‘Guardian’, J. Campbell

Jack Campbell is back with Admiral Geary and they’re ready. Ready to get back to the Alliance, and ready to make things happen there. Only problem is, there’s difficulties about. Because, after all, if one is a near-superhuman mythical hero of the country, what else do politicians of every space-faring civilization do than think of ways to make one’s life more troublesome?

‘Guardian’ was the first Lost Fleet series book I read on paperback (‘Tarnished Knight’ does not count coming from a different series), so I am afraid we’ll have to do without the quotes I’ve previously provided as background for this series. This book was out mid-May, and I picked it up nearly as soon as it hit the local Waterstones. The first read was fast, and I quite enjoyed it. The setting was kept the same familiar military science fiction in space that I had come to expect, and that was for the better, for the author had a story to weave forward.

In a way, I get the feeling that Mr Campbell does not know what to do with Admiral Geary. He’s here, he’s there. No one wants him around, and the Admiral himself doesn’t know where he fits into this situation for he has been trained in the time honoured fashion of following orders and not making every situation worse (I’m afraid he’s not a Marine). But this specific problem was not the cornerstone on ‘Guardian’, and I think that the questions the author posed make for a far more interesting case to look into.

Namely, the latest installment does make for a very interesting point with regards to appearances. And, yes, I do realize that very many of my recent reviews have touched upon appearances and how maybe all is not how it seems. It would appear that I am seeing similar themes in many writers’ works, but that might just be me making it up as I go along.

But, then again, it could not. I think that the one way for any reader to decide upon that is to read the Lost Fleet and see how far Beyond the Frontier ‘Guardian’ takes us. It takes us closer home than we’ve ever been before, but is it a visit home that we actually dare contemplate? What is the desecration of Earth? And, can it be that the aliens that look so inhuman are in effect… more human than humans?

I think that’s the question that was meant to be asked by this volume: the borders of humanity and when do humans turn alien onto themselves. And as a last bombshell, what would be the action that someone would have to take towards us so that we would recognize them as superior to ourselves on a moral level (not-withstanding whether they actually want us to recognize them as moral superiors)?

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