Tag Archives: Jean Johnson

Johnson, Jean: Hardship (Theirs Not to Reason Why IV) (2014)

I wonder if true precognitives exist? There are certainly plenty of frauds out there, who in spite of generally being wrong have their followers. Ia lives in a world where paranormal powers of varying degrees is a fairly normal matter. Paranormal powers seem to be part of most of the species in Jean Johnson’s Theirs Not to Reason Why. When it comes to precognition Ia is strong enough be called “The Prophet of a Thousand Years”. Her predictions thus far have never missed their mark. What she has seen of the future frightens her because she wants life in the universe to survive.

Fighting for the survival of others or fighting to fulfill the political goals of others seems to be a soldier’s lot. This is a way of thinking that is foreign to me. I tend to think that humans need extinction. While some political systems seem saner than others, the politicians within those systems can get too caught up in games. Some of these so-called games cost young men and women their lives as soldiers fighting for what may or may not be healthy for people.

Ia’s precognition has saved the lives of many of the soldiers and non-combatants on her side. Fewer people have died than might have. If I were an officer, that would certainly be my main goal – to keep as many as possible alive while still managing to do the job that needs to be done. Losing that ability for a while – the long-term precognition – blinds Ia in a way that losing her left eye does not. Her team are so used to having solid information that they too are strongly affected by her loss. But needing to live without being able to depend on her foresight teaches Ia more about the quality of needing to lead through trust. I would find that one of the most difficult parts of being a leader, needing to trust my subordinates to do the job properly. But I imagine leaders learn a lot about themselves through such a process.

In the world of Theirs is Not to Reason Why there are quite a few political players. Not all of them are human. Some of these players are the Feyori. Ia is half Feyori and half human. In Hellfire Ia had her first manifestation as Feyori (she describes them as energy-based beings manifesting themselves as something like large soap-bubbles). That soap-bubble image is very much in my mind right now when I think about Ia’s meeting with the other Feyori in Hardship.

Hardship was a great addition to the serial about Ia. So many of the authors that I read are captivating writers who give me loads of action and imagination. Definitely recommended.


Reviews:


Hardship available at Amazon US


My review of:

  1. A Soldier’s Duty
  2. An Officer’s Duty
  3. Hellfire

Aftermath of war (PTSD)

President of US apologises in 2012

Johnson, Jean: Hellfire (Theirs Not to Reason Why) (2013)

hellfire - larger file
Cover art by Gene Mollica
Cover design by Annette Fiore Defex
Interior text design by Laura K. Corless

I started reading Hellfire and was immediately engrossed in the world of Ia and her Damned. Annoying really when a novel is this good. I believe I actually stayed up until 3 in the morning just because I did not want to go to bed until I knew how Hellfire ended. The ending was a sort of cliff-hanger – in the sense that the story did not end with Hellfire – yet not – in the sense that Hellfire had a conclusion.

…What if you could see the future? What if you foresaw that, three hundred years from your time, your entire galaxy would be destroyed in an overwhelming invasion? What would you do to stop it, when it would all happen long after you were dead and gone? (Jean Johnson)

Me? I don’t know if I would care enough to do anything about it. But what if the experience had been as if I, myself, had experienced the extinction of life? Sad to say, I’m not a particularly noble person. I doubt I could go to the lengths that Ia does in trying to protect the future of her galaxy. I doubt I would stay sane (well, as sane as I will ever be).

Does she see her life as the sacrifice it is? Oh, yes. What she had wanted for herself was to be a singer. Instead she became a soldier on her journey to ready the different breeds of people for the future. A future she would never experience herself. Her motivation? That was what being a pre-cognitive did. Especially being one as strong as she was.

People being the way we are, means we tend to disbelieve anything we have not experienced ourselves. Which is why Ia has let various creatures across the galaxy received snippets of her visions with information on how to avoid the potential future she wishes for them to avoid. This is where Ia’s type of pre-cognition varies from the type of clairvoyance that could be more paradoxical. Ia’s type shows a potential future based on a potential number of choices. By building on her reputation, prophecy by bloody prophecy, Ia has now arrived at Hellfire.

