Thursday, November 12, 2009

Kerry Nietz's A Star Curiously Singing ~ Reviewed

A Star Curiously Singing
Kerry Nietz
Paperback: 308 pages
Publisher: Marcher Lord Press (October 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0982104987


If he fixes the robot, will he break his world? In a future ruled by sharia law machines are managed by debuggers, who in turn are owned by masters. Sandfly is a level 12 debugger. He is sent into Earth orbit to repair a robot-a robot that went on an experimental flight into deep space... And tore itself apart. As Sandfly digs into the mystery aboard the space station, he discovers what the bot heard around that distant star. He discovers that the bot heard...singing. As Sandfly pieces together the clues, the masters spread the trap before his feet. Everyone is racing to the same conclusion, but only one side welcomes what the singing represents.


The only reality Sandfly knows is that of the dystopian future, in a world where Islamic moral law controls a technology driven society. A debugger of robots, Sandfly is enslaved body and mind to the will of his master, controlled by an implant in his brain, yet ironically possessing greater mental capacity than those who are free.

When Sandfly’s master sends him to a space station to fix a robot that self-destructed after a groundbreaking deep space flight, he immediately faces a mystery beyond his means to grasp. As he works to “debug” the fragmented robot, he begins to suspect the cause of its self destruction may change the nature of the universe as they know it.

Sandfly’s distinctive voice helps make an alien world feel real and provides a strong connection point to him as a character. As he struggles with faith, his role as a slave, and the mysteries he faces, his tale grows in interest and intensity and culminates with a satisfying ending that still leaves room to anticipate the coming sequel.

Reviewed by: Sarah Sawyer

Bonus Review:

Thanks go to the author for my review copy. He allowed me to go on science fiction adventure I normally wouldn’t have taken, but I’m glad I did. This story is written in first person, point of view, inside the main character Sandfly’s head. He is a debugger, which allows him access to the “stream”. The “stream” is a huge internet super highway. He needs access to information in order to do his job, which is to repair and re-program robots from the inside out.

A debugger was a slave to his master and on call 24/7. Sandfly calls himself this, “a tool with emotions.” The master controls him through an implant in his head. If Sandfly rebelled, had “bad” thoughts”-- “free thinking”, he would be zapped like a dog hitting an electrical fence, except it’s inside his head.

The master sends Sandfly to solve a mystery—something went wrong with a robot, its torn himself to pieces. But why? It’s his job to understand what happened and put the pieces back together if he can. He needed to find out what went wrong so he can determine if humans were in danger of the same fate.

The main character Sandfly, I thought was similar to that of Mr. Spock from the Star Trek T.V. Shows; with his serious manner, quick wit and dry sense of humor. I also got the feel that Sandfly was on a space ship the size of the Enterprise.

Sneak peak into one of the cool download capabilities of transferring huge files implant to implant. Sandfly sends the file for Hard Candy to view and experience.

“I made you an FI of everything I know..sending…” Hard Candy looks down, then shuts her eyes as the message hits her—triple encrypted and specially tuned for her frequency. I can see her emotions as she views it. The creases on her forehead deepen and her arms tighten. Her head shakes on more than one occasion. Finally her eyes open.

“That was intense,” she says, “Bright orange intense.”

Can you imagine communicating like that? Wow! I don’t read science fiction often, so it took me a few chapters to get in the grove of this story and understand what was going on, imagine the space ship and picture the interesting characters the author describes. So, don’t give up on this book in the beginning, it will take you to fascinating places.

Reviewed by: Nora St. Laurent
ACFW Book Club Coordinator

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