Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
News Books Media Book Reviews

War of Honor 193

Posted by timothy
from the sounds-like-klingon-to-me dept.
nellardo writes "War of Honor is out, complete with the aforementioned CD-ROM full of free, unencrypted novels. If you're a true fan of Honor Harrington, you probably don't need this review - you've already bought the book. If you're just waiting for paperback, don't, because the CD-ROM included with the book is worth the price of the book. If you're new to the Honor Harrington series, reading the book itself is not the place to start, but with the entire series (and then some) on the CD, you might want to pick up the book anyway, just for the CD-ROM."
War of Honor
author David Weber
pages 869 + CD-ROM
publisher Baen Books
rating 9
reviewer Brook Conner
ISBN 0743435451
summary Essential for fans of Honor Harrington. Sometimes turgid and complex political sci-fi. CD-ROM worth the cover price by itself.

War of Honor is the tenth full novel in David Weber's Honor Harrington series, and thirteenth book (there being three collections of stories set in the so-called "Honorverse"). For those of you that have read the earlier novels, this is more of the same, though Honor herself figures perhaps somewhat less prominently in it than in previous novels. It's got Weber's usual rich and detailed plot, along with Weber's occassionally turgid and expository writing.

One thing that makes this novel different from the others is that Weber has fully incorporated characters and plot lines from the short stories set in the "Honorverse" but penned by other authors. Earlier novels had made allusions to some of Weber's own short stories, but none had integrated another author's work to the extent that War of Honor does. Of course, this does nothing to simplify the plot or reduce the expository interludes (Weber includes enough explanation so that you can follow the plot without having read the prior short story). It does add to the flavor though, and helps keep Weber from simply retreading old ground.

Discussion of the plot, even aside from spoiler concerns, is well-nigh impossible. There's simply too much that happens. This isn't a book that could be a film - it's a mini-series, even without the prior nine novels. War of Honor is not a light and fluffy read. It's a good two hundred pages longer than the previous novel (Ashes of Victory) and doesn't have some of the breezy, happy passages of its predecessor. In fact, you might want to take a break halfway through - I did, with a complete novel in a much lighter vein (bad pun - it was an Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter novel). Suffice it to say that Weber knows how to write the next installment in a series: this one resolves enough threads to make it satisfying and opens enough new ones that readers will continue to scream for the next novel.

What Slashdotters are most familiar with, though, is the CD-ROM that's been discussed here before. And it's a nice one, to be sure. While the books on the CD themselves are available at Baen's Free Library, the CD contains more.

One of the most wonderful resources is the art gallery: the covers of the most recent editions of the Honor Harrington books as jpg images, all at 800x1200 pixel resolution or greater. Not scans of the covers but images of the original art, without the title graphics or anything else. I predict some very nice wallpapers coming soon to a site near you.

The CD-ROM also has other lovely tidbits, such as audio selections from several novels and MP3s of songs from the group Echo's Children. So even if you haven't caught this filk group at a sci-fi con, you still get their songs and lyrics based on events in the Harrington novels.

And all of this is on top of all the books on the CD-ROM. All ten Harrington novels, and yes, that includes War of Honor itself. All three collections of Harrington stories. And twenty five (not the previously-reported twenty two) other books, from the likes of David Drake, Eric Flint, Dave Freer, Mercedes Lackey, Keith Laumer, Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, John Ringo, and James H. Schmitz. No encryption. No copy protection. In several formats each, including HTML, Microsoft Reader, Mobipocket, Rocket, and RTF files.

Put it all together in one no-download place and the CD-ROM is arguably worth the price of the hardcover book all by itself. Certainly, no new release CD-ROM sold by itself is going to sell for much less than US$26 (the cost of the book).

I'm of course reminded of Tim O'Reilly's (and many others) numerous comments to the effect that obscurity is a bigger problem for publishers than piracy. Jim Baen evidently agrees. He's just put the full text of a brand new flagship property (another bad pun, I'm sorry) in the clear. The disk even says you can copy it. Stamped right on the disk: "This disk and its contents may be copied and shared but NOT sold." Even the copyright notice says "All commercial rights reserved." Not "All rights reserved."

Given the popularity of the Honor Harrington series over all, it's just possible that this novel will make the NY Times (free reg, blah blah :-) best sellers list. And if it did, with its entire text freely and legally available on the net, wouldn't that be an interesting place for publishing to be?


You can purchase War of Honor from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

War of Honor

Comments Filter:
  • Cheaper prices (Score:5, Informative)

    by gmajor (514414) on Friday November 22, 2002 @11:20AM (#4731989) Journal
    Buy.com has it for $16.38 (shipping included). Wal-mart.com has it for $17.98. All are cheaper than bn.com $20.80. Spend the four dollar differential on something nice!

    Ahh, the joys of capitalism.
    • Re:Cheaper prices (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BurritoWarrior (90481)
      Is this an Ad posing as a story? Why is the BN.com link a "bfast" one? Is Slashdot getting a referral commission on people who buy through that link?

      I am not trolling, I am seriously wondering.
      • Re:Cheaper prices (Score:3, Insightful)

        by SomeOtherGuy (179082)
        So what if they are? It is no secret that they are not exactlly rolling around in money. (Hell, Cmdr. Taco is using POTS to connect to the internet from home -- poor chap can't evwn afford a T1....) I always thought one of the advantages of having my "little" website purchased by a sugar daddy (VA) would be making that call to the phone company to order that fat pipe into my crib....but alas -- bubbles burst. Fortunes twindle. And we are left picking up the breadcrumbs of a few cents from redirected book purchases -- and still the crowd boos.
    • Re:Cheaper prices (Score:5, Insightful)

      by edmo (619449) on Friday November 22, 2002 @11:46AM (#4732168)
      Here I would like to ask /.ers to buy the book at their local mom n pop bookstore
      We all complain about the power of the large corporations, but unless we put our $ where our mouth is were just making the problem worse, who cars if it costs an extra $5, I'm sure most of you can spare it
      • Here in SoCal, mom & pop bookstores are scarce as hen's teeth. I'm told Dangerous Visions just shut down, and if they couldn't make it here, who can??

  • Problems with WoH (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ed (79221) on Friday November 22, 2002 @11:22AM (#4732007) Homepage
    Unfortunately the characters suffer in WoH. The bad guy Manties (and peep) are just too easy to hate. It's almost as it they wore big black moustaches, black cloaks,top hats and were tying young heiresses onto railway tracks.

    Not one of the better ones.
    • Re:Problems with WoH (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sql*kitten (1359)
      Unfortunately the characters suffer in WoH. The bad guy Manties (and peep) are just too easy to hate. It's almost as it they wore big black moustaches, black cloaks,top hats and were tying young heiresses onto railway tracks.

