Review by ciecheesemeister -- Project Tau by Jude Austin

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Review by ciecheesemeister -- Project Tau by Jude Austin

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[Following is a volunteer review of "Project Tau" by Jude Austin.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Project Tau is a science fiction story by Jude Austin. At the beginning of the story, a military lab specializing in training cloned humans for difficult and dangerous jobs such as war and mining, is in crisis. Two of its projects, Tau and Kata, have gone rogue. The prologue ends with a scientist named Dr. Dennison speculating that he is about to die.

The next chapter begins with a flashback to the thoughts of an insecure college freshman named Kalin Taylor. Kalin is attempting to become a member of the Phi Alpha Mu fraternity at Sanderson College of Arts and Sciences on the planet Trendellia. The arrogant and cruel head of Phi Alpha Mu, Phillip Lawson, dares Kalin to break into Project Tau, a high-security military base on a space station, and take a picture to prove that he was there. There are other amenities on the space station housing Project Tau that are open to the public, so Kalin takes a shuttle to the space station. After watching a movie, he works up his courage to sneak into Project Tau. He is quickly apprehended by guards and imprisoned. The megalomaniac facility head, Albert Mason, has the sadistic Dr. Dennison take a sample of Kalin’s DNA and create a clone from it. They then dump a body near Sanderson College. There is a degree of ambiguity as to whether the body is that of the clone, or if it is the body of Kalin Taylor and the clone now holds Kalin’s memories.

The clones are treated abominably. They are dehumanized, being referred to as “it” rather than he. They are physically and psychologically tortured. They are slaves whose psyches have been broken so that they will not question orders.

I give Project Tau three out of four stars. The book is professionally edited. I only found a few minor errors. The thing that I like best about the story is the bond that develops between Kata and Tau. They become like brothers and grow and learn together in a horrific situation. The book tackles important questions such as the ethics of cloning and the dehumanization and mistreatment of those that society believes are inferior.

The thing I dislike most about the book is the fact that apart from Kalin’s mother, who appears only briefly, and Samara Chase, the Trendellian security chief, the women are completely two-dimensional. Janet Jones is “a prettier than usual co-worker” for Dr. Renfield to drool over. Gloria Lin’s primary skill seems to be flipping her hair to entice the easily aroused male scientists. Amy Saunders is a life-size Barbie doll, and I found myself wondering if Dr. Renfield understood the concept of sexual harassment during his exchanges with her.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Project Tau and am likely to read the forthcoming book in the series. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy science fiction that is action intensive. I would not recommend it for readers who are bothered by violence, as the book contains many situations in which Project Tau and Project Kata are abused.

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Post by snowbear »

The book sounds fascinating. Although I'm not a big-fan of science fiction stories, I like how the book has tackled some issues regarding humanity and the society we live in. I also liked how you noted that the characterization of some women in the story are two-dimensional. Thanks for your informative and well-thought out review!
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