Read One Jump Ahead by Mark L. Van Name Online


Jon Moore: A nanotech-enhanced warrior who wants nothing more than a quiet life and a way back to his strange home world. Lobo: An AI-enhanced Predator-Class Assault Vehicle, a mobile fortress equipped for any environment from the seabed to interstellar space. TWO WOLVES IN A GALAXY OF LARGER PREDATORSJon Moore wanted only to relax on the pristine planet of Macken--but MacJon Moore: A nanotech-enhanced warrior who wants nothing more than a quiet life and a way back to his strange home world. Lobo: An AI-enhanced Predator-Class Assault Vehicle, a mobile fortress equipped for any environment from the seabed to interstellar space. TWO WOLVES IN A GALAXY OF LARGER PREDATORSJon Moore wanted only to relax on the pristine planet of Macken--but Macken was the secret battleground of two megacorporations, both determined to control the local jump gate and the riches of an undeveloped world. Moore was too valuable a tool not to be used, whether or not he was willing. What the corporations didn't realize was that Moore had a mind of his own and a conscience that wouldn't let him quit until he'd righted the wrong they'd tricked him into making. And Moore had Lobo--or just possibly Lobo had Jon Moore, because this Assault Vehicle had a mind of its own. . . .Finding allies and enemies among terrorist groups and elite mercenaries, gun-runners and the only kind of government possible on a frontier short on rules and long on riches, Jon and Lobo fight to a climax with a corporate army that can't afford to leave any witnesses. Exotic settings, fast action, real tech, mechanically-enhanced animals--and a beautiful woman who's as deadly as a cobra!"One Jump Ahead: " the first novel in the Jon & Lobo series...

Title : One Jump Ahead
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781416520856
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 293 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

One Jump Ahead Reviews

  • Dirk Grobbelaar
    2019-06-17 15:47

    I’ll start off by saying that the author handles Lobo with admirable restraint. Let’s face it, there is a lot of potential for unprecedented mayhem here. Instead, there is a lot of tactical, and even strategic, plotting involved and the story focuses mainly on Jon Moore in this first novel. This is perhaps the best route to take, but I’m hoping the subsequent novels will see Lobo fully unleashed.As far as Science Fiction adventures are concerned, One Jump Ahead has one or two tricks up its sleeve that differentiates it from the pack. The leading character, apart from being a nano-enhanced super soldier (nothing new there), can also talk to machines. Machines? Erm? It’s not as daft as it sounds; it’s actually handled quite expertly in a quaint bling-tech kind of way. Considering that the story takes place in the far future, the typical household appliance described here isn’t remotely identifiable with whatever is occupying your kitchen at the moment, and that obviously helps. It has to do with frequencies, artificial intelligence and other science-y stuff. Despite the fact that Jon Moore is different, he certainly isn’t invincible, and pains are taken to emphasise this. He sometimes needs help, and he is sometimes vulnerable. There are also many secrets in his past, some of which remain shrouded in mystery. Everything seems to indicate that this will be explored further in the sequels to One Jump Ahead so there is a lot to look forward to.Our super-soldier also has a sidekick (Lobo), who just happens to be a Predator Class Assault Vehicle. Sounds cool, doesn’t it? And it is too. There isn’t much more to be said on this point, it’s the series’ signature. The book wasn’t as pulpy as I’d expected it to be, and it has a lot to do with the fact that the author doesn’t get too carried away with his creations. Like I’ve already mentioned: admirable.So, buckets of attitude and old school fun still gets you places. The underwater sequence alone (with a racing Ray named Bob) is worth the price of admission. Fans of David Drake, David Weber and the like should check this out.

  • John
    2019-06-16 13:08

    It's been ages since I read a mass market paperback. I picked this one up because the author was recommended to me by a friend whose opinions I generally trust, and I wasn't disappointed.It's classic sci-fi adventure with a "lone wolf" protagonist successfully bucking the system using his wits and technological tricks. One of the great problems with these kinds of stories is explaining why the methods of the hero haven't been dealt with.For example, (possible spoiler here, but it occurs in the first few pages, so I don't consider it a big one) our hero talks with appliances. AI is so commonplace that even your coffeepot comes with it (a fairly logical extension of the prevalence of computer chips today), and they prove to be a great source of information. The problem is, why doesn't everybody do this, and by extension, why doesn't everybody defend against it?The author's solution is one I found rather clever, but I won't go into details as it would risk introducing more minor spoilers. Suffice it to say that he did come up with a solution that is at least strong enough to allow me to suspend any disbelief I might have otherwise had.My biggest issue with the book? It's a shame that the front cover blurb is from Orson Scott Card, it almost caused me to put it back on the shelf. I'm glad I didn't.

