As I reread Empire from the Ashes…

by wfgodbold

I’m struck once more by David Weber’s willingness to raid his own material for future work. Mutineer’s Moon (the first book in the trilogy) was published in 1991 (before the first Honor Harrington novel), but some of the ideas are congruent; Imperials in Empire from the Ashes have 4-5 century life expectancies thanks to nanotech-style augmentation, while in the Honorverse, genetic modification has slowed aging so that people so modified have … multi-century life expectancies (he does the same thing in The Apocalypse Troll (with the symbiote) and in many of his other works (presumably because if his main characters are ridiculously long-lived, he doesn’t have to worry about their having more adventures than would be possible)).

The third book in the trilogy, Heirs of Empire, features an anti-technology religion founded to protect the inhabitants of that planet from a bio-weapon that wipes out all life; the religion was formed and structured in such a way that the scientific method became heretical, and advances beyond a certain tech level were punished by the inquisition. Low-tech (US Civil War level) battles ensue for roughly half of the novel. Weber took this idea (almost whole cloth) and created the Safehold series around it; the tech level is the same, the anti-tech religion is the same (it was even founded by humans to keep the tech below a threshold so that aliens bent on the destruction of all life would never find them), the uprising spearheaded by a near-immortal (of course!) tech-familiar character is the same…

I don’t particularly mind; it’s his material, and if he wants to go into greater depth, that’s his business. I do wish he wouldn’t retread quite so often, though.

For that matter, I wish he’d take a break from his newer stuff and go back to the Empire from the Ashes series. That’s still my favorite of his works, and it’s gone far too long (15 years?) without a new installment.

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