In this bi-weekly series reviewing classic science fiction and fantasy books, Alan Brown looks at the front lines and frontiers of the field; books about soldiers and spacers, scientists and engineers, explorers and adventurers. Stories full of what Shakespeare used to refer to as “alarums and excursions”: battles, chases, clashes, and the stuff of excitement.
There is nothing more exciting than a good naval story: thrilling chases and escapes, the chess game of maneuver as forces close in on each other, and the fierce excitement of a pitched battle. Add to that tactical element the fate of nations and empires hanging in the balance, and you have all the ingredients of high adventure. It is no wonder that science fiction authors have used naval adventures as a template for space opera, and one of the most successful of these adventures has been the Lost Fleet series by Jack Campbell.