Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

“What is Military Science Fiction, Anyway?” – Guest Post…

with 9 comments

Folks, rather than talk too much about why I wrote this, head on over to Chris the Story-Telling Ape’s busy blog, and dive in. I think if you like milSF, or if you like Chris Nuttall’s work — even if for some reason you don’t like mine too much and read my blog ’cause you enjoy me or my fantasy or whatever — you will like this post.

So, here is “What is Military Science Fiction, Anyway?” Enjoy it.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

When you think of the words “military science fiction,” what comes to mind?

Is it spaceships, maybe? Or at least space suits…or perhaps far-future events, on a space station, or on another planet entirely, but with future warriors?

There are so many different things that the words “military science fiction” (henceforth shortened to milSF) bring to mind, aren’t there? So my thought was, what usual conventions do writers use when they’re dealing with milSF?

Perhaps looking at the works of a few current writers will give an idea of what is meant, here.

For example, David Weber has a far-flung interstellar empire in his many-book saga about Honor Harrington (also called the “Honorverse”). In addition to war, the Honorverse includes political drama, various different styles of government and ways of living—but without the backbone of Honor Harrington’s military service (not to mention the war and its aftermath, and the war…

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Written by Barb Caffrey

July 16, 2016 at 8:14 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

9 Responses

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  1. Hi Barb,

    An enjoyable analysis.

    For what it’s worth, it seems to me that most sci fi falls into “military”, regardless of whether the writer intends it – if we discount ‘traveler’ type scenarios, such as “The Time Machine”, and even then our protagonist ultimately encounters a military force of sorts. 2001 is set against a cold war backdrop with our intrepid explorers being sent out to seek an advantage, and the survivor finding it – or metamorphosing into it – “it” being the Star Child who at least restores the status quo.

    That seems to be where we are invariably led: the use of force, with some modern day readers demanding a quick hit of violence quite early on in the book, before their attention wanders. How is that most easily exploited? In a military scenario. Of course, for balance, there needs to be political intrigue, and character development within the military arc: the hardening of some characters and the softening of others; the blurring of lines demarcating good and evil; above all humour.

    Cheers,

    Martin

    Martin

    October 8, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it, Martin. 🙂

      You should write a follow-up article based on these points; I’d gladly post it. 😀

      Barb Caffrey

      October 9, 2016 at 6:43 am

      • I’d be delighted. Do I post it here, or send it some other way?

        Martin

        October 10, 2016 at 5:57 pm

      • Do you have my e-mail? (It’s barbcaffrey — all one word — AT Yahoo DOT com, when you’re ready.)

        Barb Caffrey

        October 11, 2016 at 10:06 am

  2. I’ve sent it to you, and left a gateway for someone to exploit!

    Martin

    October 13, 2016 at 2:50 am

    • OK. I shall look for it, Martin. 🙂 Thanks. (I’ll post it over the weekend.)

      Barb Caffrey

      October 13, 2016 at 12:29 pm

      • Cheers, Barb

        Martin

        October 13, 2016 at 4:53 pm

      • Martin, the only thing I need to know — and you can send it to me via e-mail, as before — is how you want to be credited. (Just saying “it’s by Martin” doesn’t seem to work well. 😀 And while I’m reasonably sure who you are, I don’t want to guess wrong.)

        Barb Caffrey

        October 14, 2016 at 9:52 pm

  3. […] guest post for Chris the Story-Reading Ape’s busy blog that I re-blogged here called “What is Military Science Fiction, Anyway?” I enjoyed writing that, and thought it might spark a conversation…and, fortunately, it […]


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