Saturday, July 18, 2020

Earth Alone

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This first entry of author Daniel Arenson’s Earthrise series opens with the main alien antagonists, colloquially called the “scum,” precipitating from the skies above Toronto, Ontario, Canada, with protagonist Marco, a preteen then, a witness. When he turns eighteen, he’s drafted into the Human Defense Force (HDF) alongside millions of other youths, his girlfriend Kemi going to a military academy. Marco initially lives in an apartment above the city library with his father, along with an adopted sister, Addy, whose parents met their deaths in the scum’s attack on Toronto.

Once in service, Marco befriends the female cadet Lailani Marita de la Rosa, who becomes his new love interest, with Kemi having told him he could move on. Fifty years before the main events of the novel, the scum, their full scientific name the scolopendra titaniae, a predatory alien race from the Scorpius system, launched a surprise attack against Earth, and scientists have studied them for the half century since then. Marco and his fellow soldiers receive introduction to the weaponry designed to fight the scum, and endure the rigors of basic training.

Many of Marco’s fellow recruits have their quirks, such as one nicknamed Elvis for his long sideburns and musical leanings, and Hope “Jackass” Harris, who has an asinine demeanor. Marco eventually has a reunion with Kemi, although they both have moved on, and his adopted sister has ultimately been drafted into the HDF. An attack by the scum eventually comes, with a few casualties among the HDF, and the book concluding with the fresh recruits going into space for war. Overall, I definitely enjoyed this story, although a pseudonym for the aliens other than “the scum” would have sounded better.

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