19 October 2012

FWS Topics: 12 Greatest Sci-Fi War Stories

A few times a year, the website io9.com runs military science fiction posts that I try to response to here on FWS to keep our readers informed about how other media is depicting military sci-fi. About two months ago, io9.com ran a poll on their Facebook page about the greatest sci-fi war stories, and here is what they came up with along with my response. And before you ask, the Despicable Me minions were a combination of watching the film, blogging, and drinking all at the same time. Bad idea.
There is the original article:
http://io9.com/5941809/12-greatest-science-fiction-war-stories

12. FIREFLY
I am a huge fan of Joss Whedon's epic space western and the followup film, but...what the frak?! To lump them into the sci-fi war setting is just plain wrong. My theory is that Browncoats hijacker the Facebook poll, putting Firefly on the list. While Firefly was created by Joss Whedon during his reading of the Killer Angels only, two episodes feature the war to reunite the colonies of the 'verse. Instead most of the series is set in 2517, nearly ten years after the war, making Firefly a science fiction story of the aftereffect of the war on the characters and the current status of their situation. The show expertly handles the emotional and psychological aftermath of Mal and Zoe's service in the lost cause of the Independents. This mirrors the historical events of former Confederates escaping to the American Frontier to avoid the Northern US government, similar to Mal and his crew operate outside of the core colonies of the 'verse, speaking to the state-of-mind of Captain Reynolds. While Firefly s great sci-fi, it is not a future tale of war.

11. WARHAMMER: 40,000
Io9.com discussed that WH40K is a story of an entire galaxy at war, with the books and legions of fans to backup the claim of WH40K being one of the greatest sci-fi war stories. I can get onboard with this because for me, it seems like for my entire life that I was going to Starbase 21 comic book store in Tulsa, Oklahoma, I witness the violent power of the images of soldiers in powered armor blazing their bolters. To my later surprise, there was complex history of demons, dark gods, immortal emperors, and bloody warriors, pushing WH40K beyond the realm of RPGs into one of the most enduring MSF properties around. However, given its projection of beak and dark future, WH40K has never been for mass consumption.
Oh, and Blood for the Blood God!






10. STAR TREK DS9: THE DOMINION WAR
I have no mixed feelings about this one. Io9.com claims that via DS9, war was shown at its ugliest than at any other time in the Trek universe, but that still does not mean that it was any good. To show the level of disdain at the time about a fully fleshed out conflict on Trek, DS9 producer Rick Berman wanted only a handful of episodes devoted the war between the Alpha Quadrant and the Dominion, and maybe one epic space battle. If it had not been for writers like Ron D. Moore and the fans pressuring Berman, than the Dominion War would have even been lamer than what we saw. No one wanted to see the Federation at more more than me back in the day of my hardcore Trekkie geekdom (I'm on a 12 step program for it).
But even at the time I felt that Trek had screwed up with not giving the war a honest air of realities about it, especially when compared to Space:Above and Beyond. I tired of the Klingon/Federation War distraction, and that every battle could only be won with the involvement of Sisko and his wonder-war-ship the Defiant and how few war episodes there were over the course of year. After Jadzia Dax was killed off at the closing of season six and the subplot of the Pah-Wraiths began, I was done with the series and Trek all together until Enterprise in 2001. We can only imagine what DS9 could have done with the Dominion War.

09. OLD MAN'S WAR by JOHN SCALZI 
Much like FWS does, Old Man's War was praised on their FB poll for the 'kick ass battle' and  good ending  along with the original concept that attempted to bridge the gap between Starship Troopers and the Forever War with the hard realities of a war for colonial restate in a crowned galaxy.
In the realm of MSF literature, this book is a rare one, and deserves to be read by all fans of MSF and SF. Oh, and read before Hollywood ruins it.










