The best military sci fi novels that will keep you awake at night

Tyler E. C. Burnworth Author Of Redshift
By Tyler E. C. Burnworth

Who am I?

I've been writing since I was 7 years old. Star Wars had a big influence on me, but as I got older I gravitated toward Halo: Combat Evolved and Starship Troopers. Modern stories by the likes of Jason Anspach and Nick Cole, JN Chaney, and Rick Partlow...these are the stories that keep me up at night, my mind reeling with the insanity of what I've just read, pondering how close we are as a society to achieving the outlandish adventures contained in these books. I was in the Air Force for 14 years as an F-16 mechanic. I found my voice by combining my experiences and my passion for Science Fiction.

I wrote...


By Tyler E. C. Burnworth,

Book cover of Redshift

What is my book about?

Humanity's manifest destiny to control the galaxy was thwarted by a devastating event known as The Collision—an attack that left millions of humans dead and a young boy named Abraham burning with a lust for revenge. The veneer of an ecumenical interstellar society begins to crack as the revenge campaign against the Riskar, perpetrators of the Collision, leads to the discovery of an ancient war between two factions of humanity vying for control of the galaxy's most powerful military—with Abraham mysteriously at the center of it all. Abraham's future, and the future of the galaxy itself, depends on uncovering the origins of his mysterious heritage.

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The books I picked & why


By Jason Anspach, Nick Cole,

Book cover of Legionnaire

Why did I love this book?

This book is the first entry in the Galaxy's Edge series and is quintessential military science fiction.

Anspach and Cole are a dynamic duo that delivers the craziest series I've read in decades. For me, Galaxy's Edge redefined what storytellers are capable of, and I consider it the pinnacle of the genre. From the gritty realism of the daily life of a space grunt all the way to a mystical element that is an homage to Star Wars—but better—the twists and turns keep coming.

Packed with action, mystery, intrigue, and constantly breaking the "rules of writing" in unique and compelling ways, this series is an absolute must for fans of SF, Mil SF, and great stories in general. Just wait till you get to the character of Tom. It's wild!

By Jason Anspach, Nick Cole,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Legionnaire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Galaxy is a Dumpster Fire.

A hot, stinking, dumpster fire. And most days I don’t know if the legionnaires are putting out the flames, or fanning them into an inferno.

A hostile force ambushes Victory Company during a reconnaissance-in-force deep inside enemy territory. Stranded behind enemy lines, a sergeant must lead a band of survivors against merciless insurgents on a deadly alien world somewhere along the galaxy’s edge. With no room for error, the Republic’s elite fighting force must struggle to survive under siege while waiting on a rescue that might never come.

Join Victory Company as they fight…

Columbus Day

By Craig Alanson,

Book cover of Columbus Day

Why did I love this book?

Columbus Day is the first entry in the Expeditionary Force Series, and it's one to take serious note of...despite the constant onslaught of humor! It reads like your typical Mil SF novel until chapter 10, where it takes all of your expectations and blows them up right in your face.

I loved the intense military combat scenes, coupled with Avenger's style humor and the introduction of a certain hyper-intelligent beer can...yes, it's that kind of story, and it's way better than I'm making it sound.

There's a reason each new release of this series breaks the Audible download page on release day. Some of the funniest science fiction I've ever read, with interesting alien races and tons of problem-solving fun, references to other SF series...what's not to love?

By Craig Alanson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Columbus Day as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

We were fighting on the wrong side, of a war we couldn't win. And that was the good news. The Ruhar hit us on Columbus Day. There we were, innocently drifting along the cosmos on our little blue marble, like the native Americans in 1492. Over the horizon come ships of a technologically advanced, aggressive culture, and BAM! There go the good old days, when humans only got killed by each other. So, Columbus Day. It fits. When the morning sky twinkled again, this time with Kristang starships jumping in to hammer the Ruhar, we thought we were saved. The…

Starship Troopers

By Robert A. Heinlein,

Book cover of Starship Troopers

Why did I love this book?

 This is a classic that was really far ahead of its time. So much of modern Military SF traces its origins to this story, and it still holds up today. From an interesting angle on politics, society, the military, and ethics, to gritty scenes of space combat (against the bugs!), the book is, of course, so much better than the film.

Don't even get me started on the film...*shakes head*...Heinlein was a genius, and that's never been more apparent when you read one of the first Space Marine books ever written. What I love the most about this book is that he really sticks the landing. The ending is, in my opinion, perfect.

By Robert A. Heinlein,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Starship Troopers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The historians can't seem to settle whether to call this one 'The Third Space War' (or the fourth), or whether 'The First Interstellar War' fits it better. We just call it 'The Bug War'. Everything up to then and still later were 'incidents', 'patrols' or 'police actions'. However, you are just as dead if you buy the farm in an 'incident' as you are if you buy it in a declared war.'

5,000 years in the future, humanity faces total extermination. Our one defence: highly-trained soldiers who scour the metal-strewn blackness of space to hunt down a terrifying enemy: an…

Forgotten Ruin

By Jason Anspach, Nick Cole,

Book cover of Forgotten Ruin

Why did I love this book?

Looking at the cover of this book, you might be scratching your head, wondering, "just what the hell is that?" It's a delicious, genre-bending twist on Fantasy and Military SF that is a must-read, I assure you.

Army Rangers, as part of a top-secret DARPA program, travel a few years into the find out they're accidentally 10,000 years in the future, and the world they knew is now a Forgotten Ruin (see what I did there?) filled with monsters, magic, and mayhem.

Navigating these disastrous circumstances takes some serious ranger grit and a lot of firepower.The story is told from the perspective of a young ranger who is a linguist, and his communication skills are essential to the ranger's survival. But more than that...the Ruin changes people.

By Jason Anspach, Nick Cole,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Forgotten Ruin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Tolkien meets Shock and Awe

Orcs. Trolls. Wraith riders. Dark wizards. Together, they form an unstoppable force. Or so they thought.

Dark Army… meet the U.S. Army Rangers.

When a Joint Task Force of elite Rangers are transported to a strange and fantastic future where science and evolution have incarnated the evils of myth and legend, they find themselves surrounded, pinned down, and in a desperate fight for their very survival—against nightmares of flesh and blood made real. Which means only one thing.

It’s time to Ranger Up and stack bodies.

The forces of evil have no idea how dangerous…

Contact Front

By Rick Partlow,

Book cover of Contact Front

Why did I love this book?

Think Starship Troopers updated for a modern audience, with a compelling main character whose rough upbringing launches his career as a military leader against a vicious and unique enemy.

I found myself mesmerized by the nuance, feeling, and technology in this book. No detail is too small to be left out, and it really fleshes out the universe presented in this book. The military lifestyle is captured with stark clarity, political intrusions on the military's operations are poignant and realistic, and the characters come alive with every turn of the page.

Do not sleep on this one, it's exactly the kind of story that will keep you up at night, thinking that the future could turn out just like the ideas presented in this epic story.

By Rick Partlow,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Contact Front as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Go to war or go to jail.

For small-time street hustler Cam Alvarez, the choice is simple.  He has no family, no friends, no place in the world…nothing to lose.  When his latest con results in the death of a cartel hitman, Cam opts to join the Marines and leave Earth to fight a vicious alien enemy.  

Drafted into the Marine Drop-Troopers, Cam discovers there’s one thing he’s even better at than running street-con games, and that’s killing the enemy.  Wrapped in an armored battlesuit, Cam finds purpose amidst the horror and destruction of the war, and the opportunity for…

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