Saturday, 25 March 2017

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I was mistaken earlier when I said that Keith Laumer wrote this. He had died by 1997. Instead, various writers ran with the premises he laid to create nine stories ranging from 25 to 89 pages each, followed by a set of technical notes. Naturally, they don't have the same sense of continuity that short-story compilations by one author have. In fact, I'm not sure they could all be true in the same universe.

Bolos, FYI, are the ultimate sci-fi army tanks. Enormous, heavily armed and armored, and granted advanced AI. Obviously not beholden to Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics if human nations use them against each other (tho later stories concentrate on alien battles), but they are programmed with unflinching loyalty to their given side. As the title suggests, these stories focus on Bolos that are nowhere near peak condition; in many cases, neither are the civilizations they defend.

The individual stories )

The last few pages advertise other space operas: the Honor Harrington series, Anne McCaffrey's Brainship novels, and Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan saga. I'm happy to say I've read and enjoyed one book of each and reviewed them all on this LJ. Kinda renews my interest in them. But I give a higher priority to checking out what Laumer himself wrote about Bolos. I want to see what they were like before physical and mental battery. After all, you don't really know Superman if you've seen him only in the presence of kryptonite.

In the meantime, I'm reading My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman, who's best known for A Man Called Ove. I don't think it's fantasy, but the protagonist is clearly familiar with popular fantasy, which is why my mom suggested it to me.

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Stephen Gilberg

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