Jack Campbell's Lost Fleet

Discussion in 'General Book Discussion' started by Rodders, May 2, 2011.

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    Rodders

    Rodders |-O-| (-O-) |-O-|

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    I couldn't see any posts on this, so i thought that i'd start one. I've seen these books about alot recently and have just finished the Dauntless. A very enjoyable book in my opinion. Sort of a cross between Battlestar Galactica and The Seafort saga. Anyone else have any thoughts?

    (I like the star map at the end of the book and am glad it gets expanded as the series progresses.)
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    Moggle

    Moggle New Member

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    I really like the first six books. They are an extremely easy read. However even with that said, I don't know how I would feel if I had to read each book as they come out; they're extremely serialized.
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    Vertigo

    Vertigo Mad Mountain Man

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    I must admit I thoroughly enjoyed them (despite the dreadful US covers and blurb). I thought he presented some of the most intelligently thought out space battle conditions I have come across. Better probably than Weber. And he also constructed good characters that were neither too perfect nor too flawed.

    I would agree with Moggle that they are very closely serialised and I shall probably hold off getting the new series until he has produced several of them.

    The new series is billed as "The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier" and the first should be available this month in hardback. Spoiler: They are supposed to be based around Jack Geary going out after the aliens discovered towards the end of the original series.

    Somewhat annoyingly none of his books seem to be available in eBook format in the UK, only the US :(
    Last edited: May 3, 2011
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    Waiting

    Waiting New Member

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    I read and enjoyed the whole series. My only complaint is that maybe the books are a little too tightly woven. A little levity, a little lightness would benefit, IMO. (I'm a big fan of David Drake's RCN series but think it could benefit from a little less looseness in the writing.)

    I like the characters, hated that some died, but I always do. The ratio of battle scenes to non-battle was well balanced. Good inter-group intrigue and personal relationships.

    In contrast, I also read all of the Seafort saga, save the 20-years-later final book, and grew to itensly dislike it and the character.
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    Rodders

    Rodders |-O-| (-O-) |-O-|

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    I've just finished Fearless, now onto Courageous. I have to say that whilst i have found these books immensely enjoyable, the characterisation is lacking somewhat and i don't really feel the need to invest too much into them.

    I do like the fact that the Star map gets bigger and more complete with each novel.
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    Rodders

    Rodders |-O-| (-O-) |-O-|

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    Just finished Courageous which had a very gung ho ending. Now on to Valient.

    I must admit that i find myself very much wanting to finish the series before moving on to something else. Normally i need to move to another author after three books.
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    Vertigo

    Vertigo Mad Mountain Man

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    I'm glad you seem to be enjoying them.

    I must admit I found them fairly compulsive reading and I think I read them sequentially without switching to other authors.

    One thing I liked was the carefully thought out realism of his space battles and yet he didn't have to go down the massive info dump tactics of someone like Weber to make them so. Not that I'm knocking Weber, I love his books too, but I didn't find myself groaning at yet another huge paragraph of missile details all the time.
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    Parson

    Parson This world is not my home

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    I haven't yet read "Lost Fleet" but that is next up. It probably wouldn't be so except Vertigo suggested it and our tastes seem to mesh quite nicely. But I did read the "Seafort Saga" and they didn't do for me what David Weber's Honor Harrington series does for me. They seemed so grindingly duty bound, without much humanity and no humor or lighter moments that I can recall at all. As I remember them any kind of respite meant that something was being ignored which was going to bite everyone in the behind.
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    andyw1691

    andyw1691 New Member

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    This is an epic tale of how a Captain who has spent many years in hibernation in a space ships escape pod before being rescued, gets to inherit a fleet of starships deep in enemy space. The author John G. Hemry writing as Jack Campbell is an ex US Naval officer and it shows in his descriptions of the fleet. There is attention to detail and the battle sequences are possibly the best I have read for space warfare. It's an exciting tale of how the Captain fights both the enemy and his opponents within the fleet, to try and bring the fleet back home.

    Although I'm quite happy to suspend belief on most things when reading a good SiFi novel, I did find two things hard to take. Firstly the main characters keep referring to the 'living stars' and secondly, each space ship has a shrine to allow crew members to communicate with their ancestors. The living stars and the ancestors don't have any significant role to play in the story, so I'm not quite sure why they are included. If we do get to be a space faring species I expect that if we do have any religions, it will probably be a bit more sophisticated.

    However, the main feature of the story are the fleet engagements and the series of six books is well worth reading just for those.

    Andy
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    Vertigo

    Vertigo Mad Mountain Man

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    Interesting comment Andy. That religion aspect did sit a little uneasily with me as well. Not that I have a problem with reiligion per se, but it seemed to be pretty much universal with no mention of any other beliefs. I suspect he was trying to put forward a non God based religion for the future. But you are right, it is not important to the story other than maybe to give an excuse for the Captain to interact with lower levels of the crew. Certainly wasn't a major part of the story so it was easy enough to live with.
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    Rodders

    Rodders |-O-| (-O-) |-O-|

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    I think that the religion aspect was a tool to show how far the Alliance had fallen. it was mentioned a few times about how Geary ended his announcements on his messages to the Syndic worlds on a very old fashioned, yet honourable note.
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    Parson

    Parson This world is not my home

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    In "Dauntless," which I've just started reading, neither John Geary (Black Jack) nor the captain of the ship Desjani think they are religious. At one point they discuss the fortuitous in the extreme situation of his being picked up after a century in a life pod and one of them comments (the captain I think) "It's almost enough to give you religion." and the other agrees.

