December 12, 2017

Review: Galactic Courier by A. Bertram Chandler

Out now from Baen Books!

Traverse the worlds of the Galactic Rim lightly, and carry a big laser cannon. Those might be the words of wisdom of starship captain and all-round opportunist John Grimes in this week’s latest science fiction review.

Galactic Courier is a magnum opus by A. Bertram Chandler out from Baen Books that covers no less than four novels in the Commodore Grimes saga; Star Loot (1980), Matilda’s Stepchildren (1979), To Keep the Ship (1978) and of course,  Star Courier (1977).

Grimes has been a character both in name and action in the Rim Worlds sagas written by Chandler since the 1960s. You see such Horatio Hornblower-type characters popup in science fiction from time to time, from Bertram’s Grimes to the respective captains of Kirk and Picard in the Star Trek franchise.

Fans of the saga will be excited to see all four classic novels in one collection for the first time. The worlds, cultures and intergalactic political intrigue is laid out all in meticulous detail in a way that only A. Bertram Chandler can deliver. Hey, there’s even a planet named New Maine, how cool is that? We can only hope that our High School alma mater of Presque Isle gets an honorable mention somewhere on surface of the planet…

The naming of the starships with such titles as the Epsilon Draconis and the like was a nice touch as well. Its always good to see some real life astronomical stars get some play. In the case of Grimes’ own ship the Little Sister, much of the novelette To Keep the Ship deals with its loss and Grimes’ attempts to win it back.   Perhaps the Little Sister could make its way into the realms of the great starships in science fiction along with the Millennium Falcon and the U.S.S. Enterprise of Star Wars and Star Trek fame?

The cargo that Grimes and crew must transport often serve as a focal jumping off point for the story. Whether it is postmistress Tamara Haverstock or a scandal reporter headed to New Venusburg or getting caught up in the latest planetary insurrection, we often find Grimes caught up as the unwilling hero in the middle of the maelstrom. A jack of all trades, his previous skills serve him well, having done time in the military, traveled the span of the galaxy and more. Grimes even alludes to those early days, echoing the familiar sediment from officer training school of “If it moves, salute it; if it doesn’t, polish it.” Perhaps there’s room for some prequels in the saga?

We see the span of the Galactic Rim worlds through Grimes’s adventures in a universe as compelling as Frank Herbert’s’ Dune saga or Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series. The worlds of the Galactic Rim and Galactic Courier wouldn’t make a half-bad movie series, if anyone ever wanted to pick up the project. Hey, I’m just sayin’.

Next Week: We head on into the world of the Iron Kingdoms Chronicles with In Thunder Forged: The Fall of Llael Book One by Ari Marmell out next month from Pyr Books!

 

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  1. [...] of this space will remember our recent review of Galactic Courier, Book 3 in the John Grimes saga. With Volume 2, we take a look back before he lost the ship The Far [...]

  2. [...] Followers of this space will remember our recent action-packed reviews of A. Bertram Chandler’s Galactic Courier and his outstanding saga First [...]

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