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Going Dark

por Linda Nagata

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

Séries: The Red (3)

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1376203,294 (3.67)5
As a soldier of the Red who pursues covert missions designed to nudge history away from existential threats, James Shelley is taken into orbit where he must make a difficult choice when he falls into conflict with those he loves, his former lover, Delphi and his companion-in-arms, Jayne Vasquez.
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Mostrando 1-5 de 6 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Conclusion of the RED trilogy. I gotta admit ending is not what I expected but then again it is in line with - so to speak - reality of the situation (how one can defeat incorporeal and for all means and purposes omnipotent creature?).

After being saved in the aftermath of [for all means and purposes] suicide mission on the Dragons (Semak) satellite in Earth's orbit (end of book 2), Shelley finds himself now working for a deep black strike team (presumably one of many, but nobody knows for sure since they are all isolated from each other) that works directly following the RED's commands, and is named rather optimistically - Existential Threat Management (name itself does not guarantee long life span to its members, doesn't it?). These missions throw Shelly and his team across the world and very soon he starts noticing that at crucial decision making points both he and his team start to act in a weird way, taking risks that might not be most reasonable.... at any time.

And this is the crux of the novel for me - what started as an adventure with just goals (nuclear incident from the first book) ends up as series of fire fights for establishing supremacy of .... somebody/something. People die and everybody is aware that they are not exactly in control but they continue pushing on. So when Shelley starts to notice the patterns he gets involved in more and more deadly situations that it seems like somebody is just trying to get rid of him (very reminiscent of famous novel Armor).

Book is rather dystopian. When you read it, you can see some parallels with for example "Person of Interest" show. In both cases very powerful AIs are using their human operatives for stabilization purposes. But while POI AI aims to prevent wrongdoing, RED is not so humanistic. I have to admit author absolutely succeeds to show alien nature of AI. It is not human organism, it does not think in the same way nor does it have motives that one would expect from humans.

So, while book might seem as a series of battles, episodic in nature, it also shows how use of black operation operatives - where nobody can trust anyone, where some weird shady organizations lurk in the background and are marked as friendlies or hostiles according to some external ruling - is a very dangerous thing, used for instigating inter-state wars. Bug again what is the purpose for this and is it possible that all AIs showing up here are just heads of the same Hydra-like organism remains an open question. Ambiguity of all these activities still looks like lots of false flag operations to keep state governments shaken (especially after the clandestine decapitating strikes) to make sure everyone is in the open and under control. By the way, that constant mantra that everyone needs to be visible and made accountable is horror story in itself (and in making in our own times).

While ending is very realistic in my opinion (as realistic as it can get in work of fiction of course) some of the story arcs are left hanging (in lack of better word). For example entire story about the Mars colonists - I sort of a see where this was going but suddenly it just ended. Why? This had to be resolved in a much better way because at this point one has to wonder what was the purpose of Broken Sky and who incited it (again, lots of doubts and possible RED false flag operations).

As for supporting characters they are all great, from Kanoa to Abajian, Leonid being the show stealer especially in the last third of the book. Issam was a tragic figure, and while he seems to be author's means of hinting at ways humanity might fight the AI control I think he was little bit underused. He just popped up and very soon was gone. Not in a rushed way mind you but with him gone, question remains who was he actually working with.

So, lots of questions, and pretty open ending. I dont know if book 4 was in offering but I think it would be a good idea. Because of many open threads at the end I cannot give it full 5 stars.

Excellent thriller, maybe a slightly weaker than rest of the series, which in itself is truly great techno thriller series, with very believable characters and action.

Highly recommended, but do yourself a favor and start from the first book in the series. ( )
  Zare | Jun 13, 2024 |
I liked this a little more than the first two. Felt like it had more character arc, somewhat more coherence, and tied up a lot of loose ends. ( )
  jercox | Jun 2, 2021 |
It was an ok conclusion to an ok trilogy. I finished the book a little disapointed, thinking, what was the point? There didn't seem to be much of a conclusion. The three books could have been condensed down to two or even one novel.

Despite that, I was entertained. This is a good military sci-fi action story, but don't expect anything groundbreaking. ( )
  JeremyReads | Dec 22, 2020 |
Like the title suggests, but it doesn't quite spell out, it's a novel of going dark and silent as well as a right-hand turn going straight into the darkness.

I mean, we already knew that Shelly was going to leave the side of the angels and go deep into black-ops for the sake of a "god" that he can't trust, but at least he's able to rely on his idealism to salve his conscience. Right?

Right. And so we have black-ops military events that continually get fucked-up beyond belief and and it's now time to fully start questioning why he should allow himself to be controlled by others, be it the Red or anyone else. It's good to question, to get a little skeptical, and it keeps the story plodding away between action and misgivings.

As a straight techno-thriller, it's pretty decent, but there's one thing that disturbs me. The ending of this book, much like the rest of the books in the trilogy, has a vaguely unsatisfying ending. Maybe it's the ambiguity. I'm never quite sure who are the good guys in the novel, although I have the feeling that I *should* be rooting for Shelly. After all, he's still King David going in against an enemy of giant reputation.

Still, the book has a lot of open questions and it looks like we're going to have to pick things up in new instalments. We kind of have to at this point. Things may not be up in the air so much for Shelly, anymore, since he's been locked-down, but it looks like there are too many players on the board for anyone to be sleeping soundly, anymore, despite the respite.

This is a pretty fun series, and should be a must-read for you folks who love military SF only slightly futuristic from where we are now. AIs and cybernetic implants, hooya! ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Intense. THree back to back missions for James Shelley and his squad. Each one designated by The Red, using the AI's ability to issue orders and subvert commands. But James starts to get suspicious. Sometimes he's not acting in anyone's interests. Are there other AIs out there? Who's really issuing the commands and tugging his emotions through the skullnet. Maybe he would be better off out of it all. When it comes down to trust, it's just you and your squad against the world, right and wrong is for later.

Lots of violence - it is Mil-SF after all, and some of the tactical descriptions don't make a lot of sense without an AI battle map in front of your vision, run shoot hide, run.

Good fun though, and a lingering sens eof doubt about what is the right outcome, who should you trust and how long for. Some pretty improbable escapes don't really help the suspension of dis-belief, but if the AI is on your side, can you still lose? ( )
  reading_fox | Dec 22, 2016 |
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Linda Nagataautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Collins, Kevin T.Narradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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As a soldier of the Red who pursues covert missions designed to nudge history away from existential threats, James Shelley is taken into orbit where he must make a difficult choice when he falls into conflict with those he loves, his former lover, Delphi and his companion-in-arms, Jayne Vasquez.

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