  • Mary JL
    2019-06-01 09:05

    Yes, more military-actions SF. Those of you who read my reviews know it is a favorite type of SF for me.The story basically introduces two partners. One is Jon Moore, former soldier--enhanced with nanotechnology which gives him special abilities. The other "partner" is Lobo--a sentient AI (artificial intelligence)who is installed in the controls of a Predator-Class Assault vehicle.Basically, it is a military SF tale with Jon and Lobo Vs. the villains.Yes, there have been similar tales but this is a good take on an SF standard.One thing I like is Jon Moore does not WANT to stomp the bad guys. But he has to make a living and military skills are the only skills he knows. He's also anxious not to show his 'enhanced" powers for fear of wind up a human guinea pig in some secret government or corporate lab.And for a computer AI, Lobo is a pretty neat 'character'.So action, humor, decent characterization and an acceptable plot makes this a fast, fun and easy read for SF/Action/Adventure fans. Recommended for any SF or adventure fan.

  • Cathy
    2019-06-13 12:02

    A very fun, fast-pace, sci-fi adventure with a bit of a heist feeling. There's also a bit of military, a bit of technology, some humor, but not too much of anything. It has a great slightly old-fashioned feeling, like some of the anti-hero stories from the '60s and '70s. And Lobo is a great side-kick. This was an accidental re-read. I originally read this before I discovered Goodreads and planned to read the sequels, but never remembered to look for them. Knowing when the next book in a series I'm following comes out is what led me to Goodreads, so finding this is an nice example of things coming full circle. Now I can move on to book two with an extra happy heart.

  • Debrac2014
    2019-05-27 16:48

    I really liked the characters and story line! I wonder if Jon's going back to Pinkelponker to find Jennie!

  • Dan
    2019-06-09 14:57

    I love this series. Can't get enough of it. The interaction between the main characters, the situations they find themselves in, and manage to extricate themselves from. Superb. And, hey, you have to love a place called "Pickelponker"! 7/7/17 re-read.

  • Stephanie
    2019-06-02 16:54

    Précis A former mercenary is bio-engineered with outlawed nanotechnology and is the only known survivor of the ill-fated Aggro experiments. He teams up with an intelligent armored vehicle named Lobo and they get caught up in a corporate battle for control of the jump gate aperture near the developing colony world called Macken. During the ongoing adventure he meets an old friend from his mercenary days, has to work with SAW - the organization he worked for before Aggro - and botches a kidnapping rescue. In the end he gets it right and makes a harrowing escape relying on the mysterious gate aperture and its dislike of violence.Protagonist Jon MooreAntagonist Ron SlakeWhat I liked I liked the interesting use of technology, because of Moore's bioengineering, he can converse with all the intelligent machines, even mundane ones like drink dispensers. The portrayal of them as gossipy creatures works well. I also liked the love/hate relationship with Lobo and its maturity and the end. The characters are well-developed and the plot moves briskly toward an exciting conclusion. The way he makes his escape was clever and unseen. What I didn’t like I would like to see more of Lobo's character revealed. I also wanted to know more about the Aggro experiments. Final Comments This is Van Name's first novel and it is a great first effort. It was very readable (I knocked it off in three days) and his style is just different enough from the Ringo and Weber style to be his own. I couldn't help but think that Van Name is a fan of the Bolo books by Keith Laumer. The PCAV is very much like the Bolo vehicle; intelligent, well armed and a great machine to have around when the brown stuff hits the fan. Even the name is an anagram. I also liked the mystery of the jump gate apertures, they are not manmade and no one knows exactly where they come from. The sequel to this book is due out in July 2008 and while I probably will wait to get the paperback, I definitely have added Van Name to my list of authors I want to keep reading. I hope that in the sequel we get to know more about Jon's background and get to know Lobo better.

