On Audible since the late 1990s, mostly science fiction, fantasy, history & science. I rarely review 1-2 star books that I can't get through
This book is solid enough military science fiction, delivering some dramatic space battles and heroic actions, but at the same time falls prey to almost every genre convention. It delivers some of the most awkwardly motivated descriptions of how technologies work that the science fiction world has to offer; the main character is (of course) a hero from another time, providing an excuse for yet more info-dumps from the author, characterization tends to be pretty one-dimensional, and so on. Not terrible stuff, but it started to drive me a bit crazy after awhile.
In fact, it reminded me constantly of Rosenfelder's essay "If all stories were written like science fiction stories":
"Do you think we'll be flying on a propeller plane? Or one of the newer jets?" asked Ann.
"I'm sure it will be a jet," said Roger. "Propeller planes are almost entirely out of date, after all. On the other hand, rocket engines are still experimental. It's said that when they're in general use, trips like this will take an hour at most. This one will take up to four hours."
... if the tedious explanations don't bother you, and you like military SF, this is a fine choice. Otherwise, you can do better.
I loved this book, and the ones after it in the seriers. It got me hooked in the very first chapter. It is very well crafted with attention to betail, however that detail dosn't slow the story in the slightest. Action packed, and a thrill ride for the mind. A must book for anyone who likes the Miles Vorkosigan seriers by Lois McMaster Bujold, or The Prince Roger McClintock stories by John Ringo.
I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY - (Space Travel SciFi) This is Book 1 of the Lost Fleet series. Alliance Fleet Captain Geary is a legendary hero who was believed dead but has been rescued from a 100-year hibernation in a rescue pod. Immediately he is thrown into commanding a fleet in the midst of war with the enemy Syndics (also humans), and at the same time he must learn technical capabilities of his new fleet and try to gain the respect of officers who feel his long absence has made him unfit for command. This book is basically setting the stage for the series, and it has some exciting spaceship battle engagements. Since the author has a Naval background, he writes a lot of detail about fleet formations and military tactics, which is very interesting but not hard to understand.
Geary is smart, likeable and (conveniently) talks to himself, so it's easy to follow his thoughts. The book ends at a nice stopping point, but there is a lot still ahead in this series. There are no alien creatures or mysterious occurrences in this story, but I'm expecting some in future episodes.
PERFORMANCE - Christian Rummel has the perfect voice for this type of book -- powerful, masculine (and did I say sexy?) He does a great job.
OVERALL - Recommended, especially if you enjoy military strategy and battle tactics.
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This is, without a doubt, one of my least favorite science fiction books. I am sorry, I feel bad saying it, but I honestly feel that this might in fact be ???the??? worst SF book the lot. Now, I???ve read a lot of bad books. I???ve even enjoyed a lot of bad books, but this really just rubbed me the wrong way. Tedious and predicable internal monologue; I could have been fine with it in some cartoonish way, but the seriousness with which this is presented gals me. The main character seems to be the only sane character in the galaxy. Sure, this is justified somewhat by the fact that the rest of the human race has spent the last hundred years fighting in a never ending war. But honestly, it still just doesn???t cut it. The sheer, and I shudder to even use the expression, cheesiness of not only the hero worship, but also the stupidity of others does not engender Black Jack Geary to me in the least.
This is another of those novels where instead of making the main character likeable though faults and obstacles and his overcoming these, the author has instead elected to make everyone else as inedible as possible. It is too simple, too cheap and much too little.
That the concept, the idea itself, behind the novel is decent in itself, even good, does not change these facts. The book is just poorly executed, poorly written and unfortunately also poorly read.
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
Originally posted at FanLit.
John “Black Jack” Geary’s escape pod has just been rescued from deep space. He’s been in cold-sleep for a century after he single-handedly held off enemy spaceships while letting the rest of the Alliance fleet escape. Everyone thought he was dead, but his brave sacrifice went down in the history books and many people still whisper that Black Jack Geary will come back to save the Alliance in a time of great need. And so he has… or at least that’s what many soldiers of the Alliance believe. Geary himself is bewildered to learn that not only is he alive, but that his one famous deed was exaggerated and now he’s a hero of legend. All he really feels like doing is grieving over the loved ones he left behind a century ago. But duty calls.
Now Geary finds himself again trying to save the Alliance fleet. They’re still fighting the Syndicate Worlds — the same enemies they’ve been fighting since Geary’s time — and they’re stuck in enemy territory with damaged ships. They’re also carrying a stolen key to one of the Syndics’ hypernets — a tool which could help them finally win the war. Can Geary get the fleet and the key back home safely?
