On Basilisk Station by David Weber
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Years and years and years ago, in a mental galaxy far, far away, a boy saw a ton of Star-Trek Military Mary Sue Hard-SF novels on the shelves of his local bookstore and collectively went...
So boy read everything else. And everything else. And everything else.
Boy asks himself if he's been entirely fair to said Mil-SF titles so summarily dismissed. Is frankly amazed that it's been generally highly received and it's still getting written. To high praise.
Boy wonders. And ponders. And finally decides to throw out preconceptions. To read for himself.
And guess what? The boy was entertained.
There's surprisingly little sexualization at all. It follows the long tradition of Military Competence Porn, where meritocracy is faced with the evils of privilege and overconfidence. A severely handicapped heroine is given few resources, a dead-end station (thanks to her kicking the ass of an almost-rapist privileged jerk). She brushes her shoulders and sets to work with tons of misfits and maladjusted crewmembers and whips the Bad News Bears into shape.
And they turn this backwater system into something they can be proud of.
I admit it. I was charmed. The only cliches were the non-embarrassing ones. It was all-competence, all the time.
The only thing I got lost at, unfortunately, was the long sequences of actual BATTLE later in the novel. Yeah. That's kinda embarrassing. I mean, it's a MILSF. But unless I'm looking at a ton of flashy lights on the screen or the author is extraordinarily gifted at description (read: less info-dumping, or at least restrain the info-dumping to something that's interesting to me, read: dry military blah blah,) I kinda need my battles to be fairly quick and telegraphed easily. :)
Maybe that's just me.
HOWEVER, all that wasn't much of a dealbreaker for me because I'm kinda used to it with all the other MILSFs I've read. I just don't go nuts over that particular aspect of the novels.
Characters make me fall for the stories. Not the space-battles. :) Fortunately, I had a great time. It's a pretty simple take, but the adventure is well thought-out and we're given the full run from misfits to supreme lords of this backwater system. I call that a win. :)
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