S.M. Stirling

Updated Saturday, 24 November, 2012

S.M. Stirling seems to enjoy warriors. That's okay, because so do I. His books tend to have main characters with very strong personalities, capable of feats beyond the norm,usually highly intelligent and definitely able to think on their feet. His novels documenting the Domination of the Draka provide a realistic window into an alternate reality where South Africans take over most of the world, defeating Hitler in World War II and continuing on in their desire to remove any possible competition. Falkenberg's Legion gets to participate in war and politics at their grittiest. The Man-Kzin Wars are set in Larry Niven's Known Space, and deal with the first alien lifeforms humans encounter as they explore beyond our solar system. The Ship Who Sang is the brainchild of Anne McCaffrey, in a universe where humans have not mastered the intricacies of controlling a child's pre-birth development, and there are still children born with birth defects, medical science has managed to figure out how to transfer such children's brains into special containers. These brains grow to maturity, and become the controllers of space ships and space stations, among other things. A novel approach to the typical thinking computer of science fiction, these brains are connected to their surroundings. A ship's brain can literally feel the surface of the ship, and see what the ship's sensors see. Quite an interesting concept.

The official S.M. Stirling Web Page is located at www.smstirling.com.

Books I've Read by S.M. Stirling

Conquistador (A Novel of Alternate History) (Mass Market Paperback) or (Hardcover edition)
ConquistadorOakland, 1946. Ex-soldier John Rolfe, newly back from the Pacific, is about to make a fabulous discovery. It happens with a flip of his shortwave radio switch, a thunder crack of sound, and a blinding light. He blinks his eyes to discover a portal to an alternate world where Europeans have never set foot on the land he knows as America. Able to return at will to the modern world, Rolfe summons the only people with whom he is willing to share his discovery: his war buddies. And tells them to bring their families . . .

What mistakes would you repeat?

Los Angeles, twenty-first century. Fish and Game warden Tom Christiansen is involved in the bust of a smuggling operation. What he turns up is something he never anticipated: a photo of authentic Aztec priests decked out in Grateful Dead T-shirts, and a live condor from a gene pool that doesn't correspond to any known in captivity or the wild. These finds soon lead to a woman named Adrienne Rolfe--and a secret that's been hidden for sixty years.

As danger brews on both sides, two realities are threatened, and so too are the lives of everyone who crosses the boundary between them . . . . (book description)

Dies the Fire (See also Island in the Sea of Time)
  1. Dies the Fire (Hardcover edition)
    Dies the FireMichael Havel was flying his Piper Chieftain over Idaho en route to the holiday home of his passengers, a family of five, when the Change occurred. At that moment, the plane's engines inexplicably died, forcing Michael to glide into a less than perfect landing in the wilderness. And as he leads his charges to safety, he begins to realize that the engine failure was not an isolated incident . . . .

    Juniper Mackenzie was singing and playing guitar in a pub when the Change thrust the small Oregon town into darkness. Cars refused to start. Phones were silent. And when an airliner crashed, no sirens sounded and no fire trucks arrived. Now, taking refuge in her family's cabin with her daughter and a growing circle of friends, Juniper is determined to create a farming community to sustain the survivors of this crisis . . . .

    The Change happened when an electrical storm centered over the island of Nantucket produced a blinding white flash, causing all electronic devices--computers, telephones, engines, radios, televisions--and even firearms to cease to function, and plunged the world into a darkness humanity was unprepared to face.

    But even as people band together to help one another, others are building armies for conquest . . . . (book description)
  2. The Protector's War (Mass Market Paperback) or (Hardcover edition)
    The Protector's War

    It's been eight years since the Change rendered technology inoperable across the globe. Rising from the ashes of the computer and industrial ages is a brave new world. Survivors have banded together in tribal communities, committed to rebuilding society. In Oregon's Willamette Valley, former pilot Michael Havel's Bearkillers are warriors of great renown. Their closest ally, the mystical Clan Mackenzie, is led by Wiccan folksinger Juniper Mackenzie, the Queen of Witches. their leadreship has saved countless lives.

    But not every leader has altruistic aspirations. Norman Arminger, medieval historian and scholar, rules the Protectorate. He has enslaved civilians, built an army, and spread his forces from Portland and throughout most of western Washington State. Now he wants the Willamette Valley farmland, and he's willing to wage war to conquer it.

    And unknown to both Northwest Pacific factions is the imminent arrival of a ship from Tasmania bearing British soldiers . . . . (book description)

  3. (I haven't read this book, yet) A Meeting at Corvallis (Hardcover edition)
    A Meeting at Corvallis

    No book description is currently available.

Domination of the Draka

  1. Drakon (Paperback edition)

    THE COP: Detective-Lieutenant Henry Carmaggio had seen plenty of blood, both in Cambodia, and in twenty years of police work. He'd never seen anything like the Warehouse Massacre.

