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Summary

In the twentieth century Earth sent probes, transmissions and welcoming messages to the stars. Unfortunately, someone noticed. The Galactics arrived with their battle fleet in 2052. Rather than being exterminated under a barrage of hell-burners, Earth joined their vast Empire. Swearing allegiance to our distant alien overlords wasn't the only requirement for survival. We also had to have something of value to trade, something that neighboring planets would pay their hard-earned credits to buy. As most of the local worlds were too civilized to have a proper army, the only valuable service Earth could provide came in the form of soldiers…someone had to do their dirty work for them, their fighting and dying.

I, James McGill, was born in 2099 on the fringe of the galaxy. When Hegemony Financial denied my loan applications, I was kicked out of the university and I turned to the stars. My first campaign involved the invasion of a mineral-rich planet called Cancri-9, better known as Steel World. The attack didn't go well, and now Earth has entered a grim struggle for survival. Humanity's mercenary legions go to war in Steel World, best-selling author B. V. Larson's latest science fiction novel.

©2013 B. V. Larson (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Steel World

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Should I start this series

Where does Steel World rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I like a series to enjoy the immersive continuity. This seems quite light in tone though isn't the worst first in a series effort I've read. Some pleasant steps off the story to highlight or detail some tech or history with characterisation nicely done but perhaps with a little more depth. At around 10-11 hrs its quite a bit shorter than my usual read which kept the pace up, the rambling at minimum and overall a good bit of escape.

What other book might you compare Steel World to, and why?

It had a feeling of a comic book with more depth. An unusual plot premise that did take me by surprise. Light easy listening science fiction.

What does Mark Boyett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Mark Boyett has a pleasing repertoire of voice and gave the characters a warmth that wasn't quite as evident in the writing.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

A fight for mankind

18 people found this helpful

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Read like the diaries of a soldier, but works well

It's an odd one. The story is basic and has a few possible plot holes, but it works. The tale is just from one man from a personal perspective, which could make it one directional, but again it works.

A certain amount of my liking of this book is the reading of it. Mark Boyett reds it like it's a series of war diaries, making it feel partly like it's a documentary on past events rather than a story in the future. I think with out this I may well have been disappointed.

I'm looking forwards to the second book, just hoping the story does not lose it's way as I can see limitations in where this tale can go.

11 people found this helpful

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Platoon in Space

Excellent story like Platoon but in space with more depth into unit politics. The idea of combining Mercenary soldiers with the make up of the Roman Legion all for the purpose of keeping Earth in the Galactic Council is fantastic using human aggression as a commodity
I thoroughly enjoyed the reading I hope there's a new one in the works

6 people found this helpful

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Average Military sci-fi nothing major to report!

Listened to this book all the way through so that's why it get 3 stars. I wouldn't call it awful, but it is far from great. Just like lukewarm water. The single POV makes it feel monotone and doesn't give that different perspective character you enjoy when reading a good book. It's a bit like a "live, die, repeat" T-shirt which has seen one to many wash cycle.... gray and faded out.

5 people found this helpful

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If you liked Star Force, you'll love this

I've listened to all 8 Star Force books (waiting for no9, the last in that series). That was an excellent series but this is even better. Plenty of action and a fast pace with some interesting tech, moving in a new direction from the Star Force universe.

Mark Boyett delivers another fantastic performance. Some of the characters sound very similar to those in the Star Force series though but I didn't find that to be an issue.

I'm very much looking forward to the next instalment - hurry up and write it Mr Larson ;)

10 people found this helpful

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Uninteresting take on Starship Troopers

I found this audiobook to be quite uninteresting. The protagonist, James McGill (no Saul Goodman has not changed careers to space mercenary) is a 22 year old college student who signs up with a mercenary outfit to make ends meet. Unfortunately, as he is written, he only stands out because the other characters seem to have lost ten IQ points. This makes him an ideal mercenary/spacer becasue everyone else is a bit slow or unreasonable.

The story is, in some ways, similar to Starship Troopers, (even to the drop capsules) which is to be expected given it is miltary SF. But whereas Juan Rico screws up and has a lot to learn, McGill is the opposite. There is no sense of wonder at the alien race and their star carrier. McGill doesn't even seem phased by heading to the stars in a three mile long spaceship.

