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Mercury Rising

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Alternative history with aliens, an immortal misanthrope and SF tropes aplenty Even in a technologically-advanced, Kennedy-Didn’t-Die alternate-history, Brooklyn Lamontagne is going nowhere fast. The year is 1975, thirty years after Robert Oppenheimer invented the Oppenheimer Nuclear Engine, twenty-five years after the first human walked on the moon, and eighteen years afte Alternative history with aliens, an immortal misanthrope and SF tropes aplenty Even in a technologically-advanced, Kennedy-Didn’t-Die alternate-history, Brooklyn Lamontagne is going nowhere fast. The year is 1975, thirty years after Robert Oppenheimer invented the Oppenheimer Nuclear Engine, twenty-five years after the first human walked on the moon, and eighteen years after Jet Carson and the Eagle Seven sacrificed their lives to stop the alien invaders. Brooklyn just wants to keep his mother’s rent paid, earn a little scratch of his own, steer clear of the cops, and maybe get laid sometime in the near future. Simple pleasures, right? But a killer with a baseball bat and a mysterious box of 8-track tapes is about to make his life real complicated…


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Alternative history with aliens, an immortal misanthrope and SF tropes aplenty Even in a technologically-advanced, Kennedy-Didn’t-Die alternate-history, Brooklyn Lamontagne is going nowhere fast. The year is 1975, thirty years after Robert Oppenheimer invented the Oppenheimer Nuclear Engine, twenty-five years after the first human walked on the moon, and eighteen years afte Alternative history with aliens, an immortal misanthrope and SF tropes aplenty Even in a technologically-advanced, Kennedy-Didn’t-Die alternate-history, Brooklyn Lamontagne is going nowhere fast. The year is 1975, thirty years after Robert Oppenheimer invented the Oppenheimer Nuclear Engine, twenty-five years after the first human walked on the moon, and eighteen years after Jet Carson and the Eagle Seven sacrificed their lives to stop the alien invaders. Brooklyn just wants to keep his mother’s rent paid, earn a little scratch of his own, steer clear of the cops, and maybe get laid sometime in the near future. Simple pleasures, right? But a killer with a baseball bat and a mysterious box of 8-track tapes is about to make his life real complicated…

30 review for Mercury Rising

  1. 4 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    Real Rating: 4.75* of five (rounded down because the w-bombs! the w-bombs!) I PRACTICALLY HAD TO BEG THE AUTHOR FOR A DRC. I *THOUGHT* WE WERE FRIENDS. MY FEELINGS ARE STILL HURT. My Review: No, really. Mortally wounded that this wingèd not my way until I groveled. *sniff* (And seriously NO MORE W-BOMBS. Cut that crap out, dirty-old-man-in-training!) I was calmly enjoying the mental soundtrack, the 1970s jukebox that's permanently cued up in my head, when *wham* another revolting w-bomb. But about Real Rating: 4.75* of five (rounded down because the w-bombs! the w-bombs!) I PRACTICALLY HAD TO BEG THE AUTHOR FOR A DRC. I *THOUGHT* WE WERE FRIENDS. MY FEELINGS ARE STILL HURT. My Review: No, really. Mortally wounded that this wingèd not my way until I groveled. *sniff* (And seriously NO MORE W-BOMBS. Cut that crap out, dirty-old-man-in-training!) I was calmly enjoying the mental soundtrack, the 1970s jukebox that's permanently cued up in my head, when *wham* another revolting w-bomb. But about that jukebox...would we, in fact, have the precise same pop-cultural artifacts in a world that didn't slow down its climb to the stars? The 1968 Cougar, well, okay, that was already on course from 1958. The planning window of a car in those days was five years...so the 1958s wouldn't've been much altered from our world, as I understand the timeline, which diverges first in the middle 1940s and so those cars can be explained. Pop culture spins on a nailhead. Elvis electrifying the country is one example, the Beatles knocking off his cool-cat cap is another, but both of those came in response to specific cultural stimuli. Wouldn't the world be more law-and-order oriented when the Oppenheimer Nuclear Drives are dangling before the lust-drenched gaze of every young testosterone factory? Can't get in one of those unless your nose is clean. Which, of course, our PoV character (Brooklyn Lemontagne) flouts. But the reason he's able to flout that social control mechanism is simple: Invaders from Outer Space! The ultimate Golden Age of SF trope. This time they're Mercurians, the patent absurdity of whose existence gives even the Hero of the piece (who apparently dies early on) some pause. Can't argue with the presence of stonking hostile warships and evaporated cities, can you. This takes place among Americans! Of course you can! The whole planet pulls together to combat the Enemy from Beyond...and there are ignorant goofballs talking conspiracy theories, there are hemi-hippies rebelling against the controlling hand of the grown-ups. This is the world, and honestly I agree with Author Greene's take on it. I quibble with some details, but I believe he's exactly correct that even an existential threat with ample death and destruction to demonstrate its reality won't create more than a façade of unity among the irredeemable mass of humanity. (Look around, tell me, and him, we're wrong.) So I buy the premise. So I consent to set aside my niggling nuh-uh generator. I'm in for the ride. There is more, should you wish to visit my blog to read all the progress notes.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)