08. ARMOR by JOHN STEAKLEY
John Steakley and I share something in common, who I actually met in 2003,and not just being from Texas. Both of our novels were a response to Starship Troopers and it's lack of action. Unlike Heinlein, Steakley focuses on bloody close combat and the affect that has on the main character, Felix while on the hellish conditions of Banshee. The first one hundred pages are simply amazing with frantic, messy combat that is devoid of politics or even much talking.I must admit, I did not put this book on my list, because it only details one single battle in the war, and there is so little explanation on the greater war effort or why even the war is being waged. Then there is the major reason not to include it...the 2/3 of the book that is taken up by Jack Crow Space Pirate story line. If the book was all about the action on Banshee with Felix/Engine than it would be badass MSF novel, but has it stands now...it is a flawed masterpiece.




07. WAR OF THE WORLDS by HG WELLS

It is true that War of the Worlds is one of all time greatest of science fiction, along with one of its most important founding classics. This book helped formulate the alien invasion template and possibly even mecha.  However, I find this one to be an odd choice for io9.com's list of greatest sic-fi war stories, because it is a story of our war machines failing us in the face of a superior alien enemy, and how the smallest elements helped defeat our world. H.G. Wells' own text confirms this with this line:
"This isn't a war," said the artilleryman. "It never was a war, anymore than there's war between man and ants." 







06. STAR WARS SAGA
io9.com talked on a very surface level about why Star Wars is a great war sci-fi epic, and it is true that the term wars appears in the very title, but it is more profound than that. I do not classify Star Wars has pure MSF, because Lucas' creation is really aSpace Opera Fantasy complete with good and evil knights battling for control, but the canonized works do touch on a number of galactic conflicts with stunning SFX.




05. DUNE by FRANK HERBERT
It is true, especially in the first novel, that the DUNE saga does have a number of conflicts, but is it a sci-fi war story? The known universe and humanity were shaped by the revolt against the thinking machines, the Butlerian Jihad, then we have the armed contest for the control of Arrakis followed by the Fremen Jihad to establish the order of Muad'dib's new empire, and then the rein of the God-Emperor Leto II. In the later novels, the Known Universe is challenged by an invasion of the Honored Matres. But there is more, much more than these conflicts that occupy the DUNE universe. To me, it is too simple to define the greatest work of human imagination has a simple science fiction war story. DUNE and the rest of the six canon books (yes, the others don't count) are about so much more...from galactic politics, religion, sex, control, the human mind, and the environment...DUNE has it all.

04. BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (2003)
Okay...io9.com says that BSG takes the concepts of DS9 and extends them out...what the frak? That is an insult, pure and simple. Then they twist the knife further by suggesting that the mini-series up to the events on New Caprica are 'must watch TV'...what about the other seasons? What about when they discovery Earth is a nuclear ash-tray? The final battle at the Cylons home-planet/station is legendary and I bloody well cried at the frakking end...man tears and all. I agree with io9.com putting it on the list, but not their words...man, how badly written is that about the one of the best sci-fi shows ever made? Get a frakking clue.

03. ENDER'S GAME by ORSON SCOTT CARD
This was a hard one for me to write. While I respect Mr. Card for creating one of the most loved and celebrated science fiction books of the 1980's, but I disagree with it being a war story. True, in the end, it is revealed that Ender is actually controlling a human extermination fleet bound to wipe out the buggers, but Ender is many lightyears away, detached from the front. The war, rumors of war, and the buggers are all background to the torturer life of Ender Wiggins being trained to be the next general to prevent a second alien invasion. While the book is hailed by many, I did not care for it, and when I saw it on the list, I knew it would not make mine.


02. The FOREVER WAR by JOE HALDEMEN
The description of the Forever War on io9.com makes reference to this work being groundbreaking for it's portrayal of the hard science realities of FTL travel and fighting a war that costs the soldiers everything they've ever known. In the book, the phase, 'you can never go home again' is 100% true.
Now...when the hell is Ridley Scott going to make that movie?




