A Soft Pass

Galaxy’s Edge was fun and different while it lasted, but it’s just too dang dark for me. After the grind of living inside Goth Sullus’ broken head for 300 pages in Imperator, I had hoped Kill Team would mean a return to the straight-ahead action of Legionnaire or the over the top opera of Galactic Outlaws. It only half lived up to its name. The Kill Team story picks up right where Legionnaire left off, following Chuun, Twenties, and the rest of the survivors of the fight to escape Kublar. They are recruited by the Legion’s special forces to track down and neutralize the man responsible for the destruction of the Chiasm, and that makes for a fun read.

Unfortunately, the book interweaves the story of the man whom they are hunting, a secret agent who –

You should probably stop reading here if you plan on reading this series. Have a kitten picture by way of apology.

Always two there are…

It turns out the haunted former diplomat who fathered the little girl central to the plot of Galactic Outlaws was once a Deep State agent for the Republic. He arranged for the destruction of the Chiasm in order to catch a notorious arms dealer and throughout the course of the book assists in a space opera version of the Gunpowder Plot, wracked by guilt and uncertain about his mission.

Hello? You blew up a Republic destroyer, killed thousands, sparked an easily foreseeable war, allied yourself with murderous thugs and the worst breed of aliens in the Republic. This isn’t hard, Jack. You are surrounded by bad guys. You are killing good guys. If your plan to save lives involves the slaughter of countless innocents or the betrayal of your own people on behalf of the people whom you both serve…you’re a bad guy.

Which would be fine, but the book bends over backwards to paint this secret agent as merely caught up in events which he cannot control, even as he repeatedly exercises considerable control over them. It’s the same sort of ‘from a certain point of view’ writing that all too often attempts to hide a lack of intellectual vigor behind a false depth of emotion.

Had it been merely a one-off, I might stick with the series, and I might come back to it in time. But reading two such pieces back to back has left the taste of ashes in my mouth. I need some genuine heroism in my life, and I need to be reminded that good men exist to see clearly the boundaries between good and evil, right and wrong. I don’t need to be reminded that all too many people in positions of power view me and my children as pawns or tokens to be spent in a great game. I see enough of that in all of the false headlines parading by me on a daily basis.

Give me a good man with a clear path. A man confronted by a bad man standing athwart that path. Show me how to be a better man, and inspire me to follow in his footsteps, and you’ll have my attention. Show me a man struggling to do the right thing in the face of impossible odds, and you’ll have my admiration. Show me that he has no path, no hope, and no real core values…and I’ll show you the door.

About Jon Mollison

Jon Mollison was weaned at the literary knee of Tolkein, Howard, Moore, and Burroughs. He spent decades wandering in the wilderness of modern genre fiction, wondering when the magic and wonder went out of the world of dragons and space ships. In his darkest hour, he encountered a wise man who handed him the open secrets to crafting works that emulate the stories of the great authors who built the genre. They are easily summarized in but two words: Regress Harder. Now one of the twelve champions of the Pulp Revolution, his self-published works represent a more direct lineage to the tales of action, mystery, romance, virtue, and pure unalloyed adventure than the bland imitations churned out by New York City publishing houses in recent decades.
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