Two years ago at OSFest 6, I met author Robert Collins while he was manning his table in the dealer’s room. I stopped briefly at that time and visited for a few minutes and told him that I would read his stuff. With the possibility of meeting Robert again, I decided to be sure that I did indeed read at least one of his works before OSFEst 8.
The Frigate Victory Collection Volume 1 is the first of a series of short story collections by Robert Collins. The rest of the series consists of two more short story collections and a novel. In the first volume, there are thirteen short stories that all can be easily read in a single sitting. I took a bit longer to get through them, but still enjoyed them a great deal.
One impression I got from reading these stories is that the author is not one for wasting words. his stories in this volume are concise snapshots of life aboard and involving the crew of the TFF Victory Under the command of the very clever and thoughtful Captain Jason Ayers (TFF is for Terran Federal Fleet). For instance, the very first story in the book introduces Ayers as he begins his tenure as commander and some of his crew, especially his by-the-book first officer Nina Riggio. This first story demonstrates how creative Ayers is and how he deals with a situation that is intended to test his ship, but instead winds up testing him in an exercise involving another ship. His solution to the problem of the opposing commander trying to gain an unfair advantage not only shows the ability of Ayers to think his way out of a situation, but it also shows his character as an officer.
My favorite story from the collection is one that is in the middle of the book. It is titled An Unconventional Little War.
Warning ***SPOILERS AHEAD***
In this story, Captain Ayers announces that the entire crew will be taking shore leave. When everyone leaves the ship, a group of terrorists from the "Army of the First Day" take over the Victory and manage to leave the area making two jumps. Their destination is an uninhabited star system. Captain Ayers is the only member of the Victory crew aboard for some reason. He takes out some of the intruders but it seems as though they are waiting for something. Soon, the intruders see another ship approaching and they reveal that their intentions are to sell the ship, but they believe that since Ayers is on board, they can also sell him and make ever more money. Ayers has other plans though. As the other ship draws near, Ayers manages to launch missiles and destroy it. Not to be outdone, the intruders have a case with a bomb in it and they set it to detonate as they leave the Victory in an escape pod. They are pretty smug until Ayers teleports the bomb onto the escape pod just before it detonates.
As I mentioned before, I had the opportunity to meet and interview the author at OSFest 8. We had a really nice visit and I learned a lot about his writing. Before he began writing his own material, he worked writing fan fiction, mostly in the universes of Dr. Who and also a little Star trek. His goal with the Frigate Victory series was to write space opera in much the same vein as Star Trek, but he wanted his work to be grounded more in reality. His Frigate Victory stories are very high tech employing faster than light travel, teleportation, and advanced weapons. The Victory is a smaller ship that travels between star systems representing the Terran Federal Fleet. In space, according to Collins, the Victory works as a police force as systems deal with each other and as humans have relationships with alien races. When the crew of the Victory is at a planet, their job is to assist the local governments as much as possible. Much of the space that the Victory patrols is well established and settled, but there are a few places that are experiencing growing pains as colonies work to become established. Robert said that in Later volumes, alien races play a more prominent role, and that they see humans as dangerous because they have moved out into the galaxy with so much success. Some of the stories that I read from Volume 1 dealt with legal issues, which prompted me to ask Robert if he had studied law, to which he replied that he had not, so I can only assume that the author is very diligent as he does his research for a story.
I asked Robert to tell me a little about the main Character, Captain Jason Ayers. He explained that Ayers was raised on the planet inhabited by an alien race known as the Grazhochi, and he understands technology very well. Ayers is an officer who has a lot of experience because he came to command by rising through the ranks. Collins describes him as having a good mind and he prefers to think through a situation before he acts. He loves history and probably uses that knowledge to help him resolve situations.
The Frigate Victory series is not the only work that Collins has produced. He has also branched out to do a more humorous take on Sci-Fi in his Jake Bonner series. Robert describes this work a series of short stories, novellas, and a novel in which Bonner’s “universe projects forward from today” in much the same was as The Hitchhiker’s Guide. There are also five, character centric more low-tech sci-fi stories found in his Lisa Herbert stories. Lisa is a character who is “Interested in traveling to establish trade.”
Mr. Collins is currently working on some work in which he has moved from Sci-Fi to fantasy in his defender series which he says is “taking on a life of its own.”
I did enjoy this first look into the work of Robert Collins and am looking forward to reading more of his work. If you would like to see for yourself, you may get a sneak peak of the first story in Volume 1 in its entirety by clicking HERE. Also should you be interested in learning more about Robert Collins and his work, follow the link below. He told me that his blog is probably the best starting place to learn more. Robert can also be found on Facebook, Twitter (@robertLcollins), Wattpad, Tumbler, Goodreads, and Google+
Link To Robert Collins’ Blog
Well, there it is…