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Book Review

Book Cover

The Clone Rebellion
Book 1 - Republic


Author: Steven L. Kent
Titan Books
RRP: £7.99
ISBN: 978 1 78116 713 7
Available 22 March 2013

2508 and the Human race have spread across the galaxy with the help of its broadcasting technology. Believing they were alone, the Unified Authority felt complete in their power, that is, until they sent explorer ships into the heart of the galaxy; ships which didn’t return. Building a fleet of self-broadcasting ships and thousands of clone troops the UA they embarked against an unknown foe only to disappear. Years later, Private First-Class Wayson Harris graduates from a UA orphanage, a euphemism for a clone training facility, which houses both clones and orphans from poor families. Sent to the dead end planet of Gobi, a chance attack on the base gets Wayson a promotion and a posting to the heart of the galactic fleet...

Clone Rebellion: Republic is the first in a series of science fiction books which follows Wayson's adventures. Written by American author Steven L. Kent this is his first foray away from the world of journalism and into the world of fiction.

Initially, I thought that this was going to be another science fiction military book in the vein of Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet series, rather it has more in common with Heinlein’s Starship Troopers without the fascistic overtones.

The story is told from the perspective of Wayson as he graduates and is sent to the back end of nowhere, Godi - a desert planet, with a small platoon of clone soldiers who have gone to seed through boredom and neglect. Things change when he attends his first card game and meets an unusual stranger who turns out to be a rebellious military leader, on the run from the UA.

When the UA discover this they send a bounty hunter, but before this man can be hunted down the base is attacked for its weapons. During the attack the platoon is massacred but Wayson and the bounty hunter beat off the attack. Not wanting to credit a bounty hunter Wayson gets all the credit and a transfer to the fleet flag ship, the Kamehameha.

Although no classic, the book is none the less well written, the only oddity of style is his habit of splitting up lines of conversation. Normally a new line means a new voice, but there are occasions when the same person is talking about the same subject, but the lines have been split, which leads to confusion.

Wayson is a sympathetic character although, because of Kent's constant reference to what his secret is, you just know way before Wayson what his first, now unsurprising, discovery will be.

Although the book has a philosophical underpinning, its style harkens back to the golden age of science fiction. On the surface it may seem that Kent has borrowed heavily from science fiction tropes, gathered together in this form Kent is still able to inject a nice level of originality and action writing.

So, worth a punt as it stands between modern military science fiction and science fiction adventure.


Charles Packer

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