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Nothing’s Gonna Change Our World

Flight  (Legend of the Galactic Heroes, volume 6)

By Yoshiki Tanaka 

2 Aug, 2018


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First published under the title Ginga Eiyu Densetsu volume 6, 1985’s Flight is the sixth volume in Yoshiki Tanaka’s Legend of the Galactic Heroes1. Tyran Grillo’s translation was published by Haikasoru in 2018

Reinhard von Lohengramm finally outmanoeuvred his rival Yang Wen-li. The Galactic Empire finally reabsorbed the Free Planets Alliance. A man more vindictive than Reinhard might have had Yang executed. Reinhard allowed Yang to retire. 

All that is necessary for this peaceful state of affairs to continue is for high ranking persons to do nothing to rock the boat. Of course, patience is such a difficult virtue to cultivate. 

The Earth Cult has grand plans to make the Earth the focus of galactic society once more. They have laboured for centuries to this end. Reinhard’s rise to power could threaten their machinations, if only because when there is only one galactic authority, it is much harder for the Church to play star-nations against each other. There’s a simple solution: assassinate Reinhard. 

Their failure to assassinate Reinhard does turn the attention of the galaxy on Earth. Lamentably from the perspective of the Church, this attention takes the form of a mighty fleet bent on well-targeted vengeance. 

As for Reinhard’s rival Yang Wen-li: he never planned to become the Free Planet’s paramount military genius. He only joined the military in the first place to gain a free education. Defeat and retirement means turning his back on a career he disliked. He’s happily married and happy in retirement; reading, thinking, and writing keep him busy. 

Still, as long as Yang is alive, he is a potential leader of the resistance, a respected figure around whom armies might organize. There’s a simple solution: execute Yang on trumped-up charges. But simple plans often have complex consequences. Make it clear that Yang’s retirement from the fray will only result in his death and you’ve given Yang and his friends every reason to become the resistance. 


The prose in this series may be getting worse, although I suppose it’s nothing that would deter David Weber’s fans. 

The book does take time off from military matters and political machinations to amuse us with the chronicle of Yang and his equally martial wife’s attempts to master domesticity as they mastered military strategy. It turns out that the skill sets involved may not overlap … much. Which is odd, because shouldn’t the only difference between housing and feeding a million soldiers and doing the same for two people be one of scale? 

Otherwise, the book is grim. Once again, the powers that be are not being reasonable. Once again, nations and empires seem fated to succumb to pointless squabbling and squalid schemes. The infodumps make it clear that this is only a modern reprise of processes seen over and over throughout history. 

That’s a pretty depressing world view. It makes one wonder whether there is any point to Reinhard’s efforts to reform the Empire, or to Yang’s efforts to preserve the corrupt Free Planets Alliance. I hope the there’s some light at the end of this tunnel (and not a velociraptor with a flashlight). Would Yoshiki Tanaka write a ten book series about the futility of effort? 

Cue up volume seven.… 

Flight is available here (Amazon) and here (Chapters-Indigo).

1: My review of Dawn can be found here.

My review of Ambition can be found here.

My review of Endurance can be found here.

My review of Stratagem can be found here.

My review of Mobilization can be found here.