On Basilisk Station by David Weber

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Book Information  
AuthorDavid Weber
TitleOn Basilisk Station
SeriesHonor Harrington
GenreScience Fiction
Book Reviews / Comments (submitted by readers)
Submitted by Archren 
(Feb 21, 2006)

I now know that Iím not going to be a military SF fan. This book dragged for me, and I found it difficult to finish. There was a lot of somewhat awkward info-dumping, even more awkward when it was embedded in dialog. A lot of the political and scientific background of the story seemed to have been crafted to create an interesting tactical space for the antagonists to operate in, not because it necessarily made sense or was natural. Once the climactic battle started, the violence and repercussions were very graphically described: good for military accuracy, but not something Iím a big fan of.

In a way, things seemed a bit too pat. Even I saw the big ending surprise coming a mile away. No matter how bad things get for the captain, no matter how completely impossibly the odds are stacked against her, she will prevail, no matter how unlikely. No matter how often the author had the opponent say ďItís impossible that sheís still going!Ē there she was, still going. It got a bit predictable, Iím afraid. The basic plot is: brilliant young captain gets sent to the boonies due to personal whims of higher-ups. Personally starts to put right everything that was wrong about the boonies, which was extremely messed-up due to stupid liberal politicians back home. Uncovers enemy plot and deals with it. The fact that one knows that this is merely the first book in Weberís Honor Harrington series really sort of spoils any possibility of suspense for the young captainís fate.

So, if you enjoy war gaming and seeing detailed battle plans in your mind and reading pages of tactical briefings; and really appreciate reading about the horrors of war but seeing the good guys prevail, this is a well written book with some half-decent characters. If not, then this wonít be your cup of tea.

Submitted by Leo Sorel 
(Nov 23, 2001)

On Basilisk Station is the start of an Epic. This series was started by the author with the apparent intention of spanning well over a dozen books, possibly even breaking the 20 mark for a single continuous series. For those just beginning to read David Weber, I'll try to keep as much spoilers out of these reviews as possible and just try to give you basic overviews and guidance as to what the series is and how well it's done. I'll also try to keep the review's short and concise as possible, but try to fit in what is normally appropriate for reviews. Now, on to the reviews. On Basilisk Station is the start of the Honor Harrington series. It begins with the introduction of Honor Harrington who belongs to the Royal Manticoran Navy. The Royal Manticoran Navy is mostly based on the traditions of the British Navy and the same goes for the aristocracy. Honor also has a Treecat named Nimitz which is bonded to her empathetically. So, while Honor is the true and only protagonist of the books, Nimitz is also a central and important character and not just a foil or some gimmick. David writes this book with his now usual typical flair of military and technical knowledge. He writes in an entertaining and yet instructive manner. We see both moral and ethical dilemma's which on the surface are easy to dismiss, but, as you think about them, you can see the type of Character that has already been developed for Honor Harrington. Honor starts out in command of a Light Cruiser (albeit an old one) and early in the course of the story she is sent to Basilisk Station, an outpost of the Royal Manticoran Navy, which has basically become a banishment detail to sweep under the rug those that have somehow embarrassed or failed the higher ups of the Royal Manticoran Navy. While there, she ends up as Senior Officer on Station, and while on duty, she has to whip her crew back into shape, straighten out the system and be on guard against any encroaching enemies, which so happen to be the People's Republic of Haven. The People's Republic of Haven is loosely based on Revolutionary France and possibly what the US could be like in a couple of a hundred years. They are basically a welfare state run mad and expansionist, trying to expand to try to control their runaway spending. As the book goes on, it develops the characters and explains many of the technologies and conventions and then get's on to the space battles. And they are quite well done. Can't tell you how it comes out though. (David does have a wicked sense of humor. You definitely have to watch for the names of important people and subtle references to historical events and people. And his ending to this book will leave you either giggling or chuckling, whichever you prefer.)

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