Honor, Duty, and Space Navies at War: The Lost Fleet: Dauntless by Jack Campbell

In this bi-weekly series reviewing classic science fiction and fantasy books, Alan Brown looks at the front lines and frontiers of the field; books about soldiers and spacers, scientists and engineers, explorers and adventurers. Stories full of what Shakespeare used to refer to as “alarums and excursions”: battles, chases, clashes, and the stuff of excitement.

There is nothing more exciting than a good naval story: thrilling chases and escapes, the chess game of maneuver as forces close in on each other, and the fierce excitement of a pitched battle. Add to that tactical element the fate of nations and empires hanging in the balance, and you have all the ingredients of high adventure. It is no wonder that science fiction authors have used naval adventures as a template for space opera, and one of the most successful of these adventures has been the Lost Fleet series by Jack Campbell.

First, ...

Joy and Pun-ishment: Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon by Spider Robinson

In this bi-weekly series reviewing classic science fiction and fantasy books, Alan Brown looks at the front lines and frontiers of the field; books about soldiers and spacers, scientists and engineers, explorers and adventurers. Stories full of what Shakespeare used to refer to as “alarums and excursions”: battles, chases, clashes, and the stuff of excitement.

Not all bars are the same. Some cater to the elite, offering picturesque views and fancy cocktails. Some cater to the young, and are full of mirrors and flashing lights and pulsating music. Some cater to dockworkers and fishermen, looking to ease the pain of a hard work day with a stiff drink. Some will have a circle of musicians in the corner, lost in the music as they play their jigs and reels. And there are rumors that, in a nondescript corner of the suburban wilds of Long Island, there was once a magical ...

A Master Departs: A Spaceship for the King by Jerry Pournelle

In this bi-weekly series reviewing classic science fiction and fantasy books, Alan Brown looks at the front lines and frontiers of the field; books about soldiers and spacers, scientists and engineers, explorers and adventurers. Stories full of what Shakespeare used to refer to as “alarums and excursions”: battles, chases, clashes, and the stuff of excitement.

Jerry Pournelle’s A Spaceship for the King is one his earliest works, and has everything I look for when selecting fiction to highlight in this column; gripping portrayals of combat on both land and sea, political intrigue, and scientists working against impossible deadlines. When I heard that Pournelle had passed away in his sleep on 8 September 2017, I decided that a review of this book would be a good way to pay tribute to his life, his work, and his contribution to the field of science fiction.

A Spaceship for the King takes place ...

A Master Departs: A Spaceship for the King by Jerry Pournelle

In this bi-weekly series reviewing classic science fiction and fantasy books, Alan Brown looks at the front lines and frontiers of the field; books about soldiers and spacers, scientists and engineers, explorers and adventurers. Stories full of what Shakespeare used to refer to as “alarums and excursions”: battles, chases, clashes, and the stuff of excitement.

Jerry Pournelle’s A Spaceship for the King is one his earliest works, and has everything I look for when selecting fiction to highlight in this column; gripping portrayals of combat on both land and sea, political intrigue, and scientists working against impossible deadlines. When I heard that Pournelle had passed away in his sleep on 8 September 2017, I decided that a review of this book would be a good way to pay tribute to his life, his work, and his contribution to the field of science fiction.

A Spaceship for the King takes place ...

Beer Run to a Parallel Universe: A Greater Infinity by Michael McCollum

In this bi-weekly series reviewing classic science fiction and fantasy books, Alan Brown looks at the front lines and frontiers of the field; books about soldiers and spacers, scientists and engineers, explorers and adventurers. Stories full of what Shakespeare used to refer to as “alarums and excursions”: battles, chases, clashes, and the stuff of excitement.

On a cold winter night, engineering student Duncan MacElroy is sent on a beer run by the UFO Spotter’s Club, a colorful group meeting in the rooming house he calls home. He is accompanied by a friend named Jane, a rather nondescript young woman. Then she saves him from a murder attempt by a group of Neanderthals with ray guns, revealing that she is the agent of an advanced civilization from an alternate timeline, and they end up on the run. The Neanderthals, who have been struggling with Homo sapiens for control of the multiverse, ...

Adventure Beneath Our Feet: Tarzan at the Earth’s Core by Edgar Rice Burroughs

In this bi-weekly series reviewing classic science fiction and fantasy books, Alan Brown looks at the front lines and frontiers of the field; books about soldiers and spacers, scientists and engineers, explorers and adventurers. Stories full of what Shakespeare used to refer to as “alarums and excursions”: battles, chases, clashes, and the stuff of excitement.

Edgar Rice Burroughs’ most popular creation was Tarzan the jungle lord, who had many fantastic adventures with strange creatures and lost cities. Tarzan’s strangest adventure, however, came when he crossed over into another Burroughs series, and visited a mysterious world in the center of the Earth: the land of Pellucidar. There he found dinosaurs and saber-tooth tigers, lizard men and pirates, cavemen and pterodactyls. 

 

Hidden Treasures

There is one encounter I had with the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs that I will never forget. One of the big annual events in my hometown ...

Science Fiction with Something for Everyone: A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge

< p class="frontmatter">In this bi-weekly series reviewing classic science fiction and fantasy books, Alan Brown looks at the front lines and frontiers of the field; books about soldiers and spacers, scientists and engineers, explorers and adventurers. Stories full of what Shakespeare used to refer to as “alarums and excursions”: battles, chases, clashes, and the stuff of excitement. A Deepness in the Sky is one of those books that has it all: science that boggles the imagination; first contact with a singularly alien race; a fight for survival while trapped in a hostile environment; intrigue, betrayal, plots, counter-plots and revolution, even love stories. It’s no wonder the book won the Hugo in 1999—it’s one of those rare prequels that equals, if not surpasses, the excellence of the original.  

But First, A Word from Our Sponsors

Before I discuss the book at hand, I’d like to point your attention back to the blurb ...