Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Review: Event by David Lynn Goleman

First, I apologize for the late posting of this, normal work excuse to follow.

When I see a tale set in modern times with a strong conspiracy-theory backdrop, I generally roll my eyes and await the trite and overdone Black Helicopter/Evil Government Cover-up/Waco/Ruby Ridge ranting that is endemic to the genre of speculative fiction. Luckily for me, this particular book is not done in that vein. At all. In fact, Event, attempts to humanize and explain why some of these things need to be taken care of with discretion. Don't think that David Lynn Goleman is going to handle you with kid gloves, though, because this is an author who likes to sucker-punch the reader with great surprises and really amazing ideas.

The first question that you are likely to ask is, "What is Todd talking about?" Well, I am talking about the first book in the Event Group series by David Lynn Goleman. This first story is a traditional series opener that sets the scene and the stage for the upcoming drama by throwing the new guy in the group into the deep end of the pool. Anyone who has seen a TV series on the SciFi channel (Sanctuary, Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, Farscape, Strangeworld, etc) is familiar with this formula and knows how it goes. Luckily, Mr. Goleman has seen those shows too, and knows that we knows how this is supposed to play out, so he tries to have fun with it and make it entertaining. Thankfully, he succeeds. The SciFi channel wishes it could put together a show so thoroughly engrossing as this book was.

At any rate, what about the story? The novel Event takes place in contemporary times and features characters who work for a secret department in the US Government, Department 5656, which is (on paper) an adjunct to the national archives. The real task of Department 5656 is the acquisition of artifacts and the learning of history on a grand scale so we can avoid that fate warned of by Santa Ana. From Noah's Ark to the corpse of King Arthur, the Event Group, as Dept 5656 is known, collects it all; sending super-scientists and US Armed Forces Special Ops teams on globe-trotting adventures. According to the leaders of the Group, no other nation has the same kind of set-up, and one of the tasks of the Group is not only to preserve these ancient relics, but to learn from them and study them, keeping them secret if they may cause too great an uproar in modern society.

Of course, all this leads us to one of their finds that 'got away': the debris and alien artifats from Roswell, NM! Sorry, no real spoiler here, the book starts of with the stealing of the Roswell artifacts from the Event Group team in 1947. The question is: what does that have to do with the plot of the book? Well, history has a way of repeating itself, and apparently the crash at Roswell was no mere accident, but the opening shot in a planned invasion. The original crash is replicated by the aliens in exact detail, with the sole deviation that a wing of US Navy F-14's open fire on one of the two flying saucers, causing both to crash. What happens next is a fast-paced, high impact thrill ride that will leave you gasping for breath at the end of each chapter.

If you are looking for a book with good solid science, action, adventure, monsters, depraved aliens, friendly aliens, more monsters, gun battles, car chases, espionage, big monsters, assassinations, strip clubs, archeology, spelunking, fighter planes, high tech gadgets, more nifty science, and more monsters, then this is the book for you. If you don't like those things, then perhaps I could recommend something a bit tamer.

THAC0: 5

*Note: I am grading things based on the old system of 'To Hit Armor Class 0' or THAC0. The idea is that the lower the number, the better this is at being an actual hit in terms of game mechanics. In terms of my grade, the THAC0 is the number is believe on a scale of 1-20 that I think this will be a hit with you, the reader. 1 means that I think that pretty much everyone will love this book/movie/show and 20 means that almost nobody will like it.

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