'Bot War

Rated 5.00/5 based on 1 reviews
Terrorists with robotic war machines will make James Grey very rich, but can he control them? John Maxwell and a small group are all that stand between order and its complete collapse as governments go bankrupt through too much debt. A story where technology gets out of control, but the real danger lies in the governments that have abandoned their duty, and the masses who do not care. More

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About Ian J Miller

Ian J Miller was born 7th August 1942 to the son of a policeman sent to Hokitika (New Zealand) to fill vacancies due to the mass murderer Stanley Graham. Secondary education was at Ashburton High School, thence to University of Canterbury (BSc Hons1, PhD), followed by post-docs at Calgary, Southampton and Armidale. I returned to New Zealand to Chemistry Division, DSIR, to work first on lignin chemistry, then recycling, seaweed research, then hydrothermal wood liquefaction. In 1986 I left DSIR to set up Carina Chemical Laboratories Ltd, to carry out research to support the private half of a joint venture to make pyromellitates, the basis of high temperature resistant plastics. (When called to a TV program to discuss the danger of foam plastics in fires, I aimed a gas torch at the palm of my hand, protected only by a piece of foam plastic I had made shortly before. Fortunately, it worked, it glowed yellow hot, but held the heat for about half a minute.) This venture, and an associated seaweed processing venture collapsed during the late 1980s financial crisis, mostly for financial reasons. Current projects include the development of Nemidon gels (www.nemidon.co.nz/) and fuels and chemicals through the hydrothermal treatment of microalgae (www.aquaflowgroup.com/). I have written about 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers, about 35 other articles, and I was on the Editorial Board of Botanica Marina between about 1998-2008.

In my first year University, following an argument with some Arts students, I was challenged to write a fictional book. I did in spare time: Gemina. I subsequently self-published a revised version, only to find publicity was forbidden as a condition of getting my finance for the pyromellitates project. Since then, I have written a few more science in fiction thriller-type novels that don't fit nicely in any category. These form a "future history", and Puppeteer is the first of one entry point.

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Reviews

Audrey Driscoll reviewed on March 25, 2019

Not many books are described as financial or economic thrillers; those terms seem to be self-contradictory. But they precisely describe 'Bot War, which is also a perfect example of speculative fiction. What if a country's economy became so dysfunctional that key parts of society just didn't work any more? What if terrorists took advantage of that and of robot technology that made it possible to attack major infrastructure? What kinds of people would be successful in this situation and what would they do?
Ian J. Miller presents a multitude of scenarios -- meetings, surveillance, and combat -- that attempt to answer these questions. There is a multitude of characters as well, of which a handful emerge as the good guys. They are characterized more by their skills and actions than by emotions or personal quirks. In each scenario the author outlines what is at stake and what options the players have to achieve a desirable outcome, whether that is obtaining information, disabling robotic weapons, or just staying alive. Despite this almost didactic approach, there are almost no dull moments. In fact, there is a great deal of violence in this book. People are killed, singly or en masse, things are blown up or otherwise destroyed. The almost clinical descriptions of these events makes them more interesting than shocking. Each one is followed by a scene in which John Maxwell and those he works with assess the situation and plan their next moves. It's quite amazing how much chaos is created and what emerges from it. Readers who care to will find logical approaches to problem solving and leadership amid the fictional events. Altogether, 'Bot War is an unusual book, but one that leaves a reader with a lot to think about.
(reviewed 23 days after purchase)
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