Read Temporary Duty by Ric Locke Online


Two enlisted sailors are sent to an alien spaceship to help prepare for the real human delegation. Once they arrive, they find out there's a little more to the assignment than that.Alien worlds and friendly aliens, exploding spaceships and many that don't, a little sex, and the Internal Revenue Service. Oh, and janitorial supplies. Truly there are Wonders Out There....

Title : Temporary Duty
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 11483781
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 541 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Temporary Duty Reviews

  • Christopher Gerrib
    2019-04-25 12:00

    Some time back, I reviewed Nathan Lowell’s novel Quartershare. Lowell’s book was of the “merchants in space” subgenre of SF, and so Amazon kept recommending that I buy Ric Locke’s novel Temporary Duty. When I learnt that Ric Locke had terminal cancer and was soliciting donations for an oxygen machine, I decided to spend the three bucks and buy his book. (I also kicked in a few bucks to the tip jar.) Buying Locke’s book proved to be a great investment.I’ve talked on my personal blog about how writing is more than having the same basic idea. Two books, in this case Temporary Duty and Quartershare, can both be summarized as “enlisted men join merchant starship” but the execution of the idea leads to radically different stories. The world of Quartershare is peaceful and alien-free, leading to a surprisingly calm book. The world of Temporary Duty is rather the opposite.The protagonist of Temporary Duty is John Peters, a Petty Officer Second Class in the US Navy of the mid-21st Century. An alien spaceship arrives at Earth, making first contact with the aircraft carrier USS Barack H. Obama. After some backstage maneuverings, the aliens agree to take two squadrons of US fighters onboard the ship for a two year trade mission. Peters, by sheer luck, gets assigned in advance of the main US body to the alien ship. In one of the more insightful parts of the book, this immersion into alien culture forces Peters to become a resident expert on the aliens, which proves continually useful.The world of Temporary Duty is not at total war, but neither is it totally at peace. As a result, our carrier wing (with planes converted to fly in space) sees some action, and Peters, as defacto alien expert, has a number of opportunities to advance personally, which he seizes. Locke, the author, appears to have been ex-Navy himself, and uses that to good advantage. One of the things I like about the book is that Locke captures the peculiar dynamic between Navy aviators (officers) and enlisted. I was an officer in the Navy, although not a pilot, and I noticed that pilots tended to have the most distant relationships to their enlisted subordinates of any officers in my experience. This was due to a number of factors, the discussion of which is for another essay, but Locke captures that dynamic perfectly.Temporary Duty is very action-packed, and quite a gripping read. I stayed up way too late reading it! There’s adult language and sex, (including inter-species) and some violence, but only the most sensitive readers should have an issue with that. I did find the last couple of chapters a bit over the top, but that’s a quibble. It’s not Space Opera, but fans of space operas, science fiction or just good storytelling should enjoy reading Temporary Duty.

  • Ben
    2019-04-05 10:00

    Ric Locke has written something really unique in that the story is told from the perspective of a man from the "lower decks"....Most military Sci Fi is told from the officer's perspective, with them being the hero or the main protagonists. Mr. Locke did us 'blue jackets' a real solid by portraying 2 young junior petty officers as the main characters, who in the end, become the most important people to the human community serving on an alien starship hundreds if not thousands of light years from Earth. Their common sense approach to life, problem solving and willingness to adapt in the face of the situations was a true representation of how real sailors are forced to respond to issues like close confinement, conflicting orders, lack of cooperation or understanding from superiors as well as the likelihood of dealing with those officers who see those in the enlisted ranks as nothing but uneducated, unenlightened peons rather than the skilled technical specialists they truly are.This story is a classic "fish out of water" saga that places our two young sailors into the situations that are interesting, culturally confusing (how does a human male "interface" with a humanoid alien female"?), and deadly (can you say 'space pirates'!). Their willingness to 'go with the flow' by learning the language and culture of their alien hosts as well as making themselves generally more useful than strictly necessary endears them to many. The officer class are portrayed for the most part in a 2 dimensional way. Some are right out of literary central casting, acting like martinets who lack any imagination or willingness to adapt to the new environment. There is even an instruction given that learning the language of their hosts would not be necessary. Some of the officers and chief petty officers are caricatures of real life officers and chiefs every enlisted sailor has served under. Many of the khaki clad leaders of the navy's first deep space expedition finally come to understand the advantages of changing their attitudes toward their hosts by the example set by our two protagonists.I truly hope Mr. Locke writes a sequel to this book as the end leaves us wondering where humanity's least likely interstellar ambassador/robber baron will end up.NOTE: I was just informed by the author's website that Mr. Locke has passed away from a particularly aggressive form of lung cancer.... I am sorry for both his family for their loss and for us who were looking forward to see what was in store from him as a writer.