      The thing I most liked about the Honor Harrington series is that altho' it is "space opera", Weber takes the time to do the orbital mechanics involved. Fighting a battle in space is a lot like playing chess: everyone involved has a perfect view of the board, and decisions often have to be made well in advance of their implications actually playing a part in the battle. You have to think, I'll accelerate now, because in 6 hrs, I might have to do something else. In the Honor Harrington books, no-one ever pulls a Star Trek-style technobabble solution out of their asses and no-one ever ignores an inconvenient law of physics. These things are merely crutches for weak writers, so respect to Weber for creating as much realism as possible within the genre.
      • It mostly reminds me of Horation Hornblower in space. Certainly in the earlier books the battles were from the age of sail. Long waits while moving into position, gun decks on the side etc. It emerges "naturally" from the propulsion systems Webber sets up but it's basically the Hornblower story arc.
        • Or, the propulsion system emmerged naturally from Weber's desire to make space battles seem like old wet-navy battles (1600-1800s) and from the desire to seperate characters from central command long enough to allow real field commanders who didn't have to phone home for permission to do every little thing, as you'd end up with in a world that had instantaneous communication over interstellar distances. A good design choice, imho.
      • Quite right. One of the characters says "there's no such thing as suprise, Under those circumstances, 'surprise' usually means not that one opponent truly failed to see what was coming, but rather that she simply misinterpreted what she saw."

        I like how Weber can describe a battle in tiny detail, yet doesn't every time, unlike some authors of military fiction. He always describes the new aspects, how Honor yet again "surprises" her opponent, but doesn't discuss each individual hit, except in the first book where it's new.

        And you're right, there's no technobabble. If something new is invented (and the books are over twenty years, technology does change) it's discussed and you get to see the navy play with it in simulators and such, where its capabilities are firmly nailed down, so that it can't be a magic widget when needed.
    • by Tiger (9272)
      Well, it's not as if David Weber's books are marvels for their subtle and complex characters.

      In fact, if WoH is the first HH book you've noticed that the good guys are all really good and honourable and loyal and - occasionally - rapscallions, but nice fuzzy heart-of-gold rapscallions.. and the bad guys are power-hungry, greedy sons-o-thingames willing to climb a mountain of dead bodies to get to the top, or just plain namby-pamby liberal military-hating scumbags who are too stupid to understand political realities... (deep breath, deep breath).. where was I?

      I'm a HH fan because the universe has a nice feel to it, Weber is a gifted author when it comes to describing space war, and of course big things happen on a grand scale. It's space opera.

      His characters and dialogue really detract from it though. I've noticed between his HH series, and the Starfire books he co-authored with Steve White, a lot of the same characters appear - with different names.
      • Then you'd get the same story 4-5 times with all the names changed. At least Eddings is shrinking his story into a smaller number of books.
      • Tiger, I gotta wonder which book you're reading.

        First off, prior to the last book, Robert Stanton Pierre was an amply adequate example of a bad guy you hated to like. You want a war-hating liberal? Try out Cathy Mogntaine, late Countess of the Tor.

        Anyone who thinks David stereotypes his characters, or lines them all up as black or white/good or bad needs to reread the series. Even Janacek at least thought he was doing the right things...
    • Unfortunately the characters suffer in WoH.
      That's bad, because the characters were the only thing keeping the series from sinking under the weight of the Tom-Clancy-in-the-2300s technobabble. Which is saying something considering Weber's strength with characterization (hint: sarcasm involved in that last sentence).

      The first few Honors were pretty good - even my anti-tech spouse liked them. Then the Clancy-babble got louder and louder. Even I couldn't finish the last one, and I used to like technothrillers.

      sPh

      • You're more tolerant than I am (tho I also write and edit, which I've found decreases my tolerance for any sort of poor writing). I made it to about the middle of the 2nd book before I'd had enough, mainly because of the cardboard characters. Skims thru later books did nothing to improve my opinion.

        That said, I'm still tempted to buy the new book just because of the CD. Even if there's nothing on it I care to read, it's still a damned wonderful concept.

        (And when does the Bujold CD come out??!!!)

        • (And when does the Bujold CD come out??!!!)

          I've heard that her agent talked her out of electronic publishing, Baen-style, which is too bad.

          • You can download most of the Vorkosigan series (I'm not sure how many, or which ones) from www.fictionwise.com. She also puts sample chapters on the Baen site, and in one of those places is the first 11 chapters of The Curse of Chalion (if you haven't read it yet, you really need to!).

            Dan Aris
          • That's a shame. If there's any author who can sell multiple formats of her work (various hardcopy, ebook, CD) just because her fans are all hopelessly addicted, it's Bujold.

            Bit ironic considering Baen is her publisher!!

        • You're more tolerant than I am (tho I also write and edit, which I've found decreases my tolerance for any sort of poor writing). I made it to about the middle of the 2nd book before I'd had enough, mainly because of the cardboard characters. Skims thru later books did nothing to improve my opinion.

          Who are you, Forrest J Ackerman? "Tho" and "thru" are still wrong, and yes, they may be shorter, but they still look stupid.

    • Keep reading. The "bad guys" go from a class-ist "communism in name only" with "evil" motives to an "egalitarian" society run by madmen who'll vanish people for not cheering loudy enough, to a society that in many ways seems to be the better of the two. Through all these phases you follow people on the "evil" side who dislike the totalitarian regime they live in and yet their personal honor doesn't let them abandon their people despite their leaders. And we even see how good intentions aren't enough as a well-meaning rebel ends up being worse than the government he overthrew. But the individual people always have real motives and are always striving to do what they see as right.

      In fact, Honor (the character, not the concept) deeply respects many of the enemy commanders and were circumstances different, she'd be good friends with them.

      I think partly that the view of the enemies as evil changes as Honor ages and gets a broader view of her own society.
  • Given the popularity of the Honor Harrington series over all, ...

    Who the hell is Honor Harrington ? No don't, I'm googling for it myself, it's just that I have never heard of him/her.
    • Re:What what ? (Score:5, Informative)

      by NecroPuppy (222648) on Friday November 22, 2002 @11:31AM (#4732071) Homepage
      It's a decent Sci-Fi series, with a such a good
      following that other authors have done anthology
      pieces.

      What I find most interesting is that the main
      character is the one who gets hurt most often.
      Every other main character has gotten through the
      series without permanent injury, whereas Honor is
      currently down one eye and one arm.

      The rest of the characters, even the minor ones,
      are generally well developed, with distinct
      personalities. Tho, I may be biased there, as I
      am one of the minor characters. (The look on
      Mom's face when she read my name was priceless.)

      All in all, a decent series, well worth the read.
      • Tho, I may be biased there, as I am one of the minor characters. (The look on Mom's face when she read my name was priceless.)

        I don't remember reading about Necro Puppy, the evil hexapuma. :-) So, I'm curious... which character? Are you friends with David Weber or is it just a cool coincidence?
  • by Jerrith (6472)
    **Spoiler**

    Basically, the main idea in this book is that the government is in the hands of inept politicians who go too far to try and take advantage of their recently won peace.

