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Midshipman's Hope (Seafort Saga #1)

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  2,526 Ratings  ·  139 Reviews
A hideous accident kills the senior officer of UNS Hibernia, leaving a terrified young officer to take 300 colonists and crew aboard a damaged ship, on a 17-month gauntlet to reach Hope Nation. With no chance of rescue, Nicholas Seafort must save lives and take them, in the name of duty.
Paperback, 391 pages
Published November 11th 1996 by Orbit (first published November 1st 1994)
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***Dave Hill
Sep 09, 2013 ***Dave Hill rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: military SF lovers, Napoleonic navy fans, discipline fetishists
Recommended to ***Dave by: Practically everyone
Shelves: text
This is one of those books that's been recommended to me from a number of locations, and often arises as part of the "People who liked [insert military SF / space opera I've been reading] also love this!" recommendations here and there.

Unlike a lot of those kind of recommendations ... this was not a book I enjoyed, either as an reading experience or as a literary engagement.

It is, in fact, a military SF tale, and one that clearly draws on 18th Century British Naval tradition as its social and di
...more
Anthony Ryan
Dec 01, 2014 Anthony Ryan rated it really liked it
The 'Hornblower in space' trope has been a popular one in military SF for quite a while now, but Feintuch's entry into the genre takes some beating for its sheer narrative pull. A series of disasters sees newly commissioned Midshipman Nicholas Seafort appointed the youngest captain in the history of the United Nations Naval Service, going on to do battle with corrupt fellow officers, mutinous crewmen and, ultimately, giant squid-like aliens. Hokey it may be, but it's also a huge amount of fun an ...more
Alan Smith
Apr 05, 2013 Alan Smith rated it really liked it
Putting two separate genres together and coming up with a concept that's more than the sum of its parts is often a pretty good way to come up with a great story, as the late David Feintuch proved in this series. Essentially it's a mixture of Napoleonic naval tales (in the "Hornblower" tradition) with space-opera.

Feintuch's universe is a far future that is ruled by fundamentalist old-testament Christianity, yet the universe is criss-crossed by faster-than-light spaceships, run by the navy yet li
...more
Jeff Miller
Feb 19, 2013 Jeff Miller rated it really liked it
One of those books I picked up because it was one of Amazon's daily deals. The plot sounded interesting enough and right up my alley.

I usually like the metaphor of the Navy in Space considering my Navy career. This isn't quite a Horatio Hornblower in space, but has elements of that. This is not a slow buildup of a Navy career that takes books to develop to where the character gets into command position. Things develop fast in an emergency situation where what is left of the crew has to step up.

A
...more
Daniel
Sep 06, 2015 Daniel rated it really liked it
Wow, this was brutal at times. U suštini uzmete život i ponašanje na brodovima 18 i 19 veka sa surovom disciplinom i prebacite u svemirsku eru. Znači kažnjavanja, vešanja i prepuno pravila koja kontrolišu skoro sve. Ubaciš glavnok lika koji je mlad, nema vere u sebe i stalno pokušava da utadi ispravnu stvar držeći se tih istih pravila i kao što rekoh na momente dobijmamo dosta tešku knjigu.

Sama knjiga se lako i brzo čita, nema dosadnih momenata mada ni puno akcije ali opet drži pažnju od početka
...more
Mary JL
Nov 26, 2008 Mary JL rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: any fan of sf espcially military sf
Recommended to Mary JL by: Found it on myown
Shelves: main-sf-fantasy
This is the first book in the Seafort series, of which there are only seven.

Nicholas Seafort is an insense young midshipman who must take command when an accident kills all the senior officers of his ship. Since Nick Seafort has an intense sense of duty, he pushes himself to the limit, and does what he feels he must do to save his ship.

There are some interesting moral dilemmas here--such as a mutiny--and the character of Nick Seafort is very clearly drawn. A bit more grim than some sf sagas but
...more
Ron
Feb 10, 2013 Ron rated it liked it
Not bad at all. The inaugural edition of a unashamed Horatio Hornblower rip off, Midshipman's Hope even feels more like it was written two hundred years ago than two hundred years in the future--despite the first contact subplot.

While the back story history doesn't bare close scrutiny,the 17-year-old protagonist acts like a seventeen year old--unlike Honor Harrington who acted as if she were thirty. He has good instincts but he's a bubbling pot of emotions, mostly self directed.

