Wednesday, April 13, 2011
"K" is for KiTE By Bill Shears: Another Science Fiction Book Review
Mason Dash, operator of Earth Orbit street sweeper Kite, spots movement in a derelict space station where there should be none. Heading Earthward in his shuttle the last day of his three-month shift he detours, closing with the dark station. Something moving in there spooks him.
Dash, with the help of beautiful virtual personality Sheila, creates a plan to expose suspected hijackers. He believes Sheila is his secret but Janet, his brilliant AI expert spouse, informs him that she and Sheila are chums, and she's even added some experimental "adaptive" modules. While preparing a simulation "scenario" to carry into orbit next shift, Dash dozes off and Sheila stows away in the code, her new adaptive behaviors kicking in. No way she'll be left behind this trip.
Back in orbit Dash confirms the presence of intruders on the station, while inside the Kite computer systems there's turmoil. Emerging from deep in the data depths He_Ra has assembled a powerful force to seize control from the old Main Process.
Sheila splits attention between Dash outside and her own adventure inside Kite, getting a taste of romance and revolution. The tyrant He_Ra has taken a fancy to her and wants to expand to other orbital structures, like the nearby space casino, then perhaps to Earth.
Dash sends Sheila to the space station to scout. She finds not hijackers but a team of inept diplomats, preparing to receive humankind's first unearthly visitor.
Dash, doubtful they'll survive the encounter, would leave them to their fate when the alien, name of Troy, turns up. Troy's a working stiff too but is authorized to defend himself. His sensors detect a threat and he's armed with some powerful planet-busting weapons.
Earth's fate is in the balance and only Dash, Sheila, Janet, and Kite, can prevent disaster.
From the very beginning of this book, you realize you are reading what people refer to as "Hard Science Fiction": Hard science fiction is a category of science fiction characterized by an emphasis on scientific or technical detail, or on scientific accuracy, or on both.
The entire book is centered around the Earth Orbit Sweeper KiTE. Dash, the space trash man who flies KiTE, is bored with his job and of course things turn crazy quickly. There is a great blend of human and digitalized characters. These characters interact throughout the whole book. One of the main female characters is "Sheila" who was basically designed by Dash to keep his life exciting. I have to interject here, it was weird to read about a character like this who shares my name. I did like the spunk and intelligence she showed.
One of the best parts of this story is how the inner "parts" of KiTE take on personalities, intelligence and self-awareness. It is fascinating to see how the main processor and an upstart computer part, He_Ra start an all out war within KiTE's system. This part of the book was very interesting to me, more than what was happening to the humans on the old abandoned space station. As a reader you actual care very deeply about who wins this war.
There is also much humor found in this book. Funny enough, it is the alien visitor who made me laugh. His interaction with Sheila was amusing. I also like how Dash's wife Janet stands up to her husband. At times the interaction between them will make you laugh.
My main warning to sensitive or younger readers, there is swearing in the book. If you don't like to read this kind of language, this book may not be for you. There is also a "sex" scene (if you want to call it that) where Sheila and the tyrant He_Ra come together/meld their systems. Nothing specific is mentioned and it all is implied. I just like to inform you, the reader, about what is there in the story.
I liked reading KiTE. It was action packed, had witty dialogue and truly lived up to it's title as a "Hard" science fiction novel. If you like science fiction this would be a great read for you. If you like to read about space exploration, living in space, and how we someday may interact with alien life, you will enjoy reading this novel by Bill Shears.
If you would like to learn more about Bill Shears and his theories he presented in his novel KiTE, go to his website. KiTE can be purchased on Amazon.com: http://ow.ly/2neXy
I appreciate the review copy of KiTE given to me. In no way did this influence the review that was given to this novel.