Cry Pilot

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 06 Sep 2019

Member Reviews

This book was a fantastic read! Interesting & complex characters, a fascinating world that's both horrifying and interesting. I just had to keep reading.
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I loved this book (and can't wait for the next entry!)
Amazing, creative world-building, strong characters, lots of tension. WHEW. This book sucked me in from the start.
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Cry Pilot is relatively near future military SF, set in an Earth devastated by wars in which horrific bioweapons were unleashed (and are being reborn), remorts. Protagonist Maseo Kaytu seeks redemption for actions as a child as a member of the military.

Though it takes a while to get a sense of what's going on in this future world, and to understand our hero's backstory, Cry Pilot is thoroughly engrossing once you do.
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A dystopian future where a ruined Earth is "terrafixed" and creates AI monsters? SIGN ME UP. 

Maseo Kaytu is a young man with a past he wants to make up for, and sets his sights on the military to do it. But traditional military channels aren't open to a kid from a refugee camp, so Kaytu finds an alternate route: as a "cry pilot", the name given to pilots who take on suicide missions against some of the most horrifying monsters. He beats the odds, survives, and thrives in the infantry, where he forms close bonds with his fellow soldiers. But his platoon is sent up against a new, even worse monster - and the "patriots" that guard their homes against the military are just as much of a threat. Kaytu will have to re-evaluate everything he's gone into the military intending to carry out in order to stay alive.

Cry Pilot is near-unputdownable. It's solid sci-fi with monsters and mechs, phenomenal world-building, and a diverse group of characters I immediately bonded to. It's a Starship Troopers kind camaraderie (minus the overt propaganda/anti-war message), and fans of corporate military sci fi - think Peter Tieryas' United States of Japan and Mecha Samurai Empire, with a liberal splash of Pacific Rim - will eat this up. 

The book is out today, and I've already been telling everyone I know about it for the last two weeks.
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Cry Pilot features multifaceted worldbuilding in a future where corporations run things side-by-side with the military. The enemies are stronger and the stakes are higher as the world mends from human ineptitude. The book manages to combine military, high-tech, and dystopian science fiction in one compelling narrative, featuring well-drawn characters and central protagonist you want to root for.

To start, I’m fascinated by the central enemies in this strange future Earth, the remorts. Imagine a future where we actually get it together enough as a planet to do something about climate change. Imagine that thing is to put everyone into these enormous, tall building cities and terraform the cleared Earth. Imagine the planet becomes this beautiful paradise outside of these sprawling cities, giving way to any number of formerly extinct species. Pretty cool, right? 

The real epicness lies in the malfunction of this terraforming tool. It wouldn’t be a fancy futuristic technology if there wasn’t something wrong with it. In this instance, mankind was obsessed with war and making terrifying advances in warfare. Imagine that. When things really started to go south, these machines were abandoned throughout the world, eventually decaying. Amazingly, this terraforming process found a way to create these monsters that are part machine, part animal by combining various DNA with the technical elements left in the Earth. It’s like something straight out of Godzilla, but more believable. The concept is staggering and makes for an exhilarating read. In fixing the world, humanity managed to create their greatest enemies. Poetic, isn’t it?

I was equally impressed by the extensive worldbuilding that continues throughout the novel. There’s a history of artificial intelligence alongside mankind, birthing all of this technology that gave us the ability to move beyond our planet. There’s the class struggle that would inevitably come from a super cramped mega-city. We also see this juxtaposition of a military society and a corporate society melded into an unhealthy concoction. Overall, the elements work together well to create a compelling story.

Review to be published on 8/7: http://reviewsandrobots.com/2019/08/07/the-worldbuilding-of-cry-pilot
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In a high-tech, dystopian future, young soldiers will become fodder for certain death against the most dangerous foe the earth has ever faced. Where has it come from? How can it be stopped?

Told through the eyes of Maseo Jaytu, a young recruit on the run from the secrets of his past, he finds a sense of belonging to the group of misfit soldiers, each longing to leave a mark on a world who doesn’t see them with any value.

Tense, creative and raw, Joel Dane’s CRY PILOT the action is pure science fiction with a huge helping of humanity from the young soldiers facing certain death as they draw closer together and become their own special family. Heroes will die, corporate greed and the techno world will go on and still, only one man will discover the secret to defeating the enemy, but it could cost both him and his best friend their lives. 

Gritty, intriguing and mesmerizing, is this the world we are rushing forward to? A great read, a great escape, thanks to the talent of Joel Dane.

I received a complimentary ARC edition from Ace! This is my honest and voluntary review.
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I received an advance copy of this book via NetGalley.

