I rarely read military science fiction anymore. It’s more a function of time than anything else. Beyond beta reading works by other indie authors, I barely have time for my “favorite” standbys of old (Stephen King). Put it on television, and I’m there. The remake of Battlestar Galactica kept us occupied for hours on end (awesome show)…and I still rewatch episodes while pounding the pavement on the treadmill. When Tony Faville announced that he had co-authored a military sci-fi novel, I made the purchase and put it on my Kindle. It sat there for longer than it should have…I really had fun reading HOMEWORLD. It was a guilty pleasure to say the least. My official review follows. If this is your genre, you can pick up a copy HERE. It’s well worth the price of admission.
HOMEWORLD hits the mark on many levels, offering the military sci-fi reader the best of both “worlds,” in a near perfect blend of tactical and strategic action with a thoughtful, expansive plot. If this is your genre, the two authors’ collaboration will not disappoint. Reminiscent of Starship Troopers, Battlestar Galactica (the new version) and David Gunn’s Death’s Head, the gritty, often graphic detail brings a new level of realism to the action. The authors demonstrate an incredible imagination about futuristic combat technologies…and in the future, the weapons are deadlier and messier. This story is not for the feint of heart or those with a weak stomach. The very first pages will admittedly challenge both, but hang in there, HOMEWORLD is worth it.
The book moves back and forth logically between ground action sequences, epic space battles and the political machinations of the varying groups engaged in all out interstellar domination. I won’t go into the different factions and species in this review, but suffice it to say that the politics and motivations were clear in these scenes. The ground battles cycled from large scale battalion sized events to squad action, all intricately described…at times excruciatingly graphic (I’m good with that). Heroes are born from this baptism by fire, as you would expect.
While the ground pounding scenes were fantastic, my favorite parts of the novel involved the zero-gravity duels between starships of varying size and lethality. As a quasi-naval historian, I have read and re-read accounts of major sea battles, obsessed with the clashing of metal juggernauts. HOMEWORLD’s space battles gave me the same feeling…a sense of dread and commitment to the inevitable. When two ships close to engage, it is often understood that one, or both, will be lost…HOMEWORLD redefined this paradigm. The weapons systems onboard the spacecraft are the most innovative I have read, changing the rules of space combat forever in this genre. I can tell that the two authors spent a considerable amount of time contemplating zero gravity combat. Aside from the spectacular detonations of the ships’ reactors, death is unceremonious from the outside. Hulls are sheered apart by kinetic weapons, atmospheres are vented, crews die. Very well done.
Readers of the military sci-fi genre will find plenty to enjoy in this story. I would definitely read a follow-on story set in HOMEWORLD’s universe.