  • Bella Crow
    2019-04-16 12:14

    So bittersweet to discover a new favorite author only to find that he has passed away before he could finish the sequel.Thank goodness it was 500 pages. So chock full of wry humor and smart writing, I look forward to re-reading it and wondering where the sequel could have taken things. I had the worst book hangover when I finished, and then to learn Mr. Locke had succumbed to lung cancer 2 years ago, just made it worse. Can you miss someone you've never met?I love Space Opera books, but they are hard to pull off and if the reader sees the author straining, It has to flow, be effortless, let some of the cleverness and humor sneak up on you and make you laugh days afterwards. Dont be daunted by the length, or that it's a stand-alone book. It's chock full of all the small details that flesh out worlds, characters and multiple plot arcs.

  • Fayley
    2019-04-13 11:26

    Re read:I don't know what I was thinking last time I read this! At first it was harmless fluff - the scifi version of romance, but from 75% it went totally ridiculous. Among other stupidities, the female characters lost all their oomph and became giggling flirting hugging girly-women where they had earlier been self confident, respected, reserved and somewhat self important. The theme of "American federal government wrecks everything and officers are idiots and only the common man knows anything" got old very quickly. How on earth was this my favourite of 2011? Must have been a bad year for reading. Not recommended at all!Original review:My favourite book of the year. Engaging story not overshadowed by politics or too much "message" as these types of books can tend to be. I couldn't put it down. Highly recommend.

  • harry case
    2019-04-17 11:12

    Great adventure storyI could hardly put this down. Each episode starts out in routine but takes unexpected Ted twists and turns. Never repetitive never unbelievable once you accept the premise of the first contact. This has a look of real life navy savvy and atmosphere (from the enlisted point of view) the most realistic part is how basic human motivations remain constant in spite of the space and alien presence. Elements of TaiPan and the clippers voyages of the 19th century seem to be the framework. Highly recommend not starting this unless you have some free time. It is very addictive

  • Michael
    2019-03-27 06:10

    I bought this book by accident and for whatever reason didn’t try to return it. Several years later, going through my digital to-be-read pile, I started it up. Unfortunately, it is written for an audience of an 8th grade boy and was very juvenile and I quit reading at the 4% mark. Save your money and time, and don’t make the mistake I did.

  • Guy M. Taylor
    2019-04-01 09:23

    Rejoice Sci Fi Lives!This is the most imaginative well written bit of sci fi I have read in a long time. I had almost given up on the genre. Now I will scour Amazon for more of Mr. Locke's work!

  • nick
    2019-04-07 07:11

    Good start on an interesting space operaWhats not to love about an underdog story?Trade rules the stars but red tape rules the states, not to mention damsels in distress stolen from pirates and slavers!

  • dennisdixon
    2019-04-17 12:23

    Good readThis is an entertaining book. You can read as long as you want and lay it down. Then pick it up an start again. You don't lose your place easily.

  • Craig Becker
    2019-04-20 12:10

    Great startBut I didn't particularly care for the final 20%. Good characters, not much battle, mostly good plot arc. The ending seemed tracked on, and rather fantastical at best.

