This is a list of the best sci-fi military books out there. These science fiction military novels were selected because of their true nature to the genre of scifi military and the love they've received from fans. Also, if you'd like to listen to these books for free, be sure to try Audible's one month free trial, and download two for free.
By Markos Kloos
It's the year of 2108, and everyone in the North American Commonwealth is bursting at the seams. Food was restricted and getting out was not a simple task. For people like Andrew Grayson one could only hope to win the lottery and draw one of the tickets on a colony ship. Or you could join the service.
With winning the lottery being a fantasy Andrew decides to enlist in the armed forces for a shot to getting real food, a retirement bonus and maybe even a ticket off of Earth. But soon after enlisting he realizes that things don't always end up the way they seemed they would. He also finds out that the settled galaxy holds for worse dangers than the ones back home.
By L Rob Hubbard
Battlefield Earth by L Ron Hubbard is a book which helped to determine the conventions for those that followed. It tells the epic sci fi military story of an alien civilization which has invaded and taken over the planet Earth. The destructive war which has been waged upon humanity has led to a rapid decline in the number of humans in existence. In spite of this, a brave band of survivors has grouped together to stage a noble resistance, trying to reclaim Earth for humanity.
By Orson Scott Card
Developing secure defenses again a violent alien race the government reverts to breeding child geniuses and training them to be soldiers. Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, a brilliant boy, lives with his parents, brother Peter, and the person he loves most in the world, his sister Valentine. Ender and his sister were candidates for the program however did not make it. Yet Ender was still drafted into the orbiting Battle School for strict military training.
Ender's brilliance earned him respect and the leader in his school. Yet Ender was not satisfied. He suffered from isolation, jealously from his peers, and the fear of the alien invasion.
By John Scalzi
Humanity has finally made a step in the right direction with interstellar space. However the bad part is that planets, fit to live on, are scare and alien races are willing to fight for them.
So we have to fight for what is our own. We must defend Earth, and claim our real estate. Yet while all of this goes on war still goes on for decades far from the Earth we know.
By Joe Haldeman
Earth and the surrounding aliens are at war when an unwilling conscript was drafted into the elite military unit. Private William Mandella has been thrown through space and time to fight the thousand-year war and perform his duties and do whatever he must to service and return home alive.
However, "home" may no longer be the same thanks to the time dilation caused by his space traveling. Mandella is no longer aging with Earth but instead at a much slower pace...
By Jack Campbell
As this being the 5th book in this 6 book series Captain John "Black Jack" Geary knows what his mission is. He must save the Alliance prisoners of war from certain death. Determined not to leave any man behind orders his fleet to strike hard and fast on the labor camp in the Heradao star system.
As his raid is successful his victory is short-lived. Geary finds out the Syndics had an ambush awaiting their arrival in attempt to annihilate Geary's fleet once and for all.
By John Ringo
As the Horvath continues their reign starts a new series. Live Free Or Die is the first book of this new 3 book series.
To rid their grip of the Horvath the humans need a hero. A hero who is unwilling to step down or cower when faced with the aliens. A hero who stand up against human governments, slavery and who has a winning mindset. Luckily there is Tyler Vernon. Who has bigger plans beyond just getting rid of the Horvath.
By Elliott Kay
Tanner Malone failed the Test, an exam the establishes how much on owes for his corporate-funded education. With his future basically buried under debt, Tanner's only option is to enlists into the navy in his home star system of Archangel.
However this doesn't work out for Tanner as planned. As he begins basic training he encounters some rude shipmates who bully him. Being assigned to the front lines makes Tanner learn that the only way to deal with his foes, cruel shipmates, and the never forgiving void of space he must get up close and face them.
By Chuck Wendig
The final battle between the New Republic and the Empire is almost upon us. The Battle of Endor ruined the Empire, scattering his forces across the many galaxies. But the Rebellion's is not doing must better. With the attack from the Imperial remnant, the Rebellion was forced to a new democracy.
Grand Admiral Rae Sloane, the now most wanted Imperial war criminal along with the on-time rebel pilot Norra Wexley, are now back in service under Leia's urgent request.
By Brian Staveley
In her mind, Pyrre Lakatur is not an assassin. She will be a priestess once she passes he final trial.
The issue is love. Not the killing it will involve, but the love. Pyrre will have ten days to kill seven different people, including her one love. Pyrre isn't positive she's even been in love before. And if she fails to complete the test she will be given to the God of Death. Yet death is not the issue, the issue has to do will the feeling of failure. So she sets off back to her homeland in hope of finding one who can take her love.
