Communication Failure by Joe Zieja (book review).

November 3, 2017 | By | Reply More

‘Communication Failure’ by Joe Zieja is the sequel to ‘Mechanical Failure’. This book has a similar cover to the first in that there’s a rather large spaceship but its surrounded by smaller craft and they are all firing weapons at it. ‘Mechanical Failure’ had a large red warning triangle with the text ‘Mechanical Failure.’ superimposed over it and underneath in a smaller font was the message ‘Please restart your warship’. For this book, we still have the large red triangle and the text ‘Communication Failure’ but the smaller text now reads ‘Please restart your warship harder.’

Having survived the murderous attempts of the flagships droids to take over the ship and kill all the humans our hero, ex-Sergeant Roger Wilson Rogers, finds himself promoted to Captain and Acting-Admiral of the 331st Meridan Fleet. This is the anti-Thelicosan Buffer Group which due to the Two Hundred Years (And Counting) Peace accord with the Thelicosns hasn’t had much to do. That is until a rather large Thelicosn fleet arrives and transmits a single message ‘We’re invading’. They then impose a communications blackout.

Captain Rogers has no experience of command largely because he has no ambition to command. The resulting chaos makes for a rather pleasant and funny read. As it says on the back cover ‘War is hell, especially when you’ve forgotten how to fight one’. Some bits of the story had me laughing so hard I just had to put the book down and take a break. So it continues the tradition of the first book. While there are plots and counter-plots, the whole book is based on a series of communication failures. While the Thelicosans started things, the Meridians have a few communication failures of their own to contend with.

The Marine Captain Alsinbury aka The Viking continues to provide the love interest for Rogers although it seems to be one-sided. He yearns for an emotional connection while she continues to deliver a physical connection, usually with her fists. A love triangle does develop though when Grand Marshal Alandra Keffoule of the invading Thelicosan fleet decides that a ratio and several mathematical relationships indicate that Rogers is the man for her. Did I mention that the Thelicosans treat mathematics very much like a religion?

With the Viking’s violent disposition and Keffoule’s tendency to kick him in the face when annoyed, Rogers needs to avoid getting in between these two women. That’s assuming he has any common-sense which might be a big ask as far as Rogers is concerned. Deet the prototype droid and sole survivor of the droid fiasco of Mechanical Failure continues to assist Rogers, although ‘assist’ is probably the wrong word. He’s there on the ship but generally confuses the people around him.

There are some people on both sides, Meridian and Thelicosan, who want the war and there are people on both sides who don’t want the war. None of them want what they want for the same reason as the other people. It’s interesting how this all plays out.

‘Communication Failure’ is a worthy sequel to ‘Mechanical Failure’ and continues in the same vein although Rogers now has more of the one thing he abhors, responsibility. Again, this is a very funny book in parts but there is an interesting plot to follow which shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s not as quite straight forward as your led to believe and, yes, there is a twist at the end. Whilst I thought there might be one I certainly wasn’t expecting that one!

I did think that Joe Zieja’s writing had improved in this book. There’s nothing wrong with ‘Mechanical Failure’, it’s just that ‘Communication Failure’ is, in some respects, more complex. There’s plots within plots and more character development. It introduces several new characters and while Captain Rogers remains the main man, I would not be surprised to see one or more of the others having their own novel.

While it would be possible to read ‘Communication Failure’ without reading the first book I would not recommend it. Some of the prior events lay the groundwork for some of the comic moments in this book, especially with Deet the droid. In fact, none of the events in ‘Communication Failure’ would have happened had someone in ‘Mechanical Failure’ not filed his report. Knowing who that person is and what they were reporting helps explain the goings on in this, the second book.

So you would be doing yourself a disservice not to read the first book so read both books and enjoy them to the max. It will also help prepare you for the next instalment as there is a little note tucked away at the bottom of one of the copyright pages that this is book two of the ‘Epic Failure Trilogy’.

If there’s any justice in this world the ‘Epic Failure Trilogy’ should be an epic success for the author, Joe Zieja. I urge you to go out and buy ‘Mechanical Failure’ and ‘Communications Failure’ and play your part of this epic success.

Andy Whitaker

October 2017

(pub: Saga Press/Simon And Schuster. 336 page paperback. Price: $16.99 (US). ISBN: 978-1-48148-690-3)

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Category: Books, MEDIA, Scifi

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About AndyWhitaker

I live in deepest darkest Essex where I enjoy photography, real ales, walking my dog, cooking and a really good book. I own an e-book reader which goes with me everywhere but still enjoy the traditional paper based varieties.

My oriental studies have earned me a black belt in Suduko and I'm considered a master in deadly Bonsai (there are very few survivors).

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