  • Steve Poling
    2019-04-14 09:27

    I give this work 5 stars because the author likes what I like and hates what I hate. Your mileage may vary: Do you love IRS agents? How about strutting martinets? How about intrusive regulations and abusive regulators?Love these people and you'll hate Temporary Duty (TDY).Now imagine 50 years in the future and that present trends continue. Bipartisan trends of bigger, more intrusive government. (I'm not hating on Democrats or letting any Republicans off the blame.) Bureaucracies naturally grow unless someone demands, "stop."Thus when aliens show up to trade, there's a lot of needless trouble caused by the gubmint. The aliens can't even get the Americans to sell them groceries. The only thing they get is the services of a detachment of F-14 Tomcats and F-18 Hornets with their engines replaced with space-gizmos. With these come Naval aviators to fly them. They aren't pilots, and will correct you if you say otherwise. Naval aviators are officers.I was never in the military, but I did have a chance to work around a lot of military folks when I was younger. I got along best with the Air Force guys. They were "civilians in uniform" after all. The Navy guys were a bit high strung. I had a college pal who'd done four years as an enlisted man in the Coast Guard and after graduation from college went back in as an officer. He described with great bemusement the differences between the castes--particularly, at mealtimes.If you think officers walk on water, and enlisted men are pond scum that soils their shoes, you won't like TDY. But if you like a little blue-collar fun poked at the officers, keep reading.Enter John Peters a second rate seaman in the US Navy. Someone has to clean up the quarters for the officers who'll be flying the birds. He and his buddy Todd are contracted to wield the mops and swab the decks. He's got a West Virginnie accent thickern mollasses in January. But he's a quick study with the alien trade language.When the regular Navy arrives a quirk in his orders places him outside the normal chain of command. This, plus the fact that the officers cannot be troubled to learn the trade language creates opportunities and conflicts with Peters in the middle of it.They ship off to distant stars and adventures ensue.Do you remember on Star Trek how they never had any money on the ship? Nobody had to polish the brightwork to make the ship yar. The alien trade ship isn't like that.As the voyage progresses, we meet an interesting array of aliens in shapes familiar to readers of fairy tails. Each of them offering valued goods and services for a fee.The recurring theme in this story is that Peters has the right answers and the aliens are listening to him while higher ranking enlisted men and officers are ordering him to shut up. As a result, he alone enjoys financial opportunities that he pursues to his advantage.Everything is quite civilized except for the occasional attack by space pirates. The officers may be jerks, but they do know aerial combat. The space battles are pleasing to read. As are the salvage operations afterward. Our hero manages to come away with some sweet pirate booty.I hope there's a sequel.

  • Bill Swears
    2019-04-13 12:13

    Redneck boy makes good, in Space!Ric Locke's Temporary Duty (TDY) is a really solid read - one of the best I've had in several years. It's about John Peters, a junior enlisted person in a believable near future U.S. Navy, who volunteers to swab decks on an interstellar aircraft carrier//interstellar trading ship, crewed by aliens, Mankind's first contact. Peters' America is one where the poor don't get school, the vote, or much chance to make something of themselves. It isn't a glass ceiling, it's more of an adamantium barrier. Wealth and privilege are birthrights of the wealthy and privileged, and American society has become a caste system in all but name.But, all of that is backdrop, and Locke dribbles the info in over hundreds of pages of fun space opera.Peters' adventures in space are engaging, his cynical attitude well earned, and his ability to rise to any occasion seems to flow naturally from the character. As a retired Coastie pilot, with a pinch of army warrant officer pilot in my past, I found that all of the human technical language was familiar to me, and the sort of interactions Peters has with fellow enlisted and officers generally rang true to the real world, with the exception that the behaviors Peters experiences in the officers of his story are behaviors that would have got me cashiered if I had acted that way during my military career. This isn't unreasonable, given the premise of a much darker, very hierarchical U.S. social structure. Almost any of the worst behaviors the officers and senior enlisted personnel in Peter's unit display are things I saw happen at some point in my career - but most of the time by people who got to experience civilian life within a couple years of doing whatever they did.Another reviewer commented that this isn't a military action book, and that is true. But fans of military SF, who know what they're looking at, will really love this book. Fans of Andre Norton's Interstellar trader stories will really love this book. Fans of Heinlein's "Between Planets" or "Citizen of the Galaxy" and his other early adventures with sideline social commentary will really love this book. I even think that fans of the recent BSG will love this book. Fans of C.J. Cherryh's alien worlds will really love this book, for its interesting alien cultures and environments. Fans of John Carter of Mars will love this book, especially the last half. You've probably got my drift. One other thing - while this book reminds me of many things, it is uniquely Ric Locke's creation. I'm really glad that I read it.One of the things I love about TDY is the fact that it isn't a simply premised adventure. Peters' life changes, and the nature of his adventures change over time - a lot like real life. The man who we meet at the beginning is still there at the end, but is only a part of the whole. I think that the Gatekeepers of Modern Publishing can't accept this thing because they can't define it in a two minute pitch. Buy it. Read it. You'll probably tell friends to buy and read it.

