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At All Costs

Laughing Wolf here again, with one sort-of oops and today's introduction.

The sort-of oops is that I had really intended to include one more short paragraph in yesterday's post. One of the interesting things about the works of John Ringo is that he sets many of them to music. In Ghost, he introduced me to The Cruxshadows, Ethernaut and I am glad he did so. The album itself is good, and the song "Winter Born" is the one from the book, and is well worth a listen.

That added, I want to take the time today to introduce you to the third author I promised: David Weber. While I like his latest, At All Costs, to get the most out of it you really need to read the entire Honor Harrington series starting with On Basilisk Station.

In this future, humanity has gone to the stars, and found politics and warfare back in Napoleonic terms. Or, at least that is the simplistic view one gets at the start but such impressions are often deceiving -- and decidedly so in this case.

From a delightful surprise about the Republic of Haven to interesting growth in individual characters, nothing is static or quite as it seems. The surface read is fun, entertaining, and a pleasure. You root for the heroine, and rapidly come to see her and other major characters as complex individuals. Within the complexity you begin to see more, about them, about the situation, and about the "Big Picture." That's when the fun truly begins.

If there is one underlying theme to this series, it is cost. The personal price paid by each character, from fortune and careers lost to the ultimate price of their life, based on the decisions they make. The price paid by all for decisions, good or ill, made by those in command on all sides. The price paid by various societies, both in terms of war decisions and in terms of the consequences of social or other policies. Most of all, it details the price of command: from equipment reduced in terms of service life to the cost in lives of command decisions. The cost that comes from knowing the right thing and doing it despite the cost, and the crippling cost of failing to do so. Anyone who would lead others, in any capacity or venue, should read this series.

This is the trifecta of the discussions I mentioned the other day. Moving them into the realm of science fiction may indeed make them "safe" but it in no way makes them any less difficult. Such discussions are part and parcel of determining how to do better next time, to improve. James Joyner notes one part of the process, that of analyzing current events and systems in the myriad of specialty military academic publications in response to the controversy over the critical article from the British Brigadier. Fiction oft serves as a means to discuss the hypothetical and that which otherwise can't be dealt with openly.

In the comments, there are many good writers being discussed as well as good works, from The Five Fingers (an excellent read) to the Forever War (a favorite of mine). Go read them, for each contributes both entertainment and thought. My goal here is to introduce you to three writers who are providing and shaping the critical discussion that picks up where the academic journals leave off. Each is, in their own way and style, a good read. So, if nothing else, pick them up for the entertainment. If you care to dive below the surface, come on in.

Tomorrow, I hope to get to a point already made (in part) in the comments, and maybe a bit more. Meantime, enjoy.