Hammerhead Redux

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[I apologize for fewer and shorter posts, but it is National Novel Writer’s Month, and I am competing.  You can follow my progress under the title Brucifer Maximus at http://www.nanowrimo.org.]

If you are a fan of military sci-fi, you could do worse than to catch up on the Hammerhead series by Jason Andrew Bond.  I read Hammerhead earlier in the year, and recently got through Hammerhead Resurrection, which is one of the more daring sequels that I have come across in a long time.

Mr. Bond is a solid middle-of-the-road writer.  He commits no grammatical felonies, nor is his prose so crisp that you will stop and admire a sentence.  He gets down to the business of telling stories, and he tends to tell a relatively good one.  Neither of the two books I’ve read from him break any new ground in terms of literature.  I can think of half a dozen or more iterations of the same story formula for each of them.

What makes Hammerhead Resurrection worthy of note is that Mr. Bond’s second book in a series expands on background details from the original story and goes off in an entirely different sub-genre.  Hammerhead is a straight-up chase story, with a bigger-than-life hero on the move against an oppressive and dangerous Them.

Hammerhead Resurrection is a ships-and-fighters hard core military story about an alien invasion of the solar system.  There are fleet battles, suped-up starfighters, pilot interactions, and logistical problems involved.

I enjoyed both stories enough to give Mr. Bond my patronage when his next book in the series comes out, but I am more impressed with the broad talent that lets him switch story styles like this.  There are comparatively few authors who keep the same set of characters and tell a different kind of story with them.  The list of those I would follow afterwards is even shorter.  Mr. Bond might not be flashy in terms of prose or characterization, but his books are reasonably priced, quick, and mostly enjoyable.

For the medieval Lutheran take on Hammerhead Resurrection, I am generally saddened by the ongoing lack of any meaningful faith in military science fiction, and Mr. Bond goes with the predominant flow on this as well.  My father is a WWII veteran and an Iwo Jima survivor, and I have met few people with such profoundly expressed faith as the Marines and Sailors in that group.  Yet, somehow, the military enthusiasts who constitute the dominant source of military sci-fi put the modern sensibility that religion is largely useless in the mouths of plots straight out of the Greatest Generation.  Folks, from the Napoleonic wars to World War II, if you scratch even remotely at the surface of the culture, I would point out that the times of greatest crisis are the times when greatest faith pervades a culture.  The Greatest Generation had church as the center of their culture.  The Napoleonic wars, at least on the British side, were so steeped in Christian ideas that only Mutiny and treason joined homosexual activity as a death penalty in the Royal Navy.  Mr. Bond’s fiction is fine, and I enjoyed it.  I enjoyed the Honor Harrington series, despite the fact that everyone talks about God but no one has a problem with adultery and many other godless ways, unless they’re bad guys or obstacles.  I’m still waiting for someone to take the enjoyable themes of Mr. Bond and Mr. Weber and infuse them with real faith.

Until that writer comes along, check out Hammerhead and Hammerhead Resurrection by Jason Andrew Bond.  It’s steady, mainstream military science fiction with decent characterization and a few technological twists that I enjoyed.

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