  • Joe Martin
    2019-04-01 09:26

    Personal Enthusiasm: I Shouldn’t Have BotheredThis is another book that I picked up because of a recommendation by Glenn Reynolds and his readers. Most of the recommendations I get that way are good. This book was the exception that proved the rule. Reading the reviews on Amazon, I wonder if I was reading the same book as everyone else.The story revolves around two enlisted sailors: Todd and Peters. They are assigned to “temporary duty”, as advance crew for a Navy detachment that will be touring the local solar systems as the guest of a space faring alien race. The appeal of the story is that it takes place entirely from the perspective of people who are fairly low on the totem pole.It’s a good premise. What went wrong? The first problem is that the book is long. If it were a printed book instead of an eBook, it would be well over 500 pages. I stopped reading 54% of the way through the book and not much had happened in those 200–300 pages.Todd and Peters spent a lot of time on the spaceship learning the language, interacting with the crew, cleaning, talking, exploring, escorting other sailors, eating, sleeping. I was getting quite bored. More than half way into the book and I couldn’t identify an antagonist or a central challenge or any kind of real conflict.Second, the characters all felt stereotypical and fairly homogeneous. The enlisted were decent. The officers and NCOs were mostly jerks who should have spent more time listening to Todd and Peters. The trader aliens were friendly but clueless about anything related in any way to technology. The technological aliens were standoff-ish but got friendlier when they saw that the humans knew how to perform routine maintenance and were eager to learn about the workings of the ship. And so on. Each character fit neatly into a mold and didn’t deviate too far from the outlines of that mold.Finally, the Kindle edition had problems. Italics would often start in one word or phrase and then continue across multiple pages. I could fiddle with the book and eventually get the text to rest to non-italics but it kept happening. If the story had been more interesting, I might have persevered. But the combination of a dull story and technical glitches was more than I was willing to put up with.Overall, I felt like this book could have desperately used an editor and a copy editor. The concept wasn’t bad but it pleaded and begged for someone to shorten it and tighten it up. It also screamed for some proof reading of the Kindle edition to make sure that everything looked good. It’s true that the brave new world of self-publishing doesn’t require the services of a publisher. On the other hand, some of those services are still valuable and worth paying for.

  • Erik Nelson
    2019-04-12 12:27

    I enjoyed reading this ... to a point. It isn't quite fair to say that nothing happens in the book, but not far from the mark. It has no coherent overarching plot. In that it reminds me (superficially) of Nathan Lowell's Trader Tales of the Solar Clipper series. It's not a novel so much as a description of all these things that happen to these regular guys. And like any other novel of this type, it depends on how interesting those things are, and how entertaining the characters are. On those points, I can only give mixed praise.Taken for what it is, the book is usually entertaining. But the length is a problem: I imagine most readers will get bored with this quickly, especially if you're waiting for the plot to kick in. It never does. Lowell's books work in part because they're breezy reads. But Temporary Duty is easily twice as long, without as much immediate payoff. It could have used a more coherent plot, more interesting interpersonal conflicts, and maybe a third of its length chopped off. But then it wouldn't be what it is--which is, honestly, quite interesting in its own way.This review makes it sound like I didn't like the book. I actually did, despite the long list of things I found disappointing. If you go into this book expecting anything more than a diary of everyday ship life (with a few more interesting events sprinkled in), you'll likely enjoy it. But it's not a traditional novel. For some readers, this will no doubt be a major obstacle. For others, perhaps it will offer something uniquely entertaining.

  • DWR
    2019-04-21 09:29

    Endless, vapid, wish-fulfillmentThis is an amateur effort. The premise is interesting; to see the story through the eyes of the two lowest people on the totem pole. Unfortunately, there are so many gaping plot holes, missing scenes, underdeveloped characters, atrocious dialogue and absurd situations that any value in the premise is lost. Every character is dangerously ignorant and naive, including the hero. I got the impression that the author thinks his readers are equally dim. For example, we are forced to read a lengthy discourse of why the hero is a hero, in case we didn't get it from simply reading of his marvelous exploits. The author should have stopped about 2/3 of the way through the book. By the end, the seemingly endless and increasingly rapid stream of vapid, puerile, wish-fulfilling scenes reached a truly breathless pace, culminating with the painful and laughable coffee scene with the President. I order to finish the book, I had to assume it was intended as a comedy. Sadly, I believe it was not. I'm truly baffled by those who would give this book 5 stars. What possible measuring system could you use that would have that result? In my system, this book would normally rate 2 stars since I did finish it as I normally reserve 1 star for those books I can't finish. I've made an exception in this case.

