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Starfire: A Novel Hardcover – Unabridged, May 6, 2014
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Dan Hampton, author of Lords of the Sky and Viper Pilot, interviews Dale Brown
Dan Hampton (DH): Do you think the United States has lost our edge in space and, if so, can we recover it?
Dale Brown (DB): The U. S. lost our edge when we canceled the Shuttle but failed to have a replacement ready. We can certainly regain it, but it will take a substantial national commitment.
DH: If a second space race occurs could it possibly be globally unifying instead of globally divisive?
DB: As the U. S. Navy ensures access to the world's oceans for all by establishing a powerful global seagoing presence, the U. S. must establish a strong presence in space to ensure access for all. That will be seen by many as a threat. The question is: will the U. S. take a leadership position?
DH: Why do you believe Russia would be our primary threat over, say, India or China?
DB: Only Russia has the military force necessary to completely destroy America. Groups like al Qaeda can and have disrupted life in America; North Korea and Iran can threaten our allies and our overseas bases; China could cause a severe economic crisis. But only Russia could wipe our entire swaths of American life.
DH: One of the interesting things about your work are the ties to real world events - how important is this to you in creating good fiction?
DB: One of my goals as an author is to have folks read or watch a story about some event or crisis and then go to the bookstore and pick up my novel depicting the very save event or crisis. Another goal is to write about future events and technology and have them come true a few years later. That's a real kick in the pants for me!
Dan Hampton is the New York Times bestselling author of Viper Pilot and Lords of the Sky, as well as a decorated U. S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel (Ret. ) with 151 combat missions completed during his twenty years in the USAF.
More About the Author
Dale was born in Buffalo, New York on November 2, 1956. He graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Western European History and received an Air Force commission in 1978. He was a navigator-bombardier in the B-52G Stratofortress heavy bomber and the FB-111A supersonic medium bomber, and is the recipient of several military decorations and awards including the Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Combat Crew Award, and the Marksmanship ribbon. Dale was also one of the nation's first Air Force ROTC cadets to qualify for and complete the grueling three-week U.S. Army Airborne Infantry paratrooper training course. He was also an Air Force instructor on aircrew life support and combat survival, evasion, resistance, and escape.
Dale supports a number of organizations to promote law enforcement, education, and literacy. He is a Life Member of the Air Force Association, U.S. Naval Institute, and National Rifle Association. He is a command pilot for Angel Flight West (www.angelflightwest.org), a group that donate their time, skills, and aircraft to fly medical patients free of charge. He is also a mission pilot with the Civil Air Patrol, flying a variety of missions in support of the U.S. Air Force and other federal agencies. He is a multi-engine and instrument-rated private pilot and can often be found in the skies all across the United States, piloting his Piper Aztec-E airplane. On the ground, Dale enjoys tennis, scuba diving, and soccer. Dale, his wife Diane, and son Hunter live near Lake Tahoe, Nevada.
Top Customer Reviews
This is the story of Bradley McLanahan, a mediocre undergrad student in the aerospace engineering program at Cal Poly University. Brad and his team of students have taken on an ambitious project related to the collection and transmission of solar power from space down to earth. Much of their success seems tied to McLanahan’s connections, which are mainly rooted in his father, Patrick’s military and civilian career. General Patrick McLanahan is Brown’s most prolific character, and the central figure in the series. Avoiding spoilers, there is espionage, combat, personal conflict and some agonizingly accurate political and bureaucratic gamesmanship by a cast of U.S. and foreign leaders.
What remains are the two signatures of a Dale Brown novel. There is suspense and story development that builds steadily into a thrilling page-turner, and exiting technology that is at (or tantalizingly just beyond) the cutting edge. The technology can be intimidating, but Brown is well-practiced at explaining things without getting buried in the details. He even includes a cast and glossary in the front of the book for reference.Read more ›
The underlying plot premise is that a small group of 1st and 2nd year teen age college students, with some free external help, can design then build a Space Based Power platform for $25 million and beam power to earth using a microwave laser (maser). If you're able to do the design, you're not a 1st or 2nd year college student. Somehow that MASER is supposed to be radically different than a space based laser in the novel, prohibited by a treaty the US hasn't signed, but is abiding by anyway. The whole premise is silly, directed energy regardless of type is a potential weapon with sufficient intensity. Microwave energy in particular is able to destroy electronics, just put your iPhone in the microwave if you never want to use it again. Search HPM or HPM laser and you'll see how "traditional" microwaves are as a directed energy weapon.
There are irritating inconsistencies, essential to the plot. For example, some people in the US government know the Russians have weaponized space planes, but no one bothers to tell the defense forces on their primary target, the US military space base. As a consequence, a Russian space plane, recognized and in plain sight, casually sits by the space station destroying weapons and space station modules, but isn't counterattacked because "it's not a direct threat."
The Russians are supposed to be the irrational bad guys in this one, but it's doubtful that any country with the capability of stopping it, would allow another country to overfly them multiple times a day with a weapon system capable of destroying anything on the ground at will.
This seemed more like an Archie comic book without pictures than a techno-thriller.Read more ›
I had a moment of weakness and picked Starfire up just to check out this guy’s writing. Maybe because it was a thriller and in third-person, past-tense. Maybe because the author lives in Nevada, like me? I should’ve seen the warning signs when there was a glossary at the front full of acronyms.
The story was like reading an Air Force technical manual half the time, while at other times it was an orgy for fighter jocks and military buffs. I did my time, well beyond the 24 years active duty and frankly, I’ve had my fill and none of that prose endeared me to the story that was buried amongst all the jargon and macho call signs.
A lot of real estate was spent going over the technicalities. With very long chapters and scenes, it was a chore to read. Lots of three and two paragraph-per-page writing made it tedious. Not only that, but it was written in the omniscient point of view so the head-hopping was all over the place and it was hard to get into one character’s head before I was jerked out of it into another character, then right back into the first character’s head again.
Then there was the story threads that went nowhere like the kid heroes’ big effort to learn self defense and it was totally useless except for one confrontation against a couple of homeless guys outside a casino. It never even came into play where it counted against the bad guys.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good story topic and characters, but this book was not as satisfying as other Brown novels. I think there were some loose threads at the end - probably to be addressed in... Read morePublished 12 days ago by paul a sylvia
Good read as always. Like the continuity and modern setting. Characters good and real. A good adventure for a snowy night.Published 1 month ago by restless
Too many technical terms without reason !!
I am through the first page 120 and all describing 2 hours of space orbit. Read more
This was one of the uninteresting writings by this author and I could not get into the writings at allPublished 2 months ago by ron