Book Review – Admiral Who? by Luke Skywachter
The Montagne family is the default scapegoat for both Parliamentarians and Royalists, so when young Jason Montagne finds himself suddenly put in charge of the Sector Defense Forces ship Lucky Clover after the Imperials abandon the sector, he expects he’ll be quickly deposed. The fact that he is in no way qualified to be a fleet admiral only supports this fear.
This humorous space opera is a Galaxy Quest style Star Trek exaggeration. Admiral Montagne is even more reckless and lucky than Captain Kirk, and there is a curmudgeonly Chief Engineer who can outdo Scotty when it comes to starship engineering miracles. There are sexy female aliens, gruesome monster aliens, and humans both devious and trustworthy.
This book is a fast-paced romp from one complication for young Admiral Montagne and the crew of the Lucky Clover to another. These challenges are met by good luck, fortuitous misunderstanding, or serendipitous discovery. It’s actually quite fun.
On the other hand, there are flaws. The political situation with the Montagne family is revealed slowly and is never entirely clear, which makes the attitudes of the Admiral’s opponents and his paranoia seem forced for the sake of the plot. The Lucky Clover battleship seems to grow larger as the story progresses. Items such as functional weapons and armor seem to be found just when they are needed, although it was implied that such things did not exist, and they are incorporated unbelievably fast, even for an engineering miracle-worker. This, of course, is par for pulp sci-fi and happened often in Star Trek, so it is acceptable for a parody such as this.
The biggest problem with the book is the lack of editing. It reads like a good first draft of a novel with all the misspellings, typos, repetitions, misplaced or missing words, bits of rough prose, and format errors still there. It’s an enjoyable story with fun characters, but it needs a good amount of work before it’s ready for publication.
If you like humorous space opera (e.g. Robert Asprin, Harry Harrison, Grant Naylor) and if you can pick this up for 99¢ or, even better, during a free promotion as I did, do so. The story is enjoyable as it is. It promises to be a very good book after some minor revision and a few rounds of editing.