Book reviews, art, gaming, Objectivism and thoughts on other topics as they occur.

Jan 20, 2006

March Upcountry

I just finished reading this lovely space opera/military science novel by David Weber and John Ringo. It's the first in a series that contains three other books: March to the Sea, March to the Stars, and We Few. In general the theme behind the books is the defense of civilization from those who would destroy and loot it.

The story is highly engaging and extremely enjoyable. It revolves around the coming-of-age of the third and most unimportant son of the Empress of Man in a future age of spacegoing humans. Lost on a distant planet inhabited by savage natives and dangerous beasts with only his extremely professional company of bodyguards, the Prince must cross the planet on land so that he can return home. It is desperately important that he survive, not only because he's the Prince, but because someone must bring word of the sabotage that stranded him to his mother.

The military details are fascinating, the panoramic view of battle horrifying, and the societies and fauna of the planet interestingly diverse. It could be a truly great novel (and series) except that I think the authors fail somewhat at really characterizing people. The interactions between characters are not really unrealistic, but they are very superficial. I can respect the characters, but not really idolize or identify with any of them.

It's also difficult to pick up on characterization from the way people speak, so the authors sneak in clues to, say, explain that so-and-so is whining at this point. I think this derives from the not-really-individualist ideas of the authors, which clash with my own. I don't consider it whining to request explanations and to assert authority that you do actually have, even though you might not be doing so intelligently.

If you enjoyed Starship Troopers, (which was superior, in my eyes) you will probably enjoy this series, but if you're not a military buff I'd give it a pass.

No comments: