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Honor Harrington in trouble Having made him look the 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 conuering 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 systemBut the people out to get her have made one mistakeThey've made her mad


10 thoughts on “On Basilisk Station

  1. says:

    broken finger review #3first of all people i wanted to call this the 'one handed review series' as i'm typing entirely with one hand at one point my prior rate was over 100 words a minute so maybe you can feel my pain but i know you people and that is just asking for troublethat said this is david weber's first entry into a series about captain picard honor harrington a kick ass woman in the royal navy that has the ice ueen routine down pat except for her empathetic cat i said stop it she doesn't think she's beautiful being so tall and strong from a high grav planet but pretty much everyone else admires the almond eyes and short brown curly hair and sees a regal ice goddess thank goodness i just hate vain heroines amirite? we know she's stunning especially when she's being all authoratative because lots of other people tell us so hello male gaze literallyshe's just been made captain of some class of spaceship or another although a bureaucrat has made disturbing weapons modifications that seem to cripple their offense the first mate is envious they kick ass in a war maneuver and are promptly demoted to a forgotten corner of the realm assigned to be TSA and Customs the current commander there hates her because view spoilershe kicked his ass when he tried to rape her hide spoiler


  2. says:

    First three Honor Harrington books in which aforesaid officer of the Royal Manticoran Navy the space kind and her – I kid you not – empathically bonded feline animal companion have military adventures In the first Honor is sent to a backwater outpost where she stumbles on corruption and thwarts an invasion In the second Honor is sent to a backwater system where she battles sexism and thwarts an invasion In the third Honor is sent to the front line where she uh I’ve got nothing for this slot and thwarts an invasionWeber does that old Star Wars trick of alternating POVs with Honor and the bad guys relieving the reader of having to do any actual thinking by explaining everyone’s plans pages in advance But to be fair I think Weber’s impulse to break up the POV is a sound one; spending a hundred thousand words in the head of the moral center of the universe Mary Sue Honor would make anyone want to kill themselves And I mean switching POVs allows Weber to deliver lines of unmatched hilarity like these“He’d reduced her cruiser to a wreck – she must be some kind of wizard to keep coming after him let alone keep shooting at him”““This medal is our highest award for valor” he told her uietly “Over the years it has been worn by some truly extraordinary men but never I think by one extraordinary than the woman who has received it today””Which is why I kept reading because you can’t get comedy like that just anywhereTo be fair this is acceptably competent military SF in the military sense Weber has clearly put some of the time he never spent thinking about adding a third dimension to his characters or making his heroine interesting in considering the physics and strategy of space battles His editor has let him put a giddily burbling pseudo scientific essay at the end of each book to talk about ship construction and weapons evolution and strategy And it’s endearing that he clearly stopped writing in the middle of scenes to go do math Though I wonder what it says about me that I stopped reading to double check some figures for fun – if ship A is accelerating at 450 g and ship B follows at 500 g from xxx million Km how long will intercept take and where will they be? Weber also has an excellent grasp of the sheer grinding time involved in space battles and a surprisingly light touch in showing the nature of war from every level of military experience Two thirds of The Short Victorious War no in fact you don't get to leave the comma out just because it's a title copyediting fuckwit is all about moving ships all over the map and there's some nicely considered detail about how maneuvers work in vast three dimensional spacesAnyway Unless someone can reassure me that this series gets appreciably better in the next dozen books I’m done save for possible snortgiggling forays when I’m particularly bored


  3. says:

