The Lost Fleet Beyond the Frontier: Invincible, by Jack Campbell
Explorers are well known for discovering a new place and asking the locals what everything’s called. “What’s that?”, they’d say, pointing at a big tree. The local would look at the explorers, look at the tree, roll his eyes, look slowly back at the explorers and profoundly say ‘Its a Big Tree’. Or they’d arrive in a desert and say “What is this place?”. The local would look around trying to see what had caught the interest, roll his eyes, look slowly back at the explorers and profoundly say “Its a Desert”. Or they’d see a six-foot tall robot rabbit with antenna and say “What’s that called?” and the local would run away yelling over his shoulder “I dunno mate, and I’m not staying around to find out”. Which is how the Sequoia, the Sahara (and lots more deserts) and the Kangaroo got their names.
Poor old Black Jack Geary keeps finding locals but they either won’t or can’t talk to him. Unfortunately that means he has to name things himself. He’s not good in naming un-named stars, a waste of space when it comes to naming ships and desperately needs help in naming the locals. In their case its like ‘Catchphrase’, he just says what he can see. He can see Teddy-Bear Cows and Spider-Wolves. The Enigma’s, whom he’s never seen and someone else named, don’t like anyone, the Teddy-Bear Cows don’t like anyone, and the Spider-Wolves, guess what.
In this splendid new episode of the Lost Fleet space opera the dangerously old and breaking-down Fleet continues its exploration of the Enigma’s territory and resolutely refuses to do as the political authorities wanted and get lost. Reassuringly the plot is the same as in all the other Lost Fleet novels: arrive in a new star system, battle the fleet in front, or the one following behind, or both, cross to the other side of the system, jump to the next system. Fleet actions, where Geary magically predicts the aliens’ behaviours whilst none of the aliens predict his, come fast and furious, the friction continues between Tanya and Rione, and the general hatred of politicians rages nicely on.
Keep ‘em coming Mr Campbell!