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on March 3, 2012
Book Review by Felix Polz

2 March 2012

SINFULARITY

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.

Highly Recommended!
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on October 4, 2012
I bought and read this series, I have not read any other books written by this author. I found the series interesting and engaging. The story line was good and the author paid great attention to detail. The author also has a great imagination. However, I was frustrated by the amount of backstory and technical explanation that was repeated over and over and over throughout the series. It got to the point that I found myself skipping over page after page to avoid covering the same ground that I covered previously. It detracted significantly from the enjoyment of the reading experience. I understand the need to provide this backstory etc for readers who pick up the series midway through and have experienced this in other series that I have read, but found it to be especially cumbersome in this series. So cumbersome, in fact, that I feel justified in subtracting two stars for it.

I'm torn as to whether I will read anything else by this author. I enjoyed this series, but the prospect of encountering the same frustration in reading his other books discourages me from jumping right into them.

PS. I read a lot of books published electronically on Kindle and have found the editing to be anywhere from bad to horrible. It was nice to finally read a series that was not rife with spelling and grammatical errors.
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on March 4, 2012
William Keith has been writing novels (with various cowriters) for decades and he writes some of the best military fiction out there. The first two books in this series were fantastic, but this one was a massive let down.

First, the ending was really anti-climatic. There just wasn't the sense of overwhelming odds and pulling through to victory as in the first novels. Even though the enemy had millions of ships, there just wasn't any sense of tension.

Second, the ending was entirely predictable. As soon as one event occurred, then the entire rest of the book was just so predictable. There were even hints of the actual ending in the second book.

Third, was the page filler material. It seemed like the author repeated information that had already been gone over. I counted one general description being given no less than four times in this book. Considering that it was one of the major points in the first book, it seems excessive.

I enjoyed the beginning, but as soon as the artifact was discovered, it was a massive let down. I was actually mad when I finished the book.
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on September 12, 2014
I've read the first three books of this series to this point. I very much liked _book_one_ of the Star Carrier series; the author seemed to be making a good effort to keep his sci-fi realistic, the plot flowed well and the action was good. He made a very valiant effort with the science, I thought, even if there were some difficulties in scientific basics. Book two was a bit more of a struggle. If you like military sci fi, this series is certainly a decent example and the author is unquestionably good at the military part of military science fiction.

Book three pushes the limits of my patience in many ways. To begin with, there are a number of inexcusable typographical errors. There are misused words and missed punctuations, both things that should have been cleaned up before publishing. Along these lines, also, the author had a problem with repeating background points over and over and over again. I found myself asking "How many times are you going to repeat this piece explaining about Gray's Prim-hood and his lost wife," or "How many times are you going to belabor how 'alien' alien is." or "do I have to hear again for the fifth time why the Sh'daar are after prohibiting GRIN technologies and preventing Singularity." There are many other points of repetitiveness in this writing, including the incessant counting down for everything. For instance, rather than backtracking through Gray's Prim-hood and early background, all well detailed in the first book, this book should have spent more time advancing the character, say by developing a dramatic interaction with the character of Ryan and giving him something to think about aside for continuously coming back to his humble beginnings. It seems to me that this book would've benefited from a thorough trip to the editor to cut the repetition and maybe point out to the author where he should have been advancing instead of belaboring. A tight version of this story would have been excellent. I think this story is a good example of what the boom of self-publishing is doing to literature; it's forcing people to jump the gun sometimes and publish before they're finished writing.

As I originally wrote this review, I had a very strong reaction to the physics in this book, particularly the Sh'daar Strong Force weapon --an abuse of physics that simply cannot work as described in the book. As a physicist, I notice bad physics very easily and it doesn't take much for an author to push me the wrong way by getting physical details wrong. I originally wrote a fairly critical review of some broad general misuses of Special and General Relativity in this book, both in the near-light speed travel and in the rather constant use of gravitational singularities. On a positive point, the author made a great deal of effort to apply velocity boost time dilation to the travel of his ships and I believe he had help with the astronomy, but some of the astrophysical problems, the lack of general relativistic time dilation with the black holes and lack of understanding of frame of reference rankled me. I've debated how critical I can be on this point; on the one hand, I really do like the space battles and I really do appreciate the author attempting to use authentic details. On the other hand, I can hardly fault him for not having my skill set. Readers who are not as critical of physical details may be very entertained by the technology and the vision of this book, even if it is essentially pure fantasy. I've edited my review here to try to lessen the scope of my objections, which were pretty deep, but more or less totally unanswerable. I would love very much to see a few more authors make the attempt to be copacetic with physics when writing stories like this and I don't want to discourage them from trying, but I wish there were a way to put them in contact with physicists so that they can have critical feedback on basic structural characteristics of their universes before a work ever nears publication... there are certainly ways to hide the deficiencies seen here from someone like me, but it would probably take someone like me to suggest them.
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Admirable Koenig has gone rogue and he is determined to take the war to the Sh'daar Empire to force the issue that Earth could determine their own destiny. He was convinced that if Earth continued their strategy of defending itself with no offensive strikes that they would eventually be crushed by overwhelming numbers and superior technology. The Sh'daar ruled the known galaxy and the millions of client races that they ruled served them as warriors and followers of their beliefs.