    The two main manticore fleets survive because Honor was in charge of one, and had extra ships from Grayson (sent as a training exercise), and the other was reinforced by the Grayson home fleet right as the attack begins.

    With that said, there's so much going on in the book, I've hardly spoiled anything. :) I highly recommend going to read it. :)

    • What?

      Thanks for the summary, but I still haven't a clue what its about.

      It it a Civil war thingy? Space epic? A Harry Potter ripoff?
      • It's Military Sci-Fi, wouldn't call it a space epic really...
      • by ornil (33732)
        It's a space opera of sorts. With military action (strategy) and political manipulation. It's a lot like some of the Nelson-era naval fiction. Anyway, if you don't know what it's likely to be about you should not read it, go read the first book - "On Basilisk Station" (available for free in the Baen free library) and see if you like it. Then read the rest of the series in order.
      • It it a Civil war thingy? Space epic? A Harry Potter ripoff?

        Imagine if the British and Spanish empires had endured 'til the 23rd century and were fighting in starships instead of sailing ships, and you're close. Except the Spanish are a lot like the Soviet Empire, and no-one really has control of the Americas. Earth itself doesn't really feature. Honor herself starts out like Hornblower, then becomes like Nelson. In every book it's touch-and-go for a while, but eventually the Spanish get their asses handed to them on a plate, just like that time they sent an Armada over. Rule Britannia!
        • by tassii (615268)
          Imagine if the British and Spanish empires had endured 'til the 23rd century and were fighting in starships instead of sailing ships, and you're close. Except the Spanish are a lot like the Soviet Empire, and no-one really has control of the Americas.

          Actually, there was an interview with David Weber in the latest Sci-Fi book club [sfbc.com] newsletter and he says that this is a common misconception. The Peeps aren't the soviets.. they are actually based on the United States after centuries of deficit spending and welfare.

          Who knew?
          • They seem Soviet after book 4(?) when the government changes and people start vanishing for all sorts of reasons.

            Of course, that's not a Soviet exclusive, and their financial system isn't (even in name) a socialism, but the USSR is the most recent, obivous, example of this kind of totalitarianism. I think it's actually supposed to be revolutionary France.
  • Agh! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Drakin (415182) on Friday November 22, 2002 @11:44AM (#4732157)
    I was trying so hard not to buy that book... Not that I don't like Weber's work... I like it a lot... but hard cover books here in canada cost an arm and a leg... /me goes looking for the saw, and someone willing to "donate" an arm and leg
    • Well if your willing to give up the CD-ROM, then just purchase the book from baen in electronic format. Webscription [webscription.net] is where you can do it. I was able to buy about 2 days before it hit the newsstands. Price is about $6 or $7.

      They also have other, new releases on sale too...

      BWP
  • Our company provides science-fiction books in our employee library which we all can check out and read. Many of us, in fact, donate any sci fi we get at Goodwill or other cheap sources to this library. Anyway, we just got this book and one of the guys took it home without knowing about the CDROM and was just blown away by the amount of material!!! If Baen hadn't already made us rabid fans, this would have done it!!! Well done and thanks. :)
  • Out of the entire series this book is the worst! Come on you have to read 3/4 of the book just to get
    to the first space battle and it is tiny. The last
    1/4 of the book is good, but I hate all the
    politics. I read Weber for the space battles not
    the politics!

  • by greechneb (574646) on Friday November 22, 2002 @11:45AM (#4732165) Journal
    I can't really picture reading a book off of a laptop or desktop and being comfortable. This is one case where a tablet pc might be nice to have. Although I see reading as a form of entertainment, and after I get home from staring at computers all day, I don't really want to look at any computer screens at unfortunately. I guess since I don't have the money (or the desire) to waste on a tablet, I'll just buy good old books for now
    • You don't read it on a monitor, you read it on a PDA or similar. A monochrome, backlit Palm (Visor etc.) screen is surprisingly comfortable to read from, even for a whole novel. Try it.
    • I've been using an ipaq to read ebooks lately. As the review said, the books are available in MS Reader, HTML and Palm formats. A backlit PDA is almost the perfect device to read ebooks. I've gotten so used to reading them on my ipaq that I prefer them to dead tree books.
      • And I use a Handspring Visor Prism [handspring.com] to read them. I got it used a few months ago, and started hitting Baen's free library [baen.com] pretty hard.

        What I've found is that the white background of the color PDA makes for very nice reading. And the Mobipocket reader even does a touch of smoothing. In all, it's pretty much like reading a story in a magazine, with text running about the width of a standard magazine column

        Another thing is that I've found it comes in quite handy of late when the kids wanted me to stay in their rooms a bit as they go to sleep. Just bring it on in and read while their lights are off and the drop into slumberland.

        Oh, and since buying the hardcover book, I'm now up to the 5th Harrington book on it.

    • notebooks and subnotes are very nice to read from,
      i find. palmtops are too crippled by their miniscule
      storage. i love the toshiba portege 3980ct with its
      11" XGA screen, weighing about what an average
      harcover book weighs, but being readable in the dark.
      The old porteges fold flat and feel like they are
      carved from a single block of solid magnesium, they're
      so tight.

      now reading from a creaky 5 pound dell plastic
      monstrosity so big that it bangs into things when
      you walk with it in one hand, that won't fold out
      flat would suck, i admit. but i won't pay for
      a cf format 802.11b card that goes into a pda that won't
      hold more than one book at a time and won't connect
      to a cd-rom.

      if you like tiny, you should check out some of the new sony's. personally, i want >=XGA in an 11 or
      12" factor, and the discontinuted toshibas are
      the only game in town, to my knowledge.

      • You say palmtops are crippled by their miniscule storage? I have a Sony Clie with a 64 meg memory stick, and I could put every single one of the ebooks from the HH CD-ROM on board and still have room to spare (if I didn't have so many other ebooks on there already, that is). And it's got a nice high-res screen with adjustible fonts for easy reading, too.
      • I find my Sharp Zaurus to be great for reading e-books. Nice screen, and plenty of storage thanks to inexpensive Compact Flash cards. (I keep a swap file and frequently-used data on a SD card, and frequently-changed data such as MP3s and e-books on CF cards.
    • I have half the series in paper, 1, 3-4 and 8-10. I bought the hardcover of 10, with the CD, just after finishing book 4 and by the time I got to 8 (a week later) I didn't switch to the paper book except to take with me to the doctor's office.

      I didn't think I'd really like reading on the screen, but it grows on you. It's faster, there's less page flipping (just tap space) and nothing to wear out or hold awkwardly to avoid bending the spine.

