Apr 212010
 

This is my totally biased list of the top military science fiction series of our time. These are the ones I found entertaining to read and reread. My focus is as always the characters and the wow moments. Thats why there is lots of space opera here. I have followed some of the authors here for decades others for just a few years. They are all good, the focus in there books lies on different things though.

I like binary counting it seems. Counting down from 10001 in seventeen steps.

Edit: I added RCN, which I love but forgot.

10010. RCN is about Captain Daniel Leary and his friend the formidable Adele Mundy and their military adventures aboard the Heavy Cruiser RCS Milton. David Drake rewrite historical battles and wars and make beautiful military science fiction out of it.The next Royal Cinnabar Navy book to come out is What Distant Deeps that will be out in September 2010. I read RCN 7: In the Stormy Red Sky about a year ago before I started doing reviews.

10001. Starfire Seriesis built on a board strategy wargame about interstellar conquest. A survey fleet travels trough a previously uncharted wormhole and run into a hive-like speice called the Bugs, all communications attempts fail and the Bugs ambush the fleet and launch an invasion against the Terran federation and nearby powers. In the center of the series is the arms race with the bugs. Later in the series there are other opponents. Solid political and military technology world building if somewhat weaker in character building by David Weber and Steve White. The fifth book Exodus is written by Steve White and Shirley Meier.

10000. Confederation of Valor – is about the futuristic career of a non commissioned officer fighting aliens for the elder races in the alliance. There is a secret behind the scenes that are gradually revealed. The Protagonist Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr keep her space marines and and superiors alive. Tanya Huff writes good characters and the dialog is to die for. My reviews of the first four books, there is a fifth book The Truth of Valor coming out in september 2010.

01111. Jenny Casey - used to be a former retired Canadian special forces living in the hellish streets of Hartford, Connecticut. Earth is in shambles from environmental disasters. Jenny becomes a pawn in game of world dominance between Canada and China over being the first to reach the stars. In Hammered Jenny tries to survive, in Scardown she has to fly and in Worldwired she has to teach the aliens to talk with each other. The world is a bit noir and gritty as Elizabeth Bear likes to write.

01110. Major Ariadne Kedrosis a woman with a dark military past working as a surveyor. Her past catches up with her, both from old enemies and old friends. The world is built on Greek culture with the dominating race being the Minoans called so because they share symbols with the Greek. Temporal buoy’s play a significant part in the story as well as their weaponization. Laura E. Reeve is the creator of this resourceful and guilt ridden heroine. The third book Pathfinder is out this summer.

01101. Aldenata universe – Posleen War | Cally’s War | Hedren War – takes place in a world where an ancient race, the Aldenata uplifted a number of races, screwing them up at the same time. The only race not uplifted is the humans. When the galactic society is attacked by the ferocious Posleen there is a need for someone that can fight so they turn to the humans, who they fear almost as much as the Posleen. The O’Neal clan unite the different series. The redheaded feisty warrior princess Cally stands out together with her war hero father Mike. It’s John Ringo’s universe and he cooperate with Tom Kratman, Mikael Z. Wiliamson and Julie Cochrane there. This is also another example of a series where other races taking advantage of the human race’s ability to fight.

01100. Stellar Marines Universe – Heritage Trilogy | Legacy Trilogy | Inheritage Trilogyis Ian Douglas Stellar Marines family saga. The Garroways fight in the sands of Mars to the Magellanic Cloud. Humanity is on the brink of extinction time after time as they fight the Xul, a galaxy spanning race of xenophobics. Built on ‘Hard science’. Ian Douglas is really a pseudonym for William H.Keith.

01011. Tour of the Merrimack – is about the  finest battleship in Earth’s fleet and its crew.The series’ arc about how to deal with the ravenous Hive, a race of space traveling insects that devour all life they come across. In The Myriad the Mack was out looking for the Hive’s Home world when they stumbled on the time traveling aliens who eventually caused the universe to throw them into an alternative reality to avoid paradox. In Wolf Star the war between Earth and the New Roman Empire is going at full blast and Merrimack is in a deep strike mission behind enemy lines when they meet the Hive again and the Romans have to bow down and admit they need help. In the Sagittarius Command they go after the cause. I love Rebeca M. Meluch’s characters.

01010. Dahak SeriesEarths Moon is in reality a gigantic camouflaged battleship who’s crew become the human race. This is discovered by a lone human astronaut that has to face the ancient ship’s computer Dahak. It’s not enough that he has to deal with mutineers that survived in Antarctica, he also has to do with an onslaught of hordes of genocidal aliens and traitors. David Weber is at his best in this awesome space opera

01001. Empire of ManPrince Roger is a failure and a brat when his starship is sabotaged and he and his company of marine bodyguards has to land on the other side of an hostile planet and walk all the way to the star port on the other side. Wonderful four armed aliens, an epic journey and a prince that becomes a man and the soldiers that fights with him. Nice technological progression from stone age to space age. Written by John Ringo and David Weber.

