The Science Fiction Outreach Project is a
mainly US initiative to get the science fiction media fans who attend conventions like
ComicCon into reading science fiction (and hopefully getting involved in SF fandom
proper). They do this by collecting donations from publishers etc. and handing them out
for free. I collected a nice heap of free books at WorldCon, so many that I was concerned
that my suitcase was getting too heavy
the least I can do by way of thanks is to
review some of them.
Guardian of Night is something of a cross
between military science fiction and a spy thriller in the vein of Hunt for
Red October. It involves some of the coolest aliens Ive ever come
across in the sceeve Daniel has put a lot of thought not just into their biology,
but also their society, even their poetry! This, considering they communicate by scents,
is quite an achievement. Hes also done a better than usual job of extrapolating
advances in human technology.
The plot focuses on the efforts of a sceeve named Arid Ricimer to defect
to Earth along with the most powerful ship in the fleet; a defection motivated by the rot
within the Administration that ran sceeve civilisation, and now threatens to become a
cancer that would destroy all other intelligent species in a fit of genocidal xenophobia.
Daniels prose is a bit clunky in places, and his characters
sometimes lack personality, but thats not unusual in hard SF. I can only add that
although its a complete story, Guardian of Night is crying
out for a sequel, and I hope Daniel is writing it
because Id rather like to