His sexual relat
...more
Nicholas Scott
Dec 16, 2014 Nicholas Scott rated it it was amazing
My favorite science fiction series ever. Any time I go anywhere on vacation I bring my copies of the science fiction guild editions with me and reread them. Nicholas Seafort is my all time favorite fictional character. He is what I strive to be, his character, his will, his desire to do right above all else, is so wonderfully compelling and heartbreaking. I am just completely enamoured with his struggle. The entire series is spectacular, amazingly so and through it all Seafort, through the deft ...more
Dan
May 29, 2008 Dan rated it really liked it
Stars burn hot and silent in the deepest gulf. It is their nature, and they do it with constant and unflinching duty. Of such stuff is Nicholas Seafort.

While marred by a few awkward plot complications and some general stiffness, "Midshipman's Hope" is a fast-paced, enjoyable read. Our protagonist gets few breaks as threats, both internal and external, mount with increasing complexity.

This is both a coming-of-age story and an exploration of the core of leadership.
Jamie Collins
These are military space opera, unabashedly inspired by C. S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower novels. Like Hornblower, the protagonist is plagued with self-doubt almost to the point of annoying the reader. I did enjoy them, although I remember thinking they seemed like young-adult fiction.
Joe
May 29, 2009 Joe rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone, especially sci-fi or military fans
Excellent character development all around, particularly with the main character, Nick Seafort. Feintuch does an excellent job in portraying the humanity of each character when forced into difficult situations. A very engaging story with a number of ethical dilemmas throughout.
Natalie Keating
Jan 12, 2017 Natalie Keating rated it liked it
This book was okay. Interesting premise and I like the military science fiction aspect, but geez, the main character is WAY too hard on himself. Look, I know it can be hard to objectively see one's actions, but this guy goes above and beyond.

Plus it reads very much like a first novel. The pacing is a bit off in places and the character development leaves much to be desired. I'm honestly not sure if I will continue with the remaining books in this series. They're okay, but I think I might enjoy r
...more
Jacey
Feb 17, 2013 Jacey rated it it was ok
David Feintuch: Midshipman's Hope – Seafort Saga #1

Without a doubt this is Hornblower in space, with all the self-doubt and stiffness that characterised CS Forester's somewhat wooden hero. Stuffed full of Victorian Values which seem to lean towards spare-the-rod-and-spoil-the-child, and focuses heavily on 'hazing' – apparently an American tradition of tormenting cadets in various nasty and pointless ways to toughen them up – all of which I found actively distasteful. It's not that I object to an
...more
Christoffer Keisu
Feb 20, 2013 Christoffer Keisu rated it it was ok
Space soap-opera. Self-loathing main character that gets on your nerves. The first book however is a good introduction to navy life as well as the political society of David Feintuch's universe. Don't expect much nerd-love on spaceships, space and science. My main gripe is with the main character, who while being a typical smart protagonist (not smart in everything though thankfully) is also extremely self-loathing and has the confidence of a 14-year old. I thought the main character would learn ...more
Shane
Dec 15, 2014 Shane rated it liked it
Three and a half stars. I read this on the recommendation of a friend and I am glad I did. This was one of many versions of "Hornblower in Space" which is a very common theme that seems to only be superseded by "Aubrey and Maturin in Space". This was good, but I've seen it done so much better in other places. Instead of being and Officer and a Gentleman which even a Midshipman knows, Seafort is Sniveler and a Juvenile. The navy is a strong arm of a tyrannical government, but seems woefully under ...more
Courage Knight
Oct 11, 2015 Courage Knight rated it it was amazing
This is definitely on my "best books I've ever read" list. This has everything! And it won the Isaac Asimov award for best science fiction the year it was published.

