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Dale Brown

William Morrow
May 27, 2014 / ISBN 9780062262394
Military Thriller

Reviewed by Elise Cooper


Dale Brown's latest book Starfire is a thriller that combines technology with military strategies. The technology definitely takes over the plot and is a character in itself. He explores the issues of militarizing space that will start an arms race and how space can be used for industrial purposes.

Since this plot is heavy on science and technology readers will be presented with many realistic advances of space exploration. "Starfire" is the invention of Bradley McLanahan and his team of engineers. They hope it will become the world's first orbiting solar power plant to deliver unlimited and inexpensive electricity anywhere on planet Earth, to the moon, and even to spacecraft and asteroids. It's a crucial first step in the exploration of the solar system, and Bradley and his team are on the cutting edge. There is also CID, a robotic suit a la Darth Vader, which is able to keep a character alive and self-sufficient. In addition the story includes space weapons and vehicles that will result in a new "space cold war."

The theme of the book involves a new "Space Cold War" where Brown wants to show the importance of space domination. The plot shows the need for the US to maintain its super power status by aggressively accessing space. Readers are able to gain insight on the dangers the US is facing by downsizing and basically eliminating the space program. Currently the only way the US can get into space is through its dependency on Russia: American Astronauts must hitch a ride. A great analogy in the book compares the WWII Pacific Seas battlefield to the next battlefield of space.

One of the most interesting issues explored in the book is having his President Kenneth Phoenix travel into space, essentially becoming an astronaut. The book shows the two points of view. Those who think it is cool to have a US President travel into space and respect his extraordinary courage. This is contrasted with those who think it is a stupid and reckless move done only for grandstanding purposes. The author saw it as a necessary step to drive home the point that having a space program is important for America's national security. In the book, Brown compares it to a sitting President who took "the first ocean-liner voyage, or the first ride in a locomotive, or a car, or an airplane. We've been flying in space for decades…"

His next book will also involve robotic machines that can be used as flying machines. He gave a heads-up to exploring the issue of unmanned aircraft and how the human element will eventually be taken out of war. Questions he hopes his readers will ask: will using robots increase the risk of going to war? And should these weapons be banned since they will become so deadly, accurate and unfeeling?

He gave his email address (, because he wants readers to let him know what they thought of the plot and the characters in Starfire. He hopes to hear from them regarding the technology presented in this book. What readers will definitely be able to tell him is he presents a very good point for renewing the space program.

Reviewed 2014