The Clone Empire Mass Market Paperback – 26 Oct 2010
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About the Author
Born in California but raised in Hawaii, novelist/video game fanatic Steven L. Kent turned a life-long joystick addiction into a 15-year gig writing for publications like MSNBC, "Boy's Life, USA Today, Chicago Tribune," and "Japan Times." After publishing the 600-page "The Ultimate History of Video Games," Kent satisfied his Pac-Man-angst and set his sights on fiction. Having just submitted "The Clone Elite," the fourth book in his "Wayson Harris Trilogy," Kent is currently writing a standalone sci-fi novel while he develops a new series based on the Unified Authority.
Top Customer Reviews
Basically the publisher gave the author some advice about how the book should be written and it changes the writing style making it drawn out and confused.
Echo the above reviewer, nice to see someone else has the courage to recognise the fall.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Still on Terraneau, with only a few thousand marines under his command. Harris knows that the wreckage in the sky above him doesn't account for nearly all of his missing fleet. Caught up playing politics with a man who wants to make himself king, General / Right Reverend Doctorow wants nothing more than for Harris and his marines to get off Terraneau so he can run the show unimpeded. Harris is recovering, though he's doubting himself in ways he's never doubted himself before; his courage, his physical ability.
When Harris discovers how his fleet escaped the battle above Terraneau, he risks his neck to go out and find them. The Enlisted Man's Empire is out there, they've liberated planets from the aliens who captured and cut them off, they have hundreds of ships, millions of soldiers, and one big problem. Harris is conscripted in handling the cancer in the Clone Empire before it takes them under. The problems for the Enlisted Man's Empire are only very tip of what's going on in the galaxy, and Harris, the clones, and the United Authority are not read for what's next.
I loved this book. While Harris is a general, he isn't tasked with commanding thousands of marines, in another all-out, do or die campaign. The Clone Empire feels like it goes back to the roots of what really drew me into the Harris series. Harris going from planet to planet, investigating, trying to get to the root of what the enemy's game is. There's intrigue, twists and turns you won't see coming, and Harris has absolutely no one he can really trust. Everyone is trying to play him for their own ends, Harris is aware of the predicament he's in, but he has no idea what's really coming. The book was exciting, beginning to end. There was large scale action and the hand to hand fighting in which you love seeing the last Liberator clone. The Clone Empire was a great read, Steven Kent brings it back to the roots of the series while still expanding the depth of the universe and characters. I can't wait to see what will happen next.
Steven L. Kent's 6th novel in the Wayson Harris Clone series, The Clone Empire, is an action-packed thrill ride. Marooned after nearly dying on Terraneau, all Harris wants is to get back into action and carry out vengeance against the UA now that the Avatari have apparently left their galaxy alone. Ellery Doctorow is making Harris's life on Terraneau difficult enough as it is, but Ava Gardner, his stunning clone girlfriend, just wants to settle down.
Harris is tested as he attempts his escape from the planet and discovers an energized, enlarged, and infiltrated Enlisted Man's Empire. Adding insult to injury, the Avatari return and bring incomprehensible destruction with them. Harris is tired and his drive to survive clashes with his desire to die. Teaming up yet again with Ray Freeman brings its own challenges while each mystery "solved" seems to bring more questions than answers.
Featuring hand-to-hand combat, naval space battles, and cataclysmic destruction, Kent's brash brand of military science fiction aims to please, but Kent doesn't stop there. Just the right amount of humor keeps things enjoyable while the humanity portrayed through the clones and other galactic misfits like Ray Freeman offers an interesting counterpoint to the malignancy of many of the natural-borns in Kent's universe. The Clone Empire is a fast-paced, suspenseful, and thoughtful setup for the final as-yet-unnamed book in the Wayson Harris Clone series.
(Originally posted at [...])
Harris is a man of action. He's evolved from simple clone marine grunt who takes orders, and works his way up to being an officer, then commanding a galactic army of clone marines, taking on aliens and politicians with equal abandon.
But it had to happen. Who would have expected an introspective Wayson Harris? To find in him a combat specialist who begins to think about his actions, and even consequences, who isn't afraid on occasion to just do nothing, and see how complex situations sort themselves out without dumping a hail of bullets or particle beam weapons along the way.
