T2: The Future War

T2: The Future War

4.6 18
by S. M. Stirling

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The Machines are awake -- and aware ...

There is no destiny but the one we have created ...

There is no turning back -- the future war is now.

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The Machines are awake -- and aware ...

There is no destiny but the one we have created ...

There is no turning back -- the future war is now.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you, as shown in this above-average movie tie-in, the conclusion to Stirling's T2 trilogy (after Rising Storm and Infiltrator). Judgment Day, when the sentient computer Skynet begins using its control of the U.S. military to exterminate the human race, comes at last. In an effort to save humanity, Sarah Connor and her son and savior-in-training, John, alert their allies among the world's militaries, intelligence agencies and general populace. Serving Skynet are eco-terrorists called Luddites, who round up survivors, confine them in concentration camps and expose them to biological weapons. As the first Terminator movie foretells, the humans gain the upper hand, prompting Skynet to resort to time travel to try to kill Sarah and establish its own existence. Faithful to his source material, Stirling (Conquistador; The Peshawar Lancers) gives the book a cinematic feel and structure, with quick jumps between action scenes and large skips in time and space, not to mention robots with Austrian accents. Unfortunately, the logical gaps in the film premise continue to dog his work, and the character development and relationships are obviously predetermined. Readers who enjoyed the movies will like the added material. Newcomers had best start with the films before tackling the books. (June 17) Forecast: Publication has been moved up to take advantage of the summer release of T3: Rise of the Machines. Female fans, however, may be disappointed to find that Sarah Connor plays a diminishing role here. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
While Sarah Connor, her son John, and their friend Dieter von Rossbach take refuge in their Alaskan retreat to prepare for the inevitable war between machines and men, the sentient computer known as Skylab begins its genocidal campaign against the human race. As machines turn against humans, the Connors work with their followers to fight against Skylab and, above all, to survive. The final novel in the Terminator trilogy (after T2: Rising Storm and T2: Infiltrator) elaborate on the popular Terminator movies, fleshing out characters and describing in great detail the war that nearly abolishes the human race. Fans of the movies will enjoy this skillful spin-off, suitable for most libraries. [The third film, T3: Rise of the Machines, will be released July 2.-Ed.] Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Terminator 2 Series , #3
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T2: The Future War

Chapter One

John had insisted that he be the one to shoot the hog. When the big animal dropped limp and flaccid, twitching in response to neurons that hadn't yet quite gotten the news of death, Sarah took the gun and handed him the knife.

Then Dieter shackled one of its legs with a chain and hoisted it up so that its snout dangled two feet above the ground. Then he held it steady while John neatly made a short cut just above the breastbone; it was a tricky move, but he did it well. Using the breastbone as a fulcrum, he sliced down toward the backbone, severing the carotid arteries.

Sarah caught the rush of blood in a bucket, still surprised at how hot it was; the salt-iron-copper smell was strong over that of the pines and cold damp earth. Of course they only slaughtered one hog a year, but still, you'd think she'd get used to it. The smell of the blood made her stomach tighten, but it was hardly the worst thing she'd smell today.

In the background the classic radio station played the 1812 Overture; it seemed somehow appropriate.

Once the beast was sufficiently drained, John put a hook into its underjaw, and it being a smallish hog, he and Dieter dragged it to the edge of the butchering platform, where a stock tank full of boiling water waited. They submerged the animal, bobbing it up and down for about five minutes to keep it from cooking, then dragged it out again, having loosened the pig's bristles sufficiently for the scrapers to work.

Sarah helped the men hoist the steaming animal onto the sturdy board table. Then they went to work with scrapers while she removed hair from its feet with her hands.The bristly texture was oddly unorganic, like a brush -- come to that, pig bristles had been used for brushes, back before synthetics.

They worked silently except for the music or an occasional grunt of effort, Sarah doing the prep work while the men did the heavy lifting. Working methodically, they reduced the animal to individual cuts of meat that, for the most part, bore no resemblance to a once living animal.

She knew John felt sorry for the pigs. They were just smart enough, some of them, to know what was coming.

Which gives them something in common with him!

The silence that had grown among them worried Sarah. It had taken her a long time to really notice it. One of the first disciplines she'd imposed on herself was to become a woman of few words; it was safer that way. But in Paraguay she and John had bantered and laughed all the time; they never did that now. She and Dieter had once talked a lot, too. Now they spent their time reading or working quietly, moving in concert from long experience.

Sarah wondered if it meant that they'd run out of things to say to one another. Was Dieter bored? Was it time for them to move on? She thought about it, testing herself by imagining her life going on without him. No! Sarah knew that she still loved him. Often their eyes met, and the look in his told her that she was loved in return. But the silence remained, and, if anything, grew.

She sensed its origin in John. He'd grown so distant. It was grief, she knew, and she respected that. She just didn't know how to handle it. Sarah had raised him in the snap out of it! school of mothering because she thought that was what the circumstances demanded. But she knew from her own experience that what he was feeling now wasn't something you could just snap yourself out of. It made her feel helpless, and she hated that. Sometimes it made her so angry she just wanted to shake him. Instinctively Sarah knew that giving in to that impulse might just drive him away completely.

As she loaded the basket with cuts of meat to take to the smoke-house, she looked at him. He'd topped out at just under six feet, and though he'd filled out some, his was a wiry build. At least, it was compared to Dieter, who was as glorious a slab of muscle as any woman could desire. John was strong, though. He still lost to Dieter when they arm-wrestled, but not every time, not even most of the time.

He wore his dark hair on the longer side, the bangs still obscuring his brown eyes. The beard was the biggest difference. She didn't think she'd ever get used to that. It was a full-faced beard, but trimmed, not ZZ Top–style, thank God. She gave a mental shrug. This was Alaska. Men wore beards. There'd even been a few especially bitter days when she'd wished she could grow one herself. Someday, she supposed, she'd get used to the way he looked.

He looked up and caught her eye, raising a brow inquiringly.

"Just thinking," she said.

"About what?"

"The beard," she said, and walked away.

John watched her go, then went back to work.

Later he sent Dieter in for the solar shower he knew the big man lusted for. Dieter hated hog butchering, despite being raised in a little rural village in Austria, though he never complained about it.

Well, I hate it, too. Every time, I swear I'm going to turn vegetarian. But I just like meat too much!

He'd just about finished cleaning up the butchering site when his mother came toward him holding a printout.

"Listen to this," she said, and began to read.

Military puts unprecedented power in the hands of a computer

A jolt of fear chilled his stomach for an instant. Their eyes met. He forced himself to give his mother a crooked smile ...

T2: The Future War. Copyright © by S.M. Stirling. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Meet the Author

A well-regarded author of alternate history science-fiction novels, S.M. Stirling has written more than twenty-five books, including acclaimed collaborations with Anne McCaffrey, Jerry Pournelle, and David Drake. His most recent novels are T2: Infiltrator, The Peshawar Lancers, and the Island in the Sea of Time trilogy.

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