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Posts: 7,327
Registered: ‎08-16-2007
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Memorial Day and Significant Military SF and Fantasy Releases

When I was a kid, Memorial Day meant little more than a day off of school and being forced to watch the extremely long and extremely boring parade in the village. But as I got older, I began to understand the significance of the holiday – a day to remember and honor all of those who died in military service. If you or your family has never been affected by the loss of a loved family member serving in the armed forces, consider yourself lucky. I know the feeling of losing someone serving in the military and it’s heartwrenching.

That’s why, for me, reading good military science fiction and military fantasy has an even deeper meaning and I thought it would be interesting to talk about some of the most powerfully moving novels in the genre concerning military service…

One of the very best military-powered fantasy sagas has to be Glen Cook’s Black Company series. It’s action packed, wildly entertaining and filled with unforgettable characters (Goblin, Croaker, etc.) but it also – very poetically – describes the insanity and inner turmoil associated with being a soldier. Here’s one of my favorite excerpts from Soldiers Live:

"Incessant wind sweeps the plain. It murmurs on across grey stone, carrying dust from far climes to nibble eternally at the memorial pillars. There are a few shadows out there still but they are the weak and the timid and the hopelessly lost.
    It is immortality of a sort.
    Memory is immortality of a sort.
    In the night, when the wind dies and silence rules the place of glittering stone, I remember. And they all live again.
    Soldiers Live. And wonder why."

Another one of my favorite military powered series is E.E. Knight’s Vampire Earth (Way of the Wolf is the first book), in which alien overlords have conquered Earth and are hungrily harvesting human souls. Standing in their way are pockets of resistance that have vowed to fight back against impossible odds to reclaim their planet. The storyline revolves around protagonist David Valentine, a lieutenant in an elite regiment proficient in tracking down and killing the enemy Kur and their minions of vampiric Reapers and troll-like Grogs. Again, this is top-notch adventure fiction but the thing that resonates with me whenever I read a Vampire Earth novel is the brutality and insanity of war – and the way in which it irrevocably changes everyone it touches…

What are some of your favorite military fueled SF and fantasy? Which releases have not just entertained you but also touched you on a much deeper level?

"There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save..." – Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the Sky
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Memorial Day and Significant Military SF and Fantasy Releases

[ Edited ]



Great thread and Memorial Day means a lot to me because my Dad served in the Marine Corp in WWII and both my husbund and I served in the Army during the VietNam era.  And I have nephews serving now.  Some of my favorite Military History is John Ringo's Posleen War series and David Drake.  I like both Glen Cook and E.E. Knight but the other two are just a little bit a head.



Message Edited by Nelsmom on 05-24-2009 09:08 PM
Toni L. Chapman
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Registered: ‎10-21-2008

Re: Memorial Day and Significant Military SF and Fantasy Releases

If I had to pick a single Military book that really captured the flavor, I'd go with "Passage At Arms" by Glen Cook. Basically it's like "Das Boot" in outer space combat. Having been a submarine sailor I can tell you it's as close as it could come to how feels to be aboard a sub. Good thread Paul! I had my flag up on Monday!!
"Stand back everyone, nothing here to see
Just imminent danger, in the middle of it, me
Yes, Captain Hammers here, hair blowing in the breeze
And the day needs my saving expertise" - Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion) from "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog