Title: Into the Black (Odyssey One #1)
Author: Evan Currie
Narrator: Benjamin L. Darcie
I’m not a huge fan of military scifi, but I’ve probably read more than my fair share over the years, and it does have a rich tradition. This one gets a little bogged-down in tech descriptions, but at least avoids the “gun porn” and overt misogyny common to some examples of the subgenre. Currie does a great job keeping it focused on real science fiction in the form of mysterious aliens, vastly divergent cultures, and a creative set of antagonists.
The underlying story is quite unusual and oddly compelling. Mankind builds its first interstellar ship, and immediately and accidentally encouters an SOS-type beacon from a ship in distress. Even the characters are puzzled by the timing. Can it really be a coincidence? What they find is unique — I don’t think I’ve read an SF story that has ever taken quite the same approach before. And Currie’s just getting started at that point — where it goes next is fascinating.
This series has four books so far, and I would encourage readers to avoid summaries and reviews that might contain spoilers — it’s that kind of story. The fifth book is due out in July.
On the whole these reminded me a LOT of 1970s-’80s 2nd-gen hard SF greats like Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, Greg Bear, David Brin, etc. Clearly more militarized, but I’m reminded far more of Niven and Pournelle’s “The Mote in God’s Eye” or David Weber’s Honorverse than I am of Tom Clancy, Vox Day or Larry Correia. This is good stuff, and hardcore old-timers will love it.