Twitter Summary: Small Unit Special Ops in SPAAAAAAAAAAACE! MilSF at a tactical level.
First Line: Captain Lincoln Suh had three minutes to live.
Let’s start with the gorgeous Larry Rostant cover
That’s a book cover I want a print of to put on my wall. It would pair well with a couple of Larry Rostant’s other book covers: Myke Cole’s Gemini Cell and Linda Nagata’s The Red (no review yet, but the whole trilogy is HIGHLY recommended). Interestingly enough, the cover artist isn’t the only thing Gemini Cell and Outriders have in common.
In both books, the main character dies within the first couple chapters. And THEN the fun begins.
Whereas Gemini Cell is about the power of love, Outriders seems to reach back and touch on some of the themes of Myke’s first book, Control Point, and ask questions about what it means to lead, and what it means to belong to a group that sometimes has to make tough decisions.
And the lead character, Captain Lincoln Suh, isn’t the only one making tough decisions. While the story is primarily told through Suh’s viewpoint, Posey switches between a few other viewpoints as well. A reoccurring theme of “What is right vs. what is my duty?” pops up even in the ancillary story lines. It’s not a very deep line of questioning, and it mostly serves to add gravitas to the plot. I would love to see the author delve deeper into those themes in a sequel.
This isn’t actually my first hop into the the extraplanetary setting of The Process. I was first exposed to it in the anthology War Stories, which contains quite a few amazing MilSF stories.
I thought that the author handled the action scenes well, in a sparse, kinetic fashion. I never felt bogged down by them, and felt there was a good balance of action vs. non-action scenes. This book tapped into my love of bureaucracy porn as a good chunk involves Suh going through red tape and getting to know and bond with his teammates. I’m a sucker for stories where the author invokes the more human elements of serving.
I’m a huge fan of the quality military SF that’s been coming out recently. From indie authors like Jay Allan, to the amazing works by Linda Nagata, Marko Kloos, Ann Leckie, and others… my TBR pile just keeps getting bigger.
Final Verdict: Highly recommended, and if they announce a sequel, I’m pre-ordering it.