Upon reaching Hellfire Ia has gotten far enough on her journey that she has managed to convince the human authorities of her claims of pre-cognition. All it took was being right a certain number of times and they were more or less on her side. But three hundred years is a long time for most people to keep their minds on. It is the political games here and now that seem to matter, not what some great-, great- … grandchild of ours will be going through. Keeping the military leaders’ minds on what lays ahead is a challenge Ia has to win again and again throughout Hellfire.

With her ship, she and her crew travels around the galaxy recruiting more believers and fighting a whole bunch of battles.

For those of you who like technical details, you will get those. I haven’t a clue as to how likely any of them are, but they are nevertheless interesting.

For those of you who are fans of action and thrills, there are plenty of those as well. The above battles are only part of it. Ia gets herself and her crew out of various tight situations. While we already know that she, herself, has to survive until she has amassed a certain following, we don’t know who else gets to live along with her.

For those of you who like humour, don’t worry. We get plenty of that along with the bleaker moments. Jean Johnson has managed to lighten the story with some witty dialogue.

Finally, for those of you who like romance, there is that as well.

Add to all of this the writing of Jean Johnson and we have a novel that carries its middlehood well. I am certainly looking forward to Damnation.


Review:


  • File Size: 951 KB
  • Print Length: 479 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0425256502
  • Publisher: Ace (July 30, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009RYS0PW

My review of:

  1. A Soldier’s Duty
  2. An Officer’s Duty

 

Johnson, Jean: An Officer’s Duty (2012)

Cover art by Gene Mollica. Cover design by Annette Fiore DeFex. Interior text design by Laura K. Corless.

An Officer’s Duty is the second installment of Theirs Not to Reason Why. Like A Soldier’s Duty, An Officer’s Duty is a military science fiction novel that has plenty of action and some military philosophy in it.

Ia is an interesting character to get to know. With the fate of the universe in her hands she is quite driven and tends to forget that she is a human (well, half-human). Fortunately, she has other characters in this novel that keep her grounded.

Being only mortal, Ia knows that she will have to find a way for future generations to take her letters seriously. The answer lies in her ancestry and on her birth-planet Sanctuary. Her brothers and mothers support her in her work and do everything they can to make it possible to save life in the Milky-Way.

Enrolling in officer’s school (the Navy kind) helps Ia accomplish her goal of becoming an officer. Her example, both in school and later on duty, brings the respect needed from her fellow-soldiers. She is brought closer to her goal, step by step and fight by fight.

The goriness from A Soldier’s Duty is reduced. You will have to read A Soldier’s Duty to get the needed background for An Officer’s Duty. That will mean wading through a bit of blood and body-parts. I’ve enjoyed both books of this series thus far. I expect I will get the rest once they hit the market.

Johnson, Jean: A Soldier’s Duty (2011)

Cover art by Gene Mollica. Cover design by Annette Fiore DeFex. Interior text design by Laura K. Corless.

A Soldier’s Duty is my introduction to the writing of Jean Johnson, and a pleasurable acquaintance it has been. Gene Mollica is the cover artist. He captures the spirit of this novel really well.

A Soldier’s Duty is the first installment of the series Theirs Not To Reason Why. From the cover you can probably guess that the main character in this heroic tale is going to be a woman.

Is it possible to change the future? Maybe, if you are a precog like Ia. She has seen a future for the Galaxy so horrifying that she is willing to do anything to stop it. But to change the future will mean following a trail so narrow there is no room for mistakes. For Ia it will mean sacrifices beyond what she thinks she can bear. However, bear them she must.

In a sense, Ia is somewhat like Honor Harrington. She is willing to put the good of the group before her own wishes. Ia is also willing to work incredibly hard to be the best that she can be. A Soldier’s Duty was full of technical data (no idea how realistic it was). Where Honor and Ia’s likeness ends is in the style of writing that Jean has. Jean takes her writing that tiny indefinable step beyond David Weber’s. You know that step that drops you into the river of her words almost immediately.

I have come to realize that this artistic quality that separates the really good from the word-artists is so small that it is sometimes barely felt. However, it is felt. Jean manages the leap. A person has to be born with it I think.

Anyways. You get the picture.