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Publisher's Summary

Fifty years after Steve Stuart and his friends captured an alien starship, the Solar Union is a thriving interstellar power while Earth is increasingly backward and falling into barbarism. For two youngsters from Earth, the Solar Union offers the only chance they will ever have to make something of their lives.

But humanity's involvement in Galactic affairs has not gone unnoticed. The enigmatic masters of the universe have put together a fleet to crush the upstart humans before they can threaten the precarious balance of power. Pushed to the limits, the Solar Union must fight to defend its freedom - and the existence of the human race.

©2014 Christopher G. Nuttall (P)2016 Podium Publishing

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Paul
  • Western Australia
  • 03-12-2016

loved this book hard to put it bown.

This book has inspired me to engage in more and I'm looking forward to the next one. it is an action packed and philosophical look at human interaction with it's own kind and other species they encounter.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • E. Atkinson
  • 23-08-2016

Now we have Space Opera!

Second book is better than the first. We get much more personable characters that learn and grow as they go through the world. Also we finally get Space Battles with Space Marines that last for more than a paragraph. the Author has achieved Space Opera.

I also enjoyed the nods to various other authors in the genre. Maple syrup as a worthless commodity is funny (nod to Ringo), Engage! I am looking forward to the next book.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • tekone
  • 14-08-2016

I thought this series had the potential to be his best

And I believe that is still the case. This is a great series and I cannot wait for the next book!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Trudy Owens
  • 23-10-2016

Still too preachy, and not too interesting

If you made it through book 1 of this series, you already know Nuttall's opinions on society and politics. If you are here, you have read past all that for the story. You accepted the moon base being established in about a month, and that humans were exploring further than the Solar System. In this book, taking place 50 years later, Kevin Stuart has become Ambassador at Large and his brother Steve has given up governing the humans and gone off with his wife on trading missions, so does not appear in this book.

The main scenarios in the story focus on 2 young Marine recruits, Martin and Yolanda; then there's Kevin and Sally, and Professor Scudder. It is this Professor who delivers the John Galt radio broadcast in this book, lecturing us on Nuttall's take on education, artificial intelligence, border control and immigration, the "weaponization of the word 'racist'" wherein one must prove one's innocence, and the Divide and Rule principle in which all groups are set against each other so that the politicians can stay in power.

Martin is a young man of color from a ghetto, yet has no ghetto mannerisms or language, or accent (sorry, Mr. Rummel). Yolanda is a half Mexican, half Japanese Cinderella with tons of brains. Their friendship is merely another platform from which to speechify about race relations. Kevin and Sally, what to say, what to say? Kevin is an unlikely ambassador, and seems to be turning into a despot like the admiral in the author's Barbarian books. Sally, Sally, what in blazes are you doing out there, and how did you get there? She's about the only Human on some alien planet working for some information broker Jabba the Hutt. What's up with her? She'll probably be made Secretary of State.

You will tire of the overused terms "Masters of the Universe" and "ossified" or its variant "ossification." These Master aliens suffer from the same implosion problems of the Galactic Empire in the time of The Child Roland" in the Empire's Corps series, so they will fall and Humans will establish their new Empire, and there will be thousands of years before the Barbarian Bride and Stalker's Stalkers at which time there will be no more mention of the thousands of species of aliens that appear in these stories.

Christian Rummel's narration is pretty good except for that of Martin. He fails miserably to give this thoughtful young man any color or character or personality. But maybe it's not his fault.

I'm sorry, but these books are pretty much a fail on many levels. The characters are not consistent, not well-rounded, and there is too, too much grand-standing of Nuttall's ideas, whether you like them or not. Things are too simple. The Masters of the Universe are set to destroy the humans, but of course we soundly beat them, with some unsung losses, but very handily for all that.

There is another book after this one, and I will listen to it because I want to see how things work out, and how this pre-history leads us to Ed Stalker. That's the only reason. It is not a very good example of Nuttall's abilities.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Jean
  • 21-08-2016

A fun space opera

This is book two in “The Learning Experience Series”. This book opens fifty years after the end of book one. In book one Steve Stuart and friend captured an alien starship. They decided to keep it and create their own nation rather than turn it over to the government. They built on the moon and asteroids. The Stuart brothers are active in key roles in the Solar Union but Steve is no longer involved in the running of the Solar Union.

The book follows two new recruits to the Solar Union military from earth. Yolanda is a smart mixed-race girl that applies to the space navy and becomes a navigator/helmsman and Martin, a young black man from the ghetto, joins the Marines. We follow them from boot camp to seasoned officers. The Solar Union comes to the attention of the Tokomak Empire who decided that Earth needed to be destroyed not realizing the Solar Union is not located on earth. The Tokomak are the oldest and largest Empire but have failed to keep up with the advances and changes in the universe; they have relied on their enormous size to keep everyone under control.

