I look at the Sixth Fleet series by David Meadows. Looks like it could be to naval warfare in general what Tin Soldiers was to tanks and Raven One was to aviation. Then I look at the publication date-2001. I start to have a bad feeling. Still, I shouldn’t stereotype 2000s technothrillers, so I go ahead anyway. Then I read the book in full, and yipes.
It’s very much a 1990s technothriller at heart. Regional enemy (Libya) with a super-gimmick? Check. Hand-wringing over defense cuts? Check. COMPUTER DIGITAL WARFARE? Check. Even leaving all of that aside, the prose is just very, very clunky and any scene with a character who isn’t American is rather “dubious”.
Worse still is how the first book is meant as the opening act in a long series. This means the pacing goes from “bad” to “REALLY REALLY BAD”. I’ve seen better pacing in later Survivalist books than here, and instead of Ahern’s flights of fancy, there’s a generic “mustache twirlers with super-gimmicks” story with the usual technothriller viewpoint jumping.
I wanted to like Sixth Fleet but just couldn’t. The fundamentals are too iffy, the subject isn’t that conceptually interesting, and its pacing is just horrifically slow and uneven. In many way, it feels like the stereotypical late-1990s/2000s technothriller writ large.