Belinda Reviews: Steven Gould—"7th Sigma"


Ever thought what life would be like without an abundance of metals?

Back to basics in the extreme – horse or mules or man power. This is the reality Steven Gould explores in his mash up of political intrigue, martial arts action, spaghetti western and science fiction story, 7th Sigma.

A chance meeting between a boy (Kimble ‘Kim’) and a woman (Ruth), looking to start an aikido dojo, leads to an unexpected friendship and a meeting of two great minds. Whilst avoiding the metal eating ‘bugs’ and acquiring supplies for Ruth; Kim is recognized by a Ranger and, as part of an arrangement, in return for not handing Kim over to the authorities as a runaway child, Kimble is given covert operation status and has to find information on many of the local crooks.Training follows on from some rather successful missions and we spend most of the book tailing Kimble as he shadows his targets.

I found the concepts of an alternate reality post-apocalyptic, mid-western, society rather intriguing. There’s a feel of the old westerns with horses, guns, and wide open spaces. But it’s flipped on its lid due to a scientific screw up where there are solar powered ‘bugs’ whose sole purpose is to consume anything metal to create clones of themselves. Step on a ‘bug’ and they swarm to consume their fallen member, chewing through anything in their way.

Kimble is an unassuming young lad with an eye for detail and a good gut instinct. His relationship with Ruth stretches far beyond that of a Sensei and her student – and more into that of kindred spirits. His sense of justice leads him into trouble more than once, but it is nice to see a kid that knows right from wrong.

There were a few moments in the book where Steven jumps ahead only to have to rehash a scene we weren’t witness to, and a couple of times I just wanted to skip ahead – but all in all this is an enjoyable book.

I would love to hear feedback from someone who actually knows and practices Aikido to see if the mood of the story stays true to the teachings of the art. As someone who knows nothing about Aikido, it feels calm, and somewhat calculating, but smooth at the same time.

The other highlight for me is Mrs. P(but you’ll just have to read the book to find out who this hot headed character is).

Wait for a quiet weekend to putter through this book. It deserves your full attention and rewards you greatly with an uplifting ending.

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (July 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312877153
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312877156

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