February 2011

Space opera stories

By David Weber
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The past two decades have been a prolific period for fantasy and science fiction author David Weber. From 1991 and 2010, between his own works and collaborations with authors such as Erik Flint, John Ringo and Linda Evans, Weber has published more than 35 books. Weber admits that everything he writes tends to “spawn sequels”—there are few single works in Weber’s bibliography. But Weber’s most successful series by far—beginning with 1992’s On Basilisk Station and continuing through 2010’s Mission of Honor—has yielded 12 books as it follows the exploits of female space navy officer, Honor Harrington.

Harrington battles enemy fleets, inimical political machinations and the schemes of genetic slavers in a space operatic milieu that loosely transposes the naval conflicts and political tensions between Great Britain and France during the Napoleonic Wars to the far future. (Think a female Horatio Hornblower in space.)

The series has certainly resonated with readers, as several of its entries, including 2000’s Ashes of Victory and 2002’s War of Honor, have reached as high as #12 and #8 on the New York Times bestseller list, respectively.

It turns out that even Weber’s shared-world anthologies spawn sequels—February’s In Fire Forged: Worlds of Honor #5 features three new stories based in the “Honorverse.” In addition to Jane Lindskold’s “Ruthless” and Timothy Zahn’s “An Act of War,” Weber himself has contributed “Let’s Dance!” a new Honor Harrington tale.

Though Lindskold, Zahn and Weber’s stories are self-contained enough to keep the interest of a reader unfamiliar with the Honorverse, In Fire Forged is ultimately aimed at an existing fan base. (A fourth and final entry in the anthology, Andy Presby’s “An Introduction to Modern Starship Armor Design,” which is less a story than a faux scientific treatise, will appeal only to the most dedicated Honorverse technophiles.)

In Fire Forged should help tide over fans of Honor Harrington until the next novel, A Rising Thunder, arrives sometime in 2012.

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