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Shooting the Rift

por Alex Stewart

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Space opera with a bang, as a young rogue from a noble family is caught up in an interstellar war. DISOWNED IN A HARSH GALAXY Cast out by his family and exiled from the Rimward Commonwealth, Simon Forrester must make a new life for himself as an apprentice to the powerful Commerce Guild.  But others aboard the merchant vessel Stacked Deck have a hidden agenda that might lead directly to interstellar war. Now when rising tensions between the Commonwealth and the neighboring League of Democracies threatens to erupt into open war, Simon finds himself forced to choose between old and new loyalties, with the fate of an empire at stake! About Shooting the Rift: "Stewart makes his [faster than light travel] technology as accessible and relevant as the neuroware, genetic engineering, anti-gravity, and other assorted techno-furniture of the milieu. His various venues . . . are limned with vigor, vividness and vivacity. The personages are all true-to-life, delivering fine banter and plot-propelling dialogue, arising out of fully believable motivations and drives and desires. . . . the best of what ambitious adventure SF has always done and can plainly continue to do."--Locus "Stewart writes with sly wit. He pokes fun at modern science fiction tropes. His clever writing even satirizes science fiction satire. He combines this with rollicking adventure, original plot twists and unexpected revelations and endings. Shooting the Rift is fun to read. Better still it promises a sequel."--Galveston County Dailey News… (mais)
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Stewart, Alex. Shooting the Rift. Baen, 2016.
Alex Stewart’s usual gig is writing novel tie-ins for Warhammer and other games. In Shooting the Rift he shows that he can write a first-person space opera with an engaging voice and a story that does not remind one too often of gaming. Our hero-narrator is Simon Forrester, a good-looking kid from a matriarchal culture, who is exiled when he cheats on the entrance exam to the space academy. He finds himself co-opted into an espionage plot on a merchant ship. The world-building is impressive. There are two rival military cultures, two rival merchant subcultures, and some “transgeners,” with various genetic changes—increased strength, multiple limbs, and photosynthetic skin mandating a lot of nudity. I am surprised that Stewart has not written more in this milieu. 3.5 stars. ( )
  Tom-e | Aug 12, 2022 |
It is a fun and quick read with some charming British humour, roguish characters and space political intrigue.

The main character, Simon, is born in Avalon, a matriarchal society where women are the head of the clans, captains of ships and have a pretty clear sexual power of sorts. Imagine if the society you know now in real life took a cultural flip.
Ironically men are still the ones competing and getting themselves the best status possible to be the most suitable, except they’re clear pieces on the board.
Simon is at odds with some of this. He’s well off and wants to make the family proud, but being born in comfort didn’t get him the proper Military Academy skills. Rather he preferred the hacking world to game theory.

Avalon people use some form of technology on their heads allowing them to send messages by thought and hack devices, and Simon has a knack to get into other peoples “heads” without leaving much of a trace. Circumstances lead him to use this to his advantage and pretty much sets up enough trouble to move the story.

Humanity has various military and economic sides with much individual and cultural diversity in the technological sense.
Some sides don’t trust Avalon hardware; Transgeners are voluntary genetically modified people, like growing tails, fur or photosynthetic skin (the latter leaving very little to the imagination having to go around almost naked). All this also makes part of the action and obstacles the characters face.

Most of the story takes part out of this matriarchal system, which I found somewhat disappointing. But the short time there was very plausible.
Overall its pretty much an espionage tale with agents that are not very aware they’re agents, just trying to get by. Specially Simon whose guilelessness if both charming and frustrating because it can be so relatable. At the end of the day, he seemed like a high status nerd working lower status jobs because he’s virtually clueless about the world yet incredibly adaptable. He’s the type of guy clueless about girls and people might think he’s gay because of it, yet if the gates of Mordor opened he’d be on the front lines (somewhere).

There are no big themes to think about If I’m being honest. There’s always something fun happening and its satisfying the ingenious way Simon faces the challenges.
The matters get resolved and it all ends like a Summer read. There could be more adventures coming, but for this one, there’s closure.

Got this book from Humble Bundle ( )
  Igor_Veloso | Oct 29, 2019 |
Social/cultural shift in gender roles in the book, which could have been more interesting to explore had it been carried out to its extreme. Alas, the book is about Simon, a hacking punk-type who tries to get into the (female) Naval Academy, only to hack his way through the final exam, get caught, and expelled. Whereupon he is recruited as a spy.

The book starts out rather slowly, but picks up and isn't that bad, but it's part space opera, part cyberpunk, and that makes for a strange marriage at times. It's light reading, no hard science here. I've read that this is the first in what is supposed to be a series, and I'm intrigued enough that I'd read the sequel, but if the sequel isn't an improvement, even slight, I'd probably stop there. I have too many other quality sci fi books on my table to read and review to merit time in a slightly above average series. Cautiously recommended. ( )
  scottcholstad | Oct 25, 2017 |
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Space opera with a bang, as a young rogue from a noble family is caught up in an interstellar war. DISOWNED IN A HARSH GALAXY Cast out by his family and exiled from the Rimward Commonwealth, Simon Forrester must make a new life for himself as an apprentice to the powerful Commerce Guild.  But others aboard the merchant vessel Stacked Deck have a hidden agenda that might lead directly to interstellar war. Now when rising tensions between the Commonwealth and the neighboring League of Democracies threatens to erupt into open war, Simon finds himself forced to choose between old and new loyalties, with the fate of an empire at stake! About Shooting the Rift: "Stewart makes his [faster than light travel] technology as accessible and relevant as the neuroware, genetic engineering, anti-gravity, and other assorted techno-furniture of the milieu. His various venues . . . are limned with vigor, vividness and vivacity. The personages are all true-to-life, delivering fine banter and plot-propelling dialogue, arising out of fully believable motivations and drives and desires. . . . the best of what ambitious adventure SF has always done and can plainly continue to do."--Locus "Stewart writes with sly wit. He pokes fun at modern science fiction tropes. His clever writing even satirizes science fiction satire. He combines this with rollicking adventure, original plot twists and unexpected revelations and endings. Shooting the Rift is fun to read. Better still it promises a sequel."--Galveston County Dailey News

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