Here’s an extract from this weekend’s Republibot.com Book Review for SCAT
‘Regular readers of Republibot may recall that a few months ago I reviewed a book called “Birdie Down” by Jim Graham. I called it the best independently published science fiction E-book I’d read. As that book was a sequel, I decided to give the first book in the series a shot, and I’m happy to say it, too, is a really good book. Mr. Graham has some genuine talent.
‘Sebastian Scatkiewicz – known by the semi-unfortunate nickname “Scat” – is a former US Marine. We first meet him at the tail end of the “Resource Wars” on earth a few generations into the future. The major power blocs and nations are fighting each other for earth’s declining goodies. The conflict is inherently corrupt, with nations and megacorporations screwing each other left and right even as they fight the enemy in order to gain advantage. The marines – and presumably the population as a whole – are caught in the middle. “Scat” is a somewhat legendary leader in the field, with a history of taking matters into his own hands, even if it’s not particularly politically wise for him to do so.
Jump forward several years: Scat took matters into his own hands one time too many, and he’s now a civilian attempting to make a new life for himself in the off world colonies. The colonies are mostly corporate, and there’s an “Owe my soul to the company store” nature to them, though it’s not nearly so oppressive as that. Still, there’s a feeling of nominal indenture hanging in the air. There’s also a kind of cultural sterility: the companies are pretty strict about whom they allow to emigrate. There are no religious folk, there are no Chinese on any of the worlds we see, because the Chinese have their own space empire and are a political threat, as are the religious. This isn’t one big happy Star Trekian future. The colonized planets are mostly only marginally habitable (Which is a rarely-used plot device that I love), and existence is relatively hardscrabble.
Much of the first half of the book revolves around a mining asteroid, and “Go Down City” on one of the colony worlds. It’s built in a cavern that’s been roofed over, and it’s a really fun location. It feels completely developed and thought out, and feels lived in, like a real place. As a guy who’s written a few books myself, I’m here to tell you that coming up with a location that actually *feels* like a location is no mean feat, but we get such a sense of Go Down that you can almost map some of it in your head. I actually feel like I learned a few literary tricks from that, which I hope to steal in the future.
The plot involves …’ The review continues here
Thank you Republibot. Glad you liked it.