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url 2017-05-20 01:13
The Baen Free Library — Lots of free ebooks
On Basilisk Station - David Weber
Cobra - Timothy Zahn
Fledgling - Sharon Lee,Steve Miller
There Will Be Dragons - John Ringo
Caliphate - Tom Kratman
Starliner - David Drake
Draw One in the Dark - Sarah A. Hoyt
The Honor of the Queen - David Weber

Not new (been around long time), but in case any SF/F fans overlooked, publisher Baen offers The Baen Free Library -- a digital library of the science fiction and fantasy publishing house Baen Books where e-books can be downloaded free in a number of formats.

 

Often it's the first book in an ongoing or a backlist series.

 

(They also have for sale eARCs of brand spanking new books well before available at retailers at http://www.baen.com/baenebooks#eARC  )

 

Links to the download the ones I featured (they offer many more):

 

Source: www.baen.com/categories/free-library.html
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review 2016-11-04 21:10
On Basilisk Station
On Basilisk Station - David Weber

On Basilisk Station is the first Honor Harrington novel (which is a very long-running series at this point, I believe), and is an example of that species of science fiction generally known as "space opera."

 

It's also clearly modeled on the Horatio Hornblower stories (the author's note thanks C.S. Forester, so I doubt I'm imaging things).  Only instead of the tale of the rise of a plucky cabin boy during the Napoleonic wars, our heroine is a female starship captain from "the Star Kingdom of Manticore," not yet at war with another realm, "The People's Republic of Haven," who are clearly up to no good.  Honor's gotten her ship's armament butchered by a theorist at the Royal Navy, and despite being a tactical genius, her failure to make the new system work in war games has resulted in her getting a punishment stationing in the Basilisk system.  There she finds natives like praying mantises, drug addiction, a massive amount of smuggling, and possible espionage by Haven.

 

There is a slight tendency to infodump (possibly due to being a "first in series").  Honor reminds me of some romance heroines in that she doesn't think she's pretty, but everyone else seems to.  (Not that there is any romance in this novel.)

 

On the whole I prefer Horatio Hornblower, but it was an easy read, it kept me reasonably entertained, and it was free.  (As is the second volume, The Honor of the Queen, which I'm reading currently.   Both were free for kindle in the US, found while I was roaming the free section at Amazon.)

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review 2016-05-31 00:00
On Basilisk Station
On Basilisk Station - David Weber For some reason my writer brain intruded constantly throughout my reading of this book. Certainly my reader brain kept me reading, wondering what would happen next, but my writer brain would not shut up. I think part of that is because this is the first military scifi book I've read (ever? surely not?) and the first book I've read in omniscient point of view in a VERY long time.

In general, the story follows Honor Harrington and her first-time captaincy aboard the Fearless. Yet instead of being in third-limited as I would expect, the viewpoint would often shift into the minds of her subordinates. Sometimes a scene would start firmly limited in, say, her first officer's (exec's) POV and then shift to her point of view later. I found these switches endlessly fascinating because this is so rare in contemporary SFF. And yet clearly he pulled it off and readers love it!

This is also one of the few military scifi books I've read. I found its conventions interesting and in some ways very similar to hard scifi, in that there are MASSIVE infodumps throughout this novel. There's even one in the climax, generally a no-no of contemporary writing. And yet Weber pulls it off. For me as a reader, I found myself skipping over whole paragraphs of explanation about how a particular weapons system works.

Yet unlike hard scifi, this book was extremely concerned with relationships between characters.

First, Honor has to take charge of a new crew and gain their trust. They start the war games as heroes for a brilliant maneuver, but then come out beaten down once their secret is revealed. Then they're banished to Basilisk Station and her crew again gives her the cold shoulder. Yet most of these relationships are told rather than shown. And even Honor's reactions to them are often told rather than shown, at least early on in the book. And yet again, it clearly works, because I, like so many other readers, was drawn in.

