows that he’s her best lead to the terrorist leader, and if she doesn’t get good information out of him, her career and probably her life will end. If you like reading about good people (and some bad ones, like the inquisitor) who are loyal to bad institutions, and don’t mind a bit of extremely convenient plotting, this is a good read. ( )
  rivkat | Feb 18, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553394428, Hardcover)

The deeply moving human drama of Gravity meets the nail-biting suspense of Alien in this riveting science fiction debut. With bold speculation informed by a degree in astrophysics, C. A. Higgins spins an unforgettable “locked spaceship” mystery guaranteed to catapult readers beyond their expectations—and into brilliantly thrilling new territory.
Serving aboard the Ananke, an experimental military spacecraft launched by the ruthless organization that rules Earth and its solar system, computer scientist Althea has established an intense emotional bond—not with any of her crewmates, but with the ship’s electronic systems, which speak more deeply to her analytical mind than human feelings do. But when a pair of fugitive terrorists gain access to the Ananke, Althea must draw upon her heart and soul for the strength to defend her beloved ship.
While one of the saboteurs remains at large somewhere on board, his captured partner—the enigmatic Ivan—may prove to be more dangerous. The perversely fascinating criminal whose silver tongue is his most effective weapon has long evaded the authorities’ most relentless surveillance—and kept the truth about his methods and motives well hidden.
As the ship’s systems begin to malfunction and the claustrophobic atmosphere is increasingly poisoned by distrust and suspicion, it falls to Althea to penetrate the prisoner’s layers of intrigue and deception before all is lost. But when the true nature of Ivan’s mission is exposed, it will change Althea forever—if it doesn’t kill her first.

Advance praise for Lightless
“Absolutely brilliant . . . This is science fiction as it is meant to be done: scientific concepts wedded to and built upon human ideals.”—Seanan McGuire, New York Times bestselling author of the October Daye series

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 02 Jul 2015 00:58:39 -0400)

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