Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Earth Strike Earth Strike
Star Carrier Book One
by Ian Douglas
Harper Collins

Supplied for review by Science Fiction
Outreach Project at LoneStarCon 3

Reviewed By: Jacqui Smith

I’m still working through the pile of free books from LoneStarCon 3, and this is one of the last. It’s also one of the best if you happen to like rock hard military SF. Ian Douglas is one pen name of the prolific American writer William H. Keith, who started writing Doctor Who adventures for the FASA games company, went on to write for their Battletech line and for Chivalry and Sorcery, and has authored several series mainly in military fiction, and military SF. Yes, he does have a military background. I’m pretty sure that I’ve read some of his work before, but I’m not sure under which name.

The novel takes a familiar approach in military SF, alternating between two principal characters; one of the admirals so as to follow the overall strategy, and a lowly lieutenant to take the reader into the forefront of battle. The lieutenant in question is a fighter pilot, and it’s pretty obvious that the author, being a navy man himself, has gone to considerable trouble to make the idea of “aircraft carriers in space” actually work.

There was a lot to like here. The aliens are really alien, very weird and their motives inscrutable. Why do they fear humanity? What do they mean by “transcendence”? The idea of alien organisms that are not either plant or animal but somewhere in between is a cool idea that I’ve tried writing about myself (must get around to finishing that story). I can’t I entirely understood how everything works in this version of the Universe, but the sheer level of detail certainly was impressive. It is the first of a series, and I’d be tempted to hunt down more, if it wasn’t for the sheer size of my books-to-read pile.

Note to publishers: I shouldn’t have to look up Wikipedia to figure out which is the book title, and which is the name of the series; it should be entirely obvious on the cover.

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