01000. Lost Fleet - The Alliance has been fighting the Syndics for a century – and losing badly. Now its fleet is crippled and stranded in enemy territory. Their only hope is a man who’s emerged from a century-long hibernation to find he had been heroically idealized beyond belief . Captain John ‘Black Jack’ Geary’s legendary exploits are known to every schoolchild. Appalled by the hero-worship around him, Geary is nevertheless a man who will do his duty. And he knows that bringing the stolen Syndic hypernet key safely home is the Alliance’s one chance to win the war. But to do that, Geary will have to live up to the impossibly heroic ‘Black Jack’ legend. Victorious the final book in the series is out now in April. Written by Jack Campbell

00111. Seafort Saga - is built on C. S. Forester’s novels about Horatio Hornblower and written by David Feintush. The books are set in a future human society that is largely dominated by unified Christianity. The main protagonist is a naval officer who strives always to do his duty, both to the navy and to his God, at great personal cost. Beside the personal story there is an interesting race of fish like aliens central to the story.

00110. Kris Longknife – is about a formidable woman with a knack for getting in trouble and getting out. She is one of them Longknifes and if life wasn’t enough complicated being an officer in the navy, the society of humanity dissolve and her grandpa is named King making her a reluctant princess. The Peterwald family with their long standing grudge with the Longknife set up their own little pocket empire and starts to make life for Kris and her family difficult. Lots of humor, fantastic characters by Mike Shepherd. The next book Redoubtable will be out in November this year.

00101. The Vorkosigan Saga - is about Miles and his mother Cordelia Naismith. It begins with Cordelia’s military career and the unlikely love story between her and Miles father. Miles is crippled in vitro by an assassination attempt but grows up to a crippled formidable interstellar spy and mercenary admiral. Lois has modeled the series after Hortio Hornblower with a taste of Lord Peter Wimsey. The novels stand alone pretty well but benefit from each other. Another Miles novel, CryoBurn is coming later this year. Written by Lois McMaster Bujold.

00100. Safehold – is the world where humanity hides from extermination from the Gbaba, something went wrong thou, the leaders of the colony reprogrammed the colonists in cold sleep creating a medieval world ruled by the church and themselves as Angles. When a fraction tries to revive advanced technology they are ruthlessly exterminated by orbital strikes. 800 years later their second line of defense wakes up. Nimue Alban is an android with the mind and memories of a long dead starship captain. Her mission is to restore civilization and prepare Man for the inevitable re-encounter with the Gbaba. David Weber’s knowledge in history comes to life in this beautiful military saga. The latest novel A Mighty Fortress is out this April (it arrived April 20 for me).

00011. Family’s Regnant universe – Heris Serrano Trilogy | Esmay Suiza continuation | Suiza and Serrano - is about two formidable females Heris Serrano of an old navy family and Esmay Suiza of an old army family. Characters easy to love and formidable old ladies. Much of the driving force for conflict in this universe comes from longevity treatments. Those who get it and will live long life, those who fear the consequences or those who wont wait their turn. Elizabeth Moon is an amazing crafter of characters and worlds.

00010. Honor Harrington is about a competent man kind of military woman with an empath treecat called Nimitz that becomes the foremost military commander of her time battling expansionist empires and human slavers. She is called the Salamander because she thrives in the heat of battle. There are so far eleven books in the series that starts with On Basilisk Station and the next book Mission of Honor will be out this summer. The series is written by David Weber and the success so far have lead to two sub series Saganami and Wages of Sin. The first written together with Eric Flint.

00001. Old Man’s War start with protagonist John Perry joining the army on his seventy-fifth birthday and goes off to fight in The Colonial Defence Force where he meets the love of his life, fight aliens, become leader of a colony and in general make himself useful. I am afraid to tell you much about this series because I so enjoyed the surprise  I got as piece after piece fell in place. John Scalzi is one of my favorite authors, I love his characters and his humor.

And before you say how could he miss Hammer Slammers, I didn’t. I tried to read them a couple of times but never really fell for it. Bolo is another ‘series’ that I considered but I feel its less a series and more of a loose concept even if i love them. I have probably missed some, because I haven’t read them, so as usual give me a comment, I love to get to know more military science fiction series.

  • Shae Erisson

    Whoa, I’ve never heard of several of these.. much to read!

  • Shae Erisson

    Whoa, I’ve never heard of several of these.. much to read!