      I'm going to read this way from now on, when I can. (I should borrow a palm pilot and try the reader on there...)
    • Got the CD right here. In addition to HTML and RTF, the CD includes Microsoft Reader, Mobipocket (Palm/WinCE), and Rocket RCA REB1100 formats. At least one of those seems to be designed for use with handhelds. Anyone who'd care to fill me in on what the other two are, feel free. (I'm curious, but not curious enough to spend time googling)

  • Why wait? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bleckywelcky (518520) on Friday November 22, 2002 @11:59AM (#4732208)

    Personally, I'm baffled as to why anyone waits for a book they may want to come out in paperback. For something along the lines of a $25 hard cover book, the paperback version may be, at best, $15. You save a couple bucks but have to wait a long time until the initial hype and/or sales are done with before they start getting paperback versions out. I actually just go straight for the hard cover whenever I buy any book that is more than a hundred or so pages because it feels better when I'm reading it. There is some structure to the book, the pages don't get all messed up as easily, a good hard cover feels great to read by a fire or on some cold rainy day.
    • Re:Why wait? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Reziac (43301)
      I don't know where you're shopping, but in the SF/F market, the differential right now is typically $24.95/hardback, $6.95/paperback, and the wait period for ppbk is down to a few months. And maybe *you* can toss down $25 on a book, but some of us can't justify that much for entertainment.

      Hardbacks have more durable bindings, yes, but as a rule they're not printed on as good a quality paper as the better paperbacks (excepting Del Rey paperbacks, who use ink that smears if you look at it crosseyed). I know I have to be more careful to avoid tearing pages when I read a hardback.

      As to other reasons to prefer paperbacks -- they're more portable; they're a better size for curling around; you don't need to use both hands, or a hand and your lap, to hang onto 'em.

      YMMV, of course.

    • Econ 101 (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Price discrimination. Lets say you have 10,000 people who are hardcore fans of the series or author, or just prefer hardcover books, and are willing to pay $25 for a copy. You also have 90,000 casual readers who don't think that the book would be worth $25, but would pay $15 for a hardcover book. So what do you do?

      1. Print the book in hardcover only. You will have 10,000 readers * $25/book = $250,000.

      2. Print the book as a paperback. You will have 100,000 readers * $15/book = $1,500,000.

      3. Print the book in both hardcover and paperback. You will have $250,000 from the hardcover sales, and 90,000 readers * 15/book = $1,350,000. Your total revenue is $1,600,000. You just made an extra hundred grand.

      With price discrimination, each group of consumers is able to pay what they want, so the publisher can earn extra revenue by allowing consumers that are willing to pay a higher price to do so. Similar principles are at work in airfare pricing (first class and coach), coupon clipping, and discount cinemas/matinees.
    • I find paperbacks to be much more convenient. I've got so many paperbacks that even with shelves on every clear wall I'm running out of space. Hardcovers take up much more room and are more awkward to carry and read away from home.

      I also resent paying more for something I don't want. I'd actually prefer to buy the paperback for the same price as the hardcover and if they brought it out at a premium for the first year, I'd pay it instead of waiting, but not for an awkward version.

      What I really want is paperback (pocketbook) sized hardcovers. Something sturdy enough to carry around and spread wide open without losing pages, yet small and light enough to carry and store easily. And without these lame dust-jackets...
    • Personally, I'm baffled as to why anyone waits for a book they may want to come out in paperback.

      Then you're either wealthy enough that you don't mind dropping $50-$100 per week on reading material, or you don't read very much. People who read hundreds of books every year tend to borrow lots of them from friends and libraries, buy paperbacks whenever possible and avoid hardcover titles unless the absolutely positively cannot wait -- because doing otherwise cuts too deeply into their book budget.

      For something along the lines of a $25 hard cover book, the paperback version may be, at best, $15.

      Huh? Try $7 or $8.

    • For reading by the fire on a rainy day, yes, a hardback book and some Scotch is really nice. But for reading escape fiction in the bathtub, paperback is really a much better choice. (For you non-lazy people, for reading while you're on the exercise bike, hardback is too heavy, though sometimes trade paperbacks have bigger print, which also helps.) The more interesting tradeoff is the higher-quality-printing trade paperbacks.

      Shelf space is another real advantage of paperback books for fiction - they take about half as much space as hardbacks or big paperback computer books. If you read a lot, this can be an important constraint, unless you also dispose of books after reading them.

      Besides, how much of a hurry are you in? There are *lots* of books out there to read. For most science fiction, my usual tradeoff is used vs. new, though I have the advantage of living near bookstores with large collections of used science fiction. There are a few authors I'll buy new the minute they hit the store (Steven Brust, Neil Stephenson, and this gradually became the case for the Honor Harrington series, though not for Weber's other books), but I'm very seldom in enough of a hurry to read a specific book that I'll buy non-remaindered hardbacks - the three I see on my shelves are Steven Brust's "Dragon", Vinge's "A Deepness in the Sky", and of course Cryptonomicon (but as a Cypherpunk, that was an obvious must-buy.) The 25th century and the quasi-Middle-Ages can wait an extra six months.

    • Personally, I'm baffled as to why anyone waits for a book they may want to come out in paperback. For something along the lines of a $25 hard cover book, the paperback version may be, at best, $15.

      Actually, more like $6-$7.

      For me, though, it's a simple question of economics. I buy a 300-page novel, I'll have it finished in two hours, maybe three hours with distractions (yes, my reading speed is that high). After that, unless the author is very good, it's several months before I can reread it and get the same enjoyment from it -- and I do read books over and over again, simply because if I bought enough books to keep me in new reading material, I'd go broke. If I have $30 to spend, I can spend it on one hardback and have two hours of entertainment, or spend it on four paperbacks and have eight hours of entertainment. And hardbacks take up more shelf space than paperback.

      Right now, I have shelving in my living room that is six shelves high and 12' long filled with paperbacks two books deep -- with more in shelves downstairs and still more in boxes in the garage because I have no shelf space for them. Hardbacks would triple my shelving requirements. For books that I really enjoy, I will often pick up a hardback copy, because of the increased durability of a hardback, but for most fiction I buy, paperbacks are a much better value to me.
      • For me, though, it's a simple question of economics. I buy a 300-page novel, I'll have it finished in two hours, maybe three hours with distractions (yes, my reading speed is that high). After that, unless the author is very good, it's several months before I can reread it and get the same enjoyment from it -- and I do read books over and over again, simply because if I bought enough books to keep me in new reading material, I'd go broke.


        Out of curiousity, how old are you? I'm asking because...

        When I was ten or eleven, I hit a reading rate of one 300-400 page midweight (e.g. later Heinlein, Tolkien) book every 40 minutes, approximately. My reading rate increased slightly over the next few years, but when I was a freshman in high school, it began to decline slightly. I thought it might be simply that I spent more time chewing on the thoughts spawned by the words, but...

        At some point after my 21st birthday, it dawned on me that I was taking a good one to two hours to read a 500 page book of moderate literary complexity. Somewhere around my 25th birthday, I noticed that it had become three to four hours for a similar book.

        I read War of Honor a week ago. It's no 300 page book, but the truth is, Weber's a relatively lightweight writer. So when I realized that I'd been reading it for seven hours straight...

        And Pratchett's "Night Watch" took me nearly five.

        I'm not yet thirty. I refuse to believe my brain's degenerating that much, already...

