Tag Archives: science fiction

SBR: On Basilisk Station

Her Majesty’s Ship, Fearless, is sent to a backwater posting to enforce smuggling laws and protect Queen Elizabeth’s shipping lanes. While there, the young commander runs afoul of an old superior, uncovers a plot to start a war with the Kingdom, and winds up in a ship-to-ship battle with a much larger and better armed vessel.

If you think I am writing the description of a story set in Elizabethan England describing the battles between the scrappy British navy and Spanish privateers, I think that is what the author wanted.

On Basilisk Station: A Space Seafaring Novel

Much of what we love about the drama of the high seas is included in this novel by David Weber, from the political intrigues that make British drama so interesting to the idea of a ship that seems to be literally held together by the will of a captain.

On Basilisk Station opens a unique sci-fi universe, where faster than light travel is possible by navigated hyperspace, something Weber seems to have researched significantly but is beyond this review.

Setting the Scene

While the queen is indeed named Elizabeth, she is not the ruling monarch of a small island nation on earth, she is the ruling monarch of a small binary system that has 3 inhabitable planets.

Humanity has spread across the galaxy in the last millennia and the largest multi-system nation near Manticore is The People’s Republic of Haven, a hereditary country where most of the citizens are on a Universal Basic Income, called the Dole, and the government has to continually expand to pay for their social safety net.

Because of the physics that Weber creates for the series, space ships that fight in large, 3 dimensional space, tend to actually behave like 18th century sailing ships, so you have a strong, female lead, Commander Honor Harrington, opening the stage for one of my favorite book series.

Lessons Learned

Even though you should read for enjoyment, I often take away more from a good novel than I do from many more serious non-fiction works and how-to type books.

Leadership Requires Full-Spectrum Activity

Commander Harrington is sent to the backwater station the book gets its name from through no fault of her own, but her crew blames her for it. Although she prefers to inspire love and creativity, she has to spend a significant amount of time demanding it because of their own attitudes.

Although she rarely ever raises her voice, she does tend to get very intense. She also does not take excuses or offer them, and her crew learns to believe in themselves when they meet her demands, then they learn to love her as their captain.

Don’t Attempt to Recreate the Wheel

This book opened the main series of 14 novels on Honor Harrington, as well as multiple spin-off series, anthologies, comic books, and more. And there are two basic premises of the book:

  1. Creating a consistent science fiction novel that feels rooted in history.
  2. Introducing a strong heroine who overcomes significant adversity to not only survive but earn the love of her followers.

So often, fantasy and sci-fi novels attempt to do to much. We attempt to create an entirely unique world or just copy the other worlds in our genre. The best writers understand that they have to create something unique and infuse it with as much of their experience and viewpoint of reality as they can.

Don’t Give Up Hope

There is a point in the novel where the crew of Fearless realizes that they are hopelessly out massed and outgunned. But, they keep going.

It is the right thing to do, because they are worried that the ship they are fighting will bring reinforcements if it escapes.

And towards the end of the fight, there is no alternative.

And, the little ship that could does not give up.

To Read or Not?

If you enjoy space-based science fiction, enjoy a unique universe or are interested in strong protagonists, I highly recommend this novel.

David Weber’s On Basilisk Station is a highly engaging and entertaining read.

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Saturday Book Review: The Foundation Series

Sci-Fi on a marketing blog?

Yes, because content marketing seeks to understand content of all genres, even if that content style may never be used.

Foundation Series

One of the more popular novels by science fiction writer Isaac Asimov, the Foundation (7 Book Series) is a complete saga regarding the end of a galactic empire and the beginnings of a new one. Known for his psychological theories and imaginative surprises, Asimov’s novels have withstood the tests of time fairly well.

The plot of most of the books is not as important as the intricate philosophies Asimov portrays, taking sociology and psychology and theoretically applying them on a galactic scale.

Non-Evergreen Content

This is a marketing blog, so one marketing issue you will note if you read this series is that, like most sci-fi, the technology the author imagines becomes obsolete by modern standards. In marketing, you often want evergreen content that you can keep referring to over time, but you do need to realize that technology is rarely ever long-lasting.

Something Asimov wrote in the 1950’s (people flying around the galaxy using slide-rulers), becomes completely obsolete by the time he finished the series in the 80’s. In the same manner, if you are writing a blog on best SEO techniques, you need to realize that any technical gimmicks included in the blog will likely become obsolete in the next Google update.

Are Humans Predictable?

The most interesting part of the series is the idea that one person was able to take sociological data from the millions of human worlds and the billions of people on each world to predict the course of galactic human history. For a marketing professional, this philosophy is very tempting to embrace wholeheartedly.

  • We predict conversion rates.
  • We determine Return on Investment.
  • We plan marketing strategies, product releases, and more based on statistics.
  • We forecast sales, income, and more.

And yet, this series shows that humans love change and create change so much that you cannot predict anything with accuracy. By the third book of the series, Asimov introduces mutants who change his core operating timeline. He then introduces an organic world in which all atoms and groups of atoms (including humans) are part of the whole.

This reminds a savvy reader of why marketing will always be part art, as well as science.

Humans love unpredictability. Asimov knew that if he wrote a series of books that were completely predictable, they would not have continued selling.

Should I read the Foundation Series?

Do you enjoy classic sci-fi or philosophical inquiries into modernistic thought?

If so, then yes, you should read the series.

If the very question sets your teeth on edge, skip the series and rest assured.

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on some of the product/service links, I will earn a referral fee. 

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