My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Unbreakable: A Novel by W.C. Bauers www.goodreads.com/book/show/22238182
I read a book this week called Unbreakable by a new author, W.C. Bauers. It was a very good book, in the vein of Honor Harrington and Starship Troopers. What really struck me though, was that once I was about ¼ of the way in to the book …. I thought the author was writing in Weber’s Honorverse. I heard terms like: Hexapuma, BuPers, Diaspora, LAC (light attack craft), all very common verbiage in the Honor Harrington Universe. The author even has a “pull-out quote” from David Weber on the cover: “I highly recommend it.”
After some quick research I found no direct connection to Weber’s Honorverse.
Then it hit me: this is a technique called RESONANCE. David Farland wrote an excellent book on the subject: Drawing on the Power of Resonance in Writing.
The author (whether conscious or not) is using many terms that are familiar to Honorverse readers. This causes the work to resonate with them. He also uses the term “The Verse”, like in Firefly. By using resonance, these subtle cues really anchor the story in familiar territory, even though this a new author and his first book.
In addition to the warm and fuzzy feeling created by resonance, it’s a very well written book, with a decent plot, excellent character development, and lots of elements familiar to us lovers of Military Science Fiction and Space Opera.
The main character, as in David Weber’s Honorverse series, is a woman, which is a nice change. She’s no wilting violet, but what would you expect from a woman called Promise Paine?
I especially enjoyed the details on the suits of armor and weapons. A really cool feature of the Marine’s energy rifles is the concept of a ‘reserve’ – a last ditch built in backup of 30 shots – designed to be used when the shit hits the fan and you need to evac asap.
To quote David Weber, I highly recommend it!
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Should Space Opera (SO) be its own genre, as opposed to a sub-genre of Science Fiction? I think it should. To me, Science Fiction is Wonder Literature. Dave Farland thinks that books might better be categorized by the emotions they evoke:
…we don’t really even have “genres” in fiction. Books are sold based upon the emotion that they’re supposed to evoke. Thus, romance books evoke romance, thrillers arouse feelings associated with adventure, mysteries give us our dopamine rush, and of course we have horror. If you look science fiction and fantasy, you’ll understand why they were called “wonder” literatures as early as the 1960s. – Dave Farland
I think they would be great primary categories, but I’d still want to see more granular genres. Back to Space Opera and Science Fiction: When I think of Science Fiction, I think of new ideas, or hard-science. When I think of Space Opera, I think of drama in space, and re-packaged tropes. I’m not knocking SO, in fact, I love it, and it’s what I most enjoy reading and writing. But movies like Star Wars don’t inspire me to think of science, so why call it science fiction? It’s a Soap Opera set in space = Space Opera, right?
Many folks would say that there is already Hard Science Fiction, which is where the author tries to abide by the confirmed laws of physics and accepted theories. (Don’t get me started defending Warp Drive – Alcubierre Drive)
What do you think?
* Don’t forget to check out my latest novel: Star Viking