07 May 2010

Elizabeth Moon - The Serrano Legacy

  • Author: Elizabeth Moon
  • Title: The Serrano Legacy
  • Publisher: Orbit UK 2006
  • ISBN: 978-1841494845
The Serrano Legacy is the Omnibus edition of the previously released novels Hunting Party (1993), Sporting Chance (1994) and Winning Colors (1995).  These novels tell the story of Heris Serrano, of the famous military family of the same name.  This is classic space opera of the military vein, and the novels in this collection make up an arc largely dealing with Heris overcoming her exile from the military and estrangement from her family to retake her position as a up and coming senior leader in the Regular Space Service of the Familias Reginas empire.

Great fun, with all of the best aspects of this field of scifi.  Space ships with environment systems and thousands of planets supporting every kind of lifestyle and industry, evil space pirates and insane military leaders who bare grudges against whole wings of the RSS on the basis of which commander they served under, rich planetary rulers with stupid hobbies and far far too much money.  Moon builds up this fantastic universe full of little nooks to explore and discover as you read through, tonnes of tiny little details that make the story not just plausible (in terms of relationships and society, not tech obviously) but something that you can feel almost a part of.  At the same time, her prose describes a physical universe that has real depth and a clear, understandable vision.  You can see the parts slotting together to make the working whole in everything from the political workings of the fictional galaxy, to the physical workings of the systems involved in space travel.

Moon writes like a combination of the Grand Vision of writers like Arthur C Clarke and Issac Asimov, but without the nerdishness that made their characters seem wooden and one dimensional.  Moon has a real understanding of not just people as individuals, but as groups, families, societies and nations.  This is absolutely some of the best large vision fiction I have ever read, right up there with my favourites of the new wave like Robert Reed, Paul McAuley etc.

What I love even more is that there are 2 more collections in this universe, following other characters from the stories in this volume.  Perfect.  I love that depth that is built though this kind of reuse of setting.  I'm very suprised that I missed these books back in 93/94, but not entirely upset, because I got to read them all in one hit without having to wait to see what came next.

You should probably read this book.