by David Gunn
Review by Harriet Klausner
Del Rey Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345498274
Date: 01 May 2007 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Links: Review of U.K edition by John Berlyne / Show Official Info /
Readers wanting hardcore realistic military science fiction in outer space will have to pass on this fun lighthearted satirical thriller that lampoons all the heroes who have saved the universe from malevolent adversaries. Instead Jaxx is an antihero with no compunctions about killing and not just armed enemy combatants. His adventures are over the top, tongue in cheek amusing yet vividly brutal. He is the only fully developed character as everyone else from the General to the Emperor to the alien races to the Enlightened are purposely caricatures of common SF archetypes.
Underneath the veneer of each of Jaxx's adventures on different worlds is a fascinating theme that people like him and other soldiers are throwaways to be used as desired and discarded when no longer viable as a weapon. Sven finds out the hard way as he and his squad fight for their lives only to learn that their basic reasoning for war is built on a series of lies. In fact the "us vs. them" universe is quite peaceful and controlled by a hive the U/Free who condones a little fighting to fulfill a needed human trait. Readers who appreciate a fine lampooning of a future save the universe for our side will want to join Sven in his comic book like adventures as he begins to understand how expendable he truly is to the powers that be especially General Jaxx and yet remains loyal anyway to OctoV. This faithfulness in spite of his knowledge that the military serves no valid purpose except to provide a key human need and to allow some to become generals and others heroes in meaningless battles. Readers who enjoy strong satirical science fiction will want to join Jaxx on his escapades in the Gunn galaxy.