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Hello, hello, hello! And welcome to another indie review, courtesy of Reedsy Discovery! This site hosts self-published and indie authors and helps them get discovered. Reviewers choose the books they want to read and submit reviews to correspond (often) with the book’s launch. You can check out my profile here.
Or, if you’re interested in becoming a reviewer, you can use my referral link to sign up!
So here we go, this month’s book: Factory 4-80 by Gordon A. Long!
Factory 4-80 by Gordon A. Long
Loved the snappy dialogue and characters, but the plot was at times hard to follow.
I gave this a 3/5 stars on the Reedsy scale, which was a “Worth Reading.” I wouldn’t say it’s worth reading for everyone, but it wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t enjoy it to some degree. But allow me to explain why.
Commander Natalia O’Rourke is proud of her new recon vessel NightHawk and her crew of Commandos, but not enthused about their first assignment: to track down yet another radio signal that could be from an alien race. However, when she reaches the Barnard’s Star System she finds a fully operational space-going factory run by a ditzy artificial intelligence several thousand years old, and a mining operation under attack from an antique battle cruiser ten times the size of her scout ship.
And then things start to get complicated. She might end up foster mother to a twelve-year-old super-genius, or the voice of conscience to a being with enough knowledge to help the human race destroy itself. Unless the battle cruiser blasts NightHawk into her composite atoms.
My Review of Factory 4-80
Factory 4-80 really caught my attention with its premise. A female space commander and an AI alien factory? Sign me up! But even though there were elements of the story I really liked, the whole of the plot just wasn’t for me. I hate to give a bad review, so first I’ll talk about what didn’t work for me and then end on a positive note.
At times, I found the plot really hard to follow. The basic premise was clear enough, but working through the characters’ decision-making and the finer points of the action left me confused more times than not. It could’ve just been me, but aside from that, I often felt like I was missing information. Mostly, I felt like I was supposed to know about the ship and its technology going in.
For example, it took me until close to the end to realize what an “augment” was, or to understand why the commander had a pet jaguar (called an “auguar”), and why the pet jaguar was hyper-intelligent. I liked the jaguar, and I liked the ship’s technology, but understanding how it all worked from the get-go–not necessarily in full detail, but enough to follow the concept–would have helped me feel oriented to the story so much quicker.
However, I did really like Commander O’Rourke’s character. I thought she was strong and spunky, and she was a good lead. The snappy repartee with her crew was fun to read, though I think I would’ve liked even more genuine character moments, especially between her and her first officer, with whom she appeared to have the strongest connection.
The dialogue between the commander and Factory 4-80 was pretty fun, too, though the titular AI was not at all what I expected it to be… and without giving anything away, I’ll just say that I might’ve been missing the point. Even if it didn’t go where I thought it would, I still found the factory “character” (I mean, he is pretty humanoid) interesting enough.
Factory 4-80 had great characters and clever dialogue, but personally, it didn’t deliver when it came to the plot. However, for fans of space-based sci-fi akin to Star Trek, I think it checks many of the right boxes.
If you’re interested, you can find it here!
Cover art also does not belong to me.