    I feel it necessary to admit a few things before starting this review proper1 I have watched the Horatio Hornblower movies that were shown on AE you know back when AE actually could be called Arts and Entertainment as opposed to Tattoo TV I liked them Okay I really liked LT Bush Paul McGann but who didn't? The only thing better was The Hanging Gale when all the McGann brothers were working together I also saw the Peck movie2 I have only read one Hornblower novel I didn't really like it Then I read a plot synopsis in Masterplots don't get me started3 I have only read two Patrick O'Brian books I felt one was okay and other was yawn 4 #s 2 and 3 are weird because I liked the Hornblower movies and the Master and Commander movie maybe because it had Pippin in it This has made me frightened to read the Sharpe novels I want to like them beause I like the movies Did anyone else laugh when Bean picked up the sword in LOTR and said still sharp?5 Why am I telling you this?Because On Basilisk Station is Hornblower in space And it doesn't suck Can I use that word here?Weber is up front about his inspiration material Look at the dedication to the book I love up front advertising It is also extremely honest because some of the themes are from Hornblower at least from the movies You have the really intelligent officer trying to work with a somewhat resentful crew who come around in the end you have the intelligent officer who makes enemies in high ranking and powerful officers and said intelligent officer gains protection in some places Some of the references to the names are blatantly obvious Honor as a first name Of course Horatio was rather obvious as wellBut Weber makes it Instead of making Honor a Hornblower with boobs Weber makes her a believable woman And she is a woman not a girl What I liked was that Weber didn't make her command style touchy feely like Janeway in Voyager but allowed us to see her thoughts as well as her actions We could see her thinking her way though the decisions she made This made her human than Hornblower sympathetic and real Weber also gives us a plausible reason for her intelligence Though she is young looking she is really around what we would call her 40s Weber explains this by that vague anti aging drugs or process that works it's way into every other SF novel Strangely it didn't bug me hereWhat I really liked about this book was Honor's interactions with other women Too often in books with a chosen woman the other women are made to look bad for example Anita Blake or Blood and Chocolate Here Weber does for women exactly what he did for the male characters You have good and bad ones Though the bad guys are really guys There is a female doctor that Honor can't get along with but there is also Dame Estelle who Honor does get along with You also have Young a male officer who is worthless No one sex is made to look bad I loved that I loved the interactions between Honor and Estelle or any of the female crew for that matter No girl talk all business I never understood the rule about 40% of the talk being about men meant that the writers was portraying women in a positive way Really? Would you have a book geared towards males where 40% of the talk was about their relationships or hair or make up? No you wouldn't I love Weber for thisThere were some things that didn't uite work for me I felt the inclusion of a treecat while a cool sounding animal made Honor too special or meaning of the animal was too obvious A bit heavy handed I felt that making Honor stronger than some of the other characters too was something that wasn't totally needed I must give Weber credit Honor is stronger because of her home planet so her strength and treecat are not unusual for where she comes fromI did think that Weber did a wonderful job with supporting characters in particular with McKeon The last few chapters the major space battle were thrilling I'm kicking myself for not picking up this series sooner


  4. says:

    I found this one thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable although maybe a little on the long side It starts slowly but gathers speed and by the end it is unputdownableI liked Honor Harrington and found it made for comfortable reading to have a reliable main character for once I felt I could trust that she would do the right thing and also never fall apart and flood the place in tears She just soldiered on through thick and thin and being totally brilliant and super talented she performed miracles Not realistic but still funThe author had a tendency to info dump especially when it concerned his space technology and I have to confess to a little personal skimming over these sections This is the reason for four stars instead of five However I am sure there are many readers who found his details fascinating I found Honor to be an interesting character and I liked the world she lived in It goes without saying that I enjoyed Nimitz I will definitely be reading about the Honorverse in the future


  5. says:

    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 Eh? NoSo boy read everything else And everything else And everything elseEnter GoodReadsBoy 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 himselfAnd 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 shapeAnd they turn this backwater system into something they can be proud of AwwwI 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 seuences 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 uick and telegraphed easily Maybe that's just meHOWEVER 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


  6. says:

