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Endless Spacewar, 20 Years & Counting

  • Jan 6, 2012

Baen books has a HUGE collection of science fiction CDs on the Internet.


I have used it to read Mission of Honor from David Weber's Honor Harrington series.  Since there are very strong rumors of an Honor Harrington movie being produced it must be time to say something about the series.

On Basilisk Station
The Honor of the Queen
The Short Victorious War
Field of Dishonor
Flag in Exile
Honor Among Enemies
In Enemy Hands
Echoes of Honor
Ashes of Victory
War of Honor
At All Costs
Storm from the Shadows
Mission of Honor
A Rising Thunder
Shadow of Freedom

I stopped reading the series after In Enemy Hands so a number of things that I knew nothing about were mentioned in Mission of Honor.  It really did not matter.  That is why I stopped reading the series.  The same basic kinds of events keep occurring.  Apparently there are a lot of people who enjoy reading about interstellar super dreadnaughts being blown into balls of glowing plasma but it got old for me.  And Weber gets annoyingly melodramatic with his characters at times.

But Mission of Honor pulls together a number of threads and presents the Kingdom of Manticore with a new enemy.  Or a known enemy that is much bigger and more dangerous than originally portrayed.

But to understand the Harrington series the galactic background needs to be explained.  If you read the series this information is slowly put together but this needs to be explained for a review of a book far into the series.  

This series is set 2000+ years in the future.  Humans are supposed to figure out faster than light travel a couple of hundred years from now.  So by the time Honor is born  humans have colonized 1700 planets and encountered a dozen "intelligent" species though none of them are technologically advanced.

The kingdom of Manticore of which Honor is a citizen is hundreds of light-years from Earth which takes weeks to reach.  There are three habitable planets in the Manticore system, Manticore, Sphinx and Griffin.  All named after mythical combined creatures.  Humans had been in the system for nearly 1000 years and Honor was born on Sphinx which is the only planet in the system that has one of those intelligent species, cats with six legs that just happen to be telepathic.  Honor's great-great-something grandmother was the first person to find the "intelligent" species and be "adopted" by one, even though they had been watching the peculiar humans for decades.

The background activity to the entire series is the conflict between the Republic of Haven and the Kingdon of Manticore.  Haven had been conquering other star systems and the government of Manticore was expecting to be attacked eventually.  Honor is in the space navy by the time their cold war becomes a hot one.  So except for Field of Dishonor all of the books up until Mission of Honor revolve around the various kinds and magnitudes of battles between Haven and Manticore.

David Weber is a historian and seems to get approval from people in the US military for the kind of attitudes he encourages about militarism with the characters he creates.  Within the stories there are also various political and economic sub-plots that affect the war.  These eleven books span a period of 20 years in the Honorverse by the way.  Another important thing about the Honorverse is the invention of the Prolong treatment which extends people's lives.  They expect to live 300 years.  Kim Stanley Robinson did the same thing in his Mars Trilogy.  Personally I expect something like that to actually be developed in the next 200 years.  The human genome project is done and computers keep getting better.  But the odd thing about the Honorverse is so little mention of computers except as weapon control systems and the only robot mentioned is Honor's fight training machine.

Mission of Honor was interesting since I had no idea what had happened in the previous three books.  Apparently there was a major battle in At All Costs which I have not read and Manticore has chosen to try for a peace settlement with Haven.  But the Solarian League, based on Earth and the greatest power in known space, has come into the picture with an unprovoked attack on Manticoran ships and is on the verge of war with Manticore which they expect to be a pushover.  It may be that David Weber is just finding ways to drag on a popular series but he seems to be able to come up with enough twists and turns to keep it alive rather than turning into a stumbling zombie that only appeals to die hard fans.  It is of course superior to the Gor series by John Norman which is up to book 30 even with consistently bad reviews, but there are Gor fans anyway.


So that just shows people have to find what THEY like.  After all it is their time they have to spend reading the stuff.  I would suggest starting the Harrington series with the second book, Honor of the Queen, however.  The Graysons, religious fanatics in another star system, make the story much more interesting than On Basilisk Station and they will become a major component of future stories while Basilisk just gets mentioned as some place out there now and then.  So after reading #2 you can decide whether or not to follow the Harrington road.  My interest declined after Flag in Exile which also involves the Graysons.

I am quite curious about what they will do with a movie though.
Endless Spacewar, 20 Years & Counting Endless Spacewar, 20 Years & Counting Endless Spacewar, 20 Years & Counting

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January 06, 2012
Good detailed review and excellent pictures.
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Weber (Storm from the Shadows) combines realistic, engaging characters with intelligent technological projection and a deep understanding of military bureaucracy in the long-awaited 12th Honor Harrington novel. The long war between the Star Empire of Manticore and the Republic of Haven is in its death throes, and the Manties are poised to win. Honor, now a duchess and admiral of the Manticore Empire and one of the few imperial leaders to believe that the Republic's new leadership genuinely wants peace, leads a delegation to the Havenite home system to begin negotiations, but an unknown enemy launches a surprise attack on the Manticoran home worlds while inciting violent encounters between the Manties and the mighty Solarian League. Fans of this venerable space opera will rejoice to see Honor back in action.
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ISBN-10: 1439133611
ISBN-13: 978-1439133613
Author: David Weber
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Publisher: Baen
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