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Torchship Captain (Volume 3) Paperback – September 6, 2017
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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About the Author
Karl K. Gallagher is a systems engineer, currently performing data analysis for a major aerospace company. In the past he calculated trajectories for a commercial launch rocket start-up, operated satellites as a US Air Force officer, and selected orbits for government and commercial satellites. Karl lives in Saginaw, TX with his family.
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Michigan Long, her husband Guo, and the rest of the intrepid crew of the freighter Joshua Davenport continue in their fight against the Betrayers, AIs who have gone rogue and moved to eradicate mankind.
Most of the book deals with the run-up to the climactic battle with the AIs. Mitchie has been delegated to bring the most splintered of the splinter groups into line with the main human battle groups. Immediate problem Number One: nobody in place as a faction leader wants to give up ANY authority. Immediate problem Number Two: hatred for other factions is a more powerful force than the desire to eliminate the AI hazard. Thus, some governments are actively working to subvert Mitchie's mission, in the hope that Hated Enemy A and Hated Enemy B will go to war with each other, leaving them to sweep in and conquer the remnants, and use those left-overs to defeat the AIs.
A re-run of the French Revolution/Reign of Terror occurs on planet Pintoy, complete with blood in the streets, guillotines, and a Committee of Public Safety. Even some of the characters see action again, although in different roles. Professor Corday provides much of the philosophical underpinnings and leadership of the early movement, although his namesake in the French Revolution, Charlotte Corday, is known only for stabbing Jean-Paul Marat in his bathtub.
A bit of political/sexual nastiness follows. 19 year old Stakeholder Guen, rescued by Mitchie in the previous book, has become the de-facto leader of what passes for government in chaos and anarchy that follows the purge of Stakeholder leadership. I'm not a fan of explicit sex scenes in books, preferring participation to spectator sport, but beyond that, I find Mitchie's action in pushing her husband Guo into sexual activity with the willing Guen to be reprehensible. Later, Mitchie is given the opportunity to explain her position, and states that her approach is the same as any wartime captain, who would knowingly send troops to die if necessary to win the war. It's an interesting topic to discuss, perhaps, but it's the equivalent of 'the end justifies the means.' That stance is a minefield, and there is no path cleared through it.
Lots of great battle scenes, but I think I enjoyed the AI battles and the resulting peace conferences the best.
I found Torchship Captain a very satisfying book. Reading the third book of a trilogy, I would expect some deepening of the key story elements, a sense of tension, and a final reckoning. Importantly, for me, the end is hopefully without a totally happily everafter, everything neatly sorted out, all 'bad' people punished, and all elements tidily wrapped up with a bow.
The author has delivered on all my hopes, has resisted the temptation to have an entirely tidy finish, and has also delivered an excellent character driven book of science fiction with political and space opera elements.
The plot continues from the first two books with the war with the Betrayers continuing and the dark secrets in one of the galaxy's main human cultures leading to societal breakdown (to say any more would be a spoiler). The major plot threads are either finished or have very reasonable final states. (While this trilogy is concluded, the created universe is large enough for more stories.)
As I said above, it is very character driven, and I found my understanding and appreciation of Michigan Long, her husband, and all the other players grew as I read the book. I could understand and accept their motivations and also the consequences of their actions. Also, the author's writing continues to be easy to read with an engaging style.
Above all, I enjoyed the story, and I wanted to know what was going to happen next! So yes, read it! I will also be looking for future work by the author.
Most recent customer reviews
I didn't want the series to end. How about the new crew?
In the previous book, Torchship Pilot, Mitchie, a spy and now a starship captain,...Read more