Happy Veterans Day to those who have served! I wish I had taken the time to compile a list of SFF authors who are also veterans, but for sure if anyone wants to throw some names out there I will make a post at a later date to feature them! Those also a link at the end which leads to a great article on how various authors took to writing military sci-fi after their service!
For now, let me randomly pick a few military science fiction & fantasy books that I have enjoyed, have been recommended, or want to read! Definitely comment if you want to add any favorites or make recs!
The Fantasy books are pretty well known but I would love to know what y’all think of my sci-fi picks, mostly written by veterans!
Let’s start with fantasy, because I only have three to mention that I’ve read in the past few years:
1) Green Rider: doesn’t present itself initially as a military fantasy. The riders are a much underrepresented and fascinating branch of the Sacoridian army that function as the King’s messenger service, but are also fully trained and equipped to fight. They serve many roles. The riders become more prominently featured as a military branch throughout the series and gain respect and military involvement due to the actions of the main character, Karigan, and their leader, captain-turned-major Laren. Might be a good choice for those transitioning into harder military fantasy
2) The Black Company: I don’t think Glen Cook needs any introduction. My favorite thing about these books initially is that the narrator is the chronicler/medic, and he doesn’t quite understand magic nor care for warfare so much, so you get a chronicle of events from a more human perspective. It’s pretty military though if not so tactically heavy. It’s wild throughout the first few books and I’d like to keep reading at some point for sure.
3) I’ve only read the first two, but I’m amiss if I leave Malazan off my list of military fantasy books. All I’m going to say is epic battles, huge sorcery, devastating consequences, it’s all there. I’m not an elitist but I’ve had a blast reading so far and Deadhouse Gates was phenomenal.
I’ve read less military sci-fi than other genres over the years but have found a few favorites, and many more that I’d like to get to. Kindle Unlimited has an absolute wealth of space Marines and military sci-fi to surf and I always wish I had time to randomly try and find more gems.
1) I’ll start with Starship Troopers because it helped spawn the entire genre. I read and reviewed it last month and definitely think it’s worth checking out just for how influential it was. Plus, Heinlein was a veteran of the U.S. Navy!
2) Speaking of veterans, while surfing Kindle Unlimited I stumbled across another veteran who writes Military SF. I’m pleasantly surprised at how many people I know that have read and enjoyed Frontlines by Marko Kloos. My reviews for the first three or four books are up on the blog here. MK – thank you for your service!
3) Another Veteran, one that I haven’t read yet but need to check out, is Michael Mammay and his Planetside series. He is a retired Army officer! These books come highly recommended and Mammay is pretty chatty with book recommendations on social media which makes me appreciate him. Thank you for your service as well!
4) Another Veteran & author that I would like to continue reading, is John G. Hemry aka Jack Campbell. He is a retired Naval officer and has written a ton of military sci-fi books, including The Lost Fleet series as well as some spin offs. Thanks for your service as well Mr. Hemry!
5) Not long ago a friend also recommended Evan Currie’s series On Silver Wings. He said “sometimes you just want explosions!” These books seem pretty short after the first one and are fairly highly rated, so I may check them out some day. I don’t believe Currie is a veteran but if he is, I apologize!
I also found this article that talks about some famous and not so famous veteran authors! It’s a great read for sci-fi fans https://www.stripes.com/former-troops-building-second-careers-in-military-science-fiction-1.417224
Please let me know what you think, add to my list!