Tuesday, April 7, 2009

On Basilisk Station - David Weber

On Basilisk Station
David Weber
Baen Books
Copyright: 1993

From the cover of the book:

Having made him look a 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 system.

But the people out to get her have made one mistake. They've made her mad.

This is the first book in the Honor Harrington series by David Weber, and also a first for me: the first military science fiction novel I ever read. I don't remember the exact wording, but when I picked the book up, there was a review comparing it to the Star Wars movies, which I had only just seen for the first time. That's what hooked me in.

On Basilisk Station introduces the characters, the world, the politics and the technological rules for this universe, and does it in such a way that the book is nearly impossible to put down. The characters are strong, but in no way perfect - very real. Every character has his or her flaws, and some of those aren't just window-dressing, but have the potential to cause some very real problems for the rest of the characters.

I can't describe the book from the perspective of a first time reader anymore, it's been too long for that, but this is a book that can be read again and again - as can the rest of the series.

Normally I say "keep the politics far away from me when I'm reading for fun", however, this series is one of the few exceptions to that preference. David Weber goes into detail about the political/social systems and others, but doesn't go too far and make things dull for the reader, and yet it is easy to compare things to various systems in our current world.

I don't see this series becoming 'dated' any time soon. Rather I think it will continue being read by science fiction fans for a while to come, especially as Weber keeps putting out new books set in the world.

Definitely a five star book. Besides, who can resist the tree-cats? I kind of wish our cats were more like Nimitz (without the claws, thank you very much).

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