[[ read online Textbooks ]] On Basilisk Station Author David Weber – Papercuts.co

Aug2011 Reread for the Beyond Reality group I want to read the 2d book immediately, even though I only read it a few years ago I love Honor According to some other sources, she s Horatio Hornblower Admiral Nelson, just set in a future civilization Weber does have a dedication to the former at the start of the book He succeeded in creating a wonderful heroine set in a very realistic future society with all the colonization empire problems of old England.I think that if you ve spent any time in the military, you ll appreciate these booksHonor is the epitome of a military officer She is just getting to the point in her career where she is gaining real responsibility thus winds up in some dicey situations, both military politic.Weber feeds us a LOT of information in this first book He sets up an entire galactic civilization which is very similar to that of our world in the 18th century There are Colonial powers, distant political fights, economics, scientific realities, all the other issues that plague a commander out in the field weeks away from their superiors Unfortunately, quite a bit of this information is handed to us in info dumps, someinteresting than others Most are necessary as the strategy tactics to deal with them are central to the story There were a couple that weren t really needed could have been put off to later books or given to us in smaller bites His characterization is a bit flat I m not sure that s a bad thing With all the complexities in the story quite a few characters, having BW characters helps keep the story tighter If there had been too many folks with complex motivations or issues, the story probably would have spun out of control into a brick This isn t It s a highly readable, swiftly moving story I appreciated that 2008 A fairly long series of a dozen books or so not counting all the spin offs it s one of the most well written, I ve had the pleasure to read His development of characters, politics adherence to the physical laws of his world make it a great yarn Through every book, I was biting my nails rooting for Honor Years and years and years ago, in a mental galaxy far, far away, a boy saw a ton of Star Trek Military Mary Sue Hard SF novels on the shelves of his local bookstore and collectively went Eh No.So boy read everything else And everything else And everything else.Enter GoodReads.Boy asks himself if he s been entirely fair to said Mil SF titles so summarily dismissed Is frankly amazed that it s been generally highly received and it s still getting written To high praise Boy wonders And ponders And finally decides to throw out preconceptions To read for himself.And guess what The boy was entertained There s surprisingly little sexualization at all It follows the long tradition of Military Competence Porn, where meritocracy is faced with the evils of privilege and overconfidence A severely handicapped heroine is given few resources, a dead end station thanks to her kicking the ass of an almost rapist privileged jerk She brushes her shoulders and sets to work with tons of misfits and maladjusted crewmembers and whips the Bad News Bears into shape.And they turn this backwater system into something they can be proud of Awww I admit it I was charmed The only cliches were the non embarrassing ones It was all competence, all the time The only thing I got lost at, unfortunately, was the long sequences of actual BATTLE later in the novel Yeah That s kinda embarrassing I mean, it s a MILSF But unless I m looking at a ton of flashy lights on the screen or the author is extraordinarily gifted at description read less info dumping, or at least restrain the info dumping to something that s interesting to me, read dry military blah blah, I kinda need my battles to be fairly quick and telegraphed easily Maybe that s just me.HOWEVER, all that wasn t much of a dealbreaker for me because I m kinda used to it with all the other MILSFs I ve read I just don t go nuts over that particular aspect of the novels Characters make me fall for the stories Not the space battles Fortunately, I had a great time It s a pretty simple take, but the adventure is well thought out and we re given the full run from misfits to supreme lords of this backwater system I call that a win. I feel it necessary to admit a few things before starting this review proper.1 I have watched the Horatio Hornblower movies that were shown on AE you know, back when AE actually could be called Arts and Entertainment as opposed to Tattoo TV I liked them Okay, I really liked LT Bush Paul McGann , but who didn t The only thing better was The Hanging Gale when all the McGann brothers were working together I also saw the Peck movie.2 I have only read one Hornblower novel I didn t really like it Then I read a plot synopsis in Masterplots, don t get me started.3 I have only read two Patrick O Brian books I felt one was okay, and other was yawn 4 s 2 and 3 are weird because I liked the Hornblower movies, and the Master and Commander movie maybe, because it had Pippin in it This has made me frightened to read the Sharpe novels I want to like them beause I like the movies Did anyone else laugh when Bean picked up the sword in LOTR and said, still sharp 5 Why am I telling you this Because On Basilisk Station is Hornblower in space And it doesn t suck Can I use that word here Weber is up front about his inspiration material Look at the dedication