17 Planets: The Captain

A. R. Alexander

Publisher: A. R. Alexander Pages: 379 Price: (ebook) $1.99 ISBN: Reviewed: June, 2023 Author Website: Visit »

17 Planets: The Captain is a sprawling science-fiction novel focusing on the socio-political interactions between the inhabitants —all descendants of colonists from Earth—of a group of planets in a faraway galaxy.

Collectively, these planets are known as the Community, which is split into various factions, including the Alpha Union, the Cardian Empire, the Independent Alliance and the Kappa Corporation, which controls Kadefen, a planet “rich in natural metals” that the Community covets.

At the novel’s beginning, the author offers a brief history of the Community, detailing how the individual factions created an uneasy truce that allows trade agreements to exist between the Kappa Corporation and other Community members. Unfortunately, the Kappa Corporation wishes to enslave the Community by manipulating the Ajna, a holistic neural implant embedded in Community citizens’ foreheads to improve their wellbeing. To make matters worse, Lord Ian Longaran, a warmongering Kadefen corporation leader, is pushing for violent conflict with the Community, preferring a more traditional approach to intergalactic domination.

Enter revolutionary pirate Captain Elizabeth Lee, who aims to unite the Community against the Kappa Corporation. To achieve this, Lee commits espionage, recruiting the incorruptible General Edward Cohen to assist her.

A.R. Alexander’s novel is packed with spy-craft and narrative surprises. While it takes time exploring themes, such as the perils of technological dependence in an advanced society, it never sacrifices the romanticism and adventuring traditionally associated with space-operas. Captain Lee is an engaging, intelligent, and empowered protagonist. While she serves as the axis around which the novel’s action pivots, numerous supporting players add color to the proceedings.

As with any complicated science fiction concept, the world-building is vast, and readers must familiarize themselves with many characters. Thankfully, the book provides illustrations to identify the different factions and important players.

17 Planets packs plenty of story and philosophizing into its pages. Although it may prove too convoluted for casual readers seeking a page-turner, science-fiction fans will find it an engaging read.

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