01. STARSHIP TROOPERS by ROBERT HEINLEIN
io9.com offers nothing new about the book, but if they are in order according to votes, then SST was voted #1 on the list of greatest sci-fi war stories. It seems an odd choice for number one...
The issue for me is that there is little war in this novel. Really only the first few pages, where Rico's unit raids the Skinneys for their involvement with the bugs against the Earth. It is a shame that the films have never shown us this opening battle in the book...I would love to see it.
Several of the people on the FB poll discussed the historical impact of SST on the genre of science fiction, and how we are still talking about to this day. That is a fair point, but, to me, it still does alter the fact that SST is a book about the other sides of future wars, and not the war itself.




The FWS List of the 12 Greatest Sci-Fi War Stories


It is plainly clear that the io9.com author Charlie Jane Anders and most of the people who entered the FB poll, have never read FWS...or else their choices would have different. Below are my choices for the best 12 sci-fi works that show future wars and these are in no real order.

 12. THE ROBOTECH SAGA
How the frak could this not be on the list?! ROBOTECH is a story of three, count'em three, interstellar conflicts fought by three generators of ROBOTECH warriors. Roy Fokker alone is worth putting this one on the list! Not only did this work show grand battles, but the personal toll of war, and finding love during these times. ROBOTECH fully developed these conflicts and carried on with the aftermath, giving the viewer a sense of grandeur, rare in visual media works on future war. Adding to its status as a future war story epic, ROBOTECH was often the first major anime that people of my generation were exposed to, altering their thinking and the sci-fi that they would create. Once again, io9.com dropped the ball big time with this not being on their list...almost as bad as the Dallas Cowboys.

11. BATTLETECH
Here is another misstep by the io9.com list, because Battletech is one of the largest MSF properties that spawned scores of books, games, a cartoon, and toys. While the origins of the Battletech universe were mired in lifting war-machines from Macross and Fang of the Sun Dougram, it overcame that, forging a well-thought out universe and history. From the Mad Max-with-mechs Successor Wars, to the invasion of the Clans, to the war against the Word of Blake nutbags, there was always a grand sci-fi war story epic to fill your need.


10. STARBLAZERS/SPACE CRUISER YAMATO
For the rest of my life Starblazers will occupy a special place in my heart. The mere image of the Yamato or the theme song bring tears to my eyes, and pride in my chest. Truly, watching Starblazers as a very small child was one of the best decisions I ever made.  However, watching Starblazers now is painful for me. My memories did not live up the reality of the series when I rewatched in high school/college, especially the later OVAs and the third series, the Bolar Wars. That being said, Starblazers deserves to be on this list, because the Quest to Iscandar and the Comet Empire detail two long-term space wars while exploring the crews' changes over the series, making for a grand sci-fi war epic that is very weak in science and some plotting. However, that is about to change. In 2010, Xebec Studios is remaking the entire Space Cruiser Yamato: Quest to Iscandar with state-of-the-art animation coupled with changed in some plot elements, and more female characters. When this comes to the US, I am buying it on Blu-Ray, even just to see the visuals and hear the music, and hey, the new design of Nova looks...well... enchanting. The legacy of Starblazers has been sealed, with it being the inspiration for countless creators, including the 3rd season of Star Trek: Enterprise, and the development of complex enemies in the image of Desslok throughout science fiction.

09. OLD MAN'S WAR by JOHN SCALZI
It is hard to create something new in the realm of sci-fi, but John Scalzi did this 2006 with the Old Man's War. Unique in it's vision of a future were Earth is kept lower in technologically scale, while the colonial worlds of Earth battle for survival against many hostile alien races. Fighting this war are Terrans over the age of 75 in new state-of-the-art bodies and advanced weaponry. Added to this original story and setting is the snappy dialog and deeply violent combat scenes that Mr. Scalzi masterfully crafted giving the reader one hell of a trip. Sadly, this only applies two of the four books in the Old Man's War series.







