Hendel's Reviews > Out of the Dark

Out of the Dark by David Weber
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Jan 06, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: ebook
Read on January 06, 2011

Holy crap. I'm going to try really, really hard to avoid crossing over into spoiler territory here, even if it means not being able to fully explain my reaction to this book.

Even though the premise of aliens battling unexpectedly-advanced humans isn't particularly original, it's a theme I enjoy once in a while, so I picked this book up. I got pretty much what I'd expected out of it, for the first 3/4 or so, as the alien conquerors initially devastated the Earth by dropping kinetic weapons from orbit and then began to get hammered on the ground by the (inexplicably, to them) strong-willed and well-armed humans. The bulletporn was a bit thick, describing each human weapon in extended lustful detail, and eventually I found myself wishing that the poor alien invaders would manage just one small victory to keep things interesting. But the battle scenes were entertaining, and if there weren't any surprises for me as a reader the book was at least fulfilling the expectations I'd had for it as a quick read. The main plot point I kept reading for was to see how the humans were going to deal with the alien fleet and those mass drivers - throughout the book, both sides recognize that if the aliens decide Earth isn't worth the trouble, they can easily finish the job the way they started it by dropping enough unstoppable rocks from orbit to literally wipe out humanity and go home.

And that's where the twist hits. I won't say what it is (there are plenty of spoiler-hidden reviews here if you want to find out), but what first finishes off most of the alien ground forces and then proceeds to deal with the orbiting fleet is the weirdest Deus Ex Machina I can remember, completely outside my expectations for the genre and what the book had in fact delivered to that point. This in a book that explicitly references the silliness that was "Independence Day". Think of Superman suddenly showing up to defeat Sauron and save the day at Minas Tirith, and you have an idea of what I'm talking about. To be fair there is a hint at it earlier in the story, and if this element had been an overt part of the plot from the beginning I might have really enjoyed it. But to have it suddenly appear at the end and essentially negate every other battle in the book (because what it does at the end could have happened at almost any time after the initial bombardment) is outrageous.

I can't recall reading any other Weber books, but I'd been under the impression he wrote reasonably straight military SF. I don't read a lot of that genre, but when I'm occasionally in the mood for it, I think I'll be looking at other authors in the future.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Hendel Huh. About halfway through (quick read), haven't read this kind of bulletporn in a long time. Kinda starting to root for the poor hapless aliens - if they don't figure it out soon, the rest is going to be kinda predictably dull between wargasms.

Hendel And I thought the end of "Independence Day" (which is actually called out at one point in this book) was ridiculously silly. More later, but seriously Mr. Weber. W. T. F.

message 3: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Mahler To be fair, in all his other sci-fi books Weber has never done anything like what I'm hearing he did with this one. The rest really are straight military sci-fi.

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