altered-starscapeScience Fiction has often been used as a way to creatively use social commentary and while Ian Douglas clearly was using it a bit here, that was probably my least favorite part of ‘Altered Starscape’ and thankfully the world building and creativity of a far-flung future more than overcame it. I wanted to get my minor complaint aside right away as honestly, this was a terrific read and if you enjoy military space operas then you’ll likely want to check this one out!

This is the first novel in the “Andromedan Dark” series and as Douglas has quite a few trilogies and longer under his belt you can bet that this is a series we’ll be reading for quite some time. Obviously, by saying that right off the bat it tells you that I’ll be wanting to read more when they are released. I couldn’t find word if this would be just a trilogy or a new series but with the grand setup and epic nature of the introduction, I suspect we’ll be seeing at least a five-book run.

The novel kicks off in 2162, or 38 years after first contact with an advanced alien race has taken place. They’ve shared friendship and now in a time of need, humanity is sending over a million “scientists, diplomats, soldiers, and AIs” into battle with our allies against a mysterious threat. Only, when Lord Commander Grayson St. Clair and his ship the Tellus Ad Astra reach the Galactic Core it seems that the battle is over and the ship is thrust into a Black Hole. When it emerges, four billion years have passed.

Civilizations have come and gone, Earth is likely gone and if humanity still exists among the stars no one knows if they’ll even be recognizable. The thought of getting to their own home is quickly dashed but before they can even think of trying to scout out their new reality they learned that the Andromeda Galaxy and the Milky Way are colliding. Even worse, there is a new entity that they’ve come across which seems to have no goal other than to wipe out what is left of human civilization off of St. Clair’s ship.

This is a fantastic military space opera and while parts of it can run a little slow as the world building fully kicks in, this is clearly a series that fans of Douglas’ work or who are looking for a new epic which takes place in space are going to want to check out. It isn’t as easy to jump into as his previous books but as the action intensifies you’ll be drawn into the story and I suspect the next installment will keep your eyes glued to the page.

‘Altered Starscape’
By: Ian Douglas
Harper Voyager
October 25th, 2016