2016/10/11

Quantum Mortis: A Man Disrupted

By way of welcoming me to the Castalia House family, Lead Editor Vox Day recently gifted me a copy of Quantum Mortis: A Man Disrupted, his military science fiction/noir techno-thriller co-authored with Steve Rzasa.


Synopsis

The novel's protagonist is Chief Warrant Officer Graven Tower of the Military Crimes Investigation Division on Rhysalan--a sanctuary planet hosting over 1,400 alien governments in exile.

Psychologically unbalanced, armed to the teeth, and legally empowered with far more license to use deadly force than the civilian cops, Tower gets involved--mostly due to his attraction to the detective in charge--in a local police investigation into the possible assassination of an alien VIP.

With the help of his military grade augment/partner Baby, an AI, hacking virtuoso, and devout Christian; Tower delves into a labyrinth of murder, espionage, and political intrigue to defuse growing tensions that threaten to tear his planet apart. But besides hostile alien warriors, bloodthirsty academics, and scheming bureaucrats, Tower's deadliest opposition may come from his own compromised sanity.


Analysis
Vox Day - on pointe
Vox Day
Co-authors Vox Day and Steve Rzasa weave a compelling sci-fi murder mystery that will keep you turning pages; not just to see the titular crime solved, but to more deeply immerse yourself in the lives of the vivid characters and the thoughtfully designed world they inhabit.

Quantum Mortis: A Man Disrupted defies easy classification, which is one of the book's strengths, in my opinion. Here we find hallmarks of the mil SF, hard SF, noir detective, police procedural, techno-thriller, and cyberpunk genres, just to name a few. Perhaps the authors' most impressive achievement in regard to this book is how they seamlessly blended this disparate elements into a coherent whole greater than the sum of its parts.

Due credit must be given for the world building, which speculates on technology, politics, religion, and more with such great depth and breadth that the world feels not only plausible, but genuinely lived in.

A note on action: QM: AMD takes a measured approach to the pacing and frequency of its action scenes, which are well executed but often quite graphic in terms of violence. Personally I had no problem with the elaborate, sometimes almost clinical descriptions of carnage, but the faint of heart should know what they're getting into.

My only nitpicks with the book were the occasional digressions into weapon specs and the dialogue's salting with military jargon. Then again, I'm not a big mil-SF reader, so weigh that criticism accordingly.

In summation, Quantum Mortis: A Man Disrupted is a clever, intricately thought-out thriller deftly combining tropes from multiple spec fic genres. Recommended for fans of military fiction, noir, cyberpunk, and political intrigue.


Addendum

Vox has stated that part of his vision for Castalia House is for him to be the worst author they publish. QM:AMD sets the bar quite high, so it's impressive that they've managed to meet that standard so far with authors like Peter Grant, John C. Wright, Owen Stanley, and more. With such a distinguished stable of talent, it's easy to picture CH becoming the #1 SFF publisher in the near future.

And if you find Castalia House's books a refreshing alternative to the bodice rippers in space and civics lectures packaged as SF peddled by the dying Big 5 publishers, you'll definitely appreciate Infogalactic, the planetary knowledge core designed to fork and replace Wikipedia's outmoded technology, thought policing, and editorial pissing contests.

With more than twice as many pages as the English-language version of Wikipedia, Infogalactic has already become my go-to web resource for research or simple fun with daisy-chaining article links. I can overlook the site's occasional slowness this soon after launch since this is only Phase 1 and their capabilities are set to grow exponentially.


Although I'm not officially a Castalia House author yet, my Soul Cycle books were deemed good enough to qualify me for a shot at the big time. Book III is coming soon--with the plan being to follow it up with my first CH book--so if you haven't read Nethereal and Souldancer yet, now's the perfect time.

10 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed "A Man Disrupted." It was one of the very first things I read that got me into this new revival of "blue SFF," and it was a great launching point.

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    1. Interesting. I can totally see that.

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    2. Memory brainwaves fired. It was actually the second blue SFF book I picked up. The first was "Monster Hunter International."

      Try that for a one-two punch.

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    3. You could call it the Blue SF Starter Kit.

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  2. It was Rzasa's "Turncoat" that led me to this book. I thought it was okay until the last third, when it blew the doors off the setting with a psychedelic fight scene between [redacted]. It went from so-so to amazing in the space of that one chapter. Reminds me, I really need to read the rest of the series.

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    1. Agreed. [Redacted] was awesome!

      What did you think of "Turncoat"?

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    2. Loved it. One of those stories whete the 'twist' is broadcast from the title, but it's so well dobe you enjoy the ride anyway.

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  3. I've read Quantum Mortis. I cannot recommend it enough, and I'm happy that someone else sees how cool it is.

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    1. Judging by the comments above, the QM fan club isn't just limited to us ;)

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