The Mercenaries by Bill Baldwin
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
I realize this book has a good rating online, but I can’t finish it, can’t even get very far in it. Some of the things that drove me nuts were the takeoff of this new, cutting edge warship captained by Wilf Brim, to go for exercises as it’s just off the assembly line. The fleet has been largely disbanded by peaceniks (this always happens in conservative, right wing military sci fi writers’ books — God, they hate people who prefer peace!) and there’s a big enemy on the horizon, although no one knows it yet.
Anyway, the takeoff takes about 20 pages. No, I’m exaggerating, but it does go on and on with every system being checked and every person on the planet saying goodbye and good luck to Brim over the comm while he’s taking off.
Okay, I just counted. Takeoff took seven pages. Who the hell writes a seven page takeoff for a spaceship? Holy crap, that’s stupid and a waste of my time and the author’s pages.
Another thing that really bugged me was how the ship has a crew, but Brim, the captain, has to pilot his own ship. He’s the one who takes off. Not a navigator, pilot, astrogator, exec, no one that any other sci fi writer uses. Now I ask you, on Earth’s battleships, dating back hundreds of years to the present, do captains pilot their own ships? No! They have crewmen who do the actual work for that. So too in spaceships, particularly in military sci fi. Every captain of any warship has 1) a crew and 2) a pilot. No captain pilots their own damn ship as they spend seven pages taking off from their planet.
IT’S STUPID! I don’t care if it does have a 4.0+ rating, this is a dumbass book written by a sci fi writer who either didn’t do his research on the field or doesn’t know the first thing about how these things are “supposed” to go. Seriously, what’s a crew for if the captain does all the work? Are they window decorations?
This is the first book in a three book series. I didn’t finish this one and didn’t bother reading the next two because I assume if the author is so inept as to do things like this in his first book, I doubt the next two (highly rated) books would be any better. Frankly, I expect more out of military science fiction. Some authors I think are good professionals include David Weber, Chris Bunch, and Jack Campbell. Baldwin would do well to take a few pointers. As for this book, one star and not recommended because it’s too laughable.