The Martian General's Daughter: Military SF with a Heart

Jeff VanderMeer on April 17, 2008

Sometimes you come across a novel that doesn't quite fit your expectations of a genre--in a good way. The Martian General's Daughter, set two hundred years in the future in a world very much like Imperial Rome, is military SF told through the viewpoint of, well, a general's daughter. Steeped in historical and emotional resonance, this slim but satisfying novel is often willfully didactic in the way it treats political/military issues--but it works because of the context. These are the issues the characters are dealing with, this is the way they would talk about them. It's rare that a book will make you think and make you feel in quite this particular way.

As Philip K. Dick Award finalist Adam Roberts says, "The novel is a wonderfully judged character study, a highly readable narrative, often witty, sometimes cruel...but best of all is the narrator, the general's daughter herself--a diffident and modest individual who is nonetheless vividly and marvelously alive, strong and likeable."

You can read an excerpt from the novel here. Go forth and check it out!


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