Curtis, J. L. Rimworld: Into the Green Print edition
Humans merrily expanded out from Earth, and collided with the Dragons, or Dragoons, and war erupted. A stalemate of sorts has been reached, with the emphasis on “of sorts.” Because the Dragoons and their human slaves, the Traders, won’t stop their attempts to expand and conquer. And humans won’t stop exploring and spreading out among the stars. Into those steps, or rather falls, Lt. Ethan Fargo. And the Dragoons (and a few loose bureaucrats) are in for a surprise.
After forcible medical retirement from the scouting arm of the interplanetary military (GalPat), Fargo settles on Hunter, a world originally terraformed by a big-game hunting club and then lost. He brings his demons with him, and all he wants is quiet. The native wildlife has other plans, and in the process of hunting and defending against dangerous beasts like oversize carnivorous hippos (bring artillery and a friend with artillery), he finds a few other things as well. Because Ethan Fargo has a secret, several secrets, and some unexpected cards up his sleeve.
The book is pretty straight up mil-sci-fi, tightly written with engaging characters. The world building is plausible, and anyone who has been around large and/or dangerous animals will understand exactly what Fargo is up against. Ditto bureaucrats of a certain flavor, civilian and military. The same fast action that Curtis does so well in his Grey Man series shows here, and the same realistic competence, with some sci-fi touches. There is a little sex but not graphic and it fits with the story arc and characters.
I really enjoyed the book, more so than the Grey Man series, but that has more to do with the Grey Man being a little too realistic for my comfort. I’d prefer not to know that there are people that nasty in my real world, thank you. In some ways Into the Green is aimed more at the general science fiction reader, and the additional description of setting and landscape is excellent. It ends with an open ending, something that may irk some readers, but the sequel is being written right now.
There are some typos and minor punctuation problems in the final chapters of my copy, which was a proof that had some printing flaws. I’m certain the final version has been tidied up, and they are not problems that distract from the story.
In sum, I highly recommend the book. It’s a fun, fast-paced read about a man learning to cope with a lot of problems and rebuilding his life in a new world.
FTC Disclaimer: I was given a flawed proof copy as a gift. The author did not request a review in exchange for the book, but I’m writing one anyway.
Great review. I really enjoyed the book, too, and hope he’s got more coming.
I didn’t notice any of those typos (at least not any that I remember a month later) in the published version that I read.
The one thing I would have liked was more background and explanation about the Dragoons and Traders, it kind of felt like it was a second or third book in a series, or rather like it might be a standalone or first in a series that was based in a preexisting universe that the reader was expected to know a little more background about. I was never clear on the relationship between Dragoons and Traders, and wondered about it. I certainly never got that the Traders were slaves. Subservient, probably considered second class citizens by the Dragoons, but I didn’t realize they were outright slaves.
It was a very good book though, and I am looking forward to the sequel.
And I will note for those who worry about Alma’s point that it is an open ending. That is an apt description, “open”, it is by no means a cliffhanger.
I really didn’t see this one coming from J L Curtis. I LOVE his Grey Man series, which is out west & contemporary. This has the future sighted in nicely, and shows the warts that humans bring with them to anything that extends beyond one guy sitting on a desert island. I’m really looking forward to more in this series.
I think SF writing is contagious, and hanging around here and AtH he must have gotten infected.
Thanks! I appreciate the good words! Bearcat, Rimworld was actually written on a dare…LOL
I quite liked it, too – read it shortly after it came out on Kindle, and somehow never got around to writing a review.
I did find the typos in the Kindle edition distracting, and also felt that Volume I should have ended either a few pages earlier or a whole bunch later.
It’s quite imaginative, and I’m looking forward to future volumes.
I kept getting sidetracked by the Adversaries – both by their nature (Gorn/Kzin hybrids?) and by the name (Goon conjures up Ying Tong Iddle I Po, whence Dragoon gets me to “Quick, Bottle, put on dis dress!” before I remember the proper definition, “a soldier specially trained to quell disturbances arising in operas”). But that’s me, sitting outside the story and dragging in random silliness.
Somewhat concur with Bearcat, about being dropped into the middle of a new mythos, but trying to make sense of the background is part of the fun, so long as there is sense to be made of it (as is the case with this book). And, after all, the protagonist is also trying to make sense of things.
The relationship between Traders and Goons? Probably complicated, and, given the social structures and beliefs that humans are known to be capable of, and how easily humans can be conditioned to believe that other humans are evil, subhuman, or otherwise not-like-us, there’s a vast range of possibilities.