The book is well written and fast paced. Nuttall provides some exciting battles on land and in space. The action and suspense will keep the reader on the edge of their seats. Christian Rummel does an excellent job narration the story. Rummel is an award winning audiobook narrator.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Paul
  • 04-08-2016

Great story, good telling of political situations.

This book is a good story about human emergence in the galaxy. The parallel story about the stupidity of earth politics is also a good parallel to actual political situation and the "age of entitlement" so pervasive in western culture.
Excellent narration too.
Waiting for the next chapter!!

10 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Sean
  • 20-08-2016

Enjoyable Political Hyperbole

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Probably not. This book and the entire series are speaking (I think) to a very specific audience. A lot of people are turned off by this books 'preach-y-ness' and dont get to see past that to the way its also pointing out flaws in a hyper libertarian vision of the future.

Could you see Hard Lessons being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

I could see this being made in a similar way to starship troopers... for the same reasons that movie was made.

Any additional comments?

I think for me the reason I enjoy these books is that its making fun of both progressives and libertarians. Its drawing out very fundamental ideas and their issues when being executed purely without reason on both sides. This in a reductio ad absurdum story, and it's fun read knowing that

The fact that most of the victories and revelations that the protagonists make is due to luck chance or incompetence of selves and others. further that problems are brought up then dismissed trivially. Skipping over basic logistical or logical progressions..... the book is a big "what if every thing went the way we thought it would go" day dream.

That's interesting to read more for what is obviously omitted rather than what is actually there at times.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Munte
  • 02-08-2016

Inconsistencys galore and overall daft.

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I do not think anyone who pays more then cursory attention to this book while listening to it will enjoy it overly much.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

There where so many small mistakes that made absolutely no sense. It was as if the author wanted to knock the listener/reader out of the moment on purpose on a rather regular basis. There where also some big whoopers that caused me to press pause so I could let my irritation peter out. I will not note any of the instances for to do so would be bad form but I must say I am severely tempted to populate this review with a nice spoiler list of all the bloopers.

So to the question... I would in the authors place have actually re-read and corrected as many "mistakes" (read: idiocies) in this book as humanly possible before letting it be published.

Which scene was your favorite?

None come to mind to be absolutely honest.

Also why this question is in the form is beyond me as it would need a spoiler alert and some way to be blanked out.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The concept and the universe it is set in plus the narrator, more then that.. well I guess I'd have to torture myself by listening to it a few more times to come up with any more.

Any additional comments?

Mr. Nuttall really needs to shape up because this was hands down the worst book of his that I have ever read/listened to.

10 of 18 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • mike O
  • 11-10-2018

this series has been fantastic so far.

can't wait to see if book 3 lives up to these two stories. great characters and fast moving story development it will leave you longing for more!

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • tosbanzai
  • 13-03-2018

Um... okay then

This book almost lead to me quitting the series. It was like being constantly indoctrinated by libertarian ideals. That’s the nicest way I can put it. There’s other stuff that I wasn’t too happy about but what can you do, you know? Quit or go on. Since I really liked the first book, I went on, and a good thing too because book three is definitely better and less preachy.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Conor
  • 21-09-2017

Book 2 near as good ad book one. The plot thickens

I like the political commentary that was sprinkled throughout the book it was very astute

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  • laura
  • 05-11-2018

Excellent

Probably batter than 1st book. Just got third. Unfortunately 4th isn't available
more characters to get to preview buttonnn

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  • jade
  • 28-03-2018

Waste of a credit

After many hours of waiting for the action to start, fast forward to the last 2 hours, listen for about 1 hr then turn off. Boring and pointless 7hrs with no relation to the overall story.
Very disappointing story and a lot of political VIEWS

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • jacqueline
  • 09-08-2016

Better than book 1

What made the experience of listening to Hard Lessons the most enjoyable?

Story line and pace.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Rather than one character, it was the mix of similar yet separate characters.

What does Christian Rummel bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

The narrator is excellent although I struggled a bit with the occasional either ‘Americanisms or strange pronunciations'.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

astra semper fi.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Craig Rees
  • 02-08-2016

another great nuttal audio

the narrator was good if u liked the original book this is as good and begins to take in the broader scope of the solar union and what is instore for the future

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • B
  • 29-11-2016

Rubbish

This book is terrible. Thinly veiled new right American propaganda masquerading as sci-fi.
Truely dire. Don't waste your pennies!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • H. McConnell
  • 12-09-2016

Novel or political manifesto, not sure

Enjoyed the storey but eventually couldn't stand the constant, repetitive political diatribe. Luckily they're full chapters so easy to skip.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful