Friday, June 9, 2017

James Review -- Star Carrier: Dark Mind

This week I decided to review Star Carrier: Dark Mind by Ian Douglas. The story opens with a peek into the the thoughts of The Consciousness, a force so ancient that it doesn't even remember its age, which travels between universes seeking advanced life to assimilate, and has recently arrived in the primary Star Carrier. This is followed by an encounter between a European fighter squadron, deployed in response to The Consciousness destroying a human research base in the Kapteyn system, and the hostile new force in the universe. 

Meanwhile, the Star Carrier America is leading a fleet back in time to try to convince the leadership of the Sh'daar Collective, which humanity recently fought a decades long war against, to ally with them against The Consciousness, which is believed to be the force responsible for the Milky Way's destruction in a future the America had traveled too. But first the human fleet must survive an attack by Sh'daar rebels and succeed in negotiating with a force containing dozens of wildly disparate species.

Worse, when America and what is left of her fleet return to their native time, a number of the crew, including the fleet's commander Admiral Gray, have been infected by a new disease, leading to the ship being quarantined. But investigation reveals that the illness is actually sentient, and further study reveals that it is the binding force behind the Sh'daar Collective, with the restrictions on technological development that the Sh'daar wish to impose on humanity coming from a combination of the host species' fear of a repeat of the technological singularity which devastated their civilizations, and the infection's fear that those technologies could be used to destroy it.

Meanwhile, the AI Konstantin has been trying to convince President Koeing to deploy the America to Tabby's Star, where it believes knowledge vital to humanity's survival can be found. But after the President decides to send America as part of a massive fleet to reclaim Kapteyn's Star, the AI sets out to convince Admiral Gray to go rogue and take America to Tabby's Star. Gray agrees to go but even if America finds the technology Konstantin believes is waiting it may be too late to turn the tide of battle as the fleet sent to Kapteyn's Star's finds itself facing an overwhelming Consciousness defense including a battleship the size of a planet. And there are unknown forces waiting at Tabby's Star as well...

I give this book 9.5 out of 10 It has some great battle scenes and some interesting scenes showing the thoughts of the various players or contemplating why those forces might be acting the way they are. It also has some interesting new aliens and technology. My only complaint is that I feel the ending should have included a few more clues regarding what is coming next.

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