His forces are also being chased by Earth forces sent to retrieve him back to possibly face court martial for his actions. He knew that his approach was the right one and he refused to give up the right for all of humanity to choose its own future. His goal was to inflict enough pain to the Sh'daar Empire to force them to listen to reason....

This is the third book of the Star carrier series and I enjoyed them all. I like the technical style of Sci-Fi writing that Ian Douglas does and the stories are interesting and well written. That being said this book to me was the weakest of the three. It was really good until the end and it honestly seems the author did not know how the end the story. A reader who invests their time and money into three novels deserves a better ending that what this book closed out with.

I still liked the book and I probably look into the author's other books but I felt this one just sort of left me hanging. It was almost like the story was nearing the end and needed another book to properly close out a good Sci-Fi saga but it just ended with a fast and unsatisfying closure. (I wanted to say whimper) I still recommend the series to you as it is as good a Sci-Fi technical series that you can find today.
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on November 26, 2014
The third book of the Star Carrier saga. This book picks up shortly after book two, I strongly recommend reading both books one and two before reading this one. It should be noted that there are additional books in the Star Carrier series, however Books One through Three make up the primary portion of this particular storyline with the subsequent books being a sequel story arc set many years later.

In the distant future Earth has found itself losing a war against a vast interstellar empire. In the previous book our heroes managed to successfully launch a large scale offensive against an important alien stronghold. In this title the heroes have used the information they gained in the last attack to plunge deeper into the heart of enemy space with the hope of inflicting enough damage to bring the empire to the negotiating table and end the war. The odds are desperate, the plan is a long shot gamble, but with the vast resources of the aliens there is no choice but to go all in to try and save the day.

As in the previous books the world created for this series is vast and detailed. Great care has obviously been spent fleshing out the two sides as well as the technology they both use. This is both the books greatest strength and its greatest weakness. These detailed explanations are very well done, but many cover information that was already presented in the previous books.

Overall a nice conclusion to the first trilogy of Star Carrier books. I am very hopeful that the next set of sequels will live up to the standard set by this trilogy.
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on April 16, 2013
Author, please take this to heart okay? We are on book 3 of this series. By now, you have explained to me that Gray is a "prim" and what that means 12 times. You've explained how the Alcubierre Drives 14 times. Direct quote from page 266: "Human Alcubierre drives achieved faster-than-light travel by bending a pocket of space around the starship, using projeted artificial singularities.....bla bla bla."

STOP re-explaining things! Not only do you do it from book to book, but you do it multiple times in the SAME book!! I have to skip entire pages because i've already read the material almost verbatim.

You do the same thing with Koenig's ex-lover's death. And the same thing with star-ship acceleration using mini black holes. The same thing with Krait nukes, the same thing with sandcaster projectiles, with shielding technology, and the list goes on. Look man, reward your faithful readers in book 3 by not making them re-read what you explained in book 1.

This is meant to be constructive criticism because you truly write well, but stop re-writing what's already been covered. It's driving me crazy and I'm not going to spend the extra money to buy the 4th book since I'm expecting i'll get more of the same re-explanations.
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on May 30, 2012
Singularity (2012) is the third naval SF novel in the Star Carriers series, following Center of Gravity. The initial work in this sequence is Earth Strike.

In the previous volume, Carrier Battlegroup 18 flew to the Alphekka system, but the Turusch were expecting their arrival. The Soru wracked havoc among the Confederation fighters. The battlegroup destroyed the Turusch nanofactory.

Gray went after Collins despite her hateful treatment of himself. Ryan was among the surviving fighter pilots. Koenig discovered the next target for his ships.

In this novel, Alexander Koenig is a Rear Admiral in the Terran Confederation Navy. He comes from the USNA Navy and is considered a good tactician, but a poor subordinate. He commands the Star Carrier America battlegroup.

Francois Giraud is a Grand Admiral in the Confederation Navy. He comes from the French Navy and has been promoted quickly. He commands a large Fleet.

Trevor Gray is a Lieutenant in the Terran Confederation Navy. He was born in the ruins of New York City and is considered as a primitive by the citizens of the USNA. He is now the acting commander of the Dragonfires fighter squadron.

