An All-Too Familiar Future: Restless Lightning by Richard Baker


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Space opera is one of my favourite things. I love military science fiction—at least, when I can get it without the requisite dose of awful politics and queer erasure that predominates (with some few exceptions) in military space opera. It’d be really nice not to have to accept thoughtless imperialism, cultures that look a lot like 19th-century-European-countries-in-space (sometimes with added Rome or Stalinist Russia analogues), and a complete absence of queer folks as the price of entry, but in most cases, that’s the best one can hope for.

Richard Baker’s Restless Lightning, sequel to last year’s Valiant Dust, is a cut above thoughtless imperialism, but to be honest, it isn’t precisely what I was hoping for out of military science fiction or space opera, either one.

Valiant Dust showed promise and potential, but also seemed to suggest that we could look forward to a view of the future that ...