I walked into Half Price Books, because Kid 2 decided to lighten her load of YA. We dropped off roughly a dozen novels and were told that it would take half an hour to get them into the system. It took an hour and a half. Being trapped in the Half Price books for an hour and a half and growing more aggravated, because we were all really hungry, I finally grabbed an omnibus edition off the shelf. It had a dude in a military space suit and looked like something you would find in the early Halo series.
Upon getting home, I realized that the omnibus contained books 4 through 7. Epic fail. I thumbed through it. Written in 1985… Something something Eternal Emperor… Landmark SF series something… So I broke down and ordered the first one on Kindle.
It’s like they took Citizen of the Galaxy, Starship Troopers, and Star Wars, and made a panini out of it. It has ultra-industrial worlds, social uprisings, a really well done boot camp sequence, psionic alien teddy bears who want to kill you, an evil Baron, an ever-living Emperor, and anti-matter rifles. The world has that Star War-sy grittiness about it. Everything isn’t clean and shiny. Despite being written in 1985, female characters do kick ass and there is an awesome passage in support of gay relationships. There is a romance, but it takes very little screen time. But Sten is very much the Hero. It ends happily, so it’s not a tragedy at all.
It takes a whole bunch of things that are by now viewed as cliche and mashes them together into a very fun space opera. I inhaled it.
As always, your mileage may vary, so please try a sample first before buying the book. If you’re into space opera tinted with a bit of humor and are looking for something fun and light, I highly recommend it. I am trying to get Gordon to read it. I think he’d love it.
As an aside, unfortunately Chris Bunch had passed away in 2005, but I was able to find Allan Cole’s website.