Decades after their declaration of independence, the colony planets that formed the Confederation remain outnumbered by Earth’s Japan-dominated Empire. But a new discovery could shake the balance of power. A solar system-spanning fragment of the galaxy-wide artificial intelligence called the Web has been located within reach of human civilization, but no one knows whether it’s peaceful, hostile, or entirely indifferent to events on a human scale.
Confederation and Imperial forces race to make contact and attempt an alliance with the alien machine that could swing humanity’s conflict one way or the other. But if this proves impossible, each force will settle for making sure the other side does not survive the confrontation, by any means necessary.
This is a quite nice little novella in the Warstrider universe. I have to say that I am not sure why the author, if he wanted to revive this series, opted for “just” a novella. At only around 150 pages it is indeed more of a short story than a full book. It has all the qualities of the rest of the series but it really leaves me wanting more.
I would say that this is fairly hard-core science fiction, both in the science department as well as in the military department. The book starts of with quite a bit of Warstrider action. Action that leads to the core of the story. It ties in pretty well with the rest of the Warstrider books and continues the story in a logical (and interesting) way.
The book spends quite a bit of time on the aspect of a huge god-like artificial intelligence. I am generally not a fan of these, almost philosophical, discussions but, want the heck, I am a computer engineer after all and I have to say that I quite liked it.
Our old friend Cameron is no longer present in this book expect in terms of a few references. Normally I would feel that something is missing when the main hero of a book series was not present but, strangely enough, I cannot say that it detracted from my enjoyment of the book this time.
I would not say that the book closes any unclosed threads from the last book in the series. It answers a few questions maybe but it feels to me that it rather opens up the avenues for further adventures. Even though the action is localized to a single, confined, point in space the actual scope of the story is huge.
I am not sure what the author wanted to achieve with this “short story”. Just get a few bucks or probe the possibility of spending some time to write a “real” continuation of the series? If it is the latter, well then I vote YES, please do continue the series. It is a book with good, and I mean GOOD, military action, it is fairly hard-core sci-fi, it is intelligent and as a computer geek, the story definitely appeals to me.