Starship: Mutiny is the first book in Mike Resnick’s Starship series, a Military SF series with larger than life characters and a plot that begs you to keep on reading. I initially read this book a few years back and thoroughly enjoyed it, and since it’s been a while since the review appeared on the blog I thought I’d polish it up and re-post it.
It’s 3000 years into the future and the Republic are locked in a war against the Teroni Federation, an equally powerful starfaring society. Wilson Cole is a hero to the Republic citizens for winning battles that seemed unwinnable, and often not according to the orders he was given. The Republic Navy doesn’t see him in this light, despite awarding him some of the highest medals it can, preferring to assign him to a ship full of misfits and sending them out to a remote cluster in the hope that he’ll be out of the spotlight. As is typical when Cole is in the frame, things don’t quite go according to plan…
Seeing as this book (actually, the whole series) follows Wilson Cole, let’s have a look at the unwanted hero that the Navy has in its ranks. He’s extremely intelligent, but has won battles by ignoring orders from his superiors, been demoted from Captain twice and now finds himself as the second officer on a ship of misfits. In fact, Wilson Cole is the sort of soldier that any Navy should be proud to have and his reasoning and tactics are second to none when he commands his ships, but disobeying orders doesn’t earn him and friends in the higher command ranks.
We pick up Wilson’s story as he joins the Theodore Roosevelt, one of the older ships in the fleet, and they are sent to an unimportant star cluster to keep them out of the way. The crew lack discipline, the captain does not care, and Wilson finds himself at a loss to their attitude. His first impressions on the captain, a human, and first officer, a podok, don’t do much to help his cause on the Teddy R and it isn’t long before he’s hauled up by the captain about following orders to the letter and at loggerheads with the first officer over his decisions while in command during his shift.
This is a fairly short novel, but covers a lot of story and plenty of action. Resnick has a great skill at storytelling and I found myself in love with the setting he’s created and enjoying the characters very much indeed. I get their motivations, their personalities and their actions – even the ones I dislike because of those traits. The plot moves quickly and fluidly and the conversations between the cast helping the pace to great amounts. There is plenty of action and the setting up and world building is done remarkably well in such a short page count.
Suffice to say that not everything goes according to plan in Starship: Mutiny, but that’s where the enjoyment stems from. I want to know what is going to happen at the end of every chapter and often found myself continuing with the story for this very reason alone. Starship: Mutiny is a page turner, there is no other way to describe it.
If you love your Space Opera and Military SF then this is a novel you really need to read. If you’re anything like me you’ll blast through it and be left very much wanting to read the sequel, Starship: Pirate.