October 17, 2017

Review: First Command by A. Bertram Chandler

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The John Grimes saga is an addictive one. Spanning the worlds of the Galactic Rim, Grimes takes us on thrilling adventures of uncharted worlds. A solider, an opportunist and an all-round loveable character, Grimes is an old space hand that you can root for.

We recently had the pleasure of finishing First Command. Out in re-issue courtesy of Baen Books, First Command is a compendium of the four novelettes Spartan Planet, The Far Traveler, Big Black Mark and The Inheritors.

Fans 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 Traveler at some of his early exploits as an inter-galactic jack of all trades.

In Spartan Planet, we see the concepts of the ancient Greek military society expanded to planet-sized proportions. One of the many lost colonies of the galactic Diaspora, Sparta has survived and flourished by the extensive employment of birthing machines. But the women in Grimes’ crew are about to change all that. And naturally, Grimes finds himself caught in the middle!

In Big Black Mark, we find that John Grimes’ record isn’t a sterling one, to be sure… and this novelette goes a long way towards telling us why. But his naval career may come to an abrupt end before it’s even started, in an eerie, spacebourne recreation of the classic Mutiny on the Bounty. Grimes at his in-your-face best!

The Far Traveler is fittingly dedicated to all of the “travelers, far and wide” out there in the Universe. Grimes finds himself at the helm of the gold-plated Far Traveler in an adventure that places him betwixt a rich Baroness and a bossy ship board computer. Its one mess that Grimes didn’t count on… but we’ll be sure to enjoy!

In The Inheritors, Grimes finds himself on another lost world of the Rim Frontier with feline mutants at the hub of a thriving slave trade… keep an eye out for a hyper-intelligent disembodied canine brain being thrown into the plot mix as well, just encase things weren’t already weird enough. Lots of old space exploration history leading all the way back to Earth is sprinkled in this one as well. And heck, we just think its plain cool that there’s a planet named New Maine, complete with geographically correct references!

… and the next Grimes book for review in our queue is The John Grimes Saga IV: Ride the Star Winds (hey, we know that we’re readin’ em out of order, but we think that Grimes would find the ironic nature of our rebelliousness amusing).

The John Grimes novels are just plain fun to read… it’s awesome that Baen has finally collected them into thousand page volumes. Unfortunately, science fiction author and conceiver of the John Grimes saga A. Bertram Chandler passed away in 1984, but he left this voluminous space opera as his enduring saga. May it last long in the annuals of Sci-Fi fandom!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] The circle is now almost complete. Over the past few months, we’ve immersed ourselves in the worlds of science fiction author A. Bertram Chandler and his chief protagonist John Grimes. Followers of this space will remember our recent action-packed reviews of A. Bertram Chandler’s Galactic Courier and his outstanding saga First Command. [...]

  2. [...] brought these novels back to life. Fans of the Grimes saga and this space will recall our review of First Command, Galactic Courier, and Ride the Star Winds , also compiled and brought back to life by Baen [...]

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