Weber/Baen Swag!
Weber/Baen Swag!

Upon her graduation from the Royal Matincoran Naval Academy, Honor Harrington is given command of the HMS Fearless. In her first combat simulation, Honor demonstrates exceptional tactical prowess in leading the Fearless and its crew to a most unlikely victory, earning her the ire of rivals who make it a point to deal her a series of defeats so devastating that her humiliated Admiral banishes Honor and her ship to Basilisk Station, a distant outpost on the edge of Manticoran-controlled space. There, she is reunited with Captain Lord Pavel Young, a petty and opportunistic rival who once tried to assault her back at the academy. Seeing an opportunity for revenge, Young immediately hands her command of Basilisk Station and takes his ship back to Manticore for a refit, leaving her holding the proverbial bag. And, in this case, the bag includes: smugglers, a burgeoning native insurrection on the only habitable planet in the region, and the expansionist star nation of Haven.

Despite the bleak circumstances, Honor whips the station into shape, coming down on the black market trade with such force and winning such initial success that even the top brass back home take note, much to Young’s embarrassment. Through her strength of character and by-the-book adherence to military conduct, she whips Basilisk Station into shape, earning the respect of her crew and personnel. But the machinations of the Haven Empire and the increasingly volatile situation on the planet Medusa may prove to be her undoing…

To be honest, the idea of military SF has always intrigued me but, like space opera, I’ve yet to find a book series that has truly held much promise. Until now. On Basilisk Station offers up a compelling and meticulously detailed introduction to “The Honorverse” – its political complexities, its plausible technologies, and, chiefest of all, its engaging characters lead by the remarkable Honor Harrington. It’s the jumping off point to a series that is smartly written with echoes of classic literature and contemporary global events.

Author David Weber presents us with a universe possessed of a rich history and social structure, peopled with players – political, military, and adversarial – with varying, often intriguingly contradictory, agendas. His treatment of future tech offers a welcome middle-ground between the mindless blasters and fighters of most commercial science fiction and the near-unfathomable mechanics of much Hard SF. But where Weber truly excels is in his gripping account of the various space skirmishes, providing not only gobs of the requisite action and adventure, but authenticity through its exploration of the strategies and tactical decisions made in the heat of battle.

And, of course, special mention should be made of our protagonist, Honor Harrington, a self-effacing but tough-as-nails commander who, with the help of her telepathic treecat Nimitz, negotiates minefields on a personal and professional level. She isn’t perfect (like me, math is one of her few faults) and demonstrates a bit of a stubborn streak but, when the chips are down, she is the person you want leading you into battle.

I enjoyed this book although I will admit to occasionally getting lost in the details, particularly in those first one hundred pages. Overall, however, a lot of fun and terrific start to what looks to be a very promising series.

So, what did everyone else think? Start posting your thoughts and questions for David Weber. All participants will have a shot at winning one of two Baen tote bags containing ALL of the Honor Harrington books in addition to a Storm from the Shadows galley.

Check out a take from the finale scene of the series finale:

85 thoughts on “January 12, 2009: On Basilisk Station, by David Weber

  1. Aw, dang. Kinda wish we’d gotten that link for the online book earlier. I don’t read all that fast. One of these days, Joe, I’m actually going to join in on one of these BOTMC discussions.

    As far as the finale, the major question I had at the end was whether or not the Stargate program would finally be revealed. I thought it was definite, until they mentioned that the city was cloaked. Still, with it going into movies now and the new series taking place in something other than the here and now of Earth, it seems like it may soon be time for the secret to come out. It certainly needs to happen at some point. On the other hand, if/when that happens, that would pretty dramatically change the overall story, and I wonder if it wouldn’t necessarily then become more futuristic and less grounded. I don’t know.

    Otherwise, the rest of my questions are pretty much “what’s gonna happen?” and I’m fairly sure I just have to wait and see.

    Oh, wait, here’s one for the writer (though it’s probably already been asked): Why did you decide to (temporarily) kill Ronon, and will that event have any repercussions later (for Ronon and the others, or even just in terms of them having more knowledge of/experience with the life-giving ability of the wraith)?

  2. Dear joe,

    Well buddy great 5 seasons of SGA and I’m impatiently looking forward for the SGA movie. I hope you guys deliver the same quality in story telling as you did in the series. A question please:

    1. How many ZPMS are within our possesion? ( 3 in Atlantis, one in the Odyssey, Does that seem right)

    2. Was the Zpm that was given to power the ancient chair of Antartica or might I say Area 51 destroyed along with the chair?

    3. Are the ZPMs powering Atlantis nearly depleted?

    Thanks buddy…. I would really love it if you get a chance to answer these questions.

  3. I loved this book! I have read all of the Horatio Hornblower novels and found similarities between the series (but in a good way). I enjoy reading stories where the main character is a strong female and admits to having faults (no one is perfect). Thanks for recommending such a great story! I have a question for you, Joe…Are you planning on reading more of the series? I also have a few questions for David Weber…How were you able to keep the battles straight in your head? Did you have models or drawings so you could remember where each ship was during the events? How did you research the specifics of the ships?

  4. Hey Joe,

    That is very cool swag! I wish I had had time to read the book. Good luck to all the BOTMC readers!

    @DeniB: So I dunno what’s worse… your daughter’s unfortunate encounter with your pup or MY unfortunate encounter with my pup.

    Here’s the story (I did tell this once before on here but hey… I feel it’s pertinent): Jeremy (my husband) and I had been away for over a week. Our LONGEST trip away ever. And at the time, Sebastian was home by himself. My mom had our daughter, Allie, and would bring her over during the day to spend time with Sebastian. Sebastian was never a *licker*. Never in his life. He loved to sniff ears. (it’s important to the story. just wait!) So we come home from our trip and our 120 pound bundle of fluffy white fur is so happy to see us. I bend down to let Sebastian sniff my ear and greet him. I say, “HIIIII!!!” All wide mouthed. And Sebastian picked THAT moment, his ONE and only, to be a licker. He frenched me so bad. Oh lord! He actually chocked me. I swear his tongue was down past my tonsils. It was DISGUSTING! I can still gag if I think about it too much. :X Soooo gross. So so gross.


    Jeremy came into the living room to find me gagging and choking and spitting like mad. He thought Sebastian had bitten me or something. It must have been a good five minutes before I could even talk about it. And when I finally told Jeremy he laughed so hard that he cried. And he wouldn’t kiss me that night, either.


    I do wonder if your daughter was saved by dog vomit. Ha ha! Weirder things have happened. Thanks for sharing that story, though. I feel *tad* bit better knowing I’m not the only one to have a dog stick something DISGUSTING in her mouth. 😀

    @Das: You have all kitties, right? My dogs have ALWAYS gone for the rugs instead of the wood floor or tile. It’s like they aim for the rug at all costs. What’s that about?

  5. Ok one more time, is SGA really canceled? I’m still in the denial part of grieving. It truly is a loss.

    Wish I had more time to read some of these books, I enjoy reading your summaries, maybe one day after I graduate. I maybe on Social Security by then, but it’ll happen.

