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Not Exactly Hard Sci-fi

By ClearMadness, author of The Iron Teeth

Nov 13, 2015: Warbler reads exactly like a sci-fi TV drama. Which makes sense I guess given that it is a serial released in episodes. I’m not going to discuss grammar here as others have already done so.

All the standard sci-fi cliches are here. There are vague threatening aliens that show up occasionally for action scenes. The series is riddled with lots of standard gadgets like cloaks and mechs. The spaceships work exactly like modern sea faring ships and have human crews and piloted drone fighters. The focus of the story is obviously the personal interactions between the crew as they explore various places.The dial marked drama has clearly been turned up to eleven, and a lot of the things that happen seem designed to keep it there.

Warbler also feels kind of like a mix of Battlestar Galatica with a slight dose of Honor Harrington. Unfortunately we don’t get nearly the same amount of detailed specs and believable tactics in Warbler as we do in the Honorverse. In Warbler the general outline of space tactics are explained but we never see any actual maneuvers or are shown why tactics and captains are really necessary at all.

I must admit that I’m not a big fan of Warbler’s genre. I’m the type of guy who likes to point out stupid flaws in TV sci-fi when I watch it. Thus a lot of scenes in this web serial bothered me. Why is the captain nineteen? In a universe where people apparently live hundreds of years this seems unlikely to say the least.Why were there a bunch of aliens hanging out on a functional cloaked human space station? Why do they need to send away teams everywhere to get any info? Have they never heard of long distance cameras, scanners, and radios?

Also my initial reaction to the destruction of humanity was that they pretty much seemed to deserve it. The only side of the human Republic we are exposed to is the incredibly petty, treacherous, and nepotistic military. I really had no reason to care about that when it was destroyed, which it really wasn’t since all its grand traditions seemed to be carried on inside the Warbler.

Reading the above you may be lead to the conclusion that I hated this series. That would be very far from the truth. Warbler was an interesting read and well written. I simply didn’t find that the TV style setting transferred particularly well into writing. On television they are limited by budget and other things that authors don’t need to worry about. However Warbler fails to take advantage of this. Then again I may just be the wrong audience for this series. Someone who is a true fan of sci-fi television would probably love this series.

Disclaimer: This was written as part of a review swap.

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