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On Basilisk Station by David Weber
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On Basilisk Station (original 1993; edition 1998)

by David Weber

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,725752,165 (3.99)136
Member:humouress
Title:On Basilisk Station
Authors:David Weber
Info:London : Earthlight, 2000, c1998.
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work details

On Basilisk Station by David Weber (1993)

  1. 60
    The Honor of the Queen by David Weber (theapparatus)
    theapparatus: Next book in the series
  2. 40
    Captain Horatio Hornblower by C. S. Forester (miniwark)
    miniwark: To compare with the original
  3. 20
    The Outback Stars by Sandra McDonald (SunnySD)
  4. 20
    The Warrior's Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For arguably unusual persons in command.
  5. 20
    With the Lightnings by David Drake (ktoonen)
  6. 20
    Trading in Danger by Elizabeth Moon (ktoonen)
  7. 10
    Valor's Choice by Tanya Huff (ktoonen)
  8. 00
    One Jump Ahead by Mark L. Van Name (ktoonen)
  9. 00
    Hunting Party by Elizabeth Moon (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For starship captains cutting through political crap.
  10. 11
    The Fuzzy Papers: Little Fuzzy & Fuzzy Sapiens by H. Beam Piper (DWWilkin)
    DWWilkin: Honor Harrington's first mission is protecting a world where native intelligence also resides
  11. 00
    Death's Door - Where Right and Glory Lead by William DeSouza (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: I loved this book - 1st in a series of great sci-fi reading.
  12. 12
    A Hymn Before Battle by John Ringo (ElementalDragon)
  13. 01
    Dead Reckoning by Jared Cheney Craig Cheney Jeffery Cheney (ClassicallyMinded)
    ClassicallyMinded: Very fast-paced and exciting. Compelling characters and a well thought out story.
  14. 01
    The Lost Stars: Tarnished Knight by Jack Campbell (Dragget)
    Dragget: There are some differences, but both of these are good military SF. Tarnished Knight focuses more on the rulers as main characters while On Basilisk Station is about a ship commander implementing her government's policies. Both, however, focus the main characters' problem-solving and follow them as they rise to various military and diplomatic challenges.… (more)
  15. 02
    Kris Longknife: Mutineer by Mike Shepherd (ktoonen)
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» See also 136 mentions

English (69)  French (4)  Swedish (1)  Slovak (1)  All languages (75)
Showing 1-5 of 69 (next | show all)
The first novel in David Weber's Honor Harrington series, On Basilisk Station, follows Commander Honor Harrington and Her Majesty’s light cruiser Fearless during their assignment to the Basilisk system. Though Basilisk Station and the planet of Medusa have become a dumping ground for misfits and rejects from her home star system of Manticore, Honor is determined to discharge her duty regardless of the circumstances.

The story follows Honor and her crew as they deal with the responsibilities of their assignment. When their duty leads them to discover events that would lead to an invasion of Medusa, they have no choice but to act.
I was impressed with the details presented in this novel, although doing so made the first hundred or so pages slow-going. The action picks up as Commander Harrington demonstrates her skill and courage, first improving the organization of the station post and then preparing for more serious action against what turns out to be an attempted invasion of the planet Medusa.

The obvious intelligence of Commander Harrington made her both plausible and likable as a heroine. She has a remarkable way of instilling confidence in her followers - leading by example. The long introduction provided a good foundation for the later action. There are political maneuverings, tactics, battle strategies, fight scenes, and chase scenes which by the last section of the novel could be described a spectacular. This is a bold space opera that delivers both setting and story in fine fashion. ( )
  jwhenderson | Feb 15, 2015 |
On Basilisk Station is a space opera type story about Honor Harrington, a military officer who’s given command of a star ship – the Fearless. Unfortunately, she’s then sent to Basilisk Station, the politically controversial spot in the back of nowhere. To quote from the back blurb:

“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.”

