Book Review: The Red: First Light by Linda Nagata (Three Stars)

Book Review: The Red: First Light (The Red #1) by Linda Nagata (Three Stars)

“Our goals are to stay alive, to avoid civilian casualties, and to kill anyone with an interest in killing us.”

Tom Clancy meets Terminator. Originally published in 2013, First Light seems prescient of current politics. Nagata warns the reader of the GI language, but it’s pretty rough.

“What must be done, will be done, Lieutenant. Whether it’s possible or not, is not our concern.”

Told as if seen as a series internet docu-dramas, it includes the thoughts and feelings of the protagonist. Excellent character development.

“Married? Marriage is for people like you, Shelley. No one I know gets married. There’s no military benefits for it anymore. Marriage costs too damn much.”

Nagata reflects the growing disillusionment among authors and citizens with the current government-military-industrial complex. (Instructive that Eisenhower’s warning about all three has been truncated to just military-industrial.)

“Weird events are everywhere, the kind that we describe with words like ‘precognition,’ ‘intuition,’ ‘coincidence,’ ‘luck,’ ‘miracle,’ ‘blessing,’ ‘curse,’ ‘perfect timing.’ These are the words we use when chance goes non-random.”

Quibbles: I can’t talk about Nagata’s army hardware, but she makes numerous mistakes about airborne equipment. (I’m a 30 year USAF veteran.) “The Chinook’s engine cranks up.” Chinook’s have two engines. “Kendrick’s old Blackhawk” and “An old C-17 Globemaster.” Developed in the 1950s, the CH-47 Chinook is even older.  “A night that will last for the duration of this flight, that will follow us all the way to Africa.” No, they’re heading eastward; they will fly through a dawn and a dusk, though the day will be really short.

“It’s about perspective. It’s not that what we know is necessarily wrong or incomplete. It’s that what we know and what we believe to be apparent to everyone, isn’t.”