HarperVoyager, p/b, Â£7.99
Reviewed by Alex Bardy (@mangozoid)
This is the third book in Ian Douglasâ€™ Star Carrier series and when I reviewed the second one last year (Centre of Gravity) I commented that this series was well worth a look for those interested in military SF and galaxy-spanning space battles, adding that while I wouldnâ€™t rush out to buy the next one, I did enjoy it immensely, and would happily read more as and when opportunity knocks. That review of book two can be found HERE.
Lo and behold, Singularity arrived a while back and I didnâ€™t hesitate to start devouring it as soon as the rest of my review commitments were completed. To be fair, this is very much more of the same, although once again â€”much to the authorâ€™s creditâ€” the book is almost entirely in the tight confines of small space fighters, and full to bursting with wham bang explosive space battles out in the middle of nowhere, with the odd excursion into a mega cruiser conference room here and there. As such, it makes for a speedy read.
Following events in book two, Admiral Alexander Kroenig has once again defied his bosses back on Earth and decided to take the battle direct to the heart of the dastardly Shâ€™daar empire, and with the support of a number of other battle captains and a host of fighter pilots, he crosses space (and time) to make his point and meet the Shâ€™daar threat head on, or as face-to-face as you can get in the depths of deep space.
There is a lot less jargon to get your head around in this one, and I did find the Admiral risking a large fleet of cruisers and an awful lot of lives through a wormhole in space-time thingy for the sake of 40-odd fighter pilots stretched credibility a tad. Ian Douglas slips this one past us however, seeing as the Admiral has already come so far and thereâ€™s nowt much to return to Earth for, and thus he does offer the rest of his band of Captains the choice to follow or leave. This of course, puts the fate of the whole fleet firmly in Kroenigâ€™s hands, allowing him to pretty much take things from there and determine the strategy ahead.
As many probably already suspected, the Shâ€™daar do turn out to be an ancient artificial intelligence of some form, and with the ability to create wormholes and move whole planets, some of their intelligence is evidently far more artificial than others, although all seems to come right in the end, once the more obvious paradoxes of time-space are explored or flirted with.
In conclusion, there is still a fourth book to follow (Deep Space?) but given the seemingly temporary peace that is instigated in this one, Iâ€™m not too sure where the author will go with it. Perhaps itâ€™ll focus a bit more on the characters and fighter pilots, and moreso on Admiral Kroenigâ€™s return to Earth for the inevitable dressing-down from political bosses and neâ€™er-do-wells? Still recommended reading for anyone with an interest in military hardware, although this one is best read after book one and/or two, I think…