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Review: Lakes of Mars

Out of the blue I received an email from Merritt Graves, asking me to review his soon-to-be-released novel Lakes of Mars (link goes to Facebook fan page). I have some time on my hands and am a Mars nut, so I reviewed it.

As I read it at first I thought, "oh no, a re-write of Ender's Game!" Set in the far future, a 17-year-old, Aaron Sheridan, goes from a terraformed Mars to a military academy. Humans are at war with a buglike alien race (the Verex) and not doing so well, and the school itself, much like Battle School in Ender's Game, seems designed to create psychopaths, not soldiers. (I've had opinions on Ender's Game, which you can review here.) Oh, and many of the trainees come out as drug addicts and there's a throwaway section on how Mars had an AI that For The Good of Humanity shut itself down.

What kept me going, frankly, was that Aaron clearly and quickly diagnosed that this military academy was seriously malfunctioning. If Aaron could just overcome his depression resulting from a way-too-long-hidden personal tragedy, he might figure out what the malfunction was.

Fortunately for my walls and my e-reader which are both in one piece, Graves does in fact tie all of this together. He does so engagingly and entertainingly. Moreover, the bit about the AI? Not a throwaway section at all. A bit draggy in the middle and a cliffhanger ending, but overall a nicely executed package.

This entry was originally posted at https://chris-gerrib.dreamwidth.org/704609.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

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