    That was just the beginning. Something was loose in his city, something inhuman that walked among us, killing with the easy precision of a leopard in a flock of sheep. There was no one else to track it down. And if he didn't it would kill and kill again--until the whole world was its hunting ground.

    THE DRAKA: Gwendolyn Ingolfsson had been too close to the molehole experiment when it went wrong and hurled her into a parallel Earth filled with billions of antique humans. As a member of the Draka Master Race, genetically engineered to dominate unmodified humans, her duty was clear: call home. Build a molehole device in this universe and establish a bridgehead for the Race to come through. It had been a while since the Draka had an opportunity for conquest. Bring through a couple of orbital battle stations and the locals would be . . . what was that expression she'd read? ah, yes.

    Toast. (book description)

Falkenberg's Legion

The General (Raj Whitehall)

  1. (I haven't read this book, yet) The Chosen (Paperback edition) (with David Drake)
    The Chosen

    Planted by interstellar probes on hundreds of human-occupied worlds, the downloaded personalities of Raj Whitehall and the ancient battle computer known as Center work together for planetary unity. Their goal is to prepare those worlds for membership in the Second Federation of Man. But on one planet, they do the opposite: on Visager they work to prevent unity. For on Visager a nation-state of vicious militarists is about to start the final war to unite their world--once that is accomplished and their tochnology has matured they will turn outward, bringing their fatal racist infection to the stars.

    John Hosten is the son of a high general of the Chosen. Jeffery Farr is the son of an admiral of the only nation on Visager that might be capable of halting the onslaught. Through a strange twist of fate they have become as brothers united in their hatred of all that the Chosen hope to do. Only they--with the aid of the disembodied voices of their mentors from the stars--stand between eternal tyranny for their world and eternal war for the galaxy. (book description)

  2. (I haven't read this book, yet) The Reformer (Paperback edition) or (Hardcover edition) (with David Drake)
    The Reformer


    After the collapse of the galactic Web, civilizations crumbled and chaos reigned on thousands of planets. Only on planet Bellevue was there a difference. There, a Fleet Battle Computer named Center had survived from the old civilization. When it found Raj Whitehall, the man who could execute its plan for reviving human civilization, he and Center started Bellevue back on the road leading to the stars; and when Bellevue reached that goal, Center sent copies of itself and Raj to the thousands of worlds still waiting for the light of civilization to dawn.

    On Hafardine, civilization had fallen further than most. That men came from the stars was not even a rumor of memory in Adrian Gellert's day. The Empire of Vanbret spread across the lands in a sterile splendor that could only end in another collapse, more ignominious and complete than the first. Adrian Gellert was a philosopher, a student whose greatest desire was a life of contemplation in the service of wisdom . . . until he touched the "holy relic" that contained the disincarnate minds of Raj Whitehall and Center. On that day, Adrian's search for wisdom would lead him to a life of action, from the law-courts of Vanbret to the pirate cities of the Archipelago--and battlefields bloodier than anything in the history he'd learned. The prize was the future of humanity. (book description)

  3. (I haven't read this book, yet) The Tyrant (Mass Market Paperback) or (Hardcover edition) (by David Drake and Eric Flint)
    The Tyrant


    The Empire that rules the north of Hafardine's single great continent is brutal and corrupt. Its armies have turned its neighbors into subjects, its economy rests on the backs of slaves, and its aristocrats plunder the provinces in the pretense of governing them.

    West of the Empire are islands whose every resident is a pirate or a slave. Across the isthmus to the south are barbaric tribes living in squalor and mutual warfare, united only in their hatred of cities and the folk who live in them.


    If the Empire falls, it will take with it the last glimmer of civilization on Hafardine in the thousand years since the collapse of interstellar communication--and the Empire will fall under the weight of its own greed and vices unless the two men on Hafardine who can read the signs manage to reshape the future.


    In the south, the exiled philosopher Adrian Gellert attempts to forge the barbarians into a nation which can replace the Empire before it sinks into a pool of its own decay. In Adrian's mind whisper disembodied intelligences from the stars, bringing with them knowledge of new weapons and the whole sweep of human histroy. In the Empire itself, the aristocratic Justiciar Demansk wields political and military force with the delicacy of a juggler and the ruthlessness of a street thug.


    If either man succeeds, it will be through the other's ruin; and if they both fail, it will mean Hafardine sinks forever into the Long Night. (book description)

Island in the Sea of Time (See also Dies the Fire)
  1. (I haven't read this book, yet) Island in the Sea of Time (Mass Market Paperback)
    Island in the Sea of TimeDuring a perfect spring evening on Nantucket a violent storm erupts and a dome of crawling, colored fire blankets the island. When the howling winds subside and the night skies clear, the stars appear to have shifted. The mainland has become a wilderness of unbroken forest, where tools of bronze and stone litter the beaches, and primitive natives scatter in terror.

