Monday, September 10, 2007

I want a treecat!

I'm reading "The Honor of the Queen" (book two) in David Weber's Honor Harrington Series, and fifteen more "Honor" books to go, counting "At All Costs" to be released next month. I'm not reading at my usual speed, so this is going to take awhile.

The main reason I'm going slow is the amount of technical and scientific information embedded in the story. People comfortable with math, astronomy and physics might find these details easy and simple, but that isn't my comfort zone. I read "Science Fiction" in spite of the "Science" details, not because of them. That is because "novum" - a new concept or development of science or society intrigues and fascinates me, makes Science Fiction irresistible to me, while I find detailed scientific or military explanations difficult to envision.

Weber clearly enjoys writing paragraphs describing his faster-than-the-speed-of-light drive, including the history of its development, the differences of how it works on civilian craft versus military modifications, and other inventions. I forgive him his preoccupation with science, because he has created a magnificent heroine in Honor Harrington. Her persona resonates with other female military MCs in my mind, such as Elizabeth Moon's Haris Serrano or her Ky Vatta; and my personal favorite, Shan Frankland from the Wes'har War series by Karen Traviss.

Honor lives up to her name with a vengeance. She would rather die than betray her queen, her country or her command. She is not eager to die, though, and uses all of her training, knowledge and creativity to stay alive and keep her shipmates alive also.

Honor is not all protocol and manners - she has a treecat for a pet (or perhaps the treecat has her for a pet). The empathic feline gives Admiral Harrington a decidedly original presence, perched on her shoulder using the especially padded grips on Harrington's uniform. Treecats are not only rare, they can be deadly to anyone who is a threat to their chosen people. Honor is a highly self-controlled officer in the queen's space navy, and her treecat's preference for serenity adds to her well-developed restraint.

It has been fourteen years since David Weber wrote "On Basilik Station", first in his "Honor" series, and I'm happily anticipating the enjoyment of seeing a writer develop more and more skill, as I read forward through his list. It will be a nice reversal of my usual order - finding a terrific recent novel and then going through the author's backlist.

Coming up soon: a review of "Evermore", the latest (and not yet released) Darkyn novel by Lynn Viehl.

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