In this sci-fi novel set in the 35th century, a Galactic Interpol Society agent chases down a set of stolen codes that could leave an artificial planet open to invasion.
By the year 3421, humans coexist with the red-eyed novi, a people “originally born from enhanced industrialized pollutants.” The novi have colonized Earth’s Southern Hemisphere; slowly, the world is moving toward integration, but tensions still flare, especially at border cities. A third group of aliens from Planet Amephirous lives in small settlements on Earth and on Atlas, a new, artificial planet inhabited by members of all three cultures. This fragile peace is threatened by a power-seeking cabal whose chief members are an alien military officer and “underworld criminal”; a human politician; Jax, a novi terrorist and criminal; and Trigarous, a rogue human intelligence agent. They’re plotting to steal the codes for a security fail-safe program called RETROSPECT and use them to invade Atlas, jeopardizing all of its inhabitants. The group has power, money, connections, and highly developed skills—but they don’t have Jonah, a “top-priority special agent” for the Galactic Interpol Society. He’s tasked with investigating the conspiracy, preventing disaster, and rescuing a kidnapped ambassador. He’ll get help from Bot-21, a mobile AI unit, as well as an array of high-tech tools and weaponry—and he’ll need every advantage for what’s ahead of him. With his debut novel, DeMinico will appeal to readers who are intrigued by futuristic battles and gadgets. Both Jonah and Trigarous receive intriguing tactical goodies before starting their missions, and they use them to good effect; these elements, along with the novel’s many action sequences, are well-thought-out. However, the storytelling is greatly hampered by the tortured, sometimes-bizarre syntax that permeates the prose, such as “The other dwelled his interest elsewhere” and “her nose ejected its own variance of bodily tears.” Women also receive little representation, and one portrayal—of a “cute oriental woman,” who turns out to be an assassin named “Lady Crimson”—draws on stereotypes.
Overwritten, labored phrasing and problematic tropes burden this future-tech novel.