As a reader, I found the basic plot rather predictable (obviously her special weapons will be a big deal in the climax, her crew will come to love her, her plan to patrol Basilisk will foil the invasion plans somehow, etc.), but that actually helped in a way. It made me sink comfortably into an unfamiliar genre in an unfamiliar POV about an unfamiliar topic.

I'd also like to pull out this big quote from David Webber from milscifi.com about why gender equality in futuristic scifi only makes sense. (Of course!)

"[Far-future science fiction where] women continue to face the same sorts of barriers that they've faced in the twentieth and twenty first centuries (and earlier) irritates the heck out of me. In my opinion, it criminally short-sells women, who I don't think are going to put up with that sort of treatment in technic societies that far in the future. It also presupposes that the majority of men are too stupid to figure out (given enough time; I did say it was far-future science fiction where this bothers me) that denying half the human race the opportunity to contribute to its fullest capability is self-defeating, as well as morally wrong. And, finally, if we're on the right track with our current notions of gender equality (which I obviously think we are), then by the time we get a thousand or so years into the future, the notion of female equality with men ought to have all of the burning significance to the citizenry of the time that Pharaoh's policy towards the Hittites has for us today. It will be a done deal, a settled question, and the notion that we might go back to treating women as second-class citizens will have all the appeal of the notion that we might go back to the days of African slavery. The idea will simply be so absurd and so socially and morally reprehensible that it will be an automatic nonstarter. So I think that it may be that one reason I create so many strong, capable female protagonists in traditionally 'male' roles is as a vote on my part in favor of the notion that racial sanity will finally get it right and keep it that way."
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review 2016-04-23 15:56
Science fiction comic collection about war between rival systems
Tales of Honor Volume 1: On Basilisk Station - Matt Hawkins,Jung-Geun Yoon

 

 

 

This collection did not appeal to me much from the start. It was not particularly easy to read in the digital edition and was very wordy. Flashbacks did not help the continuity to flow.

 

Honor Harrington is given command of HMS Fearless but loses favour with High Command and is “exiled” to Basilisk Station and given an impossible task which she is expected to fail. Her ship and crew care captured by the enemy.

 

I abandoned this about a quarter-way through as it was too wordy and taking too long to read. Not for me, I'm sorry to say.

 

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review 2016-03-11 03:54
[Book Review] Tales of Honor Vol 1 & 2
Tales of Honor Volume 1: On Basilisk Station - Matt Hawkins,Jung-Geun Yoon
Tales of Honor Volume 2 - Linda Sejic,Matt Hawkins,Dan Wickline

Tales of Honor Volume 1: On Basilisk Station / Matt Hawkins and Sang Il-Jeong (ill)

On Basilisk Station starts out in the middle of the seventh book in the series In Enemy Hands, with Honor held prisoner of Haven.  Tried and sentenced to execution for war crimes by Haven, and kept in isolation, Honor has little to do but reflect on the course of events that led her to where she is now.  The first step in that journey are the events of On Basilisk Station.

Pretty solid adaptation, with a gorgeous art highlighting the sheer scale that we're dealing with.


Tales of Honor Volume 2: Bred to Kill / Matt Hawkins, Dan Wickline, and Linda Sejic (ill)

Bred to Kill launches a new story, one that reminds me of the a bit of the Crown of Slaves companion series with details familiar to some of Honors adventures.  In this Honor takes some leave while her ship is in space dock to seek out a missing uncle.  Her search takes her to the gambling station of Eros and finds her involved with a mission to liberate genetics slaves.

Slightly different art style, but not so dissimilar that Honor is unrecognizable.  Less of a focus on ships and space, but on the characters and the environment they occupy.  I vastly prefer this rendition of Nimitz over that of On Basilisk Station.  We also get more of Honor's dry wit that is present in the novels, but significantly less present in Volume 1.

Definitely fits well within the Honorverse while adding a new story to the tales of Honor Harrington.
 
Advance Reader Copy courtesy of Image Comics in exchange for an honest review; changes may exist between galley and the final edition.

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