RogerBW's Blog

Antares Dawn, Michael McCollum 10 December 2015

1986 SF, first in the Antares trilogy. The colony world of Alta has been cut off from other planets for more than a century, since Antares exploded into a supernova. Now a ship has come through where there wasn't supposed to be a jump point…

This is military science fiction with a decent amount of rivets. Although the space warships that are its focus use a "photon drive" that's clearly well beyond even the most optimistic theories, being able to keep up acceleration at multiple gravities for days on end, they also have to worry about matching velocities with a target they want to intercept, and (eventually) running out of fuel. There's a fair bit of stellar physics, too.

On the other hand the space navy is basically the WWII American navy transplanted, and they make a huge fuss about carrying a woman aboard even as a passenger. That's about the height of characterisation, too. In a way I think this might have worked better without the people.

There's a visit to another human colony world which fell into monarchy as a response to pressure for a strong man to Do Something, and bizarrely hasn't had any king tempted to be a dictator since. There's politicking, in order that the Bold Naval Officers can cut through it when things come down to the wire. There's an alien menace which will be impossible to make peace with, so obviously that justifies everything. There's even a space battle, right at the end.

It's mindless stuff, and often predictable, but still engaging and enjoyable. I'd love to see this sort of technical background in a novel with actual characters in it. For now, as Langford once put it: "People who like books like this will like this book."

Followed by Antares Passage.

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Series: Antares | Next in series: Antares Passage

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