Saturday, 8 June 2013
The Icarus Transformation - Scott Rhine
Title: The Icarus Transformation
Author: Scott Rhine
I have read a couple of books now by Scott Rhine and thoroughly enjoyed both of them as can be seen in my reviews for “The Scarab” and “Foundation for the Lost”. Therefore when I noticed that “The Icarus Transformation”, one of his earlier novellas was available for free on Smashwords I jumped at the chance to pick it up.
The story follows PJ, a man who helps plug leaks in computer programs and networks who arrives at work one day to discover the office network having issues due to a large download that has appeared on the server. As he investigates PJ finds that the download is the remnant of a cryptic email from one of his friends, a scientific genius named Nick. PJ notices various other recipients of the email and decides to track them down and see if they can explain it, however before long he realizes that national security agents are trying to track him down and he has become embroiled in something both dangerous to himself and the whole world.
The amount of plot that Rhine has compressed into this novella is impressive; especially when you consider that he has also managed to keep the story coherent and enjoyable due to competent writing and a fast pace. There is one minor issue with this in that at times I would have rather seen the story slow down a little so that I could catch my breath and really take in what was happening. Therefore I have to say that I think that this story really would have benefited from an expansion into a full length novel to bring out the story more but don’t get me wrong, it does still work as a successful novella.
Another issue that some people may have is the hard science fiction elements within the story. Rhine throws in a lot of technical details into the novel which may confuse or bamboozle some readers if they are not used to it. Personally, it didn’t bother me but then again I studied Physics at University so I have read some detailed technical books in the past that could make your hair curl.
Overall, this was an entertaining novella that takes hard science fiction and successfully integrates into a fast paced adventure. It didn’t feel as polished as some of Rhine’s other work but based on how long ago he originally wrote it I was not surprised. I recommend this book to fans of Science Fiction that enjoy both the hard elements of the genre but also love thrills and fast pacing.