Honor Harrington On Basilisk Station
by David Weber
Discussed August 2004
Honor Harrington by David Weber
Basilisk

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Honor Harington on Basilisk Station
by David Weber

On Basilisk Station (or "HH1" as it's known to the faithful) is the first installment in David Weber's cult hit Honor Harrington series, which has charmed the socks off schoolgirls and sailors alike. Honor--the heroine of this fast-paced, addictive space opera--is a polished, plucky bulldog of a naval officer, part Horatio Hornblower, part Miles Vorkosigan, part Captain Janeway, and with a razor-clawed telepathic cat thrown over her shoulder for good measure.
The series' kickoff puts a giddy Commander Harrington at the helm of her first serious starship, the HMS Fearless. But her excitement quickly fades--political maneuvering by top brass in the Manticoran navy has left her light cruiser outfitted with a half-baked experimental weapons system. Against all odds (just the way Honor likes it), she still manages a clever coup in tactical war games, a feat that earns her accolades--and enemies. The politicians she's offended banish her to a galactic backwater, Basilisk Station. But that outpost soon proves to be a powder keg, and it's up to Harrington and the Fearless crew to thwart the aggressive plans of the Haven Republic. A perfect mix of military SF and high adventure.

Book Reviews
From School Library Journal
YA-Move over gutsy female detectives-here's a daring woman spaceship commander waiting to claim a place in readers' hearts. Honor Harrington is sent in disgrace to the forlorn outpost of Basilisk Station, where military authorities hope she will be forgotten about. Instead, with her woefully under-armed vessel, the Fearless, she executes incredible flying manuevers in an attempt to stop foreign takeover of a major space station.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From http://andrewlias.blogspot.com
Rather than review this particular book, I thought that I'd give a capsul review of the series, as a whole. Given that, if you do like this one, you're in for a long haul, I thought that this would be fair.
First of all, the Harrington series stands at the intersection of two genres: space opera and military SF. Space Opera is a style of story with interstellar vistas, larger than life characters and situations, and (typically, and especially in this case) more than a dash of melodrama. Military SF is a sub-genre of science fiction that concentrates its focus on the details of high-tech conflict -- think Tom Clancy in space. The first warning is that if either of these styles of fiction turn you off, you probably won't like these books.

The writing style of Mr. Weber is servicable for the type of story he's telling. He's very good at writing action sequences, and providing you villains to hate, and jerking a tear or two, and at compelling you to keep turning the pages of his stories. His work, however, does not constitute high art. It's not what I would call low-brow, either, but I think that it is fair to describe it as relatively unsophisticated. In particular, he writes characters that are, on the whole, somewhat flat, often substituting emotional charge for true characterization. If you want more than that out of a book, these aren't for you, either.

I should note that the books are deliberately written to echo the Horatio Hornblower stories and that there are many clever parallels between the future kingdoms of the novels and the historical conflict between France and the allied nations during the Napoleonic era. History a literature buffs may get a kick out of this, but it should be noted that it isn't an exceptionally sophisticated set of parallels. It's more of a light spice for those who like such things.

What you can expect is a very fun and action oriented set of stories. One co-worker aptly described them as "airplane books" (that is, books that are good to read during a long flight), and I'm inclined to agree. For them, they've been a slightly guilty pleasure, but a pleasure all the same. If you want something that is manifestly enjoyable and unchallenging, or if you simply hungry for something to fill your reading time, I can't think of many series which would fit the bill quite so well. They aren't high art but they do a good job of being everything that they are intended to be.