chris pavesic

“I Felt Like Penny in Big Bang Theory…” – “Red Queen: the Substrate Wars”

Red Queen: The Substrate Wars

Red Queen: The Substrate Wars

A new Amazon review of Red Queen: The Substrate Wars gives it the lowest rating so far, 3 out of 5 stars. But it’s pretty funny, and while the reviewer felt the high-level physics content was too much, he or she does seem to have enjoyed it. Which brings up the interesting question about high-level hard science fiction: are sales of fantasy and standard space opera better because all of the elements are familiar to mainstream audiences, and if you want lots of readers, do you have to dumb it down?

It’s long so I edited it down:

3.0 out of 5 stars
I felt like Penny in Big Bang Theory…. No clue what the guys were talking about, February 3, 2015

…The language is highly technical, way too much complex for a fiction book and you need to be well versed in the field of Physics or rather quantum physics to understand the things being talked about. I suspect even then you would not be able to understand the logic as it starts at the toughest level and never lowers itself to make the readers grasp the basic string of the story.

I guess what they say about geniuses is true. Talking to them is tough because even their lowest level of communication is way too alien for the average brain and for someone like me it would be a complete catastrophe

Now the good part

It was by the middle that the author explained what is Red Queen Effect and that was when i actually started appreciating the basic theme of the book. I think it was a brilliant theme to tackle in form of fiction and the basic story was actually pretty brainy but i guess that is where it went wrong… Being too brainy.

for the sake of people like me… Red Queen effect is when one organism is required to step up their game in order to stay in the competition. The author itself uses a brilliant example of this in our modern world where each country is acquiring weapons in order to have an edge over other countries and this tug of war is basically Red Queen Effect

The idea and the concept is brilliant and there are actually so many powerful elements that are discussed about the world we live in, a whole new set of ideologies are brought forward and the book gets its pace only towards its last run. The satirical mirror of our governing bodies and the countries around, pointed out in the book was good too.

Unfortunately you require a higher functioning of brain and patience to sit through and brush everything else to find out the deeper good

The Book is not for everybody as its not even fiction and more on the lines of Science journal and that is why i say that this book is for those who are connoisseurs in the field of quantum physics or whatever field the book was based on (see i am dumb even to know which field it was talking about). The language is pure science. The whole theme and concept was brilliant but i wish the author had stooped down to our levels to make us understand what he meant to say as he definitely had a lot of wonderful concepts to share which got lost somewhere in the science land.

Somebody needs to explain this book to me

More Reviews of “Red Queen: the Substrate Wars”

Red Queen: The Substrate Wars

Red Queen: The Substrate Wars

More reviews of Red Queen: The Substrate Wars.

From Amazon, a random reader says:

5.0 out of 5 stars
Excellent!, January 30, 2015
By A. Shibley (Philadelphia)
Verified Purchase

I bought this Kindle book on a whim after seeing it on Instapundit. It was really a fun read! Too often, independent books like this are poorly edited, clumsily written, and hardly thought out. This is not one of those books. Indeed, I recently read a “big name” series (not Hunger Games) that was objectively less well-written and entertaining. Looking forward to the next one.

Also from Amazon:

5.0 out of 5 stars
A good read which is hard to put down, January 28, 2015
By John Stephens (Guerneville, CA USA)
Verified Purchase

I really enjoyed this book; I read it on vacation and I didn’t want to stop reading it. There were a couple of sections where the dialog was a bit stilted and it was reminiscent of Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon in being somewhat didactic, but that’s just nit-picking – it had engaging characters and the plot moved along quickly. I liked the emerging universe he created and feel that the stage has been well set for a good series. I actually thought Samantha was going to be a government agent but happy to be disappointed 😉

I look forward to book number 2!

Like didactic is a bad thing! And “stilted dialog?” — argh! 😉

Book blogger Christina DeVries (whose native language is Norwegian, so bear that in mind) has a review at Geek Heaven:

4 stars out of 5
This is a science fiction thriller set in the US in the not too distant future. The country is run by a Unity Party, combining the worst of both the Democrats and the Republicans. The Bill of Rights is being ignored and people are being monitored by the government. Terrorist attacks results in more restrictions on people’s freedom and privacy.