    This series opener is one that's been on my radar for a long time and I'm delighted to have finally read it Although I'm a science fiction fan I'm not generally attracted to military SF which of course this is But that's mostly because my impression is that much of that sub genre concentrates heavily on futuristic military hardware to the neglect of the human element and I think the human element is what good literature is all about But that's not a problem here To be sure there's futuristic military hardware and techno babble see below But the human element and a rousing tale of human adventure is the core of the bookEver since junior high school I've appreciated historical fiction about the British Navy in the age of sail; I like the ambiance the ethos and the action of the storylines Weber's a kindred spirit in this respect and particularly a fan of C S Forester to whom he dedicates this novel The latter's Horatio Hornblower series provides the inspiration for Weber's series and the identity of the initials of the respective protagonists is no coincidence This has led some Hornblower fans to cry Foul and Rip off I'm not joining in those cries however Yes Weber has definitely brought something of the flavor of the earlier novels set in the life of an ocean going navy in the Napoleonic Wars to this tale of a space faring navy in the far future Honor's Manticore is a kingdom with an aristocracy and a political system reminiscent of Regency England the author actually provides a plausible historical explanation for this while its rival Haven has affinities to revolutionary France And Honor has heroic ualities in common with Hornblower as well as her initials But that's where the parallels end She's her own person not a Hornblower clone and I did not see the plot as duplicating anything from the earlier series; it's original Granted I've only read one Hornblower novel What we have here IMO is an SF homage to Forester's canon not a plagiarized rip offOf course it's an updated homage most noticeably in that the all male world of Hornblower's navy has finally met the world of women's liberation Not only do we have a female protagonist; women in Manticore which currently happens to have a ruling ueen enjoy full role euality with men can occupy positions of power and serve in the space navy on an eual footing with males Being an eualitarian feminist myself that's music to my ears Moreover I'm a long standing admirer of strong take charge combat capable heroines and that definitely describes Honor She's got the smarts guts determination and decisiveness to captain a warship; but than that she's a person of integrity ethics loyalty and moral courage Honor isn't just her name; it's a uality that defines her No she's not perfect she's got a temper that she sometimes has to fight to control; but she's a woman you can respect and admire Weber's supporting cast is life like as well His plotting is good carefully developed and well paced with real suspense that rises to nail biting intensity at the climax Likewise his world building is capable and vivid Spot on political commentary with real contemporary relevance is embedded naturally in the storyline; and in the tradition of heroic action adventure the moral message here is one that's supportive of virtue duty patriotism and loyaltyThat's not to say it's an unflawed debut As other reviewers have noted Weber's partial to the info dump techniue There are a couple of long ones here The first one explains Manticore's political system and at least has the merit of being interesting in its own right The second attempts to explain the mechanics of FTL space travel and hyper space currents as they work in the author's imaginary view of the galaxy in such a way as to provide a veneer of hard science How valid any of this is even by the standards of modern uantum theory which I don't understand or necessarily even fully accept I don't know and don't care; and the excursion through it left me slightly glassy eyed I don't have to have a solid basis in known science for my SF so I'd have been happy with much less explanation just a basic indication of what the spaceships can or can't do If he wanted to include all this techno babble IMO Weber would have been better off to put it in an appendix as he does with his extensive discussion of Manticorean chronology though my copy is missing a page of this I didn't miss it There's also a significant amount of profanity and obscenity here though not from Honor; mostly from villains or military types under severe stress Readers who dislike extremely grisly violence should be warned that they'll find some of that here too Because of the language and info dumps this was technically a four and a half star read for me but I rounded up After all that's the least any gentleman can do for a lady like Honor


  7. says:

