- Taschenbuch: 354 Seiten
- Verlag: Createspace (6. November 2010)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 145389845X
- ISBN-13: 978-1453898451
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 14 x 2,3 x 21,6 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 1 Kundenrezension
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 2.551.728 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
Falling Star (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 6. November 2010
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Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
Philip Chen was born in China in 1944 and immigrated to the United States in 1949. Growing up in Washington, D.C., during the 1950s and 1960s, Philip learned both the pains and triumphs of American society at a crucial turning point in America's history. After receiving a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering with Distinction from the University of Virginia and a Master of Science from Stanford University, he worked as an ocean research engineer in the development of deep submergence systems. Part of his work dealt with vehicles that could freely dive to 20,000 feet of water depth. He also participated as a hyperbaric chamber operator for manned dives inside a pressure chamber to 1,500 feet. He holds one U.S. Patent for an underwater mooring system. After his stint as an ocean research engineer, Philip was an environmental and energy engineer, a trial attorney, a public securities attorney, an investment banker, a corporate executive, a private equity manager (in Africa), a strategic consultant, a cartoonist, an illustrator, a website manager, and author. He received his law degree from the University of Minnesota. One of his mentors once told Philip that it wasn't that he couldn't hold down a job; he couldn't even hold down a career! Philip's biography has been included in Who's Who in America and in Who's Who in the World for many years.
There is effective use of humour in tense situations and a consistent thread of military/security service banter. However, many of the personnel in the book are trained in the use of lethal weapons and deadly force. The plot also includes chillingly realistic fire fights and assassinations. Although the reader may not wish to imagine himself in some of the situations, it is difficult to believe that the author has not been there himself, so precisely are the details recorded.
Military use of undersea exploration craft and the reality of existence within such machinery is introduced in detail. Although the level of description might do justice to an internal security service report, on no occasion does it get in the way of this fast-paced thriller. The way the back story is woven unobtrusively into the action is very expertly done. A delight to the reader is the authoritative way the technical aspects of computer systems, submersible devices, weaponry and machinery are described.
The novel works well as a standalone, with scope for a sequel. If there is a sequel, I shall definitely be in line to read it!
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Underlying the bigger mystery in the sea, another mystery unfolds on land as his characters are set upon by unknown forces willing to stop at nothing to stop the top secret agency known as C-SAC from learning about a powerful new weapon based on sound technology. The action is fast-paced and illustrated by colorful descriptions of blood and gore as the C-SAC couriers are eliminated one by one while its top members search frantically for the leak in their chain of command information dike. Their findings are as chilling as the mysterious objects at the bottom of the sea and Philip's expert rendition lends a completely believable air to the situation that perhaps leaves its readers with slightly different views of the little old lady sitting next to us on the plane or the grease monkey changing our spark plugs.
Falling Star ends just as mysteriously at it begins and puts the reader in the mood for a possible sequel.
Mr. Chen's writing style is precise, almost military and chock full of information that makes the reader wonder if this story might not be fiction at all, but something very real and very disturbing.
I noticed very few grammatical/spelling errors in the book and would recommend it to anyone looking for a good techno-thriller with sci-fi overtures. (less)
like this book
Chen appears to draw upon many of his own experiences in this work, as evidenced by the technical minutiae provided for every underwater vessel, as well as the similarity in background between his education and ethnicity and those of his protagonist, Aloysius "Mike" Liu. In spite of this connection, however, Chen evenly distributes his focus between several key players and avoids focusing solely on the experiences of one. This enriches the storyline by encompassing multiple arenas in which important action is occurring.
Unfortunately, there were in fact too many characters introduced over the course of the book. Many of them had intricate backgrounds, which detracted from the story by giving the reader too many things to take in at once. Most of the characters we are told about only appear for one or two scenes, after which they vanish, save for a brief reference later that was nice as a tie-in but not wholly necessary to make the novel work. This book might have benefited from having the spotlight focused on the central characters, with dimmer lighting for what is essentially the background.
Perhaps what contributed to the confusion was my distraction by several writing ticks. The author has the tendency to repeat himself, such as restating the subject in every sentence within the same paragraph. This proved to be grating, though thankfully, there were whole sections of text in which this habit did not make an appearance. In their place was the frequent misuse (or lack of use) of commas, semicolons, colons, and long dashes. Between the punctuation problems, the redundancies, and the repeated use of "Suburban's" as the plural form of "Suburban" (the vehicle) I nearly put this book down at less than a third of the way through. The slowness of the beginning did not help.
Thankfully, I plowed on, and while the writing remained as it ever was, the plot did improve considerably. Though I maintain that the first thirty percent or so of the work could have easily been summarized elsewhere, the rest of it moves in an action-packed method that eventually drew me into piecing together the puzzle alongside CSAC. I did have to pause many times due to the plethora of unnecessary details, such as the exact type of guns that each of a dozen gunmen were holding. At times, I felt as if I were reading either a movie script or a technical manual or, on occasion, a character's résumé. Even so, this may appeal to readers with a greater interest in weaponry than I possess.
Falling Star has a lot of potential -- the storyline is interesting and original, and it is set up quite nicely for a sequel. The manuscript could stand a few more revisions, however, both for errors and to reduce the amount of extraneous data.
Stimulated Outlet Book Reviews
This amount of pointless detail extends to actions as well. At times it's like reading a book about a racing car driver, and every few pages being subjected to exactly how the key is inserted into the ignition, followed by the turning of said key in order to activate the starter motor. It gets downright embarrassing when this level of detail is attempted in areas the author hasn't researched properly. Especially considering it wasn't necessary to go into detail in the first place. Sometimes, all we need to know is that they got into the car and started it (not how an engine work). Or stopped at a diner and had something to eat (not what, as well as how the cook prepared it).
And then there's the telling of the story. It reads more like disjointed journal entries than a cohesive story. The dialog is at times atrociously poorly written. There are too many instances of irrelevant scenes clearly inserted because the author wanted to include experiences from his own life. The list goes on.
I'm generally a big fan of indie authors. But they need to run their novels through a few filters before publishing. They need to have someone functioning as an editor (if the author did have one, find another one; one that reads a lot and dares to say what they mean). They need to weed out typos, repetitions and grammar errors. They need "trusted early readers" to offer feedback. Only then should they consider publishing.
This could have been good. As it stands, it's the only book I can remember barely being able to finish.
There is an interesting mix of characters, including a Chinese man who faces occasional hostility from both white and Asian directions, but this is primarily an idea story, of the kind that sold millions of science fiction and technothrillers, but aren't as much in fashion nowadays. If you like a solid story with a great science edge, Falling Star is a great read, and at the time of this review, at a fantastic bargain price.