The best military science fiction books that inspired me

William C. Dietz Author Of Red Ice (Winds of War)
By William C. Dietz

Who am I?

I am the author of more than sixty published novels, most of which are military science fiction, or near-future alternative history fiction, so I have an abiding interest in the subgenre, and the authors who helped to shape it.

I wrote...

Red Ice (Winds of War)

By William C. Dietz,

Book cover of Red Ice (Winds of War)

What is my book about?

From William C. Dietz, the New York Times bestselling author of the America Rising novels, comes Red Ice. A military thriller so believable the story could be ripped from tomorrow’s headlines. World War III is a month old. After attacking, and sinking the Destroyer USS Stacy Heath, the Chinese invade Tibet, and India counterattacks.

Meanwhile 7,000 miles to the north, the Russians are holding a training exercise called Red Ice. Except that it isn’t a training exercise and, if American forces fail to stop the enemy, the Russians will land on American soil. Army Air Force and even Coast Guard personnel will do their best to push the Russians back. But will their best be good enough?

The books I picked & why

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Starship Troopers

By Robert A. Heinlein,

Book cover of Starship Troopers

Why this book?

Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein, is a classic, and the book that caused me to fall in love with the military science fiction sub-genre as a kid. As far as I am concerned, Starship Troopers was the first true military science fiction novel, and paved the way for all the authors who followed including me.

The Complete Hammer's Slammers

By David Drake,

Book cover of The Complete Hammer's Slammers

Why this book?

Hammer’s Slammers blew my mind when I read it. The concept, the plot, the dialog, and the tech were cutting edge at the time--and had a profound impact on what I wrote later on. Eventually, I was invited to co-author a book with Dave called Cluster Command. And it was a wonderful experience.

The Lost Fleet: Dauntless

By Jack Campbell,

Book cover of The Lost Fleet: Dauntless

Why this book?

Jack is an outstanding writer, and I think of him as the C.S. Forester of science fiction due to his ability to construct Horatio Hornblower-type characters and invent riveting plots. Dauntless is the first book in his Lost Fleet series and all of them are outstanding. The fact that he was a naval officer helps too. 

Bill, the Galactic Hero

By Harry Harrison,

Book cover of Bill, the Galactic Hero

Why this book?

Bill, the Galactic Hero is a satirical novel by Harry Harrison published while I was still in my teens. It’s funny, it’s satirical, and still delivers a good plot. Harrison also wrote the fabulous Stainless Steel Rat books. Taken together Harry’s novels taught me about the use of humor in military books—and literature generally

The Mercenary

By Jerry Pournelle,

Book cover of The Mercenary

Why this book?

As with my other recommendations, I am making this one based on the impact the book had on me. From this novel, as well as the others that Jerry wrote, I learned how important it is to build a comprehensive world-universe when planning a book. And, when I sat down to pen the first book in what would become the Legion of the Damned series, I attempted to build a reality as fully realized as the CoDominium universe is.  

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