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Review: Last Generation – E. Robert Dunn

Last Generation - E. Robert Dunn

Genre: Science Fiction

LGBTQ+ Category: Gay

Reviewer: Lucy

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About The Book

The year is 6752, A.T. and Earth is but a memory to its space faring descendents. The urbane beings of The System embark on a test-colonization mission to a far off solar group called Mira. The AST [Aidennia-System Transport] Saarien’s flight path is ended abruptly and the colonizing supership explodes under a hail from Tauron Starhounds; a century of peace with the Tauron Empire is fractured. Six Aidennian survivors jettison in a terra-forming conestoga Pioneer Pod.

Now, a young male echelon couple and their fellow crewmembers must deal with a reality in which their peaceful existence is shattered by war and prejudice. The only solace appears in the form of an unknown, arid planet in a ternary star group.

Upon the Pioneer Pod Four’s descent into the planet’s atmosphere, a defense planetary shield is activated and causes the Pod 4 to crash land in an ancient, dried-up seabed. This sets the Aidennians on a jarring adventure where survival is a game of chance with the life forces of the Universe.

Warnings: There are adult (sexual) references and interaction in several of the books.

The Review

In many ways, Last Generation by E. Robert Dunn is very much a traditional science fiction novel. It has a well-trained crew in an amazing, state-of-the-art spaceship taking off in search of wondrous new worlds in unexplored regions of space. It has a marauding alien species attacking a peaceful mission. And it has heart-stopping action as the crew of the Pioneer Pod 4 tries to survive the attack and the subsequent flight through uncharted space.

For the most part, the writing was very good, with intriguing characters. My problem was that there were frequent jumps in point of view, often in the middle of a paragraph, so that I wasn’t always sure who was thinking or speaking. And there were a few omniscient moments about characters who weren’t even present, yet their point of view was expressed.

There is also the most awkward, possibly most ill-timed mention of physical attraction possible. It sincerely felt as if the author went back and looked for a place to drop a hint of a future love interest. Perhaps in the midst of a major conflict wasn’t the time for one character to wax poetic on the shade of the other’s hair color.

For me, the world building was a bit unwieldy and clunky. From the prologue through about Chapter 6, we got a list of attributes of Aidennian society, the Echelon caste (which I never did fully understand but seems to be important), the crew members, and especially the ship – there were details about it that felt like reading the features on a car I was considering buying. Some of it was useful information, but there was so much of it, it was hard to sort out the important from the extraneous. 

Once the action kicks off in Chapter 7, the flow is much smoother. The conflict and action are very well written, with enough description to be clear, but without as many unnecessary details. After a harrowing atmospheric entry, the crew find themselves on a planet that seems to be uninhabited, but has a relatively sophisticated defense system.

This book got off to a slow start, bogged down with a lot of minutia that could have been reduced significantly. Once the action began though, I was really engaged, and it left me wanting more. Though the story had some flaws, I will probably come back for the second in the series so I can see how the characters fared on the new planet. And to see what becomes of the most awkward realization of romantic interest, ever.

The Reviewer

I’m an avid reader who loves pretty much all genres except math textbooks. As a kid, my parents exposed me to everything from fairies, hobbits, and dragons to the biographies of interesting people around the world, interspersed with poetry, plays, and music. Into adulthood, I spent a lot of years with my nose buried in various textbooks. Now, I read whatever grabs my fancy.

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