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What is Lost Cargo?

Life ain’t easy for a pilot in the Void. An easy score turns into a whole lot of trouble, and the race is on to unload some very problematic cargo.

Captured by pirates in his beat up chimera, Maurice “Moss” Foote is having a bad day, until he gets a lead on the gig of a lifetime. Easy pickings, if his crew doesn’t mind doing a bit of pirating themselves, which they probably will. But one tiny lie might get them on board.

What’s the worst that could happen?

Roy Herzog is having a worse day. He’s crossed paths with the Silver Legion, the organization he deserted to become a pirate. Unfortunately, the Legion does not forget, and does not easily forgive. But there might be a way out, perhaps even a shot at revenge against the pilot who nearly killed him.

A pilot who flies a chimera.

Review

Noah Chinn is one of the voices of indie science fiction that doesn’t get nearly the attention he deserves. I primarily know him from his reviews in KNIGHTS OF THE DINNER TABLE MAGAZINE but really enjoyed LOST SOULS by him. He invented a fantastic light-hearted space opera story about a smuggler, his AI starship, and a runaway slave in a well-designed setting where Earth has been destroyed.

The sequel has the premise of affable criminal, Moss, planning to do some good natured piracy under the lie of rescuing a bunch of slaves. Unfortunately for Moss, he discovers that the actual cargo is not something easily turned into profit.. Driven by a combination of guilt and anger from his crewmates, he must find a solution even as they’re hunted by the cyborg armies of Earth.

Meanwhile, Roy Herzog, a cybernetic super soldier that was thwarted in kidnapping a bunch of colonists in the previous book, has set his sights on avenging himself on Moss. It’s not his primary goal and I appreciated that but it’s something he’s happy to get if he’s in the same area as Moss. Unfortunately, his plans are interrupted when he’s taken by his old bosses who can’t kill him but are not happy with his desertion.

This book does a lot to flesh out the setting and we learn about what happened to Earth, how freeborn humans (those who aren’t genetically modified) ended up enslaved by the cyborgs, and what exactly is going on with humanity’s future (hint: it’s not good). I really enjoyed getting a sense of how this post-apocalypse setting functions.

I was surprised at how good Noah Chinn was at making his antagonists sympathetic as well. Roy is a character that is utterly scummy, a pirate and slaver, but you understand how his mind works throughout. It’s also good to see him operate behind the scenes, slowly turning all of his enemies among the crew of the Silver Legion into friends or at least allies of convenience. He’s not quite Tyrion Lannister or Palpatine but certainly has watched them work.

We also get a serious examination of the ethics of brain uploading and how it might screw with someone’s sense of identity. We also find out why it isn’t more widely practiced despite the fact that most people would be fascinated by the prospect of immortality, even if it was the diet coke of immortality as I describe it in my books. I think it’s handled very well and Violet’s struggles with being able to be “backed up” or “copied” even though it’s not “her” are fascinating.

If I had one complaint about the book, it is a very small one and almost silly to mention. My inner shipper is annoyed that two of the main characters I was hoping for Moss to hook up with end up together instead. I’m still hoping he’ll end up with one of them but it came out of nowhere. I strongly recommend this book and hope you will check it and its predecessor out. I definitely will be picking up the third book.

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