By Mike Brooks
Being the sequel to Dark Run Ichabod Drift and his team start out for a new smuggling job that quickly turns against them. With the team getting separated and caught in the civil war Drift has to figure out what he must do in order to get his team back.
By H.G. Wells
The War Of The Worlds is about a philosophically inclined author who is trying to get back home to see his wife. However the Martians are attacking the southern parts of London and make his journey near impossible.
By Robert A. Heinlein
As a recruit of the future starts off through the roughest boot camp in the Universe and goes head on into the battle against the humans most fearsome enemy.
Johnnie Rico never had the intension to go into the infantry. The training was the most gruesome anyone could go through. And if you didn't die in combat training you were sure to be finished off by the Bugs. But now that he is there right in the middle of the war he knows that his unit is one bad move away from making a huge mistake.
By Vaughn Heppner
Thousands of years ago there was one single alien super-ship that managed to survive all others and the battle. The remainder of the dying crew set the AI to automatic so as to defend the rest of what was left of their planet. Lengend has it that that very ship still continues to patrol the once battlefield in order to obey the last of the orders it was given.
Yet the Earth of now still needs a miracle. Coming out of the Beyond comes the New Men, who are stronger, smarter, and faster than ever before. Their advanced technology destroys anything put in their way and their spies have taken control of the governement and the Earth's military.
By W.C. Bauers
Even though the colonists of the planet Montana are use to being ignored they are still the key to the flashpoint in an impending interstellar war. Situated between two rival human empires Montana is a backwater. They mind their own business and are quite remote.
When Montana's regions were threatened by pirate raids, the RAW deployed its robotic armored infantry to get the situation under control. The leader of the mission was Marine Corps Lieutenant was Promise Paen. Paen joined the Marines to seek revenge of her fathers death in a simular raid.
By Scott Bartlett
After the Ixa had smashed the galaxy to bits they were defeated. The captain of the ship, Captain Husher had sounded the alarm in decades since. So that the Ixa's creators would one day return and finish the job.
However the government and Husher did not have the same view points. The government and politicians had convinced themselves that peace was the only way to stopping and limiting war. While Husher was sure that the way was to fight and win. Now, with the enemy returning they have brought high-tech weapons and are proving to the government that they have not been resting this whole time and peace is no longer an option.
By Travis S. Taylor
As humanity attempts to take to interstellar space and face the conflict they encounter a threat from an evil artificial intelligence.
After a century and a half of the Martian Separatist Wars, Alexander Moore decides to return to the stars with the Sienna Madira. The Sienna Madira, a United States Naval supercarrier was specifically outfitted with advanced technology to destroy the enemy. Along with the carrier Moore brings Marines, and a lot of them. But is all of this enough to defect the alien threat?
By Jim C. Hines
When the Krakau migrated to Earth they had every intention on inviting humanity and growing an alliance of sentient species.
This would have been a great idea for everyone if they had arrived a little earlier. The mutated plague had previously wiped out half of the entire plant's population. The rest was turned into shambling, uncontrollable animals, and destroyed most of the human civilization. It was pretty much an apocalypse.
By B.V. Larson
Being the first book of a twelve book series Swarm is a science fiction military novel where Earth discovers alien technology and arms their marines with them in order to build its first ever battle fleet.
Kyle Riggs was taken by an alien ship in the middle of the night. The ship was testing all of its suspects and killing all who were weak. The only good news for Kyle is that he continues to pass the tests therefore is still staying alive. The bad news is that the aliens who had captured Kyle were the nicest ones in the universe.
By Hiroshi Sakurazaka
As the alien Mimics are invading, Keiji Kiriya is one of hundreds that was forced in to the battle armor called the Jacket and sent out to kill. Yet even after dying in battle Keiji wakes up only to find out he was alive the same morning to fight and die over and over.
By John Ringo
When the University of Central Florida is destroyed by a 60-kiloton explosion the authorities only have one option but to assume it was a terrorists attack. After quick investigation the authorities though the terrorists has somehow gotten ahold of nuclear weapons. Yet there was no radiation ever detected. And when physicist Dr. William Weaver and Navy SEAL Command Mather Chief Robert Miller went to the scene of the investigation all they saw, where the once University had been, was a portal to somewhere unknown...
By David Weber
Honor is dead, well so it seams. Her death was broadcasted on a holo-disc for all to see. State funerals were held and even and empty coffin was buried in the Royal Cathedral. The Manticorans were all shocked with her death while the Graysons were outraged.
