SGJ Podcast #54: How to Lose a Fleet with John Hemry (Without Even Trying! ;)

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16 Responses

  1. zeraan says:

    Wow, never heard of this series. I’ll have to check it out!

  2. Kelly says:

    Wow, I really enjoyed this episode, despite it being only tangentially related to space games. As much as I love listening to Brian & Jim, the best episodes are the ones with a really interesting guest.

    I had heard of the Lost Fleet series, but never read any of it. I’ve added Dauntless to my Kindle queue and am looking forward to reading it.

    I was a little surprised that Honor Harrington never came up in the conversation (although Horatio Hornblower did). I enjoyed the first several books in the Honor series, but as the series went on it felt like Honor had to become so over-the-top powerful that I lost interest. The conversation about Lost Fleet started heading in that direction, but never quite got there.

    It was funny to hear Rules of Engagement mentioned, about a half-hour after I was thinking that your discussions of light-speed delay reminded me of it.

    • Brian Rubin says:

      The great thing about John Geary is how fallible he can be, which is one of the reasons the series is so appealing. I’ve only read some of the first Honor Harrington book and…I dunno, it’s not clicked with me, surprisingly.

      • Kelly says:

        One other thing I wanted to mention – at some point during the podcast you guys were discussing the “magic” of energy shields.

        I had always wanted to see a game system implement shields (and possibly FTL travel) like in the Niven/Pournelle novel The Mote in God’s Eye. They had the concept of a Langston Field, which was a shield that absorbed attack energy but had to re-radiate it eventually. Apparently this was taken from an earlier series of Pournelle novels which I have not (yet) read.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langston_field

        They also had the Alderson Drive technology for FTL. This allowed interstellar travel through “tram-lines” between some star.

        en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alderson_Drive

        • Brian Rubin says:

          That sounds fascinating. Is the book itself good/worth reading?

          • Kelly says:

            Absolutely! IMNSHO, it is one of the finest Science Fiction novels ever written. The sequel (The Gripping Hand) is also quite good.

            • Brian Rubin says:

              I’ll have to snag a copy then. Thanks for the recommendation! :)

              • Kelly says:

                You’re welcome. If you like Mote, I would recommend picking up some of Niven’s short stores (Known Space) or Ringworld novels (which I would read in-order if possible). He has a huge catalog as he’s been writing since the mid-1960s and is still active. As I think I mentioned earlier, the short Mote series is really part of Jerry Pournelle’s CoDominium universe. I plan to dive into those books sometime soon, too.

                And thanks again for having John on the podcast. I’m a little more than a third of the way through Dauntless, and I’m already pretty sure that I’ll pick up at least the rest of the Lost Fleet series to take on summer vacation with me.

  3. Peter says:

    “Basically, since light is a limitation/speed limit when in combat, the amount of time it takes light to travel affects everything you do, from when you see something to when you react to something.” That actually sounds pretty cool, I’ll have to give the series a look!

    I’m gonna have to recommend staying away from the Honor Harrington novels – I should know, I read like 10 of them back in the day. ;) They make a decent start as, basically, space combat game AARs, where the appeal is in how the author sets up interesting battles based on a consistent ruleset (FTL physics, weapons, the relative training/tech levels of the two sides, etc). The problem is, as the series continues, (A) the author gets more and more heavy-handed with the politics, and (B) his core strength – the combat – gets undermined by a habit to give the heroes new wonder-weapons whenever they look like losing. This happens like 2-3 times in the series, I’m not kidding. Never touching his books again.

    I also have to respectfully disagree with Kelly’s recommendation of Mote… there are some interesting ideas there but the characters (IIRC – it’s been a long time since I read the books) are about as deep as tissue paper. :/

    • Brian Rubin says:

      Yeah, I kinda stopped in the middle of the first Honor book and haven’t felt like going back. One would think it’d click with me but not so much. The Lost Fleet series, on the other hand, those clicked haaaaaaard. The combat is a special high point in them, seriously. So much fun to read.

  4. misplacedbravado says:

    It took me a few weeks to get my hands on a copy, but I just finished and really enjoyed the first book in the Lost Fleet series. Many thanks for turning me on to Hemry’s work!

    During the big battle scene, the way orders needed to include “At time X,…” reminded me a little of Frozen Synapse. Or, at least, the way giving orders works in Frozen Synapse struck me as a potential model for the hypothetical Lost Fleet computer game.

    • Brian Rubin says:

      Oh yeah, I can totally see that. :) Glad you enjoyed the first book, and I hope you enjoy them more as they go, as I am. :)

  5. tsubasanut says:

    Thanks for bringing this series to my attention. Going through 3rd book right now and it is still amazing and not loosing a beat. Brian, do you have another similar series to recommend? A “wing commander” series of book is of a similar feel, though John Hemry’s has more of a “plotting” and less of “guns blazing”, which is a delight in itself.

    • Brian Rubin says:

      Honestly? I’ve not read another series that handle tactical starship combat as interestingly as this one.

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