Cover Image: Sixteenth Watch

Sixteenth Watch

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Member Reviews

This is basically the Coast Guard in space. I really enjoyed this, it has great pacing and the plot was interesting. I learned a lot about the Coast Guard even though this is in space, it seems like the general ideas are the same as the water based service.

Overall an enjoyable read. Thank you to NetGalley for providing a review copy.

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This was definitely not a book for me.

I was not sucked into the story, the mc, the world, not a bit of it.

I will give credit that it was written well.

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Another great book by Myke Cole. The action sequences read like you are there. He extrapolates his experience as an Officer in the Coast Guard to how it would function in near space, cis-lunar and in between.

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Another great and highly entertaining read from Myke Cole! Though I may be biased since the first trilogy I read by him was one that truly enchanted me.

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After a riot between Helium 3 miners evolves into a brief, tragic armed conflict between American and Chinese naval forces career Search-and-Rescue woman Captain Jane Oliver is returned to Earth and a teaching position away from the sixteenth watch and the death of her husband. But tensions remain high and the best hope of preventing the first lunar war rests with the Coast Guard. Oliver has a new mission, return to the moon, get the Coast Guard SAR-1 team ready to win this year’s Boarding Action, and prove that they are the right force to keep the peace.

Myke Cole’s Sixteenth Watch feels like a bit of an odd duck when it comes to military science fiction. It feels more character focused and less hard sci-fi than other military sci-fi I have read in the past. How things are done is important, but pulling the team together is more so. Each member of the SAR-1 team is the best at what they do in the Coast Guard, but they have issues jelling with each other.

This is also the most anti-war military sci-fi that I have ever read. The entire reason Oliver is there is because the Coast Guard are a better fit for policing the folks avoiding quarantine without starting an armed conflict than the Navy is. The goal is to avoid a war, to keep things cold as it were, to keep people not only on the moon but also back on Earth safe.

But the only way to convince people to take them seriously is to win what is essentially a massive sporting event, so she has to get the Coast Guard team ready to secure a victory against the Marine team that has won several years running. It kind of winds up being funny, how the ability to keep war from breaking out on the moon is dependent on them winning what’s essentially a sporting event, but it is treated dead seriously and a lot of the challenges Oliver faces wind up being in service to getting her team the kind of practice they need to come together as a team. In a lot of ways that takes the place of a proper antagonist, no single person is standing between the SAR-1 team and active work and the Marine team is brilliantly good at what they do rather than antagonistic. That lack of a direct antagonist feels to the book’s credit. It would be weird if there was just one person actively pushing for the Coast Guard team to fail, rather than any number of people following orders that happened to get in their way or following their own need to see someone else succeed or getting wrapped up in the idea that a war is going to happen so they need to be backing the Navy over the Coast Guard. It is a complicated situation that Cole chose not to simplify.

This actually stands in something of a contrast to the pacing and the characters other than Oliver and her XO. At several points in the plot I found myself naming off the part of the hero’s journey that was coming up. This is very much not a complaint, the hero’s journey is the basis for a lot of stories, but it did make the flow of things a little predictable. I would have liked to have seen more character for the SAR-1 team, a lot of Sixteenth Watch is focused on Oliver working towards getting the team ready and working through the trauma of the events of the beginning of the book, which does not leave much space for the Boarding Action team. I would have liked to have seen more of them growing together as a unit and more individual growth for each of them. But, again, that is mostly a personal quibble the team are not the focus of the book. Oliver is the protagonist, so of course she gets the most focus on her arc.

Ultimately Sixteenth Watch leaves me wanting more, if not a further series with these characters, then more writing in a similar vein from Cole. He is definitely an author I am going to try and keep a better eye on now. This one gets a five out of five from me.

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Myke Cole brings his real-world experience as a member of the coast guard into a well-constructed and well-written science fiction setting.

