Russell Allison's Reviews > Directive 51

Directive 51 by John Barnes
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's review
Apr 26, 2010

liked it

Recommended for anyone who likes post-apocalyptic stuff. Conceptually, I found many of the ideas and non-cliche elements really interesting, but the execution of the book wasn't great. I didn't enjoy it as much as I should have given how unique some of his ideas were.

A much more thoughtful than usual take from the genre -- reminds me of Kirkman's Walking Dead graphic novels in that there is a strong emphasis on how things "would really work" if civilization was deeply damaged. Even as technology collapses, people look to the government and the government has a mix of competent/less competent/useless leaders and agents who take action.

Barnes tries to explore a bit WHY the terrorist attacks and magical technology plague occur, but I found this the most confusing part of the novel. Whereas I LOVE when Vernor Vinge ints at the Singularity while fundamentally not understanding it, Barnes' concept of System Artifact and other pseudo Social Media stuff just came across as irritating nonsense to me.

All in all, I'll definitely read the 2nd book in the trilogy when it comes out, but won't be dying to find out what happens with the characters. Also, I'm irritated at the title -- feels like a decision by the publisher to differentiate the book, as it should have been called something like Daybreak.

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