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Sten (Sten #1)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  1,806 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
When an "accident" kills his family, Sten rebels and harasses the company that runs Vulcan from the metal world's maze of warrens. The factory planet is ugly, harsh, and company-run for centuries. Sten meets a stranger who is his ticket off - and back.
Paperback, 310 pages
Published June 1st 2000 by Little, Brown Book Group (first published 1982)
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Another lesser known gem from the 1980’s. I would call this gourmet cheeseburger and imported beer science fiction that will leave you satiated, happy and feeling pretty darn good about your reading selection.
More than any other period, I have found the “greed is good” decade to be a treasure trove of overlooked excellence just waiting to be discovered by the SF fan willing to mine a little.

As a whole, these books have excited my admiration with the quality of their story-telling and highly e
Dirk Grobbelaar
Jan 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This is probably as good as this kind of thing gets. I particularly enjoyed the grimy, gritty feel of the novel, especially as far as the opening chapters were concerned. The action scenes are written exceptionally well, perhaps in some part because of the authors' individual backgrounds (Chris Bunch was a patrol commander in Vietnam). This novel was written in the 80s and it hasn't really dated. The science bits are quite interesting, more so than in many of the more science oriented Sci-Fi nov ...more
Dec 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebooks, sf
Some of my friends have already written great reviews of this novel, and I won't compete with them. (For a great review, see this one by Stephen. Also check out reviews by C.L., Dirk, Mike, and Tom.)

But I did love the book and want to say something...

So, why should you read Sten?
- because it's consiSTENtly entertaining
- because it's unabSTENtiously gritty; there's a STENch of reality in each injustice
- because it's oSTENtatiously thrilling - the book's dramatic voice is truly STENtorian
- be
Jun 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science_fiction
I actually bought this book as kind of a joke. My friend Chip was looking for books to read that were a) science fiction, b) looked like he might like them, and c) cheap. I was looking at the web site for Powell's Books and saw they listed the second book in this series as recently bought used and for sale cheap. It looked interesting enough to me and was clearly science fiction, and Powell's actually had inexpensive used copies of the entire eight-book series. Unable to convince Chip to give th ...more
Nov 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi
Gimme a shot of synthalk, sit down by the fire and read this sleeper series. I had never heard of Bunch and Cole before this book but now I have most of their stuff. Good, simple scifi.
Jun 13, 2011 rated it did not like it
I came into this book looking forward to a great series that I could get into and enjoy as much as Vatta, Longknife, and Honor Harrington. I didn't get it.

Now, maybe it is because it's a male protagonist compared to a female one? Which I doubt, seeing as I am male and naturally prefer male based stories. Or maybe it just isn't as good? More than likely.

Maybe I didn't enjoy it because the characters just did not become real for me. With good books the character becomes a person who you can predic
Feb 08, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Sci-Fi Fans
Good Intro To Allan Cole, Don't Let the 3 Stars Turn You Away

Pro's: Unforgettable Characters, Great Story
Con's: Too much happened in the first novel that could've been stretched and explained better. Where can they go from here?

I am a big fan of the Timura Trilogy by Allan Cole (even though I have yet to read the third book for fear of a bad ending to the trilogy, stupid huh?). For some reason or another, I had yet to read the Sten series even though I was so in love with the characters Cole cr
Oct 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Military SF
"Shades of Robert Heinlein" according to the blurb. But this book is closer to Haldeman's The Forever War with it's gritty action and angst-filled protagonist. Written with spare, impactful prose and the insight of one who has been to war and knows its horrors. A good origin story for the series.


Back when this book first came out, I loved it. I think I was 17 at the time and I just found it to be immense fun. Lots of action, some cool sci-fi stuff, a protagonist I could relate to, witty banter and a quick read. I probably read it another 3 or 4 times as the other books in the series came out.

Upon rereading it again after more than 25 years have passed, I thoroughly enjoyed it once again.

Allan Cole and Chris Bunch were screenwriters, and that really comes across in this book. The
Michael Lawrence
Mar 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read this book on a dare, sort of... this one a very hard-core science fiction book that after a couple of chapters took my breath away with its depiction of the not so distant future. You know you're reading a GREAT book when you care about the characters in it so much. What made this book a must read for me though was the overriding story arch that I could neither guess at nor imagine.

