BOOK REVIEW – Midshipman Henry Gallant in Space

I was drawn to this book by the cover and title, expecting a good old fashioned space adventure. I also found the primary plot idea intriguing – a “natural” human having to prove himself among genetically advanced shipmates. Finally, when the description mentioned “for fans of Honor Harrington”, I was sold!

All too soon, my excitement turned to disappointment.

The book originally appeared in 2013 but is now in its fifth edition. It must be self-published, since a traditional publisher would never have released it in its current condition. I suspect the author re-released it with a new cover and some expensive marketing, but left the manuscript untouched. The book desperately needs to be edited, proofread and turned over to a team of beta readers.

This was Alesso’s first book and it shows. As a former scientist turned author, he heavily favored plot over characters, overwhelmed the reader with unnecessary techno-babble, and included trivialities which did nothing to further the story. As to genre, I have no problem categorizing it as science fiction, though the “science” it contains is actually fantasy. Most readers will ignore errors of this sort in favor of a good rousing story, but a number of disgruntled hard science fiction fans made note of it in the reviews. (Don’t get me started on that whole debate!)

Another let-down involved the central idea that the MC was a natural human, while all his shipmates were genetically enhanced. I expected this thread to have a far-reaching influence on the story from start to finish. It didn’t. Yes, it was mentioned from time to time, but the reader is never really told why it was important or how the MC miraculously turns out to be better at his job than everyone else. Great idea, but so poorly executed as to leave the reader wondering – is that it?

With such a shaky foundation, I find it incredible that the author is about to release book five in the series. Apparently, there are plenty of folks out there who disagree with me, willing to accept both the manuscript errors and clumsy storytelling. Of course, even a poor quality product can be successfully marketed – remember pet rocks? So I wish you luck, Henry Gallant, but you’ll have to conquer the universe without me.



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3 responses to “BOOK REVIEW – Midshipman Henry Gallant in Space”

  1. H.R.R. Gorman Avatar

    I don’t understand how things like this happen. I’ve seen other books in (what I believe to be) similar shape, and people *buy* this stuff while ignoring books that are perfectly good. I’ve never published anything, but (in my humble opinion, granted) I think your sci-fi trilogy was quite readable and interesting (I guess one could argue that the obstacles were overcome with ‘too much talking and understanding,’ but those people didn’t go in expecting the right things). Do books like this frustrate you? Because it’d frustrate me.

    1. Alexander Elliott Avatar
      Alexander Elliott

      Frustrated? Sure! I resent authors who churn out garbage, market the crap out if it, and make lots of money. This kind of behavior paints all indie authors with the same brush. I would really love to be making more money with my books, but not at the expense of poor quality. If Mr. Alesso can sleep at night, well, good for him. I don’t want to be that kind of person…

      1. H.R.R. Gorman Avatar

        Good answer!

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