Orphanage (Jason Wander Series #1)

Orphanage (Jason Wander Series #1)

by Robert Buettner

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Mankind's first alien contact tears into Earth: projectiles launched from Jupiter's moon, Ganymede, vaporize whole cities. Under siege, humanity gambles on one desperate counterstrike. In a spacecraft scavenged from scraps and armed with Vietnam-era weapons, foot soldiers like eighteen-year-old Jason Wander-orphans that no one will miss-must dare man's first interplanetary voyage and invade Ganymede.

They have one chance to attack, one ship to attack with. Their failure is our extinction.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316019125
Publisher: Orbit
Publication date: 04/01/2008
Series: Jason Wander Series , #1
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 536,164
Product dimensions: 4.25(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Robert Buettner is a former Military Intelligence Officer, National Science Foundation Fellow in Paleontology, and has been published in the field of Natural Resources Law. He lives in Georgia, creating the sequel to ORPHAN'S ALLIANCE and snowboarding passably. His website is: www.RobertBuettner.com.

Read an Excerpt


By Robert Buettner

Warner Faith

Copyright © 2004 Robert Buettner
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-446-61429-7

Chapter One

"THE SUN WILL COME OUT ... TOMORROW ..." Our pilot hums through her open mike into zero-Fahrenheit cabin air fogged with four hundred GIs' breath. And fat with smells of gun oil, vomit, and fear. The sun never comes out here. In Jupiter's orbit, Sol is a pale dot. It's joke enough that I smile even as my hands shake the rifle propped between my knees. I'm Specialist Fourth Class Jason Wander, one of the lucky orphans who in one hour will save the human race or die trying.

We sit helmeted in paired, facing rows, so red cabin light paints us like eggs cartoned in the devil's incubator. Eternad-battery-heated fatigues warm us against a cabin cooled to the surface temperature our enemy manufactures a hundred miles below.

Our backs mold against the ship's "pressure hull" that seals out space's vacuum. "Ship" my ass. It's a 767 fuselage looted from some airplane graveyard in the Arizona desert, tacked to a streamlined parachute and reinforced to drop us from the mother ship to the surface. Like most of the 1900s antiques we have to fight this 2040 war with, it was built when Annie was a live-acted musical, back before the Millennium turned.

That red cabin light preserves night vision. A hundred miles below our parking orbit, it's always night on Ganymede. Or so the astronomers say.

We'll be the first humans to see it. If our groaning hull doesn't pop when we fall through vacuum or melt as we thunder through the artificial atmosphere the Slugs have slathered around the rock below. If we don't slam into Ganymede like crash-test dummies. If our demothballed weapons can kill the Slugs waiting down there.

And who knows, since I'm the only human who's ever seen Slugs alive?

My gunner shivers warm against my shoulder clicking her Muslim beads, praying like her hair was on fire. Yeah. My boss is a four-foot-eleven Egyptian girl. But Munchkin can shoot.

My teeth grind, I close my hand over her beads, and she stops clicking. Divine help's improbable for agnostic me.

As improbable, I suppose, as Pseudocephalopod Slugs from beyond the Solar System camping on Jupiter's largest moon and killing millions by bombing Earth from out here.

They say that an infantryman's life is boredom punctuated by intervals of sheer terror. After six hundred days traveling in the mother ship's mile-long steel tube, finally being in the dropship liquefies my guts even though I asked to be here.

We all asked. So many volunteered for the Ganymede Expeditionary Force that they only accepted ten thousand soldiers who'd lost entire families. Munchkin lost parents and six sisters to the Cairo Projectile. I'm an only child, and the Indianapolis Projectile took my living parent. Such things now pass for luck.

So the media calls us the Orphans' Crusade. Munchkin hates "Crusade" because she's Muslim. So she calls us Humanity's Last Hope.

Our platoon sergeant's seen combat. So he calls us meat. He says "Orphanage" is true because in combat your only family is these government-issued strangers. Intercoms crackle. "Begin drop sequence on my mark ... now!"

Somebody sobs.

The mother ship releases all twenty dropships like dandelion seed. Red light flicks black for a skipped heartbeat as electricity switches to internal. Our cut umbilical scrapes our hull like a handcuff unlocked.

Which is how this started for me three years ago, a week after my eighteenth birthday.


