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Hard Reboot

by Django Wexler

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
584404,959 (3.38)3
Kas is a junior academic on a research mission to old Earth. When a con-artist tricks her into wagering a huge sum of money she doesn't have on the outcome of a manned robot arena battle she becomes drawn into the seedy underworld of old Earth politics and state-sponsored battle-droid prizefights.Is it time to get back to the books, yet?… (more)
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Showing 4 of 4
Battle between mecha giant robots driven by people. A clueless tourist who manages to get herself way over her head. A love story. And an underdog who really cannot win... or can she?

Somewhere far in the future, after a few empires across the stars had come and gone (violently), Earth had turned into the backwaters of the galaxy (as it usually seems to happen). Noone cares that it is the birthplace of mankind - everyone comes for the mecha fights. But due to all the wars, the skies are full of malware so even if everyone relies on electronics and "chips" in their brains, when they come to Earth, these need to be disconnected (or your brain gets fried). So when a young historian lands on Earth for the first time, she is a bit unprepared for not having her helper in her head and gets easily tricked into betting money she does not have. Of course she will try to solve that quickly and quietly - with predictable results. Meanwhile, one of the mecha pilots is trying to stay independent - fighting against the House and everyone - with even more predictable results. Of course the two misfits will end up together.

Cliched? Sure. Predictable? Sure. But there are just enough details of the worlds of the historian and the pilot, enough details in their characters to make the story work - you know where it is going but you still worry if it will get there and you wait to see what else can go wrong. Even the goriness of a few deaths does not take away from the general feeling of absolute fun. ( )
  AnnieMod | Apr 15, 2022 |
This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader as a part of a Quick Takes Catch-up post, emphasizing pithiness, not thoroughness.
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This just seemed like a lot of fun when it was published last year, so when I saw it on the library site, I had to jump on it. And it was fun.

But it was a bit too short—I know that's by design, but it felt too abrupt. You got fighting robots on the cover, I want more than two major fights. Sure, the fights we get are pretty cool, but I wanted more.

If this was 20 percent longer, I'd have been happy. As it was? I was satisfied. ( )
  hcnewton | Apr 4, 2022 |
More Real Steel than Pacific Rim, this is primarily a romance as a desperate Earth scavenger and an offworld academic try to salvage their futures with a risky gambit in the deadly warbot fighting pits. Lightweight fun, but poorly set expectations (publisher blurb, I’m looking at you) meant I was always looking for something more than I got. Where were the intergalactic diplomacy and old Earth politics? Nowhere in evidence - and without them it's fine world-building but not the story I came for.

Full review ( )
  imyril | Feb 18, 2022 |
3.5 star
Giant fighting robots, gangsters, classism a romance what more do you want out of a novella? ( )
  kevn57 | Dec 8, 2021 |
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Scholar Zychtykas Three - Kas to her friends, of which she had none - had slaved, scrimped, and swindled to get the fourth spot on the team going to Old Earth.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Kas is a junior academic on a research mission to old Earth. When a con-artist tricks her into wagering a huge sum of money she doesn't have on the outcome of a manned robot arena battle she becomes drawn into the seedy underworld of old Earth politics and state-sponsored battle-droid prizefights.Is it time to get back to the books, yet?

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