Book Review by Felix Polz
2 March 2012
Star Carrier, Book 3
by Ian Douglas
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Price: $7.99 (paperback) $7.99 (Kindle)
SINGULARITY is the third novel of the Star Carrier Trilogy. Ian Douglas has written three previous trilogies with similar themes: The Heritage Trilogy, Legacy Trilogy and Inheritance Trilogy. Most readers give the author high marks for all twelve books, but some felt that there was too much repetition in plots and descriptive writing in the later books. For example, in this novel and in an earlier novel, a surprise attack through a star gate by the massed forces of a Terran Space Navy and Marine task force saves the Earth from destruction. Saying this is not a spoiler. Certainly, the reader knows this before buying the book. But that does not mean that the Earth escapes all damage in the alien attacks. Read all three books of Star Carrier to find out.
For me, the similarity in some plot structures is but a minor quibble. I will reveal my bias right now: I love this author and I love reading his military science fiction. I enjoyed each and every one of the twelve novels immensely. As a retired US Army officer, I did not even mind the glowing references to the futuristic version of the US Marine Corps. Saving the Earth from malevolent aliens trying to wipe out new civilizations because of a "Hunters of the Dawn" xenophobic ideology is a full-time job. May there always be a Space Navy and Marine Corps ready to defend us!
And saving the Earth from the stupidities of control-freak politicians is even more important. I have worked at the Pentagon and in the Washington, DC, area and I can bear witness to many offenses against both common sense and my sense of justice at the highest political and military levels. To those readers unfamiliar with such political foibles, please let me recommend ALL of Douglas' books as well as Keith Laumer's hilarious RETIEF stories.
From a technical point of view, the descriptions of future technologies are superbly well done. They are believable and might even work in the future when we get serious about travel into deep space. Especially convincing are Douglas' star drives and star ships: Shaped like kilometers-long mushrooms, the star carriers carry huge amounts of water (radiation shielding, reaction mass and drinking water) in the crown of the mushroom. Below, protected by the shielding of the mushroom cap, are the star drives, space fighter bays, weapons emplacements and personnel compartments. This is an elegant and practical solution to a difficult technical problem in starship design.
The star drive projects a pseudo-singularity ahead of the ship. The enormous mass of the singularity produces a variable gravitational pull which accelerates the vessel as quickly as is desired up to hundreds of g's for the starship and thousands of g's for the space fighters.
For those unfamiliar with US NAVY aircraft carrier jargon and acronyms, CAG remains Commander Air Group, CAP becomes CSP (Combat Space Patrol), PBP (Particle Beam Projector), KK (Kinetic Kill rounds for a rail gun), and CIC remains Combat Information Center.