Birdie Down by Jim Graham is an interesting side story that takes place in Graham’s Scat universe. In 2210, rebels led by Sebastian Scatkiewicz (known as ‘Scat’) are protesting the corporate rule of space. As his team is reaching out to cause trouble on one of the worlds owned by the enemy Lynthax corporation, a ship containing the rebel and former police officer Andrew Goosen (known as ‘Birdie’) goes down and must be abandoned for the good of the rebellion.
Birdie now has the enjoyment of trying to run with/rescue a friend and college (Tillier Bing) who was hurt so that he doesn’t remember knowing Birdie, the entire rebellion he was fighting for, or even what he had claimed was his own name. If that wasn’t enough, the two of them are stuck in a swamp swarming with giant lizards and horrible spider-rat creatures so sickening that you wouldn’t even leave a hated enemy to fend with them.
For everyone who loved the first one, this book is not to be missed. As the story is slightly set aside from it’s predecessor, it should stand alone well enough, but as the two works fit together into an elaborate, well put together tail, there is no real reason to miss either one. I hear Jim has a third story in the works; I am eagerly awaiting getting the chance to read it.
Scat by Jim Graham is a great, futuristic tale involving everything you could expect to come from a Sci-fi story; be it rebels wanting to break their chains to Earth or frightening, very god-like aliens. The word Scat is actually a person, a high ranking Earth soldier with the last name Scatkiewicz. Soon after the story begins, he is hired to act as a spy and help keep an eye on the ever-growing society of those who live away from the planet, people who find that their lives and work only produce what is endlessly gobbled up by the very overpopulated Earth.
Because the people of Earth’s great demand for resources that they now find dwindling at home can be supplied by matter upon exoplanets, the idea of colonization becomes quite profitable. In fact, the money to be made makes it where most space exploration is funded by corporations who want control of the new possible commodities instead of relying upon countries that are looking to expand. This means that people who live off of Earth often resent the ‘home’ planet; its demand of materials that supply funds the corporations, who in turn are able to make nearly any demand of citizens on the planets they own so they can produce more and drive up the demand.
The corporations are forever looking for new, valuable property to claim. Because of this, when an item of unknown origin is encountered, the company who finds it tries to seal the priceless artifact away for their own inspection rather than letting their findings be known. Now, this is much more selfish than a simple case of hoarding. When considering the new technologies and possible monetary value the seeming space-junk may hold, i’s finders feel they have the right to ignore rules and procedures for alien contact that were put forth to look after humanity’s safety, and do so with barely a moment’s thought.
Living as a spy to try getting close to people can start to make that spy see things from the ‘enemy’s’ point of view. Before long Scat almost considers himself to to be one of the colony-rebels. His experience as a soldier before-hand makes him to be a quite worthy adversary. The problem that his enemies face is deciding if it would do them better to rid the universe of is anger for them or to try using his strength as their own asset.
This story had me riveted. I enjoyed the interactions between the people, and the descriptions of futuristic technology. The idea of the controller aliens and their technology caught me as sickeningly fun.