Defenders by Will McIntosh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Really fascinating and really ambitious. I'm giving this a 4.5 stars for a few weird moments but the rest was like War of the Worlds. Times three.
I mean, it starts out pretty awesome as a beleaguered humanity is dying from a starfish invasion. They have excellent telepathy and they use it against us perfectly. The action and multiple viewpoints work very well. It's not an easy situation. They are herding us into the cities and several billion have died by the time we MAKE our defenders. Giant, genetically modified humans without serotonin, three robot legs, and they're all sociopaths, much smarter than us, and they were made to destroy.
OF COURSE, NO ONE ASKS IF THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA.
At least the cheering and the parades were nice. The Defenders couldn't be read by the starfish, but now that humanity won? Oh, they didn't want to be integrated into our society. lol But since several billion people died, why not give them Australia?
Yes, the key idea is clear and it should come to no surprise that the Defenders, knowing nothing but war and broken on the inside, unable to procreate, but definitely able to build up a huge arsenal and adapt the alien starfish technology, brutal enough to take all the treaty-survivor aliens to turn them all into slaves, it was only a matter of time before they asked for something the rest of the weakened humanity couldn't give. Large tracts of land, integration on the Defenders' terms, and the labs that made them.
No spoilers, but THREE more wars later, or four total over 20 years, and we've got one hell of a MilSF epic on our hands.
And strangely enough, it actually has a really well-done theme. :) Is it EVEN POSSIBLE to communicate with the Other? I mean, the telepathic aliens KNEW we wouldn't take them in as refugees. The Defenders are slightly more alien than the aliens, and we MADE them.
Very cool book. Will McIntosh continues to amaze me with the style and variety and hardcore stories. :)
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