Extremis Mass Market Paperback – Apr 24 2012
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About the Author
Vietnam veteran Steve White is the author of numerous science fiction and fantasy novels including Wolf Among the Stars, St. Anthony’s Fire, and Blood of Heroes and the coauthor of Exodus, the immediate prequel to Extremis. With David Weber, White collaborated on Starfire series novels Insurrection, Crusade, In Death Ground, and New York Times bestseller The Shiva Option.
Charles E. Gannon is a breakthrough rising star in science fiction with a multiple short story and novella publications in Baen anthologies, Man-Kzin Wars XIII, Analog, and elsewhere. Gannon is coauthor with Steve White of Extremis, the latest entry in the legendary Starfire series created by David Weber. His most recent novel is 1635: The Papal Stakes cowritten with alternate history master, Eric Flint. A multiple Fulbright scholar, Gannon is Distinguished Professor of American Literature at St. Bonaventure University.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The aliens travel sublight from their homeworld in a bunch of ships designed as Arks. Despite this, those ships outfight purpose-built warships. Also, once there, the ships take tremendous losses, yet they are able to out-produce the humans to replace those losses. In the 'Bug War' from Steve's series, the alien bugs were able to accept enormous losses because they had a huge stockpile of ships and incredible production capacity. How exactly can we believe that a fleet of refugee ships can ramp up to this level of production essentially instantaneously?
The aliens know nothing of warp points -- hence their sublight journey. However, they instantly become experts at warp point assaults. They have SBMHAWKs that are superior to the humans despite never having needed them before. Are we to assume they simultaneously stole the technology from the humans, enhanced them, and put them into massive production? Also simultaneously with this, they create a new warp point minefield-clearing weapon and recon drone technology. Having read Steve's other books, I remember when each of these technologies was a breakthrough for a race *familiar* with warp points and came at widely separated points.
Charles is also unfamiliar with Steve's technology. At one point the aliens 'surprise' the humans by using an alternating tractor beam to shake apart warp point fortresses. That's what a force beam is "an Erlicher generator or tractor beam of alternating polarity". The humans can hardly be surprised by it.
Also, for a book that spans years, there are numerous critical events that happen simultaneously through a freak coincidence of timing. The fallout from these events drives the story line. The first time it happened it was annoying. By the third time it was simply laughable.
The plot of this book has massive flaws and the writing was so-so. What frightened me the most is that in the final few pages, the author sets the stage for sequels. Please don't.
This book is like letting a bunch of high school writer wannabes write in the world already created. It reads well at first because the world is well developed and you already have interest from the other novels. Then it starts to fall apart when the authors lose the high level of continuity,logic and excitement that made the original series great.
How could one non interstellar race fight the alliance that crushed the bugs to a standstill? The bugs were a multi-planet interstellar race with roughly equivalent level technology that had been preparing for war for generations and fought to the death. The Alliance that crushed the bugs should have brushed these upstarts aside. Then we are led to believe this is only one offshoot group and multiple others (from the same race) are also fleeing their star going nova. Their war technology is amazingly identical to the human led Alliance, even though they have no previous contact and they refuse at first to study any knowledge they capture from the humans. Their battleships follow exactly the same line of sizing. The battle scenes seem to follow the premise that if the throws in more and bigger ships and death the battle must be more and bigger. The battles seem rote and unimaginative.
The intrigue is interesting but the human characters are carried to an extreme. This book is a mindless romp that is just OK. Read the novels co-written with David Weber first and if still looking for something to fill an afternoon this is a thick book, so you get a lot of pages and reading time for your money.
There's some very interesting potential with the invading aliens, but the interesting elements aren't really developed in this book (most of it happens off-screen or after the book ends). These aliens are having a crisis of faith, or identity, but their crisis could lead to interesting knock-on effects in the human society: the potential is implied, not developed.
Instead, this book develops long--usually tediously presented--space battles, after long descriptions of newly developed, steadily more massive, ship designs. The readers know, going into each battle, who the winner has to be: the only tension, if there is any, is who will die (and that's mainly also easy to predict, given the character development--what there is of it in some cases).
If you like stories because of the other things that are implied, the potential for you to fill in the wholes, there's some interesting stuff here. But if you just want an easy beach read that actually keeps you guessing, you might want to read something else.
While I re read the books about once a year, exodus and this one are going into the trash.