Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Operation Serf: A Review

 Chris Sullins’ Operation Serf is an apocalypse in progress adventure tale set in the not too distant future (2023).  It was originally published in serialized format at Charles Hugh Smith's website.  It is the first part of a trilogy that is two-thirds complete.

Chris Sullins served in our armed forces in Iraq, is a licensed health care provider, and general outdoors everyman.

How to summerize?   It is little bit like taking the survival group from Patriots, a fly on the wall of the inner meeting councils of the Evil Cabala types from Last Light, and combining it with the slow strangulating collapse from the early books of the American Apocalypse series.  Although the economic collapse is mostly done as explanatory monologue from the Patriot Group's Patriarch, it would make an interesting, probably as chaotic of a novel without the other elements.  Who needs a cabal to ruin things, when you have a sufficiency of idiots?

I found the initial portions of the collapse story to be a bit confusing and possibly a little too farfetched even for my tastes.  But as the book moves along and you figure out what is going on the story hits its pace and the action gets more interesting.

Most of the evil cabala types come off as something less then all powerful master puppeteers.  Much of what seems to happen seems to come from various miscalculations and infighting.  At times I felt like watching a replay of (a slightly more series version of) the game Illuminati.

The author seems to spend a lot of set up time on a number of characters that either are not going to be around for too long, or are of rather nebulous seeming importance.  I presume if someone is wiped out shortly after the setup, they are relatively nebulous.  There are also a lot of people running around, and some of them only distinguishable by the uniforms they wear.  Since a lot of the cabala-type people are supposedly incognito, I understand the purpose, but it does make it difficult to understand what is going on as we shift to different viewpoints. 

The book is very bloody minded.  Although the roles are male dominated, from time to time women get there punches and jabs in.  The combat scenes are realistic up to a point.  The bad guys seem to be immensely lacking in 360 degree awareness.  I am not sure why someone would think it is safe to simply drive down a road when you are suspicious of both the State Police, and State National Guard units: survivalists aren’t the only people who can stash away weapons.

In all it is an entertaining read.  I would not exactly call it an attempt at prediction, but some aspects to this future could be taken as a forewarning.

Chris Sullins

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