on 1 November 2014
This would pass for a dull Heinlein parody, but I fear the authors are serious.
The four main characters are as resourceful, opinionated and smug as any protagonist produced by Heinlein in his later years. They effortlessly dispose of all opposition, play endless one-upmanship games, discuss sex with a strange combination of coyness and prurience, and constantly crack up at each other's (poor to adequate) attempts at humour. The also spend a lot of time preaching to each other on whatever topic is currently exercising the author(s): we learn that cats are great; science fiction writers and fans are great; Robert Heinlein was omniscient and infallible; the French are really, really bad (apparently they eat cheese, surrender a lot, and needlessly put little crossbars on their 7s); and that Global Warming is a hoax (not just Anthropogenic Global Warming, but Global Warming in general). Oh, and actually the Global Warming hoax perpetrators took over the whole of science in 1987 and thwarted research into faster-than-light travel (really).
There are two story arcs. One is a deeply unpleasant and simplistic effort to "improve" humanity without humanity's knowledge - oh, and to incidentally eliminate sheep and goats (really). The other (the "Goliath stone" of the title and cover art) foozles along intermittently and goes nowhere.
If this is intended as satire, as I've seen suggested, then it's a poor effort. If it's intended as serious science fiction, then it's a catastrophically poor effort.
on 12 January 2014
This tale zips along at a really nice pace with some good characters and one super-arrogant love-him-hate-him star.
The story centers around nano-technology. Not sure that the science is exactly right, but at least there is no FTL or time travel. But, how do you program a nanobot or a huge collection of then to do really complex stuff like decoding/re-writing the human genome? Never mind, it's a really good story with a surprising and happy twist at the end.