March 29, 2020

Review: Starship:Rebel By Mike Resnick.

Ah… everyone wants to pen the next great space opera these days. From Star Wars to Dune spin-offs, the market is rife with sagas vying to be the next big hit. Starship: Rebel by Mike Resnick from Pyr Books is the latest installment (book four, to be precise) in the Republic/Wilson Cole saga. I must confess, I haven’t read the first three, but I found Rebel easy enough to pick up on. Other than a short story or two, I also believe that this is the first full-length Resnick I’ve read. Fairly amazing, you might say, because of the accolades he’s received…

Rebel is a highly readable tale of mutiny, intrigue, and intergalactic war. The ship is the Theodore Roosevelt (will it join the Millennium Falcon and the Enterprise in the ranks of great ships in Sci-Fi?), the place is primarily Singapore Station in the Inner Frontier of the galaxy, and the setting is a band of mercenaries caught amid a war between the dreaded Republic and the Teroni Federation.

Some pluses to this book; its a fast paced read, just the type of action adventure you might want to “bring to the beach…” Never heavy on existentialism, Rebel delivers the goods. Laser blasts fly. Skilled space-ship captains are torn by dilemmas loyalty and duty. Aliens are suitably slimy and multi-tentacled, the way classic sci-fi meant them to be. One can almost see the buxom-ed damsel in distress on the retro-movie poster. A nod is definitely given to military sci-fi of yore, such as Heinlein’s Starship Troopers. The author even devotes a chapter to this sub-sub-genre towards the back, as well as his open disdain for the movie adaptation. (Hear, hear! Astroguyz seconds the motion!)


Another cool perk is the charts and diagrams in the appendixes toward the back. Here you’ll find schematics of such things as Singapore Station and the chronology of Resnick’s Birthright Universe. This is handy, especially for us late comers. How ’bout some more action on the methane deck? Or a map of the current state of the galaxy, say, depicting the territories of the Inner Frontier, Republic, etc. for us astro-geeks?

OK, now for the down side. I’ll be gentle, as I did have fun with this book. One of my prime beefs is that, well, we’ve been here before. Hyperspace, laser battles, ships with convenient fly-in-the-face of physics gravity… not much new or innovative is presented. Its as if this was dressed up in anticipation of a big screen adaptation… is there really only so many ways that writers can get around the light-speed thing? This is a shame, as a few minor touches could have lead to an innovative piece! The tension primarily hangs with the fact that Wilson is trying the raise a rag-tag force to be reckoned with around the Inner Frontier, and the savagery of the Republic is briefly exposed during some of their more savage inter-planetary raids. One of the most interesting and unique characters is Valerie, the warrior maiden (think Xena turned space princess) any spin-offs of her adventures in the offing, I wonder?

Read Starship:Rebel if you’re in the mood for a good shoot ‘em up space opera…but I don’t think the Lucasfilm franchise should feel threatened just yet. Will we hunt down the other novels in the series? Maybe, if they fall in our lap. But Starship: Rebel does fulfill the role of adding its own distinctiveness to the pantheon of military science fiction!


  1. Great review and site! Glad if found your blog. Check out my first and recently released novel, Long Journey to Rneadal. This exciting tale is a romantic action adventure in space and is more about the characters than the technology.


  1. [...] it’s a shame to see it end! Fans of this site will remember the luke-warm reception we gave Starship:Rebel a few months back; much of what we said still applies to Flagship. Laser blasts fly, warp engines [...]

  2. [...]    This week, steam punk goes west in our review of The Buntline Special by Mike Resnick. Out last month from Pyr Books, Buntline takes us to the environs of Tombstone, Arizona in the 1880’s in a weird west tale that melds alternate history with fantasy. Fans of this space will remember Mr. Resnick as he of the Starship Rebel series fame. [...]

  3. [...] of, Mike Resnick. Fans of this space will recall our reviews of his Starship space opera series, Starship: Rebel & Starship: Flagship. Mr. Resnick’s latest offering, Dog in The Manger sees Cincinnati Private [...]

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