A few weeks ago, I published a post featuring a few suggestions for where a new reader of military science-fiction might begin. I knew at the time that it wasn’t anything close to exhaustive, and closed the piece asking for suggestions from our readers. They were happy to oblige! Here are a few of the titles and/or authors they recommended. If a series was recommended, I listed the first volume, or an omnibus, if available. Where more than one book or series was listed by an author, I chose to list one. I did not list titles currently out of print. Note: Some books were not listed due to concerns for time and article length.
Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr left the Confederation Marines and founded an elite corps of friends and allies to take on covert missions that the Justice Department and the Corps could not—or would not—officially touch. Someone is searching for long-lost alien weapons of mass destruction and they’re very close to finding them. The Corps Intelligence Service knows about it but can do nothing about it thanks to miles of interstellar red tape. Fortunately, Kerr and her crew are bound by no such restrictions. Finding and quietly putting an end to these lethally armed grave robbers is the only chance the Confederation has to save the lives of millions.
Kieth Laumer’s Bolo stories are set in a universe where human-created artificially intelligent tanks are the ultimate weapon. Built to be protectors, these massive weapons platforms sometimes have minds of their own. Laumer’s Bolo universe was compelling enough to become a shared world. Several authors have contributed their own stories.
Orson Scott Card
Young gamer Andrew “Ender” Wiggin may be the military genius Earth needs to win its war against a vicious alien enemy. The only way they can know for sure is for him to enter training. The genius within him will emerge, or he will be destroyed utterly.
C. J. Cherryh
The mri was a warrior race whose mercenaries were the stuff of legend. Now they’re on the verge of extinction due to the vicious alien race known as humanity. Can what’s left find a new beginning on the home world they once forgot?
Forced into resignation from the Fleet, Officer Heris Serrano reluctantly signs on to serve as captain of a kindly old woman’s luxury yacht. In short order, the yacht’s owner is revealed to be a highly connected, extremely intelligent player in the intergalactic sphere, and a quiet retirement is nowhere on her agenda. After a run-in with a dangerous group of psychopaths, Heris and her new employer find themselves drawn into a conspiracy that could put the Fleet into the hands of a dangerous new commander.
An unprovoked attack on one of Her Majesty’s Lightships results in ambitious young Lieutenant Peter Cochrane’s transfer to Unified Space Navy Ship under foreign command. Surrounded by strangers and en route to an unknown destination, Cochrane is plunged into a new world of rivalry, warfare, and possibly mutiny.
Kris Longknife is a child of privilege, but she yearns to follow in the footsteps of her family’s great military heroes. Defying the wishes of her family, Longknife enlists in the marines. Following a poorly planned attack, Longknife is faced with the impossible choice of mutiny or death far from home.
Captain Conrad Harris is a veteran of hundreds of suicide missions, and thanks to the simulant bodies he takes into combat, he’s always ready for another. When a top secret space station in alien space goes dark, Harris receives orders to investigate. This time, he may not come back.
Once thought dead, legendary war hero Captain John “Black Jack” Geary has returned from hibernation just in time to save the Alliance from its foes. Taking command of the Alliance Fleet, Geary sets out once more into the breach. Does he have what it takes to live up to his own reputation?
David Weber and John Ringo
The Bravo Company of Bronze Battalion of The Empress’ Own Regiment has a mission: Rescue royal heir and petulant pain in the ass Prince Roger, currently marooned on planet Marduk following an assassination attempt. Marduk is a tropical hellhole full of hostile barbarian tribes, bloodthirsty predators, and the worst kind of weather you can imagine. Bravo Company can do the job, presuming Roger doesn’t get himself — or them — killed first
Lieutenant James Shelley and his squad are tasked with enforcing the peace around a conflict in sub-Saharan Africa. Unbeknownst to them, the communication system they use to keep in touch is being shared back home as reality television.
The Marines have landed on Mars to guard the unearthed secrets of an ancient and dangerous alien race: Ourselves. Scientists have discovered something astonishing in the subterranean ruins of a sprawling Martian city: startling evidence of an alternative history. Great powers are willing to devastate a world in order to keep an ancient secret buried. Because something that was hidden in the Martian dust for half a million years has just been unearthed… something that calls into question every belief that forms the delicate foundation of civilization.
Lois McMaster Bujold
Lois McMaster Bujold’s The Vorkosigan Saga is a masterful science fiction series about a powerful family in a sprawling universe of interstellar travel and alien species. There’s no shortage of opinion on where one should start reading the Saga, as they were published out of chronological order. Really, the best thing I can do is to send you to Bujold’s official website and let you decide for yourself.