Review: “Terminal Uprising,” Jim C. Hines

Pros: Hilarious, heart-warming tale of space janitors!
Rating: 5 out of 5

I’ve been waiting eagerly for Jim C. Hines’s Terminal Uprising (Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse), the sequel to his Terminal Alliance. This is a post-apocalyptic future in which a plague turned all of mankind “feral”. The alien Krakau have been individually curing and educating humans, who in return serve as soldiers in the Krakau Alliance. Marion “Mops” Adamopoulos headed up the sanitation and hygiene crew on board a spaceship. When her crew was turned back into ferals, she and her team had to rally to save their crew from being put down. In the process they discovered a horrible secret: the Krakau had some responsibility with respect to the plague, and they’ve been covering this up ever since! Now Mops and her team do their best to operate their stolen spaceship while trying to find out more about what’s going on. Admiral Pachelbel, one of the Krakau, seems to sympathize and is helping Mops on the down-low. Pachelbel sends the team after information that shows there may be non-infected humans living on Earth! What is Admiral Sage up to with her secret research base?

The Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse series is hilarious, poignant, and inventive. Mops and her crew have so much personality, particularly evident as they try to adapt to running a spaceship on their own. They have to make frequent use of the delightful tutorial programs as well as Mops’s personal AI, Doc. They cleverly use their experience and supplies (from floor polish to sealant to industrial lubricant to cleaning solutions that should not be mixed) to achieve their goals. They also adapt as their enemies–Mops is now known as a traitor to the Alliance–cotton on to their strategies. Once they find more people to work with, they have to adapt to being soldiers and leaders as well as janitors. Just to up the difficulty level, Mops of course does not want to kill any humans if she can avoid it, even when they’re sent after her and her crew.

I’m giddy over what Mops finds on Earth: librarians! (Leave it to Hines to incorporate the lure of books into his tale.) She also finds evidence that Admiral Sage is up to some unexpected, and fascinating, stuff. There’s plenty of inventive action scenes to keep things entertaining, including escapes, fire-fights, delaying actions, and rescues. The pacing is wonderful, ramping up and getting quite exciting.

If you enjoy a good dose of humor with your heart-warming science fiction, the Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse is a fantastic series to read. I absolutely recommend it. Note that this book includes a wonderfully diverse cast, including various skin colors, gender preferences, and sexualities.

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