Reviews of On Basilisk Station (1993)
Review by archren (2006-02-21)
I now know that Iím not going to be a military SF fan. This book dragged for me, and I found it difficult to finish. There was a lot of somewhat awkward info-dumping, even more awkward when it was embedded in dialog. A lot of the political and scientific background of the story seemed to have been crafted to create an interesting tactical space for the antagonists to operate in, not because it necessarily made sense or was natural. Once the climactic battle started, the violence and repercussions were very graphically described: good for military accuracy, but not something Iím a big fan of.
In a way, things seemed a bit too pat. Even I saw the big ending surprise coming a mile away. No matter how bad things get for the captain, no matter how completely impossibly the odds are stacked against her, she will prevail, no matter how unlikely. No matter how often the author had the opponent say ďItís impossible that sheís still going!Ē there she was, still going. It got a bit predictable, Iím afraid. The basic plot is: brilliant young captain gets sent to the boonies due to personal whims of higher-ups. Personally starts to put right everything that was wrong about the boonies, which was extremely messed-up due to stupid liberal politicians back home. Uncovers enemy plot and deals with it. The fact that one knows that this is merely the first book in Weberís Honor Harrington series really sort of spoils any possibility of suspense for the young captainís fate.
So, if you enjoy war gaming and seeing detailed battle plans in your mind and reading pages of tactical briefings; and really appreciate reading about the horrors of war but seeing the good guys prevail, this is a well written book with some half-decent characters. If not, then this wonít be your cup of tea.