You know it’s come to my attention that I have an entire science fiction category and I hardly use it. This most certainly was not my intention. I’ve been planning on doing more science fiction reviews and after the previous story about the religious zealots not like the genre I thought I’d start posting more science fiction content. I’m going to start with a brief introduction to a science fiction series know as The Lost Fleet.
The Lost Fleet is a series penned by John Hermy under the pen name Jack Campbell. Why he used a pen name I’m not sure since the series is incredibly good. The basic premise is this, it is far into the future (When else?). The human race has not only developed faster than light travel but we’ve colonize many worlds. Eventually human colonized space was controlled by two entities; the Alliance and the Syndicate Worlds, or Syndics.
Of course if there are two super powers you know there has to be a war. That’s where this story takes place, a century into a war between the Alliance and the Syndics. The series follows the exploits of Captain John “Black Jack” Geary. At the beginning he is recovered by an Alliance fleet inside of Syndic territory. See life sucked pretty hard for Captain Geary, he was there at the first battle of the war. Unfortunately for him his ship was destroyed and he had to eject into a stasis pod where he sat for 100 years.
Anyways the fleet reaches the Syndicate home world where shit hits the fan and through circumstance out of his control Captain Geary becomes the head of the fleet. Being a captain who has held the rank for 100 years he’s the highest ranking officer in the fleet, fancy that.
The series, comprising of five books with another due this year, follows the fleet on their journey back to Alliance space. There are a few elements that really set this series apart from others though. First of all this is more of a naval fiction in space series. As I mentioned the series follows John Geary who becomes the fleet captain, which means a lot of logistics are used.
The biggest way to see that this is a naval fleet series is during the battles, which are masterfully done in my opinion. Everything is taken into consideration. The author details a navigation system where everything is measured relative a system’s sun. You either go towards the star, away from the star, or move up and down relative to the sun’s equator. All navigation on done with this mechanism and it’s a mechanism that makes sense (A opposed to made up sectors and quadrants that are never explained).
A lot of attention to detail is made for the fights. For instance the effects of relativity are a problem due to the speeds at which battles happen. Computers are required to fire ship based weapons during fleet confrontations because no human has the required reflexes. Fleet formations and their proper uses are also explained in detail.
It certainly shows that the author was a naval officer. A lot of people always ask why science fiction ships are controlled by the navy when they aren’t at sea. It’s not because they have nothing else to do, it’s because they understand how to manage large fleets of ships that are staffed by hundres of personel.
Anyways I’m getting side tracked here. The fleet has to deal with more than just combat. Unlike many science fiction series the fleet in question here doesn’t have infinite resources. They have limited fuel, ammunition, repair supplies, food, etc. Captain Geary spends a good amount of time on such logistics and their consequences.
The books are very well paced. I can say I plowed through the currently released five in no time at all and nowhere did I feel there was a lull in the books. Pacing is difficult in a series where everything isn’t based around action, and Mr. Hermy does an excellent job of it. He manages to deliver a great amount of detail without going overboard. The situations he places the fleet in are generally unique enough where you don’t feel you’re reading about the same problems over and over again. Any series that extends past three books usually ends up repeating itself, this is not the case though.
One criticism about this series is the opening of each book does a recap of the previous books. The author has stated he does this on purpose so a reader can pick up any book in the series and be able to get into the story. With that said I’d recommend starting from book one, Dauntless. Although each book does a recap such summaries can’t really give all the details by their nature.
This series is very well done and a refreshing break for the usual slew of science fiction space marine stories. It’s good to see not everything in the future revolves around space marines.