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They Also Serve -- Mike Moscoe Print
Written by Mike Noel   
Tuesday, 04 October 2011

they also serve

One of the things that comes with the territory in the science fiction genre is the fact that things don't always make sense -- at least not right away.  But in good science fiction all of the strange things eventually resolve into some sort of coherence.  Unfortunately this wasn't the case with They Also Serve by Mike Moscoe.  The crew of Second Chance makes a bad "jump" through space and ends up at a planet in some unknown area of the universe.   Against all odds, this is the same planent that another ship accidently stumbled across 300 years earlier.  In order for the crew to get back to their home planet they need to establish a base and build the required resources. Seems simple enough.

Of course things aren't that easy.  Slowly we discover that the entire planet is one large computer.  It is a two million year old computer that believes that it knows everything.   Eventually the computer tries to attack the new humans on the planet.  And then a battle ensues between the newcomers and the existing computer.  I won't spoil any more of the story by telling you how it ends.  But it is fairly predictable.

I really wanted to like this book but in the end there were just too many inconsistencies, irrelevant details, and unresolved story lines.  For example, the Second Chance wasn't blasted to this planet by accident.  Early on we hear that it was sabotage by an unknown party.  Once that is mentioned we never hear anything about it again.  Ever.  Another example is the action of the ship while the landing party is on the planet.  We just keep hearing of the ship "making another run" but there's no explanation of what this other run is.  My guess is that the ship is just flinging around the solar system trying to do something.  

Then there's the inexplicable and unexplained (probably because it's inexplicable) issue of how the humans battle against the super-powered planet sized computer.  Essentially, by blowing up mountains and other large rock outcroppings the computer is harmed.  

In the end I didn't really enjoy the book.  There were action sequences but they didn't have enough context and coherence to make them interesting.  

 

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