“‘Close’ only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and tactical nuclear weapons (At All Costs, pg 486)
Oh my gosh. I get to read my favorite Science Fiction series AND yell about it. FOR SCHOOL. YES!
This is not the first time that David Weber‘s Honorverse novels have been mentioned on my blog. I have been rapidly moving through the series all semester, and due to a recent change in my English reading assignment, I can now actually be productive while reading them! YEEEES. No longer do I have to try to balance my school reading and my personal reading. Good stuff.
At All Costs is the 11th book in David Weber‘s primary Honorverse storyline. It is 782 pages long, of which I have read 539 pages. At All Costs is the second book in the Honorverse’s consolidation. It ties characters who have been central to the Honorverse’s anthologies and side stories into the main story’s spotlight, and firmly moves the focus of the series from the relatively isolated tale of a war between two star nations, to a galaxy wide tale of conspiracy and conflict between extremely powerful interests. It also spreads its major naval conflicts out throughout the book, instead of being primarily build up to aforementioned battles. I like it. Now to talk about the rest of the series.
The Honorverse is a massive military science fiction series, which currently has 34 published entries, with more coming. It is distinct in that it places a great deal of emphasis on internal “scientific” and tactical consistency, with a certain amount of realism. For example, in Star Trek, most weapons seem to have a maximum effective range of 100,000 kilometers. I say seem because it is rarely discussed, and the ranges are bent frequently for cinematic reasons. In Honorverse, under a million kilometers is short, and the exact range of various weapons is of immense importance, especially in later books, as potential engagement ranges burgeon from ~7 million kilometers to 50+ (disregard the cover which appears to show ships within 20 kilometers of eachother). Acceleration is also extremely important, and any star nation which wishes to remain militarily competitive should put a great deal of effort into developing technology to allow their starships to accelerate faster. However, the issue is not acceleration per-say. Starships can accelerate to near light speed instantaneously. The issue is combating the fact that such acceleration would completely destroy the ship. Acceleration is not determined by ability to start going faster, but by ability to compensate for that acceleration’s effect on crews and equipment. Acceleration to significant speeds takes time, and battles are usually fought over a period of many hours.
The series is definitely not for everyone. But if you like the sound of over-explained space battles and technology, internal and external politics, and a very, very large universe with a great deal to read, this might be worth a try. The best place to start is probably the first book, On Basilisk Station. While the many side stories and anthologies (some of which take place chronologically before On Basilisk Station) are ultimately important, they do not become vital until around book 9 or 10.