Review: The Scrapyard Incident by Phillip Nolte

Another new author! Another addition to the New Author Challenge 2013. This challenge is hosted by the Literary Escapism blog.

The Scrapyard Incident
by Phillip Nolte
Junkyard Dogs, book 1
Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera
Published by: Amazon Digital, 2013
E-book, purchased
365 pages
Grade: C+

Synopsis: Ensign Tamara Carlisle, a brilliant, beautiful but decidedly quirky young officer on a remote assignment to obtain information needed to finish her advanced degree in Military History…
Lieutenant Ryan Harris, a talented and experienced engineer who harbors doubts about his ability to command…Engineering Technician Angus Hawkins, a savvy veteran and former Chief Petty Officer busted down in rank for brawling…

These three unsuspecting individuals, marooned after a devastating sneak attack on the United Terran Federation Naval Reclamation Center– a huge, orbiting Junkyard located in a remote corner of Federation space– are forced to confront their limitations and team up to fight back against unknown, heavily armed foes who threaten their continued survival…


This is a self-published book and looks like the first book written by Phillip Nolte. I enjoy space opera and military science fiction and I liked this book. It could have been written tighter and I saw some editing errors, but overall I enjoyed the book.

I thought the idea of the Scrapyard was good. It’s a junkyard for spacecraft! The Scrapyard is formally known as the United Terran Federation Naval Reclamation Center–the derelict spacecraft left after a war and additional junked spacecraft brought here. The military has a base here because the parts from the spacecraft can often be sold and used for repairs. The military center is destroyed in a sneak attack and all but three military who are away from the Center in the Scrapyard during the attack are killed.

The three military left after a sneak attack are all engaging characters:

  • Ensign Tamara Carlisle…with a tattoo on her face and especially her habit of talking to herself while she was thinking is a well-drawn character.

She got into the short line that had formed as the newcomers were processed.
“…Reclamation center…checkpoint…credentials…take it easy, Tamara…,” she mumbled to herself.
“Pardon? said the man directly in front of her, turning slightly to acknowledge the speaker behind.
“What? Oh, I must’ve been talking to myself again. Bad habit. My apologies.”

I thought this was a clever character trait and made her more human and individual. However, this makes other people think she’s odd and she hasn’t fit in well with her academy classmates. She is intelligent, but she’s an outsider in the military. This book reminded me a little of Elizabeth Moon’s book Once a Hero about Lt. Esmay Suiza. Lt. Suiza is also young, very talented and an outsider in the military.

  • Lieutenant Ryan Harris is a stereotypical engineer…good at the technical, but not a good people person. During the course of the book he discovers he’s a better people person and leader than he thought.
  • The former Chief Petty Officer–now Engineering Technician Angus Hawkins (demoted due to a fight several years ago)–was the quintessential crusty, taciturn, but experienced NCO. Another stereotype…good officers know they should trust their experienced NCO even if he is crusty and has a chip on his shoulder!

While Lt. Harris, Ensign Carlisle and Engineering Tech Hawkins were having their battles with unknown forces their commanding officer and others on a space station are trying to figure out what force has taken over the space station and why. The book moves back and forth between the two locations as each battle for their lives and to try to figure out why the attacks happened.

I especially like that the military stayed true to being military. There is attraction between Lt. Harris and Ensign Carlisle, but during their fight in the Scrapyard he is her commander and he’s aware that it’s against regulations for them to become romantically involved. Also they were in the middle of life and death battles. It’s much more realistic that the attraction was there, but they were too busy fighting for their lives. There is a slight romance by the end of the book (after the battles are over and Lt. Harris is no longer her commander), but they go their separate ways. This is the first book in a series so perhaps they meet again in the next book. I hope so!

As I stated above I think the book would have benefited from more editing, but I do plan to buy the next book in this series and hope it comes out soon!