Friday, November 19, 2010

Military Sci Fi

I posted earlier that my current WIP was a Military Science Fiction story. One of the things an author must do when writing genre fiction is to respect the conventions of the genre. By this I mean that people who read a certain genre have expectations. If you are reading a gothic romance novel you need a certain setting (preferably a moor) a strong male lead (preferably a brooding sort) and a plucky female (it wouldn't hurt if she were a bookish sort that could give way to her passions). You don't want to write such a book that violates the conventions of the genre unknowingly. You can bend the rules, be iconoclastic, but it's better if you know what your doing wrong rather than just stumble along. As I have said before, I don't feel constrained, but at the same time I try not to be blatant (like calling Twilight 'Horror' fiction- argghhh!)

For this reason I thought to have a look at some of the premier Military Scifi out there and I came away with this short list (if you think I've missed one please speak up).

1. Starship Troopers, Heinlein (Clearly the all time best of the genre-read it loved, still love it)
2. The Forever War (a Vietnam ere anti-warish sort, but great)
3. Old Man's War, Scalzi (I've read the third in the series and wasn't blown away- good but not terribly realistic from a military perspective)
4. Anvil of the Stars, Bear
5. Exultant, Destiny's Children, Baxter
6. The Kinsman Saga, Bova (Have this to read but haven't yet)
7. The Man-Kzin Wars, Niven (Inspired a whole slew of books, and made it into the star trek cartoons of the 70s- read a few, liked them but not very militarily strong)
8. Armor, Steakly
9. A Hymn Before Battle, Ringo (Read it, liked it, Ringo's first novel, clearly written from the perspective of a junior NCO-even though the Main character is a junior officer, but these are the young men that fight our nation's wars)

What do you think? Have I missed a good one?

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