Sunday, August 15, 2010

On Basilisk Station by David Weber

I read this book as a free download from Baen free library.

The first book in an apparently pretty popular series about Honor Harrington, a spaceship captain in the Navy of the kingdom of Manticore. The popularity of the series is fairly hard to understand, as at least the first part wasn't too good. The book was really slow moving. Never, ever have I seen so much exposition in any book. There are literally pages and pages describing the background of the world in mind-numbing detail. And that is given as info-dumps of pages-long techno babble. Sometimes, in middle of a battle, there might be a description of the history and mechanism of space torpedoes covering a few pages. Another irritating and unusual feature of the book is the usage of internal monologue. It feels that most of the book is narrated through people speaking to themselves in their minds. Sometimes the character's viewpoint seemed to change pretty suddenly, and it wasn’t always easy to keep track of who was ”speaking.” The book starts when Honor Harrington gets her first command post. As the Manticore’s Navy is apparently run by idiots, her ship is crippled by a new weapons system that functions well only in very special circumstances. When it functions as expected (that is, doesn’t work at all) during exercises, she and her ship are banished to the most important junction point of the Manticore kingdom. As the kingdom and the Navy ARE run by complete idiots, that is somewhere where the most incompetent captains and ships are sent. At the same time, an enemy empire is plotting against Manticore. In the end, Honor naturally saves the day after a few fairly boring and long-winded space battles. (A few of the space battles in this book seem to employ surprisingly two-dimensional tactics, considering this is supposed to happen in space, not at sea.) Even if the Manticore kingdom really seems to be something worth complete destruction, with its nepotism and idiotic leadership, I strongly suspect that I won’t be reading the next dozen or so parts of this series.

464 pp.

No comments: