Legacy: An Event Group Thriller Hardcover – Aug 16 2011
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Praise for the novels of David L. Golemon
Praise for Primeval:
Golemon knows how to make readers turn the pages, and Primeval will only further enhance his reputation. (Booklist)
Praise for Ancients:
Golemon's third novel in the Event Group series proves to be his best yet….a mix of the James Rollins action-heavy adventure, the military gadgetry of Tom Clancy, the pacing of the television series 24, and the conspiracy theories devoured by fans of the radio show Coast to Coast AM. (Booklist)
Praise for Legend:
Golemon can write action sequences with the best of them, and he lands a solid uppercut with this book. The depth of the science fiction lies under the surface for the most of the work, but is surprising and ingenious none the less. (SFSignal.com)
Praise for Event:
A promising debut sure to satisfy fans of The X-Files . . . the plotting and hair's-breadth escapes evoke some of the early work of Preston and Child, and the author's premise offers a rich lode of materials for inevitable sequels. (Publishers Weekly)
"A flat-out adrenaline rush." (New York Times bestselling authors Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens)
From the Back Cover
THE EVENT GROUP WILL GO TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH
The United States is ready to make a triumphant return to the moon, striking out boldly into the solar system in an attempt to regain the confidence of the heady days of the Apollo program. But a shocking discovery at Shackleton Crater brings the first Prometheus mission to an abrupt halt.
TO SOLVE A MYSTERY THAT DATES BACK TO THE DAWN OF TIME
Remote robots have uncovered human skeletal remains―and forensic analysis at NASA reveals the corpse to be over 700 million years old. As the news of this discovery is leaked across the universe―and a battle rages over the truth of our heritage―the Event Group is tasked to unravel the mystery behind this ancient visitor. Colonel Jack Collins once again leads a team of the world's greatest scientists and philosophers on a journey that will take the Event Group into the realm of space and confront one of humanity's most pressing questions: Could something―or someone―else be coming to finish a war that began almost a billion years ago?
"the event group continues the tradition of mixing history with page-turning suspense." ―Booklist--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition. See all Product Description
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It was in the reading of this book that I was reminded of a commentary from one of Larry Niven's books. The basic gist is that another author, who was using the same editor as Niven at that time, was told by the editor to correct glaring errors regarding the Apollo Program. That other author refused to, saying "no one remembers the Apollo Era," and was never published by that company.
As a member of the Space Cadre and a military aviator, though I will say that this book is entertaining, it is riddled with scientific, historical, technical, and military protocol inaccuracies and errors that made reading it pretty painful and frustrating. I outline a bunch of them below:
1. A mushroom cloud on the moon, really? You need an atmosphere (which allows for convective heating and cooling) to get a mushroom cloud, not to mention a "suspension" of the particulate matter from the explosion in a "cloud" form. Otherwise, all the exploded matter just falls back down to the surface.
2. Runway designations are "one-digit" or "two-digits" (from the first two digits of the runway's magnetic heading, with leading zeros being omitted) plus an "optional letter" (if there are more than one runway pointed in the same direction). As an example, these "optional letters" would be L (for Left), C (for Center), or R (for Right) for airfields with three runways pointed in the same direction. I don't know what kind of airfield would have a runway called "3B."
(Psst...the runways at Incheon International Airport are 15R/33L, 15L/33R, and 16/34...)
3. How does something that travels at Mach 2 "catch up" with something that is traveling at greater than Mach 2 ("catch up" indicating that the "Mach 2" object is BEHIND the "faster than Mach 2" object)? Simple: It DOESN'T, unless I suppose it was powered by Marvin the Martian's "Illudium Q-36"...
4. It was the Saturn V, NOT the Atlas V, that took us to the Moon. There were numerous places that the author waffled between the Saturn and Atlas (about 20% Saturn and 80% Atlas, I would say) as being the rocket that sent the Apollo platforms to the Moon. It was the Saturn, please get the history right (unless trying to write some "revisionist" history...).
5. The International Space Station (ISS) is parked at Geosynchronous Orbit (about 22,000 miles altitude)? Uhh, no it most definitely is NOT.
6. A spacecraft that makes the trip from the Earth to the Moon in "half the time" it took Apollo to get to the moon, and yet travels at the same speed as the Apollo craft? I guess there was some alien "space warping" technology he forgot to mention...
