Daily archives: July 12, 2007

Military SF and Baen books

Military science fiction, a genre probably started by Starship Troopers, which I have yet to read (though I have seen the film, and its fairly predictable sequel- Hero of the Federation). I would recommend The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, effectively a response to Starship Troopers. The two books characterise the two sides of the genre, Heinlein’s allegedly glorifying conflict and Haldeman’s highlighting the sacrifice of the ordinary soldier and their alienation from the people they are supposedly fighting for in an ultimately pointless war.

Baen books publish a lot of contemporary military science fiction, mostly of the more militaristic, right-leaning type. I’ve read a few of them in the last couple of months, from the library or a big bag of battered editions I was given. Carrying on the trend of getting them for free, I’ve just downloaded a few novels from their free library. They’re all good, no-nonsense reads that aim primarily to provide entertainment without breaking much new ground. The occasional lecture on the greater merits of military service, duty and sacrifice tend to slide past without offending or disrupting the flow of the tale.

What I’m thinking of now is writing a few short pieces in the genre, subverting it a bit with my defeatist liberal outlook. The horror, futility and blowback of a poorly planned war entered into for the wrong reasons should provide a good backdrop.


Because we were arguing about the F-35’s abilities after watching Die Hard 4.0 last night.

Wikipedia on the F-35. (It even notes the plane’s part in the film.)

F-35 vertical taking off and hovering.

The film’s great fun, not letting up much and only presenting a few bits that looked wrong (surely when your truck’s leaning so hard the left hand side’s in the air you’d steer right, into the lean, not left, much like steering into a skid). It’ll probably be trounced by Transformers as brainless action movie of the summer, but recommended as two hours of simple fun.

If you want to see what went before, you can get the Die Hard trilogy at Amazon. 4.0 is easily as good as Die Hard 3, and definitely better than 2, but the original, with its inventive use of the office tower location, is still the best.