Reviews of Free Sci-fi - J

Reviews of free sci-fi with titles beginning with J

Johnny Winger and the Serengeti Factor – Philip Bosshardt.

*** sex = 1, action = 7, prose = 8

The Serengeti factor is a virus, created to battle another virus. This book is all about nanotechnology, artificial viruses and the heroes who lead them into battle. There's a few evil corporations and/or criminal gangs bent on world domination or extermination, a lot of nanotechnology military gear and lots of nanotech battles, many deep in people's brains, several in the main character's brain.

The action happens in 2062. The U.N. is a much bigger player than today but the USA survives more or less intact. The phone is there but not the be-all, end-all it is today. Other than that the world is very little changed from today's except for the advances in nanotechnology. A lot could be said about the technology in the story. It seems to violate the laws of conservation of mass and energy, I don't see how such progress could be made in so little time, and a few little things like that, but this is a military adventure and not a science text or social treatise. As a military adventure I would have given it four stars but so many of the battles are repetitious and the troop's reactions to them are just a bit shallow.

This is a full-length novel, unlike so many listed here. Perhaps it should have had more world building and character building because of that. The social fabric of our country and the world is in flux and current conditions are unsustainable. Whether this leads to the collapse and dissolution of the United States like 'Blade Runner' or 'Mad Max', or a brutal totalitarian theocracy as in 'Dominion' is yet to be seen, but it will not remain as it is or go back to what it was in the 50's. However, detailing that was not the author's mission. His world is consistent with a gung-ho, straight-laced, crew-cut adventure like the one in this story. Had he modified the world to be more probable, the story wouldn't make sense.

There is no sex in the story and only the tiniest hints of a love interest on the parts of a few characters. The main character resolutely avoids it. There is little human on human violence, most battles happen on the molecular scale. A few people die and a few macro-scale weapons are discharged, but this is not a story for those looking for maximum body count. There are the usual number of proofreading errors for a self-published work, not enough to hinder reading. The dialog is fairly mature and not all cliches.

There are six books in this series altogether and they are all free and accessible on Smashwords. I have not read them yet but the synopsis confirms a suspicion I had about the original virus, it is not natural and not of Earth origin, but leads to a swarm of nanobots in outer space with echos of the wetat in 'Tangle in the Dark'.

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