Military SF - Single Ship Novels - Recommendations?

DeltaV

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Reading The Mutineer's Daughter recently got me thinking about military SF novels involving the mission/adventures of a single ship.

I enjoyed Starhunt by David Gerrold and Passage at Arms by Glen Cook.

Any recommendations?
 

alexvss

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One of my favorite ones is Armor, by John Steakley. I absolutely love the fight scenes and kinda copy them.

It sorta falls in the category you asked for, but it's debatable. Look for summaries online to see if interests you.
 

DeltaV

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Yeah, I've read Armor and it is a good novel. But it is more about surface combat on a planet IIRC.

I'm thinking single ship action (not fleet), military (not civilian), on a mission. Could be a routine patrol where
they Find Something ...a strike against a target and Things Go Wrong ... etc. Could even be the story of a single
ship in a fleet.

I'm not a Star Trek fan per se (although there are individual episodes that I enjoyed), but Balance of Terror would
be another example.
 

Parson

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Counterintuitively, Constitution by Nick Webb the first book in the The Legacy Fleet series. Is largely single ship battles until a fleet is raised.
 

BAYLOR

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The Battle For the Abyss by Ben Counter

A Horus Heresy novel . The Furious Abyss , A ship that was in service of Chaos Space Marines.
 

tobl

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if you want the best try the man of war series by h paul honsinger
 

Artoriarius

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The RCN series by David Drake is one of my favourites in the genre. And there’s a trilogy by James Doohan and S. M. Stirling called The Flight Engineer which is pretty good.
 

DeltaV

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Some good recommendations in this thread; thank you all.

I did not recognize the author that Tobl mentioned.

if you want the best try the man of war series by h paul honsinger

I had a look at his books at Amazon.com. Looks like he has written a three-book series Man of War, plus several novelas in the same universe.
 

tobl

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Some good recommendations in this thread; thank you all.

I did not recognize the author that Tobl mentioned.



I had a look at his books at Amazon.com. Looks like he has written a three-book series Man of War, plus several novelas in the same universe.
i liked them quite a lot. however there won't be more. he died in 2020.
 

.matthew.

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I read the Man of War series last month and while I enjoyed the first two, the third (and supposed end to the trilogy) just sort of went whackado with both sides suddenly out of nowhere leaping ahead in technology and weapons and the ending that wrapped up absolutely nothing. I realise that he died last year but the books were written about 5+ ago and it was marketed as a trilogy which was why I was willing to give it a go in the first place... I'm sick of the never-ending series format.

It also failed to live up to its promise of the opening chapter of cool boarding actions and seemed to pad out the books with what I'd call Micheal Bay moments - insane action sequences that make no sense and prove every character is a moron.

Oh yea, and when the hero keeps pulling amazing tactics out of his backside. I want to read about a captain fighting against the odds but at least make it believable odds and not one against eight... where the eight are better ships making tactically sound decisions.
 

DeltaV

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I had a look at the Man of War series, and it didn't spark my interest, both due to the story context and the character of the main protagonist.

I've not had much success in finding a single novel with the theme and background that I am looking for. It appears that most of these types of stories are now written as part of a series. After reading a few reviews here and there, I finally picked up Fearless by Allen Stroud. The novel is about the rescue of a cargo ship by the escort Khidr.

I found it a good read. Hard SF (although the ships still don't have heat radiators) in a setting that I am partial to: near future in the solar system. Based on the ending, it looks like a sequel will be forthcoming.
 

DeltaV

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I read Warship by Joshua Dalzelle this past week. Book one of the Black Fleet trilogy. So not a single standalone novel, but those look to be very few and far between (in the context of what I am looking for ... see my initial post).

A fair novel that had the potential to be better. I'll put a few comments in the spoiler below. And it is a Spoiler as I discuss the ending of the novel so be warned.

A story that meets the criteria of what I was looking for. A ship on patrol Finds Something. Interesting back story, ship engineering that is more on the "harder" side of SF (still no heat radiators though!), and a mysterious enemy. Dalzelle could have spent a little more time on some of his characters ... for example, I didn't find the character of Admiral Winters particularly believable. And several fortuitous circumstances certainly helped out the main protagonist, Captain Jackson Wolfe, as the novel moved along.

I also found the ending oddly disappointing. In the final attack, Wolfe orders his crew to abandon ship and then crashes it into the enemy to try and finish it off. A clear suicide mission. I was sure that Dalzelle was going to have his main protagonist die ... something so uncommon in SF that I was quite impressed. Thinking that Dalzelle would have XO Celesta Wright take over in the next novel. Except there is a miraculous rescue and Wolfe survives. Oh well.

And my pet peeve about illustrations and covers: Geez, don't these artists even read the story? The ship on the front cover doesn't match the description of the Blue Jacket at all!