        On the flip side, I could afford my reading habits now, if I still read that much, even without the libraries that kept me afloat through college.
        • Out of curiousity, how old are you? I'm asking because...

          When I was ten or eleven, I hit a reading rate of one 300-400 page midweight (e.g. later Heinlein, Tolkien) book every 40 minutes, approximately. My reading rate increased slightly over the next few years, but when I was a freshman in high school, it began to decline slightly. I thought it might be simply that I spent more time chewing on the thoughts spawned by the words, but...


          I'm 43. My absolute reading volume has diminished due to the other things that take up my time -- work, netnews, computer games, etc. -- but my reading speed is still about the same. For fiction, it varies depending on how good the writing is -- if the writing sucks me into the book, the time to finish can be cut almost in half unless I make a deliberate effort to break out of it by stopping to get a glass of water or something every now and then, but I normally don't try to push my reading speed. As an experiment back in high school, I checked out a dozen SF novels from the public library, and was able to return them all read the next day -- which came in useful during college for pre-midterm reviews -- but fine plot details don't stay with me when I push my reading speed up past three or four thousand words per minute, so I don't do it much any more.
  • Wow, I read the whole review and still don't have a clue what the book is about :)

    [quote]Discussion of the plot, even aside from spoiler concerns, is well-nigh impossible. There's simply too much that happens.[/quote]

    While I'm all against spoilers, you got to tell something. Anything!
    • Re:Nice (Score:2, Informative)

      by salemnic (244944)
      While I can't give you a good review of the plot (even though I have read it) you can check out the first part of the book (14 chapters or so) at Baen [baen.com]

      Cheers

      -s
    • Re:Nice (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Photon Ghoul (14932)
      Agreed, I came away from the review not knowing what the book or series was actually about. As a potential new reader, it didn't sound interesting to me at all.

      What was it? What genre, if any? Is Honor male or female? Is the writing/plot/characterization good?

      Of course, I've garnered some of this from the posts following the review (and I might just check out this series). The review by itself, however, doesn't stand on it's own.
    • by WNight (23683)
      Honor, a young female (40ish - in a society with "prolong") naval officer with a strong sense of personal duty and a near-catholic sense of guilt over her failings commands a starship (starting quite small) and fights the enemy, often despite obstructionist politically motived people.

      She forms strong friendships, leads people to do great things, and displays great tactical skill (and develops strategic skill) which, when coupled with her drive to serve, make her rise fairly rapidly though the ranks.

      Her honesty and sense of duty often gets her into trouble, yet her personal integrity in the end makes people trust her more.

      The series rarely (never?) hangs on technobabble or other deus-ex-machina advantage. In fact, she almost always has to do something clever (and it's interesting seeing what Weber will come up with) because she's got fewer forces, or has to defend a planet where the enemy has freedom of movement, etc...

      But above that, it reads very well and the characters are deep enough to get into.
  • I have not read any of the Honor Harrington books. I have read and enjoyed the Miles Vorkossigan [amazon.com] books (See the Great Buys pair in there? Its paired with War of Honor). Can someone compare these for style and such to give an idea how the series is?
    • Re:Compared to... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Mangelwulf (628489)
      Ok, most people who enjoy Miles enjoy Honor. You see a lot of cross posting in the two forums on the Baen site. The plots of the Honor series are more focused on space battles, versus Miles's "Save the Damsel" idiom. I'll agree with most of the people here that the "batter is getting a bit thin" in this most recent book. But for $25 you get the entire series, plus books from other people, all on a CD - Rom. I'm taking a trip to England this year and am planning on putting the books into my Palm for the flight.

      Honor Harrington is the hero of the series. The books revolve around her. She always wins over incredible odds. The series started as a Horitio Hornblower in space. The way the ships work was designed to create the same feel as tall ships and iron men. The space ships fight in giant broadside battles.

      The series is fun, but as we move into the later stages of her career we are dealing more with the politics of the world and larger forces are coming into play. This means that the books are moving away from the space battles and into the political battles, much as Miles moved from being an Admrial into being a Auditor. The Miles stories are all at a very personal level. We are very into his point of view and the problems he confronts are all his issues to solve. The later books of the Honor series bounce from view point to view point and the problems she faces are all larger than the battle in front of her. I like Lois MacMaster Bujold's approach to the characters better. I have more fun with it. David Weber's characters are more "stock" in this series and the action is more the point of the story. Both are action packed, but in different ways. It would be fun to see a Lois short story in the Honorverse, and vice versa.
      • You said Ok, most people who enjoy Miles enjoy Honor.

        Funny, I like both -- a lot, but I'd have never guessed there were a lot more like me. Go figure.

        Other than they're both science fiction with military/political themes, I don't see them as being similar at all.

        Weber is a *very very good* genre writer, something that our culture seems to underrate. For me, he's an automatic buy (and I plunked down $25+ for War of Honor even being unemployed). I've bought about 15 books written or co-written by Weber and have never been disappointed. If you like the genre, buy his books; you will afford yourself many hours of reading pleasure -- a master of the formula.

        Bujold is something else. While she understands the demands of the genre and delivers, there's a lot more there. In just about every one of her books, she has done something that made me say "Oh no! She's changing stuff completely and it's all going to turn to crap", except it never does -- she takes the characters in entirely new directions and carries you along with her; it astounds me that I've had this reaction about 5 times already, and that it took me that many times to figure out that, while she writes in the traditions of a genre, she is not a "genre writer".

        I once was trying to explain why I like Lois McMasters Bujold to someone who is not a fan of science fiction, and the best I could come up with was "Imagine if Jane Austin wrote space opera".

        • You said Ok, most people who enjoy Miles enjoy Honor.

          Funny, I like both -- a lot, but I'd have never guessed there were a lot more like me. Go figure.


          You obviously don't read rec.arts.sf.written [arts.sf.written]. It seems that Bujold and Weber are all that people talk about sometimes.

          Personally I dislike military sf, so it's all noise to me, but I'm definitely in a minority there...
    • They both have a character overcome tremendous odds to triumph both militarily first, then politicially. Both characters are very likable and are very "good people" with a strong sense of integrity.

      But both authors have a different writing style. Weber is a little more clancy-ish in battles, Bujold's characters tend not to get into fleet-level engagements quite as much.

      Both very good, and I'll recommend Elizabeth Moon (writing alone) as well if you like either of them.
    • Honor Harrington is to a great extent based on C.S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower with much more of the life of Admiral Lord Nelson thrown in.

      For writing, I still prefer Bujold. She carefully crafts each sentence, and it shows. For sweeping space opera with a cast of trillions, Honor Harrington is the series to bet on.

      Don't start with War of Honor, however. Either buy War of Honor and read the CD, in order, or download On Basilisk Station and Honor of the Queen from David Weber's [baen.com] page at the Baen Free Library.

      I ordered two copies from my local independent bookseller, and donated one to be sold at a charity auction. Once people found out about the CD, they paid $60 at the auction...