The best thing about On Basilisk Station? Honor Harrington. She’s an admirable protagonist – smart, competent, and brave. However, the book she’s in isn’t nearly so good.

Besides Harrington, none of the characters were very developed. The vast majority lacked personalities or any sort of personal drive. There were also way too many of them, and I had trouble figuring out who everyone was. When characters started dying, I didn’t care because I barely knew who they were.

The book also jumped around too much and would have benefited from a tighter focus. We got the viewpoint of way too many characters, most of them indistinguishable.

The pacing was uneven. It picked up at the beginning and somewhere near the end, but slowed to a wrenching halt during the middle section. In part, this was due to the large number of infodumps and science fiction techno babble. It even interrupted the middle of the climax with an infodump on the mechanics of space travel, which was largely unnecessary.

As a result, On Basilisk Station was rather dull. I won’t be reading the sequel, and I would not recommend it.

Originally posted on The Illustrated Page. ( )
  pwaites | Dec 30, 2014 |
Finally read the first Honor Harrington by David Weber, On Basilisk Station. I don't get what everyone loves about this series. It was pure Mary Sue in a military SF context.

Although many people have suggested (for the feminist SF website) David Weber as an example of a man writing strong female characters, the gender transposition of the author/protagonist is not really significant and doesn't do much for the work.

Other aspects of the novel also were not impressive.

The politics were incredibly simplistic. Politics and politicians in general are scorned; the military is valorized with the "code of honor" type stuff. Hierarchy and authoritarianism is esteemed; democracy mistrusted. The "people's republic of haven" is the principal enemy of a "kingdom" that is best when it is actually run by Her Majesty, and worst when its parliament (and its politics) gets in the way. "Liberals" and "progressives" who have a concern for native life that gets in the way of efficient and sensible running of things are seen as impractical at best, dangerously foolhardy at worst (see S.M. Stirling for more in this vein). Such characters are portrayed as ripe for abuse by unscrupulous villains.

The natives in this planet were not even worth a single character--instead they were deluded bronze age dopes and stooges, fed dope by the non-occupying empire that evilly wanted to take them over, until they were tricked into revolting against their current occupying empire that has their best interests at heart.

Characterization was shallow. Everybody ultimately comes to love and respect Honor Harrington, or fear her if they are bad. She is the epitome of the perfect leader and apparently never makes any mistakes. Gagh.

Ick. With worldbuilding this poor, and characterization totally shallow, I can't recommend.

-- 2007 June 26 ( )
1 vote lquilter | Dec 28, 2014 |
I've read this book a couple of times before beginning with a free version from Baen's site. I'm proof that a free book can bring in a great return. After reading this, I went on to buy it in paperback & a dozen more books in the series, including the later ones in hardback plus quite a few of Weber's other books. The "Action Heroine Fans" group
https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/23366
is reading this in February & it's been a while, so I downloaded this from my local library to listen to. I hope it's as good in this format. I gave it 4 stars in paper.

I only gave it 3 stars in this format. Weber is setting up a big universe & a plot that is based on naval (space) warfare which runs into technicalities, so he succumbs to a lot of technical dumps. He also goes into far more detail than necessary in some cases. While I found them easy to skim over in paper format, in audio they dragged. Luckily, I've been busy in the shop & trying to chase winter away, so I could tune out for a while. I had to.

The reader wasn't bad, but she gave a lot of the characters accents & many of the men had higher pitched voices than I liked. Some didn't, though. Anyway, it made kind of a weird mishmash at times & could be quite jarring.

Overall, it's a great story. The heroine is idolized, even her enemies respect her. If you like the whole military people doing their duty for their queen, persevering against the odds, & holding honor even when it is more practical not to, this is for you. I wouldn't recommend this format, though. Still, I think I'll go on to listen to the next.
( )
  jimmaclachlan | Aug 18, 2014 |
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. ( )
1 vote Katyas | Jul 17, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 69 (next | show all)
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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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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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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)

» see all 4 descriptions

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