Fleet Elements Gets a Star

by wjw on August 28, 2020

Fleet-elements_02Fleet Elements, the next book in my Praxis series, got a starred review from Publishers Weekly.

So don’t just take my word for it, we have independent testimony that this book is solid.

It still won’t be available till December, unfortunately.  But you can pre-order at your favorite bookstore.

 Fleet Elements

Walter Jon Williams. Harper Voyager, $16.99 trade paper (512p) ISBN 978-0-06-246704-1

Williams impresses with the second book of his sophisticated Praxis trilogy (after 2018’s The Accidental War), more red meat for fans of high-quality space operas. After a financial crisis rocks the multispecies, interplanetary Praxis Empire, blame is placed on humans by one of the alien races that serve alongside humans on the Convocation, the empire’s ruling body. The false claim is used to justify a power grab: humans are booted off the Convocation and every Terran spaceship is disarmed. But a few humans, led by war hero Gareth Martinez, preempt the attack by seizing control of a handful of ships in the Praxis Fleet. Now Martinez and his allies, including his former love, Lady Sula, are desperate to avoid the tragic fate of other species the empire has deemed rebels and strategize the best way to restore humanity’s place in the empire. Williams never lets the tense action sequences overwhelm the complex inner struggles of his characters; he’s especially good at portraying Sula’s fears that she will be exposed as an imposter, having assumed the real Lady Sula’s identity years earlier. Newcomers will have no problem getting oriented in this rip-roaring sci-fi world, and returning readers will be thrilled to dive back in.


Ralf T. Dog August 28, 2020 at 6:28 pm

I can’t wait to read this. Perhaps some day in the far distant future, I can get this book signed. I guess if we can’t go to conventions, we can always read lots of books.

Etaoin Shrdlu August 28, 2020 at 10:37 pm

Just imagine if you’d cobranded it like I suggested, you might’ve gotten TWO stars!

Kessler September 1, 2020 at 12:07 pm

Can I ask something about Accidental War? If humans didn’t attempt military resistance, was it still possible to avert conflict via politics?

John Appel September 1, 2020 at 1:02 pm

Short answer: no.

Slightly longer answer: I’d need to re-read the book to get all the details right, but essentially, some members of the Empire are treating this as a matter of essentially religious dogma, invoking the Praxis of the Shaa who founded the empire.

wjw September 1, 2020 at 6:30 pm

Kessler, it would have been possible to have avoided war, but a lot of humans would have been branded criminals, executed, and their property placed at the disposal of the people in charge of the persecutions. Terrans would have become second-class citizens, like the Naxids.

Clyde September 1, 2020 at 11:32 pm

Why does the cover say “BOOK 4”?
Depending on how you count it should be #5 or #7 in the series, no?

wjw September 2, 2020 at 12:21 am

It was a cover patched together out of the art and bits of the previous cover. the final cover presumably will have the correct number.

Etaoin Shrdlu September 2, 2020 at 5:55 am

Or not. Remember “Get Off the Unicorn”. 🙂

Minx September 2, 2020 at 8:05 am

huh. my reading was tork and his cronies had adopted full-on eliminationist thinking and planned genocide against humans, in replication of what was done to the yormaks.

wjw September 3, 2020 at 12:40 am

Tork was certainly planning to eradicate our heroes. It would be harder for him to eradicate the entire Terran species, since they weren’t confined to a single planet and had better than stone-age technology. But it wouldn’t have been any fun to be a Terran, that’s for sure.

Kessler September 6, 2020 at 1:48 am

Thank you for your answer. I wonder, what role Naxids would play in the future events. Dread Empire reminds me a bit of Austro-Hungarian Empire, with different nations bound under Habsburgs and struggles for status within the Empire. It didn’t last long after the death of Franz-Joseph.

I’ll be waiting for the Fleet Elements.

Etaoin Shrdlu September 7, 2020 at 3:59 pm

It would be a thoroughly foreshadowed event if Lord Ummir, Lady Convocate Khaa, or some other “perfectly respectable Naxids” ended up saving the lives of some of the Martinez clan.

BTW, that whole movies on handhelds thing from “The Fourth Wall” seems to have come true, what with the entire business model of movie theaters having been nuked out of existence. I just ran into a forum post by someone who went to see a movie for the first time since the whole Wuhan coronavirus mess started, and he wrote that he was the only person in the entire theater. Meanwhile, over the summer, the new “Trolls World Tour” movie apparently did well even though it was straight-to-downloads.

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