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Dire Earth Cycle Books In Order

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Publication Order of Dire Earth Cycle Books

The Darwin Elevator (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Exodus Towers (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Plague Forge (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Dire Earth (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Injection Burn (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Escape Velocity (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon

The Dire Earth Cycle is a series of science fiction novels by Jason M. Hough, the popular New York Times bestselling author. Jason used to be a game designer, animator, and 3D artist, which perhaps explains his exceptional world building in the Dire Earth Cycle series of novels. The first novel in the series was “The Darwin Elevator”, which was first published in 2013, to be followed by two more titles in the series in the same year. The author also published “The Dire Earth: A Novella”, which provides the character backgrounds, thus acting as the series prequel. The series is set in a 23rd century post-apocalyptic earth, where a space vessel that arrives on earth happens to be a harbinger of alien arrival. The aliens come in the next ship that lands in Darwin, Australia, which completes the construction of the first elevator to land on Earth. Given that the aliens build the space elevator, the inhabitants of Earth nickname them “The Builders”. The aliens led by Neil Platz establish a company known as Platz Industries in Darwin, buying land and building an elevator base for the infrastructure. Having discovered the first space elevator, Platz as the innovator exploits its knowledge and infrastructure to establish orbital colonies, where the elevator cords anchor on their sojourns to earth. It is not long before Darwin, Australia becomes hub of all things space technology.

Much of the inspiration for the Dire Earth Cycle series of novels comes from “Firefly”, Jay Whedon’s popular television series. Having been a connoisseur of the series, Hough thought it would be a good idea to write novels on the same theme once its network canceled the series. However, he took time to start composing the novels, as he felt that the novel form of the genre was very much geared towards the hardcore science fiction fan. The world of the novels is a curious mix of “2001” and “The Stand”, making it palatable to most science fiction and fantasy readers. With the space elevator only feasible in an equatorial latitude, the decision to have Darwin as the setting for the trilogy was a no brainer. The melting pot-esque nature of the city and the connotation of its name also played a great role in why it was chosen. The first novel went on to receive much critical acclaim with outlets such as “Locus Online” and “SF Signal” asserting that the work was a masterpiece. It also received praise from the likes of Alan Cheuse, who compared the titles to “The Fountains of Paradise” by Arthur C. Clarke. What makes the novels so captivating is the development of the alien mystery, the splendid action sequences, and rising tension in the narratives’ tail end.

“The Darwin Elevator”, the first novel in the series opens to a plague that has taken over most of the Earth to turn most of the population into subhuman zombies. The other characters in the novel include refugees concentrated around the space elevator and the rare “Immunes”. Humanity survives as technological space dwellers or as refugees in Darwin, the only remaining habitable place apart from the space station farms around the elevator. The space farms provide food to the colony on Darwin, while the colony provides water and air to the space station in turn. Skyler Luiken, a man immune to the devastating effects of the aliens, leads the “Immunes”. As leader of the “Immunes”, he leads expeditions to repair the space stations and aging elevator complex, scavenge for valuable items to trade while fighting the human zombies. They also have to fight and navigate power games and political plots played by the owner of the space stations Neil Platz, and the head of the Nighcliff elevator base Russell Blackfield. With the aura protection disintegrating fast, the establishment of a new colony is paramount. In the second novel, Dr. Tania Sharma and Platz establish a new colony in Brazil, but it is not long before they are attacked by Brazilian “Immunes” intent on taking the space elevator for themselves. The tension rises when groups of zombie humans whose energies have been enhanced by alien technology join the fray. The third novel takes a different format as Skyler goes to Africa on a quest to find a set of keys that once belonged to the aliens. Her quest sees her find many humans devastated by the plague, and most importantly a number of artifacts that may explain why the aliens were so interested in destroying the civilization on Earth.

“The Darwin Elevator”, set in a futuristic twenty-third century Australia opens to Darwin as the only remaining city on Earth. Most of the Earth’s population has been inflicted by an alien plague to become mindless zombies. All the remaining population that is for the most part composed of “Immunes”, flocks to Darwin where aliens have built the space elevator – a structure that emits unknown elements that suppress the plague. Skyler Luiken is one of the lucky few to have an immunity to the plague. Leading a team of fellow “Immunes”, they scour the dangerous and hot wastelands just beyond the elevator trying to find anything valuable that could save their civilization from total collapse. But it is not long before the space elevator starts to lose its effectiveness, necessitating a radical solution. It is left to the brilliant scientist Dr. Tania Sharma and Skyler to solve the mystery of the deterioration of the space technology, even as they try to keep the human race alive.

“The Exodus Towers” have the rich characters of the first novel but even higher stakes and fast-paced action. The motivations of the Builders become even more mysterious after they set up a second space elevator in South America. Dr. Tania Sharma and immune leader and scavenger extraordinaire Skyler Luiken have abandoned the operations in Darwin to go set up base in the Brazilian colony, that has sprouted around the base of the new elevator. The two have developed mobile towers to protect themselves even further from the alien plague. However, their troubles are complicated by the arrival of an independent band of warlike plague immune humans, who want the colony for themselves. Overpowered, Skyler is cast out of the colony leaving him fighting a one-man war against Darwinian thugs and a team of murderous zombies. He does all this even as he seeks the answer to the alien master plan that seems intent on destroying all the last vestiges of humanity on the planet.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Dire Earth Cycle

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