  • Aspen Junge
    2019-06-05 13:53

    I was trying to figure out why I wasn't really connecting with the characters. The plot was fine, action driven. The characters had histories. The author is good with description, if he has a tendency to overexplain a little. Then I realized; I have no idea what Jon, the viewpoint character, is feeling. Since the book is written in first person, this lack is downright creepy. He's got a tragic past. He's an action hero. He saves the girl right off. He makes a new best friend. And I have no idea how he feels about any of this. When he returns the girl to her father, is he worried? Triumphant? Satisfied at a job well done? He acquires a combat shuttle capable of performing in environments from hard vacuum to deep ocean and with a sentient A.I., and I don't know if he likes Lobo or not. Or what he plans to do with it. Is it a friend? Is it a tool? How does he feel about his tragic past? Wistful? Seeking revenge? Has he put it behind him or does it haunt his every waking moment? What motivates the guy? How can I cheer him to his goals if I have no idea what they are?He doesn't bounce on his toes in anticipation. There is no sick dropping feeling of dread in his stomach. No grin steals across his face like a thief in the night. He doesn't stare at the bulkhead, brooding over his wrongs which happened to him oh so many years ago. It's a completely flat affect.The author mentions several times that Lobo's A.I. has emotion subroutines. Jon is more robotic than Lobo.

  • Nancy
    2019-05-22 11:49

    I read an excerpt of Jon & Lobo #5, No Going Back, before I read this and I feel like it really gave me a leg up on the universe. If I hadn't read the excerpt first the learning curve on various things - Lobo, Jon's nanomachines, talking to electronics - would have been a lot steeper. I imagine I would have been a lot more confused and therefore enjoyed it less.However, I enjoyed it just fine. Fast-paced, SF action adventure that for the most part was a fun read. I loved Lobo. And the talking electronics. Two things kept it from being five stars. One, Jon is not a happy person most of the time. That really wears on me personally as a reader. Lobo counteracts that a bit but I feel Jon needs just a wee bit of a kick in the personality department. On the other hand, Jon is one of those super smart, super capable, super competent characters able to get himself out of most sticky situations in one piece, and I have a soft spot for that kind of character. It's like any one of Dick Francis's heroes, but in space!And two, I noticed that most of the characters in the book were male. Even the background characters - aides, shop keepers, sales people - almost all men, or a gender neutral of some kind. That irritated me a bit.

  • Kelly
    2019-05-21 13:57

    ‘One Jump Ahead’ is Van Name’s first novel and it’s a heck of a debut. I read this book in a quick couple of sittings, ignoring other distractions (even The Sims 3 – which anyone who knows me can tell you is one mean feat!) until I finished it. 'One Jump Ahead’ is the where not only where we meet Jon Moore and Lobo, but they meet each other. Jon Moore has a colourful and distinctive past as a mercenary soldier and private courier. But before that time he was a test subject in a secret nano-technology experiment. Lobo is a heavily armored and armed PCAV (Predator-class assault vehicle) with an emotive AI and biting wit. They work well together and it’s their partnership that makes this novel (and subsequent novels) so enjoyable.Jon receives Lobo as payment for a search and rescue operation. Lobo needs some replacement parts and upon recommendation of a client, Jon contacts an arms dealer to secure those parts. This is when the trouble really begins. The arms dealer tries to rip him off, and suddenly there’s a bounty on his head. Somehow, this all has something to do with the girl he rescued. You’ll need to read the rest of ‘One Jump Ahead’ to find out how. It’s a great adventure!

  • Don
    2019-05-30 09:43

    For a first book in a sci fi series this is very good. The characters are believable and entertaining to read about and the action is excellent. The interaction between Jon and his PCAV battle vehicle's AI (Lobo) is great. Probably my favorite part of this book is the future technology that Mark envisions for his worlds. It's a realistic blend of organic and technology, which is probably what the future will end up being more like versus an all metal world. I give 3.5 stars to the story itself and 5 stars to the scientific vision and the world he created. Simply fascinating. I had a chance to meet Mark earlier this year, he is a business partner of my company and was touring the labs when I was introduced. Really bright guy and friendly as well. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the Jon and Lobo series, Slanted Jack.

  • Stefan
    2019-06-07 15:59

    Mark L Van’s debut novel was a pleasure to reading from the first page to last. It’s one of those books that was so fun I read it too quickly and then wished I had savoured the plots twists and turns more carefully. One Jump Ahead was a wonderfully balanced novel that balanced science fiction with thriller and adventure elements. The non-stop action, compelling first-person narrator and a witty AI-controlled combat ship.

  • Jeffrey
    2019-06-15 13:03

    A light science-fiction read with some interesting ideas. There are a few light moments with the main character giving personalities to different futuristic appliances, but overall, it reads as a science fiction/military adventure with the main character prepping adventurous plans to perform espionage in a futuristic setting.

  • Adam
    2019-06-17 13:09

    So far, this is a pretty good sci-fi novel. Author Mark L. Van Name mixes semi-hard scii-fi with quirky comedy to create a novel that is better than the sum of its parts.

  • Gray Mouser
    2019-05-29 09:59

    While I do not give much for cover praises, I normally check WHO is writing those. Since "One jump ahead" got those from Orson Scott Gard, Eric Flint and David Drake, all of which I typically enjoy, I counted this as a recommendation. Unfortunately, I was not impressed. The story telling was decent. I also strongly appreciated that Mr. van Name avoided several typical clichés and made interactions of the characters believable. For example: although the main story line is the rescue of a teenage girl, which was a major emotional involvement for our hero, he considered her barely more than a nuisance/a job to be done during their encounters. No cheap romance or hero worship here. His interactions with the AI of his ship, Lobo, also did not follow the downtrodden "deep understanding man-machine"-track. It was more like interactions between an old married couple "you really annoy me and I do not really know why I put up with it."Having given my praises, the story fell flat: fighting mega corporations, interspersed with the typical military SF cast: the experienced mercenary sergeant, the slightly psychotic mercenary girl, evil ruthless corporate men, etc. Technical hardware was introduced when the story required it. Not inconsistently, but also not very interestingly. The plot was a series of repetitive action maneuvers: sneak in, hit them, get it/her/him, get out; typically with some deus-ex-machina trick of our nanomachine-improved hero. Overlaid by him consistently bemoaning his unwillingness to kill needlessly while realizing his desire to do so.I might get the sequel at one point, but I am not in any rush. If you need a decent book to pass some time with your brain in relax-mode, go ahead and get it. If you are looking for a really good book, which grabs you... search on.

  • Ford Prefect
    2019-06-01 11:00

    Pretty much a straight up sci-fi action book done well. Not much else to say.

  • Grady McCallie
    2019-05-24 08:55

    The blurbs on the back are attributed to John Ringo, David Drake, and Eric Flint, signaling the subgenre and target audience for this debut novel: military science fiction read by young men. The main character of this book, Jon Moore, is emotionally young himself (though he's chronologically a centenarian) and suffers continuing trauma from past experiments that left him equipped with nanotech implants. The character and plot reminded me a bit of Richard Stark's pulp crime hero Parker: a former mercenary, Moore finds himself boxed in by corporate thugs, so he starts taking them out, one by one (although, unlike Parker, Moore has help from his faithful dog, I mean homoerotic buddy, I mean spaceship, Lobo).The book's chief problem is that it's boring. Not everything is described in detail -- a number of exotic weapons appear in the story as if by magic -- but a lot of the plots and counter-plots are described both mechanically and comprehensively.Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the book is the narrator's attitude towards sex. He's perfectly willing to speak as though he's familiar with sex, describing wood furniture as 'smooth to the touch as a new lovers' breast' (huh?), and leather upholstery as 'soft as the month's wages hookers that filled the evenings of the execs stuck in' the local spaceport [75], thus following the rule that if you say anything tender you must immediately talk trash to show you're not soft. Here's Moore's explanation why he could never join those who revere the alien artifact jump gates he uses to travel: 'I've seen a blazingly pink gate; if nothing else would have stopped me from being a Gatist, that would have done it. I can't picture myself ever worshiping something pink.'[52] With that attitude, it's no wonder he's been unable to keep an intimate relationship going longer than a few weeks [194]. When a former mercenary colleague shows up in a sexpot body, she gets to add color while locking sexuality away behind a wall of professionalism - Moore can be distracted the first time he sees her (he's not gay, really he's not), but there's zero chance of a romantic interaction. Fortunately, in military sf, frustrated desires can always be sublimated into bloody violence, and there's plenty of that to go around.