The story follows a group of young people who are tired of their countries censor, stagnant economy and no jobs for young educated people. And when one of their favored professors suddenly disappears after being contacted by Homeland Security who suspects that he’s staying in touch with a former student who now runs a rebel group.

These young students discovers a new kind of technology that could ever free mankind or be the ultimate weapon to control or destroy us if it falls into the wrong hands. What are they to do with it? And they have to work fast before Homeland Security arrests them all and get their hands on the technology. Who can they trust? How do they know that they’re not being watched already?

***

I was very intrigued by the synopsis when I was contacted about this book and it did not disappoint me. It was fast-paced and exciting. The characters were really well made but I would have loved to have gotten to know them a little bit better. In the beginning of the story some of the writing could get a bit too technical for my taste, but it definitely picked up and got easier to follow as the story progressed.

I can’t say that I’ve read anything quite like this before so I went into this with a very open mind and was definitely pleasantly surprised!

I’m really looking forward to seeing where this series goes and I definitely recommend this if you like political thrillers and science fiction.

Review by Chris Pavesic of “Red Queen: the Substrate Wars”

Red Queen: The Substrate Wars

Red Queen: The Substrate Wars

Book blogger Chris Pavesic has written a kind review of Red Queen: The Substrate Wars:

Red Queen: The Substrate Wars begins with a quotation from Robert Heinlein’s 1950’s novella, The Man Who Sold the Moon: “There is nothing in this world so permanent as a temporary emergency.” This idea sets the tone of Kinnison’s novel and permeates all of the events within his fictional world.

The novel is set in a not-too-distant future world with events that mirror our own society: Readers will recognize similarities in events like the AIDS epidemic, the creation of agencies like Homeland Security, and how some people use online games like World of Warcraft and other social media to create connections and send messages in “the real world.” The differences between our world and the story world of Red Queen: The Substrate Wars lies in how much personal freedom has been reduced and how far technology has developed. As it states in the book blurb, the technology being created could either save the world or destroy it; the stakes are no longer just personal freedom versus governmental control. The characters are actually fighting their governments for the right for the human race to exist.

**SPOILERS**

It is hard to discuss the novel without giving away huge spoilers. (Of course I have this problem with most of the novels I review!) I really enjoyed the chapters with the ALife Simulations. The narrative of these chapters focused on the evolutionary development of the artificial life forms. It traces them from the very start of their existence, focusing on the entire species rather than one character, and each ALife section relates in some way to the actions taken by the main characters in the novel.

My favorite character in the novel is Professor Walter Wilson. Kinnison creates a very interesting character. Wilson is a homosexual male who grew up in a world that initially did not tolerate this lifestyle, although the level of acceptance evolved, and even flourished, over time. He survived the AIDS epidemic, although his lover did not. Infected, Wilson has to take what he terms a “daily wonder pill” to prevent the progression of the disease. Because of this loss, he never developed another close, romantic relationship. Instead, he threw himself into his work. He flourished in the academic world, even winning a protest against University regulations in the past when a security officer removed a poster with an image of a gun from his office door. Wilson also had a positive impact on his students, who maintained contact with him even after they left the University.

The twist with this character comes with the reduction of personal freedoms in The Red Queen society. At the start of the novel, Wilson has come under fire from the University officials because he commented on a biological difference between the genders. Any statement that points out a difference between people is considered offensive and subject to censure. This, however, is not as simple as it appears on the surface. The censure may be retaliation for the protest he won in the past, it may be an issue because his former students have become leaders in the resistance against The Red Queen governments, or it may have something to do with the ALife simulation project Wilson is running. The University’s actions do encourage Wilson’s former and current students to rally behind him. It is not really a “call to arms;” rather, it is the situation that starts a chain of events and it is fascinating as a reader to watch each domino fall into place.

I did enjoy this novel and look forward to the second book in the trilogy!