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One Jump Ahead (Jon & Lobo Series) [Mass Market Paperback]

Mark L. Van Name
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

20 May 2008 Jon & Lobo Series (Book 1)
A Nanotech-enhanced soldier of fortune flights through murder, mayhem, and a deadly plot while control of a galactic sector - and his own battle-weary soul - hang in the balance.

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One Jump Ahead (Jon & Lobo Series) + Slanted Jack + Overthrowing Heaven (Jon & Lobo)
Price For All Three: 17.71

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Baen Books; Reprint edition (20 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416555579
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416555575
  • Product Dimensions: 2.8 x 12.9 x 16.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,095,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Mark L. Van Name, whom John Ringo has said is "going to be the guy to beat in the race to the top of SFdom," has worked in the high-tech industry for over 30 years and today runs a technology assessment company in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. A former Executive Vice President for Ziff Davis Media and a national technology columnist, he's published over a thousand computer-related articles and multiple science fiction stories in a variety of magazines and anthologies, including the "Year's Best Science Fiction." Jon & Lobo stories have appeared in a Baen anthology and "Jim Baen's Universe."

Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
3.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grand ole space oppry 11 May 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Full marks to Analog for recommending this--a ripping yarn but also reflecting the hero's personal dilemnas--a theme continued in the later, also excellent volumes.Over the course of the first 3 volumes at least you are miserly doled out details of his past and his developing relationship with his 'friend' Lobo. I begin to suspect revelations may be extraordinary about his 'sister' also--but that has not yet been clarified. I buy a lot on Kindle now, but in this case I must also applaud Baen books and the cover illustrator for the excellent covers that would be lost without colour:the artist has really grasped the retro look of 50s/60s space artwork--beautiful maidens, stiff jawed hero in heroic pose etc. An all round pleasure!
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3.0 out of 5 stars a decent read 6 Dec 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
a good book but nothing spectacular. Fans of the genre will definitely enjoy it. It would be perfect for someone who is busy in work or studying as I don't imagine it would require much concentration.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Poor 11 Jun 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Inconsistent plot, main character and motivation unbelievable
He finds a military space ship abandoned in the street. He is protected internally by nano bots which can remove drugs from his system but when he is captured and drugged they cannot!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  25 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another marvelous debut from Baen 23 May 2007
By Geoffrey Kidd - Published on
This book is the third debut by a new author in as many months, following Russian Amerika by Stoney Compton in April and Lucy's Blade by John Lambshead in May. I loved both of those books and I'm happy to say this one completes a Trifecta.

As mentioned in the blurb, it's the first of a series, and it has both the virtues and drawbacks of a "meet the characters" novel. The virtues are, of course, that you get to meet some very nice people *and* some not-so-nice people, and learn about their backgrounds and the world in which they play. The drawback is that you do have to spend a bit of time learning both the playing field and the players. In the end, it's worth it.

Jon, the human half of the team, is a seriously universe-weary ex-mercenary with a few extra things going for him that I'll leave for you to read about. He's smart, tough, confident and very much on the side of doing well by doing good. I ended up thinking of him as Simon Templar's attitudes inside an intelligent wolf.

Lobo, on the other hand, is the AI for what I thought of as a "mini-battleship." Like his human partner, he too wants to do well, but he resents the fact that, since it's kind of hard to hide the _Graf Spee_ in your pocket when you're trying to sneak around a town gathering intel, he's frequently left to sit on the sidelines. I ended up thinking of him as an Orca with a sense of humor and a supply of "Sarcasm - just one of many services I offer." T-shirts.

The environment in which we meet this duo is about what we would expect if we want stories with lots of action and conflict. It's the Wild West with plasma weapons, multi-way fights between governments, criminal elements, and multi-planet corporations that make Halliburton and the RIAA look like the very implementations of honor and generosity. Like James H. Schmitz' classic "Federation of the Hub," just staying alive in a mix like that requires a lot of careful footwork. On top of this is Jon's quest, which I'll leave you to enjoy discovering.

It's a fun book, and over the course of the story, I got to like both Jon and Lobo a lot. They're not quite friends of mine, but I'd at least trust them at my back in a dark alley.

This was well worth the time and money spent on it, and I'm very much looking forward to Slanted Jack (Jon & Lobo), the next adventure.

Thank you, Mark. Bring it on!
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Go Jon and Lobo, More, More, More!!! 9 Jun 2007
By Walt Boyes - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Imagine a galaxy where a mysterious set of gates exists and keeps growing; gates that allow humans to travel faster than light throughout the galaxy...and nobody knows how they work or who built them, and why the number of gates keeps growing...

Imagine a genetically altered retarded man from the planet Pinkelponter (!) who is now brilliant, a former mercenary, and who has a deep abiding relationship with a cloud of nanomachines who live in his body...

Imagine a world where all the machines are AI-enabled and talk to each other like old folks gossiping...

Imagine a tank with a heart and maybe a soul...

Now you have the world of Jon and Lobo in Mark L. Van Name's first novel, One Jump Ahead.

