Monday, December 26, 2011

Read Lately: On Basilisk Station by David Weber

  • One might think that with all of the novels available in the world that I would have dug something up out of Amazon's catalog when I got my new Kindle Fire. Instead I turned to Baen's Free Library and tried out a book that I've been wondering about for a while, On Basilisk Station by David Weber.

  • On Basilisk Station is the first book in the Honor Harrington series. Commonly thought of as Horation Hornblower In Space, the novel follows Harrington as she takes command of the light crusier Fearless and deals with the incompetance and politics within the Royal Manticoran Navy. Assigned to the backwater Basilisk system, Harrington refuses to let her current position define her command.

  • In establishing the series' sci-fi trappings, Weber has created a system wherein ship-to-ship battles play out much like Napolionic navel battles. He does take into account modifications to account for three dimentional space and inertia in a vacuum. So instead of a line of battle, ships array themselves in a wall. And the outcome chases are determined not by relative velocity, but by relative acceleration. But otherwise you could drop these ships in water and have the battles play out quite familiarly.

  • The level to which you can accept that will go a long way to determining whether you think the book is clever or crap. If you prefer your science fiction of the hard variety, you will probably like this as much as you like Star Wars. But if you don't mind science fiction being used as a backdrop to tell interesting stories, then you should be just as delighted as I was.

  • David Weber is an excellent writer and this novel got its hooks in me from the start. There is nothing flashy about his prose. But he is deft in his characterizations and the creativity of his plot. With On Basilisk Station he has built a future that I can understand and visualize with ease, and that is a great accomplishment.

© 2011 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.


  1. I actually re-read that about a year back. The series, for me, spins a bit out of control and I could not finish it. But it starts off strong and is popular, and made for something like 15+ novels, for a reason.

  2. @ Wilhelm Arcturus - After 15 novels, I would be surprised if it didn't. I'm looking forward to the next, though.