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Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Book Lists

Baen Reader's List of Recommended Military SF

Baen polled it's readers, on Facebook and on Baen's Bar, for a list of recommended Military SF. The criteria was simply works of SF (fantasy & science fiction both) that have as their main theme military concerns. The resultant list is mostly novels though a few seminal shorter works are included like Arthur C. Clarke's "Superiority" from Expedition to Earth and Robert A. Heinlein's "The Long Watch" found in The Green Hills of Earth.

Click the link below to read about the selection process from Baen Publisher, Toni Weisskopf.

About the Baen Reader's List

The Baen Reader's List of Recommended Military SF (Plus One)

We polled our readers, on Facebook and on Baen's Bar, for a list of recommended military SF. Very soon questions arose: should we use omnibuses, whole series, or individual volumes? How about short stories? How about fantasy? And what is military SF anyway? Over 500 different entries were submitted. Thanks go to Laura Haywood-Cory, associate editor, and Stephen St. Onge, Barfly, for compiling everything.

It fell to me to make the tough choices to winnow the list into something manageable - a Top 100. I took as our starting point works of SF (fantasy & science fiction both) that have as their main theme military concerns. We mostly list novels, but a few seminal shorter works are included. Some short fiction is included in longer volumes, too, like the Bolos stories of Keith Laumer in The Compleat Bolo. And in some cases I cheated and used the omnibus volume, as with The Prince, which contains two solo works by Jerry Pournelle and two novels co-written with S.M. Stirling, because I wanted to add in more titles to fill out our list and the omnibus is the easiest version of the Falkenberg's Legion stories to purchase now. Also, most of the works on the list fall under the science fiction umbrella, but a few works of fantasy, like The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and Elizabeth Moon's Paksenarrion books are included, because they have been so influential. Some are very serious indeed, some are humorous, some both (Live Free or Die by John Ringo comes to mind). There is a wide range of approaches to the material.

I've included a list of special mentions, each of which had multiple recommendations, just not as many as our top 100. For some authors, like A.E. van Vogt or Harry Turtledove, the occasional story or series might have a military concern. For others, like Chris Bunch or Steve Perry, all their books center on the things martial one way or another. In this list kudos go out to Reginald Bretnor & John F. Carr, who edited or co-edited key series of military SF short stories.

And yes, you'll find a lot of Baen Books in the Top 100, either published originally by us or as reprints. We're darned proud of that. But the only way on this list was to get multiple recommendations from readers.

The books are listed in alphabetical order by author, sorted roughly by series, for ease of use. And yes, there are a lot of David Drake's works on there. Because of Dave's special position at the heart of military SF, we will add in one more bonus title, because he thought it should here, even if it didn't occur to anybody else: We All Died at Breakaway Station by Richard C. Meredith.

The number one recommended title by far was Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein. It may fairly be seen as the work that started the literary dialog that became the subgenre of military SF (even though there certainly were occasional works here or there written before it to tackle military themes). The rest of the top 4 were: David Weber's first Honor Harrington title, On Basilisk Station, Drake's Redliners, and Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game. Then followed Drake's Hammer's Slammers books, Joe Haldeman's The Forever War, John Steakley's Armor, John Scalzi's Old Man's War and the Dorsai books by Gordon R. Dickson. If you read only those titles you will get a good idea of the power and appeal of military SF. But I hope this list will inspire readers to explore even farther afield. We'll be interested to hear about your discoveries!

-- Toni Weisskopf
Publisher, Baen Books
toni@baen.com


Special Mentions:

  • Abercrombie, Joe
  • Anderson, Taylor
  • Anvil, Christopher
  • Asher, Neal
  • Asimov, Isaac
  • Baldwin, Bill
  • Birmingham, John
  • Bova, Ben
  • Bretnor, Reginald, editor
  • Buettner, Robert
  • Buff, Joe
  • Bunch, Chris
  • Carr, John F.
  • Clarke, Arthur C.
  • Cobb, James H.
  • Cole, Allan
  • Conroy, Robert
  • Cook, Glen
  • Daley, Brian
  • Dobson, Michael
  • Dockery, Kevin
  • Erickson, Stephen
  • Feintuch, David
  • Forstchen, William
  • Frezza, Robert
  • Gear, W. Michael
  • Gemmel, David
  • Goodwin,Harold L.
  • Green, Roland J.
  • Hemry, John G. (aka Jack Campbell)
  • High, Phillip
  • Huff, Tanya
  • Meluch, R. M.
  • Niles, Douglas
  • Perry, Steve
  • Rowley, Christopher
  • Shelley, Rick
  • Shepherd, Joel
  • Shepherd, Mike (aka Mike Moscoe)
  • Smith, Cordwainer
  • Somers, Bart aka Gardner Fox
  • St. Clair, Margaret (Idris Seabright)
  • Stine, G. Harry
  • Turtledove, Harry
  • Van Vogt, A.E.
  • Walton, Jo
  • White, James
  • Williams, Walter Jon

 1. (1990)
 2. (1986)
 3. (1990)
 4. (1985)
 5. (1981)
 6. (1953)
 7. (1997)
 8. (1959)
 9. (1967)
 10. (1971)
 11. (1993)
 12. (1998)
 13. (1996)
 14. (1979)
 15. (1985)
 16. (1987)
 17. (1989)
 18. (1991)
 19. (1993)
 20. (2002)
 21. (1998)
 22. (2000)
 23. (2003)
 24. (2005)
 25. (2007)
 26. (2008)
 27. (2009)
 28. (2010)
 29. (1988)
 30. (1989)
 31. (1990)
 32. (1990)
 33. (1991)
 34. (1994)
 35. (1995)
 36. (1996)
 37. (1984)
 38. (1990)
 39. (1991)
 40. (1998)
 41. (1998)
 42. (1999)
 43. (2000)
 44. (2001)
 45. (2006)
 46. (1991)
 47. (1974)
 48. (1965)
 49. (1959)
 50. (1951)
 51. (1948)
 52. (1966)
 53. (2007)
 54. (1990)
 55. (1988)
 56. (1988)
 57. (1989)
 58. (1992)
 59. (2010)
 60. (1997)
 61. (1974)
 62. (1965)
 63. (1952)
 64. (1963)
 65. (1981)
 66. (1976)
 67. (2002)
 68. (2000)
 69. (2001)
 70. (2002)
 71. (2003)
 72. (2009)
 73. (2005)
 74. (2008)
 75. (2010)
 76. (2007)
 77. (1967)
 78. (2004)
 79. (1950)
 80. (1984)
 81. (1988)
 82. (1989)
 83. (1990)
 84. (1995)
 85. (1954)
 86. (1954)
 87. (1955)
 88. (1992)
 89. (2005)
 90. (1992)
 91. (2001)
 92. (2001)
 93. (2003)
 94. (2005)
 95. (2004)
 96. (2005)
 97. (1985)
 98. (1994)
 99. (1995)
 100. (1996)
 101. (1969)
  

  

  


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