Convergence [Amazon link] is a great title for the thirteenth entry in the main series of Galaxy’s Edge, as I feel like all the pieces are starting to come together in a most satisfying fashion.
As the Galaxy’s Edge series has been written by veterans for veterans, the Forever War in the Middle East that started on 9/11 is the essential cultural context in which I interpret the books. In Convergence, an element that has been present all along comes to the forefront, the simmering anger of the most disciplined and loyal and competent soldiers at the futility of the conduct of the wars and the accompanying waste of blood and treasure.
In Galaxy’s Edge, after the conclusion of the generational war for survival against the Savages, a peace dividend was clearly expected, in much the same manner as in our history with the end of the Cold War. And as in our history, what happened instead was war continued to be waged, but for very different stakes. Clausewitz’ dictum is that war is politics by other means clearly applies here, but there is considerable tension with the way that war has been waged in the last twenty years and the love of flag and country that motivates the quietly competent servants of empire to wage those wars for their masters.
That anger is voiced by multiple characters, each in their own way. The galaxy is messed up, and they just don’t feel like taking it anymore. This tension will probably always be present in a military system like that of the United States. A preview of what was to come was visible in Mogadishu in 1993, and also in the way President Lyndon Johnson managed the Vietnam War.
One of the critical locations in Convergence, the planet Kima, is in many ways similar to Vietnam, right down to the jungle environment and the Huey like SLIC transports used by the Legion. This is ground that has been covered in Galaxy’s Edge before. But unlike Psydon, which is the Vietnam of 1968, Kima is the Vietnam of 1961, with Green Berets training cadres of Montagnards to fight in a war looming in a deeply divided populace.
Of course, since this is Galaxy’s Edge, not all is as it might appear on the surface. Stuff is going to get freaky and weird too. The true puppetmasters behind everything are principalities and powers, or those who have wholly placed themselves into their service such as the descendants of post-human techbros and celebrities who sought the Age of Aquarius a little too hard.
And all this has not even scratched the surface of all the things that you can see coming together here. Convergence is book 13 in the main series, but there are now at least that many books in the spinoffs and side stories within the broader Galaxy’s Edge universe. And while I do think that someone could enjoy The Savage Wars trilogy or the five books in Doc Spears’ Dark Operator series as a standalone, there is a very real payoff for the reader or listener who goes in for the whole thing.
In my review of Dark Victory, I had noted that we don’t see much about religion in Galaxy’s Edge, which is a major gap given what we know of the true nature of the Savages and the Cybar. I was pleased to see this thread picked up here. And by picked up, I mean that Masters finally gets religion.
I also saw a nod to something like my own theory that one of the things that led to the downfall of Casper Sullivan was an inability to accept that he was different than his oldest friend Tyrus. We also get to spend some more time with Reina, the last of the three survivors of the Obsidia from so long ago who have been so critical to the course of events. And I absolutely do not trust Reina. Tyrus [and probably Casper] loved her, but they also found her working with Savages in the Quantum Palace a long time ago. Their judgment may be a little suspect.
We also get some hints of what the sequel to Forget Nothing might entail. I’m genuinely impressed by how all of this comes together across all the different books. However, even I haven’t read everything in the corpus. I haven’t gotten to the last two Contracts & Terminations books, or anything past book one in Dark Operator. There is interesting backstory in Karen Traviss’ The Best of Us that remains unread by me. But I know that you can enjoy Dune without knowing the details of Imam Shamyl’s obscure Central Asian war that inspired Herbert. Which is why I don’t worry too much about whether more casual readers are missing out, or what the optimum reading order is.
So while the payoff of all the careful background work of the authors is pretty good, I trust that the main narrative will still be engaging to any fan.
Galaxy’s Edge season 1:
Legionnaire: Galaxy's Edge #1 Book Review
Galactic Outlaws: Galaxy's Edge #2 Book Review
Kill Team: Galaxy's Edge #3 Book Review
Attack of Shadows: Galaxy's Edge #4 Book Review
Sword of the Legion: Galaxy's Edge #5 Book Review
Tin Man: Galaxy's Edge Book Review
Prisoners of Darkness: Galaxy's Edge #6 Book Review
Imperator: Galaxy's Edge Book Review
Turning Point: Galaxy's Edge #7 Book Review
Message for the Dead: Galaxy's Edge #8 Book Review
Retribution: Galaxy’s Edge #9 Book Review
Galaxy’s Edge season 2:
Tyrus Rechs: Contracts & Terminations:
Requiem for Medusa: Tyrus Rechs: Contracts & Terminations Book 1 Review
Order of the Centurion
Order of the Centurion #1 Book Review
Iron Wolves: Order of the Centurion #2 Book Review
Stryker’s War: Order of the Centurion #3 Book Review
Through the Nether: Order of the Centurion #4 Book Review
The Reservist: Order of the Centurion #5 Book Review