The cover reminds me of old-style pulp fiction and I guess, in a way, that's what it is. But the story-line
C.L. Stegall
Jul 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This tops my sci-fi all-time favorites...along with Stranger In A Strange Land and Starship Troopers (both by Heinlein, of course).

This is one of those books that I read about once a year, just for the pure joy of it.

Great character development, awesome military themes, Allan and Chris just nailed this one to the floor. It is just about perfect in every way for me. Sten is seen as a kid on a slave planet, who loses everything and has to make his own way in the horrible world he's in. But, this g
Jun 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, science-fiction
I really enjoyed this book and it looks like it is set to be a good series, it took me a little while to get into the story and at some points I didn't really feel that I knew Sten as I suppose he had been through a fair deal and so was sort of numb and a bit "oh, ok". However this book is pretty much an introduction to Sten and the series, and I am looking forward to finding out more about the team and the Emperor as he seems like a bit of a crazy/sane/scary guy!

I note that this book is also by
Jun 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf, owned
Équivalant à un polar vite lu avec ce qu'il faut de rebondissement, beaucoup de stéréotypes, certes de l'action, mais aucune réelle connexion avec les personnages (Sten faisant figure de "super héros" même à travers toutes les épreuves endurées )
tenter le T2 pour voir si la série s'améliore et prend sa "3e dimension" ?
May 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great start to the series. He is precursor to Mike Harmon
Al Philipson
Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
The first book in the Sten series. Fortunately it has a beginning, middle, and and END, so you don't have to read the next book unless you want more of the great writing.

The middle moves kinda slow, but the military training described is fairly accurate (probably because Chris Bunch was Airborne in 'Nam) which makes it fairly interesting in itself. But both the beginning and the end are riveting, and kept me glued to the pages.

I'll be reading the next one in the series (I've already got them in
Aug 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
It's a solid sci-fi novel. The only irritating thing was the overuse or repetitive use of the names. In chapter 16 on 7ish pages Sten's name is used 47 time. You might think, "well he is the main character and the book is about him", and I would say - fine, I don't mind. But when every sentence and every paragraph starts with his name, (one paragraph has 3 sentences all of them start with his name, one has it twice) it just becomes annoying to read the book that way. It makes me feel like somebo ...more
Laura Pittman-Hewitt
future empire space romp

fun read with tons of action. quite violent though. i will continue reading the series. classic good guys bad guys story line, which is not a bad thing.
Jun 24, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
I don't care for the authors' hyper-active writing style. Too many topics in each paragraph. For me, it was a mass of confusion.
Aug 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
****Having just finished the entire series, I wanted to come back and add a couple notes to the first book in case anyone was considering committing to the whole series (no spoilers, I promise).

The series is a fun ride through a unique scifi universe. Some circumstances are always a little too convenient, but overall, it's very enjoyable. If you like the first book, you'll like it all the way through.

Another note: If you have the opportunity to listen to any of these in audio book format, I high
Sep 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
A fun series to read.

Written in a similar worldbuilding style to John Ringo or David Weber without the pitfalls that both of those authors seem to fall into (ie getting lost in minutiae, vigorous political commentary, or excessive "historical" reference)

In just about every long science fiction series Ive read, Ive found myself skimming through boring bits (sometimes chapters, sometimes whole books). This is not the case for the Sten series. Every book in the series is a fresh and compelling rea
David Brawley
Jan 15, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
I picked this up at a used book sale without any idea what it would be like, but figuring that it would be a quick pulpy read. Based on the blurb on the back I thought it would be a Spartacus type story, set on an alien world. I was right in that it was a quick pulpy read, but the quality ended up being much better than I expected.

What most impressed me was the authors' ability to get some fairly impressive world building done in under 300 pages. Vulcan, the starting location of the book, isn't
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
***Dave Hill
Sep 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: text, favorites
Time for another Sten re-read. Still good stuff, though in this first novel Sten's character is fairly crudely drawn compared to later on. Everything is well set up for the rest of the series, however, and it's a painless, entertaining read.


