Book review: The Lost Fleet: Courageous by Jack Campbell


Rule no.2 of military SF: don’t do romance. (Rule no.1 is guns, lots of guns, or failing that vast battle fleets burning beneath the unforgiving stars.) Unfortunately, Campbell breaks this rule, with much of the book being filled by an angsty and frankly unlikely affair between Commander of the Fleet Geary and on-board, hard-as-nails politician Rione. The whole thing is made more icky by my impression of both characters as being in their fifties or sixties (Geary in fact is probably 140 or so, but most of that time has been spent in stasis), so my imagination is faced with the distinctly unpleasant images of wrinkly sex. No one reading military SF should have such awful images flashing into his mind; we are here for guns, bowel-spilling violence, stiff-jawed valour and, well, more guns. The only fluids spilled should be red. Thankfully, Campbell fulfills rule no.1, in its thousands of spaceships subvariety, and does so well. As a former naval officer, Campbell has thought through the implications of space warfare better than almost any writer, which shows in the battle scenes. So, for the next volume, less romance, more war, please.


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