|The Might of Fortitude||
Two nuclear missiles
This military science fiction story follows an officer as he moves from ground combat to command of one of his space navy’s most specialized high-tech warships. I think I need to follow the good, bad, and ugly format:
The author paints a picture of a military that’s been demoralized by fighting a long war and suffering heavy casualties. The military doesn’t trust the new president, and the lower ranks don’t trust the higher ranks.
The main character moves from combat infantryman to commanding naval officer, and you might expect me to put this in the bad category. However, I’ve seen military and corporate organizations which seem to think that “leadership” or “management” are skills that automatically translate to any environment, despite the leader/manager being clueless in their new task. So, I felt that this aspect of the story reinforced the idea of a troubled military organization.
In his marketing blurb, the author warns readers about graphic violence and repeated swearing. I think this type of warning is good for both readers and authors, preventing unpleasant reading experiences and bad reviews. Personally, I didn’t notice the swearing, either because I was once involved in a profession where people swore “like sailors”, or because the swear words were British and I didn’t identify them.
- Several explosions in space cause shockwaves; I could be wrong, but I think material is too sparse up there for a shockwave. I believe there was even one scene where sound was transmitted across space.
- The direction of this spaceship’s thrust doesn’t change the crew’s perceived direction of gravity.
- A ship that’s being chased near the surface of an asteroid sets off an explosion, and gravity sucks the debris back down, crushing the pursuing ship. As this takes place in Sol system, I can pretty much guarantee there’s no asteroid with that much mass.
- Some spaceships at a station bob up and down when another ship passes, as if they were boats on water. If the author had made up something like gravity pulse/wave drives for his ships, I might have let this pass, but given the other physics problems in the story…
There are also numerous minor editing and grammar errors which should have been fixed after a quick proofread.
The hero likes to ogle women’s butts. By itself, I wouldn’t have a problem with this, as it’s probably a fairly common male trait. However, the first instance of this behavior occurs right after the hero has been stabbed by a female ninja-type, and he’s gurgling blood into his lungs as the ninjette walks away. I imagine most people in this situation would think more along these lines:
- Can I stop the bleeding?
- Can I shoot the ninjette in the back?
- Can I draw the attention of my troops, so they can kill the ninjette?
- Can I write a message with my blood, so my troops will know to kill the ninjette later?
I’m not sure where “nice butt” would fall on the list, but as you can see, not in my top four.
Near the end of the story, the navy leaves two traitors on board the ship after they almost succeed in handing it over to pirates. They remain in officer positions — during a mission to hunt down those same pirates. I understand the navy might not want a public trial, but send the officers to Antarctica to do a snowflake inventory, or have them die in an “accident”, don’t send them to fight the people they were just conspiring with.
Finally, there’s a dream sequence where the character wakes up, does some stuff, then wakes up again. Neither the dream nor the dream-within-a-dream added anything to the story.