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 Series – is 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 Kedros – is 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 Trilogy – is 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 Series – Earths 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 Man – Prince 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.