RogerBW's Blog

The Red: The Trials, Linda Nagata 11 July 2020

2014 military SF, second of the trilogy. After the illicit mission in the last book, James Shelley and his squad are on trial. So, elsewhere, is the person they winkled out of their bunker. But other factions are still out there.

This is a world significantly changed by earlier events, even if many of the people in it haven't quite realised yet. (And some have realised but drawn incomplete conclusions.) Nagata draws that with great effect, using both the downtime and the nature of the missions that Shelley goes on to show how people are reacting to changes. If the first book suffered by having a too-obvious "bad guy" faction, here it's clear that there are rather more viewpoints than "right" and "wrong".

Though Shelley also has an implanted computer that's there to regulate his moods and run his prosthetic legs, and if one person has access to it… I thought that angle could have been taken further, but what's done with it here is solid enough.

This feels in some ways like a fixup of novellas than a single novel-length story, though as far as I know that's not the case. Things at the end have higher stakes than things at the beginning (and there's a fine example of Chekov's Parachute), but it's really a series of mostly-independent narratives. It's also a middle book, so the end is much more "and now other things are going to happen" than a real conclusion.

Characterisation still works, as long as you don't mind Shelley being a bit of an idiot. I found it a little wearing at times, but not too bad.

Don't start here. I read First Light three years ago and I could remember enough not to be lost, but there's not much recap for the newcomer.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog. ["As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases."]

Previous in series: The Red: First Light | Series: The Red | Next in series: Going Dark

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action advent of code aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech aviation base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chris chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 crime crystal cthulhu eternal cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics en garde espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 essen 2022 essen 2023 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo genesys geocaching geodata gin gkp gurps gurps 101 gus harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo 2021 hugo 2022 hugo 2023 hugo 2024 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life javascript julian simpson julie enfield kickstarter kotlin learn to play leaving earth linux liquor lovecraftiana lua mecha men with beards mpd museum music mystery naval noir non-fiction one for the brow opera parody paul temple perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics postscript powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs ruby rust scala science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance the weekly challenge thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1