I read this book while on a flight a few weeks ago. Its surprisingly readable and relatively short — you can knock it over in a single long haul flight. The book covers the memoirs of an oil rig worker, from childhood right through to middle age. That’s probably the biggest weakness of the book, it just kind of stops when the writer reaches the present day. I felt there wasn’t really a conclusion, which was disappointing.
An interesting fun read however.
I read this anthology as a child, but when I found a copy on ebay that was cheap I couldn’t resist. This is a collection of short stories focusing on what war might be like in the future. It’s a good read, although a couple of the stories are out of place compared with the others.
- Superiority (Arthur C Clarke)
- Single Combat (Joe Green)
- Committee of the Whole (Frank Herbert)
- Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card): a classic, and in some ways I prefer the short story. I’ve read the extended series of novels a few years ago, but they’re probably worth revisiting at some point.
- Hero (Joe E. Haldeman), later became The Forever War.
- The Survivor (Walter F. Moudy): I have strong memories of this story from reading this anthology as a child. This is still a good story.
- The Last Objective (Paul Carter)
- What Do You Want Me to Do to Prove Im Human Stop (Fred Saberhagen): a Berserker story, also known as “Inhuman Error”.
- Hangman (David Drake): this one is included in Volume 1 of the Complete Hammers Slammers.
- The Night of the Trolls (Keith Laumer): this was a really good story about Bolos — good enough to send me out to buy some more Bolo books, which I will now have to add to my reading queue. This story was later expanded into The Stars Must Wait, which I didn’t think was nearly as good as the short story.
- The Nuptial Flight of the Warbirds (Algis Budrys): this story was out of place with the rest of the collection, poorly written, and not very entertaining. I particularly didn’t like how it changed plot flow literally mid sentence without warning. I had to read that page three times to work out what was happening.
- Mirror, Mirror (Alan E. Nourse)
- The Miracle Workers (Jack Vance)
- Memorial (Theodore Sturgeon)
- Shark (Edward Bryant)
- …Not a Prison Make (Joseph P. Martino): the ending came to suddenly in this story, but gosh its a good ending.
- Hawk Among the Sparrows (Dean McLaughlin): this story reminds me strongly of the Axis of time stories from John Birmingham. This short story of course came first, and is a lot simpler in its examination of issues surrounding modern military hardware “falling through time” into previous wars.
- No War, or Battle’s Sound (Harry Harrison)
- The Defenders (Philip K. Dick)
- In the Name of the Father (Edward P. Hughes)
- On the Shadow of a Phosphor Screen (William F. Wu): this one didn’t really do anything for me — the premise that major corporations would be willing to solve disputes based on the outcome of war games seems very weak to me.
- The Specter General (Theodore R. Cogswell): this story is awesome. Loved it.
- Fixed Price War (Charles Sheffield)
- The Long Watch (Robert A. Heinlein)
- The Machine that Won the War (Isaac Asimov): included in Robot Dreams, as discussed in my list of Asimov Robot Stories.
[award: nebula_novella nominee 1968 (Hawk Among the Sparrows); nebula_short_story nominee1973 (Shark); locus_short_story nominee 1978 (Ender’s Game)]