    3.5 Stars When I try to describe this book, the word that comes to mind is… cool. This is an alternative history science fiction novel. I didn't know how much I love this subgenre until I read this book. Why is this such an undeserved subgenre? While this is set in the past, this alternative history explores futuristic ideas surrounding space travel and aliens. The characters and worldbuilding are just plain cool. I mean, this book opens with a character named Jet! The tone of the story is lighter, 3.5 Stars When I try to describe this book, the word that comes to mind is… cool. This is an alternative history science fiction novel. I didn't know how much I love this subgenre until I read this book. Why is this such an undeserved subgenre? While this is set in the past, this alternative history explores futuristic ideas surrounding space travel and aliens. The characters and worldbuilding are just plain cool. I mean, this book opens with a character named Jet! The tone of the story is lighter, which fit the story, but held this one back from being a five star read for me. This book was certainly fun, but I personally need stories with more emotional depth in order to fully connect with the narrative. I read and loved this author's previous novel, The Light Years. I enjoyed both novels but they are very different from each other. The author has a fantastic range within his work. I would definitely love to read more by him. I would recommend this one to readers who are looking for a unique story that blends together the past and future into a fun space romp. Disclaimer I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Athena (OneReadingNurse)

    Thank you so much to Angry Robot for the free digital arc of Mercury Rising by RWW Greene in exchange for an honest review! All opinions are my own! 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 Thank you so much to Angry Robot for the free digital arc of Mercury Rising by RWW Greene in exchange for an honest review! All opinions are my own! 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!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)

    Mercury Rising was such a unique reading experience, I hardly know how to start this review. I suppose I will take you through my journey while reading it, as there were a few distinct parts. I was enthralled from the start, where we meet a astronaut captain in what is clearly an alternate timeline. He's been sent up this particular time because there seems to be a threat from... well, who knows, right? It's tense and exciting and then... We meet our main character, who is not at all an astronaut Mercury Rising was such a unique reading experience, I hardly know how to start this review. I suppose I will take you through my journey while reading it, as there were a few distinct parts. I was enthralled from the start, where we meet a astronaut captain in what is clearly an alternate timeline. He's been sent up this particular time because there seems to be a threat from... well, who knows, right? It's tense and exciting and then... We meet our main character, who is not at all an astronaut hero. His name is Brooklyn, and he's kind of a mess. The antithesis of the aforementioned astronaut hero, if you will. And I won't lie, I found it a little jarring, perhaps even underwhelming at first. At first, I said, no worries! Because while I will say there were a few chapters early on where I was unsure if I'd be digging this story after all, that quickly vanished. All of a sudden, I found myself so completely immersed in the whole story that I lost track of time. I don't know when, where, or how the change occurred, but one minute I was mildly interested, and the next I had straight up forgotten I had other stuff to do in actual life. This is my second R.W.W. Greene book, and wow, can he pull me into a story! Like Twenty Five to Life, this story had me wholly invested in the world and characters. The world itself is beyond compelling- imagine, if you will, that Kennedy was never killed, that the space race was on steroids, and that we as a society were just so much more technologically advanced.  Also, aliens. Obviously we are going to be interested in that world, yeah? I sure was! There are a lot of very cool space shenanigans that occur during the story too, that I am leaving vague so you will have the delight of experiencing them for yourselves. Now, the characters. At first, like me, you may think Brooklyn is a real letdown after Jet Carson, SpaceHero™. And I mean, I guess he kind of is at that point in his life. But we can't all come out of the wombs as heroes, right? And frankly, I think Brooklyn's journey ends up being far more satisfying because of how he started out, not in spite of it. There is a great cast of secondary characters to love as well, but to tell you about virtually any of them would give away plot points that I don't want to, so. Just read the thing, yeah? As I got to the end of the book, I was a bit worried- how exactly are we going to wrap everything up, there is so much to explore in this world! Well, good news on that front, this is not supposed to be a standalone! I am thrilled, because this world is bananas, in the best possible way. I love the way the author is able to deliver smart commentary about past and current events in so many ways, and I can't wait for more! Bottom Line: Mercury Rising managed to be so many things at once: clever, heartfelt, entertaining, and so, so enjoyable. I cannot wait to dive back into this world and see what else it has to offer! You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

