Yes, i am WAY behind the times. I've known about Eugenesis (James Roberts old self-published, with Hasbro UKs permission, UK TF novel, for anyone even farther behind then me) since it came out many years ago, and given the very good reviews it was always something I figured I would snag if I came across it at a Con. Then more recently, when I learned it was available as a free Kindle PDF I snagged it for my IPad. My initial interest has, of course, grown exponentially since Roberts became the star writer of LSotW and MtMtE. Finally got to read it this past weekend. I know I'm miles behind the curve here but I wondered if anyone was up for some discussion? First off, it's good. I've read every officially published TF novel, from the awful DW era stuff to the recent, interesting but flawed Aligned books. This is easily better than all of them. It feels like a real novel. It has depth and arc and theme and thought provoking moments, and real emotion and tragedy and all that good literary stuff. If it had nothing to do with Transformers. If you changed all the names, (and if you ignored all the UK comic backstory) it would STILL be an interesting, thought provoking, and moving novel. Roberts knack for lovable character and humor is not quite as developed as in his IDW work and his taste for tragedy is a little blunter but he's already on the track to being the writer of those later works. Second thing to be said, it's absolutely brutal. Now I can hear the "Duh"s. After all this is the guy who wrote LSotW and the latest (poor Rung) issue of MtMtE. But honestly both those books don't steal a step on Eugenesis. Take LSOTW and crank the brutality and stomach turning violence up a couple notches and then take it from the intimate small group in that book and make it a planet/species wide horrorshow. This is a book that makes our toy's war every bit as horrible, adult, and stomach turning as the real thing.* I'm not a big fan of that sort of thing honestly, and Eugenesis took me right about to my limit. There were bits where I really started to resent Roberts for what he was doing to EVERYONE. (No one is safe. Not 84ers, not fan favorites. No One.) It almost turned me against the book. Almost. Almost. But the great characterization and writing making you care about everyone's fate and what happened to them, and the planet and the race and the mysteries and all. It was always enough to bring me back and keep me reading. But yeah, this book is about real war. No one is safe and no one gets a fairy tale happy ending. To paraphrase Dawn Weston: "This book is brutal." But there ARE moments of real heroism. And, to be fair, he does a good job of showing how ridiculously durable and resurrect-able all these horribly fated TFs are. It's a strange dicotomy and he manages to show a War that has real terrible consequences and a race that is really good at pulling themselves back from them. That shouldn't work, but it does. Completely. And there's moments of hope too. They are few and far between and tentative, but they're there.* Ok, I don't know if it's appropriate to bother with Spoilers after the decade point passes, but since *I* just got around to reading it I'll be careful and say Spoilers Ahead for the rest of the post. Speaking of "Moments of Hope", the one at the end... Has anyone read Catch 22? ...the last paragraphs gave me the exact same moment of redemptive hope after the darkness of war. (It's actually a fairly good parallel, and I wouldn't be surprised if Roberts was influenced there.) While I've gone on about it's strength as a novel, it IS also Fanfic. That shows in some places. The most obvious to me was the lengths the book goes to in trying to merge the Comic's Primus mythos with the G1Cartoon's Quintesson slave origin. I wont say he doesn't do a passable job of it, it's just something I've seen tried in old fanfic a billion times. Heck, I've done it myself. Somewhere over the years, with all the Multiverse stuff that developed long after this book came out, I stopped wanting to see that. I like both origins fine, but I kinda prefer they stay in their own corners now I guess. Again, he does it well, it was just kind of a "ah, this old bit" moment. The other place it shows its origins, or rather Roberts origins, is in how connected it is to the Marvel UK comics. I've read most of them and read about the rest so I was fine here, but it definitely shows its roots coming out of his UK comic fan club stories, doesn't it? I wonder if someone less steeped in those could follow it as well. Going in I was really curious for any connections to Roberts modern stuff. Yeah, as frequentlynnoted, Rung gets a 1line mention. Delphi is a big part of the story, but it's a Delphi that's on Cybertron and very different from the one in MtMtE. He has the penchant already for teaming two characters and giving them exceptionally deep bonds of friendship. There seems to be a definite foreshadowing of Chromedome/Eject and The Duobots in several different "couples" here.* There's a few Robertsian terms that show up as well... the most interesting is a TF being "cold cast" which has been mentioned as important in his IDW books but not defined. In this book it IS defined as a TF who is built piece by piece and assembled by hand for a specific purpose. (Nightbeat is one here.) It is contrasted with biomorphic reproduction in the book (G2 style budding) where in the IDW books they contrast it with forging (IIRC, yes?) which has yet to be explained in depth. (I'm guessing it's mass production-y, though that's just a guess.) Other thoughts... Hmm... Saw the time paradox Seeker thing coming from really early. It's interesting but as in most time travel plots the how the paradox got started question looms. Oh, and The Quintesson Budding Babies bit at the end. I'm not sure I really understood that. I get that it underscores the connection between the races, but why was it happening? What was it supposed to imply about the future? The repetition of a few terms led me to wonder if it was meant to tie into to the coming of the Maximals/Predicons (foreshadowed a little) but if so, I didn't really get how. Anyone help a guy out? It was a weird thing at the end of a long road, and another sign that things were always changing, but again why and what did it mean? That's the only bit of the book that I felt like I might be missing an implication on... Thoughts? Anyway, in the end I enjoyed it, and was glad I read it. It's dark and brutal like LSoTW, it has a few lingering fanfic tropes, and it's steeped in UK Comic lore, but it's also well written and honestly moving, and it was interesting to see Roberts when he wasn't quite as developed a writer as today, and *interesting to see the TFs war suddenly (sometimes shocking or off-puttingly)*treated like a real, honest, terrible, brutal, stupid, ugly, horrific, bloody, murderous, tragic war. Anyone else read it recently enough to want to share some thoughts or impressions? -ZacWilliam, Didn't expect this to go on this long, but it is a novel, a real one, and it's Roberts, so there's so much there!