Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Baen’s List of Military SF: Decidedly incomplete

So, over at Worlds Without End, there’s this: Baen’s List of Recommended Military SF.

“Baen polled its readers, on Facebook and on Baen’s Bar, for a list of recommended Military SF. The criteria was simply works of SF (fantasy & science fiction both) that have as their main theme military concerns….”

Some of the entries are, shall we say, a stretch. DOWNBELOW STATION does not strike me as military SF; not at all. Mallory is certainly in a military organization, but the merchanter family of Konstantins? Not part of any military, and way more important as protagonists. And so on and so forth: lots of protagonists and I believe only Mallory would push this novel into the realm of military SF, and she can’t do it by herself.

You know, the mere existence of a military threat? Not sufficient to make a novel military SF. (Isn’t that obvious? Maybe it’s just me.)

Plus, there’s a conflation of space opera (Bujold’s Vorkosigan books) with military SF, which is unfortunate. I think the two forms blend together at the margins, but I don’t think they’re the same.

Plus, is it really necessary to list each of David Drake’s titles separately? That leads to a lot of clutter. Could we list by series instead?

But most importantly . . . where is Tanya Huff’s Valor series? Because that’s clearly military SF plus substantially better than most of the books on this list (that I’ve read, which is a minority). I think Baen’s readers who contributed to this poll are definitely missing out!

I don’t see a way to leave a comment at the WWE post, so hey, this is my comment on that post.

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