Impulse by Dave Bara

Impulse is book one of the “Lightship Chronicles”in which a scenario of the “present” and back history will be gradually laid down. In this universe “Historians” from Earth aid the “Union” who have previously fought the “Empire” and apparently will start again. Lieut. Peter Cochrane, son of the Grand Admiral, Quantar Royal Navy (i.e. Union) is our narrator. He has very recently joined the Space side but is (tiresomely) capable of doing everything and is heavily involved in every action – and there will be a lot of that – critical moments, time defying dangers, fighting etc.

I confess I am not a great sci-fi buff. But as a reader I would be looking for a good story line, believable characterisation and perhaps something eye opening about a future that I suspect should be different. But this novel failed to deliver on all counts. If this was the basis for a film – with good special effects, lots of action and big bangs – then it might just pass muster; but as a book I found it immensely tiresome.

Setting aside the issue of whether incipient war and lots of fighting is worth reading about, a key issue must be addressed. As a woman of a certain age – ie grown up – the casual sexism and silly presentation of the female characters was bad enough; but introducing trite dialogue into battle actions spoiled those too. Cochrane is the narrator and there is a lot of dialogue, it therefore needs a point – it is often ill-timed and hard to believe in either a “professional” setting or off duty. Yes, build characters, but not like this. One plus, as the novel develops the backdrop is deepened, albeit the information is dropped in at very strange times. But the technology is not enthralling. So there is nothing that would encourage me to read the next in the series.

Hilary White
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Impulse by Dave Bara
9780091956417|Del Rey pbk


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