RogerBW's Blog

Dark Minds, Michelle Diener 08 May 2024

2016 SF/romance, third of of its series. Imogen Peters has also been kidnapped from Earth into an alien civilisation…

For me it's the Thinking Systems, the illicit AIs placed at the cores of space battleships, who are the real stars of this series. Their builders have given them enough comprehension to be able to plan a means of achieving a goal, but (perhaps because they were not intended to be autonomous) not bothered with any ethics, which they've having to invent from scratch. Why not simply murder all their former captors rather than restraining them and dumping them somewhere safely? Well, that's the trick that the various Earth women (the only people able to see the Thinking Systems as people rather than as scary stories from the big war hundreds of years ago) have had to work out.

So all the books have been variations on that theme, but there is progress overall as well—a mission has been sent to see what's going on after the events of the previous book, and there are still space pirates out there. The women get the chance to talk with each other rather than just have their individual romances. It's a very constrained series, but it does at least treat the SF content as more than merely backdrop so that women from Earth can meet hot alien captains who fall instantly in lust with them.

The idea that the aliens are rubbish at lying seems to have been quietly dropped, but they still regard music as rare and special. Imogen is a music teacher, and I'd be interested to see what would happen if she used standard techniques from Earth on one of these aliens… but no sign of that yet, alas. She does have the presence of mind to work out that even an amateur Terran singer can hold a room of aliens spellbound, and she takes reasonable advantage of this.

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Previous in series: Dark Deeds | Series: Class 5

  1. Posted by Owen Smith at 02:58pm on 09 May 2024

    Why have no earth men been kidnapped by the aliens? Or is this a Mars Needs Women situation?

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 03:14pm on 09 May 2024

    For all we ever learn, the selection is entirely at random; it just happens to be five women across this five-book series.

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