THE RED: FIRST LIGHT by Linda Nagata

Official plot:  Lieutenant James Shelley commands a high-tech squad of soldiers in a rural district within the African Sahel. They hunt insurgents each night on a harrowing patrol, guided by three simple goals: protect civilians, kill the enemy, and stay alive—because in a for-profit war manufactured by the defense industry there can be no cause worth dying for. To keep his soldiers safe, Shelley uses every high-tech asset available to him—but his best weapon is a flawless sense of imminent danger…as if God is with him, whispering warnings in his ear.

OK, folks, this is a military sci-fi story set in something like today, and …. you ladies will love this … it is written by a woman.  It was originally an indie-published book but has been re-released by a major publisher. Does my heart good to see women sci fi writers get the notice they deserve.

So, like I said, not just a sci-fi, but a military sci-fi, and what the heck was I doing reading this?  My Dearly Beloved downloaded it and since we share an Amazon account, whatever he downloads shows up on my Kindle, too.  So I started reading it thinking it was …. well, I don’t know, I just started reading it, and found it kinda hard to put down, frankly.

It is kind of cyberpunkish, I guess, because Lt. Shelley has implants in his head, and their suits are like exoskeleton things, and they have all these nifty weapons.   They get caught in a surprise attack, and Lt. Shelley gets his legs blown off, but not to fret, Gentle Readers, they have a new experimental deal where they attach prosthetic  legs right to the bone and muscle!!!,  (which my amputee Dearly Beloved would truly prefer, since his above-the-knee prosthesis weighs a friggin’ ton.)   So after getting his cyborg attachments, back he goes into a secret and very dangerous mission.

Because, here’s the thing, it is getting known that he gets these feelings,  that warn him of coming bad stuff, and one of his team calls him King David, (you know, how God spoke to King David and helped him win battles? Not the part where King D. sent his best friend into combat to die so he, King D., could have the wife.  Not that part.)  That he has these warnings is starting to get around, and rather than think it is God or some alien, it is suspected that it is a computer programming hack, that possibly arose on its own out of a collection of marketing and inventory programs.  An emergent program, if you will.  However, others think it is  defense-contractor designed program, because as we all know, if there are no wars, DCs don’t make any money.

One interesting aspect of the storyline, interesting because I keep trying to ignore it here in R. L., is that the defense contracting industry went from supporting government declaring war, to figuring out they would do better by buying the congress so that the congress would find new places to hold a war, and then….. it occurred to them they could bypass the middleman Congress altogether and start wars all by themselves.

It was just a great read, and I am glad I stumbled onto it.  There is a sequel, but as the storyline gets more into conspiracy theory and farther away from It Was Aliens, I am less interested.

Oh, and the title comes from a major player who believes Satan is behind all the problems, and says that the Devil is everywhere.  He is the red stain bleeding through into all the affairs of Men.   People have started referring to the hacking as the red stain, or simply, the red.  I found that interesting, because the Spanish word for network is red.   Synchronicity.

I still hope its aliens.

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One comment on “THE RED: FIRST LIGHT by Linda Nagata

  1. larryzb says:

    She has written many books. I liked Limits of Vision many years back. Thanks for the review.

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