Best “After the Happily
An Ancient Peace
(Confederation #6/ Peacekeeper #1) by Tanya Huff
Valor/Confederation series is one of the great military SF series that is a
heroine’s journey instead of a hero’s journey. It is also an utterly marvelous
military SF series from the point of view of someone who is a senior
non-commissioned officer and is determined to remain so. Torin Kerr is a
Gunnery Sergeant in the Terran United Planets Space Force Marines, and proud of
But the story in the
original series was one of Torin digging deeper than she ever intended into the
war between her side and the aliens. As the series progressed, Torin’s faith in
her service is shaken. When she discovers the truth, the story is a classic of
the “aliens manipulated events” type. And Torin falls in love with a private
ship owner who doesn’t play by the rules. When the truth is revealed, Torin and
her crew retire from the Marines, seemingly to live happily, if occasionally
grumpily, ever after.
An Ancient Peace is what
happens next. You can the woman out of the Marines, but you can’t pry the
Marines out of the woman with a crowbar. And while Torin and her crew may have
lost faith in the powers that be, she hasn’t lost any of her will to rush in
where angels rightfully fear to tread and rescue whoever needs rescuing.
Including the galaxy.
Best “Riff on To Serve
The Terrans (First Salik
by Jean Johnson. Also, Best Riff on the “Fated Mate” trope.
The Terrans by Jean
Johnson is the first book in her First Salik War series, which is a prequel
series to her Theirs Not to Reason Why series. (For those keeping score, it is
more than possible to read The Terrans without reading the other series. After
all, it’s a PREQUEL)
The First Salik War
series, and particularly The Terrans is not military SF like Theirs Not.
Instead, this is a first contact series that gets the history moving towards
the later events. One of the cool things in Johnson’s universe is that psychic
powers are not merely recognized, they are also codified in a way that explains
what’s going on, and in a scientific manner that allows those powers to be
measured and proven.
So when all the psychics
on Earth have visions about certain ships with certain people meeting aliens,
everybody, including the powers that be, listens. And that’s where our story
begins. Ambassador Jackie MacKenzie goes out to meet the aliens, and discovers
two things. A long time ago, and quite possibly literally in a galaxy far, far
away, somebody seeded the galaxy with human colonies removed from Earth long
before we developed space travel. And there is a whole race of aliens who
thinks we make a very tasty lunch, especially if we are alive and squirming
while we’re being eaten.
Through the Static by Jeanette Grey
In a way, this is
another SF slavery story, but it takes place here on Earth. It also picks up
the classic SF theme that governments will do anything, break any law, corrupt
any moral code, in order to create supersoldiers of the mindless
In this particular
universe, they do it just the way that the First Order in Star Wars: The Force
Awakens creates stormtroopers - they kidnap children and reprogram them. And
just like Finn in SW:TFA, sometimes the programming breaks down.
When a scientist
successfully delves into the secrets that create these supersoldiers, the evil
powers that be send multiple teams of those supersoldiers after her. But Jinx’
programming is already breaking down, and Dr. Aurelia Locke knows exactly how
to return his memories and free will to the programmed assassin. What no one
expects is that the former supersoldier will fall in love with the woman who
saved him, and vice versa.
Jinx and his fellow
supersoldiers will remind any SF reader of Robocop or the Terminator as well as
SW:TFA, but this time, there’s a happy ending. Only after a massive struggle
between Jinx, Aurelia, and the man who targets them both.
for Readers who don’t even like Post-Apocalypse”
Hell Squad series by
I don’t normally like
post-apocalyptic romances. The whole idea of the prepper’s paranoia finally
paying off doesn’t actually do anything for me. Your mileage, of course, may
vary. However, I love Anna Hackett’s Hell Squad series, which is absolutely
I’m still trying to
figure out why. The Hell Squad series blends a lot of things that I do like.
For one thing, the apocalypse that Hell Squad is post of is an alien invasion.
So this is definitely science fiction. Not just because of the aliens, but also
because of other futuristic elements. The tech is definitely advanced beyond
contemporary tech, or at least what we know of contemporary tech.
There’s also more than a
touch of military romance, as either the hero or the heroine in each story, and
sometimes both, are part of some organized fighting force against the aliens,
even if they are not part of any military we now have. Although some of them
But ultimately, the Hell
Squad series is a survival story. These are people who have faced terrible
things, and are still fighting back. And as they fall in love, they remember
that they have more to fight for than they ever imagined.