  6. I only decided to read this book on Sunday, so I haven’t finished it yet (even though there was lots of warning) But so far I think its good. The details of the technology go a bit over my head sometimes, but I enjoy the character interaction.
    The fact that the cat is telepathic and connects to only on human reminds me of The Wit in Robin Hobbs Farseer trilogy books. But it was an aspect I always enjoyed in those books and so far have in this.
    Anywho, I’ll continue to read it.
    I guess my only question for David Weber is – Have you read the Farseer trilogy by Robin Hobb and if so did you see any connection with the link between human and animal (cat in this case)? Thanks

  7. I like that take. You should have printed and used that one. Put it on the DVD set and I’ll buy it.

  8. On Basilisk Station was an instant favorite from the time I first read it. A character driven sci fi novel, it still packed more than enough “hard” sci fi to satisfy any craving for such material. More suprisingly at first, it offered up plausible political machinations and “galactic realities” to make it far more than a simple shoot up the bad guys in space novel.
    Among the things that I particularly enjoyed. Nimitz, of course, and the premise of treecats. Treecats are just…cool. The physics of the Honorverse also intrigue, with Impeller drives and Warshaski sails, as well as transit points. All of these are presented in lengthy but understandable detail, and the fact that the author bides by the rules of the game, so to speak, makes the book more enjoyable.
    Then there is the story itself. Presented with imposssible odds, Harrington comes through. Only to suffer repeated ignomious defeat through no fault of her own. Then the posting to Basilisk, and what will end up being only the first of a long string of coincidences that puts her into the thick of the fighting, political and military.
    Honor’s unrelenting efforts to do her duty and make the best of a poor situation are in the best traditions of naval fiction, such as the Hornblower series. In this book, more than any other, Honor resembles the Forester creation. The quiet self doubt, the willingness to sacrifice self interest for the greater good…. in later books I found myself looking at her more as Nelson than Hornblower(and I am aware Mr. Weber made this exact observation in one of the latest books in the series)
    I love the loathsome evil of Pavel Young, and the type of aristocracy he represents. No matter how good a political system is, there are always those who eat at its core, and Pavel, while not a central figure in this book, is one such.
    Finally(and I am cutting this far shorter than I might) I absolutely loved the final space battle. In the face of hopeless odds, not even sure the sacrifice of her own ship and crew are really even needed, Harrington refuses to second guess herself, and does what must be done. The sheer cost to the crews is depicted starkly, and horrifically. On the basis of this one book, I’ve not heisitated to pick up ANY Weber book that I’ve come across, and I have yet to be disappointed by any of them.
    As for questions for Mr. Weber. First, could you give us a quick rundown of which books you have scheduled for publication in the next year or so? And which of your series they are a part of? In the Honorverse, might we look forward to a direct military conflict between the Solarian League and Manticore at some point in the future? When you do joint books, are you approached about doing them, or do you seek out other authors? In such cases, how much of the collaboration is yours? (In other words, is your name attached to the book merely to help boost sales, or do you contribute a fair amount to it?) Do you do the mathmatics involved in the Harrington books yourself, and who is the lucky person who has to proof it all? Besides Janet Frazier, have you planted any other nods to Stargate in your novels? ( I only picked up that reference on a recent re-read) And what is/are your favorite Stargate episodes? Finally, as an author, is there a genre you have not yet written in you’d like to try? Whether short story, mystery, or straight historical fiction? Thank you for your time and participation in Mr. Mallozzi’s blog, and for any questions you might answer. Mr. M. thanks for hosting one of my favorite authors.

  9. Mr. M, two quick questions about the Enemy at the Gate. One, is the “wormhole drive” derived from the research done in Trinity and McKay and Mrs. Miller? Secondly, is the mention and use of this device in EatG at least in part to establish the existence of this technology in Stargate Universe? Thanks for providing the venue to ask, whether or not you actually elect to do so.

  10. Any chance that if Atlantis gets a second movie it would be Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow? I personally thought it was a great idea, possibly the best time travel concept Stargate has come up with.

  11. >To be honest, the idea of military SF has always intrigued me but, like space opera, I’ve yet to find a book series that has truly held much promise. Until now.

    Joe — have you read either the Jack Campbell Lost Fleet series ( or John Hemry’s JAG in space series (

    Both do a good job of landing in “the middle ground” as you called it above between realistic SF and a darn good story.

    Thanks for all the work on SGA. I’ve loved the franchise from way back (the box of tissues that Jack tosses through the gate in SG-1), and am one of those casual fans who really appreciate all the hard work the team has put in over the years.

  12. Hi. I’m hoping it’s not too late to ask question of Paul Mullie (and also Joe M) about “Enemy at the Gate”: Did you encounter any resistance from other writers or producers or others to the idea of bringing Atlantis back to Earth?
    OK, one more question for Mr. Mullie: What made you finally decide to do a Q&A and subject yourself to the slings and arrows of internet fandom? Are you insane? 🙂

    “Enemy at the Gate” was a great episode to end the series. Not that I wanted it to end, but it went out in style. And it was fun to see so many of the Atlantis and SG1 characters all together in one episode. (Even watching the opening credits was exciting, since I’d carefully avoided any advance fan or network spoilers for this episode.)

    Naming the new ship the “General Hammond” was a very nice touch — a good tribute.

    – KB

  13. Man, I love that take. I wish you’d used that one. That hug was sooo much better than the McKeller one and it was spontaneous. I also love Joe’s reaction after the cut – “Whatever”.

    My question to David Weber –

    How do you go about creating your own universe? Does it come bit by bit as you write the story or do you sit down and brainstorm it separately?

    Cheers, Chev

  14. @Trish (aka whovian): They both sound disgusting, but better you guys than me 🙂

    Joe, the hug, yes, should have been left in! We’re such suckers for these characters.

  15. David Weber:
    I’ve enjoyed all the books in the Honor Harrington series– thanks for the great entertainment.

    In each successive book your space naval battles make use of ever more powerful weapons and tactics. I think you’ve written a logical progression from one advancement to the next, but has it made each book more difficult to contain yourself so you don’t reach a dead end?

    An example would be Star Trek. They spent so much time advancing gee-whiz gadgets and ever more powerful weapons that they started to run out of new ideas that could top the old ones. They had to rely on the audience to forget one-off episode tech or have elaborate explanations why the transporter/ communicator/ holodeck/ randomly fluctuating tachyon emitter/ etc. tech didn’t work in this particular situation.

    Second question: Do you have a plan for the overall plot of the Honor Harrington series? Is there an eventual end to the story you would like to reach?

  16. The first time or two I tried to read On Basilisk Station, I also got caught in those early pages. (Especially the prologue.) I don’t know what it took before it clicked, but in time it did, and I’ve read every book since.(I must say, though, I think that I prefer the Shadow of Saganami spinoff series to the current mainline books; ever since War of Honor or so, the books have been more about politics and less about the people actually fighting the wars. Saganami is a return to that “older” focus, I feel, and I enjoy it.Two questions for Mr. Weber: 1) How far ahead of time are you plotting the overall arc of the series? I know that you also have the Crown of Slaves and Shadow of Saganami series to think of when you’re plotting the next mainline Honor book. But Honor’s definitely undergone changes over the years, and I’m wondering how much of that you had planned on from the get-go.2) Are there any plans for the anthologies to continue? I’m sure they must be a pain in the butt for you to coordinate, but they’ve been able to flesh out some interesting side stories. Admittedly, I don’t know what I would want to see in another (besides more stories from Timothy Zahn and John Ringo)… but even if I did, the lawyers probably wouldn’t want me sharing. 🙂

  17. Question for Mr. Mullie, since it stumped Mr. Gero:

    Do the writers ever discuss how the marginalization of Ronon and Teyla contributes to rather horrifying racial and sexual politics of this show?

  18. i have a few questions for david weber is there any authors that inspired you to write? when you where a child did you read a lot of science fiction?

  19. (I’m obviously a newbie here… I’ll post my question for David Weber here, instead of elsewhere.)

    On Basilisk Station was fantastic! For the last 100 or so pages, I couldn’t put the book down! I am definitely planning on reading the rest of the books in the series! What inspired you to write about a space navy? Did you do any research into naval tactics for the novel? Or naval procedures and protocols? Thanks!

  20. Was that a hug and a kiss to Joe from Jason? I bet you guys couldn’t turn your back on Jason for a minute. He is so mischievous. What a cutie pie!

    My stomach is aching, laughing so hard from all the dog vomit stories. (yesterday and today) Fortunately, my dog would warn me when she was going to be sick. She would start heaving. It was the ole “heave ho, I’m fix’in to blow” routine. I would quickly drag her into the carpetless kitchen. She always cleaned up after herself – if you know what I mean!

    Deni B. – your daughter must have some morning breathe to make her dog vomit just by yawning!

