These ‘Unincorporated’ book series seems to be moving ever further from the original unique premise where American business practices are extended in the future with everyone owning a bit of everyone else’s lives has been forgotten in a civil war stretching across the Solar System. The fourth book, ‘The Unincorporated Future’, is essentially a war book but unlike the previous book, ‘The Unincorporated Woman’, we are seeing less of the war and more the people at the top and their problems. It becomes even more worrying that any war action is described after the fact than first hand. This is the equivalent of reading the newspaper about a war than as normally done, bringing things up and personal to the reader. Considering the millions of people who are killed in the conflict, they just become numbers and lack the impact they should have. Equally, as with page 84, telling the opening line of a joke, having the characters laugh at the punch-line and not telling the reader, the Kollins brothers are either forgetting their readers or running out of ideas.
In many respects, I can understand there was a need to cover all points that were needed to be covered and end with this volume and perhaps they packed in far too much and ended up reporting events than to go into the depth they had in the previous books in the series.
That isn’t to say there aren’t any character moments. Outer Alliance President Sandra O’Toole is still a delight but little is made of Earth President Hektor Sambianco, other than pointing out perverted sexual persuasions and a touch of paranoia where he’s happy to kill his own people and is totally wasted this time.
The resolution to the war is very clever but it stirred vague memories that this is often how no-win wars tend to be won and is more a modern day solution of coming to a settlement than use the future predicament and just buy a 51% interest in your opponent would have them having to do what you want them to do.
As you can tell, my feelings are somewhat mixed about this book, mostly because it’s moved so far from the original premise. Even the adding of sentient avatars taking part in the action in the past couple books seems to be a side-issue than a necessity to the story. Their activities would have made for an interesting book series of its own than including it here.
Whatever you think, the Kollins brothers look like they’re likely to have an interesting Science Fiction career ahead of them if they can stay in line with the premises.
(pub: TOR/Forge. 348 page hardback. Price: $27.99 (US), $31.99 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-7653-2881-6)
check out website: www.tor-forge.com