Gail's Reviews > The Dragon's Nine Sons

The Dragon's Nine Sons by Chris Roberson
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Oct 18, 08

Read in September, 2008

Alternate history SF. The Chinese were the great explorers in this universe, and went into space slightly before the Russian/Sputnik era. Their great rivals is Mexica--which is still run by the Aztecs on rivers of blood. I found both these premises highly improbable, because Chinese culture wasn't generally expansive in nature, unlike the individualistic, missionary-minded European Christians. (Christianity doesn't seem to exist in this universe, though Muslims do.) And because the Mayan culture, which was slightly less blood-thirsty, probably collapsed under the weight of its own bloodthirstiness. They just couldn't keep up with the need for captives to sacrifice. But never mind that.

The story is about a Chinese suicide mission carried out by screw-ups condemned to death by the military for various crimes. It's a motley bunch with the usual suspects--a coward, an honorable man whose honor gets him crosswise with the higher ups, a cheat, a simple minded big man--you know the assortment. We hear everyone's story. We go through training with them, and then on the journey on a captured Mexic ship to blow up a secret asteroid fortress with a nuke. It's a decent story, but it was written for guys who want gadgets and gore. The emotional content was spare, and stereotypical with place-holder female characters. We got way too much detail (for me) on how the space suits worked, and how they figured out how to make projectile weapons work in weightlessness and stuff. It was okay, but could have been a Whole lot better.
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