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On Basilisk Station by David Weber

On Basilisk Station (original 1993; edition 2002)

by David Weber

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2,610732,294 (3.99)127
Title:On Basilisk Station
Authors:David Weber
Info:Baen (2002), Paperback
Collections:Your library, Kindle, Science Fiction

Work details

On Basilisk Station by David Weber (1993)

  1. 60
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English (66)  French (4)  Swedish (1)  Slovak (1)  All languages (72)
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Book Info: Genre: Sci-Fi/Military Sci Fi/Space Opera
Reading Level: Adult
Diversity: multicultural, women as leaders
Tense, Person, POV: Past tense, third person, POV varies
Recommended for: fans of sci-fi, military or space opera
Trigger Warnings: violence, attempted and actual murder, historical mention of rape attempt, drug pushing, dueling
Offensive Wording: offensive wording used to label the Medusans; on character calls another “faggot” as an insult

My Thoughts: This is my 3rd time reading this excellent book; I've just never reviewed it before. It is the first book in the Honor Harrington series, of which I believe there are now 14 books, plus several books in spin-off series and anthologies. Needless to say I won't be listing the series information on these reviews, as it would just take up too much time.

Meet Honor Harrington. Her catchphrase is “Let's be about it, people.” She has a wonderful way of inspiring people to follow her example and give their fullest efforts. We meet a lot of great people in this book, people who we will see again, people we will grow to care for... people who David Weber might kill. Be prepared for a body count, this is as much military sci-fi as it is space opera. I found it bittersweet. There is a good bit of humor, however, such as:
McKeon says: “You know Hauptman is going to deny they had anything to do with it [smuggling].”

“Forty-three million in illegal peltries? Of course they will, just as Mondragon's captain insists the space fairies must have brought them,” Honor said ironically.

Or this:
“WAGs... That's a technical term we engineers use. It means 'Wild-Assed Guess'.”
If you enjoy sci-fi, whether it be military or space opera, definitely check this out. Also, those who (like me) love the idea of sentient cats (the treecats) will really enjoy meeting Nimitz! I hope you will enjoy this book as much as I did!

Disclosure: This book was owned by my husband before we met. I've also acquired an e-book version. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: Having made Sonja Hemphill look a fool, she's been exiled to Basilisk Station in disgrace and set up for ruin by a superior who hates her.

Her demoralized crew blames her for their ship's humiliating posting to an out-of-the-way picket station.

The aborigines of the system's only habitable planet are smoking homicide-inducing hallucinogens.

Parliament isn't sure it wants to keep the place; the major local industry is smuggling; the merchant cartels want her head; the star-conquering, so-called "Republic" of Haven is Up To Something; and Honor Harrington has a single, over-age light cruiser with an armament that doesn't work to police the entire star system.

But the people out to get her have made one mistake. They've made her mad. ( )
  Katyas | Jul 17, 2014 |
Honor's hit bottom -- and there's nowhere to go but up. The best of the epic space battles to the death, Honor's an officer we'd all love to follow.

There's a part of me that feels like On Basilisk Station is the utter best out of the entire Honorverse series, and that may be because I adore when a good universe is set up and worked within. I love the Honorverse, the death rides, the fantastic crews...but On Basilisk Station has it all: Honor overcoming terrible odds, somehow making everything work out by the skin of her teeth. I think it's the purest of the bunch, and I LOVE it.

I'm plowing on with the series. Again. I'd kind of vowed to not re-read this for a while until I'd gotten a few more books off my to-read list, which has reached a length that would take me years to catch up with. But here I am, reading it again, because my father let a tidbit from one of the new books drop. Wish me luck.
( )
  lyrrael | May 18, 2014 |
On Basilisk Station
By David Weber
Publisher: Baen Books
Published In: New York City, NY, USA
Date: 1999
Pgs: 432



Making a superior look like a fool is a sure way to not climb the promotion ladder. Honor Harrington and her ship have been assigned to an out of the way station in an out of the way system full of smugglers and hallucinogen addicted aborigines. The politics of Parliament, merchant cartels, smugglers, the Republic of Haven vs. Honor Harrington and an overage light cruiser that isn’t heavily armed enough to police the star system. The people out to get Honor have made a horrible mistake. They’ve pissed her off.

Introducing Honor Harrington in her first appearance.

science fiction, militaria, space, warporn, space operal

Why this book:
I’ve been circling this series for years. I read all of Weber’s Starfire books and loved them. The Honor Harrington series seemed daunting. But here I am, love Weber’s work...and away we go.

