cover image The Lives of Tao

The Lives of Tao

Wesley Chu. Angry Robot, $7.99 mass market (464p) ISBN 978-0-85766-330-6

Imagine humans are not Earth's dominant species, and aliens live among us in plain sight. This is the conceit of Chu's hip, wise-cracking military SF debut. One morning Roen Tan wakes up feeling worse than a bad hangover and rot-gut pizza should merit. Between the bar and taxi home last night, Roen acquired an alien symbiote, one of the Quasing, who crash landed on Earth millions of years ago. Roen, a flabby, geeky programmer of middling talent and low self-esteem, has become, overnight, the host of Tao of the Quasing. Tao, living through the ages, has paired with King Solomon, Genghis Khan, Napoleon, and most recently, kick-ass spy Edward Blair, so this is a bit of a change. The Quasing are divided into two factions and Tao features as a power player for his team, the Prophus. Can Tao make Roen into an international man of mystery before they both end up dead? The humor is strong, but the execution doesn't live up to the concept.(May)