This book rocks.

I wish I could write as well as Mark does.

I am going to nominate this book for the Hugo next year.

If you liked what John Scalzi is trying to do in resuscitating intelligent action science fiction, you will love this book.

Go out and buy it. Selfishly, I want to see more Jon and Lobo stories, and in order to do that, I have to convince you to buy this book. So why are you still reading this review???

Walt Boyes

Associate Editor/Marketing Director

Jim Baen's Universe magazine
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars fading irony 28 Jun 2007
By Prosopopeia - Published on
Van Name's novel begins with its strongest suit--an ironic situation for its mercenary hero (lying in the bottom of a pit trap in the jungle), and with some truly clever and funny pieces. The novel's protagonist has been "enhanced" in a number of ways, and one of them is that he can speak to appliances: washing machines, it turns out, have some pretty juicy gossip about their owners' sex lives. When I read the line about "the price we've paid for putting intelligence everywhere is a huge population of frequently disgruntled but fortunately behaviorally limited machines," followed by a brief list of which appliances are the most and least interesting to talk to, I thought that this book might have some sustained appeal.

Unfortunately, this kind of ironic humor fades over the course of the novel into a pretty standard military science fiction: details about weapons capabilities, a lot of tough-guy posturing, and combat sequences. Those aren't bad things in and of themselves, of course, but I have to disagree with other reviewers--this novel didn't do it for me.
(1) It's an extremely linear narrative (one thing leads to another, which leads to another, which leads...), and the two flashbacks are clumsily and forcibly inserted.
(2) Like a lot of military sci-fi, this novel presents a "killer with a conscience," which is one way of addressing the ethical issues raised by the genre, which after all, promises the reader thrills based on scenes of killing. Unfortunately, the book heavy handedly and repeatedly steers the reader into situations that seem to demand sympathy with the soldier's desire for violence and violent retribution--in short, it tries to have its ethical cake and eat it, too.
(3) Van Name resorts again and again to seemingly impossible challenges for his protagonist--challenges which are overcome again and again by the protagonist's nearly unlimited secret super-power. In the same irritating vein, the novel offers a series of scenarios that range from the extraordinarily implausible (the discovery of an enormous and hugely powerful machine ally lying for no reason in the town square) to challenges that turn out to be irrelevant (a dozen pages are spent on the bio-engineering of an extraordinary sea animal and an assault on a compound which turns out to be completely pointless--I'm reminded of the Q sequences in a Bond film, where a gadget is displayed at length only to never appear again in the rest of the movie).
(4) Finally, a series of painful contradictions mar the novel, none more grating than than pp. 161-62, where Lim first agrees to Moore's plan only on the condition that Moore be the front man, and that she is anonymous and no one knows she is involved--and then literally only half a page later, reminds him that she accepted only on the condition that everyone knows the she and her company "organized the whole affair" and that Moore only appears as "one more member of [her] team." I have a high tolerance for this sort of thing, but after four or five of these gaffes, I wondered what had happened to the editing.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting idea that trips and stumbles. 2 Aug 2007
By W. Lancaster - Published on
There are a lot of good things going for this book. The griping coffee makers are hilarious, the technology is clever, and all the little details show a rich degree of imagination on the part of the author.

Unfortunately it never really comes together.

The first and biggest problem is that the plot is badly telegraphed. After reading the back cover and the first two chapters I figured out what the "Twist" was. I then spent the next 3/4 of the book banging my head against the table wondering when the Main Character was going to come to the conclusion that was so obvious to me.

Secondly, whenever the Main Character has a problem he either uses his super power or goes to a store and buys some technological (Or biological) widget that will allow him to solve the problem. With the exception of the obligatory captured by the enemy and rescued by friends scene it's all relatively repetitive. The only suspense is in what the new widget is going to be, to be fair they tend to be pretty clever.

Finally, there are no friends in this story. Everyone has a strictly professional relationship with each other. Now, this might be realistic in military situations it also gives the character interactions the interest of cardboard. The characters talk to each other, they rarely interact with each other.

The biggest example of this was the interaction between Jon and Lobo. When I picked up the book I was expecting something like the Vlad and Loiosh from Steven Brust's Jeherg series. Unfortunatly Jon and Lobo barely reach the associate stage of relationship. They never reach the stage of full fledged parters. Most of the book Lobo is treated exactly the same as the other story saving widgets. There is never any chemestry between the two, I get the feeling that if one were killed or destroyed the other would just shrug and go on their way. Again, it might be realistic for their character types, but it isn't interesting.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really a "Jump Ahead" In SF 4 Jun 2007
By David E. Hess - Published on
I don't write comments often, but One Jump Ahead has an engaging, twisting plot, and great characters. But most of all, the author creates a world with technology that has a depth and practicality that makes it believable. It doesn't have that artificial, made-up feel of many SF stories. Many authors simply lose readers in tech or use it to solve problems in their stories.

I hope Jon and Lobo have many more adventures!
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