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Orbital Decay (1989)

Orbital Decay (1989)

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3.74 of 5 Votes: 5
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0441498515 (ISBN13: 9780441498512)

About book Orbital Decay (1989)

Overall this isn’t a bad story and reading it as someone living 20+ years after it was written it is easy to see parts of the book that are almost prescient. It shows how the public consciousness concerned about government surveillance is not limited to recent events and has been a concern for a very long time.While the moral of the story does hold up the rest of the book feels highly dated. This is definitely a work from a Cold War mindset and you can feel that throughout the story. There are also many references that were topical at the time but no longer hold the same relevance. This is the issue of trying to look forward to what the future will be like, if it is later being read around the time the “future” story is set the reader cannot help but compare it to their actual lives. Since it was written a while ago you can’t really hold the anachronisms against the book, but it is something you notice.There are moments later portions of the book where the story really picks up as events come to a head, but those seem to take a long time to get to. The first half of the book reads very slowly and much of the character interaction is not all that interesting. Anything dealing with the surveillance system on the station holds the reader’s attention but pretty much every other part of the book drags. This is unfortunate since the first chapter starts the book off with an interesting setup only to have nearly all of the rest of the book set in flashbacks that bring you back to the point in the first chapter. I can see what the author was going for but it just did not work for me.The characters themselves are also not terribly interesting. You get essentially two types of characters, either widely over the top or totally bland. The main group of characters all feel like they were jotted down as a brief description and then never really evolved past that. They seem more like tools for telling the story rather then something to change and adapt as you read.

This is a decent "hard" sci fi novel written in the near future where private companies have created orbiting space stations and are making profits doing so. NASA helps, but the government pretty much stays out of it. Except for the NSA. Yep, the spooks make an appearance. They're spying on US citizens via recorded phone calls and they're doing it from outer space. This is really the main issue in the book. Everything else is merely fluff. Some of the characters, though, are well written (while some are not), like Popeye Hooker, who has a past that is foreshadowed to the max, with the ending result being somewhat anticlimactic. There's a mean tempered Dead Head in the book, which strikes me as dichotomous, but there you have it. There's an engineer who grows pot on the space station and gets the employees high, although we find he has an ulterior motive. I had a hard time figuring out if Sam Sloane, the sci fi writer wannabee who's narrating the story, is the only narrator, like he claims, or if it's the author filling in gaps where Sloane lacks access. It's kind of disjointed that way. The book was written during the Cold War and has a bit of a dated feel, but the future is so close, that a lot of what Steele writes about is entirely believable. I've read several novels by Allen Steele so far, and this is my least favorite, but it was his first novel, so I'm cutting him some slack. This is a three and a half star novel that I'm giving four to because it's a decent effort. Cautiously recommended.

Do You like book Orbital Decay (1989)?

-Más “realista” que estrictamente Hard.-Género. Ciencia-Ficción.Lo que nos cuenta. Samuel K. Sloane es un trabajador especializado en la construcción y mantenimiento en gravedad cero que tras un accidente cerca del cráter Rayo Sur en la Luna comienza a recordar (y a grabar para la posteridad por si no consigue ser rescatado) sus recuerdos sobre lo que ocurrió en una estación espacial en la que trabajaba y que tenía un módulo secreto controlado por la NSA para labores de espionaje.¿Quiere saber más de este libro, sin spoilers? Visite:

Overall Assessment: Good ReadCommentary:Published in 1989, Orbital Decay is an example of what I consider the riskiest of all science fiction types - the near future story. In setting a story in the near future, the author inevitably invites the reader's focus to divert from the story towards what the author got right and wrong. If the author gets it really, really wrong - typically by having the story rely on a technology that in the "real world" has been utterly disproven or even worse - completely superceded - then the story becomes at best quaint and at worse laughable. To his credit, Allen Steele gets things mostly right and the story itself survives.Indeed, I make the point above at some length because the central premise of the novel - an initative by the NSA to capture and monitor all communications - is eerily resonant with current events. So I guess here is the flip side of the near future story and why - when things break right - the risks are worth the rewards. Had this book been published in late 2013 I would have simply considered it an opportunistic book - using current headlines to sell books.But because it was published almost 25 years ago (and written a couple years before publication), and because its premise is so in line with today's reality, Orbital Decay becomes an important and meaningful story about fundamental truths. In this case that free speech is always at risk and must be continually defended.

Choppy in places but an entertaining read. Not up to par with the authors later works but engaging enough. Beamjack concept a good foil for the character development. NSA global monitoring of comms... Did Allen travel to our time before he wrote the book?

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