  21. Well. That was just . . . AWESOME!!!! Sad to see SGA go, but the series definitely went out on a high note. It’ll be interesting to see the consequences of Atlantis’ arrival on Earth, since there have to be some.

    With a very large ship exploding outside the atmosphere, the darts coming in on their kamikaze run, the “fireball”, the big-assed wave Atlantis must have caused on landing, etc., I can’t believe that no one would have noticed anything.

    Questions for Mr. Mullie (and, apparently, Mr. M judging by the credits): How did you manage to pack so much into a mere 40-some-odd minutes? I didn’t dare look away from the TV for a second because I’d miss something, and with no commercials to break up the action, the episode was a real “nail biter”.

    Also, did the Wraith pick up the tidbit of information about the Pegasus gates superseding the Milky Way gates from the attack on Midway? Or did Todd pick it up on one of his many Atlantis sojourns? And why do the Pegasus gates take precedence? Is it simply a matter of the Pegasus gates being more advanced gates (i.e., Gate2 being an upgrade of Gate1 with Gate2 being backward compatible but Gate1 not being upward compatible)?

    You are going to put Atlantis back where it belongs eventually, right? Right? Leaving it on Earth would make it just another common waystation, and, knowing how the IOA operates, they would leave the folks in Pegasus to fend for themselves on the theory that Earth no longer has an interest in Pegasus. Although . . . who’s to say that Todd’s info on how to build a supership using ZPMs isn’t being disseminated among the other members of the Alliance, who are, as we type, building their own ships to pay Earth a not-so-friendly visit.

    I also liked how this episode was tied into the Vegas episode with the interdimensional message about Earth’s location getting through the rift from that reality to “ours”. Did you and Mr. Cooper come up with that together? Was it always planned to link these episodes together, or did the link just flow from Vegas once that episode was plotted?

    Last question. Just what are they going to do with Todd? It’s not like they can take him to the nearest 7-11 or McDonald’s for a snack when he gets hungry.

    Oh, yeah, I guess Rodney really is a super egghead genius if he managed to figure out the “wormhole drive” when the Ancients themselves couldn’t. Go, Rodney! *Waves Canadian flag*

    I’m sure I’ll think of more, but, since tonight’s the deadline, I guess that line is dead.

    Once more . . . AWESOME!!!!!!! Can’t wait to see what you guys do with the movie! (You are giving me script approval, right? No? Bummer.)

  22. Knew I’d forget something. Very nice tribute to Don Davis in changing the name of the Phoenix to the General Hammond.

  23. Mr. Weber,

    This is the first time I’ve read any of your work and I wanted you to know that I really enjoyed it. I do not usually enjoy military based books. I really felt like I was there within the action with Honor. What lead you to come up with her? And how did you come up with Dame Estelle I also enjoyed her character. You do well with writing influential female characters.

    Also I always find it difficult in writing, reading, or even watching action on ships. It does not matter if they are in space or at sea it always feels so confined and limited as to the actions the ship can make and what can be done inside. When I was reading this book I did not get that at all. Do you have any recommendations as to how to write a scene that is trapped in a limited area so it’s does feel limited?

  24. Joe help please,

    Where are the pineapples hidden in the episodes:
    Common Ground
    The Game
    This Mortal Coil
    Spoils of War
    Harmony and Tracker?


  25. Oh, Cap’n Joe… the video…. *sniff!* You know we aren’t ready to let them go yet, don’t you? How can we write anything when we’re still missing them “somethin’ terrible”?

    What I said about love. Again…. Crank up your computer volume and use headphones if you have to. Jason Momoa also gives Joe Flanigan a big *kiss* on the head (you can hear it) and then walks away. They’re not just friends on the set, they’re roommates in Vancouver and neighbors in Malibu. That’s brother love.


    A couple more questions for Mr. Mullie…please?
    There are so many strong friendship moments in Atlantis, and so many inside jokes written into scripts. (“I just won Dr. Mallozzi’s anime DVD collection.” Or, “Just ‘cause I’ve been to Tokyo doesn’t mean I can speak Japanese!”) Have you ever written a Paul Mullie/Joe Mallozzi moment into an adventure/snark/joke/victory between the characters? Will your joint Hollywood trip this fall make it into a story? Also, which one of you is Felix and which one Oscar?

  26. @ Das & Deni B. I have a story for you… I have a Black Lab named Chaplin when he was little he had problems with using the bathroom in side the house. Usually it was in the den because it was the only room with carpet. (He doesn’t like his paws to get wet) Well to keep me from finding it when he goes #2 he would often turn around and eat it. One day I looked down and didn’t see him anywhere I immediately went to the den. Sure enough he is in there but he is not going #2 he is in fact chewing on the power cord to my sister’s new lap top. I clap my hands together and tell him NO! He looks up at me turns around and goes #2 on the spot he was just chewing on. Being sensitive to smell I have to leave the room not to get sick. When I regain control over my stomach muscles I go back into the room telling him to go outside but it is to late and the #2 is gone. Mean while my sister comes home and Chaplin my pup runs right to her. She picks him up she he licks her square in the face. I did loose it then.

  27. On Basilisk Station:
    Sorry…family crisis just came up. [Exasperated sigh…] Joe, I could use some French expletives in regards to immigration lawyers right about now. Got any? Total incompetence!!! Anyway, if anyone could spare a few thoughts for my poor Sis-in-law and brother, who will be better off fending for themselves in the gov’t paperwork maze, even with the deadline looming (yes, it’s bad), I would be so grateful I can’t even tell you.

    Maybe tomorrow I can do my book report. :-/ Just in case it’s too crazy though…

    Questions for David Weber:

    Thank you for creating an exciting Hi-Def scifi world, rather than sketching it in broad strokes. From tactical warfare to the physics of hyperspace, political intrigue to personal relationships, a dizzying array of details gives us a vivid perspective of what survival means in Honor’s world. Those details make everything all too real. I didn’t just read “On Basilisk Station,” I watched it happen. I’ve never said that about a book before.

    When Honor relayed final messages to Manticoran command before engaging in battle, I froze and my eyes grew huge, just like a domestic shorthair who’s watching a bull mastiff cross her path. I broke out in goose bumps from head to toe. Now, whenever I hear the word Zulu, I freeze. And if I ever hear someone bark out loud, “Zulu, Zulu, Zulu!” I will run.

    Also, if good characters and character development are there, I will follow them anywhere, even into reading bloody fights to the death.

    1. Honor is such a precisely drawn character, you had to have found inspiration for her in real life. Who was she?

    2. Likewise Commander McKeon, Honor’s XO. Who was he?

    3. Honor and McKeon were deadlocked in a silent struggle for respect. She earned it. She won by not fighting him at all. When he finally broke, he was willing to, and later did, follow her into hell itself. You know that struggle well. Where did you know it first?

    Thank you for living in the “Honor-verse” alternate reality, so that you would know it well enough to create it for us.

  28. Joe – Thanks for your BOTM club. I enjoy finding new (to me) authors with extensive bibliographies that will keep me busy for hours (and days and weeks…).

    Mr. Weber – I was curious about your background. Do you have any personal military exprience? Do you have special training or education in a particular field that has contributed to your writing? Who do you enjoy reading when you want to pick up a good book? Anything on your nightstand now? And how about your wife? I’m always curious about whether spouses of writers share the same taste in books. Thanks for answering our questions!

  29. My first Honor Harrington book and I loved it.

    The writing style – just seems to allow readers to “accept” the plausibility of the story. The main character is “normal,” meaning has faults and strengths and works at the issues to get the job done.

    Cool cat.

    Have to admit skimming through some of the “internal, global, interplanetary political” aspects; I guess there was too much similarity to the pitiful state of some of our current global politics – as well as their economic and financial mess. That was a bit funny.

    There was at least 2 or 3 places where there was significant action taking place and then suddenly, there is like a monologue like/long treatise on politics, or the science of travel through hyper space and these kinda got in the way of and delayed discovering what happened.