Anybody read Call to Arms, book two of this series? Without giving anything away, is it worth getting?
 

tobl

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I read Warship by Joshua Dalzelle this past week. Book one of the Black Fleet trilogy. So not a single standalone novel, but those look to be very few and far between (in the context of what I am looking for ... see my initial post).

A fair novel that had the potential to be better. I'll put a few comments in the spoiler below. And it is a Spoiler as I discuss the ending of the novel so be warned.

A story that meets the criteria of what I was looking for. A ship on patrol Finds Something. Interesting back story, ship engineering that is more on the "harder" side of SF (still no heat radiators though!), and a mysterious enemy. Dalzelle could have spent a little more time on some of his characters ... for example, I didn't find the character of Admiral Winters particularly believable. And several fortuitous circumstances certainly helped out the main protagonist, Captain Jackson Wolfe, as the novel moved along.

I also found the ending oddly disappointing. In the final attack, Wolfe orders his crew to abandon ship and then crashes it into the enemy to try and finish it off. A clear suicide mission. I was sure that Dalzelle was going to have his main protagonist die ... something so uncommon in SF that I was quite impressed. Thinking that Dalzelle would have XO Celesta Wright take over in the next novel. Except there is a miraculous rescue and Wolfe survives. Oh well.

And my pet peeve about illustrations and covers: Geez, don't these artists even read the story? The ship on the front cover doesn't match the description of the Blue Jacket at all!

Anybody read Call to Arms, book two of this series? Without giving anything away, is it worth getting?
i personally thought so. i read all 6 so far.
 

DeltaV

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Hmmm. Six you say? Well, I'm not a fan of long series ... a trilogy is about my limit ... so I guess I'll move on to something else.

BTW, the ending to Warship reminded me of the end to another novel:

HMS Ulysses by Alistair MacLean. A very good novel based on the Murmansk convoys. The constant combat in Warship is also very similar to that in HMS Ulysses.
 

DeltaV

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Recently read The Rising (James Doohan and S.M Stirling) and Battlecruiser By B.V. Larson to see if either of these novels meet my criteria mentioned in the first post. Both are the first novel in a series of three.

The protagonist of The Rising is Commander Peter Raeder. Maimed in combat, he now has an artificial hand and can no longer operate a space fighter. Instead he returned to the Academy to be retrained in flight operations. Graduating at the top of his class, he has been assigned as flight engineer of the new fast carrier Invincible. At twenty-eight years old, he finds himself in charge of 36 fighters, 7 reconnaissance craft and 500 crew. But Raeder is not a man to lack confidence: charming with the ladies, skilled at dice games, and already involved in saving a freighter from pirates, he knows he can rise to the challenge. But not only is there a war to fight against the fanatical Mollies and their sinister alien allies, he also has to solve a deadly mystery on the Invincible itself.

As the cover notes, "plenty of high tech action". And certainly the physics are very much Star Trek. At the beginning of the book, a freighter has engine trouble and drops out of the convoy. I could not help but picture the Excelsior stalling out in ST III when it engaged its transwarp drive.

However the novel itself is mostly about the internal mystery of a saboteur and assassin, along with space battles against a known foe. Not quite what I was looking for.


I actually would have enjoyed this novel more if Raeder's assistant Cynthia Robbins had been the main protagonist as she captured my interest right away. Her personality and difficult background would have made a more interesting character...but not as easy to write I suppose. I guess the person-in-charge has to be the focus of the action.

The second novel matches up better. Captain William Sparhawk is in charge of the pinnace Cutlass, one of several small escort vessels attached to the destroyer Altair. Sparhawk has left a privileged life on Earth to join the Star Guard, much to the displeasure of his parents. His father is a leader of the political group that is continually cutting the Guard's budget, leaving it with a handful of old, poorly maintained ships. Due to his father's politics and his upper-class background (Earth is ruled by an oligarchy), Sparhawk is not popular with his fellow officers.

Earth has been cut off from the colonies for over 150 years after a stellar explosion disrupted the wormholes used for interstellar travel. Now, a report has come in that a strange asteroid has been found in the belt, and the Cutlass is dispatched to investigate. And they find Something.

A story that comes close but just falls short. However I will probably read the second story to see where things go.

The whole romantic sub-plot of Sparhawk and Lady Chloe of Astra felt awkward and not necessary to the main plot. And the presence of a Beta prisoner, Zye, on a spaceship that had been abandoned for years felt like a deus ex machina introduced to help Sparhawk learn how to operate the battle cruisier. Indeed, without the help of Zye, Sparhawk would not have defeated either the destroyer or the Stroj fleet. I believe this could have been written differently as the crew was gradually repairing the ship as Beta tech is not that different from Earth tech.

Finally, there is something that does not quite make sense with the whole discovery of the battle cruiser, as the captain of the Altair (who apparently is a Stroj agent) is the one that sends Sparhawk out to investigate it. Why do that when it appears that the Stroj already knew what was out there? Odd.
 

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