All in all, I am sorry I wasted a credit on this.

9 people found this helpful

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slow to start good pace thereafter

while the language used is mundane the story is interesting enough and some fascinating science fiction backing the plot up. worth a listen.

4 people found this helpful

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easy listening

Where does Steel World rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Really enjoyed this tale of Galactic mess ups

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Most definitely

Any additional comments?

Love listening to Mark Boyett's narration

4 people found this helpful

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A bland male dominated power fantasy

If you are looking for a relatively bland male dominated power fantasy book them this is for you.

The setting has concept of "high tech aliens enlist earth into their empire" has been done better by Gary Gibson in "stealing light".

Every female character is essentially described as generically attractive and one additional feature being particularly attractive.

But it does have some cool human Vs dinosaur fights.

Overall it's not bad, but it's not great.

3 people found this helpful

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Reads like a teenager's dream of video games

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

I kept getting annoyed with the paper thin characters, the lame obsession with how the main protagonist often finds his eyes wandering when talking to a female character. The comedy galactic aliens.

Any additional comments?

I'm all for pot-boiler type action SF and the like but this was weak all the way through.
Even Jack Campbell's Dauntless series for all its flaws is way better than this.

18 people found this helpful

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  • C. Brown
  • 16-04-19

A 14 year old boy’s idea of a “Real Man”

First, a disclaimer: I finished all 10 books. Probably because Mark Boyett is a fantastic narrator. Make that, Storyteller. I do not think I would have stuck it out as text.
Pros:
Well-written, flows well, story builds on itself, and, like Horatio Hornblower, the protagonist rises in rank and significance over the course of he books.
Many call-backs to earlier stories, well-developed characters (within the functional requirements of the narrative) are distinct from each other. You could probably identify each bit of dialogue without attributions.
Some nice plot twists.
The central speculative hook is revivication of the legionnaires, and it is fairly well developed, though never deeply.
Lots of ripsnortin’, rootin’ tootin’ action!!!
Cons:
Unlike Hornblower, he never matures in the slightest.
The problem with charming rogues is that they are rogues. McGill is a childish, self-absorbed misogynist (I am a centrist straight male) with a bull-in-a-china-shop approach to EVERYTHING, and phenomenal luck (Authorial intent, deus ex machinae) which is supposed to pass for good ol’ boy genius.
He is a Randian superhero: Only he knows what to do. How? Well, he just … y’know … knows. He never listens to anyone; they’d only slow him down. He literally hits on every female he meets, often missing important points in the process. Most of them are his own species. He makes Captain Kirk look grown up. He dozes through briefings with the fate of all humanity at stake, does whatever his amygdala fancies, and it always turns out for the best.
Graves would have been a much better protagonist.
All of the aliens are shallow, funny-looking humans, in terms of personality, intellect, and psychology.
This series panders to the child in each of us who wishes there were no rules, and we could write on the wall using our own feces. Why do I have to wash my hands before dinner anyway? Why can’t I just take what I want? If he weren’t such a terrible example, this would be a children’s series.
This is Peter Pan with sex, violence, and alcohol, and never any consequences.
If you’re looking for science fiction that leaves you thoughtful, this isn’t it. If you’re doing heavy labor all day, and want some background entertainment, well, Mark Boyett makes this a great comic book.
Would I read more by this author? I would test him on another series.

65 people found this helpful

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  • John
  • 09-02-15

Great book!

Would you listen to Steel World again? Why?

Great start to a series. Like a cross between Starship Troopers and Universal Soldier.

What did you like best about this story?

Exciting and full of action.

What about Mark Boyett’s performance did you like?

Mark Boyett does a wonderful job with the voices and narration.

28 people found this helpful

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  • Uffe
  • 09-05-19

Hated the Protagonist

I found the Protagonist to be the most anoying, selfcentered and unlikable character i have seen in any story. It is sad be cause the universe its self got plenty of interesting stuff, and most of the other characters are interesting. If you can stomage the Protagonist then sture it is a good book. I could'nt..

12 people found this helpful

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  • Renato M. Lellis
  • 03-01-19

Typical Military Sci-Fi with some fresh ideas

This a typical military sci-fi, with a focus in the infantry or "legionaries" as they are called in the book (for some reason Roman Military Hierarchy is somehow adopted by the mercenaries).