7. Excavated alien ruins that are hundreds of millions of years old (probably on the order of 700 million years old), but somehow the ruins (not to mention the site itself) managed to survive the "recycling of the Earth's crust" every 200 million years or so (due to plate subduction because of plate tectonics/continental drift)? That is quite an excavation site to have survived 3 complete cycles of the recycling of Earth's crust... (Don't get me started on "caves growing up around things above the ground"...)
8. Having done two ground combat tours in Afghanistan, I know that the basic military protocol of saluting goes out the window during a firefight against hostile forces. Ever heard of an "enemy sniper check"? Not to mention: "Get your @$$ down and don't waste time! We're #$%@& taking fire!!!"
9. Last time I checked, a Navy O-3 outranks an Army O-2. Also, regardless of rank, command of a combat unit would fall upon the highest ranking unrestricted line (for Navy) or combat arms (for Army) person. Despite my admiration of scientists, a military scientist would not be given the reigns of a combat unit, especially with there being a higher ranking unrestricted line/combat arms person on the crew.
10. "Hydrogen ice" is what forms on, and falls, from the exterior of spacecraft being fueled on the launchpad before lift-off??? No, that's "WATER ice" (hydrogen has an extremely low freezing/melting temperature).
11. A number of scenes with "sound in space" (gotta love those), as well as the use/presence of sonar in space... (I guess those aliens have reverted to using submarines...I wonder if they are yellow submarines...)
And the list goes on and on and on...
I would call this book "extremely soft" science fiction, and wonder if it should be considered science fiction at all and not just "fiction."
Though I say that the fast-paced action in this book makes it rate decently high on the "entertainment" scale (like the movies "The Day After Tomorrow" and "2012"), it's science (among other things) is on par with those movies as well: simply horrendous and embarrassing.
On a lemon scale of 1 to 5, I would give this book 5 lemons.
I've enjoyed the previous books in this series to varying degrees, but this one stretched things a bit. The basic story had some promise but I was continually distracted by the repeated fallacies and technical mistakes that kept cropping up. The author really, really needed to have someone (or several someones) who are familiar with spaceflight mechanics, spaceflight history, and basic astronomy review this book before publication.
Just a few of the issues (warning, possible spoilers): there is no possible way using any currently available system to approach the moon at 35,000 mph and have any hope of slowing down enough to enter lunar orbit; as mentioned by another reviewer, M33 is not the closest galaxy; how can you possibly have two planets "sharing" the same orbit but on opposite sides of the sun, yet only be a few hundred thousand miles apart (it would be more like a couple hundred MILLION miles apart, never minding the notion of major planets sharing an orbit in the first place--and if they WERE actually on opposite sides of the sun, an explosion in the vicinity of one would not throw the other out of its orbit); calculating elapsed time of 700 million years from a supposed offset of the position of Venus in a photo has lots of issues with it, not the least of which is that the background starfield would be unrecognizable after that period of time (because of the motion of all the stars around the Milky Way--in that time frame our solar system would have made nearly three complete revolutions around the galaxy); and most irritating to me, the continued mixing up of the name of the rocket that carried Americans to the moon in the 1960s and 70s (it was the Saturn V, not the Atlas V, which is a much more recent rocket that has only been used for unmanned space probes and that has much less power than the Saturn V--throughout the story it is referred to as the Atlas V, except for a few instances when the correct name was inexplicably used instead). Finally, I've read over the relevant sections several times and still cannot for the life of me understand how the author proposes the underground "colony" in Ecuador got "buried" with little damage as the Andes mountain range uplifted. Certainly a colony could have been buried by deposition and then raised through such uplift, but not in a manner that would leave it largely intact within some sort of cavern system. Caves don't just grow up and around something like that.
I am also curious to see how exactly the author ends up explaining (if he does at all) the notion that humans nearly genetically identical to us existed (and apparently died out) 700 million years ago, hundreds of millions of years before the Cambrian explosion gave rise to most of the major life forms on Earth. Since this isn't explained at all in "Legacy," it is hard to say whether this is really a mistake or just something waiting to be resolved in the story.
As has been noted, the ending to this book makes it clear that this story arc is going to be ongoing in future books. I have gotten enough entertainment from the series as a whole so far to give the next one a try when it comes out, but I have to be honest and say that if some of the silliness isn't eliminated I won't go farther than that. That would be a disappointment, as the characters and general stories have been interesting.
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