Published by Subterranean Press on April 30th 2016
Genres: Science Fiction
Our reviews of this author: The Rise of Io
The Days of Tao novella is set several years after Rebirths of Tao and features Cameron who is settled in college. I have always loved the interactions between Tao and whoever is hosting him so this instantly made my must read list.
Cameron is trying to lead a normal type of life. Something he has not been able to do, pretty much since forever. His parents lives revolve around the Genjix/Prophus war, and as a host he has been trained to join them since birth. He finally has the opportunity to put all that aside and study abroad in Greece. This is a wonderful chance for him to finally be on his own and try to fit in and do all the normal things that typical kids do. Classes, homework, peer pressure, making friends. All that good stuff.
But, Cameron? He’s not a typical kid. Typical kids don’t have aliens in their brains telling them things. Typical kids don’t have parents heading up a war. So, of course, Cameron is pulled out of his moment of typical college life when a Prophus agent in Greece needs extraction and Cameron is the only available agent that can help. As Cameron gets involved, the shit totally hits the fan and Genjix are taking over Greece and where ever else they can near by. So now, in addition to getting the agent out, he now has to do so in a locked down police state.
Now, first I want to mention, I love Chu’s sense of humor and the witty comments that come from Tao. But this section here is where the story got a bit dicey for me. So, in this super dangerous area, with this critical task of securing an agent, Cameron somehow decides to bring along like half of his dorm. OK, not actually half of his dorm, but definitely more than just a a couple close friends. He’s a sweet kids, concerned for his new friends. I get that he wants them to be safe. But my word of advice is to just not think about it. Ignore any disbelief here, don’t try to rationalize how Cameron decided this would be an awesome idea bring them with him on this very dangerous and very important mission and just go with it. These kids dragging their luggage and belongings through the deserted streets trying to find safety, just think about the story as it is being told and don’t question why they are there. The story is fun, but logically it might be hard if you think about it too much. This is a novella, its meant to be short and fun, and it is.
My only other concern is I just didn’t care for any of the secondary characters a whole lot. I think some of this just comes from being a shorter form of story telling, so there wasn’t a chance to flesh them out all. So at times I felt like they were just angsty tag alongs that I kinda wished Cameron had left behind. Maybe this is why I thought a bit more about why did he bring these kids along? I suspect not everyone will feel this way though. The story overall is still fun, full of action and it is a quick read. I definitely recommend fans of Chu’s work to give it a read. For new readers, I recommend starting with either The Lives of Tao or Time Salvagers.