July 11th, 2005


"…I also wanted to buy a magazine…" [p.280]

35. Morris, Mark. The Bodysnatchers [EDA#3]

This book brings back two old friends, Prof. George Litefoot (from The Talons of Weng-Chiang) and the Zygons (Terror of the Zygons), in what can best be described as a Victorian Horror Romp. Unfortunately the almost-clinical descriptions of gangrene, amputations, and other hazards of the genre don't really work to inspire the Horror, and the story is more padded out than enhanced by the plot twists.

On the good side this story continues the EDA trend of having aliens you can sympathise with, to at least some extent, although it suffers from having more than one Deus ex Machina hiding in the TARDIS.

Over all a fairly solid, but unexciting member of the series.

UK Geography 101

<Mandorallen> hi
<gilmae> you live in Bristol, Mandy, don't you? :- )
<Mandorallen> yus
<gilmae> and Bristol is *miles* from London, isn't it?
<Mandorallen> 100ish
<gilmae> typical
<gilmae> if I hadn't asked it would have been the next station from Russell Square.

Ms Midshipwoman Honor "Mary Sue" Harrington

36. Weber, David. On Basilisk Station
37. Weber, David. The Honor of the Queen
38. Weber, David. The Short Victorious War
39. Weber, David. Field of Dishonor
40. Weber, David. Flag in Exile
41. Weber, David. Honor among Enemies
42. Weber, David. In Enemy Hands
43. Weber, David. Echoes of Honor
44. Weber, David. Ashes of Victory
45. Weber, David. War of Honor

So, I mentioned my, un-named, Mary-Sue in a poll the other week. Meet Ms Midshipwoman Honor "Mary-Sue" Harrington. Or rather Captain Harrington in the first book through to Admiral by the latest (there's another one due soon, my bet is that she becomes a Space Lord; possibly replacing Caparelli as First Space Lord). Anyway, as I was saying. You could call this series Hornblower-in-space; in fact Weber himself invites the comparison by giving Honor a copy of a Hornblower book at some point (at least Nimoy and Bennett gave their Captain a copy of Tale of Two Cities in a similar situation).

She starts off, much like Aubrey, as a junior captain on a rather crappy ship. Unlike Aubrey she's immediately dropped into the doghouse in a fleet exercise as a result of both succeeding too much and too little, and finds herself as the Station Commander for the star system that her political mistresses would rather forget. She has a vaguely realistic setup here, however; even some of her crew don't like her and she does make enemies. OTOH, she naturally exposes the evil enemy's plot and foils an invasion.

Throughout the course of the following books she saves the planet of a potential ally from their historic enemy, and their Head of State from an assassination attempt; causes the defeat-in-detail of another enemy invasion fleet by illegally failing to hand command over from the ship she is Flag Captain of when her Admiral is incapacitated; tracks down and kills her lover's killer and the person who hired him in lethal pistol duels; becomes the second-in-command of the third most powerful navy in the region, and fight off yet another enemy fleet more through bluff and misdirection than actual tactics; get "rehabilitated" in her own Navy by capturing a pirate-controlled planet and defeating a commerce-raiding fleet with a Q-ship; get captured by her enemies, sentenced to hanging, and rescued by the most lucky bunch of lunatics in the universe; stage a prison-break from a prison-planet less hospitable than the Penthe asteroid; return to her homelands and train new generations of Middies; save her Monarchs from a direct missile attack by interposing her runabout between the missile and their ship; and stop one war and save her fleets from another while light-years away from home as war restarts.

Whilst doing all this she gains a reputation never to be able to bring a ship home whole, more medals than can probably fit on her chest, etc, etc, etc.

OTOH, the books are fun, and the battles are well described, and noöne ever claimed that they were serious books. Fun, but not serious.

46. Weber, David (editor). More than Honor

This volume of novellas is a bit disappointing. Weber's tale of the First Treecat Adoption is good, but he makes one glaring mistake:
It was tempting to simply let herself fall, but the countergrav unit only reduced her apparent weight. It didn't do a thing about her mass, and any object fell at over thirteen meters per second per second in Sphinx's gravity, which meant she would hit the ground just as fast and with just as much momentum as if she'd had no countergrav at all. But what she could do was let herself down the stay, whose torn anchorage would never have supported her normal weight.

Drake's tale of Archeology and Derring-Do doesn't really feel like it fits to me, particularly his description of the People's Republic's "Dole Fleet" which doesn't seem to fit in the established chronology at all.

Stirling, OTOH, writes an engaging tale of how Esther McQueen managed to pull the wool over the Rob S Pierre's eyes, and put down the Leveller uprising. The book's probably worth it just for this. Probably.

47. Weber, David & Flint, Eric. Crown of Slaves

And this, the newest book, and a spin-off. Cathy Montaigne is the first believable Liberal that the Honorverse ever sees, and this book deals with the adventures of her partner and daughter (and a minor Royal) on a nominally allied planet of Manticore; dealing with slavery and intrigue. It's an unreserved spy novel, and works well in the genre. It's probably the most "worthwhile" book in the Universe do far.