Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Bennett R. Coles's "Dark Star Rising"

Bennett R. Coles served as an officer in the Royal Canadian Navy for fifteen years, where he saw many adventures and also had many boring times to think about writing. As his career shifted to one of international business development he continued to explore all corners of the Earth, but now had thirteen-hour flights across the Pacific where he could churn out chapter after chapter of military space adventures. He is a recipient of the Cygnus Award for military science fiction and the Cygnus Grand Prize for science fiction. He attends SF cons across North America whenever he can, but is far more likely to be spotted at cons closer to his home in Victoria, Canada.

Here Coles dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, Dark Star Rising:
Dark Star Rising is the second book in the science fantasy Blackwood and Virtue series, picking up with our heroes after their first successful mission. This success is overshadowed, however, by the discovery that their foes were only a small part of a much bigger threat to the Empire – a shadowy, far-reaching organization led by the mysterious Dark Star. Armed with a letter of marque the crew of HMSS Daring have wide latitude to operate as necessary to accomplish their mission, but the obstacles are growing. Pirate activities are getting bolder, war with an alien species looms, and Daring herself seems to be the target of an attack from within the Imperial court.

This series of books is swashbuckling space adventure aboard a star sailing ship in a dense galactic cluster, so any actor would have to bring a sense of fun to their role. In my opinion, as part of the screen test each actor would have to be able to convincingly shout, “Huzzah!”

For the heroine, Petty Officer Amelia Virtue, I’d love see Emilia Clarke get the nod, having just the right look for our plucky quartermaster. Many of her biggest roles have required her to exude gravitas, so it would be fun to see Ms. Clarke cut loose and show us just how strong and sassy Amelia can be.

Our hero, Subcommander Lord Liam Blackwood, would be well represented by Henry Cavill. Mr. Cavill is actually a bit beefier than I imagine Liam, but I think he would make the role his own. His recent turn as Sherlock in Enola Holmes showed just how well he can play the calm, charismatic, brilliant gentleman that Liam is.

A significant character in the book is Sublieutenant Lady Ava Templegrey, who would be brought to life with panache by Jennifer Lawrence. Not only does Ms. Lawrence bear a striking resemblance to my image of Ava, but she has the chops to deliver the complex performance necessary for this young noblewoman who is far more than she seems.

Who better to play the villain of the piece, Captain Lord Silverhawk, than Matt Smith? Beneath that high lord’s indulgent sneer is a man of surprising menace and Mr. Smith is famous for portraying a particular space and time-travelling oddball who can shift in seconds from a frivolous comment to a declaration of doom. And then deliver on both.

Finally, let’s consider the captain of HMSS Daring, Commander Lady Sophia Riverton. Lady Sophia rules her ship with a quiet but unquestioned charisma and I can think of few actors with more screen presence than Rosario Dawson. Ms. Dawson can command an entire scene with a single raised eyebrow, much as Lady Sophia can inspire her entire crew with barely a word.

Since we’re talking the dream team, it would be ideal for a director like Steven Spielberg to helm the project – someone who can deliver solid action sequences laced with whimsy. Let’s face it, these books are meant to entertain: they’re about star sailing ships hunting down dinosaur pirates in space! Huzzah!
Visit Bennett R. Coles's website.

The Page 69 Test: Dark Star Rising.

--Marshal Zeringue