      • Some more good stuff that is included on the CD (at least, on the CD I got...):

        John Ringo's Posleen series (Hymn before Battle, Gust Front, When the Devil Dances). The bad thing about the CD was I couldn't stop reading - I went through two books a day until I polished off the Honor Harrington books - and that's a lot of books (about 350-500k per, compressed!) The other bad thing is once you've finished them off, you're left waiting until John Ringo and David Weber put out the next installments in their respective series. In the case of When the Devil Dances, that's one hell of a cliff-hanger he's got...

        It's an interesting experiment. If the goal was to introduce new readers to stable authors, and to get them used to reading webscription type books, then I think they've succeeded. Those are two series I wouldn't mind adding as hardcovers to my library, and I am much more receptive to getting them as webscription editions for my laptop or for my palmpilot.
  • by Kgreene (606578)
    I purchased the hard back as soon as it came out. Not for the CD though which I didn't even know was included. When I saw the reference to the CD however I found that in my copy the CD, attached to the last page of the book, had been removed in the store... and not by the store clerks but rather stolen. Does the content justify buying the book twice (which was one of the weaker in the series) or can the CD be purchased seperately if I contact the publisher?
  • Finally a publisher who gets that electronic content doesn't need to be locked up in some godawful "security" scheme! I didn't like the first book in this series. It's a very forced attempt to do a Hornblower-type naval tale in space. The space technology comes across as carefully tailored to provide similar tactics to the age of sail. The impact of many technological changes (e.g. improved computers) isn't really explored. The main character is unconvincingly good, noble and chaste. Still, it's a popular series. I hope the book is successful and inspires similar initiatives by other companies.
  • by cirby (2599) on Friday November 22, 2002 @12:35PM (#4732446)
    Some of the material on the CD-ROM is available online at the Baen Free Library [baen.com].
  • Hi,

    i can only recommend to read the introduction to the Baen Free Library [baen.com]. It's good to see, that not every one who depends on selling content wants to fleece the customers like sheep.

    Living from content and a fair use policy are no contradictions. They explain why and how. And it works. I keep buying WebScriptions [webscription.net] and the books ;-). That I love to read John Ringo (Gust Front), David Weber (Honor series) and Lois McMaster Bujold (The Vor game) may explain it.

    Yours, Martin

    P.S. Has anyone already written a simulator (Perl prefered) for the starships in the Honor-Universe? I would like to check some battles :-).

  • by pythorlh (236755) <pythor@noSpAM.gmail.com> on Friday November 22, 2002 @12:52PM (#4732574) Journal
    For those so inclined, here's a general synopsis of the plot (the series not just this book, but the CD includes the whole series, anyway).
    Honor Harrington is a (space) naval officer in the Royal Manticoran Navy. She starts as a captain, later she's an admiral. The situation is a space-age re-writing of European history during the age of classic (water) naval battles. For the guy who mentioned Horatio Hornblower, you hit the nail on the head. Honor proves her own strategic brilliance, courage, honor(pun definitely intended by the original author), loyalty and sense of duty, mostly against overwhleming odds and underskilled opponents. A few skillful opponents are thrown in for proof that she's not just lucky.
    Mixed into this action premise is a truly glorious back story of political intrigue and class conflict. The entire series can be taken as a diatribe against the policies of a welfare state if you want, but it's well concealed, and, in general, well thought out. Throw in a healthy spatter of the harsh realities of war and treachery, and mix well.
    I had actually thought of doing a review of this novel myself, but I'm glad I was beaten to it. As the author says, the book is worth it, even if only for the CD. I'll add that as a political statement, buying this book/CD combination to try to encourage it in future publications is also worht it, even if you never read a word. But you'll be missing out if you don't.
    • Am I the only who thinks that the Honor on the cover art looks like Susan Ivanova wearing the pre-rebellion uniform?
      • Nope. She reminds me of her too. In fact, Weber mentioned a possible mini-series and even though the actress who plays Ivanova isn't 6'2" and half asian, I still think she'd handle it well. She's fairly tall, and has the right, thin yet strong look. And her complexion is mostly right...
        • Nope. She reminds me of her too. In fact, Weber mentioned a possible mini-series and even though the actress who plays Ivanova isn't 6'2" and half asian, I still think she'd handle it well. She's fairly tall, and has the right, thin yet strong look. And her complexion is mostly right...

          They should get the actress who played Dr Aki Ross in Final Fantasy, she's a babe.

          Only kidding. But Michelle Yeoh [imdb.com] would be a natural for this role.
  • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Friday November 22, 2002 @12:52PM (#4732576)
    Because I am a fan of the series, and because I think what author Weber and publisher Baen have done with the CD-ROM thingie is both courageous and spiffy, lemme try and save y'all some Googlin'...

    As has been noted, The Honor Harrington Series is Space Opera, Military Science Fiction. What David Drake did for future tank crewman with his Hammer's Slammers books, Weber does for their space-navy counterparts. There is no "Earth" and no "Aliens," just some far-flung planetary empires, each with different politics (monarchy, socialism, feudalism, whatever) all on planetary scales.

    Honor Harrington is an Ayn Rand Romantic Heroine from the Old School. She fights classism, fleet politics, bigotry, duels, and Big Honkin' Enemy Fleets with equal tirelessness and aplomb. She loses friends, limbs, eyes, commands, and keeps coming back for more, plasma cannons a-blazing.

    The series has traced her career, from just-out-of-academy first command to whatever she is now, Lord Admiral of the Friggin' Universal Royal Fleet, or somesuch. (Personally, I liked her better when she was "coming up through the ranks," but hey...)

    From a geek perspective, the series is notable for its rather detailed thinking-out of space navy mechanics. As someone here has said, Weber is Master of the Space Battle, not necessarily because they are any more exciting than your average Tie-fighter sequence, but because the detail in the physics and the navy crewmen operations seem exceptionally plausible.

    If your idea of a good read is the latest Chicano-Lesbian-Prison-Drama from some Lower East Side playwright, move along, there's nothing to see here. If your idea of SF is a barrier-breaking, genre-bending, quantum-cyber-dystopic Enduring-Parable-For-Our-Time, ditto.

    If, on the other hand, you enjoy a good read, with interesting, likable characters for whom you can really cheer, and an approach to space-battles that will have you running for your calculator and some graph paper, the Honor Harrington books are da bomb.

    • If I'd read your review first I'd have been turned off. I don't see Honor Harrington as being Randian in any way except that she's very talented. She isn't one of the socialists in the series, but neither does she come across as a libertarian (the professional tax-dodging whiners, as Berke Breathed called them.)

      While the enemy (in the early books) is a dolist state, where everyone is on welfare, it strikes me as a comment about people who sell out for temporary gain more than people who take government handouts. It does bite them, this large burden they have to carry, but then all the political and social systems in the book get examined and we see the flaws in all of them.

