‘Ms. Midshipwoman Harrington’ by David Weber
It makes a sort of sense to follow Peter F Hamilton with David Weber, purveyor of what the editors describe as “the kind of space opera UK readers love to hate”. In other respects, its inclusion is questionable.
Firstly, it isn’t very good. It is even longer and duller than the Hamilton and never aspires to be more than functional; pure Extruded MilSF Product. Secondly, whilst the Venn diagram of space opera and military SF overlaps, this does clearly fall into the latter camp. It is, after all, Hornblower in space (a fact made even more explicit than usual here).
Finally, although we know by now that lack of quality or relevence is no impediment to inclusion, I would have thought the fact this story is so similar to the superior ‘Weatherman’ by would have given the editors pause for thought. Both are prequel stories that see an exceptional military student face the challenges of life outside the academy in their first post. For Miles Vorkosigan, it reveals his character for the reader; for Honor Harrington, it simply confirms for the reader that she is made of awesome. To hammer this home, she is also physically perfect and has a magic cat.