The Skidian Chronicles series is Space Opera which has been described as combining the styles found Hitch Hikers Guide meets Guardians of the Galaxy, with a little Crocodile Dundee thrown in for good measure.
In the first novel of the series, Skid is in trouble, the factories producing the synthetic products they rely on for their food supplies are failing after being devastated by a virus. The virus was introduced by an exiled heir to the leader of the planet intent on revenge against his father and regaining, by any means available, what he considers his birth right.
The artificial intelligence, also known as the Main Processing Unit or MPU, which was tasked with maintaining Skid’s infrastructure should have contained and eliminated the infection. However, it suffered a glitch at the worst possible time which in turn led to an error in its judgement and response to the attack. To make matters worse the it decided in its wisdom the time was long overdue for one its intermittent re-boots and self-diagnostic checks to establish why these systems issues kept repeating.
It is revealed in The Lifeboat that an oversight committee tasked with the oversight of the MPU has failed to meet multiple objectives. The key issue being they hadn’t reviewed their KPI’s over a long period which would have provided them with insights into the MPU’s degrading performance over decades of human time, and allowed for corrective actions to be implemented.
With the Skidians facing famine and the MPU operating in backup mode, unresponsive above a basic autonomous level, a group of Skidians decide to take matters into their own hands and visit the planet known as the offworld (earth) seeking experts in organic food production. They have a vague notion this information could assist them in developing alternative, organic food supplies, which would save at least some of the population from starvation. It will come as no surprise to any reader the Skidians are no strangers to earth, they have a long association with our planet.
The first two novels in the series follow the adventures, trials and, well mostly trials, of Bruce a farmer from New Zealand who has been abducted by the Skidians, and Sue who was mistaken for an expert in organic food production techniques. She happened to be tramping through a forest at the time the Skidians stumbled across her.
Bruce develops a New Zealand style grasslands farm, showcasing how the Skidians could easily go about overcoming the approaching famine and feed themselves. However, this is a step too far for the Skidians who simply cannot conceive of a solution that would result in them literally getting their hands dirty. While the farm is a success, the overall enterprise is a failure. With famine imminent Bruce and a pregnant Sue are returned to their former lives on earth, albeit with a few unanswered questions bugging them after a partially successful memory wipe which removed any knowledge of Skid from their consciousness.
The third novel in the series, The Lifeboat, opens with a large asteroid hurtling toward earth. This asteroid is so large it will probably kill off all life on the surface of the planet if it impacts. The arrival of the asteroid, a cosmic mystery to astronomers on earth is no random event. This crisis is averted and the novel ends with a program being developed to upload fresh bodies to Skid to replace those lost in the famine.
In The Lifeboat, we discover the Transcendents, the real Skidians. They are beings who inhabit the galactic version of the cloud who have previously harvested human bodies to use as an ultimate backup plan if things go tits up in the big bad universe, threatening their existence. Their continuity plan involves downloading into the bodies which they consider to be far superior to their own former flesh and blood vessels. When challenged as to why they are unable to clone their own supply instead of uploading new bodies from earth, they claim their cloning technology is immature and not reliable. They are also responsible for the lack of supervision of the MPU. Bruce suspects the Transcendent he deals with drew the short straw as punishment for allowing so many precious bodies to go to waste with its failure to monitor the MPU’s performance and implement the corrective actions required to keep them fit and healthy.
The Colonists takes up the story of the Mars For You program, the settlement process for the moon and then Mars, and explains how these planets were settled as a miss-direction while plans were afoot to upload tens of thousands of people to Skid via the asteroid which is now in orbit of earth. The Skidians have placed it there to serve as a processing centre for the upload of bodies to Skid. A sub plot initiated in The Lifeboat which evolves in The Colonists, explains the truth behind the dark forces influencing the 2016 United States elections.
The concept of the MFY program is based around a colonisation project financed by a reality television show that documents every move of the participants, the selection process, and competition for slots on the real missions. However, the MFY program is simply a front for Bruce and the Transcendents to upload sufficient bodies to meet the requirements of the Transcendents. The ultimate destination is not the moon or Mars. It’s Skid.
In The Island, with the assistance of a group of aliens known as the Multiplicity, Bruce Harwood has become the benevolent emperor of all the worlds man has expanded to.
The aliens are from the planet Skid who left their physical bodies behind and transcended to a futuristic version of the cloud several thousand years ago. The Transcendents who still have an interest in their home planet have developed into a hive mind and call themselves the Multiplicity.
As a payoff for Harwood helping them out of a tight spot, the Multiplicity has supported Harwood’s quest to establish a new world order on planet Earth. An enormous cultural shift is underway. However, it will take some time to embed a fairer and more decent socio-economic model into the global human psyche, where the need to work for a living is a thing of the past.
Harwood is a notorious micro-manager so to prevent him from sticking his nose in where it wasn’t wanted and derailing the process, Harwood is encouraged to take some time out. He and his family, accompanied by a few friends depart on a sabbatical, leaving the B team in charge.