    A startling phenomenon has occurred: The island of Nantucket has been sweapte into the long-ago past. With its inhabitants adrift in the year 1250 B.C., there is only one question to be answered: Can they survive?

    A provocative and endlessly inventive spin on the classic adventure story, Island in the Sea of Time takes you on a journey of wonder, discovery, and imagination. (book description)
  2. (I haven't read this book, yet) Against the Tide of Years (Mass Market Paperback)
    Against the Tide of YearsIn the years since the Event, the Republic of Nantucket has done its best to recreate the better ideas of the modern age. But the evils of its time resurface in the person of William Walker, renegade Coast Guard officer, who is busy building an empire for himself based on conquest by technology. When Walker reaches Greece and recruits several of their greater kinglets to his cause, the people of Nantucket have no choice. If they are to save the primitive world from being plunged into bloodshed on a twentieth-century scale, they must defeat Walker at his own game: war. (book description)
  3. (I haven't read this book, yet) On the Oceans of Eternity (Mass Market Paperback)
    On the Oceans of EternityTen years ago, the twentieth century and the Bronze Age were tossed together by a mysterious Event. In the decade since, the Republic of Nantucket has worked hard to create a new future for itself, using the technological know-how retained from modern times to explore and improve conditions for the inhabitants of the past.

    Some of these peoples have become allies. Some have turned instead to the renegade Coast Guard officer William Walker. And for ten years, the two sides have tested each other, feinting and parrying, to decide who will be the ones to lead this brave new world into the future.

    Now, the final battle lines have been drawn. And only one side can emerge the victor . . . . (book description)

Larry Niven's Known Space

Anne McCaffrey's Partnership Series

  1. The Ship Who Sang (Paperback edition) (by Anne McCaffrey)
    The Ship Who SangHelva was born with massive debilitating physical deformities. Her brain, however, was unaffected and highly intelligent. Placed inside a capsule which overcame all her physical disabilities through advanced cybnetic enhancements, Helva was a formidable individual. Beyond her other distinctions was a love of music. Placed inside a spaceship with her Brawn at her side, she became The Ship Who Sang. (book description)
  2. Partnership (Paperback edition) or (Hardcover edition) (by Anne McCaffrey and Margaret Ball)
    PartnershipSeveral hundred years after Helva was commissioned, Nancia takes her commission as XN-935. Her first trip is to transport five troublesome progeny of high-level families. Nancia finds her cargo have no respect for her or others, so she does not communicate with most of them. Most of the passengers do not realize Nancia is a Brain-ship, so under assumption she is a Drone-ship they conspire to break laws. After five years the passengers will see who has accumulated the greatest wealth. Her recording systems capture the conspiracy, and years later her travels bring her up against the network that the five have been operating. (book description)
  3. The Ship Who Searched (Paperback edition) (by Anne McCaffrey and Mercedes Lackey)
    The Ship Who SearchedIt all began when Tia, a bright and spunky seven-year-old accompanying her exo-archaeologist parents on an EsKay dig, was afflicted by a mysterious neural disorder, one whose progressing symptoms finally permit her no life at all outside of some total mechanical support system. But like The Ship Who Sang, Tia won't be satisfied to glide through life like a ghost in a glorified wheelchair; like Helva, Tia is going to strap on a spaceship!

    But Tia has also set herself on a special mission: to seek out whatever it was on the EsKay planet that laid her low, to come to understand and then eliminate it - so that no other little girl will ever suffer the fate of The Ship Who Searched. (book description)
  4. The City Who Fought (Paperback edition) or (Hardcover edition) (with Anne McCaffrey)
    The City Who FoughtSimeon was a shell-person - the brain who ran Space Station SSS-900, on the fringes of human space. But things hadn't been going too well lately, and he was more than a little discontented. Though normally he enjoyed his work, these days it seemed boring. To make matters worse, his long-time parner had just retired and he was having a hard time adjusting to his newly assigned brawn - a strong-willed woman named Channa Hap, who seemed to feel it her duty to keep him in line. Simeon's love of wargaming would find unexpected uses when the brutal Kolnari attack the nearby colony planet, Bethel. Sheltering the colony's refugee's brought "the city" an invitation to serious trouble with Kolnari pirates. (book description)
  5. The Ship Who Won (Paperback edition) or (Hardcover edition) (by Anne McCaffrey and Jody Lynn Nye)
    The Ship Who WonThe brainship Carialle and her brawn, Keff, find a habitable planet inhabited by an apparent mix of races and cultures and dominated by an elite of apparent magicians. Appearances are deceiving, however, and by the time the explorers have discovered the planet's secrets--not to mention other intelligent races--they find themselves in a desperate battle to save it. (book description)
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