Chasing machines across galaxies with Michael Cobley

Michael Cobley’s Ancestral Machines (Orbit, £18.99) is a solid Space Opera that is highly enjoyable. Set in the Humanity’s Fire world, this is a large scale story.

After being double crossed in a deal then a rescue, Captain Pyke has to travel to the Warcage. A large scale stellar construct designed for peace, it has become a war machine, capable of burning up planets.As Pyke races to save his crew, he delves into the history of the cage and characters who built the machine.

With a mixture of biotechnology, planetary engineering and galaxies, Cobley is not afraid of the large scale without spreading into the multiple volumes. This is a good “old fashioned” space opera that does not delve into the politics, especially pertinent in the Sad Puppies age, but delivers on narrative.

There is a strong sense of Firefly and the JJ Abrams rebooting of Star Trek in it; that sense of the action, core Space Opera. I do wonder if this in part the rediscovery of the sense of wonder from a set of Sf fans brought up on Star Wars. It was an enjoyable read.

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