17 Military Science Fiction Book Series To Read, From Old Man’s War to Gaunts Ghosts

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A subgenre of science fiction, Military Science Fiction is taking us into the heart of futuristic conflicts where high-tech weaponry, interstellar battles, and often intricate political landscapes intersect.

Often exploring military ethics, the impact of advanced technology on warfare, and the human experience amidst the chaos of battle, numerous book series told stories of epic interstellar skirmishes or the intimate struggles of individual soldiers facing the unknown.

Classics like “Starship Troopers” by Robert A. Heinlein, The Childe Cycle by Gordon Dickson, and Joe Haldeman’s “The Forever War” helped popularize the genre in the post-WWII era. Now, there are a lot more book series in the genre.

Here is our Selection of Military Science Fiction Book Series

Ender's Game Books in Order

The Ender’s Game series by Orson Scott Card – The story begins with Ender Wiggin, a brilliant and strategically gifted child, who is recruited into a military training program designed to groom the next generation of commanders for Earth’s defense. The training involves simulated battles in a zero-gravity environment, and Ender’s unique approach to tactics and leadership sets him apart. The subsequent novels in the series further explore the consequences of Ender’s actions and the broader ramifications of the conflict with the Formics.

The Old Man’s War series by John Scalzi – The story revolves around John Perry, a 75-year-old man who decides to enlist in the Colonial Defense Forces (CDF). The catch is that the CDF recruits elderly individuals from Earth, promising them rejuvenation and a chance at a new life in exchange for their military service in the defense of human colonies scattered across the galaxy. Upon enlisting, John Perry undergoes a process that turns him into a genetically enhanced, young super-soldier. The series explores the consequences of the technology that allows humanity to participate in these distant conflicts, as well as the moral and ethical implications of warfare and human colonization.

The Frontlines series by Marko Kloos – The series follows the experiences of Andrew Grayson, a young man who enlists in the military of a future Earth facing overpopulation, social inequality, and external threats. As Grayson goes through basic training and becomes a soldier, the series explores the challenges of military life, the impact of advanced technology on warfare, and the political tensions within the solar system. 

The Lost Fleet series by Jack Campbell – A saga set in a distant future where interstellar warfare and political intrigue take center stage. The Lost Fleet follows Captain John “Black Jack” Geary as he navigates a war-torn galaxy and confronts the challenges of leadership, strategy, and the mysteries of space.

The Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold – Maybe more of a space opera, The Vorkosigan Saga revolves around the Vorkosigan family, particularly Miles Vorkosigan, a character born with physical disabilities in a society that highly values physical prowess. He must navigate in a universe marked by interstellar politics, complex social structures, and technological advancements.

The Line of Polity The Second Agent Cormac Novel

The Polity series by Neal Asher – The Polity is a vast interstellar civilization governed by artificial intelligences. These AIs, collectively referred to as the “Polity,” oversee the affairs of numerous worlds and species, maintaining order and technological progress. The series explores the intricate relationships between various alien races, humans, and the AIs that govern them.

The Gaunts Ghosts series by Dan Abnett – This military science fiction series is set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe and depicts a grim and dark future where humanity is embroiled in constant warfare against various alien species and supernatural threats. The series follows the Tanith First and Only, a regiment of the Imperial Guard, as they fight for the Imperium of Man.

The Odyssey One series by Evan Currie – The series begins with the discovery of a massive alien structure in the asteroid belt, prompting Earth to send its first starship, the Odyssey, to investigate. Captain Eric Weston and his crew embark on a journey that leads to the revelation of an ancient and powerful alien race.

The Kris Longknife series by Mike Shepherd – The Adventures of Kris Longknife, a young and capable officer in a futuristic interstellar society. Kris, the daughter of a wealthy and influential family, chooses a military career over the expectations of her privileged upbringing. She joins the Navy and quickly finds herself embroiled in a conspiracy. She evolves from a young and inexperienced officer to a skilled and respected military leader.

The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey – James Holden is an officer on an ice hauler and Joe Miller is a detective on the asteroid colony Ceres. They were not destined to meet, but their paths intersect as they uncover a vast conspiracy involving a mysterious alien protomolecule that could change the fate of humanity and plunge humanity into war.

The Expeditionary Force series by Craig Alanson – The series follows the adventures of Joe Bishop, a sarcastic and reluctant hero, and the mysterious artificial intelligence known as “Skippy the Magnificent.” Together, they navigate a universe filled with alien civilizations, ancient technologies, and a looming existential threat to humanity.

Midst Toil and Tribulation A Novel in the Safehold Series

The Safehold series by David Weber – This story is set in a distant future where humanity has been forced to start anew on the planet Safehold after a devastating war with a powerful alien race known as the Gbaba. To avoid detection by the Gbaba, the remnants of humanity adopt a low-tech, pre-industrial society and erase all knowledge of advanced technology from their culture.

The Confederation series by Tanya Huff – Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr leading a platoon of mixed-species soldiers on a diplomatic mission to a distant planet. However, the mission takes a deadly turn when they become embroiled in an unexpected and violent conflict. Now, Torin must face various interstellar threats and navigate the complexities of military life.

The Man of War series by Paul Honsinger – In the 24th century, Lieutenant Max Robichaux is taking command of the USS Cumberland, a destroyer-class spaceship, during a war against an alien species known as the Krag. The Krag are a formidable enemy, and Max must lead his crew in intense space battles to defend human colonies.

The Vatta’s War series Elizabeth Moon – A young woman from a prominent trading family in a distant future, Ky Vatta starts her adventure by being expelled from the military academy, a setback that leads her to take command of a trading ship. However, her life takes an unexpected turn when she becomes embroiled in interstellar conflict, piracy, and political intrigue.

The Hammer’s Slammers series by David Drake – The series follows the exploits of Colonel Alois Hammer and his regiment of futuristic mercenaries, the Slammers, known for their professionalism, combat effectiveness, and the use of advanced military technology. Set in a distant future, the stories explore their missions, battles, and the relationships among the soldiers.

The Posleen War series by John Ringo – The series begins with the discovery of an alien race, the Posleen, on a collision course with Earth. Earth’s nations must unite to face this existential threat, leading to the formation of the Galactic Federation, an alliance of human and alien species. The primary conflict revolves around the attempts of various human factions to repel the Posleen invasion and prevent the extinction of the human race.

With more than a thousand articles published on HowToRead.Me, it is clear that navigating through the different reading orders is becoming a bit arduous. To try to help, why not try to sort the series by genre (or sub-genres)? This will take some time, but if you want to ask for a particular list, leave a comment.

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