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I wasn't able to read the book but I will be featuring it in a series called "I Wish I'd Read That." Text below:

I’m not typically drawn to military science fiction, but Sixteenth Watch sounds especially epic and compelling. The exceptional cover initially caught my attention and I was further impressed by the promise of a badass woman at the helm of a war to save the world. Combined with the author’s extensive professional experience and his exceptional Tordotcom series, it sounds like a novel that’s not to be missed. I’d love to hear what you all think of this one! Read more about the author and book below, or purchase a copy for yourself. And of course, a big thank you to Angry Robot for the free review copy!

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I will unfortunately not be reading and reviewing this title after the allegations that have come to light about the author. My deepest apologies, and many thanks for approving me for a copy of this book!

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As a former fan of Myke Cole, I was looking forward to reading Sixteenth Watch, but given the recent allegations against him and the surfacing of his long history as a serial sexual harasser, I suppose it's a good thing I hadn't gotten to this one yet. I refuse to devote my time and attention to such people, and I certainly will not promote them on my website, podcast, or anywhere else. I will not be reading this book in light of recent events, but I greatly appreciate Angry Robot supplying me with a digital review copy via NetGalley. If only we had known then what we know now... I also greatly appreciate Angry Robot and the other publishers and agents that have taken a stand against Cole and his ill treatment of women and who now also refuse to promote him or his work. I'm hopeful he learns and grows from this and that, in time, he has made enough strides to be forgiven and that, perhaps, his work might be palatable once more. Right now, it's much too tainted and I am unable to separate the artist from the art.

1 star solely for the author being a bad human being.

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I DNFed this book. It starts off interesting at first but then I realized that the Space Sports Competition aspect was not my thing at all. I went into it expecting something more like a space opera but I guess military sf just isn't for me.

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Myke Cole has done it again. Somehow, someway, he's written a story that made me laugh, cry, and everything in-between.

I inhaled Sixteenth Watch in a few hours, it was so much fun, also brilliantly written, dark and beautiful and a rollicking good adventure. As near-perfect an example of military science fiction as it’s possible to find. Cole mixes real-world physics and far future tech to provide a convincing picture of what fleets of huge spaceships fighting a battle at relativistic speeds might actually look like. The author does a fantastic job realizing space fleet tactics and logistics without making them at all boring. And the main character, she is a great depiction of a leader stuck with fighting her own legend.

I suppose if I tried I could find a few things to complain about, but Sixteenth Watch was basically everything I want in terms of Science Fiction - straight-to-the-point plotting, realistic dialogue, fast pace, a lack of preachy pretentiousness, no Earth-centric nonsense whatsoever, and a main character who is sufficiently lacking in special specialness. She was great on her own, but she was also surrounded by a really interesting cast of characters too. And although I have been bored stiff by the tedious details of flight plans, battle manuevers, and space ship strategies in the past, I was actually really, really fascinated by the special elite coast guard.

In conclusion, without a doubt one of my favorite reads of 2020.

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Military science fiction certainly has a long history. I grew up reading the <em>Tom Corbett, Space Cadet</em> series, and Isaac Asimov's (as Paul French) <em>David Starr, Space Ranger</em> books, Robert Heinlein, and then the military sci-fi of Jerry Pournelle in the 1970's. Despite this background, I would not consider myself a fan of the military sci-fi fiction. Myke Cole's <em>Sixteenth Watch</em> caught my eye, however, because I know Cole to be a strong writer of action/adventure and that he knows his military.

The Coast Guard has a long history of protecting ... well ... our coasts. But as we expand our territories into space, so too do our coastlines expand. It is definitely realistic that the Coast Guards will become a significant part of our (United States) Space Force, defending our new territories.

In <em>Sixteenth Watch</em> (I loved learning the meaning of this term) Captain Jane Oliver, who has typically led search-and-rescue missions and is now looking at retirement in her immediate future, is suddenly thrust into a precarious position of preventing the first lunar war (which would easily spread into a world war) when both Chinese and American companies are mining helium-3 and their intense territorial battle leads to shots fired.

When the Navy and the Marines get involved, the tension escalates and it is up to Oliver and the Coast Guard to ensure that cooler heads prevail.