  • Shae Erisson

    Next question, how many of these series are published as DRM-free ebooks?
    I’m guessing, only books from baen.com?

  • Shae Erisson

    Next question, how many of these series are published as DRM-free ebooks?
    I’m guessing, only books from baen.com?

  • http://www.cybermage.se ove

    I haven’t the faintest idea about the others Baen should be ok, but it would be good to know.
    Good idea for a post. I might get back with that in a while.
    Enjoy!

  • http://www.cybermage.se ove

    I haven’t the faintest idea about the others Baen should be ok, but it would be good to know.
    Good idea for a post. I might get back with that in a while.
    Enjoy!

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  • Jeff

    Sorry, but to leave out David Drake’s Hammer’s Slammers and Jerry Pournelle’s Codominium series is just a crying shame.

  • Jeff

    Sorry, but to leave out David Drake’s Hammer’s Slammers and Jerry Pournelle’s Codominium series is just a crying shame.

  • http://www.cybermage.se ove

    Hi Jeff,
    Thanks for the comment. I am afraid I never clicked with Hammer Slammers, that is probably just a personal thing but taste is different. I do like other works by David Drake.
    Concerning Codominium is it because the books I have read there A Mote in God’s Eye and The Gripping Hand was more of first contact stories than a military in my opinion. It is possible the other books are more Military SF , then I will include it after I read them.

  • http://www.cybermage.se ove

    Hi Jeff,
    Thanks for the comment. I am afraid I never clicked with Hammer Slammers, that is probably just a personal thing but taste is different. I do like other works by David Drake.
    Concerning Codominium is it because the books I have read there A Mote in God’s Eye and The Gripping Hand was more of first contact stories than a military in my opinion. It is possible the other books are more Military SF , then I will include it after I read them.

  • George

    Have you read the Destroyermen series written by Anderson?. If you havn’t, you should give it a try. You have definately given me many others to read also. Thank you!

  • George

    Have you read the Destroyermen series written by Anderson?. If you havn’t, you should give it a try. You have definately given me many others to read also. Thank you!

  • http://www.cybermage.se ove

    Hi George,

    I have seen them around maybe I should give them a try. Hm, I will be checking out amazon tomorrow …

  • http://www.cybermage.se ove

    Hi George,

    I have seen them around maybe I should give them a try. Hm, I will be checking out amazon tomorrow …

  • Urlias

    Great List. Only missing one great Military Sci-Fi Series, The Sten Chronicles by Chris Bunch and Allan Cole.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sten_Adventures

  • Urlias

    Great List. Only missing one great Military Sci-Fi Series, The Sten Chronicles by Chris Bunch and Allan Cole.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sten_Adventures

  • http://www.cybermage.se ove

    Hi Urlias,
    I have not read those, I will have a look.

    Thanks for the suggestion

  • http://www.cybermage.se ove

    Hi Urlias,
    I have not read those, I will have a look.

    Thanks for the suggestion

  • Paul

    Shouldn’t the Forever War and Armor get an honorable mention even though they aren’t series? =]

  • Paul

    Shouldn’t the Forever War and Armor get an honorable mention even though they aren’t series? =]

  • http://www.cybermage.se ove

    Hello Paul,
    I prefer to keep this about series. There are so many worthy standalone novels that it would require more than one post to mention them all.

  • http://www.cybermage.se ove

    Hello Paul,
    I prefer to keep this about series. There are so many worthy standalone novels that it would require more than one post to mention them all.

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  • theodoris

    have been reading a lot of the series posted here, great stuff. :)
    Have read Lost fleet, Honor, Vorkosigan and Dahak series now
    at the momend i`m reading Kris longknife.
    I also read “The Saga of the 7 Suns”, 7 books easy to read and i loved the story

  • Trey

    A lot off good series. I have read the entire Lost Fleet series. My other all time favorite series is The Legion of the Damned by William C. Dietz.

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  • Tomb

    Some you are missing:
    Dirigent Mercenary Company series (Cadet, Lieutenant, Captain, Major, etc.) from Rick Shelley.
    Not For Glory and Hero by Joel Rosenberg (Metzadan Mercenary Corps).
    Mercenary (a CoDominium novel by Jerry Pournelle). Also Falkenberg’s Legion, Prince of Sparta, Go Tell The Spartans, Prince of Mercenaries by the same author.
    Ian Douglas “Earth Strike: Star Carrier”series – same fellow (sort of) as wrote the Heritage and Luna Marine trilogies.
    There is also a 5th Foreign Legion series (William H. Keith, Andrew Kieth).

  • http://www.cybermage.se Ove Jansson

    Hi Urlias,
    I have now read the first three Sten novels, let me review them first and I will put them into the list.

