Update for My Year of Science Fiction:
Having finished reading Justin Cronin’s The Twelve — which was frackin’ awesome, by the way — I moved on to the first novel in the Honor Harrington series by David Weber, titled On Basilisk Station. I finally finished it yesterday, and rendered this verdict: How have I never read David Weber before?
Weber’s writing is brilliant science fiction. Though he focuses on describing military hardware a little more heavily than I would like, he more than makes up for this through his engaging characters and gripping storytelling. The crew of HMS Fearless, especially Honor Harrington herself, is made up of a complex mixture of individuals who clash in very human ways, but inevitably connect and thrive together, so that by the end of the novel the loss of even one person leaves your heart aching. Which brings me to the aspect of Weber’s writing that I appreciate the most: it’s realistic military sci-fi. Weber clearly understands that battle is unpredictable, especially in space, and he reminds his readers of this by refusing to hold back from eliminating characters with surprising brutality. By the end of Basilisk, I breathed a sigh of relief that some of my favorite characters had made it through in one piece.
Needless to say, I’ll be continuing the Honor Harrington series as part of my Year of Science Fiction. Hopefully it’ll continue to be a hell of a ride.