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Warp Speed [Mass Market Paperback]

TRAVIS TAYLOR
1.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: £6.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

1 May 2006
Dr. Neil Anson Clemons was born at the very moment that men first landed on the moon and always strived to become an astronaut - in the meantime becoming one of the world's foremost experts in quantum physics and gravitational theory. Now, he and his team have achieved a breakthrough that can make faster-than-light travel a reality. With the help of attractive and outspoken southern astronaut, USAF Colonel Tabitha Ames, the U.S. government is convinced to fund the Top Secret warp project. Unfortunately, forces with much darker dreams do not hesitate to blow up a space shuttle, attempt to kill Neil and Tabitha, and use the stolen warp technology to start what they expect to be a short and victorious war with the USA. But Dr. Clemons has ideas for using his warp drive technology completely unsuspected by America's enemies, and repelling the all-out attack is only the beginning of a titanic struggle to reach the stars.

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Baen Books; New edition edition (1 May 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416520635
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416520634
  • Product Dimensions: 17.1 x 10.7 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,274,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"In the tradition of Golden Age SF explodes with inventive action. Even more dazzling is the imaginative playfulness with cutting edge scientific possibilities, there's plenty of stimulating and satisfying speculation." Publishers Weekly"

About the Author

Travis S. Taylor-"Doc" Taylor to his friends-has earned his soubriquet the hard way: He has a Doctorate in Optical Science and Engineering, a Master's degree in Physics, a Master's degree in Aerospace Engineering, all from the University of Alabama in Huntsville; a Master's degree in Astronomy, and a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from Auburn University. Dr. Taylor has worked on various programs for the Department of Defense and NASA for the past sixteen years. He's currently working on several advanced propulsion concepts, very large space telescopes, space-based beamed energy systems, and next generation space launch concepts. In his copious spare time, Doc Travis is also a black belt martial artist, a private pilot, a SCUBA diver, has raced mountain bikes, competed in triathlons, and has been the lead singer and rhythm guitarist of several hard rock bands. He currently lives with his wife Karen, two dogs Stevie and Wesker, and his two cats Neko and Kuro, in north Alabama.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A juvenile, but fun read 3 Feb 2005
Format:Hardcover
Warp speed is written in the style of the golden age of science fiction -- back when authors like Heinlein, E. Doc Smith, and Robert Ludlum were hammering at their keyboards producing stories that would later become firm favourites of millions of readers.
Warp Speed has been touted as reminiscent of Ludlum's work. Maybe so, but is Warp Speed as good? No. That's not to say it isn't a fun read because it is. BUT things happen in Warp Speed that frankly stretch believability beyond the breaking point. The hero always comes up with a MacGyver-like fix in the nick of time -- like flying an underground base into space and using it as a spaceship/weapon to save the day.
Overall, a fun book but definitely in the light reading class.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Lacking in so many ways. 12 Mar 2013
By cord
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It's light reading for the first hundred pages.
Somewhere around half way through it turns into a farce.
Why Colorado? Why not deploy more weapons and use them all at once?
How does a virus manage to "evolve" with that gizmo installed?

How stupid does the author think the Chinese leadership are?
Why does the US use suicide bombers when they have plenty of cruise missiles?

I admit, this book leaves me asking many questions. Most of them start with Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars good grief!!! 6 May 2008
By Petteri
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Yes, action there is. And had the author kept his writing in light style all the way, it might have been nice. But trying to brainwash readers to his immature political views while at it - sorry - really spoiled it for me. Chinese are the evil ones, Russians can be made friends and all the bad things in America have been caused by the democrats. Right. George W Bush is a saint...

And the worst part is that those propaganda pieces are so boring...

Promise, but not delivered. Not worth the time or money.
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Amazon.com: 3.2 out of 5 stars  52 reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Huge disappointment 12 July 2011
By Avid_Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have read science fiction for quite a few decades, and I cannot recall a book that was more of a disappointment to me than Warp Speed.

