February 22, 2020

Friday Review: Ride the Star Winds by A. Bertram Chandler

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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.

These are massive volumes, each comprising several original novels. This week, we finished the fourth compendium in the series, entitled Ride the Star Winds. Out from Baen Books, this only leaves the 1st volume of To the Galactic Rim for us to read.

Grimes is definitely a self-made man, a far-ranging character about the galaxy. From captain to entrepreneur to explorer to planetary governor, Grimes has done it all… just don’t call him a pirate. As he’ll soon promptly correct you, he’s a privateer, thank you very much!

Ride the Star Winds contains four full length novels, plus a series of shorter Grimes-based novelettes, all under one cover for the first time:

In the Anarch Lords, Grimes finds himself as the reluctant governor of a backwater Rim World. But things turn from bad to worse as Grimes and crew must flee and escape from an assassination attempt of intergalactic proportions. A politician, he’s not!

In The Last Amazon, Grimes returns to the all-male planet of New Sparta and back to what he’s best at; captaining a starship. But where there’s an all-male planet, can an all-female one be far off? Grimes also picks up some of his most enduring characters on this particular quest.

In The Wild Ones, Grimes and his crew are granted shore leave planet-side, where the predictable hi-jinks ensue. Things take a turn for the worse, however, when the crew is accused of witchcraft and charged under the archaic local laws. Throw in a newly discovered exotic alien species, and you’ve got the prescription for a tale that only Grimes could find himself in the middle of.

In the final novelette entitled Catch the Star Winds, Grimes captains a bizarre time-ship in the best tradition of steampunk dirigibles. Their cargo: only an anti-matter core taken from the exotic realms of the antimatter worlds of the Rim Colonies, no biggie. A mind-bending finale to a great series! Alert: there is a Book V!

Ride the Star Winds also contains the fine novelettes On the Account, The Dutchman, The Last Hunt, and Rim Change. The Last Hunt was a particularly engaging tale, as a big game customer goes after the ultimate in intergalactic prey. And of course, Grimes is along for the ride!

I love how the saga juxtaposes the mariners and explorers of yore onto the futuristic realms of deep space. These tales are bigger than life, the kind that you would expect to hear retold with ever greater embellishments in the dark corners of spacer bars. We may just have to search out Volume One now. Be sure to check out the Grimes saga, you’ll be glad you took a ride of the star winds!


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