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Military Science Fiction Authors You Should Be Reading

With two of the best genres combined, find out which military science fiction authors have penned the best works to date.

By Brayden SimmonsPublished 6 years ago 5 min read

The military and science fiction genres have exploded with high-quality content in recent years. There have been critically acclaimed military movies such as American Sniper and Dunkirk, and the same could be said for sci-fi, with Interstellar and District 9. Don't even get me started on the number of successful TV shows that have come from these genres. Even if I just consider this past decade alone, I would be writing all day.

If you're anything like me, and you are if you've clicked into this to read more, you enjoy science fiction and can't resist a classic military story, but you love when the two are combined. I watch every show and movie I can find that check off both genre boxes. I've crossed all the best war movies streaming right now and best alien documentaries on Netflix off of my list. Now, my passion has turned to the literary world. With my experience, I feel confident recommending my favorite military science fiction authors without hesitation. Check them out, you'll thank me later.

We start with Michael Z. Williamson and his Freehold series. With nine books in this series total, Williamson has achieved a long, successful career as a military science fiction writer. Starting in the mid-2000s, the first entry to this extensive story follows Sergeant Kendra Pacelli as she fights to prove her innocence against the galactic government.

She escapes to The Freehold of Grainne, the only beacon of hope for her future. As you may have guessed, the government finds out and a cat and mouse game soon follows. Be prepared to binge through this entire series Breaking Bad on Netflix-style.

If you like the Halo series, odds are you'll enjoy Jon Steakley. Or, at the very least, his novel Armor will be right up your alley. One of the best military science fiction authors tackles the planet of Banshee. The story follows one man in an atomic-powered, battle fortress suit of armor fighting off hordes of vicious aliens. Master Chief, anyone?

Switch out John-117 for Felix and you have a story that is somewhat similar to the massively successful gaming franchise. While similar, Armor is its own story in numerous ways. It taps into the courage, horror, and aftermath combat can have on a person. Steakley perfectly mixes the genres and creates a truly great military sci-fi story.

Get used to seeing authors who pen long series, it is a popular trend in the military sci-fi genre. John Ringo is a main contributor to this trend with his Legacy of the Aldenata series. Consisting of several books that follow a central storyline, as well as a few side stories and spinoff series, this critically acclaimed work from Ringo all started with the book above.

AHymn Before Battle offers an interesting insight between allies and enemies, and how the former may be the most dangerous of the two. It follows Earth interacting with a galactic federation and everyone has a hidden agenda. After reading it you'll truly appreciate how difficult, "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer," is to achieve.

Another one of the best military science fiction authors accompanies a classic series. Winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards, The Forever War is considered one of the best military sci-fi novels ever written. It explores all the intricacies of a seemingly endless war and how that can affect a soldier.

Where it really shines, however, is the alienation some soldiers feel while returning from their service. After returning from a brutal war in the recesses of space, William Mandella finds his home planet not as familiar or comforting as he remembers. An all too often problem that many service members struggle with, this book articulates the problems these heroes face incredibly well.

Are you tired of great military sci-fi series? Me neither! Fun fact before we start with this novel: Jack Campbell is actually the pen name for John G. Hemry, a retired U.S. Navy Officer. His most famous work is Dauntless, the first book in The Lost Fleet series.

This series follows a hero trying to live up to his former glory after many thought he was dead. Re-emerging from hyper-sleep (Halo themes again!), Captain John “Black Jack” Geary must save the Alliance while living up to his previous exploits and existing legacy. An official New York Times best-selling series, you can trust that this is worth your time.

Arguably the most famous military sci-fi novel, Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein won the Hugo award for the best science fiction or fantasy work in 1960. That alone ensures Heinlein's place among the best military science fiction authors of all-time.

The classic story follows a new recruit, Johnnie Rico, as he goes through some of the most intense intergalactic training for a war about to brew with the Arachnids, an evil alien race (there are no peaceful ones in this genre I've learned). An all-time great, Starship Troopers is a certified classic that you should read just to understand the countless references that are sure to come your way in the future.

David Drake is the latest author to dabble in an extensive military sci-fi series. His writing skills have produced The Raj Whitehall Series, otherwise known as The General series and I've included the first book, The Forge, above. Written from 1991 to 1995, the original series contains five books and deals with the rise and fall of technology. With advanced artificial intelligence, enhanced physical capabilities, power struggles, and several different factions involved, this series has all of the elements you would be looking for in a classic military/science fiction world.

On Basilisk Station is the first book in a, you guessed it, famous military sci-fi series written by David Weber. Honor Harrington is the main character and she must navigate, with her crew, the incoming invasion of Medusa, the only habitable planet in the entire system.

Be prepared to get sucked into this series, as Weber, one of the top military science fiction authors, takes you a journey that is relatable and awesome. Since On Basilisk Station was released in 1992, 18 books have followed it, with the 19th being released this year!

John Scalzi is another author you have to follow and Old Man's War is a great example why. The Old Man's Series contains several stories after this initial success, so you can rest easy if you've been looking for something to binge read, this is it. Humanity has finally branched out into the stars, only to realize that the planets are nearly uninhabitable and alien species are not very welcoming. With resources on Earth drying up, mankind is forced to journey into the stars and take whatever they can before they become extinct.

My personal favorite of all these stories, Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card is a true military sci-fi classic. Andrew "Ender" Wiggin is a child prodigy in terms of leadership and military tactics. He is quickly trained by Earth's elite military personnel to ward of the coming invasion of the Buggers. A hostile alien race, the Buggers seem hell-bent on destroying the Earth, with humanity along with it.

Ender struggles with internal and external issues like confidence, peer pressure, stress, and living up to the expectations put in front of him. It's a gripping tale and hooks you in from the first few pages. When you win the Hugo and Nebula awards for the same novel, you have solidified your place as one of the best military science fiction authors ever, and Orson Scott Card has achieved just that.

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About the Creator

Brayden Simmons

Your run of the mill tech and gaming nerd. Anything about technology, games, or lightsabers, and I’m probably writing about it.

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