By the description, I expected far-future sci-fi. Cry Pilot is that, and a whole lot more--like a cyberpunk and military scifi combination, all in an original take on post-climate apocalypse Earth.

Kaytu is a complicated young man trying to do right. He's a gutter rat, a former refugee, and he has set his eye on military service with one of the major corporations that holds dominion over Earth. With his background--which only emerges in perfectly-paced detail across the book--he's forced to take a more criminal route, which gets him assigned to be a cry pilot--essentially, a piece of meat dropped into an AI-driven mecha that does battle with other bio-machines that threaten to undo the resettlement and terraforming of the planet. Most cry pilots die. He does not--nor does the flighty drug addict with him. Together, they soon find themselves placed in different roles as they train to face a horrific threat unlike ever seen before.

With some scifi books with a far-future setting, it feels like the emphasis is on the world and tech and the characters are outright tropes. Not so here. Everyone feels vivid and alive. Kaytu's peers are an eclectic bunch, and as he became attached to them, so did I (a dangerous thing when they are facing some pretty nasty threats). The world is incredibly immersive and detailed, and it builds in just the right way; I never felt overwhelmed.  Not only is the tech advanced, but social constructs are radically different, too, but this is handled in a casual, natural way. Poly relationships are common (and make perfect sense, given the need for humanity to repopulate) and sexual preference is fluid.

I found the book to be absolutely enthralling. Not only is the story fantastic, but as a writer, I can only admire the elegant pacing of the world's construction. This is a book to point to as an example of how to do scifi right.
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Cry Pilot is the first volume in a brand new  new military science fiction series.  Whether you are taking  about training grunts for action in Southeast Asia, the deserts of Iraq, or in a future world, you always get the same sense of struggle to get through basic training, the camaraderie, and the triumphant battles.   With a futuristic landscape like this, comparisons to Heinlein’s Starship Troopers and Card’s Ender’s Game certainly are not amiss.  Nevertheless, the Cry Pilot universe is fresh, new, and invigorating.

The battle here is not in space, but on an earth destroyed by endless war.  The human race is ensconced  in small corporate enclaves and all around the earth and oceans are undergoing vast terraforming with the hope of bringing earth back to life.  But, here’s where it gets crazy because the terraforming agents have awakened all manner of artificial intelligence war machines that were buried deep in the earth and the oceans over the centuries of war.  And, these remotes have grown more sophisticated and more treacherous.  And, now there’s rumour of even more bizarre things that appear genetic rather than mechanical awakening.  
Meet lampreys and you’ve never met anything like these.

Katyu must put his past behind him as he volunteers the only way he can- by being a cry pilot for a CAV, a tentacled mechanical beast that craves human pilots to interface with and cannot do battle without that interface.  But, there’s a minuscule chance of surviving in a CAV and graduating to basic training.  Most CAV pilots are crushed within the structures when they do battle with remorts and are little more than sacrificial lambs being led to slaughter.  

This is a hard paced action-Packed battle novel that succceeds because it creates a believable world and interesting characters.  

Many thanks to the publishing house for providing an advanced copy for review.
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I started reading this while stuck in an auto shop waiting room that was not designed for the comfort of human beings, let me put it that way. Cars, maybe.

I mention that because I got sucked in so hard that when they called me two and a half hours later, I sat for an extra ten minutes because I had to find out how a certain scene ended. In spite of the blaring PA (which I didn't hear past about page three), the buzz and brrrr of pneumatic tools, and a plastic chair that had to have been designed by a torture chamber architect.

Training sequences are my jam, especially when the characterization is as terrific as exemplified here. Maseo Kaytu enlists in a corporation-run army in an all-or-nothing manner, and ends up with a bunch of other misfits, some of whom we get to know quite well, but all of them are distinctive--so distinctive it hurts when . . .

Put it this way. This is a high-octane military sf story, heavy on the weapons and action, which means an extremely high body count. Keeping it firmly this side of violence porn is how much Dane makes the reader care about the grunts around Maseo, and about the world, which is a weird but believable future in which the mess we've made of the planet is in the process of reverse--but the Terraforming, as it's called, has its own complex price.

Which includes rogue bioweapons.

How we humans are our own worst enemies doesn't escape exploration either on the personal level or the political. One of the most interesting questions asked in this book is "Are you a soldier or are you a patriot?" So much military SF assumes the two are one. 

There's resolution at the end of this book, while major threads are set up for a longer arc. I can't WAIT for the next. A funny, tense, vivid, hard-hitting but smart and thoughtful story, with cussing military-style that is entertainingly gender-blind at times. Terrific female characters made it just that much more awesome.

I got this through NetGalley, but I'll be snagging a print copy as soon as it comes out, as this goes on the reread shelf.
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