The Lost Fleet 1 by Raymond L. Weil

I picked this up at an Audible sale recently, always looking for new and interesting sci fi series. Unfortunately, I could not get into this first book in a new series (and part of a larger collective). The writing is fairly simplistic, with the usual gender bias so rampant in this genre (men are men but woman are ‘girls’, girls cry a lot or spend time in front of mirrors making sure they are still trim and fit for when their men return from space). Sadly, this was coupled with an audio narration that only exacerbated uninspired writing – warning signs go up when a captain switches from sounding like William Shatner in full Star Trek glory to an effette British noble. Let’s not get into the girly-girl voices.

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Story: while Earth puts together a rescue mission to find the Lost Fleet, the individuals in the Lost Fleet themselves find themselves in an uncharted part of space – with a very new and hostile alien threat. The AIs and humans will have to forge an uneasy alliance if they hope to survive this new threat.

This is the type of writing that makes my teeth hurt from grinding them. Most characters say really stupid things just to begin an exposition of the situation. It’s so silly because someone in that situation isn’t going to state the obvious over and over again just so that someone else can start ‘discussing’ the plot. Take this example: the woman chosen to lead the rescue mission is a Rear Admiral in her own right and highly skilled. So her father, also an admiral, comes to her to say in concern, “Catherine, this will be a dangerous mission.” (Thank you, Admiral obvious!). And then adding in helpful points such as, “you may never return.” Because, yes, when a crew volunteers to go on a mission into unknown territory where a whole other fleet has disappeared, it’s important to remind someone of these points, last minute, right before they leave, and after HE assigned her the mission. I know it’s meant to show paternal love – but ugh.

There is a lot of old fashioned sexism in here – I don’t believe the author even realized it, though. The ‘girls’ are always on the verge of tears when thinking about their missing husbands – I defy you to find one guy mourning his wife in the same way. And the ‘girls’ tend to get clumped together, always seeming to be attached at the hips. Because, yes, women cluck and cluster like hens whereas men are lone wolves in their determination and resolve.

There were several plot and character issues I just couldn’t get past to enjoy the story. The unfortunate narration didn’t help matters, either. The narrator has a great voice but the acting skills were painful and accents/dialogue either cliched or derisive.

At heart, this is a story about good people trying to survive in a harsh modern milieu. The characters are likable in their everyman simplicity and I am sure they will appeal to many. For me, I always look for a science fiction that feels like the future – and not like a 2010s version of the future as written by someone who grew up in the 1960s.

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