The Ecologic Secession: JimJoy takes on the Empire

The Ecologic Secession by L.E. Modesitt Jr science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsThe Ecologic Secession by L.E. Modesitt Jr

The Ecologic Secession by L.E. Modesitt Jr science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsThe Ecologic Secession (1990) is the second novel (according to internal chronology) in L.E. Modesitt Jr’s THE ECOLITAN MATTER quartet. In the first book, The Ecolitan Operation (for which there will be a few spoilers in this review), we met Major JimJoy Wright. He used to be the Empire’s best secret agent, but after they tried to assassinate him, he switched sides.

Now, after faking his death and being given a new identity, he’s a professor at the Ecolitan Institute, a think-tank on the planet Accord that opposes the Empire and is plotting a revolution.

The Ecolitans are glad to have JimJoy’s allegiance and service, though they’re not sure what to make of him. Some think JimJoy has a highly developed sense of ethics while others are certain he’s a sociopath. He knows they think his moral calculations don’t always add up but wonders if, in his line of work, that’s a feature rather than a bug. (Why the Ecolitans are letting him teach their students is still a bit of a mystery to me.)

Ecolitan Matter (4 book series) Kindle Edition by L. E. Modesitt Jr. (Author)When the Ecolitans send JimJoy on a dangerous mission, his clever and ruthless tactics are noticed by the Empire which begins to suspect that maybe he’s not dead after all. Now the planet of Accord is in danger and JimJoy must help save it from the Empire.

As JimJoy leads teams of Ecolitans in their fight against the Empire, he makes friends and develops a crush on the colleague who thinks he’s a sociopath. She is happy to point out all of his moral failings. These experiences have an effect on JimJoy’s character, and he discovers that caring for people makes his job harder (he’s used to completing missions in the most efficient but usually brutal way possible).

Compared to The Ecolitan Operation, JimJoy is more likeable in The Ecologic Secession. Modesitt does a pretty good job with his character development. I also appreciate that the story includes strong competent women (including Black women) who are in the same positions as men. The plot is entertaining, though occasionally slightly confusing, and the ending was predictable.

As usual, there are too many scenes where JimJoy is talking back and forth to command control: “Time to jump. Point five. Time to jump. Point five… Jump complete. Jump complete…. Power flow meter… check… Compensator… Time to programmed deceleration is point five…”

And, also as usual, too may annoying sound effects which are impossible to simply skip over in the audio editions I’m listening to: “Thrummmmmm… thrummmm”, “Thrummmmm… thrummmmm… whhhsssstttt…”,  “Cling.”, “Clunk… clung…cling…”, “…cccaaaCHEWWW!!!…CHEWWWW!!!”, “Hhsssstttt…”. Kirby Heyborne, the audiobook narrator, gives a good performance, nevertheless. The audiobook is 13 hours long.

The next ECOLITAN MATTER novel (though it was actually the first published) is The Ecologic Envoy. It takes place a few hundred years later and features a descendant of JimJoy Wright.

Published in 1990. Spanning the human galaxy, the Empire is all-powerful, its agents everywhere, its military forces huge and technologically advanced. No human or alien forces have ever been able to stand against its power. But now, on the planet of Accord, at the Ecolitan Institute, the seeds of change have been sown. Jimjoy Earle Wright was the best, the smartest and the toughest secret agent in the Empire forces – until his employers decided to kill him for political reasons. But Jimjoy survived the assassination attempts and fought his way to safety on accord. And there the Ecolitan Institute won his loyalty and changed his identity, Now he is James Joyson Whaler, Ecolitan, in the middle of a war of independence against inconceivable superior forces. Jimjoy will win or die, as his friends perish and the odds increase against him. What is the cost of victory to a hero?

L.E. Modesitt Jr. Ecolitan 1. The Ecologic Envoy 2. The Ecolitan Operation 3. The Ecologic Secession 4. The Ecolitan Enigma L.E. Modesitt Jr. Ecolitan 1. The Ecologic Envoy 2. The Ecolitan Operation 3. The Ecologic Secession 4. The Ecolitan Enigma L.E. Modesitt Jr. Ecolitan 1. The Ecologic Envoy 2. The Ecolitan Operation 3. The Ecologic Secession 4. The Ecolitan Enigma L.E. Modesitt Jr. Ecolitan 1. The Ecologic Envoy 2. The Ecolitan Operation 3. The Ecologic Secession 4. The Ecolitan Enigma


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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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3 comments

  1. Do you think he’s an ethical paragon or a sociopath?

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