Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Dragon Award Finalist, 'Best Science Fiction Novel': Sins of Her Father

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And for those who HAVE an ad blocker, here's a text link: Sins of Her Father by Mike Kupari.

Preliminaries and Disclaimers.  Unless I have miscounted, this is the 15th book I have reviewed in this series of Dragon Award Finalists. It is the 4th and last of the entries I will be reviewing in the 'Best Science Fiction Novel' category; I have yet to receive a response to my request for a review copy for the last two books in this category. By my count, after this book, I will have three more books to review, and 4 days to do it in, so that's a walk in the park.
This is the second novel in the series "Privateer Andromeda;" I have not read the first in the series, but I do believe that all of the important issues covered in the narrative of this work, without spending a lot of time on artificial means to bring the reader up to date.

A bit of a review. Nickson Armitage is at loose ends on Planet Heinlein. He has money, he has time, but he doesn't have a job, because he doesn't have a ship. His last ship was smashed when the captain got too ambitious in pursuit of an enemy warship, a mistake he paid for with his life, and the life of others.
Nick's not a fire-eater. He can handle a crisis as well as any man, but the appalling number of casualties on his last trip, and the evisceration of the ship upon returning to port have left him a bit skittish. Still he knows where his skills lie, and he makes a deal to return to the Deep Black with the crew of the Andromeda, on a run that looks, at first, to be a fairly straightforward VIP escort. It's critical to the understanding of his behavior for the rest of the story: Nick did the best job he could do, but despite his advice, the captain of his last ship got them into a fight they couldn't win. Nick did well to bring the pieces home. And he's tired, and he really, really doesn't feel prepared for another tour in a place where people are trying to kill him.
Zander Krycek, on the other hand, is rather used to people trying to kill him.  As the war leader who toppled a monarchy, and tried to rule as elected President, he is familiar with the people who use guns, as well as the people who use contracts and words, and he has stepped away from all of that. It really is a case of a voluntary resignation of power, in his case; and only the most dire circumstances would bring him out of retirement to re-enter the planet administration business. Enter, dire circumstances.
In a different corner of the galaxy, Wade Bishop and Marcus Winchester are doing a job that could have been done in Wyoming, any time from about 1870 until 2020 AD. There are some modern touches, but they are essentially doing law the way Wyatt Earp and Walt Longmire do law. And,as happened sometimes to those Western-style cops, the political ramifications trump the law business, and after shutting down the bad guys, but aggravating an undercover spook, they find themselves sitting beside the trail without even a gold watch.
And that's where the Andromeda's Captain Blackwood, with an offer to provide security for a man the entire galaxy seems to want dead.
There are two or three more MAJOR plot elements, but these few I've related are enough for me to set out what seems to be the core ethical issue here: What criteria do you use to know when to enter into a fight, especially a fight that could result in your death? Although THIS dilemma is expressed in terms of planetary warfare, those issues crop up for everyone. On one extreme, you have absolutely no stake in the outcome, and the outcome is trivial in nature. On the other extreme, you are completely invested (whether in terms of paycheck, patriotism, or family obligations, it doesn't matter), and the outcome might be as extreme as a matter of life and death. It's easy to make a decision based on the extremes, but on several occasions, the players in this drama get a much more tangled set of circumstances`.

Minor comments: There were several nicely done cultural references tossed in as little tidbits. I wanted to look at a map or globe of Planet Heinlein, and see what the other locations were named. I picked up on Coventry, but I tend to blow past names, so there may have been more nuggets I missed.

But, of ALL the characters I might have expected to crop up, NEVER would have anticipated this guy right here:
Homestar Runner

And with that, I'm done. You just CAN'T follow Homestar Runner with anything. At least, I can't.

So, this is my last review in the category 'Best Science Fiction Novel.' Of the four I read and reviewed, it really could go to any one of them. Good luck to all!

Peace be on your household.

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