RogerBW's Blog

Armageddon Mode, Keith Douglass 05 April 2014

Third in the Carrier series. "Tombstone" Magruder is a naval aviator aboard a Nimitz-class carrier, as the USA gets involved in a major conflict with India.

Keith Douglass is really William H. Keith (at least for the first seven books of the series), which is what attracted me; I've been enjoying Keith's writing since his early days of Traveller adventures and Battletech novels. He's not terribly subtle, but he's competent and can tell a good tale.

With that in mind, this is a story more about the tech than about the men. Yes, we have multiple viewpoint characters, and venality and incompetence are neither universal among nor exclusive to the enemy, but there's very little by way of characterisation. If this were a film, it would be a summer blockbuster. Even compared with the previous volume, Viper Strike, there's a much higher proportion of action in the air to political machinations and personal battles on the ground.

On the other hand the technical details generally feel accurate (even if Keith was unfortunate in choosing the earlier name Kreml for what ultimately went to sea as the Admiral Kuznetsov), the mishmash of Indian Air Force equipment is well represented, and the major attack that makes up the bulk of the book could be a fascinating Harpoon scenario (and may yet become one).

Yeah, it's a technothriller, with all the rah-rah-America baggage that that implies (why doesn't anyone write about the heroic Royal Navy, eh?), but it's a competently-written one.

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  1. Posted by Michael Cule at 04:57pm on 05 April 2014

    Because we can't afford all the latest kit nor go to sea without checking with other people if it's OK first. Which explains the popularity of Napoleonic sea stories and far future scenarios with the HMS PRINCESS DI exploring the Asteroid Belt.

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 05:21pm on 05 April 2014

    I may have an answer to that in alternate history. Coming soon to a blog near you.

  3. Posted by Michael Cule at 08:59pm on 05 April 2014

    I have an idea for a story/TV series/game in which the British have been retro-engineering a crashed alien ship since the 1950s. Churchill had just got back from being told by Truman that the US was tearing up the wartime agreement to share nuclear information and decided that he was buggered if he was going to share this one.

    And as the first scouts of the alien invasion force approach Earth, strange shapes are rising to the surface of Loch Ness ready to fling themselves into the skies and combine their first mission with their first real test flight!

    I'll probably never write it: it's entirely too Mary-Sueish and jingoistic.

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