      Weber makes a few comments that indicate he's on the libertarian side of politics, but mainly in that some characters (not Honor) complain about a progressive tax, and that the "better" societies (that people enjoy living in) have less government control of sexuality and such, but that just seems to make sense.

      It's also interesting in that Honor isn't religious, in fact she's an athiest though she rarely says anything that would indicate it, yet the book has what I (an athiest) feel is a fair and positive view of religion.

      In fact, I feel less political and social commentary in these books than in most others.
    • Disclaimer: I've read all Harrington books and liked them very much. But bear with me for a moment while I try to illustrate why Weber falls short of Forrester on hero characterization. (However, Forrester's secondary characters often exhibit the exciting personality of a belaying pin. Let's hear it for Bush, Brown...)


      Horatio Hornblower, even as an Admiral, is constantly faced with his deficiencies (he has little physical courage, he is unsociable and he can't hear music). Consider this excerpt from "Lord Hornblower", where he has to kill or capture a brig's crew, who have mutinied because their (literally) sadistic captain had them whipped daily:

      Faced with the certainty of a flogging in the immediate future, they had risen in mutiny, and he [H.H.] could not blame them. He had seen enough backs cut to ribbons; he knew that he himself would do anything, literally anything, to avoid such torture for himself if he were faced with the prospect of it. His flesh crept as he made himself seriously consider how he would feel if he knew he were to be flogged next week.


      Our other H. H., in contrast, is a likeable enough character. But she is perfect, she's a mix of Joan of Arc, Queen Elizabeth (of Armada fame) and the girl that the guy who did the Nike of Samothrake probably had wet dreams about. Let's see her in action:

      Something happened inside Honor Harrington in the moment that her ship rolled. The panic vanished. The fear remained, but it was suddenly a distant, unimportant thing--something which could no longer touch her, would no longer be permitted to affect her. She looked full into the face of Death, not just for her but for her entire ship and everyone aboard it, and there was no doubt in her mind that he had come for them all. Yet her fear had transmuted into something else entirely. A cold, focused purpose that sang in her blood and bone. Her almond eyes stared into Death's empty sockets, and her soul bared its teeth and snarled defiance.


      "Port broadside stand by for Fire Plan Delta Seven," that soprano rapier commanded, and confirmations raced back from War Maiden's undamaged broadside even as Annika's fire continued to hammer harmlessly at the impenetrable belly of her wedge.

      And that's her as a midshipwoman, age 18. But hey, buy the books anyway, they're damn good military SF, and I really, really apreciate the good physics.
  • I was in Wal-Mart the other day (no jokes, please) and I spotted a CD-ROM called Left Behind: iLumina Edition. It was basically a CD guide to the world in the Left Behind novels. My best guess would be it was the equivalent of the Star Trek Encyclopedia.

    I don't read the Left Behind novels but what caught my attention was the fact that there was a sticker advertising that all 11 Left Behind novels were on the CD in Palm and Microsoft Reader formats.

    I know this is vastly different from what the person in this story is doing (since these are no doubt encrypted versions) but I find it interesting that the CD-ROM only retailed for $30 (and had even been marked down to $25). These books retail for $25 hardcover each and $15 on paperback (they do those "big" paperbacks, not trade paperbacks). To buy all 11 on paperback at a discount (let's say $10.49) would cost over $115 before tax, but they're giving them all away on this CD-ROM.

    Clearly they don't think that there's much of a market to the PDA book market.

    Anywho, I figured I'd point this out (since the Left Behind series is immensely more popular).

    Please do us all a favor though and if you respond to this thread, don't turn this into a religious flame war (since the Left Behind series is a speculative fiction series about the rapture).

  • Much as I liked the Honor Harrington novels, David Weber should have stopped with the one before this, at the end of the war. Or written a novel set earlier in Honor's life.

    Tom Clancy had the same problem. In each Jack Ryan novel, Ryan got promoted. Once Ryan had been re-elected President, there was nowhere to go. So he set Red Rabbit back in Ryan's early career. That helped; Clancy is good at action, but mediocre at political novels. Weber has the same problem.

  • I got the book the day it hit the shelves... then didn't start reading it because it was just too darned big & heavy to hold! (Arthritis is a bitch...)

    I've been reading my way through the enclosed CD, but it wasn't until reviewer pointed it out that I realized the book, itself, is also on the CD!

    Boy, is my face red!
  • .
    I bought "War of Honor" from Amazon pre-publication & read it in one sleepless overnight sitting. Yes, I am a fan...

    Honor Harrington appeals for several reasons. I like David Weber's plausible, well thought out, pleasantly unpredictable, carefully crafted plots & background. While it may seem he injects too much detail into the series, underneath it all is even more cultural history & a detailed scientific environment (available for those that want to read it) that is the basis for everything he writes.

    What's even better is that the important nuances of each character's actions & reactions, their motivations & personas, are laid out for the reader to follow (but not always predict).

    But the most important factor in the series is Honor Harrington's honor. Weber presents a future where a strong female lead strives to always do the right thing. If there is one theme throughout the series, it's that gentle pun of Honor doing the honorable thing.

    Baen Publishing has done some amazingly right things with publishing on the Internet -- read the details at Baen (http://www.baen.com/library/) -- but the most daring of all is including the complete Honor Harrington series on CD with the hardback.

    I give Honor 10 stars.
    .
    .
  • when will there be ISO's of the cd avalible, hehe. I would enjoy reading 20+ books for free, since I only read each book once every 2 or 3 years...
    • Technically, there could be. According to the CD, it's perfectly legit to copy and share it. I know that it's been posted to USENET, so it's definitely floating around out there somewhere. Maybe you can get someone to burn you a copy.
  • by tao4now (628532)
    Ugh, another Honor Harrington novel. I'll admit I've read them all up to this newest one. The wife adores them (and Bujold's Vor series) so I picked hers up one at a time when I was between more satisfying books (by Vinge, Baxter, Sheffield, Bear, etc.) and gave them a try.

    Unfortunately, they started off 'okay' with On Basilisk Station and got steadily worse. In contrast to some who have posted here, I found the characters wooden, the science iffy, the plots childish, and the premise (Hornblower in space) stretched beyond credibility.

    Weber's characterizations are quite shallow; HH herself is the only one with any depth to her at all and a walk through the ocean of her soul would scarcely get your feet wet. Aside from some adolescent angst wondering if she's doing the right thing by risking the lives of her crew (they did sign the waiver, didn't they?) in saving the galaxy, there's little here to suggest a real person instead of a plot automaton, bravely forging ahead because she's convinced she's doing the "right" thing. When the inevitable occurs and lives are lost in the cause, it's stiff upper lip and heroes all.

    The science in the story is pretty much cut to fit the framework of naval broadsides. The warship's drive field projects zones of near-invulnerability on the top and bottom aspects, with soft areas in the "wedge" on the port and starboard. It's a nice way to be able to ignore that pesky third dimension that infest space battles over surface naval ones. I have to wonder if Weber doesn't think his readers are able to grasp the extra dimension, since they don't figure in his pyrotechnics (or for that matter in his characters). Many of the battles are based on actual historical ones at sea, and some mild interest can be generated by puzzling out which ones are represented in the novels.

