12

While waiting to get onto a computer booked at the local library about 2 years ago, I picked up a sci-fi novel whose name and author I cannot recall and began reading.

Elements of the opening part of the book that I can recall.

  • A small squadron is trying to penetrate the defenses of an enemy power.
  • It is mentioned they are traveling at an altitude of NN mm (which seemed odd at the time)
  • They are swamped by autonomous flying defenders that hone in on the approaching craft and attack them (mostly by physically disassembling them in-flight).
  • The pilots have a conversation in which it is revealed that this is not the first time they've attacked, and the defenses have improved over time.
  • As each of the attacking craft are swamped the situation becomes more hopeless, until the last of the attackers is destroyed.
  • It then turns out the pilots of the attack vehicles were at a far distant point, remotely operating micro/nano-machines..

That was mostly in the first chapter, as far as I read. I'd guess it was written within the last 10 years (15 at the outside).

Can anyone identify this book & author?

  • I can almost recall it, it was a war game. Seems like they were training for something. I just have glimpse of the scenes, and I don't recall anything significant afterwords. Maybe it was a short story? – James Jenkins Apr 12 '13 at 23:38
  • @JamesJenkins My recollection was that it was a novel and there was no 'practice' about it, but if you can recall the name of that story, please drop it in as I might be mistaken. – Andrew Thompson Apr 12 '13 at 23:40
  • Interesting question! (My 2,000th vote btw) – The Fallen Apr 13 '13 at 18:00
9

This sounds like the 1st book of the Succession Series "The Risen Empire" by Scott Westerfield. The opening chapter called Pilot fits what you have described.

Below is a brief SPOILER ALERT excerpt explaining your remembering NN mm:

Marx checked the altimeter's last reading: 174 centimeters. At that height, the craft would take at least a minute before they hit the ground. Even with its sensor array furled and main rotor stalled, in a normal-density atmosphere an intelligence craft fell no faster than a speck of dust. Indeed, the Intelligencers were not much larger than specks of dust, and were somewhat lighter. With a wingspan of a single millimeter, they were very small craft indeed.

Master Pilot Jocim Marx, Imperial Naval Intelligence, had flown microships for eleven years. He was the best.

The Risen Empire Description

  • Yes that definitely seems to be the one, barring my mistake with the dimensions. I was almost going to mention a 'monarchy' but that detail was only vaguely formed in my mind.. Thanks! – Andrew Thompson Apr 12 '13 at 23:58
  • Glad I could help. – beichst Apr 13 '13 at 0:03
  • Explains the 'NN mm' altitude-measuring units. – Solemnity Apr 14 '13 at 0:30

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