- An interesting story told by from the perspective of two warring protagonists on opposing sides of a war
- Two perspectives really show that there aren’t really any winners in a war
- Gives readers a sense that violence begets more violence, feeding a vicious cycle
- Good action scenes
- While the scenes including fighting are interesting and well-written, the governments or empires of both sides seem quite generic with names like Alliance and Hegemony
- Both empires are two sides of the same coin
- Only “science” fiction part about the story is that it’s set during a time when space travel and colonization is made possible, allowing for the spread of humanity to the stars
Hell’s Horizon Review
Hell’s Horizon by Richard Fox and Jonathan Brazee is a great military science fiction story told from the perspectives of two characters locked in a vicious war of attrition on some seemingly unimportant planet in an otherwise unimportant part of the galaxy.
The story itself feels a bit generic. Two sides are at war, but there doesn’t seem to be any differences between the opposing forces. With generic names like Alliance and Hegemony, it’s difficult to identify the faction that is in the “right” in the story. Both factions demonize one another, have a secret police force that ensures loyalty from its citizens, and demand subservience to the state.
The only faction that is perhaps likable is the faction that runs the camps for the war refugees and provides aid to the wounded like the Red Cross, but their appearance is brief and serves no real purpose in the story. If anything, the mention of this faction’s ability to destroy a planet is intriguing, but this information isn’t developed further.
Reads who enjoy the military aspect of science fiction will enjoy this story. There’s no doubt that the battle scenes are well-written and seemingly realistic, with references to snipers, air support, and casualties. The descriptions of the unit battles are well written compared to other science fiction writers who tend to focus on individual combat or larger battles. References to the wars in US history provide clues to the motivations of the authors.
But those readers who want science fiction won’t find much science fiction except for some weaponry and references to some ships and battles on other planets. These references provide some much needed context to the battle and to the larger war. Outside of the spaceships and mentions of other planets, this story could easily take place in some not-too-far future.
If the authors wanted to send a message that war is pointless and that no one really “wins,” then they’ve succeeded, and the disadvantages of the story all serve to highlight the futility of war. After all, the there’s not much difference between the two soldiers or the empires they’re defending. And the losses suffered by both sides suggest that both sides lose when there’s fighting. The overall message is that war is pointless.
Hell’s Horizon by Richard Fox and Jonathan Brazee is a fun military science fiction story for people who just want to get lost in good action scenes. The two soldiers aren’t any different from each other either, but they both come to the realization that they needed to come to in order to break the cycle of violence.
Read reviews of other books by Richard Fox.