In Clone Empire, we see a somewhat jaded Harris, who has peaked in terms of his prestige, and is now shoved off to the sidelines of the big decisions by his fellow clones who have finally come into their own, so to speak.
Clone Empire is more of a character study. Harris, even though officially a general, isn't the center of action in this 6th novel in the series. He's trying to see where he, his fellow clones, and his on and off love interest in the person of a cloned Ava Gardner, all fit in to a more complex galaxy of competing fleets, personalities, aliens, and the inevitable pompous politicians. Action is not his first choice; he thinks things through and acts with deliberation, not just reacting, fueled by a temporary suppression of his combat reflex.
Harris is a survivor, and he does appear to be learning a few things along the way, putting his experience to use in a more reflective role. He's still a bad-ass butt kicker when he needs to be, but as he ages, he's less likely to shoot first, and ask a few questions along the way. He's more willing to accept some help, even from the ghosts of old friends who manage to come to life in unexpected ways when they're needed most.
I've read more than a few serial SF collections; the best are those where the characters grow and develop instead of rehashing the same plot developments in new settings, or under the threats of new technologies. Steve Kent has taken a few chances along the way through this series, and this one works especially well for me. It will be interesting to see where Harris ends up in what I understand will be the wrapup for this series in book # 7. If your only interest is in seeing how many new ways Harris can find to kill people or aliens, you'll be disappointed here. But if you are interested in Harris finding reasons for not killing people, you'll like this one. And there's always the promise of more aliens that need killing, anyway. He's just not likely to do it with his bare hands any more.
1) Good continuation of the main storyline from the earlier 5 books. There were definitely a few surprises (plot and character-wise) I didn't see coming, which are always nice to see, especially in a fairly long series (sci-fi or otherwise).
2) I'm not sure what to think about Wayson's state of mind at this point. On the one hand, he definitely seems like a man trying to escape his own past (and genetic heritage of being a programmed killing machine) but on the other hand, he can't escape the violence when it starts, and because of that same internal programming, really can't avoid liking it and feeding off of it, either. But unlike the many clones around him who have similar programming - he is given much more capability to `decide' about what he believes in (or doesn't believe in), which makes his decisionmaking (and ultimate mental anguish) that much tougher to bear in many situations.
3) There were two major plot `loose ends' I believed I had caught as having been overlooked by the author over the past several books. One was answered at the end of this book - kudos. The other I'm still waiting to see if it gets addressed. Rather than spoil either one for people who haven't read the books (or read them all twice like me) I would welcome a direct chat with the author on the latter - Mr. Kent, are you out there? :) I simply couldn't find an email address/form on Sad Sams Palace or i'd have pinged you directly.....
4) Stepping back to Wayson - I'm also a bit unsure about his `deference to authority' seen more frequently in this book (especially as concerns Warshaw and Doctorow - Andropov seemed to light the fire just like in previous books, no love lost there) versus before. While there is an actual sentence directly mentioning this attitude mid-book, I just wondered whether Wayson was getting tired of `leading the charge' every time no one else seemed capable or willing to solve major crises - yet gets perpetually dumped on and ostracized by most others the rest of the time. It may be that most other major authority figures see him as a complete threat, one that cannot be contained or stopped by anything or anyone (short of killing him), but that he's too useful to simply execute (although that's been tried unsuccessfully too). Hmmm...I wasn't completely convinced of Warshaw's motives in trying to `replace' Wayson with Hollingsworth - but I'm not sure I was meant to get inside Warshaw's head really either. Hmm....
5) One thing that occurred to me - Several books back, we got a brief glimpse (mostly through ancillary conversations) at the Mogat `bible', written by Morgan Atkins about his encounters with and negotiations to hold off the Avatari. Can we see more from that? It may be too late at this stage given the next book may be well near done by now - but it would be very cool, and help understand the aliens a bit more? And why several thousand (million?) people chose to follow Atkins in the first place at that stage in the story? That was always a bit unclear to me too - They seemed to give up a LOT (as described during Harris' invasion of their homeworld in an earlier book) but it didn't seem that they were `racial isolationists' (like Shin Nippon) or Freeman's Baptist family (religious `back to basics' farmer colony). Did I just miss the discussion of their motivations, or?
Looking forward to the next book - as I understand it - possibly the last one? doh!