Wing Commander Freedom Flight
I have been a geek for a long time. I say that as I sit at my desk wearing a Spiderman shirt and Star Wars pajama pants. Wait, maybe I shouldn’t tell you that because you might think I don’t take things seriously. Or maybe this is something you always suspected anyway… Wow, I didn’t even make it through the first paragraph of this thought without getting side tracked. Is that a record?
Let’s bring this back a bit.
So yeah, geek for a long time and still doing the geeky stuff I have spent my lifetime doing. Which brings us to a book I read recently. See, through all my years of geekdom, I still haven’t seen or read everything out there. There are moments in time that I have absolutely no clue about because the things to geek out about are vast.
I never actually played Wing Commander. And at this point I couldn’t tell you much about it other than it was a game from the 90s. Scratch that, the game from the 90s is what I have next to no knowledge of. I never played it. My first encounter with the theme came with the release of the movie back in 1999. I liked the movie, but I didn’t have the baseline of the game to compare it to. No preconceived notions of what the game was about got in the way of me enjoying it.
This brings us to the present (and further into the past). I read the first book from the tie in series recently, Wing Commander Freedom Flight (Baen 1992). And right off the bat, I realize that the worlds in the books are so much larger than what we experience in the movie based on the books and game.
We expect that though, right? We as readers know that when we step into a book, we will see more of the world than we ever might see through an adaptation of the work. So, it shouldn’t shock me that the book has more to offer. And yet it still surprises me, how much of the world I don’t actually know. And that’s a good thing. It is always good to find more than expected of something you enjoy. (yeah, I had to put the qualifier in. It is never good to find more of something you don’t like. But that might be an obvious observation that isn’t really necessary. Too late I put it out there already.)
So yeah, I like the book and enjoy the ideas that stem from it. But there was a bit that I found a bit… odd. It was when I had read about halfway to three quarters of the way through the book that I realized all of what I had been reading wasn’t actually the story that the book was about. And that leaves you scratching your head.
See, the majority of the book is actually more like a prologue to the main story of the book. We spend most of our time learning setting and building up to the main part of the story. And it’s good. I enjoyed all of that.
But at the same time, I felt like we could have done a bit of exposition to get all of that out of the way and then focused on the main part of the story. There is all this build up and when we are in the main story, it feels a bit rushed. Not that this is bad per se. I set the book down when I finished and felt like the main idea just whipped past me before I could even get accustomed to the way the world now worked.
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for the book and have a couple more from the series I will get into at some point. I just thought it a bit strange that we spent so long in all the important back ground that really wasn’t something we needed to experience directly.
Granted this is a two-sided coin. We didn’t necessarily need to experience the first portion of the story. But all of it added a flavor to the main story. We become fully vested in the characters by experiencing their world before the bad things happen. The main bad things, anyway. There is a war going on between two different species and it gets ugly at times.
There are a couple effects of all this. I mean, if they didn’t have all of that in there, the book would be incredibly short. The other side of that coin though, the buildup we are taken through helps to set up our perspective on the war and the races involved in the major battles. We are also given a glimpse into the lives of bystanders to the war.
Mind you, when I say bystanders, I am referring to civilians. But it is a bit more than that. We are shown more than just the ace pilots of the Confederacy fighters. These are living worlds that give us glimpses of the techs as well. Even in brief moments in time the world is giving a breath of life that shows how much bigger it is than simply looking at the battles themselves.
I could go on but then what would be the point of picking up the book for yourself. I haven’t read further into the series yet, so I don’t know how the other books play out. They have different authors for each installment so the take on the setting may have a different feel from book to book. But for me, if they come across as the first book did, then I will feel it time well spent escaping into another world. All a matter of exploring uncharted skies.
If you enjoy these stories, consider leaving some coffee money in the jar or you could buy a book or two. Either way helps keep the stories flowing.