However the footage was never real. And Honor was still alive plotting on her return. She somehow managed to escape the destruction of Cordelia Ransom's ship and her and her allies hid on the edges of Hades, watching StateSec's communications.
By Richard K. Morgan
As humankind is spread out throughout the galaxy we go into the future on this sci fi military adventure. Divisions in race, class, and religion are still on going battles technology redefines itself on a whole other level. If you are one of the few that can afford such luxury, one could restore their consciousness and store it in a cortical stack at the base of the brain. This allows easy access to be downloaded into a new body and making death almost non existent.
By John Ringo
With the Earth on a new path of greedy Posleen, the friendly races of the Galactic Federation are willing to give some of their resources but only for a price.
As Earth's military goes into scouting the alien worlds, the humans start to learn a valuable lesson: You can only protect yourself from your enemies, but the Lord is the only one who can save you from your allies.
By John Steakley
On the planet of Banshee the air is not breathable and the water will kill you. It is home to the most deadly enemies of humanity has ever encountered.
Armor is required for the forces that are dropped on Banshee. Not just any armor will do, but ten thousand year old armor specially crafted. Anyone who goes there has to fight through endless hoards of hard-shelled monsters.
What Makes a Sci-Fi Military Book?
Military science fiction books are a special breed of science fiction. Reason being is that the science fiction portions (Futuristic weapons, alien species, extreme environments) aren't necessarily the main focus as they would be with other subgenres. They are simply plot devices used to help further along the narrative.
The real focus is on the soldiers.
These stories focus on the attributes and characteristics that make soldiers and armies who they are. Bravery, cleverness, camaraderie, and sacrifice. That's really what makes these books special. Often times, it's not the superior firepower of the good guys that win. Normally, the soldier is outgunned, out-manned, and outmatched. But through excellent tactics and heart, the heroes are able to persevere through the muck.
Military Science Fiction vs Space Opera
When determining military science fiction from space opera, the lines of distinction often get blurred. But there is one simple rule of thumb.
Military science fiction focuses on military or government agency figures. Space operas revolve around civilians. If the protagonist(s) is a coordinated government team...Military science fiction. If they are a rag-tag group of scavengers or mercs... Space opera.
Another big issue is the environment. I mean, a space opera wouldn't be what it is if it weren't set in space. Duh. But does that mean military science fiction can't be set in reaches of space? No. Many SciFi heads tend to refer to these as military space operas.
How did Military Science Fiction Originate?
Despite military history going back since the beginning of time, military science fiction hasn't always been a dedicated genre. However, a clear precursor to the subject was clearly established in The Battle of Dorking, a George Chesney story written in 1871. His book wasn't a pure science fiction novel as what we know today, but more of a story written about a "future war".
Other future war stories followed after primarily coming to in the early-mid 1900's. But soon came the biggest contributor to the subgenre.
The Vietnam War.
Or more so... after the war. You see, many talented and creative young soldiers coming home were able to fabricate wonderful tales of science fiction drawing from their recent military experience as inspiration. Veteran soldiers turned major SciFi authors include both David Drake and Joe Haldemann.
Many of them used their newfound success as authors to purvey their societal and political concerns. Especially David Drake.
Drake often writes about the horrors and tragedy of war, no doubt fueled by his harrowing experiences in Vietnam. But by doing so, he sends a message. He has openly stated in his afterwords for many of his Hammer's Slammers novels that he wants those that have never experienced war to understand the difficulties of--primarily voters and politicians. This way they understand what they are diving into when they endorse or elect to wage war again.
Does Futuristic Military SciFi Tech Exist Today?
Military Science Fiction in Other Media
It's not just the realm of books that have Military SciFi fans engaged either. In recent years, the genre has taken off in the forms of other media such as TV, film, and games.
Television series such as the Stargate series and Battlestar Galactica have become cult classics for science fiction aficionados. You can clearly see the dedication of the fans throughout the Convention and Comiccon circuits.
Film adaptations of military science fiction have also been a big hit at the box office. Both Aliens (the sequel) and Predator both fall within the scope of the genre. Not to mention James Cameron's Avatar which holds so many different cinematic records! More recently movies like Pacific Rim have done well thanks to military SciFi fans.
Perhaps one of the areas of growth are Military SciFi games. From tabletop to PC, the Warhammer 40k series has become a household name in many communities. The saga follows the Space Marines and their campaigns particularly those against the Chaos Gods and their followers. And of course... the gaming extends to console gamers as well. With the super popular Halo series developed by Bungie and the Mass Effect series from Bioware, military science fiction has solidified itself within modern pop culture.
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