Rating:

4 Small Stars
Forerunner
833

I think I might be getting tired of Mr. Hooke’s storylines. He’s gotten stuck on this “mind refurb” thing and it’s not working for me. In this book, he has Mind Refurbs stuck in starships! Yeah, like gigantic war machines that move through space. This is similar to his “Bolt Eaters” series, although those guys and gals had some resemblance to humans. Not so for these starships.

Anyway, this group (flotilla) of human starships commanded by mind refurbs is recovering from a recent attack. The only thing is, none of the recovering mind refurbs can remember much of the attack. In fact, of the eight ships in the original flotilla, only six remain and they are all damaged to some extent. One, our main character, Jain, has recovered enough to begin organizing his repairs and rebuild his starship. He’s assisted by an Accomp or an Accompanying AI. This AI is just as capable as a human and can and does do everything for the starship. It does so much, I’m not even sure why the Mind Refurb has to be aboard at all. Jain is always telling Xander, his Accomp, to do something while Jain does nothing but talk all the time.

Jain finally gets around to rebooting the other six surviving starships by rebooting a copy of their original mind refurbs. Now comes the tricky part. Mind refurbs always have backups stored someplace just incase their AI core get destroyed as they did in this latest battle. Unfortunately, everything up to and including their destruction is lost, it goes with the Mind Refurb that was destroyed. So, these newly rebooted mind refurbs have no memory of how they were destroyed or the battle in which that happened. Even Jain doesn’t remember who attacked them or why he’s even out here in deep space with no rift gate or apparent way to get back home. But these are definitely military starships so they begin organizing like a military unit. Jain is placed in charge and directed the other starships to begin their repairs after moving the group over a moon that has suitable metal deposits.

Everything seems to be going just fine until the unknown enemy shows up. Then things once again start going haywire. There’s some kind of confusing space battles taking place. Jain is now some kind of tactical genius because he’s always coming up with a plan. I don’t know if he did that before because it seems he was just on a starship among a large flotilla which originally had an Admiral in charge. Again, keep in mind that these aren’t people. There are no humans aboard any of these starships. While these mind refurbs once were real people, that volunteered to have their minds scanned for the purpose of being restored at a later date if that capability was ever developed. They all have some memories of their original lives as humans, but now they are starships. What a strange existence.

I still don’t see the need for these mind refurbs since the Accomps are so capable that they do everything anyway. Apparently, everything that is done on the starship has to be directed towards the Accomp and it carries out the actual task through robots. The mind refurbs have VR capability which they use frequently. In the VR environment, they can assume human form just as they did when alive. They can talk and interact with each other just like humans. The VR environment is also used for relaxation purposes; a place to get away from their real-world situation and have some “simulated” downtime. I still don’t see why these stories couldn’t be written with real human characters instead of mind refurbs that don’t even come close to resembling humans.

There’s no mention of a sequel to this book, although it does sound like Mr. Hooke is building towards one. I’m not so sure I will follow it. After reading the Bolt Eaters and the A.I. Reborn series, I’ve had enough of Mind Refurbs!

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