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Series: Torchship #1
Author: Karl Gallagher
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Format: Digital Edition
Michigan Long is some sort of undercover agent. After rescuing a scientist who is delving into AI and getting him out of the Fusion (a collection of worlds with a lot technology), she takes up residence as a pilot on a Disconnected (a group of worlds without tech and where slide rules are used for space travel) ship, she has several adventures.
One, their ship is hired as a tour ship that is a cover for a high profile kidnapping. Michigan helps save the day and brings some much needed attention to their ship by powerful people, with money.
That leads into them coming to the attention of the Terraformers, humans who still have contact with uncorrupted AI (corrupted AI are known as Betrayers as they took over the Sol system way back when and are now at quiet war with humanity). They go to a terraformer world only to find a powerful poacher killing wildlife left and right. They deal with him.
The third adventure is a story and a story. They are approached by a man who claims that his grandfather fled from Earth during the betrayal but buried 2 cargo loads of invaluable treasure on a meteor in the Sol system. He has the coordinates but needs a ship and crew willing to risk their lives to enter AI space. To avoid treasure seekers following them, they hire out as a Pilgrim ship. Pilgrims are humans who want to return to Earth, thinking that they will be integrated with the AI. No one, or even any information, has ever returned from a Pilgrimage. They are successful at dropping the pilgrims of in the Sol system and at picking up the treasure.
On their way home they run into an eruption of the war between AI and humans. They are used as bait by the Fusion navy, who uses a new secret weapon to wipe out the Betrayers. Michigan marries the mechanic on the Torchship and is instructed to inform the captain of the ship on her secret military status.
This was science fiction in the vein of Heinlein, what with the slide rules, etc. Gallagher did a good job of revealing information about the existing universe without me feeling like he was infodumping OR with-holding info “because of reasons”.
I was not expecting the various adventures format, so it threw me at first but once I realized what was going on, it was enjoyable.
In regards to Michie, there is a lot of hints but very little concrete. I figure the next 2 books will delve more into what is going on with her. This book felt like an introduction to her, the crew & ship and the existing universe in general.
There was a little side plot about the scientist she rescues at the beginning running through the book and I figure since he’s into AI that he’ll be central to defeating the Betrayers if that is the route Gallagher takes us. I hope so because I LOVE humans vs AI stories where humans kick some silicon butt.
The nice thing is that I already know this is a trilogy, so no cliffhangers for me!