So, I finished reading The High Frontier, the de facto final work in The Big One series, chronologically speaking. The setting technically continues in the form of its longstanding infodump timeline, but Stuart has turned his attention to World War II and said it’s doubtful that there’d be any novels chronologically after this one.
The book, featuring the end of the Easy Mode Cold War, did not have the entertainment factor that I had when rereading Lion Resurgent. Maybe it was that I was “prepared” for the novelty. Seeing “I’m briefing Reagan and he likes it!” fantasies isn’t as amusing the second time around. Maybe the book itself was just more dull.
I should have felt “that’s it, now good riddance”.
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And yet I felt a surprisingly bittersweet feeling when I read the end. Seeing the weird elements I knew and ‘loved’- the repeated bashing of NASA and ballistic missiles, the equivalent of seeing Brezhnev personally lead a campaign into Afghanistan and then get killed in action, the equivalent of the August Coup plotters trying to nuke a space station-and knowing that was the conclusion made me, if not sad, at least-fulfilled. From here on out it’s bad battles in a conflict I know and have little interest in.
Mockably bad works like this are rare, and now that I’ve seen it to the end, it’s over.
And at least it ended on a good stopping point. Tom Kratman’s Carrera series de facto ended (or at least slowed down) on a cliffhanger.