Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Earth Fire

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The third installment of Daniel Arenson’s Earthrise series opens with the pursuit of the source of a distress signal, with the scum being the primary suspects, and a warning that “nightmares are coming.” Meanwhile, Marco and Addy receive formal discharges from military service, although they both are broke, and both encounter tragedy when they return home, not to mention the loss of their apartment. They also find harassment by the antiwar Never War organization, with its lawyers wanting to put Marco and Addy on trial for alleged atrocities against the scum that served as antagonists in prior entries.

Marco and Addy ultimately decide to go to a colony known as the Haven on a habitable planet orbiting Earth’s nearest star system, Alpha Centauri, although it’s not what they anticipated it to be, and they have trouble finding residency and work. Meanwhile, Captain Einav Ben-Ari and Kemi encounter the threat of another hostile alien race, the marauders, and seek to break Corporal David Min-jun Greene, nicknamed Noodles, out of a prison term for cybercrime. Earth and Haven eventually experience the fury of the marauders, with room naturally left for sequels.

Overall, I definitely enjoyed the fourth installment of Arenson’s science-fiction series, which one could suggest is the All Quiet on the Western Front of the genre, given its focus on life after the horrors of war, and definitely raises good points about the nature of conflict and the divide between pouring resources into alleviating human suffering or boosting militaristic might. Granted, the darker tone of the novel might alienate certain readers, and occasional topical references make it something of a period piece, but otherwise, I would very much recommend Earth Fire to those who liked its precursors.

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