Excerpted from Orphanage by Robert Buettner Copyright © 2004 by Robert Buettner. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Orphanage (Jason Wander Series #1) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 77 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Those of us who read ¿genre¿ fiction choose these books because of the familiar stories, plot devices, people types, and, well, all the ingredients that make it a Romance, a Western, a Mystery and yes, even Science Fiction novel. We love to revisit these familiar stories and search for new authors who can transport us from our reality to their ¿worlds¿. Science Fiction has many genres within its broad scope space opera, hard science, first contact, alien invasions, discovering that big thing in the sky and, of course, military fiction. Which brings us to ¿Orphanage¿ the main reason I enjoyed this book so much, besides being just a good ol¿ fun read, is the story is about imperfect people repeatedly overcoming extraordinary odds 'not always with the best ¿final reel¿ outcome' and grow with each experience. Being a former Military Intelligence Officer, Mr. Buettner brings to his books a military reality to give the stories some real bite. And, gosh, I like Jason Wander he makes wrong decisions 'for the right reasons', follows his heart 'a bit too much for a soldier' and is constantly putting his booted foot in his mouth. In other words, Jason is a human just like you and me, and we can relate to his troubles AND triumphs! Robert Buettner is a wonderful new voice in Science Fiction and I hope to be reading his books far into the future!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I actually had to email the author to tell him how great his book was. Even my friend who is not much into reading, said he found it hard to put this book down. WE BOTH agreed, when we were finished reading, we WANTED MORE! I actually got mad at myself for reading this book to fast!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The reviewers are calling Orphanage the best of the year, the decade, maybe to this generation what Starship Troopers and Forever War were to theirs. It's all of that. Fast, funny, moving and authentic . You'll wish it was longer.
atdCross on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It was a good read. The action, characters, the military training experienced by the lead character, and the combat situations against weird aliens were all well written and exciting; although not as good as Starship Troopers (a book by which I judge all military science-fiction), which was a step up from Orphanage.
mjparme on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a real page-turner and I thoroughly enjoyed it (read it in a day). Some other reviewers compare it to Starship Troopers and The Forever War; however, Starship Troopers is much more cerebral than this book (and dare I say more boring than this book?) and the only similarity to The Forever War is that there are infantry troops fighting aliens. That hardly makes them the same book.I almost gave this book 3 stars because there is a section of science in this book that is laughably bad and it was very annoying. However, the entertainment factor of this book kept me for docking it a star for the bad science. So here are two notes for the author. One, the Moon does in fact rotate on its axis; however, it rotates at the same rate as it revolves around the Earth so it just appears from our vantage point here on Earth that it doesn't. We see more or less the same face all the time, but that doesn't mean the Moon isn't rotating. Secondly, there is no dark side of the Moon, all sides of the Moon in fact get sunlight. There is, however, a far-side of the Moon which is the side that we can't see from Earth.
iftyzaidi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The blurb on the cover makes comparisons to Joe Haldeman's 'Forever War' and Heinlein's 'Starship Troops' and its obvious that these are the major influences on this book. However it lacks the emotional depth and thoughtfulness of the first and the muscular energy of the later. What it does have is a fun sense of humour. All and all its a fun, lightweight read. The ideas are hackneyed (War drives innovation; a soldier fights for his fellow soldiers etc.) but the plot is fast-paced and compelling. Overall a decent entry in the military sf subgenre with no new takes or ideas to offer.
geordicalrissian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A good read for me. Not great. I had some precaution in the first part of the book as it seemed too much like Starship Troopers. But the story takes a nice turn from Heinlein and ends up being a rough and tumble story worthy to stand on its own. I loved the action and loved the tech. I'll definitely be finishing the series.
usnmm2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Just finished Orphanage by Robert Buettner the first in the series and I enjoyed it immensely. No surprises', even fewer if you have read Starship Troopers or The Forever War. Not so much an imitation but a homage to those books.Earth's cities are being destroyed one by one by an alien race. Jason Wanders' father is dead and his mother is killed in one of the attacks. After getting in trouble, for fighting in school, he is given a choice - enlist in the army or serve time in jail. (Of coarse we know what he which he will pick). The storys' pace and development is very familar to any who have read the above mentioned books. But it has an up to date feel.