to the book I love up front advertising It is also extremely honest because some of the themes are from Hornblower at least from the movies You have the really intelligent officer trying to work with a somewhat resentful crew who come around in the end you have the intelligent officer who makes enemies in high ranking and powerful officers, and said intelligent officer gains protection in some places Some of the references to the names are blatantly obvious Honor as a first name Of course, Horatio was rather obvious as well.But Weber makes itInstead of making Honor a Hornblower with boobs, Weber makes her a believable woman And she is a woman, not a girl What I liked was that Weber didn t make her command style touchy feely like Janeway in Voyager , but allowed us to see her thoughts as well as her actions We could see her thinking her way though the decisions she made This made herhuman than Hornblower,sympathetic, andreal Weber also gives us aplausible reason for her intelligence Though she is young looking, she is really around what we would call her 40s Weber explains this by that vague anti aging drugs or process that works it s way into every other SF novel Strangely, it didn t bug me here.What I really liked about this book was Honor s interactions with other women Too often in books with a chosen woman, the other women are made to look bad for example, Anita Blake or Blood and Chocolate Here, Weber does for women exactly what he did for the male characters You have good and bad ones Though the bad guys are really guys There is a female doctor that Honor can t get along with, but there is also Dame Estelle who Honor does get along with You also have Young, a male officer who is worthless No one sex is made to look bad I loved that I loved the interactions between Honor and Estelle or any of the female crew for that matter No girl talk, all business I never understood the rule about 40% of the talk being about men meant that the writers was portraying women in a positive way Really Would you have a book geared towards males where 40% of the talk was about their relationships or hair or make up No, you wouldn t I love Weber for this.There were some things that didn t quite work for me I felt the inclusion of a treecat, while a cool sounding animal, made Honor too special, or meaning of the animal was too obvious A bit heavy handed I felt that making Honor stronger than some of the other characters too, was something that wasn t totally needed I must give Weber credit Honor is stronger because of her home planet, so her strength and treecat are not unusual for where she comes from.I did think that Weber did a wonderful job with supporting characters, in particular with McKeon The last few chapters, the major space battle, were thrilling I m kicking myself for not picking up this series sooner. I found this one thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable, although maybe a little on the long side It starts slowly but gathers speed and by the end it is unputdownable I liked Honor Harrington and found it made for comfortable reading to have a reliable main character for once I felt I could trust that she would do the right thing and also never fall apart and flood the place in tears She just soldiered on through thick and thin and, being totally brilliant and super talented, she performed miracles Not realistic but still fun.The author had a tendency to info dump, especially when it concerned his space technology, and I have to confess to a little personal skimming over these sections This is the reason for four stars instead of five However I am sure there are many readers who found his details fascinating I found Honor to be an interesting character and I liked the world she lived in It goes without saying that I enjoyed Nimitz I will definitely be readingabout the Honorverse in the future. This series opener is one that s been on my radar for a long time, and I m delighted to have finally read it Although I m a science fiction fan, I m not generally attracted to military SF, which of course this is But that s mostly because my impression is that much of that sub genre concentrates heavily on futuristic military hardware, to the neglect of the human element and I think the human element is what good literature is all about But that s not a problem here To be sure, there s futuristic military hardware, and techno babble see below But the human element, and a rousing tale of human adventure, is the core of the book.Ever since junior high school, I ve appreciated historical fiction about the British Navy in the age of sail I like the ambiance, the ethos, and the action of the storylines Weber s a kindred spirit in this respect, and particularly a fan of C S Forester to whom he dedicates this novel The latter s Horatio Hornblower series provides the inspiration for Weber s series, and the identity of the initials of the respective protagonists is no coincidence This has led some Hornblower fans to cry Foul and Rip off I m not joining in those cries, however Yes, Weber has definitely brought something of the flavor of the earlier novels, set in the life of an ocean going navy in the Napoleonic Wars, to this tale of a space faring navy in the far future Honor s Manticore is a kingdom with an aristocracy and a political system reminiscent of Regency England the author actually provides a plausible historical explanation for this , while its rival, Haven, has affinities to revolutionary