One of my favorite science fiction series (read my first book review, On Basilisk Station) is the Honor Harrington book series. In the second book in the Honorverse series (the author has several series based in this sci-fi universe), David Weber introduces a culture on a planet that has an incredibly interesting religious culture that interacts with his cosmopolitan and pluralistic main culture of Manticore.
As an aside, the group originated from Idaho, in many ways the Graysons’ (so named for their planet) feel like home. But, they have developed some interesting theology and culture in the face of a 1000 year fight for survival on a planet that was poisoning them.
One of the best things about David Weber’s writing is how he explores duty and honor, and how people who act honorably often face significant consequences. In this book, he sets up a cold war confrontation between two sects of the religious group who founded the planet. One group was kicked off hundreds of years earlier to live on a better planet. The other group, those who stated on the toxic planet, had to change their philosophy and theology of life from something Amish-like that saw modern technology as a problem to an interesting take of American evangelicalism that was at once both incredibly personal and had much of the form and governmental structure of another religious group, the LDS church.
On the other hand, the people who were on a better planet, had grown like weeds, still thought technology was bad, but were willing to use it in order to destroy Grayson.
Into this mix, you have the two larger players attempting to create treaties and position their countries to be better prepared when the shooting starts.
Forging the Peace
This is where the look at Honor and how she will protect a culture that sees her as incompetent at best or as the root of all evil at worse, because she is a woman. The whole book looks at how to forge a peace between different cultures and when a culture or an individual is not able to forge a peace.
Peace comes when people willingly put down their arms, or when there is no one left to fight. And, this book shows how both sets of people (willing peacemakers and stubborn fighters) can come from the same culture, same religion, and similar racial background. One planet will not rest until the other is destroyed while the other planet will compromise and build relationships with others.
Without going into too much of the plot with spoilers, the book dives into how Honor Harrington uses duty to forge peace between many parties in the book.
This book attempts to show interactions between people from multiple religions, including a secular state, two free states (one pluralistic and one with a separation but a virtual monopoly of one religion), and a really weird Presbyterian theocracy. In other words, Honor of the Queen brings some of the ideological fight of the global Cold War into an interesting fusion of western American religious ideas.
SBR: Yea or Nay?
As one of my favorite books to read, because I love to see how pioneers from Idaho have survived, fought, and adapted over a 1000 year period, I still recommend this book as a good novel and as a good read on what it means to live and act from the strength of duty.