    There was a great deal of action, cause & effect, action/reaction, etc. Excellent story. Loved the detective work they had to do to deduce what the “enemy” was up to. There were elements of “Ender’s Game” where the heroine starts out as the loner and earns respect and trust. And, in particular, being thrust into an impossible situation where she had to figure it out for herself and did as she did with her first strategic and tactical “battle” winning it then losing the next 14. Her nemesis Lord Young was very much like the jerks in Ender’s Game as well. He deserved more punishment than he got – what a scumbag.

    It was very moving how McKeon finally stepped up and fully became Honor’s “command partner.” Not once, but twice. McKeon’s stand with the other scumbag, Hauptman was priceless. Overall, Honor’s management and command style won the day.

    The chase and battle to the end was spellbinding. I loved Honor’s dogged perseverance to do her duty, and do the right thing. Could not put the book down through this scenario and that is where one of the treatises was placed which I skimmed over to get to the good parts.

    Questions for David Weber:
    Thank you for considering our questions.

    What is the impulse behind the deep thought/insights Honor has when she exhibits one of her mannerisms – she rubs her nose?

    What was your goal to go into theory of politics or space travel at points when the reader might want to learn what was happening with the action? One was the final battle chase between Fearless and Sirius.

  30. Oh, oh, one more comment/question about On Basilisk Station:

    You know, every time Nimitz showed up on the page, I was reminded of James Schmitz’s Telzey Amberdon stories, and Telzey’s telepathic pet companion, TT. I loved those books…

    For the longest time, I thought the reason I kept thinking of Telzey and TT was because Nimitz had been named for Schmitz. Of course, when I remembered Schmitz’s surname correctly, it was obvious that this was not the case. 🙂 So, was Nimitz named for the Fleet Admiral? the aircraft carrier? something/someone else?

  31. Questions about the finale (and Vegas:)
    *How does the Wraith in Vegas know the location of the Ancient chair?
    *How does he avoid capture like Todd when the air should have been swarming with conventional fighters and just not F-302s (Same could be said about EATG when the darts attack? SG-1:Continuum anyone?)
    *Why no evasive action/maneuvers by the Daedalus when the super Hive is powering up its weapons like in Search and Rescue? It just sits there!
    *Why can only Sheppard lead the F-302 attack when he should be in the chair and there are full-time pilots who are probably much better than he is with many more flying hours in F-302s? His advantage is in piloting ancient equipment due to his gene, not fighters.
    *Why is the Ancient chair on the surface in some building in Area 51 and not in a well-protected underground bunker like the SGC?
    *A wormhole drive? That’s pulling one out of deep, dark hole.

    All these questions show how convienient things happen in the episode in order for this story to be plausible. Again, the lack of real miltary knowledge and procedure by the writers of SGA make an episode look worse than it should.

  32. @ Cat4444

    Why can’t they take him to the nearest McDonalds? He’s had his genetic cure which makes it possible for him to eat normal food, and then the eratus bug cured the cancer it caused in him. Shouldn’t that mean that he can now eat normal food AND be cancer-free?

    Q – not sure, did our upcoming guest blogger write Vegas? If not then I’m not sure who this Q is for

    Why is it that I get a strong X-files vibe from this episode? I mean I’ve seen it compared to the Sopranos, NCIS, and CSI now, but nobody seems to mention the X-files. There was this X-files episode, The Goldberg Variation from season 7, where high-stakes poker is played and then the winner is thrown off the roof of the 10th floor or so, crashes down and walks away. Then there’s this season 7 X-files episode “Hungry”, where a mutant who eats people’s internal organs to survive puts on prosthetic ears and forehead, wig and teeth to pass himself off as a human and a hamburger tent worker. Another X-files parallel would be that the main character, a tallish dark haired good looking male who is considered to be a bit of a washout by his colleagues, is trying to find out the truth about some bizarre cases, and finds that the truth involves aliens and a government conspiracy to keep things hidden and these aliens might be coming over to earth to enslave the human race. I’m just curious, was the episode in any way intended as a tribute to the X-files also, consciously or subconsciously?
    I’m not saying it was a bad episode or chewed out or something, FAR from it! I LOVED the episode, I loved the Manson and Cash, I loved the desert setting, the puzzled feeling of not getting what’s going on at first, the McShep, the alternative look at the characters… LOVED it! Just curious about the parallels.

  33. Hi Mr M!

    Here’s my homework, all ready and on time!!
    EATG airs in 9 hours and counting…..

    Book Review

    On Basilisk Station by Mr David Weber

    I loved this book! The breadth and scale of the world created by Mr Weber was both convincing and compelling. Without being too techie or too involved, OBS leads us into a world of political intrigue, Navy Tradition and fractious command decisions affecting developing worlds and their peoples.

    I understand from what I have read that Mr Weber was highly influenced by Forster’s Hornblower series (hence Honor Harrington HH for Horatio Hornblower) I too am a HH fan, even learning the fundamentals of whist to better appreciate those passages where the game dragged on for 3 pages!! The character and style of Honor whilst matching Hornblower in determination and attitude, differed considerably in that Honor keeps a lot more to herself. Trusting her XO only after he comes to her.

    The command style is very Picard-esque (himself inspired by Hornblower according to Roddenberry experts). I loved the arrival of Capt Harrington and the significance of the beret. (very Foreign Legion) The story line was compelling, reminiscent of one of the Jackson/Livingstone Fighting Fantasy series which I loved as a student. At each turn Honor finds herself outmanned, outgunned, out manouevered politically. She adtroitly steers her own course. The presence of Nimitz reminds you of Honor’s alien status and also in a Pullman-esque way gives you indicators of her humour, a great literary device, though I can’t say I’d feel comfortable having one myself (!).

    I loved the character of Dame Estelle, perfectly drawn as the faded and jaded doyenne of the system though politically isolated, a very capable politico. (Was her name inspired from Great Expectations?)

    Back on board HMS Fearless, we meet a whole host of characters on this “rag-tag” cruiser. I particularly liked Santos, whose gutsy performance throughout her duties reminded me of Dusty in Whispers! All the names of the officers and non-coms, were very clever Stromboli being a classic example. I also noted O’ Brian (spelt the authors way: Nice touch).

    The story itself was very compelling, not quite a rapid page turner, but rather a slow burn. It’s a broad space-opera-esque canvas with all the colours leading into one big picture. Special mention will have to go to that great scene of the Admiral paying a visit and suggesting that he be told information which he will not hear in his official capacity (very Gilbert and Sullivan Mikado!)

    The conflict on the ground was gritty and realistic. The loss of life to both secondary and tertiary characters was compelling for the main, and the final show down with the Q-Ship really was a page turner. (On an aside, I liked the old Navy tradition of booty spoils going to the victor, very Hornblower!).

    As a kick-off to a series, I could not fault it. I shall pick up another in the HH series when I next have a week off!
    QUESTION FOR MR WEBER: Thank you so much for answering all these questions. Thanks also for a great book! I understand Forster was an inspiration, and I’m sure many will have asked about other influences and how you got started etc, so I’m going to ask a little off-centre question. I loved the front cover of the book, how much editorial control do you have in choosing the image? Does the Honor on the cover represent the Honor you had seen in your head as you were writing her? Also, the breadth and broad scope of this type of writing must be a nightmare to edit? Is there a specific system you have, or do you leave it to your publishing house’s editors? Many thanks again, Shirt’n’Tie

  34. I’ve had “On Basilisk Station” recommended to me several times over the years but have never got around to reading it. It has definitely been added to my reading list now! (Once I get through Peter F. Hamilton, Jasper Fforde x 2, Alastair Reynolds, John Barnes, Dan Simmons, Ben Elton and China Miéville. *sigh*)

    The synopsis reminds me of a series I read called “The Seafort Saga” by David Feintuch. A newly graduated officer on his first posting to a naval starship find himself in command after a series of mishaps to the senior officers. Although he heroically saves the day he is wracked with guilt over the decisions he had to make in order to save the ship, his crew and the passengers. While I really enjoyed the space opera I found the lead character’s constant self loathing, due to the guilt he feels, very depressing and frustrating.

