Today is the ninety-fifth anniversary of the Armistice of Compiègne, which ended World War I, or at least the war between the Triple(or more, really) Entente and Germany, on November 11, 1918. Starting the next year, many of the Entente nations declared national holidays on the anniversary of the armistice. In the United States of America, it was known as Armistice Day until 1954, when Congress officially changed the holiday to Veterans Day, which has remained associated with the holiday ever since. Now, in the US we have a holiday in May for the remembrance of those who died in the armed forces (talked about first here and again here). Veterans Day, on the other hand, is dedicated to honoring veterans serving, retired, or passed away and to connect that honor to our everyday lives in a way that is distinct to the respectful rites of Memorial Day.
Today, I'm going to quickly highlight Veterans Day with a short list of great science fiction books. These books fall into the great tradition of what is known as the military sci-fi subgenre. Military sci-fi comprises story where military hierarchies, tradition, logistics, and/or tactics factor as heavily into the plot and setting as alien worlds and futuristic technology. What's interesting about these sorts of stories, when compared to traditional space opera, sci-fantasy, or social drama sci-fi, is that it respects the interaction of characters and traditions as somewhat timeless in the scope of how men and women conduct war. The three books I'm highlighting below, however, are not just really good pieces of military sci-fi; they're also all written by veterans, which allows a reader to analyze the book meta-textually. In so doing, these books aren't just great action-packed sci-fi classics, but they're an alternative way of approaching and analyzing some specific veterans.
They're also pretty quick reads, too.
I hope you take the chance to thank the service people in your life this Veterans Day, and definitely check out these great novels whenever you get the chance. Besides being enjoyable nerd-fodder, they just might encourage you to think differently about these issues next Veterans Day.