Book Review: The Lost Fleet: Relentless by Jack Campbell

Appraisal

We’re just going to jump right into what appears to be the biggest sticking point in this otherwise wonderful story by Mr. Campbell. Throughout the engagement and traveling at appreciable fractions of the speed of light, the author continually reminds the reader of how much relativity must be corrected for the faster a ship travels.

After all of the accumulated time travelling at those speeds, there should be significant age differences between the crew members on the fleet, versus the people left behind in the Alliance home systems. That’s the other effect of the same General Theory of Relativity that Mr. Campbell kept quoting to us.

But even with that, the story development and pace was well-described and smooth. It was an easy read and the romantic interest between Captain Geary and Captain Desjani was never blatant, but was hinted at very sparingly, and enough to let you know there was a spark.

The use of e-mail messages to cause a starship to explode did come across a little bit lame, but fortunately that is only a minor point that can be overlooked in the larger picture that is so well-defined by the author.

We’d rate this as a must read if you enjoy military Science Fiction and is one that we’ll be looking forward to the next installment of.

Pros

The book is well-written and edited by a professional essay writing service.

The use of long-forgotten war tactics is a very natural use of Geary’s knowledge from ‘his days’ in the old Alliance fleet. And it was good to see that the author acknowledged that the Syndics would respond in some way to the “new” tactics being used by Geary’s fleet during battles.

The descriptions and movements of the ships in the battle sequences was well-planned and moved at a fast enough pace to hold the reader’s attention without going overboard.

The author built up the primary characters in the story well enough to give them their own personality.

The use of references to actions that have occurred in previous books in the series allow the reader to follow the action in this one without causing loss of attention due to a lack of background, basically allowing the novel to stand alone.

Cons

The use of an alien race, instigating and promoting the war between the Alliance and the Syndics is one thing. But where are the additional discoveries and reports from captured Syndics about them? It seems that more intelligence should have been discovered by now….

The sabotage of warships by sending messages to them to blow up seems a rather weak point in a good idea. It assumes that someone will open it to read and poof… warship crippled or destroyed. The author does try to make it sound plausible, but it just doesn’t ring true, even given the multiple attempts to persuade the reader that it could happen.

The author continually refers to the General Theory of Relativity in that time passes differently for those moving closer to the speed of light than those moving slower. With that in mind, the author does not, however, make any mention of the age difference from the Alliance world’s population, to the people aboard the Alliance fleet moving at those relativistic speeds, over protracted lengths of time. There should/would be a difference, according to the theory.

Batman in Various Stories

What’s it all about?

For some odd reason, at this point in Batman (the magazine) history, every five months, DC would release a “Giant” issue – 64 pages for only a quarter!

Sounds great when you put it that way; however, these giant issues never contained any new material by the current creative team. No, instead of another ground-breaking tale by O’Neil and Adams, you would get a bunch of Golden Age reprints, all connected by some sort of theme. The theme for this particular issue was “Stories featuring Batman’s secret identity, Bruce Wayne!”

For one single quarter, the faithful fan could read (or re-read depending on your age):

The Death Cheaters of Gotham: Men who have been declared legally dead and then revived form a private club, because beyond that they have so much in common. Now someone is killing them off, permanently, one by one. Under the delusion that the only way to catch the killer is to actually join the club, Bruce Wayne swallows poison and dies, counting on Dick Grayson and a visiting physician to resuscitate him.

The Other Bruce Wayne: The man for whom Bruce Wayne was named, his cousin Bruce Wayne, visits Gotham and stays at Wayne Manor. As fate would have it, Bruce is a world-famous detective who begins to suspect that there is more to Bruce than meets the eye! Bruce must work the same case as Bruce without letting Bruce stumble upon proof that he, Bruce, is truly the Dark Knight Detective. What will Bruce do????

The Murder of Bruce Wayne: The members of the International Chemical Company Board of Trustees are being murdered by an insane ex-member. One-by-one, Batman fails to save them until only one last member remains: Bruce Wayne!

What’s this? Commissioner Gordon threatening to suspend Batman?? Ah Commish – look how crestfallen the big lug looks as you are reprimanding him. Can’t you give him just one more chance??

Bruce Wayne’s Aunt Agatha: Bruce’s elderly Aunt visits Wayne Manor and in almost no time does what the visiting world-famous detective Bruce Wayne couldn’t do: discovers Bruce and Dick in their Batman and Robin costumes! Luckily, she is far too feeble-minded to truly understand the implications of what she is seeing, and through some of comicdom’s most ridiculous twists and turns, she ends up disguised as the Joker, rescuing Batman and Robin from certain death at the hands of organized crime. At no point does she even suspect that Bruce truly is Batman! Ridiculous!

The Crime of Bruce Wayne: I can barely keep this up after suffering through that last one. In a nutshell, Commissioner Gordon asks private citizen Bruce Wayne to go undercover in Gotham prison for him and without hesitation, the millionaire accepts. He is convicted of being the masked criminal The Collector and sent to jail, where the other inmates frame him for murder. The wheels of justice spin quickly and in a few day’s time, Bruce is on Death Row awaiting execution. He pleads with the Warden to check with the Commissioner to verify his story, but unfortunately Gordon has spent the last few days in a coma following a nasty car crash. Because of this, Robin teams up with Batwoman to prove Bruce’s innocence. Everything is wrapped up neatly by the end, except for the fate of the poor Commish. No mention is ever made of his condition, but it doesn’t matter because our hero is out of jail! Go Bruce!!

What does Brian think?

Here’s the thing: I have nothing against the Golden Age. I love many of those old comics, in particular All-Star Comics and Plastic Man. These Batman stories, in and of themselves, contain a lot of charm and entertainment value, and I would never say that I dislike them.

However, to publish them in 1971, between the first Ra’s al Ghul appearance and September’s O’Neil/Adams Two-Face story (still a classic today), is just ridiculous. DC was on such a roll at the time modernizing the character that this book is woefully out of place. If these books came out simply because the regular team worked too slowly to provide material on a strict monthly basis, they would have been better served publishing a fill-in issue written by one of the newly hired young writers like Mike Friedrich.

There is a time and place for everything, and August 1971 was neither for this!

Under the spotlight

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