Thursday, March 24, 2011

Book Review: KiTE

Today I have the pleasure of reviewing KiTE by Bill Shears as part of his virtual blog tour. I received a copy of the book for review purposes, which in no way guarantees I will give it a favorable review. The following paragraph, taken from here, gives you a brief overview of what the book is about.

KiTE, by Bill Shears, is a science fiction novel set in Earth orbit. Mason Dash, operator of Kite, the flagship of Earth Orbit Maintenance Department’s debris sweeper fleet, suspects spacejackers on an abandoned space station may be using it as a platform for a terrorist attack on Earth targets. Sheila, his beautiful virtual companion, has been “enhanced” with an experimental free will module. Inside the computer system of Kite a digital uprising is under way. Sheila goes off on her own adventure and finds she’s forced to split her focus between Dash’s situation in the “real world” and an ambitious virtual tyrant who has also taken a fancy to her, and who wants to expand his empire beyond Kite. Meanwhile Dash finds the spacejackers are not what he suspected, maybe worse. And it’s just then that humankind’s first unearthly visitor appears in Earth orbit, who is none too pleased. Earth’s fate hangs in the balance.

This book was so much fun to read! As others have noted in their reviews, there is something in the way that Shears writes that brings to mind the late, great Douglas Adams. By the time I reached the end of KiTE, there was absolutely no question whatsoever that Adams has influenced Shears' writing; yet, despite Adams' influence, their voices are distinctly different. While Adams would include absurd, over-the-top elements in his stories, Shears takes a more "hard core" approach to his science fiction. The end result is rather wonderful, I think.

The characters are all distinctly themselves and believable, I might add. The dialogue is clever. The plot is intriguing. The book is fun to read. Wait. I said that already, didn't I? No matter. It's true. While parts of KiTE made me chuckle, I found myself smiling (inwardly, at least) throughout the book, and I think most people will too.

KiTE is not one of those books where you can check your brain at the door when you open its cover and begin to read. It's cerebral stuff. If you happen to like that sort of literature, and I do, then your brain will be most happy when you read KiTE. Be forewarned, you will probably have to put KiTE down periodically in order to give your brain a breather. But then, as soon as you have digested all that hard-core, science fiction goodness, you'll be eager to rush back to the book and dive right back in for another helping.

Since I know there are those out there who care about this sort of thing, I should let you know there is some mild profanity in this book. In terms of movie ratings, it would garner a PG rating. There are no graphic sex scenes between humans in KiTE. Now, if you are a subroutine in a computer program, yeah, there is a rather tame sex scene. At least I think humans will find it tame. I thought it was funny, myself.

Overall, KiTE is very well written. It's a book I can see myself re-reading. I don't read most books more than once. The fact that I would read this book again places it in exclusive company. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys science fiction.

You can purchase KiTE here. Bill Shears' website is here. For a woman's take on this wonderful book, check out my wife, Rebecca's, review here