    The nitty-gritty: Low-tech and futuristic space travel combine in surprising ways in this entertaining series opener. Last year I thoroughly enjoyed R.W.W. Greene’s Twenty-Five to Life, and so I jumped at the chance to read his latest book from Angry Robot. Mercury Rising is just as compelling but in a different way. Where Twenty-Five to Life focuses on characters who still live on Earth, Mercury Rising is set mostly in space and takes place in the past—the 1970s—although this is not our past, bu The nitty-gritty: Low-tech and futuristic space travel combine in surprising ways in this entertaining series opener. Last year I thoroughly enjoyed R.W.W. Greene’s Twenty-Five to Life, and so I jumped at the chance to read his latest book from Angry Robot. Mercury Rising is just as compelling but in a different way. Where Twenty-Five to Life focuses on characters who still live on Earth, Mercury Rising is set mostly in space and takes place in the past—the 1970s—although this is not our past, but rather a world where Kennedy wasn’t shot and space travel has made great strides as early as the 1950s. I absolutely loved the unusual mix of retro-technology, space travel and alien invasion, and the casual "hippie" lifestyle of the characters made for an interesting contrast. In this alternate version of the U.S., the invention of the Oppenheimer Nuclear Engine in 1945 has allowed for an accelerated space program. Decades later in 1961, a crew of U.S. and Russian astronauts die trying to stop an alien invasion. From this first encounter, other disastrous attacks have happened on U.S. soil, including the destruction of the city of Cleveland in 1972 by an asteroid. These events have had a catastrophic effect on the economy, and many people have left Earth for colonies on the Moon and Mars. The story begins in New York and follows a man named Brooklyn Lamontagne, who is drifting through life without much purpose. That is until he agrees to help a friend steal some 8-track tapes and things go horribly wrong. Brooklyn’s friend David winds up dead, and Brooklyn is arrested as a suspect. Even though he didn’t commit the murder, things don’t look good for him, so to avoid going to prison, Brooklyn agrees to join the EOF—the Extra-Orbital Forces—for a ten year term of service. And so Brooklyn’s adventures in space begin, first with a “boot camp” in Texas followed by a rigorous and dangerous training stint in the Arctic. To his surprise, Brooklyn passes everything with flying colors and is sent to the Moon to work as a computer expert, but later a new assignment takes him deeper into space, where he learns some shocking truths about the aliens. When a new threat emerges, Brooklyn is called upon to help stop it—the most important assignment of his life. If you’re looking for a fast-paced, plot driven story, you might want to look elsewhere, but don’t let that stop you from reading this book. Yes, the pace is a bit meandering, and Brooklyn’s journey has many stops along the way. But I was so engrossed in each part of that journey and fascinated by Greene’s unique world-building that the slow pace didn’t bother me at all. Brooklyn is front and center throughout, and along the way he meets new people who add lots of nice layers to the story. He mostly takes things in stride, agreeing to new assignments without complaint, making friends wherever he goes, willing to jump into dangerous situations at the drop of a hat. I enjoyed his casual view of the world and his optimistic attitude. To be honest, it was refreshing to run into a character who isn’t dark and angsty. Greene’s world-building was refreshing as well. At first I didn’t know what to make of the odd combination of 1970s technology and futuristic space travel. You have people living on the moon and space ships traveling to Mars and Venus, but computers are stuck in the 60s and 70s and people still listen to music on 8-track tapes. But this combo really worked, and it was one of my favorite parts of the book. And I loved the references to music. Brooklyn and his friends listen to K.C. & the Sunshine Band and other bands and musicians from the era, and I could almost hear a soundtrack playing along as I was reading. Greene captures the political sensibility of the 1970s with real life people from history, and even imagines a world where conspiracy theories are alive and well, including one where Nixon instigated the attack on Cleveland in order to be reelected. It was all a lot of fun, and Greene gives his readers plenty of food for thought. And while the story takes its time getting to wherever it’s going, at about the sixty-percent mark Greene throws in a very cool twist and the pace and tension pick up considerably. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I will say that Brooklyn finds himself in yet another new location and meets one of my favorite characters in the story, a woman named Andy. Andy is the key to everything that follows, and I absolutely loved the relationship that develops between the two. This won’t make sense unless you read the book, but they were pretty adorable together! Greene even ties up some loose ends by circling back to the stolen tapes and the murder at the beginning of the story. It’s at this point that the author introduces some fascinating concepts about the origins of the human race and how we ended up on Earth—and who may have been there before us. Some of his ideas were simply mind boggling, and days after finishing the book, those ideas are still rattling around in my head. The satisfying ending harkens back to an earlier plot point where Brooklyn meets a rather sketchy doctor aboard one of his ships, a doctor with a nefarious agenda, and I thought it was a great way to wrap things up. This is never explained, but I suspect it will be in the sequel. Because yes, I was thrilled to discover that Mercury Rising is the first book in a trilogy. R.W.W. Green continues to surprise me, and he’s undoubtedly one of the most unique writers working in the SFF field today, at least in my humble opinion. Readers looking for something different in science fiction need look no further. Grab this book as soon as you can! Big thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy.

  6. 5 out of 5

    D. B. Guin

    DNF @ 37% The main character was unprepossessing. The language and prose was annoying, like a mix of trying too hard to be old-timey and just straight up obnoxious. The mystery of the Mercurians should have held my attention, but didn't. I felt zero desire to keep reading, so I didn't. DNF @ 37% The main character was unprepossessing. The language and prose was annoying, like a mix of trying too hard to be old-timey and just straight up obnoxious. The mystery of the Mercurians should have held my attention, but didn't. I felt zero desire to keep reading, so I didn't.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Seriesbooklover

    In an alternate history, earth’s space technology is much more advanced with the Oppenheimer Atomic Engine. Aliens from Venus destroyed cities in the USA and the USSR but Eagle seven and their Russian equivalent manage to stop them from invading Earth. Eighteen years later in 1975, Brooklyn ends up serving in Earth Orbital Forces (EOF) to avoid going to prison and despite his best efforts ends up in spaceships and space battles with a whole load of strange people. Review Can I just say how much I In an alternate history, earth’s space technology is much more advanced with the Oppenheimer Atomic Engine. Aliens from Venus destroyed cities in the USA and the USSR but Eagle seven and their Russian equivalent manage to stop them from invading Earth. Eighteen years later in 1975, Brooklyn ends up serving in Earth Orbital Forces (EOF) to avoid going to prison and despite his best efforts ends up in spaceships and space battles with a whole load of strange people. Review Can I just say how much I loved the opening chapter? The first chapter could be a short story in itself -from the initial tense standoff between the aliens and Earth to the epic space battles to Jet’s (an astronaut) final sacrifice to save Earth. I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion. This is a book of many, distinct parts that all fit together at the end to form a complete story. Some parts may seem a little out of place (and I must admit I wasn’t sure why these chapters were there) but these small details made sense by the end of the book. The main point of view character is Brooklyn who is one of the most realistic characters I have come across in science-fiction. A young man who at the start of the book isn’t driving his own story- a reluctant hero who has to be dragged into doing the right and who is rightly scared in the situations he finds himself in. But we see his character develop through the book, so when he steps up in a desperate attempt to save Earth, it’s no surprise- we have seen his journey to become a hero. The plot slowly ramps up in the latter half of the book, featuring space battles and fights, conspiracy theories and aliens. The author creates an interesting world both on Earth where Nixon has been re-elected following an alien attack on Cleveland and in space where there are space colonies with hotels and spaceships manned by a gay crew. All plot threads are resolved by the end of the book. Content warning Medical Experimentation Perfect for fans of Anyone who enjoys reading about astronauts, space and aliens. I enjoyed this book and I hope there are more books set in this world.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Chris Panatier

