Tell us about yourself!
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.
It's hard to believe that a war fought by so many people hell bent on self destruction could possibly last 100 years. Perhaps in the previous 99 years, a very large battle is fought every 10 years that literally destroys every space going warship in each fleet. Then, the next 10 years are spent rebuilding said fleets. Rinse, repeat. This must be the case given that modern tactics require throwing all assets into a battle with little to no thought given to tactics. Any future fleet officer with an IQ greater than 60 is either forcibly removed from command or assassinated. Such a waste that the writer attempted to make his main character look like Caesar by making everyone else as head-smackingly dumb as Gomer Pyle. The space battles are quite thrilling and seem realistic enough despite the unbelievable carelessness off the enemy or for that matter all of the captain's subordinates.
I have. I'm a space fight junkie and the space battles in these books were good enough to keep me running back for more. Up to a point anyway. Careful though. The last book in the series was the weakest.
The narration was great. Not surprisingly, the main character is voiced powerfully and believably. The rest are passable which is quite impressive given the material.
Every scene where the captain is talking to anyone but himself.
If you've read this book, watch the movie Idiocracy.
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.
One of the hardest things about trying a new series is getting through the first book. This book captures you from the first few paragraphs and never lets you go. The ONLY reason it gets 4 stars instead of 5 is because some of his rivals in this 1st book are little stupid and illogical in my opinion.
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.
I find I have discovered yet another interesting exploration of the human character presented as a future military conflict. The author and narrator do a good job of masking me care about the conflict and it's participants. I look forward to hearing subsequent episodes.
Best book series ever! I swear, I listen to this every night. I recommend this book to anyone who likes sci-fi or space ships in general.
As someone who was in the military I appreciated the details that Campbell gave to the logistics of space combat and leading a fleet. Most other sci-fi books just say 'The ships fired at each other', without making a plausible system of space combat. I can see, however, how going into the seeming minutiae of time-delayed communication and physics might be boring for some readers who are just looking for action, pure and simple. Campbell also spends on lot of time on leadership challenges that resonate with those who have been in the military. His vision of a military that esteems valor and reckless charges over solid tactics will also resonate with veterans who fear that our military is heading in that direction. Overall, I loved the series; but maybe I'm just biased because he fawns over the Marines, my former service.