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.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog.

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Search
Archive
Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio tech base commerce battletech beer boardgaming bookmonth chain of command children chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 existential risk falklands war fandom fantasy film firefly first world war flash point food garmin drive gazebo geodata gin gurps gurps 101 harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life kickstarter learn to play leaving earth linux mecha museum mystery naval non-fiction one for the brow opera perl photography podcast politics powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha quantum rail ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1