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Author David Feintuch

Title Midshipman's Hope

Reviewer Nora Charles

Genre Science Fiction (space opera)
High-seas adventure with strong homoerotic subtext, in the old boarding school/boy scouts/sailor novel tradition

Kink M/M (subtext)
Discipline/corporal punishment

Grade ***--  Okay

Explicitness There are no sex scenes.

Summary The following review/summary is from amazon.com, and is posted with the author Steve Boyer's permission. I find his review both witty and accurate. While Mr. Boyer did not care for the book, I (Nora Charles) enjoyed it for all the reasons he didn't.

A pretentious homoerotic space opera.
Top Ten Reasons...why I really didn't care for this book.

#10.The book revolves around 13 to 18 year old boys who are officers in the Space Navy. Because kids don't get some space disease caused by the engines' power wave. Unnhuh.

#9. All the line officers die, tragically of course, and at all the places they stop there are no officers to assume command of a starship full of colonists. Young Captain Nick must go it alone in spite of his massive insecurity and inexperience.

#8.The Officers spank each other for minor infractions. They do this on a regular basis, while disrobed and bent over a barrel. Seriously they spank each other and it is described in great detail. The author seems to really enjoy the spanking sessions there are a lot of them.

#7.For anyone to touch the Captain for any reason is an automatic death sentence. But the Captain who is 18 likes to make frequent exceptions for the exuberant young midshipmen.

#6.The Captain executes quite a few enlisted men by hanging them in a cargo bay. Yup that's the future get drunk, act up and get hung by the neck till dead. The way it is presented would be silly in a high seas pirate tale, in a sci fi novel it is a trainwreck.

#5.The Captain is haunted in his dreams by the ghosts of the men he executed. As corny as that is it is better than reading about yet another spanking.

#4.The tactical mistakes and errors in judgment defy belief, while propelling the plot on and on and on.

#3.I lost track of all the actual mutinies that young Captain Nick had to quell. I'm afraid that all the conspiracies to mutiny really accomplished was to leave me hoping that someone would succeed.

#2.I never did figure out the weird deep space animal that could shoot power bolts out of its power bolt orifice. Yeah I know it sounds pretty hokey but, gee whilikers that thing could knock out a Naval Starship. Fortunately young Captain Nick escapes alive.

And the #1. reason I didn't like this book can be illustrated by Captain Nick's description of a 16 year old boy, a Naval officer just assigned to his ship.

"I turned to him and fell silent. He wasn't handsome he was beautiful. Smooth unblemished skin, wavy blond hair, blue eyes, a finely chiseled intelligent face. He could have been lifted from a recruiting poster."

Well it goes without saying this kid is gonna get a spanking sooner or later. Actually young Captain Nick finds out that this guy is a sadist, so of course he has to utterly break him. That was a subplot that would leave any heterosexual male confused about what was going on in young Captain Nick's mind.

This book was a very mild but obvious gay fantasy. I am not opposed to that, if you like that sort of thing then this one is for you. However, I wish I had chosen a different novel for the weekend.

I finished it so I could review it with a clear conscience. Midshipman's Hope is very very Lame.

Quality Well, not exactly hard-core science fiction with an emphasis on technology and/or realistic alien lifeforms. Rather, it is an old-fashioned historical adventure novel, set in the future so the author can utilize navy traditions from many countries and periods, and have a genuinely new and scary enemy with an un-certain outcome of the war.

It is smoothly written in good, unremarkable language. The different plot threads (the war against the space-fish, the brewing mutiny, and Nick Seafort desperately trying to grow into his new role as captain) are very effectively woven together. I found it almost impossible to put down, despite the admittedly clichéd plot, I always had to read just one chapter more!

Sequels/prequels The Seafort Saga:
# 1 Midshipman's Hope
# 2 Challenger's Hope
# 3 Prisoner's Hope
# 4 Fisherman's Hope
# 5 Voices of Hope
# 6 Patriarch's Hope
# 7 Children of Hope

Warnings Jump to warnings (may contain spoilers)

Gay Sci-Fi:
    Gay Fantasy:
    Gay Mystery:
    Gay Humor:
    Gay Thriller:

Warnings (may contain spoilers) In the novel the age of majority is 16, and the characters are considered adult. However that may not be the case by the reader's standards.

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