08. THE STAR WARS SAGA
Okay, I might bitch about the attention that Star Wars gets and how it is not 'true MSF', but I do agree that SW is a space opera fantasy about several galactic-spanning conflicts. The six canon films of Star Wars deal with three wars: the religious war between the Sith and the Jedi, the Clones Wars, and the rebellion against the Empire. More than just that, Star Wars changed how sci-fi creators show future wars, for better or worse. In the minds of most people, Star Wars is one of the prime example of future war.      

07. THE MASS EFFECT SAGA


One of the greatest experiences in gaming I've had recently is playing the first Mass Effect game. The epic amount of talent and work laid into this galaxy spanning tale of ancient evils and upcoming storm clouds of war makes for just fucking great compelling storytelling and gaming. Like any great war story, the creators put you and your ass on the line, making your choices also your destiny that will unfold to either victory or death. For me, no ME game has compared to the first one though, however, each build the intensity of conflict and the development of your character and her allies as well as her enemies.
BTW: the picture is of cosplayer Crystal Graziano, and I just had to add her beautiful job of a female Shepard (who I play in the ME games...hey! Don't judge!). Very nice job, Crystal!


06. BABYLON 5
Babylon 5 was left off the io9.com list, and it should not been. For four primary seasons between 1994 and 1997, the last best hope for peace became the best hope for victory against the Shadows and their agents, and liberating Earth for the grip for President Clarke. Much like DS9, B5 built up over years towards a massive galactic conflict. While DS9 screwed it up, B5 was successful in developing the Shadow War, several smaller wars, along with the political situation that left the viewer wanting more. The war was told over the course of two seasons, devoting time to both the battles and politics, While B5's cheaper CGI SFX could not hold a candle to the Star Trek shows, it's written was more solid, and its alien characters more interesting than anything Trek came up with at the same time...more over, how great was Bruce Boxleitner as Captain John Sheridan?  Even after the series was over, TNT commissioned several TV movies, the best being In the Beginning, about the Earth/Minbari War and is worth watching.

05. STARSHIP TROOPERS by ROBERT HEINLEIN
This book is the founding classic of military science fiction, and did something different, and not I'm not just talking about the groundbreaking concept of space-dropped armored infantry fighting against skinnies and smart bugs, but telling the politics and policies of one side of the interstellar conflict. SST is not a direct, gritty combat novel in the league with the Forever War or even the HALO novels, but details the story of Juan Rico from being a high schooler to armored power suit soldier fighting in the Bug War. Most MSF novels, especially after Star Wars, are all about the action, and few novels show what Heinlein was trying to say, how war and the threat of war change society. While it may not be an action book, it is a war novel about a seldom seen side of space conflicts. Another reason for this book earning it's spot on the list, is because we still are discussing this 1958 novel in the 21st century.



04. THE FOREVER WAR by JOE HALDEMAN

In the mid-1970's military science fiction was not popular, the aftermath of the Vietnam War deeply hung in the collective psyche of America, it would take Star Wars to jump-start the genre in 1977. However, one of the founding classics of MSF was writing in 1974 by Joe Haldeman, Vietnam veteran and Bachelor of Science in Physics and Astronomy holder. This novel presented a future deep space war with the Taurans in the gritty hard science reality of moving faster-than-light. Moreover, it presents the high price that soldiers of this conflict pay by fighting over a thousand years in separation from their society and numb emotions. What is also daring, is that Mr.Haldeman shows the beginning, middle, and end of the war all in 236 pages...my novel is 260 and covers only a few battles.This might be the best military science fiction novel of all time, and read it before the Ridley Scott movie.


