While my first love is fantasy I have also grown to love military science fiction. I constantly look forward to the latest Honor Harrington novel from David Weber or Lost Fleet novel from Jack Campbell. When it comes to my military science fiction I tend to enjoy those that most strongly resemble naval warfare novels though instead of sailing the sea the ships sail between the stars. It’s a bit odd since I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have the patience to read say a C. S. Forester novel, but set that thing in space and suddenly I’m all in. With the advent of self-publishing there has been something of a resurgence in military science fiction with authors like Ryk Brown, Evan Currie, B. V. Larson, Thomas DePrima, Ian Douglas, not to mention countless others leading a new charge of self-published military science fiction. The relatively low cost of entry in the self-publishing world has many of those authors already having released upwards of 10 novel each over the last six years or so. With Amazon’s introduction of its 47North imprint some of these authors are getting mainstream paperback releases, and some even getting high-production audiobooks from major audiobook publishers like Tantor and Brilliance.
H. Paul Honsinger, while not as prolific in terms of output as some the aforementioned authors, has created a taught and exciting series called Man of War. The first title, To Honor You Call Us was originally released for Kindle (and via CreateSpace) in 2012 and was recently re-released via 47North (paperback) and Brilliance (audio) in 2014. To Honor You Call Us, sees brash young Captain Max Robichaux, taking command of the Terran Union destroyer USS Cumberland, a problem ship with a poor record. The Terran Union is at war with the Krag, who see the extermination of humanity as a religious necessity. Honsinger, paints the Krag as an uncompromising foe willing to go to extreme lengths to exterminate humanity from the universe. Readers, are told that early on in the war the Krag released a virulent gynophage on the human populace which ravaged the female population. This is important to note as there are almost no women in the entirety of the series since, as a result of the plague, women are no longer allowed to serve in the Navy; they are too precious to risk in combat. There is definitely some discomfort with this aspect of the novel since we don’t really know how women are treated or how they live their lives. In fact you could probably write a who novel just on the social, political, and emotional impact of a bioweapon designed to take out the female population. However, Honsinger really relegates this to the background and while it’s important to Robichaux’s history (he watched his mother and sister die, then his father slip away into depression) it doesn’t legitimately impact the events of the novel directly.