  • Sam Lehnert
    2019-05-30 13:56

    I read this book a few years ago, having seen a relatively supportive review on a staple science fiction blog. I love the occasional pulpy action novel. But reading this book became an exercise in masochism. I wanted to like this book. I really did. Not to mention the cover spoke to my inner 13-year-old. But I found myself putting the book down constantly in disgust because of how much the author expected me to suspend my disbelief. Jon is a cybernetically-enhanced veteran super soldier. He makes fast friends with a sentient super-tank. Jon is supposed to be rather wise, but what got me time and time again was how Jon's enemies frequently got the drop on him because of his ineptitude. Jon would encounter a bad guy and gain the upper hand. Then the bad guy would be like "Oh! You got me! Just give me a minute to collect my things," and Jon would wait around, enjoying blissful ignorance as the bad guy would grab an obviously hidden gun and blow a hole through Jon's chiseled midsection. Then Jon's super-soldier nanotech immune system would kick in, revive him after his unfathomably dumb and careless mistake, and Jon would end up the winner. The action scenes sound like two six-year-olds playing make-believe cyberpunk in the backyard, and the scenes gluing the action scenes together aren't much better.This is one of those stories where the "good guys" definitely can't lose, and I was actively rooting against them out of fear they'd find a girl/girl-tank and reproduce. There's a super-soldier who can use nanotech as weaponry and super-healing-agent. His best buddy is a super tank with no close competitor. If memory serves me correct, the super tank hacks a future ATM so the main characters aren't even restricted by financial need.I know this isn't a wonderful review. I was just really let down by this book and feel more misanthropic having read it. I guess it just wasn't for me.I could foresee this being a fun book to read in a book club where people read bad books and then make fun of them (if those exist).

  • Andreas
    2019-06-05 10:50

    This is the first book in the Jon & Lobo series. Jon is a man with a troubled past. His planet was destroyed and he was subjected to experiments that left him nanotechnology enhanced. Such enhancements are thought to be impossible and he needs to keep them a secret from those who might profit from them. Suffice it to say, he is a sort of super-soldier. He takes on the task of freeing a kidnapping victim. This simple act entangles him in a complex web of intrigue involving powerful corporations and governments. Along the way, he picks up an assault vehicle known as “Lobo”. The vehicle can handle anything from underwater to deep space. It is also a deeply sarcastic conversationalist.This novel reminds me a little of the Stainless Steel Rat books. A lone hero and a plot that seems made up as it goes along. Jon is not unlikeable, but his tribulations tend to be long winded and after a few such passages I started losing interest. The characters are straight from central casting, and the locales are even worse. Cookie-cutter, forgettable places that made the plot hard to follow. As our hero jumped to a star system, I struggled to remember what had happened there earlier. The plot is decent, but I couldn’t make myself care very much whether Jon succeeded in his exploits or not. Things are going really well until they go really badly, at a point in the novel that is far too predictable. The hero is supposed to have setbacks, but this one is far too expected. The paraphernalia is pretty cool. In good Bond fashion, the right tools for the job always seem available to our hero. This is fine for comedy, but this book is not going for laughs.And yet, there is some attraction here. If one can look past the stilted prose the stock characters and the unoriginal plotting, there are hints of potential for this hero. The machine communications are funny and interesting. The universe is engaging enough that it is worth revisiting.

  • Steven
    2019-05-21 15:59

    I enjoyed One Jump Ahead. I was in the right mood to enjoy old fashion space opera. Moore is a loner with a troubled past. He takes jobs, and they go south, so he has to clean up messes as well as he can. There is some odd science tech. The FTL issues is solved by Gates which are mysterious artifacts. He has nano-tech in his body that helps on missions. He acquires an AI brained combat craft that is part companion, part military weapon.I liked that Moore keeps thinking he wants to avoid killing people. It makes the book series more enjoyable to me. I have read alot of military fiction and am getting tired of the huge body counts. Moore does kill a few people, but he seems to regret each one and try to avoid them. A feature that is missing in much science fiction action is the need for preparation and boring staging for successful action. Moore thinks about the tactical needs of each operation, and is described as waiting alone in rooms for hours or days in order to be in position for action. This preparation and boredom is a reality of military or police action that most writers leave out.It is great, for me, that youth in danger is involved in the story. I am always a sucker for that. Apparently a feature of the series is that Moore constantly remembers back to his troubled youth and how he was in need of saving then. I like the whole dark mystery man. He needs to keep secrets about Lobo, his nano-tech and event his origin story from everyone.This book will work for you if you want to read space opera with relatively happy endings. You need to suspend believe about science explanations and accept that Moore has somewhat unlikely tech advantages over those around him. Overall, I think, if you like military action will very minimal killing, you will enjoy this book. I have started the sequel and am enjoying the first 100 pages, so far.

