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In 2030, the world is broke, crime and corruption are rampant, while terrorism is strangely sophisticated. The Puppeteer intends to bring society to its senses by creating the ultimate in terrorism, and hundreds of millions will die unless the challenge he issues is met. But can he control what he is doing? A fast moving techno thriller with added romance set mainly in the western US and on the remote Kerguelen Islands.
The invention of fusion power in 2151 permits economic recovery from decades of anarchy where law and order has been privatized and either totally corrupted, or, as happened in the Green Zone, locally enforced by an expert sniper, Lawrence Foster. David Sheldon seizes the opportunity to acquire wealth and power by any means. Lawrence's daughter, Suzie, leaves the Green Zone to become a lawyer employed by a giant corporation, and she uses a machine pistol to help her acquire new assets. Henry Adams had an ill-fated crush on Suzie, and when Lawrence dies, he has become a capable sniper, but he remains in the Green Zone and attempts to return it to a place where the small independent operator can thrive. When David and Suzie focus their attention on the Green Zone, only one can survive.
David Gill has trouble selling food to the hungry, but when, in the early summer of 2075, he arrives in Los Angeles to seal a deal with Robbie Newall, his troubles get very worse, very quickly, when he finds Newall has registered him for the first settlement of Mars as an employee of a giant corporation. He is shot at more than once, but perhaps his biggest problem involves a mercurial Jacqui Tennant, a Space Corps pilot, who desperately wants to keep the large corporations off Mars. When on Mars, David's troubled marriage disintegrates when his wife takes up with Robbie, encounters with Jacqui become increasingly unpredictable, then David becomes aware that Robbie's objective is to create a Mars bubble through stock floats of little value on Earth. Then, when David makes a totally unexpected discovery that guarantees the settlement will be successful, he also learns that Newall is floating his discovery. David must stop this fraud, but there is a problem: Newall has smuggled the only guns on Mars and men to use them.
An action story that, apart from the discovery, is scientifically accurate about Mars, and has an appendix that gives a very simple outline of the author's alternative theory of planetary formation.
Schools in the early 22nd century teach that the big corporations provide all necessary services solely for the betterment of society, under the benevolent guidance of the Federation Council. When Fiona Bolton, an expert in sonic viewing, watches her husband being murdered while uncovering corporate malfeasance, she wants justice. Instead, she is dragged into the tar-baby of the dark side of corporate behaviour. Jonathon Munro so wants to be important in a corporation, but his only talent seems to lie within that dark side. Sharon Galloway has developed the most advanced excavating device known, and she hates and despises Jonathon Munro. Then when Grigori Timoshenko decides to form an expedition to settle for once and for all whether the morphing image of a battered butte in the Cydonian Mensae region of Mars was due to alien activity, these three must be included in the party. With hidden agendas and attempts at murder on a planet with no air, the gloss of visiting another planet soon wears thin.
A story of corruption, disdain for both law and morals, the maverick, and the nature of Mars, A Face on Cydonia gives action and realistic science aplenty. It is the first in the trilogy First Contact, which focuses on the corrupting influence that drags those who yield to the dark side of power to ever increasing depths.
As the party that saw the first evidence of alien civilization leave Cydonia, they each had dreams of what their future would hold. All Nathan Gill wanted was to be left alone. Grigori Timoshenko wanted to build a defence force capable of deterring advanced aliens, Fiona Bolton wanted to make life fair for the independents, Sharon Galloway wanted to successfully manage the greatest engineering feat in human history, while Jonathon Munro wanted to be important. They should have taken more notice of the saying, be careful what you wish for: dreams rarely correspond to reality, and in this dystopian future, murder and sabotage make achieving dreams unusually difficult, while there is more to the alien hologram than meets the eye. The very worst aspects of a dysfunctional society together with the flaws in their characters ensured that nothing was to turn out as they dreamed.
This is Book Two of a trilogy, "First Contact"
Now that Pluto and Ceres have been visited, the question then becomes, what now with space exploration? I think we should start thinking beyond sending more rovers and probes, although that does not mean we stop sending rovers and probes. Nevertheless I think it is about time we consider what our ultimate ambitions are. Essentially, this comes down to, do we want to send people into space or not? If all we want to do is to potter around on our own planet, then there is no need to do anything…Continue
Ending a dystopian-type novel has its problems. If you end on a cheerful note, it may spoil the nature of the rest, but if the ending is simply depressing, I fear the reader may not come back for other books on your list. I faced this problem in my novel Troubles. The backstory is that the world had done nothing much about replacing oil, all economies had collapsed,…Continue