What do we want out of an indie sci-fi novel? Entertainment. A good story. And cool stuff like space fold drives and plasma cannons. Oh, and creatures called trifes whose main job is to rid the Earth of pesky humans! We want to get lost in the book and for that forty-five minute train ride home to go somewhere else and forget we are sitting next to a salary man that’s falling asleep on our shoulder.
M.R. Forbes’ Earth Unknown, first novel in the Forgotten Earth series, delivers on all counts. In the book we meet Forbes’ main character, Nathan Stacker, who gets in trouble early on in the story and keeps the reader entertained right up to the end. Stacker is a little stiff at first, but he grows on you and by the end you are really pulling for him. (And for fans of the previous Forgotten series, Sheriff Duke makes an appearance.)
I enjoyed the story. Forbes’ writing is concise and clean and doesn’t pull the reader out of the story unnecessarily due to misspellings or grammar issues or plot funkyness. This is good, quality genre fiction. The story moves along at a fast clip and I was locked in early on. If I had to quibble I’d like to see more of the character development and big story question stuff being fleshed out and less of the constant battle scene stuff, but maybe I’m just an old fart. And while I’m being an old fart, I think there’s an overuse of the big bad F-word throughout the book. It didn’t get in the way but I don’t think it needed to be there. Speaking of big question stuff, the end doesn’t really wrap anything up so you’ll have to get the next one in the series to find out what happens. But this is a series so I can’t fault it for that.
All of that said, this is a really fun read. Very entertaining. And ain’t that what’s it’s all about? The plot threads are interesting and I want to find out what happens next. It’s fun to get lost in Forbes’ dystopian Earth, ravaged by the trife, and the power struggle in what remains of the planet. This is certainly one of the better indie sci-fi novels I’ve read recently so am happy to recommend it to sci-fi fans. Let me know what you think in the comments.