As someone who is not generally a fan of military sci-fi, I found this to be an enjoyable read. The pace is brisk but not at the expense of the story. The story, however, is a little bit thin. There is tension and the attempt to diffuse the tension and that's pretty much it. We get a little bit of character development and a fair amount of explanation as to how things work in the military environment.

Looking for a good book? For a quick action read, <em>Sixteenth Watch</em> by Myke Cole definitely hit the spot, but it's not the sort of book that will have me on edge, waiting for the next volume in a space coast guard series.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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Myke Cole es un autor inquieto, que va cambiando de género aunque su «especialidad» sea la ciencia ficción militar. Y Sixteenth Watch se puede enmarcar perfectamente en ese casillero, pero he quedado gratamente sorprendida con la protagonista, que rompe el molde que podríamos haber esperado para una novela de estas características. Y es extraño porque estamos hablando de una militar de carrera, de mediana edad, madre de dos hijos y viuda de un marine que precisamente pereció en una misión lunar. El contraste de este trasfondo familiar y el entorno militar es acusado pero totalmente creíble.

El autor formó parte en su momento de la Guardia Costera, un cuerpo del ejército de los EE.UU. que pasa bastante desapercibido entre otros más conocidos. Y esa experiencia vital así como la profunda huella que dejó en él se deja ver en cada una de las páginas del libro. Las escenas de acción, que son muchas y variadas, están descritas con un punto de verosimilitud que añade credibilidad al relato.
La tensión fronteriza en la Luna entre los EE.UU. y China está en niveles muy altos y parece que algunos intereses particulares pretenden forzar la que sería la Primera Guerra Lunar. En este sentido cobra especial importancia la labor de la patrulla fronteriza, pero sobre todo las relaciones públicas, la imagen externa. Es por esta causa que a Jane Oliver le ofrecen un puesto de instructora en la Luna para un equipo de especialistas de la Guardia Costera que participará en un concurso que crea muchísima expectación entre la audiencia. Puede parecer una excusa un tanto débil, pero es un buen comienzo para una novela que tomará otros derroteros.
Estamos ante un libro con mucha acción, pero con algo más de profundidad que una retahíla constante de enfrentamientos con la testoterona por los cielos. Un relato sobre cómo hacer trabajo en equipo, pero también sobre la cadena de mando, las decisiones políticas dictadas por intereses particulares o las relaciones familiares bajo presión así como las formas de afrontar el duelo. Me ha parecido muy completo y recomendable.

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Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. If I could give six stars I would. This s=is the story of the near future where the Moon has been colonized, primarily by the Chinese and Americans. As in the present the Coast Guard is called upon to run interference between the decidedly hawkish elements on both sides. The characters are well developed and the story is realistic. The author could do better in explaining why the various militaries need such a wide variety of large space-going warships but they do add to the staory quite nicely.

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It starts off slow and kind of dense, but once the action begins, it's hard to resist the story as it drives forward. It reads as a true epic, one that makes you feel the world really has been reshaped as you read it. Would recommend.

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The Coast Guard Search and Rescue - in Space! This novel had interesting politics (at the personal, organizational, national, and solar system level) and a great lead character who has clear leadership strengths at the same time that she's grappling with trauma and recovery. All of the characters, in fact, were well created and I felt like I knew and was interested in almost everyone I came across. But caring about the character makes the abrupt, near-cliff hanger unresolved ending a bit unsatisfying. Overall, interesting study of the Coast Guard and the ethos of a warfighting service whose main mission is oftentimes saving lives ("So Others May Live").

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This book was just what I needed to take my mind off of current events (although it certainly a plausible near-future event). Our protagonist, Jane Oliver, is a Coast Guard Captain who is tasked with building a team that can win a boarding party reality show. But her actual mission, at least in her mind, is to deescalate the current tensions between the United States and China over Moon resources. The Navy is doing most of the Moon policing, and they are more eager for conflict.

What I liked the most was Oliver's leadership style. She led by example, and really cared about her people. I also loved the back and forth between Oliver and her XO - it made me laugh at times, and I was always hoping they would interact.

This is the start of the series and I'm already looking forward to the next book.