  • http://www.cybermage.se Ove Jansson

    Hi Tomb,
    Thanks for the reminder. I have been planning to add the Dirgent Mercenary Company series for a time now (You can find my reviews on the Books page).
    I still haven’t read any more CoDominium novels but i should and then I might add them.
    Ian Douglas’ (William H. Keith) second Star Carrier novel is on its way and it is a sure thing I will add that one.
    I will check up on the other ones.

    There will be an 2011 edition of the list up in February. There are a few other series needing a place and some new novels this year too.

  • Tomb

    There’s another series I have to phyically locate. It stems around a team who is hired as a PSD (Personal Security Detail) for a national leader (or world leader) in a backwater planet. They are long service professionals of various stripes and services before they went into contract work. Sort of think ‘Blackwater’ or ‘Control Risk’ sorts of operators. The story evolves as the VIP turns out to be a decent guy with lots of convoluted plotting from on and off world against him and only his PSD to keep him alive. There’s a segment which is reminiscent of Blackhawk Down (in terms of a flight on foot through a city full of hostiles).

    The thing is, I can’t recall the author or book names just now. I have to look for that series to add.

    And I will second some other person’s recommendation of the Destroyermen series. It’s fairly enjoyable, if you can suspend a bit of belief here or there. In some ways, it has a bit of the flavour of 1632 (and successors) from Eric Flint or else of something like Ranks of Bronze or the follow on that wasn’t written by Drake but featured English Longbowmen in the same role as the Romans (low tech Mercs recruited from the past).

    Another good book that crosses the line between sci-fi, fantasy, adventure, and a military work is The Peshawr Lancers. It’s sci fi because it takes place in a Victorian+ technology level but takes place in the 2080s (if I recall) in a world where a meteorite obliterated England sometime during Victoria’s rule. So they uprooted and moved the English brain trust and political apparatus to the Raj which became the center of the British Empire.

  • http://www.cybermage.se Ove Jansson

    Hi Tomb,
    I think you are looking for Better to beg Forgivness (Baen 2009) and Do Unto Others … (Baen 2010) by Michael Z. Williamson. It was not clear to me that it was going to be a series when I read the first book. They are quite entertaining.
    http://www.cybermage.se/better-to-beg-forgiveness-by-michael-z-williamson-freehold-3/
    http://www.cybermage.se/do-unto-others-by-michael-z-williamson-book-review/

    I am considering the Destroyermen series.

  • Mike

    Take a look at Spinward Fringe by Randolph Lalonde, the first ebook is free and his work is improving with each release.

  • http://www.cybermage.se Ove Jansson

    thanks, I will take a look

  • The1jim

    I love just about everyone you mentioned. I hope you look at The series by Robert Buettner and the series by Steven L Kent

  • http://www.cybermage.se Ove Jansson

    I might have a look at Kent’s Clone Republic it sounds good. I have read one of Buettner’s Orphan books, I should read the first before adding it to the list though. I’ll put it in my to read pile.

  • http://www.cybermage.se Ove Jansson

    Hi Trey, I read Dietz’s Cato duology and liked it too. Maybe I should take a look at Legion of the Damned

  • The1jim

    The 1st Orphan book is wonderful. Also Travis S Taylor has a couple of series that are pretty good. Take a look at his degrees and life travels, you know that his books will be interesting

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  • Royhhj

    You should read the Starfist series by David Sherman and Dan Cragg

  • http://www.cybermage.se Ove Jansson

    I have read them but forgot to add them here. Fun military action. 

  • athrre

    Even though its only one book, i think Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers should be mentioned. Its has deep idea and his description of military life is very good.

  • Steve

    Great post, gives me a few series to catch up on. One that’s a pretty nice read is the Into the Looking Glass series by John Ringo (later books in the series co-authored by Travis S. Taylor).

  • Kayros

    Here is one significant author you missed: Thomas DePrima!

  • Felker Larry

    The Mote in God’s Eye and sequel – Niven and Pournell

  • Wwallygatorr

    “America’s Galactic Foreign Legion” series

  • Dennis

    Have you ever read “The Damned” series by Alan Dean Foster? Premise is that alien confederacy faces warlike empire, but most of confederacy races are not geared for the aggressiveness of warfare. Come looking for Earthmen to come to their rescue. Many twists and subplots, with a surprising, but very well done ending. Also, “The Faded Sun Trilogy” by CJ Cherryh. Humans meet a warlike race called the MRI who believe in one-on-one combat, but adjust to the ‘total war’ of Humankind. Turns out MRI are mercenaries of the Regul, and the series shows how these three races react to the “Peace” that ends the war. Again the ending can be taken has multiple possible future consequenses for all three races. I consider these 2 of the best Military SF series ever done.