This is an omnibus edition of Star Guard and Star Rangers, two novels set in the same universe but with several thousand years separating them. At this moment, I’m nearing the end of Star Guard.
It’s theoretically Military SF, with humans only allowed in space as mercenaries to keep us locked off from the galaxy at large and from becoming a threat to galactic culture.
Along with a reminder of her lifelong theme of tolerance and acceptance which runs through her work, the writing is solid and the universe well realized but both books in this omnibus were published in the early 50s, it shows. Not just in its presented technology, but in the forgettable nature of Star Guards. It’s a bland and boring story, which saddens me to say about anyone’s work. Star Guard is a book I keep waiting for an ending in, partly because it tries to be too many things. It’s Military Action Adventure SF, first on a primitive world, then in space, then on Earth, with situations and species introduced and gone too quickly. Too much happening, and too much of it easily resolved without much character development. But my real issue is that the POV seems to just be along for the ride while stuff happens to and around him, and more competent people take care of whatever comes up. He only makes a couple of small contributions to the events going on.
I’m going to power through to the end, but this book doesn’t rate very high for me so far. Hoping for a better second act with Star Rangers.
A lot of Ms. Norton’s YA work stands up really well, but I’m going to throw my recommendation behind Breed to Come as one of the best entry points to her work. Post-apocalyptic in a way, but with a long term positive outlook and some cool takes on future evolution in our absence. Or Crossroads of Time, an early exploration of alternate worlds and history.
Be well, everyone.by