Books I Love: On Basilisk Station by David Weber
Military sci-fi has always been one of my favorite genres. There’s probably a direct relation to the fact that I grew up in a military family and spent the first twenty or so years on this planet living on military bases across the world. I “grew up Army” as it were, and getting to be up close and personal to tanks, artillery pieces, helicopters and the other trappings of soldiery certainly made an impression. The first true mil-sci-fi book I remember reading was Starship Troopers. That’s pretty much all it took, and I was hooked.
On Basilisk Station by David Weber carries on a long tradition of mil-sci-fi, putting a brilliant military commander in a situation fraught with politics. It’s a common trope to have the pragmatic officer trying to do their job amidst political fallout, and Weber does it as well as anyone I’ve read. Honor Harrington is sent to Basilisk Station on an effectively under-armed cruiser and with a crew that holds her responsible for their exile to the unexciting backwater of the kingdom, a place used to quietly shuffle officers destined to be drummed out of the service out of the public eye.
It should be a career killer, but no one told Harrington that. Unlike her predecessors in the dead-end posting, she shows up and starts doing her job. Along the way she encounters smugglers, pirates, and a planetary rebellion being incited by the Manticore Star Kingdom’s political enemies. When that rebellion is put down, Harrington must take her small command into the teeth of battle against elements of her nation’s greatest foe. Failure could mean all out war.
On Basilisk Station is the start of a much longer tale that spans more than a dozen novels, following Honor Harrington’s career through its various ups and downs. If you’re a fan of military sci-fi, this series is a must read, plain and simple.