03. THE HALO SAGA
The shadow of HALO looms long over the current state of MSF, and with good reason, because it is just that fucking good, and for io9.com to leave it off, it a crime. HALO presented the Human/Covenant War with raw intensity in 2001 with the first game, and by the time HALO 2 dropped, HALO was a line of books, comics, and toys. This has been done before, but HALO stood out with a deeply layered story that translated well into books. After the gritty live-action HALO advert shorts for the third game, it was easy to see how HALO could be translated into a live-action film that wouldn't suck. HALO had a challenge that most of the sci-fi war stories do not have on both of the lists, mostly because it is a line of primarily games. Books, TV and movies possess a passive involvement by the viewer, however, HALO had to present its story via an interactive experience and if it failed at that, it was over. There is something about putting a sci-fi war story in motion with the viewer at controls that forges HALO to be much greater than most sci-fi war stories. I still believe in the Master Chief and await HALO 4 with readied hands to deal death to my enemies.

02. BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (2003)
This is an easy one, because Ronald D. Moore took the lame Star Wars/Ancient Astronaut ripoff from the late 1970's, took it basic themes, and transformed into one of the greatest works of science fiction television. Not only was a great military drama, with hard-hitting realistic space battles where every plane lost mattered, but it also contained a human drama with relationships, sex, and politics, all with healthy doses of drinking and smoking mixed it.

01. SPACE: ABOVE AND BEYOND
Remember how I said there was no order to this...I lied, because the mid-1990's FOX MSF show, Space: Above and Beyond deserves to be number one on the list of the 12 greatest sci-fi war stories.
The amount of heart and soul within that one season is more than most shows will ever generate in their entire run. To this day, it is still hard for me to watch the final episode without getting misty, because over the course of 24 episodes, we explore the band of six characters of the USMC's 58th squadron in loving detail. Open to all the viewers were their hopes, dreams, their experiences of the 58th during the Chig War of 2063/2064(?) fueling a compelling narrative that was lightyears beyond any Trek work at the time.Then there is the dark poetic power of the writing and thought clear from the first few episodes, along with the show did not hold back, fully demonstrating the horror of war and the toll that it reaps. Here is what writer Marilyn Osborn said better than I: "That's what I love about this show, is that we can get into the poetry of the human condition, as well as the science and the action."
I leave this with the poem that Colonel McQueen wrote and one of the many reasons why SAAB  is the best science fiction war story: "The dim glow falling upon the dried blood of Union brothers in the Manassas eve still guides our path. Constellations hidden by fierce Pacific storms in the Bataan sky remain obscured by rain. The star - a billion for every life laid down Vietnam - still shine on us and will guide those who follow."

6 comments:

  1. Just for the heck of it (and because they mentioned Firefly and came away with it :), here some "honorable mentions" of FWS which didn't make any list - and are doubtfull making it ever, but should've mentioned regardless.

    Farscape - touch of FWS, SciFi and Fantasy. Some eps made this grown man cry. 1x19 "Nerve" and 1x20 "Hidden Memory" are a must see. Trust me.

    Buck Rogers - yes, campy '80s Buck Rogers had a war, an aftermath and well, Wilma Deering and Ardala. A classic view of SciFi post-StarWars with a generous splotch of camp and spandex that failed, but yet always lingers.

    V - the original series. Again post Star Wars/Galactica but with a daring darker twist produced for prime time. A daring move for a US network at the time imho, as it wasn't a Wild West in Space with Cute Kids.

    Stargate Atlantis - I liked the original Stargate series, but really loved Atlantis. A must-be-mentioned semi-award as it had a war, guns and space-battles.

    Alien & Predator - a shared mention because they scared/freaked out/thrilled audiences, and especially Alien spawned a new FWS book/comics/games universe.
    Again not "true" FWS, but Alien2 still kicks posteriors! (still haven't seen Prometheus)

    2300AD (Twilight: 2000) - no movies, some books, lots of table-top fun in a warped universe where alien monsters (and ghosts) battle Earth's conventional militaries (Twilight) or future semi-hard scifi space forces (2300AD). Fan-made spaceship art is awesome.
    For a selected few.

    Homeworld - another game which used established ingredients from Dune, Galactica and Star Wars - but used it to great effect. It was a game-changer of a game - and again no true FWS, just cool scifi with a cool story.