Well, that’s a hard enough task for any fleet commander. What makes it even harder for John Geary is that this modern Alliance fleet is far different from the one he knew before. The technology has advanced enormously (Geary doesn’t even know what a hypernet is!), but what has changed even more is the structure of the military. Geary lived in a time when the military was well-trained and the leaders gave orders which their subordinates obeyed. But because of the devastating losses the Alliance has suffered over the past several decades, younger commanders have had to step up. They lack skills and experience and the military is now run more like a democracy than a hierarchy, with commanders discussing and voting during meetings instead of receiving and following orders from superiors. Black Jack Geary’s own legendary exploit is also a factor in this decline — his heroic status has caused many ship commanders to try to seek their own glory. Geary recognizes that all of this is bad for the Alliance Worlds, but changing an entire military organization may be too much for one man. Unless that man is a legendary hero who has returned to set his people free…
Dauntless, the first book in Jack Campbell’s LOST FLEET series is highly entertaining space opera. Black Jack Geary makes a great reluctant hero. He’s smart and experienced, but 100 years behind in his understanding of technology. He has a disadvantage when he has to rely on others to help him understand and navigate his controls, but his old battle tactics, which rely on careful fleet coordination rather than personal glory-seeking, are an advantage. Not only are they better for the fleet as a whole, but they confound the enemy who is now unable to predict what the Alliance forces will do.
I didn’t much care for the other characters in Dauntless, but I enjoyed the story enough that I didn’t mind. One thing that sets this series apart from other space opera is Campbell’s attempt to deal with the problem of relativity in a war that spans so much space. For example, if your computer is reporting the location of an enemy that’s lightminutes away from you, they are no longer in that location when you get the report. This distortion has a lot of implications, especially when you’re trying to shoot the enemy and the enemy is trying to shoot you. Campbell’s constant reminders about this get tedious, but I appreciated that he tried to deal with this problem that’s too often ignored.
I listened to Audible Frontier’s production of Dauntless. Christian Rummel was a perfect narrator and I thought the voice and tone he used for Black Jack was a perfect reflection of Geary’s humble but confident personality. After listening to Dauntless, I immediately downloaded book 2, Fearless. THE LOST FLEET looks like it’s going to be a good series.
Jack Campbell is a pseudonym for author John G. Hemry who writes other military science fiction under his real name. He’s a retired Navy officer.
I'm don't think I'll continue past the first book in the series. There's not too much depth to the characters and the plot seems like it's going to be a long, drawn out journey home.
This is perhaps the best Sci-Fi story since Star Wars. I downloaded the first book "Dauntless" and before I was finished with it, I had the next two on my Ipod. I then downloaded the 4th book the day it was released, and am now counting the days until the 5th book is released, "Relentless" . There is not another Science Fiction book I would rather read or would rather suggest to another listener. If you have a credit, USE IT; if you don't, BUY IT! You will not be disappointed.
Probably not, I foresee more of the same.
The main character had no character. He was like a cardboard cutout of some idealized naval officer, with zero personal motivations or character traits. He also handles the political situations in his fleet with a disappointing lack of chutzpah. He never says what he's really thinking when speaking to other officers, especially the annoyingly stupid ones who oppose his command of the fleet (I say stupid because they are stupid, not because they oppose him). By the time the book was finished, I was aching for a good old fashioned public smack-down of the leader of this adversarial group. The final few scenes even played like a lead up to a big charismatic speech where Black Jack would lay down the law and put some ridiculously insubordinate officers in their places. It never happened. What a let down.
I think the narrator could have given the main character some more vitality, he sounds like an awfully dull person, not a charismatic legendary hero.
The space battle, the one space battle in the book, was well described and interesting in the way it played out. Sort of.
The book makes it clear that in the hundred years of warfare since Black Jack was turned into a popsicle, everything ever known about military tactics has been abandoned or forgotten. I find it somewhat arbitrary and highly unrealistic that two militaristic cultures, fighting one another for a hundred years, would both settle on the same tactic of just plowing into one another until one side is completely wiped out. That's pretty stupid. We're supposed to believe that Black Jack is, literally, the only person in the universe that has any kind of grasp of tactical maneuvering. Many of the officers in his fleet are constantly pissed (and bitching about it in staff meetings), that they haven't been allowed to make straight shot suicide runs at enemy ships. I get that it's been a long war, which in my mind would encourage developments of new strategies and tactics; I mean, that's the history of warfare right there. Side A comes up with something unique, so Side B has to develop a counter tactic. Warfare does not move in the opposite direction of "Beat with Club until Dead".
The other part of the book that was extremely frustrating was the near complete lack of discipline of the fleet officers. They argue and fight with each other constantly, and basically pick and choose the orders they want to follow, and only on one occasion does this result in any kind of disciplinary action by the Fleet Commander Black Jack. And then, in this one case, he handles it extremely delicately, afraid to annoy any of the other officers. I would have stripped the bastard in question of his command, and busted him to ensign. He was firing on a group of friendly marines, and refused orders to cease fire like four times! Bam! Hang him from the Yard Arm I say!
Meh. It was a frustrating experience listening to the whole thing. I really like Space Navy stuff, this was a poor showing in that genre. Sorry Mr. Campbell, I wanted to like this book, but the characters were just no bueno. I liked the premise though, as a consolation.