Non-Pony Story: Colony

19 Dec

Colony by Max Florschutz

I wanted to like this a lot more than I did. Once again I trip over the fact that I enjoy this author’s pony fan fiction a lot more than their original fiction. Anyway, I do enjoy science fiction and the premise of this one, both stated and implied between the lines, are things I enjoy. The first couple of chapters that introduce the characters and the world? Pretty dang awesome. My main complaint is that the rest of the story doesn’t really live up to the promise of the beginning. At least for me. I suspect it is another round of I saw things in the beginning that the author didn’t think about or thought were minor bits instead of the major focus I wanted them to be.

I’ve got a lot of nitpicks here and there about the story, but this is closer to a review than an analysis and I don’t want it to be a rant piece either. I’ll just mention that I thought it was an okay story before I read another sci-fi book that had a nearly identical premise in a lot of ways that I enjoyed a whole lot for the same reasons I didn’t enjoy Colony.

I will, however, compliment the things I enjoyed. The three main characters were really neat. I’ll probably check out the sequel to the story when it comes out four or five years down the line just because I liked the characters so much. The world in general? Mid-future high tech with megacorporations and AI? Lots of fun. Basically a cyberpunk world without the cloak-and-dagger or dark back alleys filter on top of it.

So, loved the beginning, the middle kind of dragged, and the third act was something of a disappointment. Yet I loved the world and the characters and so rarely see a story take place almost entirely underwater. So anyone who likes Science Fiction stories should definitely check it out.

Okay, spoilers from here on out. Do want to comment at least a little on the specific things I didn’t like. However, the book blurb doesn’t give it away and the story keeps it a mystery for a good amount so I encourage you to read the story if you haven’t already.

Basically, the alien stuff disappointed me. I more or less saw what was coming and got impatient waiting for stuff to bring the alien stuff out to play. Like, I was kind of bored through the middle of the book because the search for the scientist guy was just kind of plodding along and we get a glimpse or two of what’s going on behind the scenes, but nothing really happens. Then when the alien machines come out they were… kinda disappointing? I mean, just little drones that buzz around shooting stuff.

In Forsaken Skies by D. Nolan Clark, which was the book I mentioned above but did not name above because of spoilers, manages to pull off the alien menace a bit better in that the alien machines are built of weird and inefficent and then the characters in the story figure out why and it’s a cool reveal and it all makes sense in a interesting way. Whereas in Colony, we get told they are alien cleaning robots and that… just is kind there? I mean, if these are alien roombas, why can they shoot bullets? Or why is the big one just a scaled-up version of the smaller ones? I mean, hard light armor would be cool in that it takes something in the setting and amplifies it up for super-advanced alien tech. Also, why did the first one we see destroy the computer panel? Wouldn’t alien roombas just ignore non-living things unless they directly interfered? Minor modification I’d make is that the machines have hard light armor and blades, and the short ranged radiation bursts for sterilization. Then maybe the big one has some kind of long-range attack and that’s why it is so much more dangerous.

Basically, the alien stuff didn’t feel alien enough for my tastes.

Oh, and the beginning that I Iiked so much? One of the reasons I was so intrigued is that the computer programmer guy seems to be making plans to free all the colonies. Then we see he spent years (decades?) on a single colony and not a single mention of a bigger plan.

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Posted by on December 19, 2016 in Reading 2016, Reviews


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