Sometime in the near future Earth joins a Galatic Empire and to take part in the interplanetary commerce, is forced to provide a commodity to trade. Since human technology is primitive when compared with the spacefaring races, the only earth service that found some market is mercenaries.

James McGill joins the legions due to financial difficulties and is promptly sent to the Steel World where Legion Veris has a contract to fulfill.

The setting is typical military sci-fi, with focus on ground battles from the perspective of a low-level infantry recruit. No spaceship fights here.

A good point on the book is the consistent and exciting worldbuilding. Since the legions are service providers and not a conquering force, there is some effort dedicated to the politics of a Galactic Empire with multiple alien races with multiples ways of thinking and conflicting interests.

Another good idea is that the Legions use a revival apparatus that produce a new clone everytime a soldier dies in combat. This technology creates interesting questions and plot dynamics.

A weak point, in my opinion, is that the main character looks a little too effective from time to time. Even as a recruit, James often take decisions that are questioned by the more experienced soldiers, but reveals to be correct at the end. He is also a rebel who "thinks outside the box", even when the books describe him as a lazy teenager with no life aspirations. In the end, he turns out to be a hero at the heart.

Other characters are even less developed than the MC. But this is not the focus of a military sci-fi book, I think.

At the end is a fun book for fans of the genre, with some new ideas to add to the scene.

23 people found this helpful

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  • Luke
  • 13-12-19

Really Cringy

The author has wrote his character to be very hypocritical and hard to root for. The concept and plot of the story have plenty of holes, it maybe could have been fun but the constant illogical character decisions and blatant disregard for any common sense wears you down. I see a lot were written they maybe get better. I'll read reviews more carefully next time

8 people found this helpful

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  • Kenerator
  • 28-08-19

No science, child’s fiction

Guns that shoot needles against 15’ tall lizards? Ridiculous, unless of course you’re a kid who just wants an action story. The lizards also had offices and medical wards. Tough to imagine those ergonomics.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Ryan
  • 16-10-15

Its like Starship Troopers but with Dinosaurs

Dino Aliens ✔
Cool guy Protagonist ✔
Cool World ✔
Likable Characters ✔
Unlikable Characters ✔
Protagonist likes looking at woman's posterior when being yelled at ✔
It güde.

70 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Don Gilbert
  • Don Gilbert
  • 05-12-13

Classic Space Opera

Cast from the mold of Star Ship Troopers and B.V. Larson’s other great space adventure, his Space Force series, Steel World; Undying Mercenaries is a high speed, high adventure, military Sci-Fi, page turner.
Having already submitted to the vast empire of the Galactics, Earth is in a struggle for survival and humanities legions of mercenaries must battle on planet Cancri-9, better known as Steel World to endure; but death is not the usual final obstacle as these mercenaries have the ability to regenerate.
It’s an interesting concept, the book has several plot twists and the characters are well developed and believable.
This is a story begging to be a series; and the narrator, Mark Boyett, gives a great performance.

77 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Willie
  • Willie
  • 25-02-14

Highly entertaining, straight forward

If you could sum up Steel World in three words, what would they be?

Just plain fun....Larson doesn't make this a muddled, too many subplots running story. He keeps you on target on the main character, builds solid supporting characters, and doesn't mess around with repetition or unnecessary subplots. You can see this as an action movie, or, dare I say it, a video game-but don't let that turn you off. This is worth it.

What did you like best about this story?

Reminded me of Star Ship Troopers but with dinosaurs. The writer gives you enough to invest in the characters and provides great action to keep you listening(or reading).

Have you listened to any of Mark Boyett’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Haven't heard him before but was very pleased with his performance. Accents a little weak but still a very good job.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

too long for one sitting but high on the re-listening scale

Any additional comments?

Not over complicated story and action packed. I would highly recommend this book and am anxiously looking forward to the next book in the series.

9 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Richard & Michelle K
  • Richard & Michelle K
  • 15-05-20

Images of Barney and a third grade story.

I do love me some good space opera, but this story seems to be so lackluster. I don't care for the primary character at all, their mission is pitiful and the action is wanting. Will not be going any further on this journey. Try some BV Larson for a significant upgrade!

3 people found this helpful