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Reviews in Project: Military Speculative Fiction That Doesn't Suck (41)

Given You a Number

Flight & Anchor

By Nicole Kornher-Stace  

7 Sep, 2023

Military Speculative Fiction That Doesn't Suck

1 comment

The 2023 novella Flight & Anchor belongs to Nicole Kornher-Stace’s Firebreak constellation of novels, novellas, and stories1.

Retrieved as children from a corporate warzone, 06 and 22 were remade by their Stellaxis masters. The pair were the beneficiaries of advanced cyborg enhancements. Faster, tougher, and stronger than baseline humans, the two are proof that the Stellaxis supersoldier program produces valuable results.

Tweens are notorious for ingratitude. Having been transformed at great expense into supersoldiers, twelve-year-olds 06 and 22 use their gifts to escape the Stellaxis training/containment facility and flee into the nearby city.

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One Step From Earth

The Light Brigade

By Kameron Hurley  

21 Mar, 2023

Military Speculative Fiction That Doesn't Suck

1 comment

Kameron Hurley’s 2020 The Light Brigade is a stand-alone military science fiction novel.

Having been rescued from democracy and socialism, the dwindling population of the Earth prospers under the prudent guidance of their corporate rulers. Those who are useful are rewarded appropriately (but not excessively); the useless are discarded. All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds.

Dietz’ father was a criminal who was eventually disappeared. Dietz’ mother died of a terminal illness. Dietz’ brother vanished in the Blink, an attack that erased a swath of Sao Paulo. The attack inspires Dietz to join a corporate army to get revenge on the damn dirty Martians who attacked Earth.

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Where the Spaces Are Wide Open

Persephone Station

By Stina Leicht  

28 Dec, 2020

Military Speculative Fiction That Doesn't Suck

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Stina Leicht’s 2020 Persephone Station is a standalone science fiction novel.

The United Republic of Worlds would give legal status to aliens like Persephone’s enigmatic inhabitants. Maybe so, but the self-styled Emissaries prefer to remain private and hidden. Accordingly, they have traded certain services to Vissia Corsini in exchange for Corsini using her de-facto control of the Serrao-Orlov Corporation’s local branch to conceal the Emissaries’ existence. They have also permitted the corporation to claim ownership of their world. From the Emissary standpoint, that doesn’t seem like a problem; thanks to Emissary misdirection, humans believe they can’t survive unprotected on Persephone. 

The services they gave Corsini turned out to have an unfortunate catch. Corsini is pissed off and decides to take revenge. Her advantage: she controls Serrao-Orlov’s resources on Persephone and can certainly figure out ways to make the Emissaries regret their bargain. 


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Of Our Elaborate Plans

Victory Conditions  (Vatta’s War, volume 5)

By Elizabeth Moon  

1 Dec, 2020

Military Speculative Fiction That Doesn't Suck

2 comments

2008’s Victory Conditions is the fifth and final volume in Elizabeth Moon’s Vatta’s War quintology. 

Gammis Turek’s Deepspace Benevolent Association is very much at war with the local systems: if sabotage and acts of piracy did not prove this, their campaign of intimidating atrocities do. Simple self-interest would dictate that the independent governments coordinate their defensive efforts against a common foe. Regrettably, not only is there no local tradition of transnational cooperation, but some factions are convinced the DBA is not the greatest threat they face. 


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Paranoia is in Bloom

Command Decision  (Vatta’s War, volume 4)

By Elizabeth Moon  

24 Nov, 2020

Military Speculative Fiction That Doesn't Suck

2 comments

2007’s Command Decision is the fourth volume in Elizabeth Moon’s Vatta’s War series. 

Having narrowly survived the previous adventure, Ky Vatta sets out to completely reshape interstellar politics. After all, if she does not do it, the Deepspace Benevolent Association — Team Evil! —most definitely will.

The various players split up so they can do more damage to the enemy. Because that alwaysworks.


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Our Darkest Deeds

Engaging the Enemy  (Vatta’s War, volume 3)

By Elizabeth Moon  

17 Nov, 2020

Military Speculative Fiction That Doesn't Suck

1 comment


2006’s Engaging the Enemy is the third (and middle) volume in Elizabeth Moon’s Vatta’s War quintology. 

The book begins where the previous one left off. Ky Vatta is rebuilding her family business, which was laid waste in the previous book. She has managed to acquire her father’s implant, which gives her intimate knowledge of the company (as well as of her father’s final moments before his death). She has defeated her evil relative Osman and has seized his heavily armed ship as spoils of war.

Her troubles are not over, not least because many governments do not accept as legitimate the murder hobo creed I killed him and then took his stuff.”


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Fateful Lightning

Marque and Reprisal  (Vatta’s War, volume 2)

By Elizabeth Moon  

3 Nov, 2020

Military Speculative Fiction That Doesn't Suck

4 comments

2004’s Marque and Reprisal is the second book in the Elizabeth Moon series Vatta’s War.

Having successfully rebuilt her shattered career and defied mutineers, Ky Vatta’s troubles should be over. She should be able to look forward to the carefree life of a successful interstellar trader.

Aside from the whole interstellar war thing, that is. 


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When You’re a Stranger

Contact Imminent  (Jani Kilian, volume 4)

By Kristine Smith  

29 Jul, 2020

Military Speculative Fiction That Doesn't Suck

4 comments

2003’s Contact Imminent is the fourth volume in Kristine Smith’s Jani Kilian quintet. 

Human-idomeni relations are troubled at the best of times. On the plus side, the idomeni now have an embassy on Earth, near the terrestrial capital Chicago. On the minus side, someone appears to have done a subpar job of ensuring that the property granted for idomeni use was properly prepared. Or so the landmines suggest.


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Ready or Not!

In the Black  (Intersection Space, volume 1)

By Patrick S. Tomlinson  

4 Jun, 2020

Military Speculative Fiction That Doesn't Suck

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Patrick S. Tomlinson’s 2020 In the Black is the first volume in his projected Intersection Space series. 

Peace has reigned between humans and the alien Xre for seventy years, ever since the end of the Intersection War. Now, as Captain Kamala of the Combined Corporate Defense Fleet Ansari is going to discover, the Xre appear to be interested in testing human resolve. 

CCDF Ansaris sensor drones are spread across the 82 Eridani system, ever vigilant for any sign of alien incursion. No threat to stakeholder interests will be overlooked. One might expect the end of the long peace to come in a flurry of fireworks. In this case, the first hint that something is up comes as silence. One by one, the sensor drones are falling quiet.


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Children of Empire

Cross Fire  (Exo, volume 2)

By Fonda Lee  

12 Jun, 2018

Military Speculative Fiction That Doesn't Suck

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2018’s Cross Fire is the second volume in Fonda Lee’s Exo series. 

While the crisis in the previous novel was successfully handled, that did not bring Donovan Reyes’s father back to life, nor did it resolve the fundamental problem of how to reconcile the Commonwealth’s strategic goals with Earth’s defensive needs. Earth is, after all, merely one of a great many worlds in the Mur Erzen Commonwealth and not a particular rich one. Defending it from the Rii could prove expensive. 

The zhree who invaded Earth have a simple, economically justifiable plan: abandon the Earth to their rapacious cousins. 

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