March 8th, 2011


On Basilisk Station

On Basilisk Station is the first book in the Honor Harrington series by David Weber. It’s available for free at the Baen webshop.

There is a plot in there somewhere… something about a young captain being screwed over by a military lousy with aristocratic nepotism, being sent to a neglected station, actually doing the navy’s job, and uncovering some kind of plot… but I found it hard to follow.

The two main problems I had were the infodumps and the viewpoint changes.

The long and sometimes awkwardly placed infodumps about technology and history seemed to go into way, way more detail than was required for the story, leaving me with the impression that David Weber rather wanted to write something like an RPG sourcebook.

I did not keep count of viewpoint characters, but wouldn’t be surprised if it had been over a dozen. The really confusing part was that often a change of viewpoint and location would not be signalled in any way; one paragraph from the viewpoint of Our Hero on her ship might be followed by one from the viewpoint of an antagonist on a different ship, which would only become clear a line or two after it happened, things like that. (I can’t tell if that’s just a problem with the ebook edition, or if it was really written that way.)

I appreciate that there is a female protagonist, and she isn’t the only one in the military (competent women being treated as miraculous because women aren’t expected to be competent is really tiresome), but had trouble connecting with her.

I guess to enjoy this you need a higher interest in weapons and spaceship specs, military hierarchy, and worldbuilding details even when they interrupt scenes than I have.

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