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Serengeti

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Serengeti.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    J. B. Rockwell(Author) Elizabeth Wiley(Narrator)

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It was supposed to be an easy job: find the Dark Star Revolution Starships, destroy them, and go home. But a booby-trapped vessel decimates the Meridian Alliance fleet, leaving Serengeti—a Valkyrie class warship with a sentient AI brain—on her own; wrecked and abandoned in an empty expanse of space.On the edge of total failure, Serengeti thinks only of her crew. She herds the survivors into a lifeboat, intending to sling them into space. But the escape pod sticks in her belly, locking the cryogenically frozen crew inside.Then a scavenger ship arrives to pick Serengeti's bones clean.Her engines dead, her guns long silenced, Serengeti and her last two robots must find a way to fight the scavengers off and save the crew trapped inside her.
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Review Text

  • By Mr Kibbles on 27 August 2017

    On the surface a complete departure from JB Rockwell's previous Breakshield fantasies, Serengeti actually continues and develops the themes of persisting and holding onto life and slender hopes that were deep at the heart of Breakshield. This time it is the AI Serengeti herself that struggles to survive over several decades, near-mortally damaged after a massive battle that takes up the first chapters of the book. And it's the ship's repair robots that persist and hold onto hope over those decades as resources deteriorate and exterior threats loom. And nowhere is the danger made clearer than in the continued threat to the remaining crew of the ship, who are in cryogenic sleep aboard a lifeboat that failed to launch.That said, it's a generally optimistic piece of SF, rooted in character and emotion in the same way that Jen Foehner Wells' Fluency was, far more reminiscent of Golden Age SF in that there's little reliance on the massive military stratification that dominates much of the modern SF market. Tig (and Tilly) demonstrate that there's life and hope, and they develop as characters too, as dependent on Serengeti as she is on them.If there's any downside, it's that Serengeti's condition forces a lot of time-lapse, and a lot of nothing-very-much happening. The desperate attempt to repel scavengers is welcome as it adds some much-needed tension to the narrative. The actual design of the ship also feels quite artificial, as though it needed to be that way in order for the plot to happen. Hopefully Serengeti's upcoming refit will give her a more practical design. :)

  • By TVR-Andy on 6 March 2017

    A very unusual story, different to what I expected based on the story guide. A good read with good detail and content. About an ship called 'Serengeti' who was an AI on a ship damaged in battle with a strong will to survive and a love for her crew.

  • By Noelle on 8 April 2017

    This book is not your usual sci-fi outing. For those who were anticipating something hard-core, it will disappoint. For me, the humanity of the main character (an Artificial Intelligence or AI) and her two sidekick robots were the compelling draw.The Meridian Alliance battle fleet is tasked with finding and destroying the ship of the Dark Star Revolution, which have been attacking Alliance members and with whom they have had a decades-long war. The ships constituting the Meridian Alliance fleet are varied, from the humongous and stubborn battle group commander Brutus to Serengeti, the Valkyrie-class warship and her sisters, who are equipped with the latest iteration and most highly developed AI. The star ships themselves are the bodies of these AIs, but ships still have a human crew, ostensibly for their ability to solve problems intuitively. It is clear from the outset that the human crews are subservient to the AIs, and while some captains have difficulty accepting their roles, Hendrickson, Serengeti’s captain, has a solid working relationship with her. Serengeti admires many of Hendrickson’s qualities, which she comes to emulate.Underestimating the strength of the Dark Star fleet, the Meridian Alliance ships are decimated and the decision is made by Central Control to withdraw. As the ships leave one by one via hyperspace jumps, a booby-trapped vessel explodes near Serengeti just as she makes her jump, and she is forced to drop out of hyperspace in an unknown and empty location – her body wrecked and most of her crew dead. She herds the remaining crew, including Captain Hendrickson, into an escape pod, where they are cryogenically frozen so they can be slung into space. The escape pod is unfortunately stuck within the ship, and over the next decades, we follow Serengeti as she and TIG-442, a worker robot whose body she can inhabit, work to free the pod and save her humans. Confounding her efforts are the loss of the ship’s energy cells and the appearance of a ship reclaiming space junk, with the threat to take her apart.The character of Serengeti is all too human, as her devotion to the remaining crew and her robot sidekick demonstrate and the relationships evolve. That is what drew me to the book. There are some drawbacks: TIG creates a mate, then grows a family with the addition of a third smaller version of itself – this and perhaps their mannerisms are a bit too cute. The initial battle sequence continued too long, frustrating me (as well as Serengeti) and the repeated descriptions of the wreckage of Serengeti became a little monotonous. However, the concept of the book and the good storytelling kept me reading and the drawbacks are minor compared to my reading enjoyment!I think there are many readers, both sci-fi fans and not, who will like this book!

  • By Greycynic on 15 August 2016

    This starts out as a fairly standard battle story that has a twist. The twist being that Serenegti is both the warship and the AI that controls the warship. The first half of the book is mundane. The real content is tucked away in the second half where the Serengeti is a helpless hulk attempting to save her crew. This is the part that other reviewers have found slow. However, for me it was the most exciting part of the book.In the second part of the book the author tackles the question of what happens to an isolated intelligent being. For me the answer turned out to be distinctly twee but it does raise some interesting questions about the rights of an AI. I am awarding my 4 stars for the second half of the book. The first part of the book rates 3 stars at most. A case could be made for the author cutting out the first part and developing further the Robinson Crusoe theme of the second part in more depth. That's a reworking that would get me excited.


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