The Unincorporated Future
by Dani Kollin and Eytan Kollin
Edited by David G. Hartwell
Cover Artist: Dave Seeley
Review by Mel Jacob
Tor Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765328816
Date: 21 August 2012 List Price $27.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
The war between the Alliance and the United Human Federation continues in the fourth volume of the Unincorporated series. Now, both sides see a possible end to war. However, mass exterminations have destroyed worlds and killed billions of people. Sandra O'Toole, President of the Alliance, blames Hektor Sambianco, the UHF president. His ruthless pursuit to ensure all humans are incorporated and controlled by him makes peace impossible.
The Alliance occupies the asteroid belt and the outer planets and asteroids. The UHF holds sway of a terraformed Mars, the Earth, and Luna (the moon). Hektor operates mainly from Mars. It was also the site of Admiral J.D. Black's one defeat. Sandra orders J.D. to destroy Mars in order to kill Hektor. J.D. balks, and, while she targets military and certain installations, Hektor still lives. She ends by setting in motion the things required to strip terraforming from Mars and again make it a desert planet.
A rich parallel word of artificial constructs or avatars, co-exists in both the UHF and Alliance. Sandra O'Toole is able to communicate and interact with the avatars. When AI, an evil UHF avatar which seeks to either control or destroy other avatars in the UHF, appears in the Alliance avatar world, Sandra helps defend the avatars and their children.
AI is an avatar equivalent of Hektor. Most humans, UHF or Alliance, reject avatars and fear them. Alliance avatars have helped the Alliance war effort and now shift their attention to AI. Sandra has agents working in Neuro, the home of the UHF avatars, gathering intelligence.
The Kollins tie up a number of loose ends from the earlier novels and provide a treaty both groups can accept. We learn much about the various characters not revealed earlier. They emphasize Jewish and Islamic faiths as major components in resolving the crisis. Fans of space operas will love the battle scenes and strategy sessions. The authors have left open either new series or even the continuation of the lives of some of the principals.
This reviewer found the final meeting between the avatars Sebastian and AI jarring. AI's language doesn't fit. Another bothersome thing the plot requires Sam Trang's stubborn inability to see the truth about Hektor. However, most readers will be more than willing to ignore these blemishes and enjoy a good read.