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Book Review - On Basilisk Station

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Book Cover
Credit: http://www.sffaudio.com/?p=8743

On Basilisk Station, the first book in the Honor Harrington series by David Weber, is set in a futuristic universe.  Our heroine, the highly capable but highly confrontational and insecure individual Honor Harrington begins the story as a newly-minted captain.  Her white beret shining like a beacon, insides giddy with excitement, she attempts to boldly fly into action only to find BuPers outfitting her ship with a poorly designed armament.  This armament is a plan of "Horrible Hemphill's", which will be tested in fleet exercises in Manticoran space.  Over the course of the next hundred or so pages, Honor's crew is shamed and shipped off to Basilisk Station to serve as the slime of the Manticoran Navy.  

Without a doubt, there are some great things about this book.  Honor Harrington is a likeable character, if a bit of a hot head.  It's fun to watch her go wild on people she despises with a cold eye and a heavy hand.  In fact, her anger often seems justified, though I do feel the author tries to sell it too strongly.  And of course, being 30% stronger than anyone in her vicinity makes for some exciting moments.

As far as the details of science fiction physics, this book packs is awesome.  If you are into science or engineering, you will greatly enjoy reading through the details of how and why starships work.  In fact, throughout the series Mr. Weber goes in-depth into different aspects of Manticoran's space age technology.  I am convinced being able to somewhat connect reality with science fiction makes all the ideas in the book more plausible and more realistic.  If you are looking for a technical science fiction book, look no further.

David Weber also enjoys delving into the political situation between Haven and Manticore a bit too much, in my opinion.  I'm all for some politicking in my fantasy and science fiction books, but there has to be a limit, dang it!  Reading thirty pages of whimsical musings on the state of the universe is not my idea of a stellar time (Hah, get it?  Stellar).  These far-flung cogitations begin to wane in excitement after you've experienced them for the third time in a 400 page book.  That being said, if politicking is your thing, you should pick up this book.  I can't think of many books that do the job quite so well, and it is generally entertaining to listen to how Honor Harrington recently upset the Manticoran political system.

The action in this book is sometimes extremely intense and heated, and at other times slow to build up until it punches you in the mouth.  Kind of like this hilarious YouTube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow7pwIDhl5c.  On the whole, I thoroughly enjoy the action sequences in David Weber's books.  The most frustrating thing is actually getting to  the action sequences through the morass of politics and technical jargon.

In the end, David Weber has put together an incredibly thoughtful book which delves into many difficulties that will likely occur in true space travel.  Though he likes to meander around in his story at times, his understanding of science and politics shines through.  This is a book worth reading and if you see it in your local bookstore (not like there's any more of those left), feel free to pick it up.

Metrics: 0 - 10 scale

Enjoyability: 7

Setting: 8

Plausibility: 9

Writing quality: 8

Plot: 6

Creativity: 9

Content: % time spent on certain aspects

Setting: 30

Action: 30

Politics: 20

Character Building: 20

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