Top critical review
A parable of modern times?
on 16 January 2013
The three stars is an overall judgement of the entire three-book series, and I think it's fitting that they be reviewed like that. To me, the series starts off well, maintains the momentum in the second book and finishes off rather lamely (I'll say no more than that in order not to give anything away).
The story is of mutiny in the US Army on the Moon, pushed too far by commanders caring only of their own futures, with Sgt. Ethan Stark reluctantly forced into military leadership. How he handles this against the combined enmity of the other nations on the Moon and the US Administration back on Earth, and copes with the equally rebellious but suspicious Moon civilian colonists, forms the story of the books. The story is in general quite well told, with Stark, with an enormous burden of major command on his unprepared shoulders, trying to cope and to grope towards a future the nature of which he's totally uncertain, even if he wins. The dialogue is occasionally repetitive and we really don't need so many Spanish words sprinkled into it.
What I really liked is the portrayal of a government totally in the pay of major corporations (like the current US Republican Party) and the total divorce of these people - government, military and corporate - from the everyday concerns of ordinary folk/soldiers, and the ability of those on high to live in an alternative reality that, in their view, will always perform exactly according to their rules, like the Bush (Dubya) Administration and its attempted remaking of reality to suit particular political/commercial ends. And it comes complete with suitable jargon to bolster this perceived reality (Mr. Campbell produces some lovely examples, frighteningly not that far removed from the sort of garbage routinely churned out by company upper managements). However, as Helmut von Moltke famously said, battle plans rarely survive first contact with the enemy, and so it is here, with these US soldiers thrown into battle on the Moon, micromanaged on the one hand but the realities of their plight ignored on the other; the plan shouldn't go wrong, therefore it doesn't/didn't/won't.
So, overall, an undemanding, entertaining read, not on a par with Mr. Campbell's Lost Fleet series, but not bad.