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Alien Death Fleet
Book One of the Star Frontier Trilogy

by Robert E. Vardeman

      Robert E. Vardeman got his start in science fiction writing by publishing in fanzines. Much of his work grew from his solid background in science, having worked in the Solid State Physics Research Department at Sandia National Laboratories. He quickly developed a following for his "Weapons of Chaos," "Biowarriors," and "Masters of Space" series. He has also written numerous science fantasy novels, high tech action books, fantasy series, a couple of Star Trek novels, and a few westerns.

The "Star Frontier Trilogy," of which Alien Death Fleet is the inaugural story, were written initially almost two decades ago. Due to glitches with the original publisher, only the first novel ever saw print and the entire trilogy was lost for years. Zumaya Publications snapped up the series and released Alien Death Fleet this year.

Vardeman himself clearly calls the "Star Frontier Trilogy" a space opera. And that, indeed, it is. In the vein of the pulps of the early years of science fiction, Vardeman has crafted an action-oriented tale of invasion by a mysterious alien armada bent on killing all life on planets and then efficiently mining all of their available resources. This advanced race has appeared on the outer colonies and has systematically razed planet after planet. Pier Norlin, a bored science observer, picks up a distress signal from a small craft whose occupants had witnessed one of the first attacks by the Death Fleet. Norlin then begins a quest to convince the rest of the known galaxy that they are in imminent danger. Finding himself as captain of a major vessel of the Empireís Fleet (because heís the only pilot left), he sets out with an improbable crew to deliver the message to military leadership who can mount an effective defense.

As the adventure unfolds, Vardeman describes colorful battles based less on military science than on creative cobbling together of wild schemes and brass. His characters include Norlin, who grows considerably during the story, and gutsy engineer Tia Barse, who would make Star Trekís Engineer Scott pale and then smile at her inventiveness.

I had a great time reading this novel and canít wait to find out what happens to Norlin and the known universe in the final two volumes, The Genetic Menace and Black Nebula. I commend Zumaya Publications for reviving this series and bringing it to old and new science fiction fans.

The Book

Zumaya Otherworlds
March 21, 2008
Trade Paperback
1934135836 / 978-1934135839
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The Reviewer

Janie Franz
Reviewed 2008
NOTE: Reviewer Janie Franz is the author of Freelance Writing: Itís a Business, Stupid!and co-author of The Ultimate Wedding Reception Book and The Ultimate Wedding Ceremony Book.
© 2008