Wednesday, 13 April 2016
My Other Car is a Spaceship - Mark Terence Chapman
Title: My Other Car is a Spaceship
Author: Mark Terence Chapman
Genre: Science Fiction
“My Other Car is a Spaceship” by Mark Terence Chapman is a book which caught my eye due to the various declarations I saw on Amazon stating that it was a #1 best seller in the Military Sci-Fi category. I have to admit that after finishing the book I found it to be rather average and how it made it to #1 on any list surprises me; I can only assume that there has been some amazing marketing going on behind the scenes.
The plot follows Hal Nellis, a retired air force pilot who finds himself unexpectedly plucked from Earth in order to help the Merchants' Unity, a form of intergalactic police force who are fighting various pirates t are determined to pillage Earth and other similar backwater worlds. For years these pirates have worked independently which has enabled the Unity to keep them at bay, but now a new united pirate force is emerging and Hal soon finds himself taking a pivotal role in a war which risks the stability of the entire region.
As I stated in my first paragraph, the novel isn’t bad, it is just a rather standard light military science fiction adventure. The writing is adequate without being stunning and the plot line is reasonably coherent although the author does sometimes skip over sections which I would have been interested in actually seeing. For example, when Hal learns about that spaceships, aliens and the wider Universe it is over far too quickly. In my opinion this was a chance to really start expanding the characters and the world in which they were inhabiting but the author just decides to skim over it and move onto something else in the story. This sets the tone for the entire novel as the characters on the whole are rather one-dimensional due to the author spending more time on moving the adventure forward than on their development.
The only major negative I had with the book was in regards to the Science. Now, I understand that this is a rather light and adventurous Science Fiction novel but I do expect at least some level of understanding some fundamental principles. For example, an important plot point in the novel involves a concussive shock wave propagating through space, which of course is impossible as space is a vacuum. Maybe this is just my Physics background coming to the fore but I did this and a few other basic errors in the Science were a bit annoying.
Overall, this is a rather light Science Fiction adventure story which is reasonably enjoyable but isn’t anything special. It is fun enough to stick with right to the end, but the weak characters and failings in fundamental physics just let it down in my opinion. If you are after a book to just quickly read without thinking much then you should be happy enough, but if you are after a complex and deep Space Opera then this probably isn’t for you.