Good Old-fashioned Military Science Fiction: The Icarus Corps by Zachary Brown

Good Old-fashioned Military Science Fiction: The Icarus Corps by Zachary Brown

The Icarus Corps-back-small The Icarus Corps-small

I love omnibus editions. It’s not just their convenience, the joy of having an entire trilogy packed into one hefty volume. I think it’s just as much the celebratory aspect. It’s like, Holy crap, we made it. The series is finished. Forget we charged you for the first two; look, here’s the whole damn thing in one volume. You’re welcome.

In the case of The Icarus Corps, the trade paperback containing a complete military science fiction trilogy by Zachary Brown, that’s actually more or less accurate, as the third book, Jupiter Rising, was never even published in paperback. If you enjoyed the first two, and don’t have an e-reader, this is your only option.

Still, it ain’t a bad option, all things considered. I bought the first book, The Darkside War, and I was still delighted to stumble on the omnibus edition of all three novels at Barnes & Noble last week, and I snapped it up immediately.

[Click the images for bigger versions.]

Reading between the lines, I think we’re lucky to have this book. The Darkside War appeared in paperback from Saga Press in 2015, and didn’t get a lot of notice — only a handful or reviews that I saw, including SF Signal and Russell Letson at Locus. It garnered a modest nine reader reviews at, not a very auspicious sign. The sequel, Titan’s Fall, was published in 2016 and made not a ripple — little if any press attention, and only two Amazon reviews. The third book, Jupiter Rising, was gently nudged out into the world in July of this year, and so far has zero Amazon reviews, and not a peep from the press. I’m not too surprised Saga opted to pass on a print edition.

I am surprised and pleased to see this omnibus edition though which, all the other evidence to the contrary, signals some level of confidence from the publisher. Heck, if Saga is willing to take a chance, so am I. This is why I keep my B&N Membership card warm.

Here’s the covers of the original paperback editions from Saga.

The Icarus Corps The Darkside War-small The Icarus Corps Titan's Fall-small The Icarus Corps Jupiter Rising-small

Sales and reader reviews notwithstanding, the series was appreciated by those who did read it. Russell Letson at Locus called it, “”Good old-fashioned military science fiction.. with plenty of action,” and in his feature review of The Darkside War at SF Signal, Nick Sharps wrote:

The Darkside War is a lean, calculated, knife-thrust of a book that provides a stellar entry-point to military science fiction… Earth has been conquered by an alliance of aliens called the Accordance. They dropped rocks on our greatest cities from orbit and then proceeded to pacify the population through force where necessary. They’re bad guys but mankind has greater worries. The Accordance is losing a war against the Conglomeration, a solar system subjugating juggernaut that enslaves and repurposes the alien races it vanquishes. The Accordance needs cannon fodder just to slow down the Conglomeration, let alone beat it. That’s where Earth, and our protagonist Devlin Hart, come into play…


The description of The Darkside War declares that it will appeal to fans of Bungie’s hit video game Halo and I agree. I believe that this novel could more easily be adapted into a game than some of the still great but more technical military science fiction I’ve read… The Darkside War proved to be a short but fun read, and managed to stand on its own merits while serving as homage to many of my favorite military science fiction novels.

Here’s the publishing details.

The Darkside War (240 pages, $14.99 trade paperback, $2.99 digital, March 17, 2015)
Titan’s Fall (224 pages, $14.99 trade paperback, $2.99 digital, March 22, 2016) — cover by Steve Stone
Jupiter Rising (320 pages, $2.99 digital, July 4, 2017)

Zachary Brown is a pseudonym for… well, they’re not saying. His bio says only that he (or she) is “a New York Times bestseller as well as a Nebula and World Fantasy Award finalist.”

The Icarus Corps was published by Saga on July 4, 2017. It is 711 pages, priced at $19.99 in trade paperback. There is no digital edition. The cover is by Sparth.

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Derek Kunsken

Wow. I hadn’t realized that Saga did military SF. I’d picked up two or three of their books (2 by Ken Liu) and gotten a different impression of the editorial voice. I really should look at their catalogue….


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