Return Of the Starfighter
It says something about how crazy the Black Eagle Force series is when a book with the premise of a Chinese catamaran supercarrier leading a would-be invasion of the west coast prompted in part by the Federal Reserve’s loose monetary policy is one of the tamer and more grounded entries. And yet, that is how Return Of The Starfighter felt. The BEF fights alongside restored and upgraded Cold War aircraft (like the F-104) to battle the invasion fleet.
The Black Eagle Force series is kind of like the literary equivalent of the Postal 2 video game. It’s rather “dubious”, makes no sense, always teeters on and sometimes crosses the line from “tasteless” to “offensive”, and isn’t the best set up, but the pure spectacle is what makes it enjoyable.
Lose the spectacle and the series loses its appeal, turning into a too clunky, too descriptive, too infodump-heavy technothriller. Return of The Starfighter, coming on the heels of Sacred Mountain’s goofy-crazy ridiculousness, tones it down ever so slightly and ends up looking a little like an avant-garde band’s attempt to play “normal” music. That some of the plot and battle elements are inevitably repeating by the third installment also doesn’t help.
It’s still over the top and still has its sense of wonder. This series, thankfully, isn’t devolving into later-Clancy levels of over-seriousness and pretentiousness by any means. But for a series that runs on crazy, going closer to mundanity takes away the greatest fun. Even if the mundanity comes in the form of a two-hulled mega-aircraft-carrier.