Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Here Comes the Space Cavalry: Seeking the link between Westerns and Military Sci-Fi

Since I started exploring westerns through this blog, I have tried to keep my reading to books related to the genre.  Turns out it is not too hard to do.  The western mixes well with practically every other genre or type of novel out there.  Looking for a mystery?  Try the Holmes on the Range novels.  Eco-fiction?  Anything by Edward Abbey.  Romance?  How about the Hell’s 8 novels.  Crime stories?  Practically anything by Lauren Estleman.  And there is almost an embarrassment of cowboy erotica available on e-book.  I was therefore surprised when last week I couldn’t find a western version of one my other favorite genres, military science fiction. 

My interest in military sci-fi started a few years ago at the same time that I started running.  I was looking for an audio book about a long, adventurous journey, which seemed fitting for the miles and miles I had ahead of me.  I had just listened to Lonesome Dove, which fit the bill quite well, then stumbled upon the March Upcountry series from John Ringo and David Weber.  Over years and miles I have listened to the four book series at least twice, enjoying being immersed in a military language and culture that I have never experienced myself.  Since finding Ringo and Weber, I have gone back and reread Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet series, more Ringo, and a handful of others.

So where is the western version of military sci-fi?  Or the techno-thriller?  I hate to think that the two genres are mutually exclusive, but I am having a hard time making the match.  Something about the US Cavalry would work, especially something with the attention to military culture and tactics that you would get in a John Ringo or Larry Bond book.  There are plenty of cavalry movies out there (I recently watched She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, for example), and one astute reader pointed out that the first half of Star Wars is pretty close, but I am having a hard time finding a novel that fits the bill.

Any recommendations?

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