    I haven't read enough to know what they/Jack Campbell may mean by "living stars" but at this point my running supposition is that it means stars which have produced life or possibly able to sustain life. Then there are the "mysterious lights" they see in jump space, which Black Jack wonders if they are in some sense their ancestors looking in on them. Neither have I run across the shrines yet, but so far I see their reverence of their ancestors as a hold over from Eastern ancestor worship. I would offer Japan as an example of a very advanced tech society which can hold onto the deeply ancient beliefs of ancestor worship and communication. Human beings are entirely capable of holding onto that which is demonstrably false. I give you the Zodiac and horoscopes as exhibit #1 in that regard.
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    Vertigo

    Vertigo Mad Mountain Man

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    Yes that's very true Parson. However, as you will find as you dip deeper, I think the references to the living stars feels a bit more like a Gaia type of thing, though the ancestor worship is definitely something much more like eastern religion, as you say. My only slight complaint there is that it seems to be the only "religion" around and I would have thought if anything the religions around in the future are likely to be even more diverse than today. However it is only a slight grumble as religion is really a very peripheral aspect of the stories.

    As Rodders says, it appears to be more of a vehicle for the cultural differences between Geary and the "younger" people in the fleet to be highlighted.

    Actually that brings up one of the aspects of the stories that I particularly liked; that Geary technically outranks all other captains because his promotion came so long before theirs, even if he actually served less real time than them. That one was kind of neat :D
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    Parson

    Parson This world is not my home

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    I just finished reading about the shrine aboard the Dauntless and I have to say that the verbiage around that encounter is making me re-think my opinion about the ancestor worship in the story. In this encounter he, Black Jack, is seeking guidance, forgiveness, and help from his ancestors. This in my opinion moves it from a cultural icon to something more akin to a living breathing religion. It also helps to bond him to the enlisted men of the ship in that they often frequent the shrine. Note that he looks for a time when the shrine would not be busy.

    I would agree with your thoughts about more rather than fewer religions in our future. But Orson Scott Card made an interesting jump when he spoke of only one religion outside of earth. --- Speaker for the Dead.
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    Vertigo

    Vertigo Mad Mountain Man

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    Oh absolutely a religion, and as you say a good opportunity for that bonding. My reference to the cultural bit was that, albeit a religion, I think the author is mainly using it to highlight the cultural gap between Geary's and everyone else's approach to it.

    Also I must confess with some embarassment :( that Orson Scott Card is an author I've not yet read, he has been in my TBR for far too long.
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    Parson

    Parson This world is not my home

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    :eek:No Ender's Game?!!!:eek: Although I am not very fond of OSC's later stuff, I think "Ender's Game" will still be read a hundred years from now. It has been continuously in print for app. 35 years. Not many fiction works can say the same.

    I have now finished Dauntless and am about to go order some more from Amazon. ---- If parsonic finances allow.:( ---- I would rate it a solid 8 out of 10. One of the things that struck me as a bit of a stretch by Campbell is his contention that fleet maneuvers had been lost during the course of the war. I would think that it would be a whole lot more likely that they would become even more important given continual war.

    (BTW -- Ender's Game is the only SF book I've ever read to which I would give a 10.)
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    Vertigo

    Vertigo Mad Mountain Man

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    Yes, I know, as I said it is rather embarrassing :eek: there are a few others that I also haven't got around to yet. My only excuse is that I almost completely stopped reading fiction from around the age of twenty something until just a few years ago at around age 50. So I still have a lot of catching up to do!

    And, yes Parson, I thought his reasoning for the abandonment of battle tactics (beyond simple glorious charges) was a little weak, to say the least. But I suppose he had to come up with something along those lines for Geary to have an edge due to his extreme age. I'm not quite sure what would have done it better and I just sort of let it lie.
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    Parson

    Parson This world is not my home

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    I suppose anything is possible, but some developments are more likely than others. At this point I think that the slippage of discipline and overall direction of a fleet by a single individual are more likely scenarios and that they in the end will give him a greater advantage than the advanced fleet techniques. --- Just thinking about this makes me wonder why the Syndics also adapted a gallant charge technique? Did they pick it up from
    Black Jack as well? --- Further reflection, The Greeks and the Romans had some superior formations for fighting but that was at least somewhat lost by the European states later on, so maybe not a complete stretch.
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    Vertigo

    Vertigo Mad Mountain Man

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    In fairness I guess he does explain it away on the basis of the war having gone on for so long and as the attrirtion got ever higher there simply weren't any (or enough) experienced officers left to pass on the tactics and the young officers were simply getting killed off before they could gain their own experience. However, with that said, so much of space battle tactics are actually performed by computer and they don't forget!
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    Rodders

    Rodders |-O-| (-O-) |-O-|

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    I'm just coming up to the end of Valient. I have to say that the editing on this is a bit poor. I keep coming across words with spaces in the middle of them.

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