Sunday, December 27, 2020

The Starfighter Chronicles


The Starfighter Chronicles is a compilation and re-release of the first 3 books in the Inspector of the Cross series by John B. Rosenman. Released 8th Oct by Crossroads Press, it's 787 pages and available in ebook format. This reformatted edition includes an interactive table of contents and links. I'm very enamored of ebooks with interactive formats - they make everything easier to access.

This is grand old fashioned space opera. There's not a whole lot else to say. The main protagonist is a hero of the old school - rugged, brave, and sometimes foolhardy. He's thousands of years old (most of that time having been spent in cryo-storage in deep space on a quest to find weaponry to fight the enemy bent on the wilful destruction of humankind). The bad guys are bad guys and the good guys are good guys. 

One of the most appealing facets of these books for me is the fact that they're so comfortable...with a few plot/setting changes, they would be at home as westerns or gritty noir PI novels (on the mean streets of NYC). They're perennial, they're engaging, and they're familiar. There's nothing morally bankrupt or emotionally ambiguous here. I read this three novel compilation during the pandemic lockdown and it was a bright spot in my day, looking forward to pure escapist fantasy. 

The hero is a man of color, which was refreshing. The writing and plotting are well engineered and fast (but not too fast) paced. Having emphasized how traditional the writing and plotting are, I will say that true to form, there's not a lot here to challenge the boys' club feel of a lot of golden and silver-age science fiction. It's not John Norman (Gor novels) by a long shot, but neither is it Octavia Butler. 

Overall: Engaging, well written, occasionally stilted dialogue, high space opera. I recommend it for readers looking for alternatives to early Heinlein, Frank Herbert, Larry Niven, and the other boys in the band. Four stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes

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