This Story is About:
courage, working hard, doing the right thing, greed, friends, jealousy, love, caring, happiness, sadness, family

Favorite Character:
Honor Harrington is a strong naval officer and a wonderful strong female character making her way on her own name and by her own skill.

Tremaine and Venizelos and Cardones all young and new to the Navy. And in for a grow up fast period as Fearless goes to war.

Least Favorite Character:
Captain Lord Pavel Young is a douche, womanizer, scumbag, aristocratic snot...of course I hated him.

Character I Most Identified With:
I didn’t really see a character that I identified with. I didn't’ see myself reflected here. That’s not a problem, but I usually can find a character who I live vicariously through. Although, I’d like to say that it was Fearless herself. The ship was a tough old bird who fought the good fight.

The Feel:
What feeling predominates as you read the story?

Favorite Scene:
I loved when Hauptmann tries to browbeat the command team of Fearless in a “come to Jesus” meeting about their customs inspections damaging his company’s reputation and bottom line.

And the elevator ride after that meeting. Great stuff.

The battle between Fearless and Sirius.

Weber spends a lot of time in the early portions of the story describing the shields. I get why he’s doing it, to illustrate the effectiveness of the new weapon on Honor’s ship, Fearless, but it drags on the pacing of the story through this section.

Plot Holes/Out of Character:

Last Page Sound:
That’s good stuff.

Author Assessment:
I love Weber’s work.

Editorial Assessment:
Wish the editor would have noticed the over explanation of the shields in the early parts of the book.

Did the Book Cover Reflect the Story:
Honor Harrington with her treecat on her shoulder and the station in the background.

Hmm Moments:
The battle between Fearless and Sirius.

The invitation from the Commodore for Honor to come tell the weapons design committee exactly what she thought of the weapons complement that the refitted Fearless was sent out to space with.

Knee Jerk Reaction:
instant classic, real classic, real genre classic, really good book, glad I read it, it’s alright, meh!, why did I read this, not as good as I was lead to believe

Disposition of Book:

Why isn’t there a screenplay?
The Honor Harrington books could make an excellent movie trilogy or series of standalones.

Casting call:
It’s hard to read this and not picture Angelina Jolie as Honor Harrington. Bet Ellen Page could do the part justice. Tilda Swinton could be delicious in the role as well.

Richard Dreyfus or James Spader as the Haven representative Big Bad in a rewritten script to focus the action down.

We’d need an aging pretty boy to play spoiled brat Captain Lord Young.

Would recommend to:
colleagues, genre fans ( )
  texascheeseman | May 2, 2014 |
This is the first book in a series set in the future about Honor Harrington of the Royal Manticoran Navy, Manticore being a planetary system (in which all the planets are named for mythical beasts) light years away from Earth. Honor, who lives up to her name, is assigned a new starship and then given an almost impossible job. Having carried it out, nonetheless, she incurs the displeasure of those higher up in the ranks, and is sent to Basilisk Station, which protects an interstellar jump gate junction. Basilisk Station, being a point of political ambiguity, is considered one of the lowest assignments for a ship. Honor has to contend with an executive officer who - though she can sense his potential - hasn't stepped up to the mark, a crew (which had been on the Fearless before she took over) who resents its new captain for being responsible for their less than savoury posting, a superior officer at Basilisk Station whom she's had a run in with before ... well, she's got her work cut out.

And then they find that there may be something underhand going on on Medusa, a planet in the Basilisk system. And Honor and her crew of the disgraced Fearless find themselves in a race against time to avert ... what? They don't know yet, but it could be big. It could be very big.

I really, really enjoyed this book. I borrowed it from the library, but by halfway through, I had made plans to buy the series, even though I rarely venture into science fiction. There are political manoeuvrings, tactics, battle strategies, fight scenes, chase scenes - you name it. I admit I found it a bit slow going at times, but that was because I was trying to understand the technical aspects (the scientist in me, I suppose). They are explained well and they sound completely feasible, even though they haven't actually been invented yet.

An excellent start to the series. Highly recommended.

( )
  humouress | Apr 27, 2014 |
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Honor Harrington, newly-promoted Captain in the Queen’s Royal Manticoran Navy, has taken command of her first space cruiser, Fearless. Sadly, she and her crew have been deployed to Basilisk Station, a low-status drudge assignment that mostly involves checking cargoes for contraband. Morale aboard Fearless is low, but things are about to change. Unbeknownst to Manticore, The Republic of Haven, which hopes to better its economy by conquering resource-wealthy planets, plans to invade Manticore by way of the wormhole junction terminus at Basilisk Station. Can Honor and her crew uncover the plot and save Manticore?

