I had never heard of Dennis E. Taylor prior to reading the first book in his Bobiverse series last year. I enjoyed that book immensely; so much so, in fact, that I think I oversold it in my review. Setting all that aside, though, the series was still a highlight of the year, and I’ll read any future novels he writes in the universe.
So, seeing that he’s come out with a new book piqued my interest. I think it’s an Audible-only release, though. The book was read by Ray Porter, one of my favorite narrators. He also did Taylor’s Bobiverse and the Peter Clines books.
Ivan Pritchard has a family to support, but he’s living on the wrong side of the poverty line. In a final desperate grasp for solvency, he joins a mining crew hunting the asteroid belt for a chance at financial security. When the crew finds an asteroid rich in mineral deposits, Ivan is part of the exploratory team sent down to investigate. He stumbles upon something not native to the rock, and it literally transforms him into a metallic beacon for an alien race. Ivan soon finds himself caught between an alien race and the human military.
It was a fun read, and not nearly as detailed as We Are Legion and the other books in the Bobiverse.
Taylor writes inoffensive, light science fiction. I would put his books a notch below John Scalzi. They’re good, but kind of forgettable. I have stronger memories of the Bobiverse books, but even I’ve still kind of forgotten most of what happens in them. I read this book in mid-June, and have almost completely forgotten it at this point. Ivan (I only remember his name because I started this review soon after finishing the book) turns into a robot, and…..things happen? The conflict was between advanced AI and biomechanical beings, and environmental degradation was a key plot point, but there’s no real weight to this book.
And I think that’s just kind of how Taylor writes. His protagonists haven’t been particularly memorable, and the plots are largely driven by their imperturbable competence.
This book is kind of like Ruby Tuesdays. I know I’ve eaten there before, but I can’t for the life of me tell you how the food tasted, and I always confuse it with other moderately appealing chain restaurants in the same price range: Applebees, Chili’s, and TGI Fridays. I’ve eaten at all of them, but can’t distinguish one from another, and have never recommended them to anyone.
Which isn’t to say I didn’t like this book. I did. And I’ll probably read future Dennis Taylor books. They’re good in the moment.
But I don’t expect to really have any lasting memories of them.