The author's solid background in science (PhD in optical science, Masters in physics, aerospace and astronomy) and collaborations with John Ringo had me looking forward to a true science fiction book (with emphasis on science). The science side is the most solid part of the book... and yet one is asked to believe that creating a warp drive is a matter of Dr. Anson (the male lead - smarter than Einstein, amazing martial artist and wannabe astronaut whose grating first person narration is at delivered using a 8th to 10th grade level vocabulary and style) having a revolutionary insight during a painkiller induced blackout during which his mumbling about miniature pistons is heard by one of his PhD students who goes into the lab with another PhD candidate and within 36 hours have the theory solved AND a prototype of a perpetual energy generator ready for testing...or that this radical new 10 nanometer wide component which explodes with catastrophic results when not perfect is outsourced for scale-up production to a clumsy "local printed circuit board company" with weak quality control and processes - because that how DARPA would have you manufacture an energy source that generates 10 to the power of 20 joules (more energy than everybody on earth generates in an year).

I am willing to suspend some disbelief when reading a SF book - but the plot and the character development are also atrocious. The characters work on this technology which can change the world and completely turn the world economy on its head in "secret", but bring in random PhD candidates and hire random admin people off the street... the main male character becomes a NASA payload specialist for no particular reason other than that his girlfriend is the shuttle commander...falls asleep and snores for hours during the preflight checks, but nobody wakes him up until he needs to confirm that he is a "go" at 9 minutes before take-off... his shuttle commander girlfriend either romances him or is ordering him around during the flight in a random fashion... etc.

The book bottoms out at page 264, when the Dr. Anson's first meeting with the president in the wake of a warp weapon attack that destroyed Colorado and killed 50 million US civilians starts with the following line from the president: "This is a fine damn mess you've caused, fellows! There are over 50 million people estimated dead and what am I to tell the public?" Believing that the president of the USA would bring the egg-head that bungled creating the technology so badly that the Chinese easily got everything and are using it to secretly destroy parts of US at will to ask him for advice on how to handle that kind of crisis... and on the same page just agree to keep this whole thing secret by blaming it on an asteroid strike and just engage in a "secret war" with the Chinese in order to destroy the evil leaders, ruin their economy then bring the joy of capitalism to them in the form of economic aid does not require suspension of disbelief - it requires one to completely turn their brain off. Oh... the page ends with the president of the USA remarking saying "Jesus, son. I'm glad you are on your side.", then handing over full power (including control over the army) over handling this political crisis to Dr. Anson, then presumably going to Amazon.com to buy a copy of this book to see if he did the right thing... On the bright side, all the nonsense that follows in the remaining 110 pages seems less painful by comparison - thank God for small blessings.

To summarize - the author starts with an interesting premise but wastes it with a poorly designed, lazily written book that seems written as a stream of consciousness dictation with essentially no review or editing, clumsy dialogue, cartoonish single dimensional characters and a plot relying on one person to stumble from one crisis to another and promptly solve them through its genius, sheer awesomeness and magnificent redneckness. Did I mention that by the end of the book he gets the girl and casually discovers life on a planet around a nearby star? And in just one paragraph, he wonders how come that the vegetation pollinates without insects... but promptly figures out that the wind must be good enough. The author seems to believe that this kind of reasoning is more proof of Dr. Anson`s genius. It also is the reason why I will pass on buying another one of Mr. Taylor's books.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Making the science in science fiction come alive! 28 Sep 2006
By William N. Brown - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Someone once said that if you want to be a good writer you should write what you know. "Warp Speed" by Travis S. Taylor shows that not only does he have a good eye for story telling, but also that he knows a lot! The book is written in the first person perspective following Dr. Neil Anson Clemons, Physicist, Engineer and a University Professor. Anson, as his friends call him, is working on developing alternative propulsion systems for the space program. In other words he's trying to find a way to make space travel more practical than strapping people to giant rockets and shooting them into the sky. Specifically he is working on developing a warp drive to allow faster than light travel.

The book takes a lot of interesting turns. In most science fiction that I've read the technologies are more of a back drop that facilitates the plot. "I want my character to fly like Superman so he has the Dyson 3000 anti-gravity belt", or even more simply, "my character has a sword made of energy, never mind how, he just does". In Taylor's book, the technology he uses starts almost with where we are today. It's set a few years in the future, but nothing seems extraordinarily out of place, no ray guns or teleportation. As Anson's work on the warp drive progresses a number of new technologies are brought into play besides the warp drive but the reader is not asked to simply accept them, rather, they become a part of their logical development. In fact it all was introduced so realistically that I'm surprised we haven't already developed many of the things Anson and his team discover.