stargazer53 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I always approach military science fiction with caution because some authors get carried away with weapon descriptions, unbelievably tough characters, and illogical associations, but not so in Orphanage. The characters are flawed but likeable. They are courageous when the need for courage is forced upon them. They are willing to sacrifice their own lives to save that of a friend's. And that, I believe, is the whole idea behind Orphanage.The story takes place in the future when Earth has come under attack from an unknown enemy. This enemy is successfully killing large numbers of our population by lobbing huge projectiles from space with devastating results. Whole families are destroyed leaving behind orphans, young and old. Jason Wander is one of these orphans and makes some poor life choices that bring him to the attention of what remains of the legal system. He is given an opportunity to join a new branch of the Armed Forces which is preparing to take the fight to the enemy and beat them on their own ground. But Jason has a lot to learn about life and family, courage and luck, duty and honor, and survival.The story is told with a sense of humour and an understanding of what makes us all human. Orphanage is an enjoyable read.
TheAlternativeOne on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
By the author¿s own admission Orphanage is a conscious homage to Robert A. Heinlein's classic science-fiction shoot-em-up, Starship Troopers, but it is also much more than that. It is a modern telling of a style that I thought almost gone. Thankfully, the Golden Age of Science Fiction is revived in Buettner¿s capable hands. Reminiscent of Joe Haldeman¿s The Forever War and Mindbridge, Fred Pohl¿s Gateway, and Robert H. Heinlein¿s Have Spacesuit Will Travel, as well as the above-mention Starship Troopers Buettner certainly reveals his mastery of the military aspect of his stories. The action scenes and sequences are choreographed superbly and the battle scenes compelling and poignant. In addition, Orphanage, as well as all the other books in this series, contains everything that is good about excellent military science fiction. No, let me amend that. Orphanage contains everything that is good about excellent fiction, period. Buettner writes characters that you will care about, plots that are tight, dialogue that flows, and he has a grasp for spinning a tale that is always entertaining. Spending time with these brilliantly written works of mankind at war with a devious alien entity will not disappoint. Buettner should be honored to be mentioned with the likes of Haldeman, Pohl, and Heinlein. I know I¿m privileged to add him to my list of favorites.Jason Wander Series1. Orphanage (2004) 4 ½ stars out of 5The Alternative¿s Nutshell Recap: Evil aliens throw rocks at the Earth vaporizing many large cities. The world relies on one counterstrike in space led by soldiers left as orphans by the attack. Using outdated space craft and weapons the Orphans are ordered to invade the enemy on Ganymede.2. Orphan's Destiny (2005) 4 ½ stars out of 5The Alternative¿s Nutshell Recap: Foot-soldier made General by losses in the Slug War Jason Wander returns home only to find that the real war has just begun. A full armada-sized invasion must be stopped by a single, ancient space craft and a suicide squad led by recently promoted General Wander.3. Orphan's Journey (2008) 4 stars out of 5The Alternative¿s Nutshell Recap: Sent to the resort planet of New Moon Jason and crew are propelled into deep space when the test of a space ship goes wrong. Stranded on an alien planet Jason must save not only his friends but everyone else on the planet.4. Orphan's Alliance (2008) 4 stars out of 5The Alternative¿s Nutshell Recap: Humans have been found in space. Jason Wander is sent as an emissary but finds that politics can be harder than leading men into battle. When mankind battles the Slugs for a strategic pieces of space Jason discovers that the most dangerous enemy is not always the one you expect.5. Orphan's Triumph (2009) 4 stars out of 5The Alternative¿s Nutshell Recap: General Wander prepares for the final conflict as Earth and her allied forces organize to employ a doomsday weapon that can end the war. When a strategic reversal threatens mankind Jason Wander must confront the demons that turned him to the military in the first place and stripped away the innocence of his youth.
Ed_Gosney on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Orphanage was a good read, though it took me a while to really start enjoying it. I've read the first two books in David Gunn's Sven series and really liked them, and was hoping to find something to fill the gaps while waiting for more editions. This didn't quite hit the mark, but it came close. While Sven actually has alien DNA coursing through his blood, along with a symbiot living inside, Jason Wander is an ordinary human, fighting the alien slugs threatening Earth and all of mankind. It's a noble battle, and I'll be sure to read more of his adventures.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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She smiles.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good girl
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author wanted to be Robert A. Heinlein and write Starship Troopers. He isn't and didn't. Too over the top to be enjoyable and, although I expect and enjoy tropes in my genre fiction this one just never connected.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pads in
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I mean like how some kits get naming seramony so thay have there name
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoy your stay!
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