The strategy was simple, and, I guess, logical… if we could afford the losses. Let the Bugs come up.
Meet them and kill them on the surface. Let them keep on coming up. Don’t bomb their holes, don’t gas their holes — let them out. After a while — a day, two days, a week if we really did have overwhelming force, they would stop coming up. Planning Staff estimated (don’t ask me how!) that the Bugs would expend 70 per cent to 90 per cent of their warriors before they stopped trying to drive us off the surface.
The book by Robert Heinlein was written in 1959, but it still has a futuristic flavour. It tells the story of the war with the Bugs, an arachnid-like alien species, sometime in the future of humankind.
It uses a first-person narrative to follow the tale of a soldier, gradually increasing in ranking, as the war progresses. Much of the book is taking place during his military training, which gives the opportunity to discuss many political ideas.
The book basically started the military scifi genre. It has numerous ideas very advanced for their time: racial diversity, starship drives, power suits.
The first movie (1997) is quite different than the book, more action-packed and less intellectually engaging.
Overall, the novel offers an immersive lecture and an interesting storyline, where the author uses the background of war and the progress of a space marine to propose some political ideas.
“The Spirit of Confederation reports she is taking very heavy fire, Admiral,” Hughes told him. “Damage to aft shields, damage to primary broadside weapons, damage to two of three hab modules. Fire control is down.”
Koenig was watching the Confederation‘s struggle on a secondary tactical display, which was relaying the camera view from a battle drone pacing the retreating ships. Straight-edged patches of blackness kept popping on and off along the battleship’s length, responding to incoming fire. One set of aft shields was flickering on and off alarmingly, threatening complete failure. Several sections of her long, thin hull had been wreaked by energies leaking through the shields. The damage was severe, but she continued to fire back.
Earth Strike is the first part of the trilogy Star Carrier, by Ian Douglas. The book presents the war between humans and an alien species, some 400 years from now. The mysterious aliens have the upper hand in technology and intelligence, but humans have some stunning come-backs.
Ian Douglas presents two episodes of this war, following three main characters: Lieutenant Trevor Grey, pilot of a Starhawk (kind of fight plane in space), Commander Marissa Allyn, the wing leader and Admiral Alexander Koenig, commanding America, a large starship, equivalent of a carrier.
Their narratives interweave with the star carrier and the fight against the aliens, offering three different perspectives of the war. Koenig’s story presents a hawk’s eye vision, the grand scale of the war; Allyn’s plot is more tactical, allowing chapters busting with fast paced action; while Grey’s inner demons and questions beautifully describe the situation from the common man’s perspective.
The stories intertwine flawlessly, the pace of the plot is just right, the questions don’t seem out of the ordinary and the plot is believable and progresses entertainingly. The book doesn’t have the impressive science background of books such as Seveneves or Aurora, but as a military scifi, is full of action and credible.
There is no wonder that the book by Ian Douglas was well-received by readers and fans of the genre. It is sometimes rough on the edges, but it keeps the reader entertained and wondering what will happen next. A good piece of writing.