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This was my first ever Myke Cole and it was only after requesting this title that I realised that this author has quite the base as far as scifi genre is concerned. One of the pros of this book is that I learned a lot more about the Coast Guard and Navy of the USA than I ever thought I would know. (I am not an American, I wasn’t even interested in knowing more, if I am being honest.)

However despite that less than awesome tone, I did enjoy this book. Sixteenth Watch starts when US and China are trying to work together and not get in each other’s way on the Helium-3 on the moon. Things happen as the tensions get excessive between the countries and the Coast Guard Captain Jane Oliver is stuck in the middle of it all. Her job, essentially, is to avoid a war and the whole mess is being dealt with by the Navy (which is apparently a sign that there will definitely be a war?), things aren’t pretty, okay?

What I learned from this book is that the Coast Guard isn’t appreciated enough and the Navy might be a bit heavy-handed with them in general. I read that the author himself is a Coast Guard himself and it showed in the authenticity of the technicality, there was something impassioned about the way Cole tried to show us the positive sides of being a Coast Guard. However it sometimes felt a bit like self-insert fiction? It’s not a bad thing but it just seemed like wish-fulfillment at times. Oh, well.

Overall, I really enjoyed the action and the knowledge it gave me and would love to read more of this author’s books. If you like hard sci-fi and action packed scenes and if you want to appreciate the Coast Guard more than this is the book for you.

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Although for me personally this was not what I am looking for in my sci fi books, I have to also respect that this is not a bad book by any means and I think many will enjoy it. The story is very inclusive with a cast of characters that are extremely diverse and unique. My lack of enjoyment stems from the book being very realistic and detail oriented with regards to all the coast guard milieu. It feels more like a book about the Coast Guard of now, described in tedious detail from rules, regulations, lingo, to rivalries with the navy - just set in the future. It does tread a fine line back to the old dreary military sci fi of the past where there are as many pages describing how a rail gun operates in space as there is of the action. Instead of gun specs, we get Coast Guard specs.

Story: Jane is ready to retire with her husband when she loses him in a rebellion on the moon. Suddenly, the neutral Coast Guard is the only entity with the ability to step in and prevent the rebellion escalating to a full blown war. Against Jane's wishes, she is chosen to lead a special mission, something only she with her people skills and leadership can accomplish. At the same time, she is determined to train her group to win the famed 'olympics' of the military boarding competition.

This is the second book recently published to have a sci fi military's boarding competition and the Coast Guard seeking respect through it as a subplot (A Pale Light In The Black by K.B. Wagers also had a very inclusive set of characters revving up for the Boarding Competition and were involved in putting down a rebellion on Mars). The difference here is that this book is fully focused on the technical details of the Coast Guard whereas the other book was focused on the characters and drama. Each has its own unique flavor and neither takes away from the other.

It's odd to think of the Coast Guard as a hard sci fi subject but to me, that's what we have here. I wish the competition subplot had been ejected but also respect that it is a huge part of being in the CG and therefore almost a requirement to do the topic justice. All the same, I wanted to skip through all the endless training and discussions of how the CG would finally beat the Navy. I read sci fi for the battles and strategy, not the weapon descriptions, military jargon, or competitions.

In all, well written and with a great perspective on the Coast Guard. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

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As much as I loved the premise of this book, I couldn’t get past all the military jargon. I loved Captain Jane Oliver as a character and really wanted to read a sci-fi tale set in space and the moon, but it was such a chore to try to figure out what was going on. I ended up DNFng at about 30%.

I’ve read quite a bit of military sci-fi in the past and as long as there’s more story than jargon, I can usually get the gist without glazing over too much. Unfortunately, there was just too much glazing which kept bouncing me out of the story.

I’ve seen Myke Cole at. several events over the years and really wanted to read his books, but don’t really enjoy fantasy, so when I saw that he released a sci-fi, I had to give it a shot. I really wanted to like it because I’ve enjoyed Myke so much at his events.

I think that if any active military personnel or veterans read this, they probably would have a better understanding and much more enjoyment than I did.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Angry Robot Books, though, for the opportunity to read Sixteenth Watch.

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