David Weber’s On Basilisk Station is classic space opera loaded with lots of exposition about military tactics, weaponry, hyperspace, calculation of acceleration rates, etc., etc. This isn’t my favorite genre of science fiction, but I was hoping that a female protagonist might make it more fun.

Not really. At least, not in this case. Honor Harrington is admirable — she’s smart, proud, loyal, and completely reliable. She doesn’t back down in the face of opposition. She figures out all the stealthy plans of her enemies and she gets the job done. All the bad guys hate her and all the good guys love her (that’s how you can tell if they’re good guys or bad guys). In fact, Honor is so perfect that she’s downright dull. She’s the biggest Mary Sue in space. She hardly even flinches when she has to make the choice between her duty and the lives of her crew.

Honor’s courage and determination work out in the end only because she happens to correctly guess what the bad guys are up to. There’s no mystery for the reader, who knows Haven’s plans, but I was never convinced that Honor made the right judgments based on the facts she had. Her decisions were based on strings of guesses she made under the assumption that she understood the bad guys’ logic. For that reason, I couldn’t respect her cold-hearted commands, or her responses to their consequences.

Perhaps part of my problem was Allyson Johnson’s narration in the audio version (Brilliance Audio). Though she did a good job with most of the characters, her reading of the many expository portions of the text was dull (perhaps it was difficult to make this part interesting!). But my main complaint is that she used a high-pitched lilting voice for Honor. Weber’s text mentions that Honor is a soprano, but the cheery voice was probably unsuitable for the stressful scenes in which Honor has to make her harsh and deadly commands. Her seeming lack of grief, or even of any struggle at all, makes it hard to relate to Honor. It makes it hard to like her. But I think the narrator may have done a disservice to the text, and I’m willing to give Honor another chance (mainly because I already own the next few volumes in the series).

On Basilisk Station would have been a better book if Weber had spent less time explaining space-battle tactics and more time letting us get to know Honor Harrington. She feels cold and severe, but I don’t think this is really Weber’s intention. He just hasn’t let us in yet. I am hoping this improves in future installments and that Honor Harrington will start to feel more real. ( )
1 vote Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
David Weberprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Johnson, AllysonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mattingly, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schwinger, LarryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Warner, BobCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To C.S. Forester,
With thanks for hours of enjoyment,
years of inspiration,
and a lifetime of admiration.
First words
The ticking of the conference room's antique clock was deafening as the Hereditary President of People's Republic of Haven stared at his military cabinet.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0743435710, Mass Market Paperback)

On Basilisk Station (or "HH1" as it's known to the faithful) is the first installment in David Weber's cult hit Honor Harrington series, which has charmed the socks off schoolgirls and sailors alike. Honor--the heroine of this fast-paced, addictive space opera--is a polished, plucky bulldog of a naval officer, part Horatio Hornblower, part Miles Vorkosigan, part Captain Janeway, and with a razor-clawed telepathic cat thrown over her shoulder for good measure.

The series' kickoff puts a giddy Commander Harrington at the helm of her first serious starship, the HMS Fearless. But her excitement quickly fades--political maneuvering by top brass in the Manticoran navy has left her light cruiser outfitted with a half-baked experimental weapons system. Against all odds (just the way Honor likes it), she still manages a clever coup in tactical war games, a feat that earns her accolades--and enemies. The politicians she's offended banish her to a galactic backwater, Basilisk Station. But that outpost soon proves to be a powder keg, and it's up to Harrington and the Fearless crew to thwart the aggressive plans of the Haven Republic. A perfect mix of military SF and high adventure--if you enjoy your tour, re-up with HH2, The Honor of the Queen. --Paul Hughes

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:33:15 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Having made him look the fool, she's been exiled to Basilisk Station in disgrace and set up for ruin by a superior who hates her. Her demoralized crew blames her for their ship's humiliating posting to an out-of-the-way picket station. The aborigines of the system's only habitable planet are smoking homicide-inducing hallucinogens. Parliament isn't sure it wants to keep the place; the major local industry is smuggling; the merchant cartels want her head; the star-conquering, so-called "Republic" of Haven is Up To Something; and Honor Harrington has a single, over-age light cruiser and an armament that doesn't work to police the entire star system.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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