January 2, 2020
MarkBernstein.org
 
Follow me on Twitter

Constitution

by Nick Webb

An aging, insubordinate commander takes charge of an aged battlewagon that shortly is to be turned into a museum. Suddenly, interstellar war breaks out, and the evil aliens have an answer for everything except our old ship’s outmoded technology. A brave crew, a drunken but loyal executive officer, a deadly illness and a talented political commissar round out the central cast.

There’s something to like here, but the plot is standard American military SF and the cast, if not plagiarized, takes fan fiction to an extreme. The alcoholic executive officer is particularly jarring because our hero-commander cannot afford to have a bad XO and has had a decade to find his old friend a comfortable retirement.

Why, moreover, are we rehashing the arguments of 1942 about the survivability of battleships vs. the reach of aircraft carriers? That’s been settled for nearly three generations, now. Rickover, Spruance, Nimitz, Halsey: they’re all sleeping on the hill.