05 January 2011

The best Military Science-Fiction Website (besides this one!)

Ladies and Gentlemen, the best military science-fiction website is back up after appearing to be dead....Tips on Writing Military Science-Fiction, created  by William S. Frisbee Jr.

Tips on Writing MSF is a vast, detailed resources that covers a number of topics on the reality of war, military, weapons, and life in the military that only a veteran can tell you. I personally have mined this site since 2008, while writing my own MSF novels, and I can say that this valued resource.

Since I am not a soldier, I am limited by the amount of information that I can glean from books, interviews, and videos. Even with advent of the internet, it is difficult to gather information on topics like the reality of not getting hit, or small-unit tactics, or the role of field artillery.

At the moment, FWS is still trying to be an interview with Mr.Frisbee, to discuss his excellent website (if you are Mr. Frisbee, then contact us!). But from his own website opening page, he lists the reason why he created this site:

"Some people actually care about what they write and some would like to add more reality to their story but don't have many resources to draw from. That is what this resource is about. It is my intent to help newbies and veterans alike to understand small unit tactics and techniques. It is also my intent to help Science Fiction writers understand what war is like now and how it may evolve for the individual infantryman.
I was US Marine Non-Commissioned Officer and a squad leader. I served in Desert Storm and Desert Shield. While I was in the Marines my hobby was small unit tactics. I enjoyed learning about all manner of small unit fighting from guerrilla wars to large scale conflicts. I was an NCO, not an officer so my viewpoints are that of a small unit leader who loved his job and strove for excellence.

This may be why I like Military Science Fiction so much. I despise writers who are too lazy to do their research and that may be why I shy away from most modern fiction. Movies are a sore point with me especially because most producers are stupid and believe their audience is stupid too. The Rambo series is an excellent example of a producer's stupidity and ignorance. Ask any combat veteran."

This site details a number of topics on the reality of war, military, weapons, and life in the military that only a veteran can tell you. I personally have mined this site since 2008, while writing my own MSF novels, and I can say that this valued resource.

If you are writing MSF, than this site is the best on the web.

Nice to have you back, Mr.Frisbee!


  1. Hi William!!

    Tips on Writing Military SF is the best resource for military SF writers I have ever found (besides FWS, of course!!). Tips on Writing Military SF has essays that contain hard information that I haven't found anywhere else- even at FWS. William S. Frisbee tells you things only a veteran could know.

    I found only one topic on which I disagreed with Mr. Frisbee- as usual, it has to do with LASERs. Mr. Frisbee suggested that a bullet-firing weapon is better than a laser if you want to kill your enemy, since a laser just burns a neat cauterized hole in flesh- but I already noted in my comments on the blaster post that laser weapons will explosively vaporize water in flesh, creating steam explosions and ripping flesh apart. A laser weapon could emit intense pulses of light that rip flesh apart, or a continuous beam that vaporizes and cuts through flesh. At any rate, the wound will be messy and likely uncauterized, and if the weapon burns flesh, that will create terrible burn wounds. In practice, laser rifles are just nasty.

    Wikipedia states that laser weapons will usually fire short, intense pulses. A megawatt laser pulse delivers roughly the same energy as 200 grams of high explosives, and will have roughly the same effect on the target. The primary damage mechanism is a mechanical shear, causes by reaction when the surface of the target is explosively vaporized.

    Yes, nitpick nitpick nitpick- other than that misconception that is common amongst SF fans, Tips on Writing Military SF is pure gold. The realities of warfare are hard to gather information on, and Mr. Frisbee has a lot of information on small unit tactics, weapons, life in the military, and evolution of warfare that are invaluable to a SF writer.

    Christopher Phoenix

  2. Mr. Frisbee was part what got me to thinking of creating FWS, and it is a shame that I cannot replicate some of the information, since I never served. His articles on mortars, small unit articles and Not Getting Hit are just the topics that we (MSF authors) need to complete more realistic works, or sign up and fight...and I'm too old for that...

  3. I'm just getting old enough to sign up and fight, but I want to become a theoretical physicist. I am continuing in math and science courses. Soon I will be studying calculus- you need calculus to take advanced science courses. However, I want to be well rounded, so history is one of my favorite subjects as well- not a bad mix for SF in general.

    Science fiction encouraged my interest in space travel, beam weapons, and rockets. That is partly why I took an interest in physics early on- if you want to learn about rockets, nuclear fusion, and lasers, you need to study physics.

    I've found that the misconception that lasers cauterize wounds is widespread, even though the TV tropes and idioms page on Fricken' Laser Beams debunks it. Lasers in general are not very well understood by the general public. At any rate, I don't want to be hit by a laser weapon. Lasers are pretty nasty weapons. Modern technology cannot create a convenient handheld laser weapon, but when a portable laser weapon is made, they will be as effective at killing as bullets- if not more.

    A pulsed laser weapon can create plasma explosions when it hits an enemy- ripping through flesh and creating as much tissue disruption as a bullet.

    Christopher Phoenix

  4. Does Mr. Frisbee have a preferred means of exchange? I tried asking him if there was any recommended books on military politics, but I keep getting an error message through yahoo. I'm wanting to focus more on the political side of things, rather than "attack this hill" hollywood stuff.

  5. I've gotten the same error messages as well. I would love to interview Mr.Frisbee for the blog. I have a feeling, because of the lack of updating that the site is in limbo and well taken down at some point. I've printed out his entire website in case that happens. Information of that caliber should not be lost. Are the books you are looking for current of MSF novels?

  6. Well I've found Semper Mars, Redliners, Adiamante. I've found Neuromancer, Count Zero, & Monalisa Overdrive as well. I'd say they are about the 1980's at the earliest.

  7. I'm a little leery about current military science fiction novels, as the most realistic ones these days are often based on video games.

    It would be nice to find one about Netrunners/spiders, as I'm also doing something similar later. (A whole society based around a mixture of law enforcement and military service, with great deal of attacks being of the mindspider variety.)

  8. Ophanage by Robert Buettner is pretty good...I was impressed by it and check out Emdedded by Dan Abnett.

  9. Question: Can military work as armed evacuation personnel? And what do you call those ships that are sort of the battle star equivalent to life boats? The ship I'm thinking of is more like an improved evacuation ship. Something that can carry supplies, has small living quarters, and has guns that can attack small targets. And would obviously have to be big enough to carry terraform tech.

    I'm encountering more and more weird plot issues.O_o

  10. Oh also, I'm mainly wanting to research military stuff, as I'm currently building a whole society in general. Military is one of many aspect.:3

  11. Yes, off-world marines can work has armed evac personnel. A colony ship is the nearest classification I can think of for your request. The 'Spirit of Fire' from HALO WARS is a prime example of this type of vessel. Some of the ST:TNG episodes make reference to a Starfleet colonial vessel.
    Yeah...isn't writing a book fun?