A disrespected ship, exiled to lonely patrol in the dark corners of the solar system.
A crew of screw-ups, written off by the entire fleet.
They're about to change everything.
If they don't blow themselves up first.
Join the Endurance's crew - a trigger-happy first officer, a hyperactive engineer, a shy covert operative, a conspiracy-spouting physicist, and a captain trying to earn his way back into his superiors' good graces - as they explore the galaxy by accident and trip their way into saving the world.
This anthology includes all five Endurance novellas, as well as two bonus short stories.
A. C. Spahn wanted to be an interstellar starship captain when she grew up. Since nobody was hiring, she became a writer instead.
She enjoys breaking boards with her fists, organizing messy rooms, and debating the physics of fictional technologies. When not commanding imaginary starships, she lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, sons, and feline overlord.
She is the author of the USA Today bestselling Endurance series, the “Cara Watt, P.I.” stories on Daily Science Fiction, and other short pieces published by Flash Fiction Online, Star*Line, and more.
First, the praise. For me, this was a better-written and funnier space opera than the Hugo-winning Red Shirts by John Scalzi. The characters are more distinct and better developed, the plot makes more sense, and the description is far superior.
Now, the undermining of the praise. I thought Red Shirts was mediocre and not at all funny, and didn't think it remotely deserved its Hugo. The characters in that book were indistinguishable, not least because they (and their environment) are never described at all, and there was a huge, ridiculous plot hole. You could film it quite easily; just cut out a few identical, vaguely human shapes from thin cardboard, write random names on them, move them round a white room on obvious wires, and have Scalzi do the voice. (Not voices; there's only one, and it's Scalzi's.) That would give exactly my experience of reading Red Shirts, if you made a few careless editing errors and tried to be arty at the end, but failed.
So actually, Endurance didn't set my world on fire. It made it to four stars, barely, because the characters are likeable, and they develop some individuality and have arcs. They're not the most complex or fully rounded characters you'll ever meet, though; they each only have a couple of characteristics, even when we've been in their viewpoint for a while, and their backstory tends to be vaguely hinted at rather than developed.
The book is made up of multiple stories with the same characters and setting, but tending to focus on one or two characters per story, moving around the crew of the spaceship after which the book is named. There's an overall story arc, though, which makes it like a limited TV miniseries rather than a movie; each episode has its own complete story, but together they make a larger story.
That more or less worked for me. I'm not sure of the timespan over which the stories were written, but there are inconsistencies between them, from the spelling of the talky/talkie box to whether or not there is a substantial United Earth military apart from the law enforcement organization to which the central characters belong.
The setting is heavy on the tropes and light on actual science, which is kind of what I've come to expect from space opera. However, I found the balance a bit too much on the tropey side and away from the science side. Not only do we have a crew of misfits in an outdated ship (who turn out to be the greatest ever and save the day repeatedly), but we have several sets of planet-of-hats aliens closely resembling humans (physically and culturally) except for a couple of minor characteristics; a genius engineer capable of single-handedly inventing FTL travel and understanding alien technology quite easily; and a science crew who can figure out a cure in a very short time for an alien disease that the aliens haven't got a cure for, even though none of the crew are medical scientists and the aliens have been specifically mentioned to have medical science far in advance of humans'. Oh, and zombies, which made no sense whatsoever.
The copy editing was good; I only noticed four or five minor glitches, which is far fewer than average. That helped to keep me reading, even though I found the plot predictable (when it wasn't nonsensical) and less than fully engaging. It was mildly amusing, mostly because of the crew's banter.
I didn't love it. I wouldn't run out and buy another one. But I thought it was better than Scalzi.
The story has been done before : Young captain gets demoted after clashing with the establishment to head an outcast crew of loosers... who end up saving the day.
Having said that: it was beautifully done. Characters were stereotypical, but lovingly rendered. This compilation is a collection of novellas and short stories, but they can easily be considered chapters. While none was told from a first-person perspective, each was told mainly from the point of view of one of the main characters. The captain, cliché protagonist of the first chapter/novella becomes nearly a side-figure in the rest of the book, which did a lot to keep it from becoming too trivial. (I actually enjoyed the book much more after the first chapter/novella.)
Another huge saving grace of the book : Spahn kept the plot reasonable. While it contained all the elements you would expect from the original setup and which require some shut-down of disbelieve (a genius mechanic who single-handedly invents FTL travel, a shy second officer who is practically a super-spy, weird scientists who do wonders with a simple microscope etc.), the plot itself puts problems in the way of the crew, which remain believable. They do not win space battles, blowing up thousands of opponents and, even more importantly, they do not always succeed.
Thus, although plot and characters are a bit cliché, this was a very well executed work and a very enjoyable read. My first book from this author, but unlikely to be my last.
The book is made of stories that could also be considered chapters of a single book. They are chronological and follow the same storyline. I found it quite enjoyable, and the accent the author puts on the awkward characters works really well in making the story interesting. Sometimes I think this could be made into a cartoon. I would have given 5 stars to this enjoyable work by Any Spahn if a bit more attention had been given to the technological aspects of the story, that sometimes I found a little botched. However Amy Spahn's other books definitely enter my list of potential next buys.
