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REVIEW: Invasion – Scott James Magner

Invasion - Scott James Magner

Genre: Sci-Fi

LGBTQ+ Category: Lesbian

Reviewer: Scott

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About The Book

Lt. Marya Andreison just wanted to get her career back on track. After years of crap assignments and missed promotions, she finally got the deep-space posting she always wanted, only to find bigotry and intolerance are universal.

But when an alien transmission only she can decode comes through an unauthorized wormhole, her situation goes from bad to worse to awful. Now she’s on the run, with only her wits, her wedding rings, and a downloaded message that could start an intergalactic war.

All Marya wants to do is get back home to her family. And if she has to burn down what’s left of civilization to get there, that’s exactly what she’s going to do.

The Review

Damn.

That was my first reaction upon starting into Scott James Magner’s Invasion, book one of the Homefront trilogy.

Magner drops you in media res, and the action never lets up.

The story is set against a future version of our solar system, where the alien “transgenic virus” has changed parts of humanity into basically a new species. These genetic variants, called gennies pejoratively by “normal” humans, were chased out of the solar system in a fight that destroyed Earth, which is only now slowly beginning to recover.

There are three distinct factions in Invasion:

The “gennies,” headed by Jantine, are engaged in a stealth mission to return to an Earth that rejected them hundreds of years before. Their culture, based around alphas and gammas and betas and deltas and omegas, each with a different skillset, is fascinating, even though we really just get little glimpses of it via the strike force.

Then there’s Fleet Captain Horace Kolodziejski, head of the Indomitable, on the hunt for a fugitive who stole another battle cruiser. The man’s not well—really not well—a result of fighting the transgenic virus. A fact which could get him kicked out of the System Defense Force (the SDF – is Magner a Robotech fan? LOL) if anyone finds out.

And the third faction is led by that same fugitive, Captain Aloysius Martin, whose ship the Valiant leads his own battle group and is parked in a secret hiding spot above the solar plane. Martin stole something that Kolodziejski wants back really badly, and that the gennies may want too.

Finally, there’s a wildcard—Sub-Lieutenant Marya Andreison, a loose cannon and master hacker who is the first to decipher the gennies’ signal. She gets no thanks for her feat, and escapes with her hide intact—barely, and disappears for most of the rest of the novel. But she promises to be back with a vengeance in book two.

When the gennies arrive—in the worst possible place at the worst possible moment—all hell breaks loose literally and figuratively, and the body count climbs insanely fast.

I found it deliciously ironic that the inhuman gennies came across as the most human of all Magner’s characters. The gennies have deep connections, and you feel it when there’s a loss on their team. I also loved that I still don’t know—after finishing the entire book—who the good guys and the bad guys are. I have my suspicions, but they all have good reasons for doing what they do, and the fireworks come from the crashing of those competing interests.

The addition of the lesbian character was a welcome surprise, as was the author note at the end that Magner himself is queer and always includes LGBTQ+ characters in his work.

I’m eager to see where this goes, and what secrets everyone is hiding. Invasion packs fantastic worldbuilding, non-stop action, angst and fascinating characters into a whirlwind adventure that flings you halfway across the solar system, only to stab you in the gut.

Damn.

The Reviewer

Scott is the founder of Queer Sci Fi, and a fantasy and sci fi writer in his own right, with more than 30 published short stories, novellas and novels to his credit, including two trilogies.  

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