  • Kathryn McCary
    2019-04-13 14:30

    This was an engaging and absorbing read. John Peters, an enlisted man in the US Navy, volunteers for temporary duty on the first alien spaceship to make contact with the earth. A detachment of Navy fliers is going aboard the ship--with naval fighter planes modified to be spaceships themselves--for two years, and someone has to help the aliens get their quarters ready. But it turns out there is a little more to it than that.Locke's prose is an effortless read, literate and unobtrusive. His characters--human and alien--are real people, who talk and interact the way real people do. His plot absorbs the attention, with plenty of incident and fascinating twists; but he fires no guns that weren't hanging over the mantel well before someone grabs them. Even the revelation of the true villain of the piece, while unexpected, is not at all unheralded. And--he's left us with unanswered questions that would make a sequel (or at least, another story about the same part of the future) most welcome.This is my first experience with the product of the new, web-based, self-publishing, but it won't be my last. If something this readable couldn't find a conventional publisher. . .what else out there suffered the same fate? Think I'll go take a look.

  • Mark Edwards
    2019-04-13 07:23

    I'll have a detailed review up on my blog, later. For now, I'll say:I liked it. It's basically the adventures of a Petty Officer in space and as such, I liked it. It is a character-driven book, not action or plot-based. But it has a comforting feel about it, like one of Heinlein's Juveniles like "Have Spacesuit, Will Travel" or H. Beam Piper's Space Operas.The book is at it's strongest when it stays with the aggravations and excitement of flying on board a starship for the first time. The strengths and weaknesses of military order are shown, rather than 'speechified'.That tone changes with the death of one of the main characters. From that point on, it reads a bit like the ending of Battlefield Earth, to the book's detriment. The appearance of humans-in-everything-but-name aliens disappointed me, as was the fact that they seemed to be hottie slave girls straight out of Old School Star Trek (though they lack the sexy green body paint).Despite it's flaws, it was an enjoyable read. So long as you're willing to suspend disbelief and aren't expecting an action-packed plot, it should please. I'll be looking forward to his next book.

  • Greg
    2019-04-09 14:28

    This was a pretty interesting book and I enjoyed it... but...One mechanical issue I had with the book is that the font would switch into italics and then stay italic for pages and pages (until I learn a few tricks to force a page to re-render and go back to "normal"). This kept jarring me during my reading and made it very hard to keep in the reading moment. This issue kept me from enjoying the book as much as I probably could have...That said, it's an interesting and enjoyable story. I liked the plot-line and the characters. I'm a huge sucker for Hero's Journey stories...Take a US Navy Petty Office, Second Class, through him and a buddy onto a First Contact Merchant space ship (to help prepare them for a soon to arrive for an extended tour squadron), add 2+ years of planetary visits, human foibles (cough... officers... cough), interspecies and intra-species political intrigue, start of a new human clan, a few space battles and more and you've got a feel for the book.

  • Rene
    2019-04-02 10:06

    The naval trappings aside, this is less a military sci fi novel than it is a tribute to Heinlein's "competent man"; junior sailor with a modicum of common sense (whom everyone knows, are the backbone of any military organization) sees the universe, makes friends, family and allies, and becomes rich and powerful, by applying same common sense, and by treating others he meets with a basic sense of "humanity".Peter's rise in prestige reminds me of the rise of similar characters in "Double Star" and "Citizen of the Galaxy", with updated background technology. Like the Heinlein novels, Locke's "Temporary Duty" is more character driven than action based. My only gripe with this novel was with its length, though every time I came back to it, I was engaged.Despite the length, it IS a well written novel. A shame that Mr. Locke has passed away; I would have looked forward to future works from him.

  • Bigal-sa
    2019-04-18 09:19

    A nice easy read, much in the same vein as Quarter Share, but with a bit more action. What I didn't enjoy was that the text got stuck in italics very early on (location 222 on the Kindle). A painful way to get out of italics was to read a page or so, then look up a word in the dictionary, go into the dictionary, then use Back to go back to the text - this did get very irritating after a while. The proof reading was also not too good and there were some really bad Americanisms in some dialogues (I can't understand why indie authors feel they have to do this). The plot lost some of its bite for the last 20% or so of the book, but that could be the author preparing for a sequel.