    Let’s hope Honor Harrington is a bit more accepting of the decisions she has to make.

  35. Comments about “On Basilisk Station”

    I really enjoyed this book. It is rare that you find a classic scifi style with extensive political intrigue, and a strong character-driven plotline. On Basilisk Station does a wonderful job of balancing all three. The thing that really stood out to me was the clarity with which he described these three aspects of the story. For example, it is particularly easy for a space battle to get very confusing. The tension builds up and the pace moves too quickly for you to wrap your head around what is going on the first time through. With Weber that wasn’t the case. About the time that things might start to slip out of control, he’d pull back the pace. He’d explain why shooting a missile was pointless and in doing so he’d capture the real essence of the space battle. The pacing is also consistent with how he had described the ships and the “hurry up and wait” nature of space battles.

    The characters were also balanced and portrayed in an endearing but appropriate way. I think what I mean is that I never lost track of who he was talking about even though there were plenty of characters. All of their behavior was consistent with military personnel in their situation. All the characters were real and tangible. I smiled at their triumph and hurt with their deaths. In particular I found Honor to be incredibly well written. The thing that stuck out to me was that the “captain” barrier was always maintained. It would have been simple to let her turn emotionally to her XO or her chief engineer, seeking more personal interactions, but like a true captain she kept her pride and pain separate from the crew. I found myself frustrated for her sake.

    I always find it interesting to see how author’s portrays the opposite sex, especially when it is the main character. It is obvious that Honor is his idealized version of a strong, independent woman. She is empowered, intelligent, empathetic, stunning in a unique way, and bears the burden of her command with all the pomp and poise it deserves. She is neither sexualized nor sexless. She is neither overly emotional, nor cold. I think this is both the sign of a good storyteller, but also reflects someone with a mature, objective viewpoint.

    My one complaint was in the character of Nimitz. While normally I am all for semi-sentient non-human characters, Nimitz didn’t exactly seem to serve a purpose. Any of the parts of the books where he might have been significant, Honor left him in her room. I suspect this may be one of those situations where he will be a bigger player in a later book, in which case I take it back. However, in the case of On Basilisk Station as a stand alone novel he seemed kind of useless.

    Questions for David Weber…

    Firstly, I would like to thank you for a wonderful book and for answering our questions.

    Question 1) I was incredibly impressed with the character of Honor. Was there any person who inspired you to create such a strong female character? Was there anyone whom you based the character on?

    Question 2) You seem to have a rather extensive grip on the physics of your universe and your technology. What resources did you turn to when creating your universe?

    Thanks again.

  36. I don’t really have any questions for Mr. Weber. I did want to thank you for suggesting this book and even more thank Mr. Weber for the entire series. I first read “On Basilisk Station” at your suggestion and am now up to “War of Honor”. I have thoroughly enjoyed this series and appreciate how well written and strong female character Honor Harrington is. I never thought I would enjoy reading Science Fiction but started with John Scalzi’s “Old Man’s War” and it’s about all I read now as I have a lot of catching up to do. Thank you for your book lists.

  37. I love the Honor Harrington series. This is a standard in our family that has been traded around at least 4 of the 6 siblings. If you liked it as we did, you would also love the Prince Roger series (March to…) by him as well. Over all, I think that the books are a nice blend of military/sci-fi with story line. Some books fall too heavy on one side or the other. There are times when I feel like the books are a little too black and white with good guy/bad guy but that’s about the worst I can think of to say about them. They are easy reads with nicely defined characters and fairly straightforward plot lines that don’t lose you in too many details. They are good for plane trips and a nice way to unwind from a day’s work.

    My biggest problem? I generally find myself stuck at 4 AM in the morning trying to put the book down and failing until its finished.

  38. hey Joe,

    I just rewatched Enemy at the Gate, brilliant episode. Nobody mentioned the Athosians, are they still in the Pegasus Galaxy? And what about Kanaan and Torren, were they in Atlantis when the city left the planet? thanks

  39. Mornin’ Joe…

    Please, Mr. M, I was wondering if you could take a second to hear me out, and maybe answer a question (since it’s probably too late to ask Paul)…

    By now, I pretty much figure that when you see my name, and ‘Wraith’ or ‘Todd’ in the same comment box, you pretty much tune me out. 😆 But, if you could just gimme a minute, I’d appreciate it…

    You know I’ve been pretty annoyed with the way Sheppard has treated Todd since mid-season, and especially now in EatG. You previously said that the events in TLT have contributed to Sheppard’s attitude towards Todd, suggesting that Sheppard is allowing his human emotions dictate his actions.

    However, in discussing the situation over at GW, ciannwn brought up a good point, namely that – perhaps – Sheppard is simply adopting Wraith-style communication tactics in his dealings with Todd. Looking at it this way – as one ‘Wraith’ talking to another – “You know how to talk to me, John Sheppard.” – then Sheppard’s attitude makes sense. Afterall, any display of compassion or apprehension would be a sign of weakness, right? If we saw that same conversation between Todd, and – let’s say – Kenny, we would have thought nothing of it at all. Still, it took several people discussing the subject to come to that conclusion – and we don’t even know if it’s a correct one. In other words, if this is message writers are trying to convey, it’s not very obvious.

    So, if it’s too late to put this question to Paul, perhaps you can help us out – Is Sheppard putting on his Wraithy best in his dealings with Todd to get his point across – communicating with him in his ‘own language’, as it were – or is he just doing his human best to be the bullheaded jerk that he seems to be of late?

    Please help me out here – it may help me see EatG in a much different light.



  40. Thank you for agreeing to answer questions Mr. Weber and thanks Joe for hosting!

    I think Honor Harrington is one of the best characters in science fiction. She’s complex, driven and vulnerable with a sense of integrity that I wish we could see more of in the real world. But what really makes On Basilisk Station and the rest of the stories in the Honor Harrington universe so compelling to me is that you create so many characters with such interesting depth.

    One of my favourite parts of the novel takes place when Klaus Hauptman is introduced and you provide a quick history on Manticore’s origins. I’ve always been more interested in the sociological and cultural aspects of SF than the technological, so your description of how an technologically advanced human society consciously chose to change from a democratically-elected board to a constitutional monarchy was always intriguing to me. Did you have this in mind when first coming up with the story, or did the universe building happen after you came up with the character of Honor and the plotline? Did you come up with the political machinations between people and systems did as you went along, or did you have it mapped out through your first few books?

    Thank you!

  41. Awwww love the Ronon hug, so adorable! 🙂

    Only a few hours to go now until EatG airs here in the UK. I feel both excited and very sad about it all at the same time.

  42. About “On Basilisk Station”:
    I liked the book even though it was more complicated to read than I had expected and it took me quite a while to get through… (maybe I should have tried the German version 😉 ).

    The beginning with Haven confused me a lot (the names of colonies and so on… but that’s a general thing with most beginnings for me – I’m always afraid to miss the point when I read so many new things and it takes a few pages for me to “get comfy with a book” (sorry, weird expression, but perhaps you can guess what I’m trying to say).
    I felt sorry for McKeon. It might have been weak of him to not overcome his jealousy (for a rather long time) but the reader was given glimpses of his thoughts now and then and he did never have really evil intentions, he always tried but couldn’t get over himself. It was great when he finally did fully support his captain.
    The changing of the crew’s attitude towards Honor in general was something I liked very much.
    The relations and feelings were portrayed very believably (for me) but it was a pity that Honor always remained so reserved.
    I guess that’s part of what makes a good captain – making your crew be proud of and respect you but never get too close to them.
    Still, I would have preferred if she was a little more involved with her crew. There were a lot of persons she trusted very, very much but she was always so serious and perhaps convinced that if she showed weakness her crew would immediately turn against her.
    I’m not talking about Fearless 90210 here but she was really possessed of her job.
    On the other hand, that’s certainly what made her so great as a captain but it wouldn’t do her bad to be a little more easy-going.
    Still, I enjoyed the story and how things changed finally for the better in the end (McKeon got a ship!) even though there were a lot sad losses.
    The characters were given a lot detail and yeah, I simply liked it and I want to read the rest of the books as well (but exams are getting nearer so that has to wait for a while).

