NOTE: So It Begins was a free review copy provided to Luke Reviews by Dark Quest Books.
In my quest to discover another side of military science fiction, I stumbled upon Breach the Hull edited by Mike McPhail, the first volume of the Defending the Future series from Dark Quest Books. When I received the second volume, I made sure to dive into the contents ASAP.
This second volume turned out to be even better than the first. Stories such as James Chambers’ “War Movies” ratchet up the emotion, while others, like “Junked” by Andy Remic (whose Kell’s Legend got a strong review here, and has the sequel out soon) play to the all-out, non-stop action. What the two stories share is a well-developed set of characters, and a plot that shows military science fiction is about far more than making ever bigger explosions.
Other great additions to this collection include Danielle Ackley-McPhail’s “First Line,” set in the Alliance Archives universe, which contains her usual mix of action and strong storytelling, with an emotional tug, and “Grendel” by military science fiction genius Jack Campbell (aka John G. Hemry), the story set in his acclaimed Lost Fleet series, the first book of which got a rave review here at the site. Campbell’s deft touch with military science fiction and the space engagements of fleets of ships are the best I have ever seen, and “Grendel” won’t let down his fans.
Also of interest is a piece by David Sherman, co-author of the Starfist and Starfist: Force Recon series, set in his Demontech universe. The piece, “Surrender of Die,” was to be the beginning of the unpublished fourth book, and is a fitting tribute to the series, as well as a nice capstone to a very well rounded anthology.
If you are looking for a diverse collection of stories that will show you all that military science fiction can do, look no further.