  • Heather
    2019-04-01 10:28

    Liked this book overall. First two thirds was interesting. First encounters from the view of the lower ranks is a cool premise. Some of the characters are a little flat - almost without exception, officers are pompous jerks, and the aliens seem almost too technologically backward to successfully travel through space, but for the most part the interactions are interesting or amusing. Peters is unbelievably lucky, which can be overlooked until the last third, and then it becomes cringe-worthy. An alien space harem of women who are magically human, fiercely loyal to Peters for... reasons?... And who are either horny or crying, both of which obviously can only be cured by Peters. Sigh.

  • Michael Spencer
    2019-03-28 10:13

    Temporary Duty by Ric Locke......This is a great story, and I would love to see a sequel. It's fun, a lot of excitement, romance and military humor. ENJOY! This is a real pleasure!Something that I don't completely understand is the fact that I haven't found any other books by this author. He (I assume the author is masculine, but I don't know that for a fact.)writes with great skill and imagination, I am proud to add anything in this genre that he writes to my personal library, theof well over 1000 books.

  • David
    2019-04-05 12:17

    Story is about two U.S. Navy grunts working on a trader alien spaceship, prepping it for a military detachment to arrive later, then to tour the galaxy. First 1/3 is the grunt work of getting the ship ready for the soldiers and is stretched too long. The middle 1/3 is a solid adventure story visiting planets and encountering different species. The last 1/3 is sort of a male fantasy with beautiful space women throwing themselves at the main character.It's OK but the first part is dull and goes on too long, and the ending is juvenile.

  • Chris
    2019-04-17 10:01

    I don't recall how many times I have read this book now but every time I read this I just can't put the book down. I lose sleep and call in sick to work(well I would call in sick if I could) just so I can finish this book. I wish we could get another book as it feels like it's just getting started and could be so much more. So sad that the author is no longer with us to continue on with his story.

  • Skip Torok
    2019-04-17 13:13

    Hot Dang! This was a good read. Almost 1400 pages on my Nook. I didn't even notice that till I was on page 100 or so. I enjoyed every page. It took me several days to read and every day I returned to it... was like meeting up with an old friend. I wish it was 1400 pages longer to tell the truth. It did remind me a bit of "Quarter Share" and the 4 that followed by Lowell.Mr. Locke, well done, my compliments. Excellent read.

  • Steve Riedisser
    2019-04-04 11:01

    This one was pretty interesting. dealt with a USN detachment assigned to an alien trader ship. I found the two main characters to be likable. The author tho gave them a hillbilly vocabulary and that was trying at times. the author also must had been an enlisted seaman once. he doesnt have a high opinion of Officers or high ranked enlisted which I also a bit tedious. Any unit with character like this one would be doomed to fail miserably. All in all it was a fun read in spite of the annoyances.

  • David Miles
    2019-03-27 08:14

    The first half of the book held me spellbound. I laughed my ass off at the differences between the officers and the enlisted, and greatly enjoyed the discomfort of the former at the rise of the enlisted hero.The last portion of the story seemed a bit cobbled-together and perhaps even rushed to me, but nonetheless this was an excellent book that I'd recommend to anyone.

  • Michael
    2019-04-16 13:06

    Lost in the minutiae. The author is obviously talented and this could be a good story, but it loses itself in page after page of minutiae. That coupled with an overzealous application of Navy slang and protocol, which the reader has no way of knowing unless they've served in the military, makes the promising story very difficult to enjoy.

  • Kjirstin
    2019-04-20 06:23

    I greatly enjoyed this science fiction novel for the first, say, two-thirds of the story, then was a little off-put by the soapier space opera events that concluded it. The author's obvious experience with the military and comfort in that world was a nice change from most fictional renderings of the military. I had a good time reading this -- it reminded me of classic sci-fi novels.

  • Chris Williams
    2019-04-10 14:11

    this book started out with a really interesting premise. There are some genuine questions to be answered and the characters are likeable -- until everything jumps the shark about two-thirds in. Suddenly, instead of a military-space-alien story, it's an alien sex-harem-government conspiracy story. It really goes off the rails. it's like two different books.