To be completely honest, I finished the first book through sheer determination, and was only going to give it 2 stars rather than 1, because the writing (grammar, word choice, lack of typos) was better than way too many books nowadays. Why did I dislike it? Because I finished it wishing just about every character had met an untimely end. Though he had an admirable honor streak, the Captain came across as a pompous ass, and all the others were pretty much stereotypes from bad "B-roll" films. I finished the second one just to be stubborn, and thought, "that one actually made me smile." With each progressive book, I found myself more and more invested in the story and characters. Having finished, I still don't comprehend such a small organization taking care of the LE of the whole system (unless the total human population somehow dropped to a billion or so), but I enjoyed the final stages, the humorous interactions, and leave having seen the main character actually develop into a useful human being. I now realize that seeing him at the end would not have been such a big deal had he not been so low in the beginning. Good series.
This was a fun read. I sometimes laughed out loud, and never got tired of Areva's piping up from some hidden spot to say something. Definitely my favorite character. Character interaction was logical, even dealing with their various eccentricities.
This is neither a military sci-fi, nor hard science sci-fi, although the author touches just a bit on them. The story takes place basically in long chapters (originally novellas I guess) each coming from the viewpoint of another character on the ship. But it works, and the story is seamlessly moved forward.
If you're looking for a fun read, maybe something to take to the park or the beach, and you like sci-fi escapist literature - I'd say this is the book for you. The author certainly seemed to have fun both with the characters and writing the story. She has an imagination and had fun exploring some common tropes. This seems to be a one-off story, which is a shame to me: I would love to see more of these characters, and more of her galaxy. I'd particularly like to see a resolution to the planet of the undead (slight spoiler there), as it would have been more satisfying.
This set includes all the books in the Endurance series. These should not be read as standalones and this set makes it easy to read them in order. There is violence. This is an interesting storyline and worth reading.
This books remind me of late-Silver Age sci-fi, or maybe very, very early Asimov ("Luck Starr" series). They're very simplistic and light on details, ideas and character development. Maybe I would have liked these texts if I read them at 10, but right now, I found them barely acceptable.
I’m not sure how large the comedic Science Fiction book category is but I would put A.C. Spahn’s Endurance Series into the top ten. This Kindle edition of the Endurance Series includes all five novellas and two short stories.
Thomas Withers has just been assigned to command the space ship Endurance. While this sounds like quite an honor, we quickly learn that the Endurance is the joke of the fleet. She was named after Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship from a Trans-Antarctic Expedition which launched in 1912 and was crushed by ice and sank off Antarctica three years later. Additionally, she is crewed by every misfit that the academy needs to get rid of without actually firing them. Captain Withers has “won” the honor of being assigned, AKA banished, to the Endurance because he defied orders and shot a leader of the rebel group that was wanted for interrogation in order to save the life of a hostage.
Upon taking over the Endurance he discovers that the previous captain had authorized the science team to conduct experiments in an attempt to develop a way to get around the universe’s faster than light speed limit by using the fourth dimension. Withers no sooner takes command than the science team, without notifying him, decided to test out their invention and transports the ship hundreds of light years from Earth. In order to get home, they need to replenish their energy stores so they land on the nearest planet where they meet two alien races and manage to start an intergalactic war.
With just about no hard science and following a totally unbelievable story line, Spahn has managed to write an engaging and entertaining science fiction series. What makes this work are the characters Spahn has developed. Each has some serious personality issues, a unique way of looking at the world, and yet a totally endearing persona. In each chapter you are faced with the perplexing situation of whether you are laughing with them or at them.
Perhaps some of you are familiar with the movie; The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. With an all star cast including: Peter Weller, John Lithgow, Ellen Barkin, Christopher Lloyd, and Jeff Goldblum, this cult classic movie is a “must watch” for every science fiction nerd. I mention it here because (1) Spahn’s Endurance Series is of a similar genre and (2) someone should make a star powered movie of Endurance as quickly as possible.
Please, if you enjoy some comedy mixed in with your Science Fiction, stop what you are doing and read the Endurance Series right now. You will frantically read the story as quickly possible to follow along from adventure to adventure, laughing out loud as you go.
This was a very entertaining series, as long as you are, like me, not particularly worried about the science. The cast of quirky characters and the scenarios they get caught up in are quite funny.
In the first book Enduring Endurance , Thomas Withers was promoted to Captain of the Endurance, the ship known for its crew of misfits from the United Earth Law Enforcement Corps after he killed a terrorist from shooting a hostage against the expressed direction of his superior and became a media hero. It's supposed to be a career killing move as the ship is sent to the outer reaches of the galaxy for scientific research. That was the plan until the ship's engineer succeeded in upgrading their engine and they ended up lightyears away in another galaxy and encountered alien species, the friendly Tones and the unfriendly world conquering Haxozins.
