Center of Gravity: Star Carrier: Book Two Mass Market Paperback – Feb 22 2011
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"Douglas knows his SF." Publishers Weekly --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From the Back Cover
In the evolution of every sentient race, there is a turning point when the species achieves transcendence through technology.
The warlike Sh’daar are determined that this monumental milestone will never be achieved by the creatures known as human.
On the far side of known human space, the Marines are under siege, battling the relentless servant races of the Sh'daar aggressor. With a task force stripped to the bone and the Terran Confederation of States racked by dissent, rogue Admiral Alexander Koenig must make the momentous decision that will seal his fate and the fate of humankind. A strong defensive posture is futile, so Koenig will seize the initiative and turn the gargantuan Star Carrier America toward the unknown. For the element of surprise is the only hope of stalling the Sh'daar assault on Earth's solar system—and the war for humankind's survival must be taken directly to the enemy.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
In this adventure we start out several months after the Earth Star Fleet has defended Earth against a xenophobic race called the Sh'daar who launched meteors broken out of orbit towards Earth. They are determined that humanity should not evolve technologically enough to challenge their rule of the Universe as they know it.
Rear Admiral Alexander Koenig has been ordered back to Erath to attend a special meeting with the Senate. This involves bringing the flag ship America back to Earth.
The Senate has a special offer for Admiral Koenig but Koenig is convinced that the answr to the war with the Sh'daar is to take the fight to them. Something they would never think humanity would do. The element of surprise would certainly be in the Earth's Fleet benefit.
However Earth is still paranoid about another attack being launched on the home world by the Sh'daar so while Admiral Koenig will get to undertake Operation Golden Arrow it with a very small fleet of ships.
Can the Earth Fleet prevail ? Is Admiral Koenig's first target important to the Sh'daar or just a minor player ? What other weapon technology do the Sh'daar have in their arsenal ?
There is great character development in this story along with great tactical manoeuvres both individually and fleet wise. Lots of action.
ORIGINALITY (standard, high, stellar) - HIGH - Ian Douglas has a vivid imagination
ACTION (none, some, lots) - LOTS - aliens aliens and more aliens to kick but
SEX (none, some, lots) NONE
PROFANITY (none, some, lots) NONE - no time
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This book pick right up where the first one left off, and it is pretty much non-stop action with good character dialogue. I also like how he brings you along on the technological front, which makes the light drive systems more believable. You know you're reading an intriguing . thought-proviking book when you dream about some of the technologies like I did - I wouldn't mind having a replicator!
About the only drawback I have with the book is the different alien names as it was hard for me to keep them all straight. There is a lot of repitition to his other series with idiotic politicians and similar characteristics of the soldier heroes but it's not that big of a deal to me.
Bottom line is this is a good story - well worth the investment on my Kindle. Now, how much longer do we have to wait for the next book in the series?
What I don't like is the price gouging from the publisher. $7.99 for the kindle book, when I could get the paperback for $4? Come on. Get with the times. E-Books are the way of the future, and I will not be paying twice the price for the ebook over the paperback. I have now flagged the publisher I automatically skip over because of their stance on pricing.
This book picks up right after the first one, "Earth Strike: Star Carrier: Book One". The story is complicated and should be read in order.
Set in 2404 AD, humanity has expanded into the surrounding stellar neighborhood with the farthest settlement some 60 light years away. Humainty is under attack by a near-galaxy spanning collective. They want humans to stop developing new technology or face destruction. Best guess is they dont want humanity to discover something we may be on track to find out soon, immortality, transcendence, panspora?
The story is fast paced with plenty of time for plot and charcter development. Well thought out realistic space combat and interesting depth into alien evolution.
Main technologies in use include nonotech, gravitics, FTL, and AI.
To me what makes a space opera interesting is when the author chooses a universe very similar to our real universe with one or two changes. Like a hostile alien race that is in conflict with us poor humans. Then determine what advances in technology is needed to make such a story possible and interesting.
In the Star Carrier series the there are three main technological advances.
1) Advanced nano technology in the form of star ship hulls that can change shape, replicators that can create most anything from feed stock, and nano bots that keep humans healthy and alive for a very long time.
2) Artificial intelligence that is faster and smarted than human intelligence.
3) FTL spacecraft capable of travelling many light years in a few days and the ability to create artificial black hole singularities that allow small fighter space craft to accelerate at 50,000 gravities so they can reach light speed in about 10 minutes. This technology also allows humans access to practically unlimited energy drawn from the quantum vacuum.
Now this could make for some very interesting stories if the author spent a few minutes to figure out how these technologies would change the tactics of space warfare. And write stories that reflect that thought. Instead Douglas fights the space battles as if he where using aircraft carriers and fighter jets.
Even worse he changes the capabilities of the technology depending on what the plot needs at the moment. For example in one scene the human shield technology can withstand everything an entire enemy fleet can throw at it for several weeks while waiting for reinforcements to arrive. Then a bit later we have a situation where the shields are brushed away by a single ship with the first shot. This sort of hand waving is scattered throughout the book so frequently it completely disrupted my ability to accept any of the technology as real.
As for tactics, if you have a technology that lets you accelerate things to light speed in 10 minutes then all you need to do is send light speed missiles to impact the enemy home worlds and bases. Plus the enemy would do the same to us. No need to send a fleet of ships. Just one ship that can launch a few light speed rocks and you win. Anything approaching at light speed is by definition undetectable and unstoppable. Even worse the humans have the technology necessary to create artificial black holes and it never occurs to anyone that a black hole might make a pretty good weapon. Even when several human ships are destroyed by their own black holes when they take damage.
So the technology is inconsistent, poorly defined and in many cases completely ignored if Douglas thinks the plot needs a bit of suspense.
This leaves the character development of the aliens and humans to make the book interesting. Not in this mess. The aliens had huge potential from the first book. Then in the second book the aliens are all over the place. Sometimes they are given god like powers and then a few pages later they act like brain damaged apes. The humans don't do any better, they are all caricatures at best. Completely one dimensional, predictable and boring.
In summary - if you read the first book cut your losses, put this book down and move on to something else. I recommend the Lost Fleet series by Jack Campbell.