The Light Brigade ペーパーバック – 2019/5/7
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Soldiers are broken into light and sent to the frontline of a brutal interplanetary war, in this brilliant military SF from the Hugo Award-winning author of The Stars Are Legion.
The Light Brigade: it's what soldiers fighting the war against Mars call the ones who come back...different. Grunts in the corporate corps get broken into light, travelling from interplanetary battlefronts. Everyone is changed by what the corps must do. Those who survive learn to stick to the mission brief -- no matter what happens during combat.
Dietz, a fresh recruit in the infantry, begins to experience combat drops which don't sync up with the platoon's. And the bad drops tell a story of war that's not what the corporate brass want the soldiers to think it is. Is Dietz really experiencing the war differently, or is it combat madness? Trying to survive with sanity intact, Dietz is ready to become a hero -- or maybe even a villain. In war it's hard to tell the difference.
File Under: Science Fiction [ Star Troopers | Hostile Takeover | Out of Time | Honour the Charge ]
"Badass." STARRED REVIEW: "Hurley reuses old tropes to excellent effect, interweaving them with original elements to create a world that will fascinate and delight her established fans and appeal to newcomers." "The Mirror Empire is the most original fantasy I've read in a long time, set in a world full of new ideas, expanding the horizons of the genre. A complex and intricate book full of elegant ideas and finely-drawn characters." "Sophisticated and fiendishly clever"商品の説明をすべて表示する
Science fiction has, at it’s best, always had challenging sociopolitical messages. Obviously, it also challenged what was considered scientific dogma of the time.
On the later, I really enjoyed the book. Her sci-fi concepts of traveling as light were really interesting. The consequences of early practice in that mode of travel were suitably horrifying. Her description of battlefields were to me very realistic. That for me would have merited a 4/5 rating. Not a 5/5 because I though character development was lacking.
Her sociopolitical commentary for me was very problematic. It was very simplistic warmed over pseudomarxism. The big bad corporations take over and control everyone’s lives as a proxy for governmental control. She makes a comment about Ayn Rand that tells me she has no real idea of Rand’s philosophy. Somehow, if we can just escape big corporations all will be better. It’s extremely simplistic and denies historical advances made on the half of the individual by real freedom. This part gets a 1/5 or at best a 2/5 in my grading system.
So, overall, this is a mixed bag. It was good at times, sometimes riveting and often annoying. I don’t mind sociopolitical commentary challenging my belief system, however, this didn’t come close to measuring up to that mark.
Like Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, this is a novel about a soldier who’s come unstuck in time. Both novels have biting social commentary and a solid sense of the absurd but are written with great love and compassion for humanity. This book just happens to contain much more grimdark content. Vonnegut was much kinder to Billy Pilgrim than Hurley is to Dietz. Stick with it; the ending is worth all the guts and gore.
In many ways, this is her best work yet. I can’t wait to reread it.
See you in the future. Be the light!
This is easily Hurley's best work to date: it is gritty, it is action-packed, it is horrific, it is utterly realistic in all of its grim details, but despite this—or rather, because of it—it also somehow still conveys a very powerful anti-war message. It is so, so seldom that an author can capture so beautifully the soldier's fundamental dilemma—that you need to fire that shot and execute that order because if you do not, it is your family’s and your comrades’ and your own life that hang in the balance. Yet this does not stop you from seeing and realising how ugly, pointless and awful warfare is and how it, in the final analysis, only serves the interests of those in power. Those whose lives will never even be touched by it.
I have hardly ever seen Hurley so spot on: dialling back on both the weird and the gender issues and instead focusing on a simple, universal and timeless truth that seems to hit right at home. And unsurprisingly, only 2 weeks after publication, the novel has garnered universal acclaim and drawn comparisons to both Starship Troopers and The Forever War. This is the best new release I have read so far this year, and its high-octane, no-nonsense plot and powerful message are likely to make The Light Brigade one of the main contenders for best sci fi book of 2019.
Finally, I hate to mix in politics in a book review, BUT: I have already seen backlash, not against the book per se, but against Hurley for supposedly ‘pushing Marxist ideas’, accusations that have left me speechless. The Light Brigade's world is a future where nations have been dissolved and replaced with corporations that literally own you. A future where fundamental human rights are but a rumoured relic of the past and where you can be murdered or thrown into the gutter at the whim of any corporate executive. To call advocating universal suffrage, healthcare and pension as well as basic human rights ‘pushing Marxism’ is daft at best. These are actually the tenets of the European welfare state, which is still capitalist at its core and which—surprise, surprise—does actually work. What does NOT work is having to mortgage your house to cover your hospital bill or have someone pull out your teeth because you cannot afford dental. Get this in your heads at last.