    Plot seems to come to most of these novels almost as a way to frame the space battles, and frankly, the battles are much better. As Weber moves further from the grisly fireworks and closer to political infighting, the series loses steam. Honor variously works her way through the naval ranks with her "brilliant" strategy and tactics, always seemingly in the right place at the right time, and ends up with an entire navy at her disposal before all is said and done. Even then, you can guess where she'll be found during any major hostilities: on the bridge of a warship, risking her supposedly-irreplaceable aft-quarters with the rest of the swabs. Fiesty, yes. Honorable, perhaps. Believable, no. In one novel, beset at all sides in a political ploy and outgunned and outmanouvered by her opponent, she settles his hash by challenging him to personal combat in a duel of swords! Riiiiight...

    Still, I suppose I'll read this latest installment, since I'll have to buy it for the wife anyway. It's remotely possible that Weber will begin to tinge HH with some degree of humanity. It'd be nice to see her -fail- once in a while, especially considering how much of war comes down to pure dumb luck.

    But then again, this isn't war. It's pulp fiction..

    • A few minor nits. The invulnerable top and bottom of the ships doesn't make everything 2D because ships roll onto their sides (relative to the enemy) to escape incoming fire and as such, having someone "above" them means they don't have this safety. Weber discusses 2d walls of battle instead of the lines of battle (and calls his capital ships "ships of the wall" instead of "ships of the line") because to prevent someone "crossing their T" they often form into a wall to trade fire.

      Granted, when there are only two ships (or small numbers on each side) they'll always rotate to face the majority of their weapons at the enemy (and at the distances between them, rotating is almost instant compared to wet-navy maneuvers) so everything would appear to be a 2D battle, though perhaps tipped weirdly to the POV of any spectator.

      It's not until the LACs (smaller units equivalent to fighters) come into the later books that battles get fought at close range with maneuverable ships that can move around/over the enemy fast enough to keep an enemy from rotating to face them as desired.

      I think this is actually fairly realistic, given the technology as written. In a babylon 5 world where weapons appear to be close-ranged only and they employ fighter-type units, this wouldn't be so realistic (the bab5 ships are lumbering compared to the 500+Gs of acceleration in the HH books.)

      Secondly, Honor didn't challenge the guy to a duel, she was essentially trapped by her honorary position as the "defender" of the monarch, which let a clause in the constitution allow her to be challenged and meant she (and the monarch) would face fairly severe penalties if they didn't go along with it.

      She won the fight with a "what's the real goal" kind of insight like Ender (Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card) where she fought an opponent who was more skilled, but in a stylized form of combat. She opened herself up to take a potentially crippling blow, but only because she didn't care about "touches" and was going for a quick kill. It was the kind of thing that only works once, but actually seems fairly reasonable in a society where duels aren't fought and people train in a stylized form of combat, for an outsider to see a weakness like this.

      You may be thinking of where she challenged the professional duelist to a duel (as revenge) and won. It wasn't so much skill, though she is portrayed as being competition level, but the fact that her bionic eye (and presumably fairly obvious targetting software) let her make shots that would have been impossible for a non-cyborg.

      As to luck, her main military defeat (only?) was a luck-based one, where she was on the lead ship that walked into an ambush and was unable to escape. This is partly explained as "she makes her own luck" in that she usually plays the role of a system defender and gets to plan an ambush, rather than moving into hostile systems and having to face an encamped enemy.

      It reminds me of Ender's Game where while she's very good at many things (Ender too was a martial artist) her success mainly comes down to not getting stuck in the same conceptual traps as her enemies. She always seems to get as good as she gives when it comes to actual back-and-forth missile tossing or the like.

      (If I remember a lot of nitpicky details it's because I just read the whole series after buying the CD-ROM, not because I've read them multiple times or anything.)
      • You may be thinking of where she challenged the professional duelist to a duel (as revenge) and won. It wasn't so much skill, though she is portrayed as being competition level, but the fact that her bionic eye (and presumably fairly obvious targetting software) let her make shots that would have been impossible for a non-cyborg.

        Both this duel and the second one (where she kills Pavel Young), happened way BEFORE she lost her arm and eye. Both of them were lost when she was on Hell, which was two books ago, the duels happened about the 4 book.

        That said, some of the reasons she won the duels was the fact that she was a genie (engineered DNA), she was a heavy worlder, and was competion level in both Coup de Vitasse and pistol.
        Not to mention the way she forged her fear and rage (love?) into a weapon.

        And BTW, just because some has been studying something longer, does NOT make them more skilled. It is obvious during the sword duel that Steadholder Burkett(sp) had been studying sword for awhile, but only saw it as a physical workout instead of a combined mental/physical discpline. That combined with the, at the time, Grayson male superiority, let him loose that one.

        BWP
        • Actually, Burdette was very highly ranked in competition. The issue was that he trained in a non-fighting style, where Honor was shown earlier losing points to her instructor because she fought in a style that went for killing shots instead of "touches".

          And as someone below this points out, she had a bionic eye in the third and fourth books that specifically gave her telescopic vision. She again lost this in later books (burned out) and got an even better eye at the same time as she got her new arm.
  • I would be remiss if I did give unto all Slashdot Harrington geeks THE official Harrington swag website, Pegasus Publishing [pegasuspublishing.com]. This guy hits A-kon and several other cons, but has the lock on the Honor Harrington fanstuff contract, such as it is.

    You can get a stylin' RMN jacket or cap, sport your love of all things treecat, or even have Harrington Steading towel sets.

    Be sure to check out the other geekstuff there, especially all the bumper stickers you have ever wanted. The geekery goes on for days....
  • I don't know if anyone else has pointed this out, but when you read the HTML version of the books, a cookie is placed with the last page you were on. So you can easily pick up where you left off.
  • There's been a few attempts to put the CD online. The main problem with it hasn't been Legal, [thefifthimperium.com]
    instead it's been this

    The files have also bounced around a few Usenet groups, but the preferedd method of storage is still CD-ROM because it's easier to upload them via Palm Format, or quickly browse something via HTML without having to dig through a whole bunch of different directories.

    • I just went to thefifthimperium.com, and there I see an excerpt from Sluggy Freelance. [sluggy.com] After reading When the Devil Dances, I had to find out who "Bun-Bun" was, and I spent a couple of weeks catching up on the online comic (folks, stick with it for the first 2 years, it's worth it for the backstory when you get to the good stuff.) So I see Bun-Bun on the Baen site, the comic gets a lot of press in John Ringo's book, and now I see some of it at David Weber's website. Is there some hidden cosmic connection that links them all?

I cannot conceive that anybody will require multiplications at the rate of 40,000 or even 4,000 per hour ... -- F. H. Wales (1936)

Working...