Back to the Novel category for the Nebulas, for the past couple of weeks I've been reading Charles Gannon's Trial by Fire, sequel to Fire With Fire, which was nominated for a Hugo. Trial by Fire likely would have been nominated in a normal year, but this wasn't a normal year for the Hugos. So it goes.
I wasn't real appreciative of Fire With Fire. Trial By Fire doesn't change the formula, but Gannon definitely refines it and plays to his strengths, making this a much better book.
Gannon's strengths are definitely in the military aspects of the genre. He really brings the otaku factor to his descriptions of current, historical and future weaponry. We get pages of fine detail on weaponry and tactics, with lots of happy warriors. Not our hero Caine Riordan, though--he continues to be disturbed by the carnage but capable of dishing it out.
This is a standard middle volume in a series, in that it is mostly setting the stage for what is to come. The humans fight a war against the advanced but normally peaceful Arat Kur and the equal but very warlike Hrkh'Hkr (or something like that). The humans have behind the scenes aid from the Dornaani, the most advanced of the alien species, while the Arat Kur have the K'tor, a very mysterious bunch. Gannon layers the plot twists onto the battles in a way that keeps you guessing.
The technology speculation is amusing at times--the speculation is tight on weapons, pretty nebulous elsewhere. Interstellar travel is done in well-defined lanes with acceleration (usually) but not too much detail. Reading is done on "dataslates"--here in the 21st century we call them "tablets". Too simple I guess.
So it's Golden Age SF, and as I said earlier, if you want more of it just go back to Heinlein. But this one is decent, I will give it 3 stars.