    Read this book for a potential blurb. Loved it. "Mercury Rising charmed and fascinated me. Greene has taken an absolutely wild premise and somehow made it fit like a puzzle piece into our own history and knowledge of the greater universe. It is unexpected and clever, heartfelt and funny, with big, conceptual penny-drop moments that hit the reader as hard as they hit the novel's weary protagonist, Brooklyn Lamontagne." Highly recommend. A completely new kind of sci-fi story carved out of the old. Read this book for a potential blurb. Loved it. "Mercury Rising charmed and fascinated me. Greene has taken an absolutely wild premise and somehow made it fit like a puzzle piece into our own history and knowledge of the greater universe. It is unexpected and clever, heartfelt and funny, with big, conceptual penny-drop moments that hit the reader as hard as they hit the novel's weary protagonist, Brooklyn Lamontagne." Highly recommend. A completely new kind of sci-fi story carved out of the old.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Peter Baran

    I took me a while to get a beed on Mercury Rising - which is very much on purpose from Greene. It starts with a ludicrous space battle, which we latterly discover to be the film version of an actual supposed space battle - Earth against the aliens back in 1957 where Jet Carson died saving the world. Yep, that's right, Jet Carson. And yes 1957. This is alt universe space opera, but its also alt-universe pulp - it reads, and want to read, like stuff out of Amazing Science Fiction from the fifties. I took me a while to get a beed on Mercury Rising - which is very much on purpose from Greene. It starts with a ludicrous space battle, which we latterly discover to be the film version of an actual supposed space battle - Earth against the aliens back in 1957 where Jet Carson died saving the world. Yep, that's right, Jet Carson. And yes 1957. This is alt universe space opera, but its also alt-universe pulp - it reads, and want to read, like stuff out of Amazing Science Fiction from the fifties. At least it wants to up to a point, because the main storyline, which start in New York in 1975, is also a touch Blackspoitation. The lead character is called Brooklyn after all, this is a book which isn't doing subtlety on the surface. Under the surface, that's a different matter. Mercury Rising romps through ideas and tropes like a kaiju stomping Tokyo. And yet from fitting up its hero, to making him a space jockey, to its tales of space station treachery to an ultimate encounter with alien intelligence, it is always about a Black experience in a genre that hasn't always been generous to that demographic. Now part of this is possible due to its alternate history status, but isn't really that interested in "what if aliens attacked us - would we be less racist". Rather it imagines its reality to be not that dissimilar structurally to ours, and its everyman character thrust into a world he didn't make is a Black New Yorker. That all makes it sound extremely worthy, but fundamentally Greene is having a lot of fun playing in the sci-fi pulp sandbox.From his lone secret agent, to the underground caverns of Venus, the book is as relentlessly entertaining as it is scientific hokum. That's fine, it is part of its pulp pastiche and something the book allows you to swing with pretty quickly (it after-all has its own fiction within a fiction to poke fun at). The end is left open for a sequel which I not convinced it needs, but I found Mercury Rising to be a consistently entertaining and original read and with enough read world grit it is day-glo pulp satire too.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    I was given an advance copy of this book in exchange for a review Author R.W.W. Greene created an alternate history works that I wouldn’t mind exploring in more depth. The threat of an alien menace builds as the main character joins the EOF (America’s Space Force). After a great look at some of the differences in this world (something I enjoy a lot in an Alt History novel) the book seemed to slow somewhat just after the halfway point as it transitioned into a new setting that took me a while to g I was given an advance copy of this book in exchange for a review Author R.W.W. Greene created an alternate history works that I wouldn’t mind exploring in more depth. The threat of an alien menace builds as the main character joins the EOF (America’s Space Force). After a great look at some of the differences in this world (something I enjoy a lot in an Alt History novel) the book seemed to slow somewhat just after the halfway point as it transitioned into a new setting that took me a while to get used to. This book kept me interested in reading it for the most part, but there were also times where I could easily stop reading it for a couple of days. That said, I had a lot of fun with the Alt History aspect of the book and will definitely be looking for more from Greene in the future.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Reid Edwards

    RWW Greene continues to refuse to be boxed into one small corner of SF; Mercury Rising is markedly different from his other novels, but let that be in no way a deterrent. Blending more traditional SF (think Heinlen, Burroughs and Clarke) into alternate history, Greene has written a fantastic novel full of worldbuilding, humor, examination of humanity and more. The story unfolds with an introductory scene that sets the stage, and follows with the main protagonist's experiences in the world result RWW Greene continues to refuse to be boxed into one small corner of SF; Mercury Rising is markedly different from his other novels, but let that be in no way a deterrent. Blending more traditional SF (think Heinlen, Burroughs and Clarke) into alternate history, Greene has written a fantastic novel full of worldbuilding, humor, examination of humanity and more. The story unfolds with an introductory scene that sets the stage, and follows with the main protagonist's experiences in the world resulting from that first scene. Throughout the novel, Greene's hints and drops at changes to that timeline from ours can be both poignant and humorous, as the repercussions ripple through 70s culture and society. I've been a voracious reader of anything Greene puts out since The Light Years, and if he continues to craft at this level, I will continue until he stops writing.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    This book was so powerful and inspiring that it dragged my butt off my couch and threw me back into my home office to restart writing my own novel. It's that inspiring. I cannot wait for the next book in this series. Are there better, more technically sound novels out there? Yes. Is there a bit of an issue with the way the hero ends the book? Yes. Is it probably actually a four star book? Yes. So why do I give it five stars? Because it inspired me to love space again. To think of all the possibil This book was so powerful and inspiring that it dragged my butt off my couch and threw me back into my home office to restart writing my own novel. It's that inspiring. I cannot wait for the next book in this series. Are there better, more technically sound novels out there? Yes. Is there a bit of an issue with the way the hero ends the book? Yes. Is it probably actually a four star book? Yes. So why do I give it five stars? Because it inspired me to love space again. To think of all the possibilities out there. I think Rob's use of the Alt-History backdrop reminded me of the excitement that space used to be for all of us, and certainly for me. It's what the early books of The Expanse did for me so many years ago now. Yes, by george, it's that good. It's not perfect. Without giving away a spoiler, there is one small issue at the end that could have been tightened up, but didn't affect the overall aim and arc of the book. The move to a different planet as setting was a bit "jolt-y" as well. The characters, however, were 100% spot on. Maybe some of the best characterization I've seen in science fiction since I've been podcasting (little over two years). The foundation of the plot is really sound and really cool. I haven't seen something so original in awhile. This is just a really good book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Meredith Martinez

