Re-reading the Classics–The Helmsman

Posted: December 4, 2010 by chad98036 in Uncategorized

Monty over at Ace of Spades continues to inspire me to read with his weekly book post.  So, for another week I have thrown aside the coloring books which are my normal literary pursuit and picked up something with actual words.

This is the first book in The Helmsman series, by Bill Baldwin, which follows the adventures of Wif Ansor Brim.

Brim is the prototypical space opera hero.  Raised in the galactic slums of Carsecaria, an entire sector devoted to mining some space ore such as unobtainium or imbecilium, he has risen far above his station thru his pluck and a well developed ability as a pilot, forged on the death trap ore barges that “his kind” are relegated to.  Well that, and his love of bad poetry, which wins him the love of space Princess Margot Effer’wyck. 

What is it with these guys and bad poetry?  And this is real bad;  Vogonesce in it’s badness.  Lots of references to long thrusting lances and moist dark caves.

The story is a combination of the British military in the Napoleonic wars, and World War Two naval warfare, with the occasional ground action thrown in.  How the Imperial forces are winning is a mystery to me.  The only competence in the novel is exhibited by Brim and his 5 cohorts.  Everyone else is an absolute idiot – To the point of the Imperial army having not figured out that it’s artillery can actually kill the enemy. Somehow Brim figures out how to save the day every time.  It’s not a horrible story but it’s not very good either.

Overall I would rate this book as OK.  I didn’t feel like gouging my eyes out when I was done, but I didn’t fall down in joyful seizures either.  Read it if you think you can put up with the poetry, the made up words, and talking bears drinking vodka and hollering “Through Ice, Through Snow, To Sodeyska we go” every other page.

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