    Just a few additional mentions that pop-up before my morning coffee.

    Great post and mentions, and I'm also baffled that HALO wasn't mentioned on io9.

    Cheers

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  2. You know, I am reading "Ender's Game" right now. So far, having read the first few chapters, I have a sense that Orson Scott Card's book is pretty damn good. I'd guessed you had not mentioned it on FWS because the story focuses on Ender's experiences at a space military academy, not soldiers on the front lines- in that way, it doesn't really fit with FWS's main focus although it is a story about a future space war.

    Going by the definition of war in the introduction to my copy of Sun Tzu's "The Art of War", I argue that for a SF novel to be about war, it must have more than just violence. Killing and destruction of property without an overarching purpose are criminal acts, not military acts. Wars are an engagement or series of engagements between well-organized forces under a single overarching will, directed against an objective- another country or alliance of countries. Wars are political- they arise from a conflict of wills between one people and another, often over control of land and resources or ideological reasons.

    For a novel, movie, or TV show to be "military" SF, it must fully develop the various peoples (and aliens) who are in conflict and why they are in conflict. There must be a reason for the war, and the various forces must have definite objectives and definite enemies. The author must not forget that space war isn't just about blowing up spaceships, or rather, that blowing up that spaceship must serve some purpose in reaching an overarching objective. Of course, the characters in the story need not be so clever- think of how many nations and peoples have bankrupted themselves in useless wars, or fought numerous battles without ever getting themselves any closer to achieving their objective!! This gives you an idea of what sort of person/alien might become ruler over a cosmic empire, and what their bedside reading material might be...

    I must mention, in relation to "The Forever War", there is really NO gritty hard reality of traveling at superluminal velocities. Simply accelerating past the speed of light has been ruled out both theoretically and experimentally, so if we were ever to find a way around the light-speed barrier, we will have to dodge around the problem by finding a shortcut (space warps, wormholes, etc.), or discover propulsion systems that are anti-mass and anti-inertia (anti-accelerators from "Voyage of the Space Beagle", Bergenholm from "Lensman", spin-dizzy from "Cities in Flight", etc.).. If FTL flight ever takes place, it will be fundamentally different from sub-luminal travel, and there is little reason to expect large amounts of time dilation unless you spend excessive amounts of time traveling at relativistic speeds from one "jump point" to another, as they do in "The Forever War".

    By the way- you listed the Buck Rogers Earth Directorate Starfighter as one of your favorites in your list of favorite starfighters a while ago. After getting a look at it in action in a short clip on youtube, I have to agree it is a very beautiful starfighter. It is a pity that it banks in the vacuum so much- if those foolish human starfighter pilots had known any basic physics, they could have just spun in place and blasted the pirates with laser fire. Their deaths were a tragedy of misunderstood physics!! The comments below the clip indicate that the Earth Starfighter was originally a fighter design for the original BSG, but was never used and eventually ended up in Buck Rogers!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoF0a32DhLw

    Christopher Phoenix

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  3. While I'm not much on Stargate SG-1, I did enjoy Atlantis for some reason. Watched most of them, and I almost put it on the list. "V" is a good choice, one of the better miniseries done for TV in the 1980's. I've been interested in writing a piece on "V" for the blog...guess I need to get digging.
    Buck Rogers was something I watched on TV while is still running, and holds a special place in my heart along with Wilma Deering. Who was ungodly hot back in the day! Man, did that show suck in the second season...
    I've never seen Farscape, I did not have cable, and it was never really aired on regular TV, but a great deal of people love that show. Need to check it out.
    I read Ender's Game about a year ago, and while I deeply impressed with Card's writing and overall plot, I took issue with Ender relationship with his sister, which was creepy, and that very odd video game he plays. While it is military sci-fi, and a better good book, I didn't really enjoy it. I will see the movie though.
    I've thought about your comment, Mr.Phoenix, and for the last two years, the working definition for MSF, and yours comes very close to something I've struggling with. There is a difference between MSF works, much like any genre in literature, some focus on soldier in bloody, messy combat (my favorite), others deal with the past experiences of solders now in civilian life, and others deal with the drama of a soldier's life.
    Most of my stories try to speak to the reality of war and the soldier's lives while in the service. I try to strike a balance between action, war, violent, hard emotions, and if war is justified. I try to stay away from the politics here on the blog and in my writing, but not in my life, which I'm actually very political.
    One of these days, I'm going to write a blogpost on Time Dilation.
    Can I use some of what you said Mr.Phoenix, for my definition of MSF?
    Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  4. Hi, William!! Sure, you can use some of what I said for your definition of MSF. Thinking further on the topic of what constitutes "military" SF, I've noticed that good space war stories serve to explore the human experience in conditions of war- and the characters can be anywhere, from the starry battlefields of space to the home front.

