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Military Speculative Fiction That Doesn’t Suck

22 Apr, 2015


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Yeah, that’s not my original name for this series of reviews but it occurred to me my original choice could be censored by nannyware.

There are lots of books that fall under either military science fiction or military fantasy; the first is generally shortened to MilSF and the second runs into very similar nannyware issues as the original series title. Most published MilSF and MilF embodies Sturgeon’s Law: 90% of everything is crud (1). I will be reviewing military speculative fiction I believe falls into that last 10%, MilSpecFic that isn’t an egregious insult to the reader’s sensibilities.

I will be using two rules of thumb to determine if something is MilSpecFic:

A: rec.arts.sf.written’s old definition (expanded to include fantasy): Military sf is sf about people who are in a chain of command.

B: I know it when I see it.

Personally, I draw a distinction between modern MilSpecFic and its precursors; various conventions had not been set in stone when the older books were written and published. Some of the older books I have in mind for this series may seem a bit odd if the MilSpecFic you’ve read is exclusively of what I like to call the Jerry Pournelle lineage; I hope that’s odd in an interesting way.

1: You might think I would take the opportunity to take a cheap shot at Baen at this juncture, but while much of their output is dreadful, not all of it is. They are not the worst publishers of MilSF and MilF out there, not by a long shot. Entertain yourself by speculating which publisher I have in mind as the worst.