    I'm always a fan of reluctant hero/anti-hero stories, which is why I picked up Mercury Rising, the story of Brooklyn Lamontagne, a man who was in the wrong place at the wrong time and ended up in prison for it. Instead of staying in prison, he volunteers for a ten-year term in the Earth Orbital Forces (EOF). Earth has united against aliens (the Mercurians), and all Brooklyn wants to do is serve out his decade as a computer technician. But, as it goes for reluctant heroes, he ends up right in the I'm always a fan of reluctant hero/anti-hero stories, which is why I picked up Mercury Rising, the story of Brooklyn Lamontagne, a man who was in the wrong place at the wrong time and ended up in prison for it. Instead of staying in prison, he volunteers for a ten-year term in the Earth Orbital Forces (EOF). Earth has united against aliens (the Mercurians), and all Brooklyn wants to do is serve out his decade as a computer technician. But, as it goes for reluctant heroes, he ends up right in the middle of the action despite his best efforts to avoid it. I found this book a little hard to get into, and very long. Greene certainly left doors open for future stories in this universe, and the reader is left with loose ends untied. Overall 3.25/5 stars, but would probably rate higher if you're a die-hard sci-fi fan. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tom Bookbeard

    Synopsis It has been 18 years since Jet Carson kicked the Oppenheimer engine of his ship Victory into overdrive and defeated the Mercurian vanguard fleet to save Earth. Brooklyn Lamontagne isn’t so concerned about alien invaders, but some guy outside the bar just blew a hole in his best friend’s chest and now Brooklyn is doing time for murder. Brooklyn has a choice: wait out a long stretch inside or join the military and go to space. Brooklyn signs up and spends his time upgrading computers, slingi Synopsis It has been 18 years since Jet Carson kicked the Oppenheimer engine of his ship Victory into overdrive and defeated the Mercurian vanguard fleet to save Earth. Brooklyn Lamontagne isn’t so concerned about alien invaders, but some guy outside the bar just blew a hole in his best friend’s chest and now Brooklyn is doing time for murder. Brooklyn has a choice: wait out a long stretch inside or join the military and go to space. Brooklyn signs up and spends his time upgrading computers, slinging hooch and camping in an inflatable. It’s not long before he’s called up to a space faring vessel The Baron for crawl spaces and spacewalks. It wouldn’t be so bad but there is still talk of an alien invasion and Brooklyn soon finds himself getting closer and closer to the epicentre. Review Greene’s 2021 sci-fi road trip Twenty-Five to Life was one of my top books of last year so I had high hopes for Mercury Rising. Damn, did this one deliver. Space Guy Greene confesses to being a space guy and Mercury Rising is a true reflection of that. In a reimagining of history where Lee Harvey Oswald missed his shot at Kennedy, Greene pulls together so many threads from classic sci-fi stories and the space race that all space fans will be beaming. The action kicks off with a Top Gun meets Independence Day feel in the book’s cinematic opening sequence. Jet Carson is the all-American hero pilot boosting shoulder-to-shoulder with the Soviets in space against an alien menace. It’s absolutely cool. The tone and protagonist then shifts away from the all-action Carson sequence with Brooklyn Lamontagne, a greaser from Brooklyn who just wants to keep his ma in her digs. Brooklyn is a real unspectacular character. He’s in with a bad crowd, he’s pretty lazy and he tends to approach many situations by saying “fuck outta here”. As such he’s great fun to follow over the shoulder. We follow Brooklyn on a road trip, mushroom trip, lunar camping trip, space trip and … it goes on. It’s hard to explain Mercury Rising other than to say saddle up and enjoy going wherever the plot takes you next. I liked Brooklyn a lot because I felt like he just wanted to be a normal guy. Although that really doesn’t happen for him at any point! What Greene best delivers in MR is the characters we meet along Brooklyn’s journey. Even characters who appear for only a few sentences feel like they have an extensive backstory and contribute to the plot. The pacing and the tone are so easy to get to grips with. The plot hops Brooklyn from character to character, lingering just long enough each time to grin at the excellent dialogue at every stop, it is Roddy Doyle-like. If I had to pick out just one character as a favourite it would be the genetically-modified Andy, described as “a green Julie Andrews”, who crops up late on. The book certainly asks a lot of questions to the reader with its look on an alternative history. Is a world where nations can collaborate against a greater threat attainable, and what would that look like? Would anything necessarily change? Perhaps Greene’s characters are a study of how humanity may well just always be the same no matter how advanced we get. There’s always something on the horizon ready to glass us be it our own making or some evil space squids dropping a meteor on us … ZARK! Mercury Rising is addictive and fun. The prose took me on a tour of all that’s great about classic sci-fi tropes and if you want to do some reference spotting, this book has you more than covered. It’s a neo-retrofuturistic fest that looks at humanity through a curious lens while an alien menace has guns that go ZARK! I can’t emphasise enough how good this book is.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Chris Monceaux