  • Joe Martin
    2019-05-27 10:45

    Take one jaded, burn-out mercenary. Jon Moore. Give him an AI-enhanced Predator-Class Assault Vehicle. Lobo. One desparate to live a quiet life, in an out of the way spot. The other itching to leave the quiet, out of the way spot and get back into action. Mix in some corporations eager to gain an edge and some corporate officials willing to lie and cheat to gain an edge. The end result is an angry mercenary with a lot of weaponry and a burning desire to both gain revenge and set things right.All of that by itself would make a decent military novel. What makes this novel really stand out, and what makes it a great SF novel, is Mark L. Van Name’s use of nanotechnology and biotechnology. Jon Moore is loaded with nanotechnology that he can use to break in, break down, or confuse. Van Name, knowingly or not, keeps Sanderson’s Second Law in mind. The nanotech doesn’t make Moore invincible or omnipotent. It merely gives him a different set of tools. He still has to use his ingenuity to survive and win.Moore also uses various bioengineered animals to achieve his goals. As with the nanotech, these animals are impressive for what they can do as well as what they can’t do. It’s a close look at another technology that’s currently beyond our grasp but close enough to be convincingly portrayed.This book was very well written and Van Name revealed some impressive worldbuilding skills. I especially liked the planet name of “Pinkelplonker” (named by the 5-year old son of the captain that discovered the planet) and the jump system used to travel between worlds. I very much look forward to reading the rest of the novels in the series.

  • Per Gunnar
    2019-06-20 15:03

    The burb for this book sounded quite interesting which was why I decided to read it. However, on the first few pages of this book I started to wonder what the f… this was. I certainly wasn’t impressed. That far in the future almost any electronics device would have an AI, including washing machines, beverage dispenser etc, that I could perhaps live with. That a human, in this case Jon, who was nano-machine enhanced could communicate with them, well okay…maybe. That these machines all had a personality, was chatting away with each other, presented a huge security risk and no one had thought about it because only Jon had bothered to start to talk to these machines, that’s just so incredibly silly.Fortunately the rest of the book made up for this silliness and when Jon’s old marine buddies starts to get involved not to mention Lobo the PCAV (Predator Class Assault Vehicle) then things starts to become real fun.If one can overlook the stupid talking to washing machines stuff it’s a quite fun Science Fiction/Adventure read with all the main ingredients, fighting, deceit, an intelligent machine friend that talks back, a good looking chick (which the hero actually doesn’t get in the end though) etc…

  • David
    2019-05-23 09:08

    For year now, I have lamented about the lack of SPACE OPERA.. i.e. real Science Fiction stuff... Once in awhile I discover someone like Timothy Zahn or Elizabeth Moon is still writing old fashioned Science Fiction with new fangled ideas... One Jump Ahead is aptly named, because it appears to be one jump ahead from most of the Science Fiction out there. We are introduced to Jon and his attack vehicle (Lobo)-- but there appears to be a lot of backstory for Jon that we simply see hinted at... Jon is augmented, the results of some illegal experimentation (the backstory) and now operates on the sly, attempting to stay on the downlow.. He operates as a mercenary with a slight aversion to killing-- this does not mean he never kills, just that he is quite reluctant and usually has plans to take out villains using non-lethal means. The story is really cool as Jon gets caught between feuding megacorporations, finds himnself misused by them and seeks vengeance and resolution.The characters are cool, the Science Fiction is cool.. nanomachines, Attack craft, weapons, augmented animals, etc. REALLY FUN!