    That's why I would put Ender's Game onto a list of great SF space war novels- it cuts deeper to the bone telling the story of a little kid's experience being groomed to become humankind's master general than most authors do recounting any number of violent battles. Instead of remaining tied up in the trappings of war (laser guns, bombs etc.) Orson Scott Card explores what preparing for and fearing war does to human minds and hearts. In his book, children start out playing "Buggers and Astronauts" with toy laser guns and a select few end up playing sophisticated training exercises in an orbiting battle school- and all along ordinary human contact and emotions are trampled in order to create the most malleable, efficient killers possible. In Ender's case the officers deliberately isolate him by surrounding him with enemies and rivals.

    I think Ender's Game explores a very important aspects of war that is frequently ignored- how war permeates everything, until you see children dressing up as buggers and astronauts in mock wars, and the emotional damage that is done when "perfect soldiers" are created. Ender Wiggins' life is tortured because he is the prospective tool of the I.F., and the whole novel revolves around war and the threat of war even though Ender is way behind the front. As for liking or not liking the book- the depressing themes, Peter's violent and manipulative acts, and Valentine's somewhat creepy relationship with Ender make this book a rather heavy read. Let's put it this way- I wouldn't bring a girl to see the film on a date!! I think Orson Scott Card is probably making an antiwar statement with Ender's Game, but I'm gonna have to finish the novel to see how Ender ends up, and whether the officer's somewhat immoral actions are justified in the end.

    The working definition of MSF does not seem to be the same as mine, though. The term MSF seems to apply mainly to those stories that focus on the members of a future militaries during a war, and traditional military values like bravery, sacrifice, sense of duty, and camaraderie are stressed. Wikipedia even says that in MSF, wars are not won by R&D of new weapons or even logistics, but by willpower, bravery, tactical foresight, and other military virtues. You then have to ask, does having a WAR make a story MSF, or are the themes of classic MSF- like bravery and military virtues overcoming the bug aliens- what makes something MSF? It seems that MSF concerns itself with an infantryman's view of future war, not a space admiral's or Galactic Emperor's view. This definition makes many space opera stories NOT military SF. Perhaps even discussing the whole war from a strategic and logistical perspective takes the focus too far off from the infantryman for a story to be MSF.

    Did you ever see the original Buck Rogers story? Originally, he was Anthony Rogers in Philip Francis Nowlan's novella "Armageddon 2419 A.D."- you can find it on Project Gutenburg.

    Christopher Phoenix

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  5. Hey, good list,

    FWS has given me new titles of books to read and films to watch as well as thematicmaterial for my own sci-fi project. Oh yeah, good choice on reading Orson Scott Card's 'Ender's Game' I finished the book a few months ago and loved it; read it in a space of three days! It really gets into your head though as well so keep going, you're going to love the book and the ending is great,tying in with what i just said about the author getting into your head. Saw the movie on TV recently and was moderately impressed.

    Keep the good stuff coming!

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  6. Have you ever watched Legend of the Galactic Heroes? I would put it in my top ten list every time.

    ReplyDelete