This emailed newsletter focuses exclusively on science fiction. Because their articles are meant to pique your interest, and are not meant to be encyclopedic, it’s possible to quibble with particular choices. But I find Portalist to be a great reminder for items I haven’t yet read.
8 Military Sci-Fi Books Set in a Galaxy Far, Far Away
Out-of-this-world stories of destruction, bravery, and hope.
Wars don’t just rage on Earth. In these eight military sci-fi books, battles are taken to space, where humans and aliens alike fight for their own causes. The beginnings of the subgenre can be traced back to the late 1800s and early 1900s—with stories from well-known authors like H.G. Wells. From Robert A. Heinlein to Joe Haldeman, there are numerous authors who have made the subgenre what it is today.
Whether the story follows a man who turns on the galaxy he once loved or a group of human soldiers destined to fight forever in space, these military sci-books will grip you—page after page. Take a crack at one of these eight books now, and immerse yourself in the trials and triumphs of war.
In another galaxy, two powers fight for control: the Acolyte Empire and the Clone Defense Force. Devante is the prince of the Acolyte Empire, and since he was a child, he’s fought to free the clone slaves from the Clone Defense Force and to stop this practice all together. But when he uncovers a secret about his home planet…his whole worldview changes.
Told from both sides and through the eyes of many different characters, Galactic Mandate will make readers question what it means to be good and evil, and if sometimes the lines between the two can be blurred. Combining war, politics, and intrigue, it’s an epic debut.
The Forever War Series
Spanning three books, Joe Haldeman’s Forever War series was first published in 1974, with the first two books in the series, The Forever War and Forever Peace, winning Hugo and Nebula Awards when they were first published.
The story follows William Mandella, a young man who is conscripted to fight the Taurans—an alien species. Though the fighting lasts for two years in space, when Mandella and his fellow soldiers return to Earth they find 10 years have passed. He finds humanity has completely changed, and enlists in more years of military service. Haldeman was inspired to write the novel by his military service in the Vietnam War, and it’s one of the most popular works of military sci-fi out there.
The Seafort Saga Books 1–3
The series opens in 2194 with Midshipman’s Hope when 17-year-old Nicholas Seafort becomes the newest midshipman aboard the UNS Hibernia. When the ship answers a distress call, and loses the senior command staff in the process, Seafort is thrust into a position of leadership. Seafort’s story continues in Challenger’s Hope, when he’s given command of a smaller ship and tasked with transporting colonists to the world of Detour. But when a deadly alien attack hits, the captain is forced to regain control of his previous ship…or risk the lives of survivors. In the third book in the series, Prisoner’s Hope, Seafort and the rest of the navy are supposed to return to work. But aliens still threaten those in space, and Seafort will have to risk everything in order to save them.
The Wingman Adventures Volume One
Mack Maloney’s 18-book Wingman series begins with the book for which the series is named: Wingman. World War III has started and a Soviet nerve gas attack destroyed France, Spain, and Germany. And unfortunately, the U.S. was the next target. Two years later, and most of America has been laid to waste. When U.S. Air Force pilot Hawk Hunter is called out of retirement, he has no choice but to attempt to reclaim his devastated home. Action and suspense combine to make up this thrilling book that’s part sci-fi, part thriller.
The Voyage of the Star Wolf
In the second book in the Star Wolf series, we see the Alliance Liberty Ship LS-1187—complete with officer Jonathan Thomas Korie and crew—still alive after being ambushed by the Morthans, superhumans with advanced technology. But though they nearly escaped with their lives, the Alliance needs someone to blame for the disaster…and the crew of LS-1187 were the perfect scapegoats. Instead of being received as heroes when they get home—they’re villains. And when the harsh Captain Hardesty comes aboard to get them back into shape, Korie realizes they’re going to need all the help they can get…as the Morthans are hardly done with their fight.
A Choice of Treasons
In the second book in The Treasons Cycle, York Ballard has resigned himself to being in the Imperial Navy forever—as that’s really his only option. When he and his crewman have to rescue Princess Aeya, the emperor’s daughter, and return her to her home planet of Dunmark—things quickly go south. Dunmark is hit by the Directorates—their enemies—and York is forced to evacuate the planet by stealing an imperial cruiser. But what he doesn’t realize is that the empress and the princess’ entourage are harboring a dangerous secret…so dangerous that both sides want to destroy them.
Trading in Danger
The first book in Elizabeth Moon’s five-book Vatta’s War series, Trading in Danger introduces us to Kylara Vatta—Ky, for short. Despite her family’s wishes, Ky wants nothing more than to have a military career instead of running her family’s prestigious shipping company. But when she is expelled from the Academy, and comes home in disgrace, she gets a second chance. Her father tasks her with captaining the final voyage of a ship—which is headed for the junkyard. But Ky has other plans, and tries to spice things up (and make a little money) by getting a delivery contact. What she doesn’t realize is that this new course is taking her and her crew right into the middle of a colonial war…and she’ll have to use all her military training if she hopes to get out alive.
Old Man’s War
In the future, resources on Earth are scarce and humans have opted to explore other planets in which to reside. Most of the resources left are held by the Colonial Defense Force, and when you reach retirement age you can join up. On his 75th birthday, John Perry decides to do just that. In exchange for joining the CDF, if you survive two years at the front—fighting aliens for control of the scarce number of inhabitable planets—you’re given a generous homestead stake of your own on a new planet. But you can never return to Earth. Will John make it out alive…and if he does, will he be the same person when he returns?
Old Man’s War is the start of John Scalzi’s six-book series, which also contains several short stories and novellas. Published in 2005, the book was Scalzi’s debut novel and was also nominated for a Hugo Award.
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