    ***Thank you to NetGalley and Angry Robot for providing a copy of the book. My review contains my honest thoughts about my reading experience.*** I ended up loving this book. I didn't really have many expectations going into it, but I was immediately sucked into this brilliant alternate history where the space race went into overdrive and radically changed the technology and timeline of the mid twentieth century. It was fascinating and a bit weird to read the language and pop culture of that time ***Thank you to NetGalley and Angry Robot for providing a copy of the book. My review contains my honest thoughts about my reading experience.*** I ended up loving this book. I didn't really have many expectations going into it, but I was immediately sucked into this brilliant alternate history where the space race went into overdrive and radically changed the technology and timeline of the mid twentieth century. It was fascinating and a bit weird to read the language and pop culture of that time period alongside the spaceships and colonization of the moon and Mars. The book tackled a lot of important themes/ideas, including environmentalism, homophobia, racism, globalism, mental health, and economic inequality to name a few, but it did so in ways that were entertaining and felt true to the overall story being told. There were also plenty of great sci-fi elements sprinkled throughout with an increasing emphasis on those aspects as the story played out, and I loved the way it all came together in the end to show that the aliens and their conflicts were always driving the story, even during the points of the book where they weren't quite as obvious. My favorite thing about the book, though, was the main character, Brooklyn. He was such a relatable character in so many ways, and his growth was immense. I love stories with flawed, reluctant heroes, and Brook fit that mold really well. A great deal of this book was spent building up his character before diving head first into all the sci-fi craziness, and I appreciated the decisions Brook made at the end even more because of it. Overall, this was a fascinating story with a great balance of plot and character focus. If you like sci-fi or alternate history stories (or even if you don't), this is one that is not to be missed. Therefore, I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars. See more of my reviews and other bookish content here!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Thank you to Angry Robot and Netgalley for the ARC. 3.5/5 stars. We follow Brooklyn, a guy down on his luck who chooses to join the EOF (Earth Orbital Force) to escape his criminal past and oh, protect against alien invasion. We’re in an alternate time line of the 1960/70’s where aliens from Mercury have made themselves known and are a threat to humanity. As a new recruit, he’s shipped around to different posts throughout as a technician, and encounters a cast of characters all with their own pred Thank you to Angry Robot and Netgalley for the ARC. 3.5/5 stars. We follow Brooklyn, a guy down on his luck who chooses to join the EOF (Earth Orbital Force) to escape his criminal past and oh, protect against alien invasion. We’re in an alternate time line of the 1960/70’s where aliens from Mercury have made themselves known and are a threat to humanity. As a new recruit, he’s shipped around to different posts throughout as a technician, and encounters a cast of characters all with their own predilections. I enjoyed the opening scene as Jet Carson, American ace-astronaut rallies his forces to strike out at the Mercurian fleet, and how this story was revisited later with different takeaways. This fight sequence was appropriate as it set the tone of the story - a no-nonsense mans’ man action hero doing the necessary. This introduction and tone felt fitting for the time period it is set it in - except for some hints at modernity and the outright acceptance of a ship of gay astronauts, this story felt like it could have been published decades earlier. This is both a strength and weakness - the mostly formulaic story structure with little nuance makes it an easy, enjoyable read, but doesn’t push beyond that envelope. Perhaps a strange identifier, but I would describe the prose as being “muscular”- not a lot of fat on the bone in turns of phrase, strong themes or resonant meaning, but rather has a driving force to push the plot forward.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    I’ve tasked myself with trying new fiction authors this year. Like music, I can find myself only seeking out those that I’ve already vetted when I’m tired. Wide awake, its the serendipity that is addicting. Here is a new author (to me) that I found through a newsletter. The premise of the book sounded fun, an alternate time line where 50’s sci-fi became real. Some of it is fun, with 8-track tapes all the rage. But it ends up being dull. The dullness is due to the main character. He isn’t all that I’ve tasked myself with trying new fiction authors this year. Like music, I can find myself only seeking out those that I’ve already vetted when I’m tired. Wide awake, its the serendipity that is addicting. Here is a new author (to me) that I found through a newsletter. The premise of the book sounded fun, an alternate time line where 50’s sci-fi became real. Some of it is fun, with 8-track tapes all the rage. But it ends up being dull. The dullness is due to the main character. He isn’t all that interesting. A guy that hustles and does small time crime. We get to see the results of a space defence focused economy has on the USA, with the hollowing out of the cities. It is a standard path from getting caught in something bigger, being forced to join the military to avoid jail time, going through basic training and finding himself involved in a number of plot points. There were times where the plot was dull and a new twist reset my internal interest timer. This happened several times. The twists were more slight deviations. There seemed to be more going on in the background that would have been better to explore than following the main character setting up yet another still. I really wanted it to be a fun book. But the main character was more concerned with the hustle than anything else. It may lend some weight to his journey as a character, where street kid goes on to save the world, but it didn’t work for me.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Annarella

    I loved this book. I loved the retrò atmosphere, the pop references, the mix of classic and contemporary sci-fi with alternate history. I love these things and I loved the well developed and interesting characters. It was great to read about the changes in Brooklyng and how he evolves from being someone who's involved in a crime to a person who is facing something bigger than him. The first chapter in this story could have been written by Heinlein: the hero and the fight could be in some of his bo I loved this book. I loved the retrò atmosphere, the pop references, the mix of classic and contemporary sci-fi with alternate history. I love these things and I loved the well developed and interesting characters. It was great to read about the changes in Brooklyng and how he evolves from being someone who's involved in a crime to a person who is facing something bigger than him. The first chapter in this story could have been written by Heinlein: the hero and the fight could be in some of his book. And I think the author pays homage to Heinlein in other parts of the story or maybe it's just my impression. It's one of the most original sci-fi book I read in these years. I knew that the author is a talented storyteller but I think this is his best work so far. I was fascinated by this parallel universe where humans settled on the Moon and other planets but the computer are those of the 70s. Where there's a collaboration between the most powerful countries and Kennedy never dies. And i liked the references to music and pop culture. I think this is something new and classic in the sci-fi world and hope a lot of people will love it. I can't wait to read the next book by this author, this one is strongly recommended. Many thanks to Angry Robots and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

