Wednesday, 6 November 2013

'Ships of My Fathers' by Dan Thompson - review

I recently asked over on Google Plus for recommendations for an 'indie' self-published science fiction book to read. I had various suggestions, several of which I intend to have a go at, but the one that most attracted me was this book, 'Ships of My Fathers' by Dan Thompson, which was recommended by Nathan Lowell (who himself is a quite well established self-published author I've now realised, and his books look rather good so you'll be hearing more from me about his books before long I think). Incidentally, the title may seem a bit of a strange one (too many plurals?), but a couple of chapters in and it makes perfect sense! Before I get into the review, my biggest reservation about self published books is the editing - other books I've experienced have been shocking, lots of spelling mistakes, grammatical errors etc. This book has none of those. It reads completely like a book published by a major publisher. Congrats to the author and their copyeditor, you've restored my faith in self-published indie books!

Michael Fletcher worked on his father's starship when, aged 17, he was suddenly orphaned after his father died in an accident. His father left him his starship, but he can't captain it until he's turned 18 and been able to pass his captain's his exam. Unfortunately, he learns that he was adopted, until he turns 18 he is under the guardianship of an Uncle he didn't know he had, and there are family secrets that need to be uncovered...

The story is a relatively simple one of family secrets, space travel and a little bit of piracy. It doesn't bore you with tonnes of descriptions, biographies, historical backplot etc, instead getting right down to the story. One thing I really liked though is that it goes into a lot more detail (without becoming boring) about life on board a starship, how it works and what people's jobs are. There's also quite a bit about how starships travel faster than light - it covers this much better than most sci-fi books which just stick with 'go to warp speed'... I was curious to know more about

The book is approximately 300 pages, and is the first in a planned series. The storyline in this book comes to a satisfactory conclusion so you don't need to read any more books, but there's enough unresolved plot hooks in there to make you want to read more. The quality of the writing (and editing) is very good - the book really flows, and there are no silly errors or clumsy writing to jar you out of the story.

Have now looked at Dan Thompson's other book, 'Beneath the Sky' the story of which is really, really interesting. A generation ship travelling for hundreds of years to the nearest star gets overtaken by a faster than light ship. What will be waiting for them when they reach their destination. Billed as being like the pilgrims on the Mayflower journeying to the new world, only to land in modern day Boston. Definitely high on my to be read list!