RogerBW's Blog

Pulsar Race, Glynn Stewart 04 March 2024

2020 SF novella, side story in the Starship's Mage series. Ivan Halloway is a retired Mage who wanted to get away from the dangers of naval service; but he'll still help out his old buddy who's got himself into way too much troubleā€¦

Some novellas and short stories are designed to be an easy introduction to the series; they'll appear in a themed anthology and encourage the reader to seek out more in the world. This isn't one of those; rather, it's a stand-alone story, but one that wouldn't make a great deal of sense if you didn't know at least the basics of the universe.

The characters are rather more flawed than is usual for Stewart, at least at the start: Halloway is avoiding reserve status because he's a coward and can see the war that's coming, while his old friend Karl Charpentier has got divorced, driven away his crew, and got into debt to Bad People, all the while owning a ship that should be a licence to print money. And while Halloway does eventually overcome his cowardice by the end, one feels that although Charpentier is doing his best he's got a fair way to go before he qualifies as a good guy.

Something of a change of pace, therefore, and almost without any space battles. I don't mean that sarcastically: Stewart is producing something like eight books a year, which one would expect not to leave time for anything beyond stereotype, and yet he does have a distinctive voice and one that I enjoy frankly more than I expected when I started to read his work.

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Previous in series: Judgment of Mars | Series: Starship's Mage | Next in series: UnArcana Stars

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