Monday, November 16, 2015

High Frontier Trilogy

Chris Claremont made name for himself as a comic book writer for the X-Men comics. Much of his work on Marvel’s mutants has become some of the most influential work on the X-Men and the Marvel Universe. His work has also inspired much of the X-Men movies. But Claremont did not limit himself to comics. He also co-wrote a book series with George Lucas dealing with events that happened after the Willow film. Claremont also wrote three original novels that have come to be known as The High Frontier Trilogy. These books are First Flight, Grounded, and Sundowner.

First Flight follows Air Force Lieutenant Nicole Shea on her first space mission in command of a ship and crew in the earliest says of humanities first steps into interstellar travel. This first mission was to lay beacons within the Earth’s solar system to help with future space travel. Her mission runs into a mysterious rogue group of heavily armed and equipped mercenaries called a Wolfpack, and then onto first contact with an alien race.

Grounded further explores the mystery of the Wolfpack and a plot to kill Lt. Shea. All the while Shea is helping to further build the alliance with the feline race called the Halyan’t’a. While the Hal, as they are called, are a slightly more technically sophisticated species, they still have some technical hurdles to overcome and an alliance with humanity is formed to trade technology and expertise. The mysterious conspiracy that is keeping Shea grounded on earth puts her deeper into a wider conspiracy that could derail the alliance with the Hal.

In Sundowner, Nicole Shea, now a Captain, is completing her work as the head of a joint Human / Halyan’t’a project to make a new space ship that will benefit both species. But even when one conspiracy ended in Grounded, a new threat emerges from a group who wants Humanity to be free from alien influences. The story continues onto earths first faster than light star ship, the Constitution, and then to the Halyan’t’a’s home world. The story ends with the unraveling of the conspiracy and the origin of the Hal’s religion.

Claremont created an amazing universe with these books, and as he has done while working with Marvel, created amazing characters. The world he build in this series is not too far from our own to seem impossible. This Earth taking its first steps into interstellar travel is in our not too distant future, so the technology is not too far fetched to understand and the politics and motivations of the players are not things we are unfamiliar with. Lt. Shea I would describe as similar to Ripley in the Aliens movies and Starbuck in the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica series. Although Shea is much more a stable personality than Kara Thrace. Though Shea does have a love interest, this is more of a subplot and she spends most of the series figuring things out on her own.

In a way, the universe Claremont created in this series feels like the beginning of the word of Star Trek when Humans and Vulcans first began working together. While the series ends before anything like the Federation or Starfleet happens, it is easy to see how a natural continuation of this story would lead to a Trek like existence. If I had to make a criticism, it’s that the end of the third book got a little too much into the religion of the Hal and that even though there was a resolution to the story, I felt like there should have been more. It does though end in a place where if he wanted to, Claremont could continue the series. If you are looking for a good story with a strong female character, you might want to give these books a try. You’re not likely to find them in stores, my copies are from a used book store. You can, however find them online at sites like Amazon.

This article originally appeared on SciFiPulse.Net

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