    And just one addition on the negative side, because it made me mad (perhaps well-calculated torture from the author o..<
    But still, great book ^^

    Oh, and Enemy at the gate was great as well! A little rushed, but still great. Todd’s “Huh”, Woolsey’s decision to risk the city (he has gotten brave! please let him keep command in the movie or at least let him appear in the movie), Carter’s next command the General Hammond, …
    And the Odyssey on a secret mission…

  43. there seems to be some part of my comment missing o.O, so just in case, it’s about:
    “And just one addition on the negative side, because it made me mad (perhaps well-calculated torture from the author”
    so what made me mad is the very very VERY detailed description of the Hyper Space and anything related when things had just started to get really exciting.
    It’s nice that there’s so much backstory but I wanted to know how things would turn out and would have very much preferred if the Hyper Space story had been told anywhere else in the story.

  44. @Line Noise: I quite enjoyed the first four books of the Seafort Saga, mostly because Nicholas kept getting promoted almost in spite of himself. But yes, by the end of the fourth book, I’d had enough of his self-loathing. Kept wanting to tell him to lighten up, and get over himself!

    OBS is a good deal more upbeat! 🙂

  45. Coucou Joseph!

    Vous allez bien =)!!

    Merci pour cette video. Mince il y’a un malaise entre John et Teyla, ils paraissent gêner et il n’ose pas ce regarder…allez vous nous ce qu”il c’est passer entre eux juste avant cette scéne……………XD

    A notre convention il y aura des auteurs français de SF…!

    Quel auteur français de SF connaisez vous?

    Passez une bonne journée. A demain.

  46. The finale aired last night here in Canada. I enjoyed it as much the second time around. Love seeing Atlantis showing up just in time to save the day. I love the sound of Todd voice especially when he says “John Sheppard”.

    Is that his real voice or is it fixed up with an effect in Post?

    Why did Woolsey say to Ronan at the end of the Finale “Welcome to Earth” when Ronan has already been to Earth Twice?

  47. @suziesbluefeather: ROTFL 🙂 Ahhh, labs and poop. We had one that used to play in it when he was a puppy. Yep. It was everywhere. Elway (does everybody know who Elway is now?) has to be watched carefully when he goes out or he’ll eat it as well. Apparently, all dogs will eat cat poop, but I found out from my vet that many of them eat dog poop too. They really have no idea why, but the end result is the end result, isn’t it? Ugh.

    @Ponytail – Don’t know, but I’ll ask her husband 🙂

    Joe, anything new on the casting SGU scene? And where, pray tell, is Joel’s Q&A? Sorry about the poop 🙂

  48. I discovered the Honorverse more than two years ago, so in time I’ve read all the books of the main series and the spinoffs (minus the new one, Storms from the Shadows, waiting for the 6$-ebook).
    Having read a number of interviews and posts I don’t really have questions for David Weber, but I’d like to point out to a couple of resources:

    1) This is a website maintained by Joe Buckley and it includes a complete collection of posts and emails that David Weber wrote in the last fifteen years or so about the Honorverse background and about his choices and ideas when planning the series. Really interesting, but be careful: there are MANY SPOILERS for the following books of the series.

    2) another website maintained by Joe Buckley, it distributes (legally!) copies of all the free CDs created by Baen, comprising pretty much everything David Weber (and fellow Baen authors Eric Flint, John Ringo, David Drake and many others) published. All the books are complete, free and without DRM. If you like them, buy them through Baen’s ebook shop to support the one publisher who doesn’t treat its customers as potential thiefs and managed to create a vibrant community.

    3) I’d also like to recommend the shared-universe 1632 series, by Eric Flint and many others: it’s the most open and innovative series out there, and I personally find it very interesting. Alternative history, you can find a lot of informations in the Wikipedia page

  49. Here’s my question for the author, David Weber:

    The political system of the Manticoran kingdom is divided into Liberals, Conservatives, and one other. The Liberals are painted as the villains, more or less. I’m wondering if that matches your political views?

  50. Joe,

    Vanity Fair has published an article on the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special, which I read just now. The article mentions that, when the original director David Acomba quit, he was replaced by Steve Binder. It’s not a terribly common last name, so I was wondering if he’s perhaps a relative of the lovely and talented Carl Binder. Could you possibly ask Carl for me?

  51. I was so excited to see that On Basilisk Station would be your book of the month! I’m a big fan of the Honor series. Here are my two questions for David Weber.

    1. I love that the ships in this series can’t just magically jump to “warp speed” or turn on a dime. How did you come up with the idea to write a space opera where the ships were based on an old fashioned blue sea navy?

    2. The Kingdom of Manticore resembles a futuristic version of 18th and 19th century England. In which case, was the treatment of the Stilties by Manticore and Haven a commentary about imperialism?

  52. User Special wrote:
    Question for Mr. Mullie, since it stumped Mr. Gero:

    Do the writers ever discuss how the marginalization of Ronon and Teyla contributes to rather horrifying racial and sexual politics of this show?


    How have these characters been “marginalized” on the show? This was never the Ronon and Teyla variety hour. Gero was probably stumped because it is a ridiculous question on par with “How often do you beat your wife”. Maybe you would get an answer if you explained what you thought was “horrifying”.

    I look at these characters and honestly don’t see any racial lines, I just see two interesting characters. Maybe it is you who has an issue with race if that is all you see when you look at people. Sheesh.

    You do realize that this is a fictional show about spaceships, wormholes and alien vampires, right? It’s light entertainment. If you want socio-political commentary and regular lectures about racial prejudice you might be watching the wrong show.

  53. @ Ranger One Unfortunately, I don’t think the Air Force adviser made the transition to Atlantis. Otherwise, LTC Sheppard would know how to render proper military courtesy.

    And, seriously? You really expect logic from a scripted television series, especially these days? Wishful thinking, I’m afraid. I’ve learned that there isn’t a crane large enough to suspend my disbelief, so I just do my best to lock it into a box in the back of my mind when I watch the tube and ignore the lapses as best I can so that I can enjoy watching a few shows whose characters I like. If I want logic and verisimilitude, I’ll go read a good book.

  54. Heya Joe,

    How the hell are ya?!

    Haven’t watched either Vegas or Enemy at the Gate at the moment so I’ve been staying away – well that and a number of other things that have been stealing my time/energy/soul.

    So far I’m not so impressed with 2009. I’m open to any way of creating a temporal fold or if you have instructions on how to do some sort of ritual cleansing process to get the year back in balance I’m all ears.

    The things that usually keep me sane and bring back perspective and balance are all out of whack along with everything else that is usually out to send me around the bend so right now I’m pointing an accusing finger at the universe and with great articulation exclaiming “Oi!”

    Ok, so On Basilisk Station.

    I really struggled with the start of the book. At about 50 pages in, I put it down (or browsed to another Collection on the Reader in my case) and went and read the Thursday Next series of books, started on Jonathan Strange, read one of the free ebooks Tor sends through, The Buried Pyramid, before deciding to get back to the book.

    Once I got over that initial hurdle I thought Basilisk was great!

    I work in a male dominated industry so there were parts that had me chuckling to myself. The behaviour of Young and Hauptman were sadly quite based in reality.

    Poor Dame Estelle. I just wanted to give her a hug. The growth in the relationship between Honor and Dame Estelle ended up giving me warm fuzzies much like that of a proud Mother and respectful Daughter.

    The technology was extremely different to anything I’ve read about before – however I’ve only been reading Sci Fi for just over a year now so I’m not exactly an expert. It was nice that it wasn’t just “raise the shields” but there was also tactical thinking involved in how the ship approached an attack based on the defences the ship had been built with.

