Published by Pyr
Mike Resnick continues the saga of former Space Naval captain Wilson Cole and his crew on the Teddy R. in Starship: Pirate, the second of a project five book sequence. Having successfully mutinied from the Navy with the crew of the Teddy Roosevelt in the previous book, Cole and crew fancy themselves pirates. Not pirates in the traditional sense, but rather pirates in the Robin Hood sense – they’ll recover bounty from pirated starships and return the booty to the owners, at a price. Like many of the best laid plans, Cole’s don’t account for the reality of life, particularly a life which he is new and somewhat unfamiliar.
Along the way to learning what it takes to be a pirate, the Teddy R. comes into contact with a number of captivating characters. One of the first is the alien trader of stolen goods, David Copperfield. In this character, Cole finds something of a kindred spirit, both share a nostalgic joy of classic Earth literature. Another fascinating character is the 7 foot tall, red-headed pirate Val, who decides to join as a member of the Teddy R, at least until they help her get her ship back from another infamous pirate. Of course, Resnick hasn’t forgotten any of the characters from the previous novel, both the aliens and humans who serve Cole.
What makes this novel so enjoyable is the dialogue; the majority of the story is told through the words of the characters. Snappy banter between Cole and Forrice, his closest friend, Cole and Sharon, his lover, frankly between Cole and any of the characters proves entertaining. There are some omniscient narrative scenes, but most of the action and plot is relayed through the characters themselves. This allows the entire story to move along at a brisk pace, even more so with the brevity of the novel. As with Starship: Mutiny, Resnick puts a lot of story, ample amounts of action balanced with tension in a short novel. With no words wasted, the story is very entertaining. While a very character-driven story, Resnick also brings in enough action to /balance out the story.
If there is any criticism about the story it is that Wilson Cole manages to make everything work. That is, even when he gets himself in a jam, he manages to think his way out of it. This may be a turn-off to some, but Cole does come across as a larger than life character throughout, almost in a mythical sense. With the two of five project Starship novels published, Resnick is building a nice, thoroughly entertaining Space Opera.
© 2007 Rob H. Bedford