    According to some googling and some calculations oooo fractions I made it through 54% of this book A search using 's Look Inside feature tells me I got to page 253 253And I still couldn't tell the characters apartOkay that's an exaggeration I knew who Honor was and her exec andher cat And maybe one or two others Weber introduces us to a rather large cast but he fails to give each personality an individual stamp I couldn't even describe anyone physically apart from Honor and her freuently mentioned hard narrowed unblinking flashing all over the place brown eyes And her white cap That white cap is über important Weber is far in love with his techobabble military strategy and political history than he is with his characters Which is all well and good but a successful piece of fiction gives the reader someone or at least something to root for I couldn’t care less whether Honor and her crew succeed in their search forwhatever they’re huntingThe soporific and often incomprehensible descriptions of defense tactics ship construction and long warring government factions made me incapable of appreciating the rare moments of plot development Who can concentrate on putting together the pieces when I’m still trying to figure out the difference between real years and T years as described in chapter one? There was one terrible aspect of this book that I can’t blame the author for ebook formatting Weber freuently switches his point of view mid chapter which wouldn’t be so bad if the sections were clearly delineated Unfortunately my version of the book did no such thing leaving me flailing in confusion for every scene change It’s so rare that I DNF a book; the very idea is abhorrent to me But for this book alone a new shelf has been born Sorry Honor Harrington but I canna do it Cap’n


  8. says:

    There are many faults with On Basilisk Station I'm not going to deny that The bit where a tense action scene was interrupted for eight pages of background on the ins and outs of space travel was a particularly egregious one and David Weber is uite frankly to judge on this not that good a writer at all I also understand people who think Honor is a bit of a Mary Sue a bit too perfect I understand but I don't agree at least not at this stage in the series though I've read analyses which suggests it definitely gets that wayBut for me I was mesmerised Hard SF with a strong non sexualised female lead absolutely no romantic plot platonic relationships with multiple male characters A female lead who is resourceful determined and uite frankly does her superiors' jobs better than they were doing them themselves She isn't faultless She isn't even pretty There's nothing about her which implies Weber thought sex appeal would be important and good god that should not be so refreshing in SFI think Weber's worldbuilding really shines he's clearly thought through all the political situations and the exact details of the technology involved too Granted he doesn't deploy this with the greatest of subtlety holy infodump Batman but the planning is all thereTo top all that off I got very involved with the characters my heart was in my mouth during the action scenes bar the bit with the eight page digression and I was willing to overlook all its flaws because of that It gets four stars not for being a brilliant piece of writing but for taking a firm grip on my heart


  9. says:

    Supposedly CS Forster set in space this novel is Mercedes Lackey Honor Harrington is the new captain of an old warship Within a few paragraphs of meeting her we're told she has a psychic connection with her alien cat is beautiful and looks far younger than her age graduated top of her class and is oh so much sensible than any of her commanding officers From then on she's the bestest captain ever All the good characters love and admire her and all the bad characters hate her for being so smart and messing up their fiendish plans There are a few paragraphs that aren't lavishing praise on Honor or showing how evil her enemies are These paragraphs are meaningless infodumps


  10. says:

