Thank you so much to Angry Robot for the early access digital copy of Mercury Rising by RWW Greene! I feel bad for doing a terrible job reading it super early, but here we are anyway!
This is an alternate history, first encounter type story where Kennedy lived and the Earth ended up mobilizing a united space force against an alien race. How is this really going to work out in the end? Read on for my spoiler free thoughts!
Bookish Quick Facts:
- Title: Mercury Rising
- Series: (Author alluded to a sequel)
- Author: RWW Greene
- Publisher & Release: Angry Robot, 05/10/22
- Length: 400 Pages
- Rate & Recommend: ⭐⭐⭐⚡ Yes for fans of military sci-fi, first encounters, snarky aliens and their *coughreproductiveneedscough*
Here’s the synopsis:
Alternative history with aliens, an immortal misanthrope and SF tropes aplenty
The year is 1975 – Robert Oppenheimer has invented the Atomic Engine, the first human has walked on the moon, and Jet Carson and the Eagle Seven have sacrificed their lives to stop alien invaders.
Brooklyn, however, just wants to keep his head down, pay his mother’s rent, earn a little scratch of his own, and maybe get laid sometime. Simple pleasures! But life is about to get real complicated when a killer with a baseball bat and a mysterious box of 8-track tapes sets him up for murder.
So, his choices are limited – rot away in prison or sign up to defend the planet from the assholes who dropped a meteorite on Cleveland. Brooklyn crosses his fingers and picks the Earth Orbital Forces, believing that after a few years in the trenches – assuming he survives – he can get his life back. Unfortunately, the universe has other plans.
Brooklyn is launched into a quest to save humanity, find his true family, and grow as a person – while simultaneously coping with high-stakes space battles, mystery science experiments and the realisation that the true enemies perhaps aren’t the tentacled monsters on the recruitment poster… Or are they?
Overall, this was a quick and pretty engaging read. I had trouble getting started with the alternate history portion since it was also super technologically advanced and that threw me off, I guess I am too used to these types of books occurring in the future. Once the book got going with Brooklyn ending up in jail and then the military, I couldn’t put it down!
Brooklyn is an interesting character, one of those who doesn’t really want to be a hero at all but rises to the circumstances pushed upon him. I also liked pretty much all of the characters on Venus – especially the doctor. Throw in a medical mystery or two and this girl is on board!
Speaking of characters, there is an entirely gay spaceship and the astronauts are mostly pretty funny. I liked seeing how they interacted with the straight guy (Brooklyn) and put him in his place without entirely dismissing his concerns. It was an eye opening experience for Brooklyn and his very gay roommate from military training. I would have liked to know what happened to the ship and the rest of the crew after Brooklyn’s departure.
Plot wise – this one definitely kept moving. It was interesting to discover the aliens and their motivation for initiating contact with the Earth and military. The best part was that I really had no idea what was coming at the end. The other best part was that Greene really focused on Brooklyn’s story, while letting the others be heroes at the end.
There is a bit of an open ending that I did like, although the author alluded to there being more writing coming in Brooklyn’s world. With no spoilers – the book does absolutely work as a standalone, but there’s definitely room for a sequel too.
Overall – It took a while to get going for me but I can definitely recommend this one for fans of the genre!