    My impression is that Honor could be seen as a role model to young female readers in the way she thought outside the box to not just do her job but show she couldn’t be bullied into submission.

    Initially I did not connect with her character but as she was placed in these seemingly “no-win” situations and kept her head on straight, I started to warm to her. I liked that Honor also kept her human side, despite everything that was going on around her, by still being concerned with McKeon.

    Right up until the end I was attempting to guess the fate of McKeon. In some books/movies, the traits of a character have you just knowing their fate. Ie: Show a picture of your loved one who is about to give birth to your first son – he’s going to die.

    I particularly enjoyed the cuts to the characters within the Government; William, Alexander, Hamish and the way they assisted Honor with keeping Young’s hands tied. What can I say, I’m a sucker for seeing a spoilt, misogynistic, manipulating turd getting what he deserves.

    I enjoyed the Politics within the novel as I’m a believer that politics is present in almost all aspects of life and greatly influences the outcome of a situation. Second to politics is marketing spin. The line is getting increasingly blurred between the two.

    The final battle gave the visuals of a blockbuster movie and by that point I could not put the book down. I will be interested to see if the loss of so many souls on her ship plays any part in her character development in future books.

    From the brief look through some of the BOTM comments most of my questions have already been asked so I just have a couple.
    1. How difficult was it to write a protagonist of the opposite sex?
    2. Was there a particular aspect of politics that was the driver for that storyline?

    Thanks to David Weber for taking the time to visit and also to Joe for once more giving us the opportunity to speak to another amazing author.

    Das – Look what I found living in a hole in our front gate

    Joe – Our big guy Ralph has taken to doing this when we leave him at home for more than a few hours. Neither of the dogs try and escape, he just rips a hole big enough for both of them to get through and then just sit and wave at the dogs on the other side. 48 fence palings were replaced along one side of our fence. Bottles of wine will be delivered to the neighbours shortly.

    Hope everyone is well.

  55. Hi, Joe; I loved Enemy at the Gate! Much much better than SG-1’s finale; Just a few questions though: Where was Jack? Why did he want John in the Chair instead of himself? I noticed an SG-1 patch on Sam’s uniform – does this mean she was back on SG-1 after the leading Atlantis? Also Sam’s make-up was pretty heavy (plus really cute earrings) – why? If Area 51 was destroyed does this mean “The Hammond” is gone too? Thanks for answering 🙂

  56. Hi Joe,

    I finally got to see Enemy at the Gate today!! It was awesome!! Congratulation on a job well done! Thank you for giving us a great episode. And a 1.5 rating-wow.

  57. My question for David Weber:

    Why did you decide to make your main character a woman?

    My thoughts on the book:

    Let me begin by saying, I am not a great fan of military science fiction. Also, I thought that “On Basilisk Station” had a real “Age of Sail” feel to its narrative and style, and unfortunately that is another genre I have never really liked. However, even though it had a couple of strikes against it from the start, I really did enjoy reading “On Basilisk Station” and it was primarily because of the characters. Don’t get me wrong – I thought the story was very well done and had some wonderful plot twists that I didn’t see coming. But the characters are what kept me reading to the end.

    I especially liked McKeon – even when he was being passive aggressive and resisting Honor’s attempts to establish herself as Captain and develop a working relationship with him as her First Officer; or maybe it was precisely because he acted that way. I felt like I could really understand McKeon: he had been hoping to finally be given command of the ship he loved, but found himself passed over in favor of the younger, less experienced Honor Harrington. And It didn’t help that she looked much more youthful than she really was due to the improved anti-aging gene therapy that he had missed out on; that was just another item on the list of things that irritated him about her. I liked the interaction between them and the way that Honor with her nearly superhuman, calm persistence eventually broke through McKeon’s injured pride and jealousy. But although Honor Harrington was an excellent Captain and a wonderful character in her own right, she was a bit too perfect for me. I find characters more engaging when they are a little more complicated and flawed. Many of the minor characters were wonderful and very well developed: the smoothly efficient and charming Lieutenant Venizelos, the dedicated and earnest Lieutenant Webster; and even the cold and mysterious mercenary Denver Summerville.

    What did detract from the book were the times when, for me, the naval detail and scientific explanations of grav waves and Warshawski hyperdrives didn’t enhance the story but rather got in its way. Especially Chapter 29 where the action pretty much came to a screeching halt right in the middle of the exciting chase.

    So to sum things up: I liked it. I would recommend it to people who enjoy military Sci-Fi, and possibly even to friends who like Age of Sail stories, but I don’t think I will go out and look for the rest of the books in the series.

  58. Hi Jo !

    I want to make a costume like Sheppard’s dress uniform, as seen in Sunday, and I was wondering if he wore Astronaut or Pilot wings. Could you “éclairer ma chadelle” please ?

    Thx, GWénaël.

  59. Thank you for the clip, still saddened by SGA’s cancellation and eagerly anticipating the movie, which cannot come to soon! Also have recently rewatched First Contact and Lost Tribe and did I metion before my undying love for you and Martin for those very excellent episodes? Thank you again 😀

  60. @Narelle: Ew! Ew! Ew! I shoulda figured if you were showing das…. OMG! So evil to do that to me. *shudder*

    And I think your dog and my dogs would be serious partners in crime. Yeah… I have holes in my backyard you could fit a VW Beatle in. 😯

    Gotta love the puppies. But not what’s livin’ in your gate. I’m not feeling the love for that. *shudder*

  61. Hi Joe, in the SGA’s episodes ‘Midway’ and ‘Lost tribe’ Daniel Jackson and Teal’c were both guests in altlantis, but they weren’t using any SGC uniform and non SG-1 either, can i assume that they are no longer members of SG-1 ? and Teal’c is back into the Free Jaffa nation ?

    Have a Good day.

  62. @ Narelle – WHAT THE HELL IS THAT???!!!!! IT’S THE SIZE OF MY FRIGGIN’ FACE!!!!!!

    *note to self: NEVER go to Australia. EVER.

    And you know what stupid thing I did? Huh, huh…know what I did??! In my brilliant attempt to figure out what sort of spider it was, I googled ‘spiders of Australia’…FREAKIN’ BIG MISTAKE!!!! 😯 For crying out loud, what the hell are you feeding those things down there??! COWS???!

    Ugh. I liked Joe’s picture better…

    I’m a bit pressed for time, Narelle…but sorry about your other fish… 🙁 I hope you get the tank straightened out soon… *hugs*

    @ Sparrow-hawk – Was that Age of Sail comment a nudge for me? 😉 I still have Elric to tackle!! Ack! Help! I’m reading and I can’t get caught up!!

    Okay – after that BIGass spider, I’ll take doggy puke n’ poop stories ANY ol’ day!

    God…I’m so glad Wraith don’t look like spiders…

    Although…I always wondered how The Defiant One managed to web up that kid in such short order…I mean…where did the web come from?? Please, oh please…don’t tell me it comes from their butts! I mean, Todd spinning yarns with his mouth is one thing…but spinning webs with his arse is quite another! ACK!

    I am SO gonna have nightmares tonight… 😛


  63. Sorry das and Trish – should have put a warning on that.

    Das did you see that particular spider on your search? We were wondering ourselves. Hubby put it in a container yesterday to look for markings but it started biting the edge and venom was coming out. It was at that point we named him Edward and sent him back into the hole.

    Oh, and yes, Australia would be your hell country. 103 degrees here today (in your lingo), every native animal can kill you, the smaller the spider the deadlier, except for the bird eating one. It’s big and bad. Google that and check out the photo of the spider actually eating a full-sized bird.

    Thanks re the fish. I know it’s crazy to be feeling crappy over fish, but it was just one more thing to add to the list. They are so relaxing to watch at the end of a stressful day, but when every fish is looking ready to float you just don’t know what to do. The tank/s are starting to settle and I’m hoping the giant goldie will pull through. These guys can live for up to 35 years and I just lost a 5 year old one and one only 3 months old. You just feel bad.

