QUANTUM CONNECTION Mass Market Paperback – Jan 1 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
In the tradition of Golden Age SF author E.E. "Doc" Smith, Taylor's amped-up sequel to Warp Speed (2004) explodes with inventive action. When nebbishy computer repairman Steve Montana wakes up in a flying saucer, about to be dissected by alien Grays, he starts behaving like the video-game warrior he's only imagined being until now. He slays the aliens, gets rid of their brain implant that's been causing his emotional instability, liberates fellow captive Titania, uses nanomachines to make the two of them superhuman and races back to a secret base on Earth's moon, where Americans are plotting strategy against the Grays. What the story lacks in characterization, it more than makes up for in plot complications. The scenes of hand-to-hand combat are mind-boggling. Thanks to their enhanced physiques, Steve and Titania can move their bodies so fast that they create sonic booms. Even more dazzling is the imaginative playfulness with which Steve creates new tactics, suggesting new cutting-edge scientific possibilities, which lead to even more revelations. Beneath the comic-book exuberance, there's plenty of stimulating and satisfying speculation. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"In the tradition of golden age science fiction... THE QUANTUM CONNECTION explodes with inventive action... dazzling... cutting-edge scientific possibilities." - Publishers Weekly."See all Product Description
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
It is also very hard SF. Solid science, reasonable workability of all the science-y stuff. Well done that.
But if you're thinking you're going to get "Dragon's Egg" or "Mission of Gravity" think again. If you're looking for a modern equivalent, it's Robert Forward's "TimeMaster".
It's an action oriented adventure tale, but again, you're NOT getting Varley's "Red Thunder." The details of how they do things are VERY glossed over in this book. You can't "see" the spaceships, the nano-technology happens off stage, no one explains it, it just suddenly, near-magically works.
On the other hand, NO ONE has been writing high-tech space opera lately. The tradition once firmly held by Doc Smith is an open void in the SF arena amoung major publishers. Fans of this sort of story have had to claw through the tables at the SF conventions and browse the on-line catalogs of minor publishers.
I hope this experiment of Baen's succeeds. Hard SF action-adventure romps are FUN to read. Just don't expect the good guys do have a lot of angst or suffer a lot of moral quandries. (Neither did Kimball Kinnison much, or Star Jones.)
Doc Taylor has attempted to carve himself a niche in the modern SF market. I hope he succeeds.
The story starts out with the aftermath of a world catastrophe when our protagonist, Steve Montana, is "slumming it" after losing his family to one of a series of unexplained meteorite strikes that fell all over the world and wiped out a significant portion of California. Steve is a talented, self-taught, programmer. When he commits serious acts of computer hardware and programming wizardry for a customer with an obsolete computer game console, he is talent-spotted for an ultra top-secret government (weird) science program. Now this will sound strange in a plot synopsis, but it works: Steve is abducted by aliens and has to fight to save his life and that of a fellow abductee, a Russian female, while onboard the alien starship orbiting Saturn. It is all connected because the government program's objective is to build up our military faster-than-light capability to defend against those aliens.
The imaginative scope of Quantum Connection reminds me of the old Lensmen novels of E.E. "Doc" Smith. The story opens up to a conflict that encompasses a significant part of our galaxy with multiple alien races, practically none of whom qualify as friendly to humans. The callous attitude flows from the enormous technological gap between them and humans. It pays to be underestimated because the dynamism of the freedom-loving humans enables them to play a good catch-up game, while playing off of competing hostile alien races.
There is an exuberance to Taylor's fiction that hearkens back to the Golden Age of SF, with an All-American optimism that Real Men and Real Women can get into any scrap and come out of it victorious. So if you are feeling down about the world's prospects, treat yourself to Quantum Connection and you will enjoy a world where the good guys can become he-men (with help from nanotechnology) and the "good gals" are smart, beautiful (sometimes with a little help from nanotech) and can fight like hellcats alongside the good guys.
In this novel, Steve Montana is a computer geek, specializing in software and with considerable knowledge of hardware and firmware. He developed his own operating system as a teenager and won college scholarships for his work. Then the Rains came and Steve lost his friends and family. He becomes clinically depressed.
Larry Waterford is a technical manager at Wright Patterson for the Innovative Concepts Group in the USAF Space Vehicles Directorate.
In this story, Steve is living in Dayton with his dog Lazarus and working at a virtual reality store. He had dropped out of college and is technical support for the VR store customers. One day a man drops off an old game system and Steve is asked to fix it.
The hardware repair is fairly easy and most of the computer disks only need cleaning and surface repair. But one disk is cracked and not playable even after cleaning and surface restoral. Steve forgets his woes for a while as he works on the hardware and software.
When the customer returns, he is impressed by Steve's efforts and the low price of the bill. Later, Larry returns and offers Steve a job with the Air Force if he returns to school. Steve is tired of working under the young VR store manager and the job looks interesting and lucrative, so he fills out the paperwork and enrolls for classes.
While in school, Steve works as a co-op student for the ICG at Wright Patterson. For his first term, Larry gives him a circuit board and asks him to reverse engineer it. Later, he has an exam question in the Advanced Microprocessors class that provides some insight into the circuit.
Steve finally gets his Top Secret clearance and is taken to Washington for a classified briefing. Then security denies him further clearance. Government agents search his apartment for classified data and kill Lazarus while the dog is protecting his home. Steve takes the body back to Bakersfield and buries it there.
This tale involves advanced aliens, superAgents, and warp drives. Steve meets a nice girl and develops a relationship. Then he makes friends with a computer program.
This story is a character study of a depressed technogeek. It involves schematic diagrams, quantum mechanics and pharmaceutical remedies for bipolar disorder. I enjoyed the technogeek part and related to the depression problems.
Steve was not very likeable at the beginning. He bonds with his dog and cries a lot. Then the feds kill his dog. Steve gets mad and develops a different personality.
This novel still resembles a space opera from the 1930s, much like the early works of John W. Campbell, Jr.. Still, it does have more rationale for the rapid technological advances than does the previous book. This is the last volume in the series, but the author went on to co-author some very interesting SF works with John Ringo and a new series on his own. Read and enjoy!
Recommended for Taylor fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of alien relations, interstellar politics, and true romance.
-Arthur W. Jordin
Hope there is no sequel? Then why is super-bad-guy Lex Luther (excuse me, Opolawn) not destroyed, but only isolated for a while?
I read this one without reading Warp Speed. I was about 100 pages into it and suddenly laughed out loud. This IS a great revival of the EE Smith genre. I say that as one who started reading SF when the mag covers were always a scanty clad human female in the grip of a BEM. I have not actually read Doc Smith in at least 40 years.
Lots of psudo-science lectures interspersed with comic-book super-hero action. Of course the superhero begins as a fat, depressed nerd stranded in delayed adolesence. Once he learns how to say SHAZAM! (communicate with the alien computer) all with be made right, including a set of six-pack abs. This too is a part of the proto-story.