  • D.L. Morrese
    2019-06-03 15:52

    This is a military SciFi space adventure and whether or not you will like it depends on taste. It is well written, but, to me, the science was weak and the characters were unlikeable. The first person main character is credulous, rude, and prone to reacting with intimidation or violence. His one redeeming quality is that he regrets his actions afterward. The female sidekick who makes her appearance relatively late in the book is a borderline psychopath - she enjoys killing. The one bit of comic relief that kept it enjoyable was that the electrical appliances are intelligent and the main character can tap into their inane conversations about doing laundry or cooking meals. These did not add to the story, but they did provide some respite from the combat and torture scenes. Although the story flows well, I found I did not particularly care what happened to the characters or, for that matter, to the universe they called home. I found nothing admirable about either.

  • Jacob
    2019-06-07 16:51

    This is a quick read and a good, if formulaic, story. If you're a fan of space opera you'll probably enjoy this, although I wouldn't say it's exceptional. The author is a tech guru and it shows in the book, both because the author has imagined a LOT of technology that would exist in the future and because the author is so familiar with current technology that some slips in without him noticing it would be horribly out of date one or two thousand years into the future.I never really clicked with the main character, whose hangups I just couldn't imagine being a real problem for someone in his position. In addition, this author has a penchant for giving poor names to things that come up frequently. Names like "Pinkelponker" and "Lobo". I wish I was kidding.Combine the above flaws with terrible cover art and you can get a book that really grates on your nerves, but if you're forgiving about (a number of) minor flaws and enjoy the genre then it's worth reading.

  • Nathan
    2019-06-17 13:53

    I have to admit that this is a book that I didn't buy in the past because of the cover. It looked almost exactly like the David Drake "Lt. Leary" covers, and I wasn't interested in reading a clone of that series, especially from an author I had barely heard of.That was a mistake. Van Name puts together a pretty good tale of a hero who is by choice and circumstances, forced to be a loner. He comes into the posession of a powerful piece of self-aware military equipment. There's enough action to go around, enough character to keep it interesting, and enough twists on traditional sci-fi concepts to create a unique setting to have it all happen in.Not the best book I've read this year by a long shot, but a series that's definitely worth a read if you're into a good mix of action and character in sci fi.

  • Eric
    2019-06-15 11:48

    This is my kind of book. It's fast paced, cleanly written and complex enough tht I didn't have everything figured out right away. The characters are believable withing the setting and had very human reactions.If you feel the need to classify things I would call this space opera. I'm ok with that. I don't need to grasp nanotechnology at a textbook level to enjoy and finish the story, but all the technological wonders serve to move the story along.The most important things I can say for this book are:1. If you like action and space opera, go buy this book.2. I'm going back for more... can't wait until I get my hands on the next one in the series.

  • Lisa
    2019-06-15 17:02

    An excellent beginning and I'm pleased to have more books in the series to devour before I go locust somewhere else. If someone doesn't mind reading science fiction instead of fantasy and found The Goblin Emperor to be sweet (and wonderful) but wanted some of that same kindness in an older, more world-wise character, this series is shaping up to be a perfect balance. Lobo is a little annoying because the main character find him so and I'm not seeing enough personality to balance the whining, but I'm pretty sure that gets better as the series progresses. So on to the next book!

  • John
    2019-06-11 10:00

    2017 re-read: A lot going on in this one for a seemingly straightforward goal. While all entertaining, it seems that some of the parts in the middle were a little long-winded in the setup for getting Earl's help. Still, it is much better than many scifi author's first novels by a long shot.2015 review: Picked this up on a whim used, since I like other stuff from Baen Books. Turns out I really enjoyed the story and the characters, Jon Moore and his AI ship, Lobo. This is one of the first scifi novels I've read to explore nanotechnology as well. A different setup from a lot of scifi that I've read, and works well.

  • Kevin Kelsey
    2019-06-11 09:06

    Fun adventure/military/colonization/cyberpunk/AI SF with enough hints toward an interesting backstory to keep me intrigued. As long as you're not looking for anything too deep or existential, you'll enjoy it quite a lot. Great protagonist, reminiscent of simpler, golden era heroes. Clear moral code, etc. Good clean fun.I kind of think of this novel as existing as a book or film that characters in Iain Banks' Culture series might read/watch for some escapism on a lazy afternoon aboard a GSV or orbital.