Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Freehold by Michael Williamson

It was only when writing my instant review for William Dietz's Freehold that I stumbled across Wiliamson's prometheus award winning book with exactly the same title. I read the blurb, noted that it was available for free download on Kindle and decided to read it.

There is good stuff in this book but there is also a lot of bad stuff  and sadly for me the bad outweights the good.

The first section filling about half of the pages sets the scene in which our heroine escapes from the corrupt Earth based UN to an idyllic libertarian society on the planet freehold. This section is painfully didactic and I found it very tedious.

Then Earth invades freehold and the story turns into a cracking combat yarn of guerilla warfare as the independent minded freeholders fight against the might of the invaders. I really enjoyed the combat scenes. It was almost enough to make me overlook the tedium first half of the book (almost).

Unfortunately the book ends with a rambling section dealing with the emotional scars of the survivors. Post traumatic stress and the after effects of rape are important subjects but they felt out of place to me in a book like this. This section detracted rather than added to my enjoyment of the novel. 

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Freehold by William C. Dietz

Freehold is a very enjoyable piece of military science fiction from William Dietz. It has no connection with the later Freehold series by Michael Williamson. The plot is straightforward and engaging: Freehold is a mining colony planet on the edge of human space whose independence is under threat when powerful outside forces realise just how valuable the planet's mineral deposits are. The settlers are tough but they are no match for the space pirates or the the aliens or especially the powerful mega-corporation who want to take their planet. Their last last hope is "The Brigade" a group of space mercenaries led by Colonel Stell. The military aspects of this novel are very low key and it focuses more on space opera adventure and the underlying human interest story. The plot wouldn't be out of place in a Hollywood western and the book is so much the better for that in my opinion.