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Archive for March, 2011

Review: Starship: Rebel by Mike Resnick

Mike Resnick’s penultimate book in his Starship series is Rebel.  In the previous books, Cole and the crewmembers of the Teddy R are somewhat fooling around, trying out different roles in the Inner Frontier.  In this book, he has to take a serious stance after his best friend and alien first officer, Forrice, is captured and then tortured by a captain of the Republic Navy.  This brutal treatment and the dawning realization that his Navy is preying on colony worlds, merchant ships, and business “men”, leads Captain Cole to begin building a larger fleet (from one ship to forty to over a thousand!).  Its mission: keep the Navy out of the Frontier worlds — let these worlds live in peace.

Rebel is a more grim book in tone than its predecessors.  Now there is a larger goal.  Now Cole must use his notoriety and charisma to enlist the aid of quasi-military, quasi-shady ships and crew to deny the Navy any foothold in the Frontier.

One quibble with the writing — and I suppose it might be more obvious with having listened to the audiobooks in quick succession — is the frequent recapping of prior events and re-using many of the same lines and gags.  For example, Resnick overuses the word “sardonic”, repeats Cole’s mantra that wars are not about being willing to die for a cause but making sure that the enemy dies for his, and re-uses some banter lines between Cole and his security chief a few too many times.

All-in-all, the pace remains furious and there are enough ship battles and moments of strategic insight to satisfy any fan of space opera.

The series:

  1. Mutiny
  2. Pirate
  3. Mercenary
  4. Rebel
  5. Flagship

4 out of 5 stars (finished March 6, 2011)

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Currently reading:  Dark Fire by C.J. Sansom, Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris,  Darkspell by Katherine Kerr, & Starship:  Flagship by Mike Resnick

 

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George R.R. Martin’s A Dance With Dragons has publication date!

According to George R. R. Martin’s website today, the publisher of his magnum opus, A Song of Ice and Fire, has set an official publication date for the long awaited 5th volume, A Dance With Dragons:  Tuesday, July 12, 2011.  Martin confirms that “this date is real” and is the size of A Storm of Swords (the hardcover ran to 992 pages and the paperback to 1,216).

Read his full update here.

The A Dance with Dragons (Song of Ice and Fire)""hardback can be pre-ordered through amazon.com.  No word yet on whether a Kindle ebook version will be offered on the same day.

I’m very excited as this is one of the most original series I have read.  I’m sure that the body count will remain high, too.

If you haven’t read the previous books in awhile, they are:

  • A Game of Thrones
  • A Clash of Kings
  • A Storm of Swords
  • A Feast for Crows
******* Update to this post on July 12, 2011 ********
Categories: Musings Tags: ,

eBook price — Dune is currently $15.99!

I think Penguin Publishing is crazy on its price for the eBook for Kindle for Frank Herbert’s Dune, a book originally published in 1965.  Current price is $15.99 while the paperback is $9.99.  I don’t understand why some publishers want to sabotage their sales.  I suppose then they point to low sales as “ebooks are just a phase”.  Sad.

Categories: Musings Tags: ,

Review: Starship: Mercenary by Mike Resnick

After precipitating a Mutiny and then trying out the life of a Pirate, Wilson Cole and the crew of the Theodore Roosevelt take up the mantle of Mercenary in this third adventure of Mike Resnick’s Starship series.

One of my peeves from the second book was that Captain Cole exposed himself to danger too often rather than using his officers and crew to take the lead on various missions.  This lessens a bit in this book as several of the officer-level crew point this out.  While Cole is still obviously in control, he doesn’t have to be the center of attention for every incident.

Another miscellaneous item:  I really like Cole’s nonchalance during crises.  When a battle or a deadline is soon, but not imminent, the author has Captain Cole head to the mess hall for a quick bite or coffee, or to the rest room (after the coffee!).  This suggests a man who has fought in many battles before, but who (1) wants to put his crew at ease and (2) realizes that one can plan and plan but in the hours before a battle, one must recharge his batteries.

Another interesting incident is that one of the Republic’s enemy fleet captains, disenchanted with his government, military, and the war in general, joins up with the Teddy R.  It was refreshing for the author to comment that the enemy can be noble and true — sometimes it is difficult to tell who is really in the right (if anyone) — but moral, ethical behavior can transcend nations at war.

In this book, the Teddy R must face its biggest challenge to date.  After taking on a number of mercenary contracts (each of which is vetted to ensure that they don’t violate Cole’s sense of ethics), he must defend a giant space station / floating city using only five ships.  In revenge for being permanently barred from the station due to a drunken rage where he destroys property, a warlord decides that no being will ever use the station again.  In addition, Cole’s protégé Val (for Valkyrie) joins up with the warlord.  Can Cole find a way to save thousands of lives and redeem Val?

This series continues to be a fast read, with interesting characters and situations, some humor, fast action, and a nice bit of brain power over brawn.

The series:

  1. Mutiny
  2. Pirate
  3. Mercenary
  4. Rebel
  5. Flagship

4 1/2 out of 5 stars (finished March 1, 2011)

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Currently reading:  Dark Fire by C.J. Sansom, Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris,  Darkspell by Katherine Kerr, & Starship:  Rebel by Mike Resnick