The focus on the technology in "Warp Speed" doesn't mean the characters are skipped or glossed over. The character of Anson Clemons is brought into very clear focus as a "renaissance man" with a number of talents and interests that blend together to complement each other and help explain his motives and thought processes. The other characters are well rounded, but they are seen through Anson's eyes which colors them more to how he perceives them. One does pick up on an endearing bit of absentmindedness from Anson, as he "forgets" to mention significant developments in his life, only to have them pop up in the story with an "oh yeah, did I mention that...".

Don't let me fool you, "Warp Speed" isn't just a book about the development of a new propulsion technology. This is good science fiction with plenty of action to keep the reader hooked. In fact, at times the action comes so fast you almost can't get your breath as the characters are thrust from one situation to another with no breaks. One minute they are in space, then they are in a forest with tornadoes, then they are facing terrorists, it almost makes a person dizzy, but it still manages to flow well.

I recommend "Warp Speed" by Travis S. Taylor. It is a real page turner that makes some of the science behind science fiction come alive. This is the first in a series with the second book "The Quantum Connection" due out in paperback soon. To quote author John Ringo "Flubells away!" which will make much more sense if you read the book. Check it out!
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good First Novel 23 Dec 2004
By Francis P. Golupski - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I seldom buy first books by new authors in hardback, but elected to do so in this case based upon the sample chapters I'd read at Baen's webpage. It hooked me enough on the story I was willing to spend the money NOW to buy the hardback, rather than waiting a year for the paperback edition. In my opinion, it was worth the money. Imagine - an SF book with Science in it. (Remember, guys? used to be that's what the S in SF was for.) Note to others - if you're not sure about this, go read the sample chapters at baen.com first, then buy if you like it.
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun! 23 Dec 2004
By Frederick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I bought this on the strength of the short story that appeared in the anthology "Cosmic Tales". Taylor wrote a story and contributed an essay with science to back up the story. It reminded me of what Charles Sheffield did with his "McAndrew" stories.

A fun first novel. I read it in two nights; stayed up into the wee hours last night to finish it. I look forward to seeing more from him and seeing how he matures as a writer.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Can anyone say Mary Sue? 29 July 2011
By Michael Shreeves - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
As a first novel, I continue to be astounded that this reached publication, let alone kicked off a successful writing career.

As the author is a NASA scientist living in Huntsville, AL, the main character is so clearly a wish-fulfillment self insertion that it is painful to read. Anton, our protagonist, is an intrepid engineer who has garnered respect from NASA and the academic community, runs his own successful consulting firm (allowing him to spend all of his time playing with high-tech toys), is genius enough to marshal two Ph.D. students, as is, of course, a karate master.

Even worse, the story of this ubermensch is told with bland, unappealing dialogue, in first person, in the present tense. The entire book could be sumarized as "Watch me do this awesome thing!" ad nauseum. By about 100 pages in, I literally wanted to beat the main character to a pulp.

Worse, the entire first half of the book is set in what may was well be present day, before our hero and his stable of geniuses manage to single-handedly invent shockingly advanced technology, virtually overnight. The techno-babble, while perhaps on par with a shoddy episode of Star Trek, merely serves as an excuse for yet more self-aggrandizement and bragging. The previous chapters are magnified by the unstated question: "Hey, what if I had all that awesome stuff from earlier AND God-like techno-powers?"

This escalates to other insistent questions, such as "What if I met the President?" and "What if I was the only person who could save America? Wouldn't that be badass?"

The absolute lowest point of this novel takes place in a throwaway line in half a paragraph during the anticlimactic war with China. Before our erstwhile hero can save the day, it is mentioned that U.S. Special Forces soldiers heroically give their lives to protect America... by hijacking civilian airliners and crashing them into Chinese population centers. Immediately after this, the hero uses his magical space-ship to finish the job in roughly five minutes, making their sacrifice and inclusion in the book count for absolutely nothing. However, for such an otherwise jingoistic novel, this plot point seems both unnecessary and offensive. Techno-thrillers from the 90's can get away from that crap, but when you feel alright cribbing story ideas from one of the most horrifying events in national history, there is something wrong with you.

tl;dr: Save your eight bucks. Ask a ten-year-old to tell you about the most awesome thing ever, and you'll get the same effect.
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