The second book Mightier than the Sword revolves around first officer Viktor Ivanokoff and security officer Areva Praphasat and their growing romance. Viktor was asked to assist in the investigation of the murder of his ex-boss of Org Crimes, the very person who got him kicked out and transferred to Endurance, with the tantalising prospect of being reinstated. Areva was Special Ops until someone she shot looked her in the eyes and said that no one should see their own death in someone's eyes. After that, she couldn't shoot anyone who's looking at her and requested a transfer to a supposedly quiet assignment on the Endurance. It appears Viktor is in the crosshairs of the terrorist group named Uprising who want to overthrow the government on Earth and want to contact the Haxozins to achieve their aim.
In Under Cover, Areva and a couple of scientists are surveying another alien planet which has also been subjugated by the unfriendly Haxozins when they got caught and taken to the Mothership. So Thomas and his crew had to devise a daring rescue.
In Preferred Dead, the planet they visited is inhabited by dead aliens who still have limited cognitive and mobility functions, ie. zombies. It turns out that the Haxozins released a toxin on the planet and the scientists decided that the only way to preserved their lives was to become dead! The Endurance tried to reverse the procedure with disastrous consequences.
In Wet Duck, the Haxozins have arrived on Earth and the UELEC ships are no contest to their superior tech. So the Endurance went back to the zombie planet to get their advanced DNA equipment to figure out if they can utilize some sort of bio weapon against the Haxozins. And it turns out that the Haxozins shared a lot of common DNA with humans. And Thomas convinces a Haxozin soldier that they captured to become their ambassador in order to stop the invasion.
I really enjoyed the quirkiness of the characters, especially the always optimistic super-brain engineer Matthias, Areva, who disappeared behind plants and under tables and just don't want to be seen and the book quoting Viktor. Even the conspiracy theorist scientist Chris. This was a fun read.
DNF at 23%, after skimming a novella, reading a short story, and frowning at part of the second novella. At this point, either there's a hook for any given reader, or or it doesn't exist.
The author's prose is wordy, sometimes tedious, and though it's lit by occasional action and bits of genuine insight, it is entirely predicable for anyone who's read much science fiction. Tragically, I think it's also supposed to be funny, but the predictability ruins any hope of that. Maybe readers brand-new to sf might love it. The best character so far is a side character who hates to be seen. The worst character's the cardboard captain. Maybe he improves. I'll never know. (Or care.)
I liked this a whole lot more than expected; I started it New Year's Day and figured to have tossed it aside by lunch, when in fact the story was well worth reading. It's funny without being labored and the people are interesting even if a little bit two-dimensional. Bear in mind it is a very fast read, so if you like getting more than a couple hours of book time for $4 then wait for it to go on sale via Book Bub. You can see a slightly longer review here: https://www.morebooksthantime.com/end...
Zombies, viruses, planet overlords, and a janitor that vacuums the carpet in the spaceship constantly.
Sure, why not. It's an insane premise with wacky characters filling roles on an unreliable ship that discovers FTL travel and alien life forms, all within the first of five short stories in this cartoon miniseries. Astrophysics be damned, we can just point this here space buggy and land on a planet or zip through galaxies.
This is an entertaining space opera with lots of funny moments and a predictable resolution at the end. Just enjoy it.
Great read with interesting characters whose back stories are not painstakingly but creatively fleshed out to the point that they are seamlessly integrated into the plot of the story. The plot twist revealed towards the end is carried out exactly when and how plot twists should be written into stories. Very reminiscent of the Orville without the moral lecturing. Highly recommended. As to 5 stars...we’ll, nobody’s perfect.
I enjoyed this book. It was a welcome distraction to all the Covid-19 stress in the world right now. The author did a good job developing the characters while maintaining their quirkiness and The books humor. The book treks a full story ark with a satisfying ending. I Also liked that the author included a list of quotations from the first officer at the back of the book.
I enjoyed this series, particularly the characters, who were unique, wonderfully flawed, and interesting. Sadly, the crew members of the Endurance are going their separate ways...nevertheless, a fun read. I also like the author’s writing style, which makes it seem as though you are lightly dancing through the story. It also gives one the impression you are actually there listening to the dialogue, which is laced with wonderfully understated humor.
Spahn has delivered an excellent story with loveable quirky characters on the Endurance who are able to emerge victorious despite their unorthodox methods. My only critique is that it was far too short. I would have happily stuck with this crew for several more books.
I'm kind of mixed on this book/series. It was kind of "chopped up" (I guess that's what makes it a series.. duhhh) into different stories, then looped back around just in time to go to the next story/situation. Some of the characters were wonderful, Areva in particular and some of the stories were good. Others not so much. Worth the read, if you're patient.
How rare to find a writer who knows the art of telling a story . . . and knows how to write. My hat's off. Wonderful characters with charm and wit, and lordy be an inventive storyline. Enjoyed every minute.
Bjorn Wythette - Author of The Rock and the Raindrop: A Space in Time
Captain Withers takes a crew of off-beat and maligned characters and makes them into the heroes they are meant to be. Our solar system is under attack, and Withers and his Endurance crew must race to save Earth and the other planets in it.