I'd like to remember the name of a scifi novel that had a strong military theme with lots of political intrigue where the space battles were fought in slow motion due to some limitation of the ships not being able to go the speed of light or something. The pilots of the ships or maybe the smaller attack fighters had to be able to handle the gravity and intense physical environment and often died on their missions or did what were basically suicide missions. I think the protagonist ended up having a romance with a pilot of a fighter on the opposite side or something. Anyway, I got it from the library and I think there were sequels to the book but the library didn't have them or something. Perhaps in the end I did read the full story but I keep remembering it like I haven't read the sequel but meant to...any ideas, I'd love to put this to rest one way or another.

  • 1
    Did it take place over generations, with the main character living a few centuries, due to his time spent in near-light speed travel?
    – Tango
    Jul 22, 2011 at 5:12

3 Answers 3


Sounds a bit like the Dread Empire's Fall Series by Walter Jon Williams. The first book is titled The Praxis. I can't remember the exact details, but the "fighter" pilots really act more like a communication relay for missile swarms, giving last minute guidance and correction. The space combat is limited to Newtonian physics, so nothing is faster then light speed, no inertial dampners so when the ships accelerate at 3g for sustained periods the crews stand a chance of dying of strokes\aneurysms. Most colonies have space elevators.

That ring a bell? Here's the wikipedia page for it.

Hope this helps.

BTW, the other books in the series are The Sundering & Conventions of War.


Forever War by Joe Haldeman maybe?


  • I was thinking that, too, but I don't remember smaller attack fighters. I do know there was one sequel to it. (I don't think there were other sequels, though.)
    – Tango
    Jul 22, 2011 at 6:16
  • No, the relativistic speed thing sounds familiar but I think the battles were between groups of humans not aliens...they also took place over days or hours not centuries. It was sort of like watching battleships fight on water - you had an idea of what the other guy was doing but waited hours for the actual attack to come and you couldn't maneuver very quickly so battle strategy had to be well thought out in advance. I think the main character had innovative ideas about battle strategy that the higher up didn't like or found shocking but that of course worked in the the end.
    – Margaret
    Jul 22, 2011 at 16:28
  • Also, I checked it out around the time I checked out Vernor Vinge and Ben Bova stuff so the author or title was probably in a list of similar type books I found somewhere on the internet, if that helps. I keep thinking it was the Vinge stuff or maybe the Red Mars trilogy but I never actually read those. But it's someone in that flavor/cohort, I think.
    – Margaret
    Jul 22, 2011 at 16:34

Could it be one of C J Cherryh's Alliance-Union Novels. It sounds like one of the novels from the Company Wars section, possibly Rimrunners.

There are a number of her other novels which have similar themes however. Basically interstellar travel is some kind of jump drive, but when they reach a system ships manoeuvre at sub light speeds and as a result they tend to be trying to follow as closely behind the light speed wave indicating their arrival, changes in course etc.

A number of her novels feature ships which drop faster more manoeuvrable fighters.

  • Do you know which novel would have suicide missions? I don't remember them being a major plot point, but I haven't read the whole series.
    – user56
    Jul 26, 2011 at 0:03
  • Love CJ Cherryh too...though I think The Praxis was the one I was looking for...thanks!
    – Margaret
    Jul 26, 2011 at 3:30

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.