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WesternSFA
The Unincorporated War
by Dani & Eytan Kollin
Tor, $25.99, 462 pp
Copyright 2010
2 If I were just a bit superstitious, I’d think these boys were channeling Robert Heinlein. They seem to have the same attitudes about politics and religion as Heinlein and those attitudes drive most of the plot. I enjoyed the first book (their first!) and really enjoyed this one.

I reviewed the first book, The Unincorporated Man, previously; but, just to recap: Justin Cord, from the 21st century, was cryogenically suspended and awakened into a world with no abject poverty, no unemployment, no hunger. Everyone is taken care of because someone, somewhere, owns a piece of them – Incorporation. This, of course, is contrary to Justin’s most fundamental belief in freedom. And this, of course, leads to war. On one side is Justin’s Alliance – formed from those hardy individuals who live off-Earth and who tend to be more susceptible to the ideal of freedom. On the other are, of course, the big corporations on Earth and one man who wants to rule everyone, with any means possible.

Justin continues to think he owns the moral high ground as do all of his adherents. Those who support Incorporation believe the same – they are fighting to maintain their way of life. The authors have a fine line to balance upon. They start off trying to be fair about Incorporation but their intent is to make you believe freedom is worth any price. They even take our hero’s wife and put her into the position of defending Incorporation because she believes too many lives will be lost if the Alliance wins. But, in order to truly characterize the Corporation as evil, her beliefs come from some good old-fashion brainwashing. This has the effect of hardening the hearts of the Alliance and pushing them to also believe the ends justify the means. Justin has to work hard to maintain goodness amongst the millions of lives lost in a long war. This makes for some really great drama.

Sometimes the most interesting plots are actually two or more stories that run in tandem until the end. So, the other side of this tale is all about the AIs who live in the cyberspace of the humans’ pocket computers. Their struggle mirrors what happens in the real world. I couldn’t really decide which battle was uglier. And the battles – I don’t care a lot for military SF but the boys didn’t overwhelm the story with too much battlefield detail. It was enough to make the story move but not too much to make me skip pages.

Their writing is so mature; it’s amazing to consider this is only their second novel. One of these days, I’ll have to ask them what they cut their teeth on. The plot is first rate, the characters are very good and the storytelling was great. My only complaint for this book – I hate cliffhangers! And I have to wait – what? another year??? ~~ Catherine Book.

P.S. This review was written in 2010 and reposted here. Please check out my reviews on the rest of the series: The Unincorporated Man, The Unincorporated Woman and The Unincorporated Future.

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