    We also have the situation that due to media pressure after a child death they are looking at banning and confining dogs with Bull Mastiff in them. Our big sap (although I guess the fence would say otherwise) is crossed with a Bull Mastiff so it will effect him. If you want to make a big dog angry, make up rules to stop them from running around and letting out their energy. He’s also not been well and Jack has developed arthritis in his leg.

    I’ve decided to look at a complete career change too (tired of being in a profession when people only call because something is wrong). I’m applying to work on the Great Barrier Reef as a Tourism ambassador. It will involve doing daily blogs while living on the Whitsunday Islands. There will be thousands applying but I figure I might as well give it a go!

    Throw in a healthy dose of ridiculous in-law politics, my Dad’s health not the greatest, uncertain work for Hubby and complications with the settlement of my company (which creates bigger complications) and it’s been a great first two weeks of the year! Have that ritual for me yet Joe?

    For the love of Beckett – I really appreciated your email in my Inbox this morning too 🙂

  64. Finally saw EAtG, and it was great! It was certainly very jam-packed, so much so that it could have very easily been a 2-parter.

    Also, it was great seeing Sam again. I loved that she was acting commander of the SGC, as she is more than qualified, and this certainly makes up for her losing command of SG1 and Atlantis. I know that she is in line to command a new ship, but I would personally love to see her becoming permanent commander of the SGC. Perhaps in the 3rd movie?

  65. Hey, joseph mallozzi

    I have been on a quest to find out information regarding Glen Cook and his series of books the Black Company. I have stumbled upon a problem regarding the next book in the series, and that is it is no longer in print. So I was wondering if you would be able to contact me via email, cause I was wondering if you know whether or not the Glittering Stones Books, will be republished like the Chronicles of the Black Company and the Books of the South.

    Thanks for your help.

  66. First I definately agree with on “occasionally getting lost in the details, particularly in those first one hundred pages” of On Basilisk Station. I had the same trouble. But once I got past that first hundred or so, it became the book I couldn’t put down!

    I definately enjoyed the character Honor, who was not the status quo military person. She spoke her mind but not in a way that over-powered anyone. And she cared about her crew even if they really didn’t care for her (i.e. McKeon in the beginning). Just goes to show never to make her mad.

    I overall enjoyed it but I admit I’m not too much of a fan of all the military jargon that was in it (but what can I expect from a military SF/space opera book). Just wish I had more background information on Honor. I can’t wait to read more (though the except at the end of the book has me a bit lost).

    Thank you again for a great recommendation!

    And a question for Mr. Weber-What made you decide to write in the military SF realm?

  67. One thing that has bugged me is how well SG-1 has utilized the IOA, but Atlantis has rarely mentioned them, and never in the capacity that SG-1 has. Since Atlantis is on Earth, will we see the IOA take a visibly more active and intimate role in the Atlantis Expedition? The IOA is an international body and Atlantis is (supposedly) an International base. I’d think the IOA would invest more effort in Atlantis than the SGC, especially since Atlantis is now on Earth (not to mention between the two currently most active member nations, the US and China).

  68. Joe,

    1. Did you ever consider weightwatchers? It’s a great program. Like I’ve been saying: I’ve lost 110 lbs (american lingo). I’m a lifetime member and have never felt better. It’s pretty easy. It does require going to meetings which I know you don’t have the time but it’s a thought.

    2. Enemy at the Gate was a wonderful episode. I can’t wait for SGU. There’s a void in the universe when there isn’t any SG in any shape or form. I also can’t wait for more on SG-1 and SGA movies.

    3. What is your email? I’d like to send you some healthy food. I know you gave it to me a while back but I’ve deleted it.

  69. I’ve been reading your blog for a few months but this is my first post! 🙂 I’ve been looking for new books to read, and On Basilisk Station seemed appealing, so I got it. However, I read it almost a month ago, so some of the details are hazy. Here’s my attempt at a contribution:

    Having never read any sci-fi before, “getting lost in the details” was a bit of an understatement in my case. Science in general has never been a topic of mine that I particularly enjoyed, and there was a lot of science in a short amount of space at times. However, if I took my time reading through those sections rather than zipping through them (I’m more of an action girl than a dialogue girl), I found that I could more or less get the gist of what was going on. More or less. I think I understand but don’t ask me to explain. The bits of technology I understood were interesting.

    Thankfully, the book was not all science and technology. I enjoy politics quite a bit and the machinations of the different groups were compelling. I loved the woman in charge of the planet (is that Dame Estelle? Fuzzy on details and you all aren’t providing enough of them to jog my memory!), but not as much as I loved Honor. She is a strong woman who had to earn her position, not have it handed to her, and then earned every last shred of respect she got. And all the while, she encouraged her crew to do the same thing, which in my opinion, is the surest sign of strong leadership there is. Good leaders work with what they have, but great leaders inspire greatness as well. Honor was absolutely fantastic.

    One of my favorite parts of the book was the development of the non-major characters. Too often in books, there is a whole supporting cast that you meet but never get to know and certainly never see any character development from. That was definitely not the case here, as the minor characters not only served a purpose but were sufficiently developed so that the reader could get to know them and love them as well.

    Some minor issues with the book: First, the prologue was confusing for me as well. I think the issue for me was that going on to Chapter 1 and the introduction of Honor was jarring in light of that. (How in the world does this person fit into the previous discussion?, etc.) I was able to sort it all out thanks to the handy map provided. Without the map, I think I would have had to do my best to forget the prologue entirely.

    Second, the difference in calendars was incredibly confusing when trying to figure out relative age differences between characters and some of the historical bits. I understand why the calendars would exist, but it seemed like that could have been saved for the end notes rather than piecemeal explained throughout. It seemed as the book went on, T-years were used more and more, which I liked, but I think it would have served the book better to pick one from the beginning rather than throw all three at the reader.

    That’s all I have for now, I’ll try to think up some questions for Mr. Weber!

    Thanks for recommending this book, Joe!

  70. I’m back. Did anyone miss me? Weekends are busy for me between work and family stuff that we usually have on weekends. I didn’t get a chance to see Enemy at the Gate till today so that is another reason why I stayed away from the blog. I wanted to be able to enjoy the episode without any spoilers. Let me say it worked and I was and enjoyed every minute of it well except the end. And come on the last episode and Sci fi still can’t show the entire opening credit. Gimme a break.

    @Trish: Sorry it is taking so long to respond back. I wasn’t ignoring you. A busy weekend and as I said I wanted a spoiler free last episode. As for my dog yes he is big, but he is such a baby. When he was a puppy people kept saying how big his paws were and that he would be a big dog. Well, he is now. I wish there was a way I could send you a picture.

    Joe and Paul: Thanks for an awesome last episode of SGA. I loved all of it. I also liked that you put Ronon with Amelia Banks. I like the twist at the end of bringing Atlantis home. Thanks again for all your wonderful episodes of SGA and SG1. Sorry I wasn’t here for the big goodbye on Friday.


  71. This was a great start to one of my favorite series!

    My question – when’s the next one coming out 😉

  72. Eu gostaria de dizer que ainda não chegou no Brasil a 5ª temporada de SGA, mais vi pelo youtube e achei muito legal. Mais porfavor não acabem com a possibilidade da Teyla e Shappard ficarem juntos. Ela ama aquele homem e o john também, ela engravidou porque a Raquel ia ser mamãe.E Teyla não tem nada haver com o pai do bebê. Espero que os autores não coloquem o preconceito que provavelmente todos que vieram para Terra vão sofrer. Mais os dois tem um passado de admiração e cumplicidade, e seria muito legal extraterrestre amando os terraquios , já pensou Torren John sendo criado por John e Teyla juntos . Por favor não façam essa covardia com os dois, nem a Weir seria tão perfeita para ele, ainda mais que a aventura interplanetaria vai continuar. Abraços e obrigado pela oportunidade.

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