STORM CLOUDS GATHERING by Gibson Michaels
This is the first installment in Michaels’ Sentience Trilogy. In 550 pages of clear, trim writing, Michaels lays out a sci-fi scenario—termed here a Military Space Opera—spelling out a futuristic fantasy where Earth’s descendants are spread across the galaxy and fall victim to their own success. Failing to remember Earth history, these inhabitants of hundreds of planets find themselves on the verge of civil war. Triggered by a Hal-like supercomputer, their conflict repeats like all history does, closely emulating a previous episode that the United Stellar Alliance has long forgotten. No sooner do the fleets begin battle, however, and the space-guns commence firing, than an unknown predatory species pounces, which results in…well, that’s in Book Two: Defying the Prophet.
Clever and tightly written, Storm carries the reader along effortlessly, bringing in references and allusions from multiple sources, including academic books, movies, and pithy quotations, from, if I read the signs correctly, Dr. Strangelove; 2001: A Space Odyssey; and even Bruce Catton. These spice up the story. The reader will also find many allusions to current events, drawn out in humorous and ineluctable fashion, demonstrating keen insight into politics. Altogether, a fascinating adventure for the hard-core science fiction fan. Highly recommended. -SiriusReviews.com