Christopher Schiere is a Lieutenant in the Terran Confederation Navy. He flies a Shadowstar recon plane with the Sneaky Petes.

In this story, the Conciliationists within the Senate are panicking. They invite the Confederation president to the Star Chamber for a viewing and discussion. They show a simulation of the raid on Alphekka and discuss Koenig's plans. Then they ask the president to order him back to Terra.

CBG-18 is approaching HD 157950 for refueling. Koenig wonders whether Giraud has followed him. Soon he learns the answer to that question when the Jeanne d'Arc emerges from metaspace,

Giraud announces that he has the authority of the Terran Confederation Senate to arrest Koenig if he does not comply with their orders, He fully expects Koenig to surrender to him. Then the Dragonfires fire upon the Jeanne d'Arc shield cap with their Gatlings and dodge around the cap to cover the bridge tower.

After Giraud surrenders, Koenig allows everyone the choice to staying with him or doing home. Only a few ships elect to return to Terra. Giraud leaves on the heavy cruiser De Grasse, but the Jeanne d'Arc stays with CBG-18.

Koenig next transits to Texaghu Resch. The voyage takes seventy-four days and, upon emergence, they find no enemy ships or installations in the system. Yet a closer look discovers an object about twelve kilos long spinning extremely fast.

The physics group on the America suggests that the object in a Tippler machine, but past physicists had proved that a device to would have to have an infinite length. Schiere runs a recon on the object and learns that it is a hollow tube. His telemetry raises a flurry of speculation in CBG-18.

A mass of leaf-like fighters comes out of the tube and attacks CBG-18. Gray leads the Dragonfires against the enemy. The enemy fighters form hemispheres and pick off the Confederation fighters with beam weapons that collapse matter.

Gray gets too close to the tube and is also pulled into it. He travels the tube into a star cluster at the other end and then is grazed by a beam weapon. His ship is hurt, but is repairing itself when a very large ship takes it onboard.

Gray manages to download a copy of his onboard AI into a probe and sends it back through the tube. Millions of the enemy fighters swarm through the tube and attack CBG-18. Luckily the America detects Gray's probe and a SAR brings it in. His data cause even more speculation.

This tale confronts CBG-18 with the ghosts of the Sh'daar. Gray and Schiere meet with Sh'daar clients in simulations. Koenig takes his ships into the tube to put pressure on the enemy.

As usual, this volume has spatial combat galore. But the odds are millions to one. Can audacity save the day?

This is the last volume in the sequence. But the author has a new series coming soon: Star Corpsman.

Highly recommended for Douglas fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of alien societies, space combat, and ship relationships. Read and enjoy!

-Arthur W. Jordin
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on March 3, 2012
Having read Author William H. Keith's previous superb nine book Star Marines series (Heritage,inheritance and Legacy) under his pseudonym "Ian Douglass". I eagerly awaited the Star Carrier Books. Book #1 "Earth Strike" was excellent. Book #2 "Center of Gravity" was even better with more fighter action and descriptions of life in this future, again a excellent book. Book #3 "Singularity" starts off good, the story follows the arc established in the previous books. As I neared the end, the story was motoring on. pages were becoming fewer and fewer and there was a lot to cover. So I thought the author was setting up a really great cliffhanger, which would mean a fourth book. But no! The story just ended. Leaving really loose explanations of established story lines. I felt the book was rushed or the author just wanted to end the series. The ending just didn't work for me. I will however highly recommend this series and this book. If for no other reason than the science fiction Really sparked my imagination. Mr. Keith (Ian Douglass) spins and excellent yarn. I hope he writes another book to continue this story start a new Star Carrier series altogether. If you have not read the Star Marines series I would Highly Recommend that as well.
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on March 2, 2012
Some Spoilers Ahead

WOW? What happened? Has Mr. Douglas gone the way of so many other writers and turned his work over to a ghostwriter? I found this book to be a very sub par entry by one of my favorite sci fi writers.
The book can be fairly divided into three parts. Part one is nothing more than a rehash of the first two books. Part two seems to be about the battle group moving from place to place. The faster than light drive is described a half dozen times. The Admiral pines for his lost lover who was killed earlier and he cant get over her death until near the end of the book. The third part was the most confusing. At least half a dozen other alien races are briefly mentioned and they do nothing but cloud the issue. The end of the book was complete nonsense. In effect the humans instantly make peace with a race that has killed over 100 million people because of what appears to be a misunderstanding of sorts. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!! I read the book so I wont ask for a refund but someone should seriously consider lowerig the price for the sub standard outing.
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