Nick is a young midshipman in the navy on a starship, and something happens to all the senior crew - forcing him to accept command and become the captain at the age of seventeen. There were older, more experienced crew members, but something about Naval regulations prevented them from serving as captain. Nick is torn between what he
...more
Steven Coulter
Feb 26, 2016 Steven Coulter rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
David Feintuch is one of the best writers of science fiction I have ever read. This series is gripping, non-stop twists and a character you admire even when you are astonished at what he does. Set far in the future in a very different America, the entire series is first rate creation of new worlds, great characters and wild action. The very last book in the series still had me cheering at the end. It was magnificent. I tried writing him an email, listed in one of his books, but later learned he ...more
Dan
Mar 04, 2012 Dan rated it it was ok
Shelves: signal
The theme is space exploration, but what this series is about is discipline and punishment. The main character climbs in rank through the Space Navy, and his subordinates keep misbehaving and bullying and generally having severe behavioral issues, so he devises elaborate punishments to keep them in line. If you think you would like reading about that, you will probably like the series. It was not to my taste.
Barry
Feb 06, 2011 Barry rated it it was ok
Like the stars say, it was O.K. I'm not crazy about the Seafort character, the violent mood shifts and inflexible rigidity prevent me from accepting him as a functional, much less successful, human being.
Roger
Aug 18, 2012 Roger rated it did not like it
Shelves: science-fiction
Good grief, this book was depressing! Whine, woe is me, whine some more, repeat until you want to chunk the book out the window of a moving car.
Jason
Feb 22, 2008 Jason rated it it was amazing
2/20/08
Jeffrey
Feb 09, 2008 Jeffrey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
a terrific naval space fleet novel.
Johan Pajupuu
Feb 15, 2015 Johan Pajupuu rated it really liked it
P. damn fucking good read it in one sitting it's 4 AM and a
Katrin von Martin
Jun 19, 2015 Katrin von Martin rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
K.M. Weiland
Nov 23, 2016 K.M. Weiland rated it it was amazing
“Hornblower in space”—honestly, it sounded like the recipe for a really dry knock-off. But not so. Seems like all the books I’ve been expecting lately to be dull have turned out just the opposite. Feintuch riffs on the idea of an sci-fi Hornblower, but thankfully doesn’t chain himself to it. He creates a compelling character in his own right, thrust him into a larger-than-life but always perfectly grounded catastrophe, and rounds out the story with a strong supporting cast. I look forward to the ...more
John Mh
Dec 01, 2016 John Mh rated it liked it
Yep, Horatio Hornblower in space. As someone else said, the 1st-person narrator's CONSTANT internal self-doubt dialoguing became pretty tiresome pretty fast (and never stopped, until the last page), but, otherwise, pretty decent meat-n-potatoes sci fi. A good read.

I bought the entire (LONG) series for about $1 from a garage sale. Fine value on that level. If I'd bought this book at jacket-price, I probably wouldn't go out of my way to read more of them--but, since I've got them all, I'll at lea
...more
Diane
Feb 09, 2017 Diane rated it liked it
Shelves: syfi, suspense, ya, military
The story seems dated and technologically limited. It has sort of a 1980 feel, so sort of a late Heinlein flavor in a very male dominated environment. The religious environment over-lay, perhaps as a counterpoint to L Ron Hubbard or Robert Heinlein, is a little over the top. Yet this entrant into the series does create interest in the characters to see how things evolve.
Josh
Apr 01, 2013 Josh rated it really liked it

I was surprised that this book was so refreshingly good! Told in a first-person perspective, it tells the tale of a midshipman during the course of one long voyage on the ship he's assigned to. A terrible accident leaves him in charge of the whole ship, and from there, he has to deal with one problem after another. This book throws just about everything you can imagine at him... Mutinies, problems with crew and interpersonal relationships, attacks by humans, attacks by aliens, a glitched comput
...more
Daniel
Mar 27, 2011 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Military fiction; great storytelling
Recommended to Daniel by: A friend
Eh, I liked it after I read more into the genre. I read it the first time after noticing the cover of the novel one day in the bookstore. (that was a first as well, selecting a book based solely on it's cover art) Indeed, I read it again (and eventually the whole series) and liked it.
Now, Midshipman’s Hope is unashamedly reminiscent of both Forester’s Hornblower books and Heinlein’s Starman Jones. A lot of the worldbuilding is there explicitly to set the scene to get the result Feintuch wants—a
...more
Pat Cummings
May 21, 2014 Pat Cummings rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
The arc of any man's life must always include some courage, some fear, some pettiness and some generosity, some defeat and some triumph. In an exceptional man's life, these arcs are world- or even universe-spanning.

The seven novels of the Seafort Saga by David Feintuch (Midshipman's Hope, Challenger's Hope, Prisoner's Hope, Fisherman's Hope, Voices of Hope, Patriarch's Hope, and Children of Hope ) detail these arcs of life for a very exceptional man indeed.

I re-read the saga every few years, o
...more
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David Feintuch (1944–2006) was the author of the award-winning military science fiction Seafort Saga series, which spans Midshipman’s Hope, Challenger’s Hope, Prisoner’s Hope, Fisherman’s Hope, Voices of Hope, Patriarch’s Hope, and Children of Hope. Feintuch came to writing late, previously having worked as a lawyer and antiques dealer. In 1996, at the age of fifty, he won the John W. Campbell Awa ...more
More about David Feintuch...

Other Books in the Series

Seafort Saga (7 books)
  • Challenger's Hope (Seafort Saga, #2)
  • Prisoner's Hope (Seafort Saga, #3)
  • Fisherman's Hope (Seafort Saga, #4)
  • Voices of Hope (Seafort Saga, #5)
  • Patriarch's Hope (Seafort Saga, #6)
  • Children of Hope (Seafort Saga, #7)

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