    “The translation into or out of any given band of hyper space was a complex energy transfer that cost the translating vessel most of its original velocity—as much as ninety two percent of it in the case of the alpha band The energy loss dropped slightly with each higher hyper band but its presence remained a constant and for over five standard centuries all hyper ships had relied on reaction drives”I am not sure what that stuff above means I suspect it is pseudoscience is hyperspace a thing? but I have to admit it sounds pretty coolThe Honorverse a long running popular military sci fi series that I have never read until now I am actually very well read in sci fi to the detriment of being generally well read but nobody can read everything even some popular titles are often overlooked Besides I am not big on military sci fi imagine all the people living life in peace woo hooo Still I do like Old Man’s War and The Forever War Starship Troopers not so much Anyway On Basilisk Station is the first book of this Honorverse series First of all if you are an e book reader I can immediately recommend that you download a copy of this book as it is legitimately free from the publisher Baen Books You can get your free e book copy from Google Play Baen’s website and probably a few other venues I am not aware of So value for money is not a problem as for the time investment read onThe “Honorverse” series is mostly about the female protagonist Honor Harrington a Mary Sue an extremely gifted naval spaceship commander who is usually accompanied by a “treecat” called Nimitz perched on her shoulder On Basilisk Station introduces her as a newly minted starship captain assigned to her first small ish ship called HMS Fearless After some battle simulations the Fearless crew is assigned to the titular Basilisk Station in a backwater of the unfashionable end of the Star Kingdom of Manticore to help with the picket duty Basilisk’s picket fleet commander has a “history” with Captain Harrington and soon after her arrival there he leaves the station for the planet Manticore ostensibly to have his spaceship repaired but really to jeopardize Harrington’s career However with insufficient resources and personnel at her command Harrington still manages to greatly improve the station’s performance and effectiveness Unbeknown to her a rival empire the Republic of Haven has a nefarious plan to take over the Basilisk system How will Captain Harrington protect the station with access to so little firepower?I first dipped into On Basilisk Station a few months ago and decided to drop it after reading the prologue which I thought was confusing rubbish The prologue depicts a high level military meeting in the antagonist’s Republic of Haven I had no idea whowhatwhere the characters are talking about and did not have the patience to read on and find out So I gave up the attempt but kept the e book Then I read an interesting discussion of this series on Reddit and thought I would try again and persevere to the end; it must be popular for a reason not necessarily because it is great I still think the prologue contains too many references to strange names places and political situations However the actual first chapter is a breeze Weber vividly describes his heroine both physically and mentally I thought this was going to be a “pew pew” pulpy alien blasting kind of book There is very little of that in the first half of the book The narrative is all about character motivations politics and world building I like the characterizations and world building but the politics bored me a little as politics always do At the heart of the book it is a story of a woman overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds through her intelligence courage and determination The novel examines the interrelationship between a commander and her crew how loyalty is earned and the sort of personality and decision making that makes a great military leader That is all very well and the narrative is mostly a pretty good read but surely most military sci fi fans want to see some villains preferably aliens have their backsides kicked I am happy to report that the tension does mount as the narrative proceeds and there is an abundance of asskickery in the last 100 pages of the book As for aliens there is a species called the Medusans who have Bronze Age technology and are like side characters and none of them have a speaking part The humans’ worst enemies are – as usual – fellow humansThe character of Honor Harrington is very well developed she reminds me of the formidable Captain Vice Admiral Kathryn Janeway from Star Trek Voyager Her crew and enemies are not so memorable perhaps because there are so many of them Executive Officer Alistair McKeon is only memorable because of his tiresome angst throughout most of the book As for the ever present treecat Nimitz I thought he was going to claw the ass off some men of low moral fibre but this does not happen; hopefully he will have to do in later books in the series When the narrative kicks into high gear it is uite exciting featuring favorite military SF tropes like space dogfights high tech battle armors nukes evasive flight patterns etc I don’t understand most of the engineering science Weber describes but he does make the expositions uite interesting most of the time I enjoy On Basilisk Station in spite of a rough start and some dull politics As it is free if you are a military SF fan I urge you to give it a shot The next book in the series The Honor of the ueen is also available free from Baen as an e book so I am going to read thatNotes• Book 1 – 13 of the series all have 4 average Goodreads rating but the discussions I read on Reddit tend to mention that the first seven or so are good then the series goes into decline I will surely read a few but probably less than seven• Some of The Honorverse books have made The New York Times Best Seller list according to Wikipedia• This series is inspired by the Horatio Hornblower series by CS Forester Never read 'emuotes “For an instant no chronometer or human sense could measure HMS Fearless ceased to exist One moment she was here in Manticore space; the next she was there six hundred light minutes from the star named Basilisk just over two hundred and ten light years distant in Einsteinian space”“Honor had decided long ago there was no point trying to make herself something she was not Her hair style was practical with no pretensions to glamour It was clipped short to accommodate vac helmets and bouts of zero gee and if its two centimeter strands had a stubborn tendency to curl it was neither blond nor red nor even black just a highly practical completely unspectacular dark brown”“It was relatively simple to hide even a capital ship at longer ranges anyway by simply shutting down her impellers and dropping off the enemy's passive scanners but the impeller drive wasn't magic Even at the five hundred plus gravities a destroyer or light cruiser could manage it took time to generate respectable vector changes so hiding by cutting power was of strictly limited utility” What? 😕