France And Honor has heroic qualities in common with Hornblower, as well as her initials But that s where the parallels end She s her own person, not a Hornblower clone, and I did not see the plot as duplicating anything from the earlier series it s original Granted, I ve only read one Hornblower novel What we have here, IMO, is an SF homage to Forester s canon, not a plagiarized rip off.Of course, it s an updated homage, most noticeably in that the all male world of Hornblower s navy has finally met the world of women s liberation Not only do we have a female protagonist women in Manticore which currently happens to have a ruling Queen enjoy full role equality with men, can occupy positions of power, and serve in the space navy on an equal footing with males Being an equalitarian feminist myself, that s music to my ears Moreover, I m a long standing admirer of strong, take charge, combat capable heroines, and that definitely describes Honor She s got the smarts, guts, determination and decisiveness to captain a warship butthan that, she s a person of integrity, ethics, loyalty, and moral courage Honor isn t just her name it s a quality that defines her No, she s not perfect she s got a temper, that she sometimes has to fight to control but she s a woman you can respect and admire Weber s supporting cast is life like as well His plotting is good, carefully developed and well paced, with real suspense that rises to nail biting intensity at the climax Likewise, his world building is capable and vivid Spot on political commentary with real contemporary relevance is embedded naturally in the storyline and in the tradition of heroic action adventure, the moral message here is one that s supportive of virtue, duty, patriotism, and loyalty.That s not to say it s an unflawed debut As other reviewers have noted, Weber s partial to the info dump technique There are a couple of long ones here The first one explains Manticore s political system, and at least has the merit of being interesting in its own right The second attempts to explain the mechanics of FTL space travel and hyper space currents, as they work in the author s imaginary view of the galaxy, in such a way as to provide a veneer of hard science How valid any of this is even by the standards of modern quantum theory, which I don t understand or necessarily even fully accept I don t know, and don t care and the excursion through it left me slightly glassy eyed I don t have to have a solid basis in known science for my SF, so I d have been happy with much less explanation just a basic indication of what the spaceships can or can t do If he wanted to include all this techno babble, IMO, Weber would have been better off to put it in an appendix, as he does with his extensive discussion of Manticorean chronology though my copy is missing a page of this I didn t miss it There s also a significant amount of profanity and obscenity here though not from Honor mostly from villains or military types under severe stress Readers who dislike extremely grisly violence should be warned that they ll find some of that here, too Because of the language and info dumps, this was technically a four and a half star read for me, but I rounded up After all, that s the least any gentleman can do for a lady like Honor According to some googling and some calculations oooo, fractions , I made it through 54% of this book A search usings Look Inside feature tells me I got to page 253 253 And I still couldn t tell the characters apart.Okay, that s an exaggeration I knew who Honor was, and her exec, andher cat And maybe one or two others Weber introduces us to a rather large cast, but he fails to give each personality an individual stamp I couldn t even describe anyone physically, apart from Honor and her frequently mentioned hard, narrowed, unblinking, flashing, all over the place brown eyes And her white cap That white cap is ber important Weber is farin love with his techobabble, military strategy, and political history than he is with his characters Which is all well and good, but a successful piece of fiction gives the reader someone or at least something to root for I couldn t care less whether Honor and her crew succeed in their search for whatever they re hunting.The soporific and often incomprehensible descriptions of defense tactics, ship construction, and long warring government factions made me incapable of appreciating the rare moments of plot development Who can concentrate on putting together the pieces when I m still trying to figure out the difference between real years and T years as described in chapter one There was one terrible aspect of this book that I can t blame the author for ebook formatting Weber frequently switches his point of view mid chapter, which wouldn t be so bad if the sections were clearly delineated Unfortunately, my version of the book did no such thing, leaving me flailing in confusion for every scene change It s so rare that I DNF a book the very idea is abhorrent to me But for this book alone a new shelf has been born Sorry, Honor Harrington, but I canna do it, Cap n. There are many faults with On Basilisk Station I m not going to deny that The bit where a tense action scene was interrupted for eight pages of background on the ins and outs of space travel was a particularly egregious one, and David Weber is quite frankly, to judge on this, not that good a writer at all I also understand people who think Honor is a bit of a Mary Sue , a bit too perfect I understand, but I don t agree at least not at this stage in the series, though I ve read analyses which suggests it definitely gets that way.But for me I was mesmerised Hard SF with a strong, non sexualised female lead, absolutely no romantic plot, platonic relationships with multiple male characters A female lead who is resourceful, determined, and quite frankly does her superiors jobs better than they were doing them themselves She isn t faultless She isn t even pretty There s nothing about her which implies Weber thought sex appeal would be important, and good god that should not be so refreshing in SF.I think Weber s worldbuilding really shines he s clearly thought through all the political situations and the exact details of the technology involved, too Granted, he doesn t deploy this with the greatest of subtlety holy infodump, Batman but the planning is all there.To top all that off, I got very involved with the characters, my heart was in my mouth during the action scenes bar the bit with the eight page digression and I was willing to overlook all its flaws because of that It gets four stars not for being a brilliant piece of writing, but for taking a firm grip on my heart. Supposedly CS Forster set in space, this novel isMercedes Lackey Honor Harrington is the new captain of an old warship Within a few paragraphs of meeting her we re told she has a psychic connection with her alien cat, is beautiful and looks far younger than her age, graduated top of her class and is oh so muchsensible than any of her commanding officers From then on, she s the bestest captain ever All the good characters love and admire her, and all the bad characters hate her for being so smart and messing up their fiendish plans There are a few paragraphs that aren t lavishing praise on Honor or showing how evil her enemies are These paragraphs are meaningless infodumps. First three Honor Harrington books, in which aforesaid officer of the Royal Manticoran Navy the space kind and her I kid you not empathically bonded feline animal companion have military adventures In the first, Honor is sent to a backwater outpost where she stumbles on corruption and thwarts an invasion In the second, Honor is sent to a backwater system where she battles sexism and thwarts an invasion In the third, Honor is sent to the front line where she, uh, I ve got nothing for this slot and thwarts an invasion.Weber does that old Star Wars trick of alternating POVs with Honor and the bad guys, relieving the reader of having to do any actual thinking by explaining everyone s plans pages in advance But to be fair I think Weber s impulse to break up the POV is a sound one spending a hundred thousand words in the head of the moral center of the universe Mary Sue Honor would make anyone want to kill themselves And, I mean, switching POVs allows Weber to deliver lines of unmatched hilarity like these He d reduced her cruiser to a wreck she must be some kind of wizard to keep coming after him, let alone keep shooting at him This medal is our highest award for valor, he told her quietly Over the years, it has been worn by some truly extraordinary men, but never, I think, by oneextraordinary than the woman who has received it today Which is why I kept reading, because you can t get comedy like that just anywhere.To be fair, this is acceptably competent military SF in the military sense Weber has clearly put some of the time he never spent thinking about adding a third dimension to his characters or making his heroine interesting in considering the physics and strategy of space battles His editor has let him put a giddily burbling pseudo scientific essay at the end of each book to talk about ship construction and weapons evolution and strategy And it s endearing that he clearly stopped writing in the middle of scenes to go do math Though I wonder what it says about me that I stopped reading to double check some figures for fun if ship A is accelerating at 450 g and ship B follows at 500 g from xxx million Km, how long will intercept take and where will they be Weber also has an excellent grasp of the sheer grinding time involved in space battles, and a surprisingly light touch in showing the nature of war from every level of military experience Two thirds of The Short Victorious War no, in fact, you don t get to leave the comma out just because it s a title, copyediting fuckwit , is all about moving ships all over the map, and there s some nicely considered detail about how maneuvers work in vast, three dimensional spaces.Anyway Unless someone can reassure me that this series gets appreciably better in the next dozen books, I m done save for possible snortgiggling forays when I m particularly bored. Honor Harrington In Trouble Having Made Him Look The Fool, She S Been Exiled To Basilisk Station In Disgrace And Set Up For Ruin By A Superior Who Hates Her Her Demoralized Crew Blames Her For Their Ship S Humiliating Posting To An Out Of The Way Picket Station The Aborigines Of The System S Only Habitable Planet Are Smoking Homicide Inducing Hallucinogens Parliament Isn T Sure It Wants To Keep The Place The Major Local Industry Is Smuggling, The Merchant Cartels Want Her Head The Star Conquering, So Called Republic Of Haven Is Up To Something And Honor Harrington Has A Single, Over Age Light Cruiser With An Armament That Doesn T Work To Police The Entire Star SystemBut The People Out To Get Her Have Made One MistakeThey Ve Made Her Mad