The Helix War is a first for me, being an omnibus of two previously published books, Marseguro and Terra Insegura. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect in the way of reviews, except I figured there wouldn’t be quite as many of them.
And, so far, that’s certainly been the case. But there have been a couple.
Here’s one from Two Dudes in an Attic:
A verdict? The Helix War was fun. I laughed, I cried, I was on the edge of my bus seat. It won’t appeal to certain demographics, but would probably be a good SF gateway drug. Readers looking for Hard SF, right wing MilSF, or gritty fantasy where GRRM kills everyone will probably be nonplussed. Someone taking a break between heavier stuff will probably enjoy the quick ride. It’s not Stranger in a Strange Land, but not everything needs to be. I’ll be adding more Edward Willett books to my pile.
A.M. Donovan had this to say:
Imagine the most prejudiced person you have ever had the misfortune to work with. Now, give them not only the power to fire you, but to actually kill anyone that disagrees with them. Then, give them power over the entire world. Extend that hatred to anyone who is different in appearance or belief. Scared yet? Now, throw in (prior to this persons rise to power) geneticists that not only make food plants that are drought resistant, but also able to modify animal and human DNA so that living creatures can thrive in climates and on worlds that are not as friendly as Earth. What happens when you combine these two different cultures?…Throw in coming of age, redemption, love (familial and romantic – subtle though, thank you!) and looking for acceptance. You end up with a novel that could be very messy (rather like life) but Edward manages to tie everything together for us and prepare us for the second book. The science is believable and the psychology is very well done.
For the second book, we are reminded that hatred never sleeps…
And Josh Palmatier commented on the Marseguro half of the omnibus:
I don’t read a lot of science fiction, but I liked the setup of Marseguro and, more importantly, liked the characters in the book. Most SF that I’ve read has a tendency to NOT have characterization, at least not at the same level as the fantasy novels I generally read, so I was pleasantly surprised in that respect. In this novel, a bunch of questions are raised about the ethics of genetic modification, whether what we create can still be considered human, etc, but I don’t think the author beat us over the head with moralistic dilemmas. The book comes down pretty solidly on the side of the genetically modified humans as being . . . well, human, just like everyone else. The story focuses instead on the main characters and their struggles, to survive and to deal with unreasoning hatred…
So, I thought the story, the setting, and the characters were all interesting. They certainly kept me reading…