SEP 2012

This is a classic of 1980s military space opera, with a bit of politics, economic, and sociology thrown in, and a few bad jokes. I keep coming back to this book (the first of a finite and well-planned series), because it's just good fun, w
Sep 09, 2009 rated it liked it
This is an action-packed space opera adventure. It's well towards the fantasy end of things rather than harder sci-fi; neither the science and technology, the politics, or the characters are particularly well developed, and therefore not very believable. The people in the book are (intentionally, I guess) more caricatures than characters; the bad guys are really, really evil, the emperor of the universe is really, really powerful, and the heroes are really, really heroic. Not really my bag, I gu ...more
Douglas Owen
Jul 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Catching up on the reviews.

Finished this novel a while ago but did not have the time to post. Sorry everyone, life gets in the way.

For an older novel, this book does a good job at entertaining. Chris Bunch has a well founded foot in the Sci Fi world. Is it perfect? No, that is why 4/5 stars.

The novel was first published in the 80's, when Sci Fi started to really line up with Sci Fact. There are some inconsistencies with what we knew then and now, so keep that in mind when reading.

All in all a ve
Feb 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, fantasy
3.5 Stars

A decent Sci-fi. The characters could use a little more development. The story line was pretty strong.

However I had a real problem with the authors writing style. At times the subject would change suddenly then change again all within only a few sentences per subject and sometimes without reference to who was being discussed and what the hell is the author writing about. It was possible to figure out what was what but I didn't like the break up of the flow and the necessity of de-cyferr
Brad Quillen
Oct 27, 2014 rated it liked it
I think I first started reading the Sten series when I was in 8th grade (that would've been 1989-1990). I ended up reading the entire series twice, because I loved it so much. I haven't read it since then, but I remember *loving* it. There were multiple coal miners in my family (my grandfather and uncle), so I understood the man-versus-company conflict pretty well. I'd rate it 4 out of 5 stars if it hadn't been so long since I'd read it. I wouldn't say it's required reading (like Hyperion)...but ...more
Apr 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was just a tiny, weeny disappointed with this book - I was expecting Battlestar Galactica/Star Wars type space opera and, although parts of the book are like this, I found the whole thing a bit 'bitty'. The story seemed to jump around and I suspect that the authors knew this was to be the first in a series of books and wanted to cram as much as they could into the first one to make a good back story. Saying that, I liked the character and the world he lives in. The story has a lot going for it ...more
Jul 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
This review is in the context of considering the series as teenage action fare - in that category it's a great rollicking read. If you are looking for a steak dinner of scifi fare, this isn't it, but it's a good chocolate bonbon for dessert.
The main character is a hero emerging from a depressed background and pursuing revenge. Though the setting details and character depth could use work, the plot and smooth writing make for a nice read.
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SciFi and Fantasy...: STEN - Movie 4 52 Sep 08, 2013 12:07PM  
Science Fiction A...: Sten series made into film 1 15 Jun 13, 2013 04:20PM  
SOS: Serious Over...: Movie: STEN 1 5 Jun 11, 2013 02:26PM  
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Christopher R. "Chris" Bunch was an American science fiction, fantasy and television writer, who wrote and co-wrote about thirty novels.

Born in Fresno, California, he collaborated with Allan Cole on a series of books involving a hero named Sten in a galactic empire. (Cole married Bunch's sister, Kathryn.) He served in Vietnam as a patrol commander. He also wrote for Rolling Stone and was a corresp
More about Chris Bunch...

Other Books in the Series

Sten (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • The Wolf Worlds (Sten, #2)
  • The Court of a Thousand Suns (Sten, #3)
  • Fleet of the Damned (Sten, #4)
  • Revenge of the Damned (Sten, #5)
  • The Return of the Emperor (Sten, #6)
  • Vortex (Sten, #7)
  • Empire's End (Sten, #8)
  • Battlecry (Sten Omnibus 1)
  • Juggernaut (Sten Omnibus 2)
  • Death Match (Sten Omnibus #3)