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Old 08-01-2021, 08:28 AM   #1
PTTG
 
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I want to make a pulpy science fiction story based on WW2 fighter/carrier combat, naval engagements, and interwar espionage and imperialism. The setting is an exotic and long-winded justification for planets that consist of a single city and which are days away from the nearest neighbor. Suffice it to say that the tropes are present and justified.

What I'm looking for are excellent and exciting old-school fiction and non-fiction of both pulp and WWII aviation and naval..iation. I'd like something that will help me make situations that are authentic to the feel of military communications and practices, the hierarchy, and the etiquette of naval and air forces. Same goes for civilian and espionage at sea and in the air.

I realize this is kind of a niche genre (sarcasm), but what's the best, most authentic stuff?
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Old 08-01-2021, 08:42 AM   #2
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The classic work in this range is probably E.E. Smith's Lensman series. It's been reported more than once that the U.S. navy came up with a system of command and control at sea inspired by Smith's account of space fleet command and control; I'm not sure that that's historically authentic, but it at least suggests that there are clear analogies. "Space is an ocean" is an old trope.

You might also like to track down Bullard of the Space Patrol, by Malcolm Jameson. Its stories of interplanetary adventure and combat are very clearly modeled directly on naval customs and traditions of the 1930s and 1940s.
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Old 08-01-2021, 09:15 AM   #3
Fred Brackin
 
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https://www.amazon.com/Space-Carrier...s%2C214&sr=8-2

This is one of the most fighter-centric pieces of military SF in recent years and it appears to be free is you have Amazon Prime.

In older stuff, Heinlein actually went to Annapolis in the 1920s. His most military book was probably Space Cadet.

https://www.amazon.com/Space-Cadet-R...s%2C210&sr=8-1

Not free and not actually very fighter-centric.
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Old 08-01-2021, 10:10 AM   #4
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In older stuff, Heinlein actually went to Annapolis in the 1920s. His most military book was probably Space Cadet.

.
Ah, "most military book in the Space Navy vein". Starship Troopers is about the PBI.
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Old 08-01-2021, 12:15 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by PTTG View Post
What I'm looking for are excellent and exciting old-school fiction and non-fiction of both pulp and WWII aviation and naval..iation. I'd like something that will help me make situations that are authentic to the feel of military communications and practices, the hierarchy, and the etiquette of naval and air forces.
My local used book stores have a "pulp" shelf with cheap paperbacks from the 1950's to 1970's; there is a similar shelf in the Military section. You could do a lot worse than finding the equivalent where you live and just picking up war memoirs at random. Almost all of them were written by participants in the actions they describe. The writing may not be the greatest, but the situations, etc., are surely authentic. Most of them are short, when 100 pages for a book was not uneconomical.

Tom Clancy's Carrier and Fighter Wing are probably the most accessible all-in-one introductions to air operations around the turn of the millennium. Most changes from WWII have been refinements rather than paradigm shifts, although guided missiles make for very different actions than dumb bombs, rockets, or cannons. Arguably, though, guidance systems won't go away in the future.

The US Naval Safety Center publishes a magazine called Approach. It's all about mishaps (actual and avoided) and lessons learned. We used to get a copy at my Army aviation unit. Lots of "there I was" stories by working aviators; good for getting a feel for the jargon. I was always impressed by the things they took for granted before something went wrong, e.g.: formation flight, over water, at night, radio silence and navaids blacked out... crazy stuff.

There's an anime movie called The Sky Crawlers that has a pretty authentic feel. It wasn't very successful, so you can probably find it cheap.

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Same goes for civilian and espionage at sea and in the air.
Not sure what you're looking for, here. Espionage per se doesn't generally take place at sea or in the air -- that's more reconnaissance and surveillance. Espionage is usually focused on collecting human intelligence. Again, there are a host of post-WWII spy novels of reasonable authenticity (e.g., Ian Fleming did, in fact, work for British Intelligence during the war). Stories about reconnaissance are harder to come by, since it's pretty boring and exacting work until you actually find something, and then it transitions straight into a battle narrative.
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Old 08-01-2021, 02:09 PM   #6
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I get the impression PTTG is looking for contemporaneous mimetic or near-mimetic fiction, i.e. about heroic aviation rather than space wars.

Flying Aces (1928-1945) would seem to be ideal for your purposes; there are some at http://luminist.org/archives/PU/ . (Usual considerations of period racism/etc. apply.)

Non-fiction, consider the shenanigans around the Washington Naval Treaty, 1922 Yardley's Black Chamber was reading the Japanese (and others') delegates' communications with their governments, so the US knew exactly how far they would be allowed to make concessions.
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Old 08-02-2021, 10:34 AM   #7
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Shattered Sword is an excellent modern book about what really happened in WWII carrier combat.
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Old 08-03-2021, 12:58 PM   #8
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For interwar espionage -- Tales of the Golden Monkey (1980s series guest starting Roddy McDowell) -- has its highs and lows but captures some of the flavour.

Also try Louis L'Amour's pulp series about Merchant Captain Jim Mayo -- more South Seas adventure
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Old 08-04-2021, 10:53 PM   #9
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How about the Biggles books? The author was a fighter pilot in the Great War although his career may have been less eventful than he remembered.

There is a famous Silver Age (50 through 75) story about carrier warfare on Venus, maybe by David Drake. I don't know the title.

There was a Disney cartoon series about air pirates in a pseudo-Caribbean.
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Old 08-05-2021, 10:07 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by L.J.Steele View Post
For interwar espionage -- Tales of the Golden Monkey (1980s series guest starting Roddy McDowell) -- has its highs and lows but captures some of the flavour.

Also try Louis L'Amour's pulp series about Merchant Captain Jim Mayo -- more South Seas adventure
Tales is for purchase on YouTube right now.

West from Singapore collects the Jim Mayo stories. Off the Mangrove Coast gives some other L'Amour stories that would fit the genre. There was a smokin' hot Louis L'Amour pulp website, but I can't seem to find it now. ETA: http://www.louislamourgreatadventure.com/

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There is a famous Silver Age (50 through 75) story about carrier warfare on Venus, maybe by David Drake. I don't know the title.
Seas of Venus, about surface and subsurface action, instead of carrier action. But it fits the genre. Based on Clash by Night and Fury by Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore. Available from Baen Books.

Last edited by thorr-kan; 08-05-2021 at 10:10 AM.
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