Editors: Tony Daniel & Christopher Ruocchio
Genre: Military SF/Space Opera
Publication Date: 2018
‘Big Ships. Blowing Things Up’
The thing with Baen is that you always know what you’re getting. They’ve really cornered the market in action-filled Space Opera and Military SF, almost always wrapped up in a mind-boggling retro cover.
In Star Destroyers we find a dozen of authors writing about, well. About big ships blowing things up. There’s always a risk in gathering authors of similar novels for an anthology based around a theme, that the stories will become repetitious. Fortunately that’s not an issue here, as there are enough approaches to warships for a variety of stories.
It can be hard to review an anthology. Do you review the individual stories? or the product as a whole? I’ve chosen the former, at least for this particular anthology. There is, unfortunately, a reason for this.
There are no weak stories in Star Destroyers. But nor are there any real stand outs. David Drake’s ‘Superweapon’, Ruocchio’s own ‘Not Made For Us’ and Dave Bara’s ‘Icebreaker’ are three personal highlights, but they are stronger than the average, rather than spectacular works in their own right. perhaps not coincidentally, they are also the only stories by authors with whom I am familiar. ‘Not Made for Us’ in particular is a fascinating glimpse into the wider world of the Sun Eater series (and the reason I purchased this book).
The real joy of the anthology though is not encountering old friends, but finding new authors with worlds to explore, and that’s where Star Destroyers failed me. the stories are good, but none create enough of an impression for me to hunt down others of their kind.
At the end of the day, there are far worse ways to spend an afternoon than with a copy of this. You may even find a few gems. Alas, I did not.