  19. 5 out of 5

    MJ Barrette

    This was a fun time! I thoroughly enjoyed myself and I've been finding my attention span lacking for regular reading these days, so for this to keep my attention and drag me in, a feat was accomplished. It has the "magic" that a lot of Angry Robot's books lean toward and I appreciated how it got more ridiculous the further we went in. Firstly, our anti-hero Brooklyn was a mood, the entire time. He's really just trying to do what he needs to do to get to the other side and not kick up too much dus This was a fun time! I thoroughly enjoyed myself and I've been finding my attention span lacking for regular reading these days, so for this to keep my attention and drag me in, a feat was accomplished. It has the "magic" that a lot of Angry Robot's books lean toward and I appreciated how it got more ridiculous the further we went in. Firstly, our anti-hero Brooklyn was a mood, the entire time. He's really just trying to do what he needs to do to get to the other side and not kick up too much dust in between, only to have to do the most to save humanity. The other characters that we run into along the way were all pretty great, and besides a few things being a little unrealistic near the end parts, I fully was on board the whole time. As for the themes that are discussed in this book, could we have gone a little deeper? Sure... we totally could have. But by the time you get to think about it, you've read the book and you've had a decent time. In the author's note Mr. Greene said we were going to see Brooklyn & friends again, and yeah, I'll be there with bells on. Thank you to Netgalley and Angry Robot for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Halla

    A deeply involving and hopeful journey as a small-time crim inverts his downward spiral by going into space. The prologue to Mercury Rising almost put me off. The clichés come fast and heavy. If you’ve read Greene’s books before (this is my third), it won’t be what you’re expecting but have faith. The reason becomes clear later and, when you have the context, you’ll tip your hat to Greene’s skill as a storyteller. Greene lets us grow with his main character. Brook is not endearing at first and ga A deeply involving and hopeful journey as a small-time crim inverts his downward spiral by going into space. The prologue to Mercury Rising almost put me off. The clichés come fast and heavy. If you’ve read Greene’s books before (this is my third), it won’t be what you’re expecting but have faith. The reason becomes clear later and, when you have the context, you’ll tip your hat to Greene’s skill as a storyteller. Greene lets us grow with his main character. Brook is not endearing at first and gave me another reason to worry I wasn’t going to enjoy the book. But as he becomes a more developed human being under difficult circumstances, you start to really root for him. As the story ramps up, I couldn’t stop turning pages. The science fiction elements are generally very grounded but become more fanciful in a delightful way as the story progresses. Mercury Rising captured my imagination and there are many characters I hope to see again. When’s the next book? Thanks to the author for an advance reader copy!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Anne Frazer

    I received a free copy of this book and am voluntarily leaving an honest review. This book takes place in an alternate universe version of the 1960's and 1970's, a world where Kennedy wasn't assassinated and where the space program continued to the point where the moon was colonized and first contact was made with extra-terrestrials. When the book starts, the earth is at war with an alien species, and the 'hero' gets out of prison by enlisting to join that fight. It's an interesting book, coveri I received a free copy of this book and am voluntarily leaving an honest review. This book takes place in an alternate universe version of the 1960's and 1970's, a world where Kennedy wasn't assassinated and where the space program continued to the point where the moon was colonized and first contact was made with extra-terrestrials. When the book starts, the earth is at war with an alien species, and the 'hero' gets out of prison by enlisting to join that fight. It's an interesting book, covering about thirty years in all, and it explores many of the different parts of this new world - training on Earth, missions on the moon, aboard ships, and with a human colony of POW's under the surface of Venus, to name a few. All in all, this is a good book. It's a fast read and the world building is fun. My only complaint would be that in covering so many things in one book, the reader doesn't really have time to explore all of them as thoroughly as might be desired. Still, a fun book, and worth reading.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Alternative history with retro high tech space travel I loved this book and I especially loved to find out it was the first book in a trilogy. This is a tale of an alternative history - one in which JFK wasn't killed and in which space travel developed a heck of a lot sooner (like in the 1940s). The story takes place in the 1970s but a skewed 1970s. A lot of the music is the same but people are traveling all over space and there are aliens out there. The story starts in NYC with Brooklyn Lamontagne Alternative history with retro high tech space travel I loved this book and I especially loved to find out it was the first book in a trilogy. This is a tale of an alternative history - one in which JFK wasn't killed and in which space travel developed a heck of a lot sooner (like in the 1940s). The story takes place in the 1970s but a skewed 1970s. A lot of the music is the same but people are traveling all over space and there are aliens out there. The story starts in NYC with Brooklyn Lamontagne who, after being discovered at a crime scene, is given a choice - prison or the Extra-Orbital Forces for ten years. So EOF it is. I loved Brooklyn's character. I loved the storyline. I loved the craziness with the alternative history and the 1970s, which I lived through. I am looking forward to the next book in the trilogy. I highly recommend this quirky sci fi romp. I received this book from Angry Robot Books through Net Galley in the hopes that I would read it and leave an unbiased review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    jof | fictionbyhim

    Mercury Rising is my second R.W.W. Greene's book and all I can say is that the reading experience was enormously amazing. It took me a while to jump to its world-building but when I hit its intriguing spots. Oh boy! it's so addictive and engaging read. I will not tell anything more about it because I might spoil or stir the reading experience. But for sure! you'll definitely love this book because of these reasons: - classic with the supremacy of technology - approaching writing style - brooklyn i Mercury Rising is my second R.W.W. Greene's book and all I can say is that the reading experience was enormously amazing. It took me a while to jump to its world-building but when I hit its intriguing spots. Oh boy! it's so addictive and engaging read. I will not tell anything more about it because I might spoil or stir the reading experience. But for sure! you'll definitely love this book because of these reasons: - classic with the supremacy of technology - approaching writing style - brooklyn is such an interesting character! - gay spaceship and astronauts! yes, here we go!! (Thank you so much Angry Robot Books for my gifted arc and for the online book tour opportunity!)

  24. 4 out of 5

    Barondestructo

    A sci-fi adventure set on an alternate Earth in a technologically-advanced 1975, 15 years following a Venusian attack on the planet. Our anti-hero, Brooklyn, convicted as an accessory to murder, gets a shot at freedom (and redemption) by joining the Earth Orbital Force. He figures he can keep his head down, stay out of trouble, and eventually resume his daily life - but trouble finds Brooklyn in the form of an alien threat. He’s in well over his head, but that doesn’t stop our reluctant hero fro A sci-fi adventure set on an alternate Earth in a technologically-advanced 1975, 15 years following a Venusian attack on the planet. Our anti-hero, Brooklyn, convicted as an accessory to murder, gets a shot at freedom (and redemption) by joining the Earth Orbital Force. He figures he can keep his head down, stay out of trouble, and eventually resume his daily life - but trouble finds Brooklyn in the form of an alien threat. He’s in well over his head, but that doesn’t stop our reluctant hero from ultimately stepping up in an attempt to save the world. It’s a great hero’s journey with some inspired alt-worldbuilding that loses some steam when it strays into silly SF territory, tonally undermining the dramatic stakes. All in all, however, it’s a fun read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    TheDigressiveApproach

    Huge thanks to NetGalley, the author and publisher for providing an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All of the opinions expressed in this review are my own. --- This was an entertaining read and definitely one of the better alternative timeline stories that I've read! The blurb does a great job of not spoiling too much and any more than that would be giving away a lot. Although I would love to read a sequel to this, it is truly an amazing read as a standalone too. Overall rating: Huge thanks to NetGalley, the author and publisher for providing an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All of the opinions expressed in this review are my own. --- This was an entertaining read and definitely one of the better alternative timeline stories that I've read! The blurb does a great job of not spoiling too much and any more than that would be giving away a lot. Although I would love to read a sequel to this, it is truly an amazing read as a standalone too. Overall rating: 5/5 stars

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

    If you want a book that reads like you're wearing classic-sci-fi-tinted specs, then "Mercury Rising" is the book for you. It's a settle in and snuggle down type of read. I enjoyed R.W.W. Greene's writing a lot, and the story is great. I wanted to connect more deeply with the characters, but couldn't (I'm still debating if this is purely down to me - and it probably is). Maybe one for the re-read pile to see if familiarity breeds a connection. My thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley. Th If you want a book that reads like you're wearing classic-sci-fi-tinted specs, then "Mercury Rising" is the book for you. It's a settle in and snuggle down type of read. I enjoyed R.W.W. Greene's writing a lot, and the story is great. I wanted to connect more deeply with the characters, but couldn't (I'm still debating if this is purely down to me - and it probably is). Maybe one for the re-read pile to see if familiarity breeds a connection. My thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley. This review was written voluntarily and is entirely my own, unbiased, opinion.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Francisco

    Mercury Rising [Blurb goes here] The story starts with what I can only describe as a vignette from an old sci-fi TV show. Galant heroes named Jet, a common ground between enemy nations who fight together against a massive threat. I loved it. Then it goes on to recount the misadventures of a low life. A low life that you hate at first, that is, until he becomes a hero. I think this book is well worth your time. Thank you for the free copy!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mr. P

    This cements Mr Greene as one of my favourite new authors. A slice of alternate history with an accelerated space program and encounters with aliens set in 1960s-80s. Deft use of cultural touchstones and, as always, beautifully drawn characters kept this story rocketing. This is the first in a planned trilogy with the second book slated for 2023. I highly recommend RWW Greene to anyone. Go get this book and then do yourself a favour and buy his first two standalone novels as well.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    best one yet! This book, R WW Greene's third with Angry Robot, is his best yet. Fast paced with realistic characters, this story set in an alternate time line will entertain old school sci fi fans and new readers alike. A fun blend of nostalgia mixed with aliens, adventure, and the threat of Armageddon. In protagonist Brooklyn, readers will find an everyman to root for, a super hero to admire, and a boot legger to envy. best one yet! This book, R WW Greene's third with Angry Robot, is his best yet. Fast paced with realistic characters, this story set in an alternate time line will entertain old school sci fi fans and new readers alike. A fun blend of nostalgia mixed with aliens, adventure, and the threat of Armageddon. In protagonist Brooklyn, readers will find an everyman to root for, a super hero to admire, and a boot legger to envy.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    This is such a ridiculously fun, hard sci-fi, alternative history story that I was actually upset when it was over. The characters are relatable and the aliens are cool. It takes place in the 60s/70s. Kennedy is never assassinated and Earth's space force is in full swing. Our heros name is Brooklyn and after a run in with the law he's given choice of jail or joining the space force. Chaos ensues. I absolutely loved it. This is such a ridiculously fun, hard sci-fi, alternative history story that I was actually upset when it was over. The characters are relatable and the aliens are cool. It takes place in the 60s/70s. Kennedy is never assassinated and Earth's space force is in full swing. Our heros name is Brooklyn and after a run in with the law he's given choice of jail or joining the space force. Chaos ensues. I absolutely loved it.

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