‘Conviction’ – Scattered Stars #1 by Glynn Stewart – entertaining military SF.

Conviction’ was great entertainment. It delivered an engaging story, built a convincing future world, delivered some good battle scenes and opened up enough possibilities to make me want to read the next book in the series without feeling that I’d been left hanging

This is how an entertaining Military SF series should start. The prose is clear and crisp. There’s a strong forward motion that establishes the main character and does some swift world-building without descending into info-dumps or over-wrought introspection.

I liked that ‘Conviction’ was a shoot-em-up video game disguised as Military SF. It has a plot, with layers to it and it has some characters the reader can invest in.

I also like that it was soaked in all those way-of-the-warrior, duty-honour-sacrifice, death-or-glory attitudes that Military SF sometimes promotes. That’s achieved partly by a clever plot twist. The main character and her team are former military, betrayed by their leadership who, after signing a peace agreement that betrayed their allies, stood idly by while their former enemy covertly sent assassins after the pilots in the elite space pilot units that had scored the most kills against them. Those who survived the first wave of assassins are on the run with a price on their heads and are regrouping as mercenaries in an outer system. This background means that their motivations are more personal and more rational than doing their duty.

The plot is well thought through. The pace of the storytelling was slow enough for me to settle into the world and the people while still keeping me moving forward. Each development in the plot widened the worldview and introduced new characters. The writing was clean and clear. The battle scenes, which were complex and very high-tech, worked well. The characterisation was light but not cartoonish.

At the end of the book, I was left wanting me while being satisfied with what I’d already been given. I’ll be back for the next book in this series the next time I’m in the mood for some Military SF.


Glynn Stewart is the author of Starship’s Mage, a bestselling science fiction and fantasy series where faster-than-light travel is possible–but only because of magic. His other works include science fiction series Duchy of Terra, Castle Federation and Exile, as well as the urban fantasy series ONSET and Changeling Blood.

Writing managed to liberate Glynn from a bleak future as an accountant. With his personality and hope for a high-tech future intact, he lives in Kitchener, Ontario with his partner, their cats, and an unstoppable writing habit.

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